Pharyngula

OK, people, you’ve got to stop this. These comment threads keep filling up with noise — I’m closing one bloated thread and starting this one, if you feel you must.

Just a suggestion: if you are an outraged Catholic who is here to tell us a) you’re very upset, b) the cracker is very, very important to you, or c) that you’ll pray for us all, please, don’t bother. We’ve heard it a few thousand times already, it wasn’t at all persuasive the first time, and we’re just getting more and more exasperated at your obtuse lack of originality. Go to church, instead.

Comments

  1. #1 Jon
    July 17, 2008

    I claim this thread, in the name of science!

  2. #2 Alex
    July 17, 2008

    In the name of science? Blasphemy! You should have claimed it in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his Noodly Appendage. :)

  3. #3 Kel
    July 17, 2008

    PZ, you should declare this thread sacred. That way it’ll stop those who care about religious tolerance for desecrating it. Otherwise they’d be hypocrites.

  4. #4 LisaJ
    July 17, 2008

    I can’t believe these massive cracker threads are still going. They must be driving you nuts PZ. I’m just glad I found one early enough to be able to post in a recognizable position. I have nothing more to say about the cracker though. It’s all just so stupid, and I just can’t believe how this story has snowballed!

  5. #5 The skepTick
    July 17, 2008

    For some entertaining reading, check out the Eucharistic Miracles of the World. What happens when the cracker turns to flesh in your mouth? What happens when Jesus reaches down from the cross in church and takes up the chalice? What happens when a woman in Augsburg Germany in 1194 takes the cracker home? See…it’s been done before. All of these are now examples of miracles.

  6. #6 MAJeff, OM
    July 17, 2008

    I’m still catering this shit!

  7. #7 Zeno
    July 17, 2008

    I claim this thread in the name of incisor!

    Or perhaps not.

    Religion is fun and everything, like science fiction and stuff (or fantasy), but especially when you get to hear world-class experts on theology discuss the important difference between Allah, worshiped by Muslims, and God, worshiped by Jews, Christians, and Buddhists[?!?]. Oh, and Hindus! Wish I were kidding.

    They have vocabulary problems, too, and not even over words as tricky as eponymous.

  8. #8 Alex
    July 17, 2008

    Kel, most religious people don’t mind being hypocritical, especially when it comes to desecrating that which is sacred to others, so your plan might not work. :P

  9. #9 Geoff
    July 17, 2008

    Hey, I posted this in the last one, but I had a hard time finding the replies…
    I’m getting married next month and I’m looking for a good secular reading. I was hoping for something by Carl Sagan or Douglas Adams. Does anyone have any ideas?
    Thanks!

  10. #10 JM Inc.
    July 17, 2008

    Actually, since this happens to be a fresh thread, I might stick a thought in before it fills up.

    I’m not at all complaining that PZ Myers is being horrible or wretched or evil or that he’s desecrating the body of Christ or whatever, but I wonder if, perhaps, his request for consecrated wafers might be construed as incitement to commit a crime? Could that be considered theft? I know they give them out without charge for consumption to Catholics and all, but I wonder if they might have some sort of Terms of Use on this thing. Does anybody know anything about that? Similarly, while I’m still at the top of the page, could taking a cracker from a Church during, say, Mass (let’s talk about the poor chap in Florida for a moment) constitute a violation of the rights of parishioners to, for example, assemble peaceably or freely express their beliefs/opinions about this?

    Again, I’m not actually trying to be a spoil-sport here, nobody would like to see these whiney bastards get a smack in the face more than me (well ok, that’s a lie, some people would like that very much indeed), but are there possibly other legal/ethical issues here aside from the non-issue of whether or not blasphemy is a right?

  11. #11 raven
    July 17, 2008

    Crackergate is getting old. Most of the hysterical trolling seemed to be by 4 or 5 wackos who just wanted to fill their day up with ranting and raving.

    Really, they should just take their shopping carts down to the park with a bottle of wine in a paper bag and wheel around. At least they would get some exercise and meet kindred spirts. Someone might even give them a box of crackers.

    So how are the death threats coming along. It would seem logical that after the Kroll fiasco, they might drop off. OTOH, given the type of people sending them, logic is likely to work as well as common sense and their religion.

  12. #12 BT Murtagh
    July 17, 2008

    evry time a catlick postid, i eated a holy cracker.

    - srsly, teh ceiling cat

  13. #13 MB
    July 17, 2008

    I’ll repost this link early so any outraged Catholics who want to say PZ is anything but an equal opportunity desecrator can see they’re full of shit before they begin:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/07/desecration_its_a_fun_hobby.php

    It’s not PZ’s fault Christians give him more ammunition in this country.

    Or maybe they don’t find anything in that link offensive since it’s not directed at them?

  14. #14 Fiziker
    July 17, 2008

    I won’t pray for you, PZ, but I will ask got to forgive your sins when I sacrifice a goat tomorrow–that is unless the entrails of a chicken look bad, in that case it will be a cow.

    May God have mercy on your saltine-hating soul.

  15. #15 Dustin
    July 17, 2008

    This has been going on for so long that even I’m beginning to get Koran envy.

  16. #16 mk
    July 17, 2008

    OK, so I just came from the website of Debbie Cook for Congress. She’s challenging Dana Rorbacher (R-Nutjob) and has a pretty good chance, apparently. There is a photo of her taking the oath of some office or another. Her right hand in the air, her left hand…holding her child. That’s right, not a single bible in sight! Could she be one of us? If so…shhhh *whispering* yaaay!

    Aahh, maybe it means nothing.

  17. #17 Ken Cope
    July 17, 2008

    Just bumping this to the top of a fresh thread for PZ’s consideration:

    I’ve just spotted paradoctor’s post at #264. I have read most of this thread, but I keep getting called away and I’ve missed some chunks. But I think paradoctor’s idea is spot on. I think we should bring this to PZ’s attention.

    Thanks for bringing it back up to the top of the stack for me. I’m sad to have missed this one in such a rapidly growing thread, not just because it is sly and subversive, but because I have the highest regard for paradoctor, personally and professionally.

    I think the only possible way to embellish paradoctor’s suggestion for a respectful funeral and burial (God is dead, after all) would be to follow up the services with a suitably Irish Wake for the frackin’ cracker, providing a glass of spirits, of course, for the delectation of the “transubstantiated gobbet of man-god flesh.”

  18. #18 Hernando Cortez
    July 17, 2008

    (Plants Spanish flag in thread in process coughs giving 50% of thread viewers smallpox)
    I claim this thread in the name of Spain!
    (attempts to convert locals to Catholicism/enslave to work in mines)

  19. #19 Bill Dauphin
    July 17, 2008
  20. #20 Carla
    July 17, 2008

    I had a secular wedding and we used these 2 readings:
    Hold My Hand and I’m Yours: http://www.poemsforfree.com/holdmy.html
    and
    an American Indian wedding blessing:
    http://www.wedthemes.com/indian-wedding-blessing.shtml

    Good luck!

  21. #21 Wowbagger
    July 17, 2008

    Sigh. How long do we wait before we get a long post on the meaning of the eucharist (because we haven’t all heard that by now) and why it’s important to catholics? No doubt it’ll be followed by several more asking PZ why he’s so anti-catholic and doesn’t dare criticise what’s sacred to Islam or other religions.

    JM Inc wrote:

    I wonder if, perhaps, his request for consecrated wafers might be construed as incitement to commit a crime?

    You and many others, about five thousand posts ago. IANAL, but the consensus is that it’s not.

  22. #22 Goldfishflakes
    July 17, 2008

    PZ-

    You will probably…eventually…be forced to host your own blog on your own purchased server space just to keep up with the traffic.

  23. #23 Kel
    July 17, 2008

    Kel, most religious people don’t mind being hypocritical, especially when it comes to desecrating that which is sacred to others, so your plan might not work. :P

    But then you can throw the J-man’s “don’t be a hypocrite” line at them. It’s wishful thinking, but still.

  24. #24 Chris Granade
    July 17, 2008

    Somehow I think this would all have a better SNR if there was some kind of nested replies, like Usenet or something. I’ve long wondered why that never caught on for blog comments.

  25. #25 Andrew
    July 17, 2008

    JM Inc.,

    No.

    sincerely,
    A Lawyer

  26. #26 aporeticus
    July 17, 2008

    #16:

    OK, so I just came from the website of Debbie Cook for Congress. She’s challenging Dana Rorbacher (R-Nutjob) and has a pretty good chance, apparently. There is a photo of her taking the oath of some office or another. Her right hand in the air, her left hand…holding her child. That’s right, not a single bible in sight! Could she be one of us? If so…shhhh *whispering* yaaay!
    Aahh, maybe it means nothing.

    Her grandfather, an Episcopal minister, baptized Debbie, just as he had baptized her four brothers.

    Well, I guess if I had to pick a least bad Christian church, I’d go with Episcopal.

  27. #27 KiwiInOz
    July 17, 2008

    Geoff, congrats on your upcoming nuptials. Ebonmuse at the Daylight Atheism blog has some good stuff, such as his atheist dinner benediction:

    As we come together to share this meal, let us first remember how it came to us and be thankful to the people who made it possible.
    This food was born from the bounty of the Earth, in warm sunlight, rich earth, and cool rain.
    May it nourish us, in body and mind, and provide us with the things that are good for living.
    We are grateful to those who cultivated it, those who harvested it, those who brought it to us, and those who prepared it.
    May its consumption bring about the pleasures of friendship, love, and good company.
    And as we partake of this food in each other’s company,
    as what was once separate from all of us becomes part of each of us,
    may we also remember what we have in common and what brings us all together.
    May this sharing of food foster peace and understanding among us,
    may it bring us to the recognition that we depend on each other for all the good we can ever hope to receive,
    and that all the good we can hope to accomplish rests in helping others in turn.
    May it remind us that as we reach out to others to brighten their lives,
    so are our lives brightened in turn.

    Cheers

  28. #28 dkew
    July 17, 2008

    PZ, maybe a set of FAQs would help, so we can quickly reply to the nutters with just, “No. 1,” the cracker thing; “No. 2,” the cartoon/Koran thing; “No. 3,” atheism isn’t religion; “No. 4,” Pascal’s wager; “No. 5,” natural selection isn’t biogenesis; “No. 5a,” evolution isn’t random; “No. 6,” Kenny take your meds, eat shit and die; etc.

  29. #29 Patricia
    July 17, 2008

    #9 – Geoff – I’m a member of FFRF, and as best I recall they have secular wedding texts (?) posted on their website. Just search http://www.ffrf.org
    PZ – thanks for starting a new thread – these HUGE long things are getting tiresome. It’s like a holy war & neither side is giving one inch. (I’m guilty too)

  30. #30 Cracker Bandit
    July 17, 2008

    Forget PZ’s cracker, Catholics! There is nothing you can do about it! It was gone the minute it touched his evil atheist hands. But there is still a cracker you can save!

  31. #31 Wowbagger
    July 17, 2008

    dkew, you’re making too many assumptions there – that the sort of troll we’ve experienced here over the last few days can a) read, and b) process information.

    Well, information that wasn’t beaten (or buggered) into them by a priest anyway.

  32. #32 MartinDH
    July 17, 2008

    #26:

    Ah, Episcopal should (in its Anglican form) be know as “Catholic Lite”: Sin’s great! Less guilt!

  33. #33 OMH
    July 17, 2008

    It’s safe to say that an atheist taking a wafer in the circumstances of a eucharist would be a crime in the UK. “Obtaining property by deception” under Section 15 the Theft Act 1968 fits the bill exactly. I would be very suprised if there was not similar law in the US.

    Proving that PZ intended to incite such an action would be trickier given that his language admits of a strong possibility that he was being flippant and didn’t mean it. Whether he actually did or not is a question of fact, though.

    Not that I’m condoning the rather remarkable behaviour of Mr Donoghue et al, I’m just a passing lawyer…

  34. #34 JM Inc.
    July 17, 2008

    #25, Andrew: Hah, ok, thanks mate. Sorry, all, for still trying to talk about this, it’s just that I haven’t been assiduously following everything said on the subject ever and modern search engines don’t have the intelligence to reliably and robustly search for content yet; I’ve just been thinking a lot on these sorts of implications and checking back occasionally, that’s all.

    By the way, anybody see this yet? Sorry if that topic of derisive conversation is old hat as well.

  35. #35 Blake Stacey
    July 17, 2008

    At least we got a few good linguistic items — platosphere and fatwa envy and the I’ll pray for you” meme — out of the mess.

  36. #36 J. D.
    July 17, 2008

    Right now, I’m listening to the quadraphonic mix of “Nilssohn Schmilsson.” It’s pretty cool!

    Hey, you did say this was an open thread, right?

    J. D.

  37. #37 Wowbagger
    July 17, 2008

    If they’re serious about this they’ll make everyone at the ceremony sign a form. I say go for it – make the long, horrible ceremony even more onerous and you’re only guaranteeing a further decline in attendance.

    If nothing else comes from this other than the catholics announcing they’re going to keep a stricter guard over their crackers then PZ’s succeeded in getting them to demonstrate the strength of their irrationality.

  38. #38 Michael
    July 17, 2008

    @ OMH #33

    You do realize that the Church is claiming to hand out a Piece Of Zombie when in fact all they are giving people is a mere cracker. If this isn’t fraud, then what is?

    On the other hand if they are really handing out pieces of Jesus then of course they cannot claim ownership of those pieces unless owning other humans (or deities) is permitted in your jurisdiction.

  39. #39 Sam L.
    July 17, 2008

    Woohoo, I got in before #50 this time! Seems like SciBlogs needs to buy some more bandwidth…

  40. #40 Norman Doering
    July 17, 2008

    Sam L. wrote:

    Woohoo, I got in before #50 this time! Seems like SciBlogs needs to buy some more bandwidth…

    I think the outraged Catholics were more interesting.

  41. #41 AgnoAtheist
    July 17, 2008

    This idea that there might be a jurisdiction somewhere that would consider putting a wafer in one’s pocket instead of one’s mouth a crime intrigues me. If there is a place in the US where I might be arrested for such an act I would like to know. I’m not sure I could afford to take the time out of life that would have to be spent in jail but I would consider it. I’m also not sure that the place to draw the cultural line is at the catholic altar but I lean in the direction that it’s a good starting point for cultural disobedience. Like I said, I’m intrigued.

  42. #42 JM Inc.
    July 17, 2008

    #37, Michael: Actually, the Church is the Body of Christ, the idea is that the Eucharist binds all the members of the Body together. Think of it like Borg assimilation technology, and the cracker is the nanoprobe injection tubule straight to the jugular. Try working that into property law!

    Although, if we’ve been taught anything we already thoroughly knew by this whole crackergate affair, it’s that theology and secular law should never ever be mixed, ever (ever!)!

  43. #43 Trevor
    July 17, 2008

    Dr. Myers,

    Do not sidestep reason at the foundation of your arguments. You are in the extreme minority compared to the theists, thus the onus of proof rests on you against the established opinion. You present your logical case as to why I should not respect the Eucharist and I will believe you.

  44. #44 Alex
    July 17, 2008

    It’s funny, but the cracker is probably the major reason why I’ve become an atheist.

    I used to believe Catholicism. Mind you, I was young, very young, less than eight years old, and I pretty much believed everything I was told. I have distinct memories, for instance, of being astounded that the Israelites were worshipping a golden calf when Moses returned from his mountain. How could they not know that God was real. It was written there in black and white, and they’d been told. And they’d seen the miracles surrounding their departure from Egypt, not to mention the parting of the Red Sea. I just could not understand how they could be so stupid.

    I looked forward to my first Communion. I believed that it was something real, that being able to ingest the cracker — the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ — would make a difference in my life.

    The Saturday before, I got to go to my first confession. As an eight-year-old I didn’t have anything juicy to confess, but afterwards I felt so clean, so pure, so free of sin that on my own I decided to stay in my room for the rest of the day instead of playing with my friends so as to avoid even the possibility of committing a sin and of being less than totally pure for my Communion.

    I was really excited. I remember having the cracker placed on my tongue and going back to my seat, kneeling and praying, and expecting to feel something. I guess I was naive, but I had been told so often that this was a transformative event, one that would bring me closer to Jesus, that I was sure that I must feel something new or different. Thus, as I prayed, eyes closed, I scanned my inner self looking for something different, something new, something, anything, to validate this ritual.

    I never felt anything different.

    For months afterwards I would go to Communion and pray and scan and wait for something, anything to tell me or show me that this was real, that I had been accepted, that Jesus was nearer — that something had actually happened. I’d look around, see all the other people in church, heads bowed, apparently communicating with God while I experienced nothing.

    I felt like a fraud.

    After a while I came to the conclusion that I had been lied to. This was part of a more general awakening when I recognized that the adults in my life did not practice the moral precepts they preached, at least not nearly as vigorously as I would have expected, given all that I had been told about God, etc. I lost interest in the church and in God and whereas I once went to church eagerly, I now looked for any opportunity to avoid it.

    When I was first told about God I was young enough that I took every word that my parents uttered as ultimate truth. How could I have done anything else. The world that was defined for my developing consciousness was one in which the Christian God was real, and the Bible was his story. So it’s no wonder that I believed. What I think is ironic here is that the very seriousness of my faith led me to become disillusioned. If I hadn’t taken it seriously, I wouldn’t have expected anything; therefore, the fact that nothing seemed to happen would not have mattered much to me.

    So that’s the story of the cracker and I.

    I think it’s sad that religions continue to exist only because they fuck up little kids when they’re far too young to know better. It’s pathetic, and they ought to be embarrassed. I’m just lucky that I was a boy. Otherwise, in addition to the usual crap, I would have also been force-fed the belief that as a girl I was somehow not quite as good.

    Are they proud of themselves that they can brainwash little children?

    Why are we supporting these people with our tax dollars?

    Why do we show deference and respect to people who make claims that they couldn’t possibly know, let alone prove?

    If the Pope were on fire, would I piss on him to put it out?

    I wonder if the crackers would taste better with guacamole?

    Pax!

  45. #45 Celtic_Evolution
    July 17, 2008

    Trevor

    First you need to get over the delusion that being in the majority equates to being right.

    Once, people who believed the earth was round were in the extreme minority. Are you realizing the stupidity of your position yet?

  46. #46 Pandora Neurospora
    July 17, 2008

    I second dkew’s call for a FAQ. If its all in one place then you don’t have to search for it thus leaving more time to smite idiots.

  47. #47 PZ Myers
    July 17, 2008

    You present your logical case as to why I should not respect the Eucharist and I will believe you.

    It’s a CRACKER.

  48. #48 BeeNY
    July 17, 2008

    -argumentum ad populum (Latin: “appeal to the people”), in logic, is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or all people believe it; it alleges that “If many believe so, it is so.” In ethics this argument is stated, “If many find it acceptable, it is acceptable.”

    Theists and their logical fallacies.

  49. #49 Remy-Grace
    July 17, 2008

    Hate to break it to you, Trevor, but Xians are the minority as far as world superstitions go.

  50. #50 Neural T
    July 17, 2008

    For the record, here are all the posts related to wafergate, along with the number of comments:

    frackin cracker: 1007
    got bill’s attention: 855
    fresh crackers: 1466
    fight back: 1227
    internet getting full: 649
    get more insane: 574
    email cracker edition: 1440
    FYI: 1123
    mail dump: 994
    stop it now: 509
    science heathen: 697
    delusional derangements: 464
    cyberpistol: 1323

    For a grand total of: 12,328
    And an average of: 948 per post

    …and still counting

    Have you read them all?

  51. #51 Pandora Neurospora
    July 17, 2008

    Hey Mr Myers, it is not *just* a cracker – it is a cracker that goes great with wine!

  52. #52 Andrew
    July 17, 2008

    First of all, the lawyer is wrong, or at least the issue is not nearly as clear as he claims. A jury, I think, could eaisly find that the act of presenting oneself in the communion line could qualify as an “artifice, trick or device” under Minn. Stat. 609. Although the issue may closer, Prof. Myers’ incitement to others to obtain a Host could, I think, satify the conspiracy or aiding and abetting statute. I also bet that it would be an actionable tort. I have not studied criminal law in some time, so I could be proven wrong, but I doubt it.

    I will also violate Mr. Myers rule. The contours of this debate seem clear: the few catholics here are saying, in essence, that the Host is very important to us. You don’t need it; it means nothing to you and the whole reason why you are taking it is to mock us. Please respect our beliefs and leave the host — which is, after all, our property — be. The response seems to be that the Catholic Church (and its belief about transubstantiation) is so ridiculous that there is simply no need to respect what these morons believe. We see it as just a “cracker”; we don’t see any harm in what we are doing; to hell with their beliefs.

    In the end, this issue is a simple matter of law and courtesy. We all know that the host is the property of the Catholic church. We all know that by presenting themselves in the communion line, an individual is representing (however implicity) that he or she is a Catholic and wishes to participate in the communion as a Catholic (or at least as a respectful worshiper). We all know that taking the host out of the church is a fraud. This is not a matter of imposing Catholic beliefs on others — we are not requesting that you kneel down before the host when it passes by in a car; we are simply asking that you not enter our churches if your purpose is malicious.

    So we are clear, no one should be threatening anyone’s life for any reason. A pox on their house too, even more so.

    It seems pretty simple, really.

  53. #53 Paul Lundgren
    July 17, 2008

    Dr. Myers,

    ERV has information on how you can finally see Expelled in the theater. They’re pimping private screenings for $2,400 per showing. I shit you not.

  54. #54 JM Inc.
    July 17, 2008

    I love how often Catholics assume this whole thing is some sort of malicious attack. Yes, that’s right, atheists hate Christians most of all, your denomination especially! You’d better watch out because we’re tenting our fingers and thinking of you!

  55. #55 SplendidMonkey
    July 17, 2008

    @#35 – A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night is deviner than any cracker.

  56. #56 Dahan
    July 17, 2008

    Trevor at 42,

    So, since there are more Muslims than Christians in the world, I expect you’ll be headed down to the local Mosque tomorrow to renounce Christianity and join Islam, right? What’s that? You won’t? But why not? It’s only sensible because the majority of people believe it to be true!

    Oh, wait, that’s really not the way you think either? Huh, funny that, cause neither do we.

    Try this. Now that you’ve made that leap. Try looking at your religion from an outsider’s eyes. Imagine what it looks like to someone who hasn’t been brainwashed to not even think that it might all be a cruel joke. Uh-oh! That’s right, your religion is just wacky and false as all the rest. Time to live by reason.

  57. #57 chaos_engineer
    July 17, 2008

    It’s safe to say that an atheist taking a wafer in the circumstances of a eucharist would be a crime in the UK. “Obtaining property by deception” under Section 15 the Theft Act 1968 fits the bill exactly.

    I’m not sure. Let’s look at this in another context:

    Suppose the local supermarket is giving out free samples of something I already know I don’t like. I take one sample, but instead of eating it I send it to Dr. Myers so that he can make fun of it on his blog.

    The supermarket can argue that there was an implied contract that I’d think about buying a box of the product, and that I violated this by taking the sample when I knew I had no intension of buying. But I could come back and say that this wasn’t really a contract, it was just a social obligation that I was free to ignore.

    The supermarket could formalize the transaction and not let me have the sample unless I signed a contract. If I violated the terms of the contract they could sue me for damages, and they could charge me with fraud if they could show that I signed the contract with the intent of breaking it.

    But in that case, I could defend myself under the doctrine of “de minimis non curat lex”. (“The law does not concern itself with trifles”) The argument is the value of the sample is so small that it isn’t worth wasting the court’s time over, or, in layman’s terms, “It’s a frakkin’ cracker!”

  58. #58 Kel
    July 17, 2008

    Hey Mr Myers, it is not *just* a cracker – it is a cracker that goes great with wine!

    More like, it’s a cracker so bland that it masks the horrible taste of communion wine.

  59. #59 oriole
    July 17, 2008

    I posted this before on one of the humongously long threads, but I hope PZ won’t mind if I do it one more time. You can contact 1-800-flowers at

    http://ww12.1800flowers.com/serviceform.do

    If you’d like to ask them to consider giving Ms. Kroll her job back. Being married to an asshole should be punishment enough; I think a lot of you agree with me it’s a shame she should also lose her job because of it.

  60. #60 Dustin
    July 17, 2008

    What would happen if they tried to consecrate a sangiovese-based chianti? Would Jupiter have to have a slugfest with Jesus to see whose essence gets to make up the wine?

  61. #61 Trevor
    July 18, 2008

    Dr. Myers et al,

    To be clear, I did not say majority means right- only established, as I said above (42). If we are operating on reason then do not put words in my mouth nor infer things I did not say. I am asking you for a logical argument Dr. Myers.

  62. #62 Abraham van Helsing
    July 18, 2008

    If I can’t get my hands on consecrated Host, how the hell am I supposed to fight vampires? Pointy sticks? As if.

  63. #63 Patricia
    July 18, 2008

    The full moon is commin…the ILK are gettin’ restless. *grin*
    Atta boy PZ, give em’ hell! ;)

  64. #64 AgnoAtheist
    July 18, 2008

    Andrew (#51)

    I don’t think it is as clear cut as you state. If I presented myself in communion line it would not be to keep Catholic rules as I am not Catholic. If I did so it would be because I believed that putting the host in my pocket instead of my mouth might produce a greater good. I see it as potentially an adaptation of civil disobedience into cultural disobedience. I understand the distress this would cause but I would have to weigh the relative goodness of either disobeying Catholic rules or not disobeying them.

  65. #65 commissarjs
    July 18, 2008

    JM Inc @ 53

    Good… good… mwahahaha

    laugh with me now mwahahaha

  66. #66 Lowell
    July 18, 2008

    And due to your atheism, I have to live next door to the guy who’s watching snuff porn and scoping his next victim. When I complain about this, I’m told “don’t watch it” or “turn the channel.” Why can’t you do the same. Why must you pour your hatred and bigotry upon those of us who choose to save our souls by following the words of Christ?

    OMFG. I’ve read all of the prior threads on this Eucharist thing. But this was the best of the best. Fucking hilarious. I mean, these people are kidding, right?

  67. #67 Neural T
    July 18, 2008

    You are in the extreme minority compared to the theists, thus the onus of proof rests on you against the established opinion.

    You don’t understand logic. The onus of proof is on the one making the positive claim.

    We can see, touch and taste the cracker. So we have enough evidence for a justifiable belief that it’s a cracker. If you want to claim that it has some other properties, provide the evidence.

  68. #68 kevin colquitt
    July 18, 2008

    Dr. Myers, have you received the apology from Mr. Kroll that he said he would email to you? I think that he said he would do this in the notpology that “he” made on Greg Laden’s blog (if, indeed, it was the same person who made the now infamous “1800flowerws.com death threat”)?

  69. #69 Trevor
    July 18, 2008

    Again, I am asking for a logical argument as to why I should not believe in the Eucharist Dr. Myers. You are right about the great deal of noise on this thread. In case you have retired, I am going to bed and will check back in the morning.

  70. #70 OMH
    July 18, 2008

    I knew I should have kept quiet…

    @37 “You do realize that the Church is claiming to hand out a Piece Of Zombie when in fact all they are giving people is a mere cracker. If this isn’t fraud, then what is?”

    Crazy is it is, they believe it to be true. Therefore dishonesty, a necessary element for fraud, is absent.

    @40 Most jurisdictions make taking a thing belonging to another under false pretences a crime. Yours no doubt included.

    @56
    1. The “de minimis” doctrine does not provide a defence to criminal acts. I appreciate that’s it’s just a fraking cracker but that’s the way the legal cracker crumbles…
    2. Your analogy doesn’t really work. In the eucharist, the cracker is explicitly given out on the basis that it is given to the recipient on the basis that they are catholic and will only do the necessary catholiccy things with it. No conditions are attached to free gifts in supermarkets as a rule. They could be, in which case the free goods could be obtained by deception in the right circumstances.

    All I’m saying is that, as someone who was a criminal prosecutor until last October, I would have had no difficulties establishing that deceiving a person into giving you something on a mutually-understood false premiss is a crime in the law of England and Wales. I’d be positively shocked if the same didn’t apply in the US.

  71. #71 Neural T
    July 18, 2008

    Trevor,

    In the Middle Ages, many people believed the stars were pushed through the sky by angels. They had no evidence for that belief, and although they were great in number, and it was more or less an established belief, doubters were perfectly justified to be doubtful.

    Then Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton came along, gathering evidence from observation, and discovered that the motion of the heavenly bodies is dictated by the same gravitational attraction that sends an apple hurtling toward the earth.

    The fairy tale explanation was destroyed. What’s the evidence for your fairy tale about the cracker?

  72. #72 Pandora Neurospora
    July 18, 2008

    Hey this is an open thread right? Well I have a biology assessment and no I’m not going to ask you to do it for me, haha. I just need some clarification on what the genus and species is for Meningococal, cause when I looked on the net I found two different things and it confused me. Any help to cure my confusion would be appreciated. =)

  73. #73 Commissarjs
    July 18, 2008

    Trevor, before any discussion could shouldn’t there be some sort of evidence presented that a consecrated communion wafer is more than just a piece of unleavened bread? Please present your evidence that it is in fact the body of christ.

  74. #74 Spankermatic
    July 18, 2008

    @ Trevor

    Logical argument eh? Its a small biscuity type thing that’s full of carbohydrate goodness and bugger all else no matter what you “believe”. Belief does not equate reality.

    Its a cracker.

  75. #75 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    July 18, 2008

    First of all, the lawyer is wrong, or at least the issue is not nearly as clear as he claims. A jury, I think, could eaisly find that the act of presenting oneself in the communion line could qualify as an “artifice, trick or device” under Minn. Stat. 609. Although the issue may closer, Prof. Myers’ incitement to others to obtain a Host could, I think, satify the conspiracy or aiding and abetting statute. I also bet that it would be an actionable tort. I have not studied criminal law in some time, so I could be proven wrong, but I doubt it.

    I can just see the DA taking this to the Grand Jury.

    “Ladies and Gentleman, what we have here is a clear case of an elitist biology professor engaged in a conspiracy to mock. Sensibilities have been damaged. We must prosecute and he must be shown that religious tolerance is not a concept to be toyed with.”

    As for the actionable tort, who would have “standing?” Jesus, the Kidnapped host?

  76. #76 Steve in MI
    July 18, 2008

    Back to Geoff at #9 (yes, I know I should be quicker) –

    Oh, the places you’ll go, by Dr. Seuss. Best reading I’ve ever done as a wedding officiant.

  77. #77 Andrew
    July 18, 2008

    AgnoAtheist –
    From a legal stand point, your actions would clearly communicate an intent to receive the host as a Catholic (or at least as a worshiper). It would, I think, pretty clearly be fraudulent to receive the host with the intent to steal it.

    And while there may be situations where it is moral to violate the law (civil disobedience), I can’t imagine how anyone could find that situation here. I think you would have to assume that the act of receiving and distributing communion, on its own (i.e., as opposed to other political views of the church you might oppose) harms someone other than those receiving the host. It would be absurd to think this; how could anyone in good faith be so dismissive of another’s moral action where that action in no way harms anyone? It should be obvious that distributing communion to the faithful is not establishing a mandatory apartheid regieme in southern states.

  78. #78 Lowell
    July 18, 2008

    Trevor, you asked for:

    a logical argument as to why I should not believe in the Eucharist

    You already know at least one “logical argument” for why you shouldn’t believe in the Eucharist. It’s the same argument that underlies your disbelief in religons you do not follow (e.g., Hinduism, Islam, etc.).

    Just apply your critical thinking a little further, and lose one more god. Then you’ll be an atheist. You won’t burst into flames or anything.

  79. #79 JM Inc.
    July 18, 2008

    #68, Trevor: The logical argument is empiricism. Get with the times, mate. If you want to make a claim about the way the universe is, either you have to provide the evidence and show why it’s a correct claim, or you have to admit that it might as well not be so.

    Believe in the Eucharist if you must, but don’t act all intellectually justified like you’ve got a good reason, and then sit on it. You could be saving our souls here, mate. Oh no, I can feel the flames a-roasting at the edges of my soul! Tell me why I need to get to confession and eat that cracker right quick! Otherwise quite wasting the precious little time both of us have strutting your intellectual stuff about it.

    Post Script, #64: Mwuahahahaha! Excellent…

  80. #80 Paul Burnett
    July 18, 2008

    “If many find it acceptable, it is acceptable.” (#47)

    By definition, the majority is sane.

    That’s why we have laws to protect minorities in this country.

  81. #81 mdh
    July 18, 2008

    cracker:communion :: water:homeopathy

    what’s the big deal?

  82. #82 hje
    July 18, 2008

    ERV has information on how you can finally see Expelled in the theater. They’re pimping private screenings for $2,400 per showing.

    Would it be worth watching even if they paid you $2400 to see it?

  83. #83 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 18, 2008

    Trevor:
    As a pathologist, when I am presented with a sample of human tissue, I describe it macroscopically, then prepare it so that our lab staff can section it to make microscope slides. I can then examine it under the microscope and identify the tissue and assess any abnormalities.
    If I were given a consecrated cracker, what do you think I would see?
    That’s right, a cracker.
    I can respect the ritual and the tradition of the Eucharist. I despise the threats, the assaults and the crazy rhetoric (kidnapping, indeed!) that have been expressed by the cracker-freaks.
    It’s a fetish. Some fetishes are amusing. This one is weird.

  84. #84 Neil
    July 18, 2008

    …And on the Ninth day of battle, after 11,700 missiles had been fired(12,352 if you count the newspaper interview post, as the heretics do)and the stale, powdery reek of broken and desecrated Hosts filled the air, one lonely voice could still be heard in the Valley of the Crumbs.

    Thus spake Trevor:

    You present your logical case as to why I should not respect the Eucharist and I will believe you.

    And PZ the Deceiver did reply:

    It’s a CRACKER.

    And though the threats and cries of the faithful had mounted unto madness, and hair was pulled out, and garments were rent, and whole keyboards were laid waste, and spittle flew all about, not one Holy Soldier of God Most High could undo those three words of doom.

    Here endeth the lesson.

  85. #85 john
    July 18, 2008

    As long as you are still employed, the Eucharist issue will not go away.

  86. #86 Dustin
    July 18, 2008

    Again, I am asking for a logical argument as to why I should not believe in the Eucharist Dr. Myers

    You’ve got it all backwards. It isn’t whether or not an opinion is the prevailing one which matters — what matters is whether the claim has any supporting evidence. The claim that the Eucharist is genuine is much more extraordinary than the claim that it is not and, as such, you are the one who is required to present evidence. Our evidence is: it looks and acts in every way like a mere cracker, so it is very probably a mere cracker.

  87. #87 Rey Fox
    July 18, 2008

    “But this was the best of the best.”

    Yeah, even Jenn couldn’t touch that level of crazy.

  88. #88 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 18, 2008

    Pandora Neurospora asks: I just need some clarification on what the genus and species is for Meningococal…

    Not sure what you want, do you mean meningococcus?
    If so, that would be Neisseria meningitidis. Meningococcus is a short name for this bug.

  89. #89 AgnoAtheist
    July 18, 2008

    Perhaps you are right. I haven’t made up my mind on this yet. However it’s not just “…recieving and distributing communion, on it’s own…” since according to Catholics who have posted here it is at the heart of their belief system. I might decide reasonably that challenging the doctrine of the host is challenging the system and challenging the system is socially healthy. I actually think it is extremely healthy for a society to be challenged about the way in which they relate to religious fairy tales. I might decide that walking out with the host makes a healthy statement about how deeply disturbed (this particular) religion is. To the true believer I would be kidnapping Jesus and having this meme exposed and discussed in the greater society would possibly be a good thing.

  90. #90 AgnoAtheist
    July 18, 2008

    Sorry for failing to tag comment #88. It’s directed to Andrew in #76.

  91. #91 Pandora Neurospora
    July 18, 2008

    Thanks T. Bruce McNeely! The teacher might have meant to write meningococcus but wrote meningococcal instead.

  92. #92 Dustin
    July 18, 2008

    As long as you are still employed, the Eucharist issue will not go away.

    I think the real issue here is your resentment of PZ’s gainful employment. I suspect that the issue would also go away once you become employed.

  93. #93 Patricia
    July 18, 2008

    #61 – No Discordian fears gawd, jezus, allah, Mr. Toad, buddah/bubba, vampires or noodley appendages. Buck up man! Golden Apple.

  94. #94 Buzz Buzz
    July 18, 2008

    #55-

    “So, since there are more Muslims than Christians in the world,”

    That’s not true actually, if you add all of the denominations of Christianity together and weigh it out against Islam, as far as the statistics I’ve read show, Christianity comes out a bit ahead.

    There are, however, more Muslims than Christians that believe in the transubstantiation of the eucharist.

  95. #95 john
    July 18, 2008

    RE #91:

    The truth here is you are afraid I’m right. The University is beginning to be bombarded with email and phone calls calling for his termination. We are just getting started and I assure you this will not go away. The University is getting fed up with thid bad PR. PZ knows this as do you, so go ahead with your bravado and we’ll see who is standing at the end.

  96. #96 E.P Watters
    July 18, 2008

    @Pete Rooke #204 on the original thread proclaimed:

    >We Catholics can rely on a moral text that governs our
    >behaviour. Were you to as well you would realize that you
    >punish the sinner and not the sinned against.

    I thought Catholics were supposed to hate the sin, love the sinner?

  97. #97 Nobody
    July 18, 2008

    if you are an outraged Catholic who is here to tell us a) you’re very upset, b) the cracker is very, very important to you, or c) that you’ll pray for us all, please, don’t bother.

    Nah. Just wanted to tell you that you’re an ass and your followers are blind.

    How does such a large group of people such as the inhabitants of Pharyngulaland manage a collective IQ of 100?

    Let’s see, 100/10,000. . .that’s a pretty darned small number.

    For example:

    I think the real issue here is your resentment of PZ’s gainful employment.

    . At a cow school in Western Minnesota? Oh yeah. I’m real jealous of that.

  98. #98 raven
    July 18, 2008

    Leave the poor strawman alone. PZ has no intention of going to a church and getting a cracker. He said that at the beginning. He asked if anyone would send him a cracker.

    I have boxes of crackers but the postage would be more than just buying some in Morris, MN.

    As to whether they are “consecrated” or not, there is no way of telling. I assume for a $1.50/box mine are not.

    Although, I could get a whole box consecrated for an extra modest extra fee. There are plenty of people around who claim spiritual and supernatural powers of one sort or another, especially here on the West coast. I have a good friend who insists she is a healer or shaman from a long line of such.

  99. #99 Kel
    July 18, 2008

    I always go back to John 8:7 “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone”

    If you are going to condemn PZ and believe in the word of Jesus, make sure you don’t have any hidden skeletons in your closet. Otherwise you are a hypocrite.

  100. #100 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    since according to Catholics who have posted here it is at the heart of their belief system.

    This, I think, is the most significant impact of what the catholics have done with this incident – they’ve revealed what their true priorities are: pride, attention-getting and macho posturing.

    Isn’t supposed to be about Jesus? Shouldn’t adherence to his (alleged) teachings about peace, love, compassion and tolerance be more important than vengeance, impotent rage and threats of violence?

  101. #101 Alt Numlock
    July 18, 2008

    Okay. We’ll go to church. And you guys stay the hell out of our churches, yes? Or is that too advanced a social concept for you Brights to comprehend?

    For a bunch of people who proclaim incessantly that it is possible to be good without God, it is frickin’ hilarious to see that you all are incapable of even comprehending an elementary idea like “tolerance” and “the unwritten social compact”. The rationalizations you are employing for invading the religious space of others in order to desecrate their icons, symbols, sacraments, or, to your sin-darkened intellects, “god-damned crackers” are nothing short of absurd. The morally sane can see this. Why can’t you?

    Got autism?

  102. #102 BobC
    July 18, 2008

    #81, I’d watch Expelled for $2,400. I’d even see it for just $100.

    According to this http://expelledthemovie.com/rerelease.php they’re charging as low as $1,800 for groups of 300 or more. Maybe they can find 300 cracker worshippers to watch it.

    I think Expelled is popular with the christian extremists because they like to feel persecuted. Expelled is all about persecution of creationists.

    This is interesting: “Your group will see Ben Stein confront the world’s top scientists, educators and philosophers, regarding the persecution of fellow professionals who believe there is evidence to indicate intelligent design (God) in nature.”

    They are admitting the designer is Mr. God. I guess they didn’t get the Disco Institute memo – ID doesn’t say who the magic man is.

  103. #103 MB
    July 18, 2008

    Hey Andrew and OMH, it’s been a few years since I’ve been to a mass that wasn’t a funeral or wedding, but back then they didn’t have signs stating that removing the host is – a crime? Violators will be prosecuted? Or even saying, simply, don’t do that. Without such warnings, your case looks pretty weak, especially for an organization that likes visitors. I can just see the True Church presenting it’s evidence that everyone that attends a mass understands what you two are talking about.

    Once they quit having us alter boys hold that plate under your throat so the priest could put it directly on your tongue I remember host etiquette changing. I distinctly remember several people who would take it in their hands, pray REALLY hard while walking back to their seats amd then eating the host while kneeling back in the pew. It seems they might risk being assaulted in this church in Florida.

    And I don’t remember being told I had to eat it there – ever. (Without eating it I’m not receiving the sacrament, but there’s a penalty for not eating it?) I’m sure I could get plenty of recovering and still mass-attending Catholics to testify that they were unaware of this condition – so how the fuck does a visitor know? Catechism is not what it used to be. But then religion tends to just make shit up as it goes along, doesn’t it? How do we keep up with all the contortions?

    I also didn’t know they added a host patrol to every mass. Or is that only in Florida? And do they verify the person is Catholic and has been to confession? Or isn’t that a rule any more?

    If this had happened in any of the Catholic churches I attended, I’m sure no one would have been assaulted, especially during the mass. After the mass we would simply asked the person not to return. I think you’d have better legal standing preventing them from returning than assaulting them for an alleged theft. But I guess I was in wimpy churches, not the hard core Florida types.

    Of course, a couple of the priests who would say mass shitfaced might have raised a ruckus, but then they were drunk in public, too.

    Remember, Catholic lawyers, it was the assault that started all of this. A physical assault over a cracker. Call PZ a cheese dick all you want (or is that a Wisconsin thing?), but I would think you would be more worried about your fellow Catholics’ behavior than an atheist in a backwater like Morris.

  104. #104 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    Alt Numlock wrote:

    The morally sane

    By ‘morally sane’ do you mean the priests that molested children, or the church hierarchy who protected them from prosecution?

    PS no-one here uses the term ‘Bright’. Try reading before posting.

  105. #105 Patricia
    July 18, 2008

    #84 – John – …as long as you are employed… hey John, sit on a pitchfork. You stupid pansy, why can’t you leave it to the lord to get his jollies by roasting us?
    You sissy, yellow bellied, snake kissin’, factless fool, grow up. There is no ‘glory’.
    You’ve been had John.

  106. #106 Kobra
    July 18, 2008

    #46:

    Hahaha. I was thinking the exact same thing when I read that.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think your rapier wit or straightforward logic will work on these Chuck-leheads. (See what I did there? I wish ckroll was here to appreciate that joke.)

  107. #107 Blind Squirrel FCD
    July 18, 2008

    Geoof@#9

    I’m getting married next month and I’m looking for a good secular reading.

    Well,I wouldn’t recommend anything by Chief Seattle. I know a couple who did, and years latter, I had to tell them it was bogus. Well I did have to didn’t I?

    aporeticus@#26

    Well, I guess if I had to pick a least bad Christian church, I’d go with Episcopal.

    My vote for xianity lite would be Swedenborg, the religion of Johnny Appleseed. A buddy of mine married into the Hierarchy. While the wife and kiddies are at “church”, we slip out and burn a fattie. He refers to them as the Borg.

    : Neural T@#49

    Have you read them all?

    OMG I did! But I don’t really have a life on the side.

  108. #108 raven
    July 18, 2008

    John Making Stuff Up:

    The truth here is you are afraid I’m right. The University is beginning to be bombarded with email and phone calls calling for his termination. We are just getting started and I assure you this will not go away. The University is getting fed up with thid bad PR. PZ knows this as do you, so go ahead with your bravado and we’ll see who is standing at the end.

    Way to wimp out john. Letters to the university? Big Deal. Probably a hundred morons threatened to kill PZ.

    And BTW, plenty more people wrote pointing out that the USA guarantees freedom of speech in the constituion. I was one. The support letters were running about 50 to 1 for Myers.

    While you undoubtedly hate and despise out democracy, until you overthrow the government, you are out of luck. Watch out for the 3 million soldiers, 300 million citizens who like living in a free country, and the nukes. We have a place for clowns like you, it is called Guantanomo.

  109. #109 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 18, 2008

    John sez:
    The truth here is you are afraid I’m right. The University is beginning to be bombarded with email and phone calls calling for his termination. We are just getting started and I assure you this will not go away.

    You are just getting started, eh?
    How Christian of you…

  110. #110 Jams
    July 18, 2008

    I’m with OMH and Andrew on this one – I have to admit.

    In Canada, asking your readership to steal from a church could be prosecuted as incitement to commit a crime (I understand incitement laws exist in most of the U.S. too). Prosecutors have to prove that incitement is credible, but they could conceivably submit the history of poll crashing here as evidence to that effect. You could also run afoul of hate crime legislation in Canada. Not only was there an incitement to commit a crime, but that crime targeted a religious minority – landing it right in the middle of hate crime territory (p.s. atheists are provided no such protections).

    That no one actually committed the crime works strongly against an argument of credible threat. This would be a point in PZs defense. Also, that the crime itself isn’t an indictable offense (it’s a minor infraction) would suggest light sentencing if convicted. If he pleaded guilty, he’d get off with a suspended sentence. If he fought it, he would probably get probation, with some chance of mounting a successful defense.

    (feeling weird referring to PZ as if this wasn’t his blog)

  111. #111 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    If this thing is such a big deal for catholicism, how come we haven’t heard anything from His Holy Hatness? He is your spiritual leader, isn’t he? It is his job to lead you in these matters, isn’t it?

    …crickets…

  112. #112 Jams
    July 18, 2008

    Speaking hypothetically here… obviously you’ve committed no crime in Canada.

  113. #113 MB
    July 18, 2008

    Alt Numlock, your chain is being pulled and it’s working…

    What a dumb fuck you are. If only you would go to church and leave your bullshit creed there we wouldn’t even have to talk about it.

    But you must prattle on about how superior you are because of your creed and try to codify it so that non-believers (not only atheits) must follow your religious law.

    This all started because Catholics assaulted someone who didn’t swallow. That’s your idea of morally sane?

    You’re a dumb fuck. I’ll pray for you.

  114. #114 Kobra
    July 18, 2008

    Here’s the thing, guys:

    I don’t think PZ is going to apologize for the “tastelessness” of his satire. If it were to happen, then it would require something extraordinary (i.e. every person who sent him an angry email or blog comment apologizes, Bill Donohue retracts his statements, the charges are dropped against Webster Cook, etc.). It’s too improbable to demand it right now.

  115. #115 BobC
    July 18, 2008

    The Catholic wackos who have been visiting here don’t seem to like PZ very much. Is it because of the magical crackers, or is it because they don’t like biology professors?

    I bet every single one of these cracker worshippers is a creationist. Creationists are terrified of biologists. Perhaps that’s the real reason for the death threats.

  116. #116 Patricia
    July 18, 2008

    #94 – I’m a witch. I’m gathering herbs by the full moon – I have Satans bones, and a fire going under my cauldron. There will be children roasting on the spit while I pluck the eyes out of christians.
    Run John, run! I am the wicked witch of the west, and I will loose my monkeys.
    Run John! I curse the holy ghost.
    Call my employer John: 1-800-FUCKGOD

  117. #117 Bill Dauphin
    July 18, 2008

    In the eucharist, the cracker is explicitly given out on the basis that it is given to the recipient on the basis that they are catholic and will only do the necessary catholiccy things with it.

    Actually, not so much: With the exception of masses where it’s obvious there may be outsiders present (e.g., weddings), I can’t recall ever hearing a celebrant instruct the congregation on the conditions under which the Eucharist is given, or on the proper use of it once received. Oh, I’m sure they presume that Catholics know the rules, but rarely (if ever) have I seen any explicit (or even implicit) attempt to verify that the folks in line are even Catholic, let alone properly prepared to receive the sacrament (i.e., you’re supposed to fast before receiving, and you’re not supposed to take communion if you have unconfessed serious sins on your conscience). It would be perfectly easy for a non-Catholic visitor to innocently take communion in error (esp. since some other Christian denominations aren’t as restrictive about the Eucharist), and I’m quite certain that it’s common for Catholics to take communion when they technically shouldn’t.

    Far be it from me to challenge your knowledge of the law (not only am I NAL, I’m not even subject to the particular laws you’re commenting on), but from a purely commonsense POV, it strains credulity to imagine that the free gift of a nearly valuless morsel of food could become a crime after the fact, based on the recipient’s failure to observe the giver’s notion of proper etiquette. Further, since “the giver’s notion of proper etiquette” in this case is based entirely on religious doctrine, I wonder if there wouldn’t be 1st Amendment issues if such a charge were brought in the U.S.

    After all, if we leave religious doctrine out of it, it really is just a frackin’ cracker.

    (JOOC, under your theory, would regifting also qualify as theft? ;^> )

  118. #118 raven
    July 18, 2008

    The Catholic wackos who have been visiting here don’t seem to like PZ very much. Is it because of the magical crackers, or is it because they don’t like biology professors?

    I doubt if half of the wackos are even Catholics. Or Xians. Just wackos trolling the nets.

    Fundie cultists hate Catholics as the church of the Antichrist. And because they aren’t creos. Ratzinger even called creationism ridiculous.

    John Hagee:

    He also states that the Roman Catholic Church “plunged the world into the Dark Ages,” allowed for the Crusaders to rape and murder with impunity, and called for Jews to be treated as “Christ killers”.

    Pat Robertson also calls Catholics the church of satan. Rushdooney just wants to kill them but he wants to kill everyone so who cares?

    Don’t forget Protestants and Catholics fought a bitter war that lasted for 400 years off and on and fizzled out a whole 8 years ago in Northern Ireland.

    Compared with the typical Death Cultists, PZ and his cracker abuse is nothing.

  119. #119 Neil
    July 18, 2008

    I do see some problems with Andrew’s legal analysis. This is coming from the perspective of a non-lawyer American, so I’m sure there are differences.

    Catholic churches and many other denominations here practice some form of communion. They also tend to operate with a very informal, open door policy. They generally do not take the time to spell out “the rules” at every service, and even if they did, the language used is often nebulous code speak that a newcomer could easily miss. The door is open, strangers are welcomed, and the cracker is given to anyone who wants it. In a country with as many religions as we have, nobody can be expected to know all the rules as a matter of course. That is clearly the fault of evangelical, open door religions that still want the protection afforded a closed, private club.

    Even if you ignore that, the plaintiff or prosecutor would still need to prove that it was not an “honest” mistake.
    Maybe not for criminal prosecution, but for any civil damages, anyway.

    I can see where a judge who happened to be a Catholic bigot or a PC nazi would do all he/she could to discourage such behavior, but there are probably still a few who would tell the “offender” not to do it again, and dismiss the case.

    Although it would be interesting. What are appropriate restitution and damages for a cracker? Hell, maybe this is a good ploy to get a public peek at church financial records! It would be even better if a civil suit happened in a place that restricts punitive damages to the extent of the real damages-”I’m truly sorry to have kidnapped your god and offended you so grievously. Here’s your fucking nickel.”

    In short, if this were any other issue than religion, nobody would see an offense, or at least that offense would be considered trivial, like a smoker suing a non-smoker for bumming a cigarette and then not smoking it. But religious hucksters expect to able to put on the friendly face, leave the doors unlocked, and ignore their own “sacred” rules, but still be able to prosecute anyone who breaks them.

    I’m probably wrong. Logic, fairness, and honesty have never played too big a part in our legal system, only slightly more than in the churches.

  120. #120 wrpd
    July 18, 2008

    pandora: I am absolutely certain that the second source is the correct one.

    buzz buzz: “There are, however, more Muslims than Christians that believe in the transubstantiation of the eucharist.” Huh?

  121. #121 Pandora Neurospora
    July 18, 2008

    There will be children roasting on the spit while I pluck the eyes out of christians.

    Absolutely hilarious. I can’t wait for when we vote for the Order of the Molly.

  122. #122 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    There are, however, more Muslims than Christians that believe in the transubstantiation of the eucharist.

    wrpd – this means there are more Muslims than Catholics, since not all Christians believe in cracker magic transubstiation.

    Honestly, this whole thing would have much more fun if, instead of PZ, a fundy preacher had gotten hold of it and used it to bash catholicism. Sectarian turmoil is so much more entertaining.

  123. #123 LordJiro
    July 18, 2008

    Any o’ you easily-offended Catholics out there, couldja answer a question for me? I apologize if it’s already been answered in the other threads, but I don’t really have the patience to go through all o’ that. I’ve heard some Catholics say that ‘desecrating the Eucharist’ is the worst sin someone can commit against Catholics (short of murder and such, that is). So if I were to, say, blow my nose on a page of the Bible, but someone NEXT to me was busy not-eating a Holy Wafer, would he be the (bigger) target of the Catholic Wrath?

    Also, why is not eating the wafer a crime? One would think keeping it unchewed, undigested, and unpooped would be more respectful.

  124. #124 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    LordJiro wrote:

    Also, why is not eating the wafer a crime? One would think keeping it unchewed, undigested, and unpooped would be more respectful.

    Because you need to have Jesus inside you for it to work – which probably explains why so many of the priests did what they did…

  125. #125 Bill Dauphin
    July 18, 2008

    Jams:

    In Canada, asking your readership to steal from a church could be prosecuted as incitement to commit a crime (I understand incitement laws exist in most of the U.S. too).

    The way you phrase this presupposes the crime, but it’s misleading. PZ didn’t “ask [his] readership to steal from a church”; he just said “if you can get your hands on a consecrated host, please send it to me” (OWTTE; paraphrased from memory). Even if now, days later, someone can come up with a legal theory under which actually taking a wafer from church might be a crime, it’s beyond reason to suggest that PZ was, or understood himself to be, soliciting said crime. (Note that he didn’t even specify it should come from a mass; why wouldn’t an atheist think there might be other sources?)

    But I’m with MB (@102) on this one: I don’t see how even the person taking the host could be guilty of a crime. When you say “steal from a church,” it prompts images of burly fellows in stocking masks and terrified matrons clinging to their rosaries. But here’s what really happens: You go to a church. At the appropriate time, you stand up and get in line. When you get to the front of the line, someone hands you the host. They don’t ask you who you are or whether you’re Catholic or what you plan to do with the host. They don’t tell you what they think you should do with the host. There’s no contract. They just hand you the frackin’ cracker!

    If you walk out with this freely given gift instead of eating it, how can that possibly be theft? It’s arguably rude and disrespectful and sacrilegious, of course, but last time I looked rudeness and disrespect were not crimes… and sacrilege is protected by the constitution.

  126. #126 miko
    July 18, 2008

    Trevor, The onus of proof doesn’t rest on the people with the minority opinion, it rests on those with less (or zero) evidence.

    What’s your logical case that I shouldn’t respect bagels from Pluto? See? You don’t need any!

    You can respect the eucharist all you want, no one cares. Just don’t expect anyone else to not think it’s freakin nuts to pretend to eat the flesh of a magic man.

  127. #127 JM Inc.
    July 18, 2008

    You have to eat the wafer because if you’re a Catholic or an Orthodox Christian (or any small ‘o’ orthodox Christian for that matter) you believe in spiritual embodiment, and that includes having a glorified body in heaven, being literally of one body in substance (not in accidents) here on earth, and as I said at #41, eating the cracker makes that happen, binds you all together into one body of Christ.

    Doesn’t stop it from being bat-shit crazy, though, but whatever floats your Winnebago.

    Incidentally, the reason why I was interested in this question in the first place was that I was having an argument with some Christian extremists, and it basically boiled down to an agreement on whether or not something constitutes incitement to either steal (and I wasn’t sure if it did), or disrupt a religious service/violate the rights of parishioners in some way (which I didn’t think it did). If it’s not either of those things, Catholics have got no bones to wail about it and demand all sorts of secular action be taken. As I pointed out in the debate, the whole point of secularity is to protect people and persons from having their rights violated, not to defend religions or other ideologies/belief systems from being offended in one or more of their tenets.

    The analogy came up at one point of getting hold of a US Flag on 4 July and burning it in protest of something — perhaps distasteful, but definitely should be protected as a personal freedom of expression.

  128. #128 S.Scott
    July 18, 2008

    Randy Olsen just posted a response to “ERV’s” review of Sizzle. (#45)
    http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2008/07/sizzle_revisited.php

  129. #129 themadlolscientist, FCD
    July 18, 2008

    BT Murtagh @#12 sayeth:

    evry time a catlick postid, i eated a holy cracker.

    - srsly, teh ceiling cat

    ZOMG =snort= ROFL =coff= MAO I can’t =gasp= stand it! Gonna have to give that some thought and figure out a way to work some aspect of Crackergate into the LOLcat Bible. It’s been a while since I posted anything over there……..

    & teh kittehs wented un2 teh Holey Kitteh Kondo Tempul & sayeth un2 teh Hi Preest D00d: we can has cheezburger?

    & teh Hi Preest D00d sayeth un2 teh kittehs: sry, u no can has cheezburger, but u can has holey crakr. iz peese ov Ceiling Cat his own self. 4 rael.

    & teh kittehs sayeth un2 teh Hi Preest D00d: WTF?

    & teh Hi Preest D00d sayeth un2 teh kittehs: wot, u no reeded teh LOLcats Bibel? bad kittehs! Ceiling Cat rited it his own self. & allso he wuz tellz me so in a dreem vizhun wen i wuz in mai suny plase teh Holey Tempul havin mai napz sayin mai prayrz. srsly. now STFU & eat teh holey crakr b4 Ceiling Cat smiteth u all.

    & teh kittehs sayeth: smited bai Ceiling Cat? DO NOT WANT! & dey eated teh holey crakr.

    & dey sayeth: we eated teh crakr & it wuz teh pleh x 666. 4 bhold, it wuz cuvrd in furz. dat allwais happenz wen u trans substanchiat crakrz & turnz dem in2 peese of Ceiling Cat. DO NOT WANT! gon 2 athiest Micky Ds to gets cheezburgerz. athiests allwais haz betr f00d newai. CUL8R bai.

  130. #130 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    The responses of the catholics in here have been disappointing,to say the least.
    I have read all 12ooo comments(no,I dont get out enough,I know),and the replies from the catholics that posted here ranged from illiterate to ignorant(especially of their own holy book),from intellectually dishonest to evading to outright lying,to threatening and murderous.

    Honestly guys,is that the best you can do? Any argument forthcoming?

    And maybe one of the catholics in here can answer me one question : What makes you,particular catholic church goer,yes,you there,believe that the all-powerful ruler and creator of the universe,who is in everything and knows and sees everything,what makes you think this omnipotent being needs YOU to defend him? Whats he doing,busy beaming down into all those churches where crackers are given out at any point in time? Gone on vacation and missed the whole thing? Doesnt give a shit about crackers because he’s like,omnipotent? Why YOU my catholic friend,hating,threatening death and violence,trying to get a professor fired? Why YOU. Where is your god,sure he cares about crackers as much as you do?

  131. #131 OMH
    July 18, 2008

    Okay, my last word on the matter before I invoke the argument from authority (i.e. me)…

    Just to be clear: @102 – I may be a lawyer but I’m not catholic. Or even religious.

    @102 and @124 – there’s a legal framework involved that works to make it an offence. It’s not that it “might” be a crime. It would be in the UK and it almost certainly is in the US.

    The law is not looking at the issue of whether it’s the body of a god, one is taking the cracker because it is a protest of some sort or anything else other than:
    1. it is property belonging to another (the church)
    2. which is provided on a certain basis
    3. there is (at least a constructive) misrepresentation deliberately made as to the recipient’s entitlement on that basis

    That really is it. Damages are irrelevant, restitution is irrelevant, judges can’t (in the common law world) dismiss cases and tell people not to do it again.

    I know what happens at catholic services, I’ve been to a catholic wedding. You’d have to prove monumental stupidity as a defence to dishonesty. Not sure I’d want to do that: it’d be embarrassing.

  132. #132 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    JM Inc.

    The catholics have really blown a gasket and demanded special treatment for their beliefs – no-one’s arguing that the church can’t take whatever action they like against Webster Cook (the original cracker-napper) as long as that action is limited to the church and its community – i.e. chastisement, excommunication, whatever.

    Ditto PZ. The church are entitled to put up pictures of him in the foyers (if churches have foyers; I wouldn’t know) saying ‘beware this atheist!’ and that’s about it.

    Of course they’re free to harass the University he works for, but I’ve of the opinion there are only about two dozen catholics out there who a) actually give a crap, and b) can be bothered spending the time to moan about it.

    Like I wrote earlier, if it’s such a big deal to Catholics, why hasn’t the Pope said anything? He’s in Sydney for Youth Day; it’s not as if he isn’t near any microphones.

  133. #133 demallien
    July 18, 2008

    Thousand and thousands of posts, and still, no-one has even noticed that there is but one True Cracker, and it’s not a host. It’s an Arnott’s Savoury Shape (ask your local Aussie for an explanation).

    Thanks, that’s all…

  134. #134 OMH
    July 18, 2008

    @132: Er, I think you’ll find it’s a Carr’s Water Biscuit, you godless heretic…

  135. #135 Autumn
    July 18, 2008

    @ Andrew,
    Hello Andrew. I am not being in any way snarky (first time, so forgive me if I seem confused as to what I’m saying), and I am interested to know what a lawyer’s opinion is of the extent of the implicit contract. The argument which you have presented seems to be that an implied contract is in some way binding. As it regards a religious ceremony you have granted the benefit to the givers of the “property” a certain expectation of intent. I wonder what a lawyer would say if an inductee into some other society recieved a “private” token, and was expected to keep it secret. If a member of, for instance, the Skull and Bones Society of Children of Very Rich, but Fundamentally Useless, Members of Society were to reveal some secret token of membership, is the greater good of public knowledge trumped by the implicit contract of the society which granted the item?
    To me, your interpretation of the law, and I will in any instance yield to it, as I am not a lawyer (but I still love anal, why is it that in these law-centric threads everybody suddenly feels a need to express their predilictions for the butt-sex?), gives rights retroactively to the parties wishing to find fault.
    Not a single church I have ever visited required any sort of contract. I have been to Catholic churches, Pentacostal churches, a synogouge or two, and I was raised as a Lutheran (confirmed, and took communion). Stealing a wafer would be sneaky, but it could never be seen as anything other than taking advantage of idiots.

    Let’s say that I stand on a corner in a fancy robe. I then promise to give away pennies to anyone who sincerely joins whatever the fuck faith I’m espousing.
    Are you honestly (since you’re a lawyer: virtuously; chastely) claiming that I would stand a chance of recovering damages from anyone? Even if they were totally in it for the pennies?

  136. #136 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    Demallien speaketh lies! Sacrilege! Heresy! Blasphemy!

    Everyone in Australia knows the only true sacred cracker is the Chicken Crimpy Shape!

    Made even more sacred with good french onion dip…

  137. #137 Bruce
    July 18, 2008

    I’ve got a few good Jesus jokes, in the style of “Yo Mama”:

    Yo’ Jesus so fat, a communion cracker has more transfat than a twinkie.

    Yo’ Jesus so fat, the last supper was also the first 4th meal.

    Yo’ Jesus so fat, when he travels back to earth he’ll have to buy two seats instead of one.

    Yo Jesus so fat, they had to reinforce his cross with re-bar.

    Yo Jesus so fat, they had to anoint him in oil just to get him into the cave.

    Yo’ Jesus so fat, the Romans had to trade in their spears for harpoons.

  138. #138 melior
    July 18, 2008

    Consecrated Hosts are not just lying around,” he said

    Of course not! That way people could grab a bite of Jeesus tasty flesh without having to wait around through all the tedious blather about sin first.

    What you do is, when a line forms up just get in it. Then when you get to the front, stand there with your mouth open stupidly and a dude* with a robe on will kind of jab a cracker onto your tongue while muttering in Latin.

    (It’s always a dude, never a chick. I wouldn’t leave your kids alone with him.)

  139. #139 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    Honestly, i think if it ever went before a judge (well, one who wasn’t batshit insane) and it was shown that an atheist had attended a catholic church in order to steal the cracker, it would go like this:

    Judge: did you sit through the ceremony?
    Defendant: Yes, your honour
    Judge: the whole ceremony?
    Defendant: yes, your honour.
    Judge: Well, i think you’ve been punished enough. (bangs gavel) Case dismissed!

  140. #140 Lightnin
    July 18, 2008

    Pandora Neurospora, reguarding Meningococal.

    Meningitis is an inflamation of the meninges (membranes) of the brain and spinal cord1. It can be caused by a number of different bacteria (septic meningitis) or by other pathogens, like fungi or viruses (aseptic meningitis)1.

    A particulary dangerous septic meningitis is caused by Neisseria meningitidus, which is commonly known as as meningococcal disease, although this term can also describe a damaging septicemia (blood infection) caused by N. meningitidus.2

    I assume N. meningitidus is known as Meningococcus3 because it is a coccoid form (round)2 bacterium which is well known to cause meningitis.

    1. Prescott et. al. (2002) Microbiology pp 902. 5th edition.
    2. Wikipedia: Articles on Neisseria meningitidis and Coccus.
    3. T. Bruce McNeely. Pharygula post Fresh thread. Don’t fill this one up! user comment number 87.

  141. #141 MH
    July 18, 2008

    JM Inc #41 “Actually, the Church is the Body of Christ, the idea is that the Eucharist binds all the members of the Body together. Think of it like Borg assimilation technology, and the cracker is the nanoprobe injection tubule straight to the jugular.”

    I have video proof of the Pope doing just that: http://www.catholic.ie

    See, they don’t even try to hide the fact! ;-)

  142. #142 Paul W.
    July 18, 2008

    OMH,

    Could you clarify the difference between something like a free sample cracker at a grocery store and a communion wafer?

    Free samples are handed out on the assumption that you’ll try the product to see if you like the taste, but AFAIK, it’s not illegal to feed them to your dog.

    I agree that the assumption behind what you’ll do with a communion wafer is more serious, but it’s not clear that it’s more obvious.

    Why would you be legally bound to use the product as intended by the giver in one case but not the other?

    (Or are you perhaps bound in both cases, but nobody cares in the free sample case?)

    I would think that there would be some criterion distinguishing the two cases, if you’re right; I’m curious what that criterion is.

    Here’s another example. Suppose a Catholic who happens not to believe in transubstantiation and can’t eat wheat takes communion, to participate in the ritual, then feeds the otherwise useless communion wafer to her dog. She means no disrespect—she doesn’t think God cares what happens to the physical bread after the ceremony, except that it’s a minor sin to waste food.

    Is the rule legally binding on her, a Catholic? Or would that be an internal religious dispute among Catholics, where the law would not take sides? Would the law say that the priest giving out the wafers has the right to dictate the terms of use, and the unorthodox Catholic is stealing them by appearing to accept the terms of use but then repurposing the wafer as dog food?

    A subtler version of that example is one where the priest doesn’t believe in transubstantiation either, but he’s an officer of a church that officially does. Is he stealing the Host if he “improperly” gives it to the woman that he knows is likely to feed it to her dog, against church policy?

    (These aren’t frivolous questions, by the way. I’m seriously trying to figure out how the law works with respect to these sorts of things. I spent much of the evening trying to talk a friend out of desecrating wafers on live cable access TV without getting expert legal advice first.)

    By the way, if taking the wafers is stealing, and the wafers are the property of the church or priest, then damaging them may be a hate crime in Minnesota. (With a penalty of up to a year in jail and/or $3000 fine.) Just damaging property “because of” the owner’s religion seems to make it a hate crime, whether you conspired in stealing them or not.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/unrepentant_science_heathen.php#comment-992747

    So kids, don’t try this at home unless you’re pretty freaking sure that it is legal, or don’t mind being a martyr. Let P.Z. be the test case, if that’s what he wants to do. There’s no need for simultaneous, redundant test cases.

  143. #143 Alan Kellogg
    July 18, 2008

    Why I don’t post the sort of stuff PZ wouldn’t want me to post anyway.

    a) I am neither Catholic nor outraged.
    b) I should care about a cheap wafer?
    c) Like He* hasn’t heard it all before.

    *Which applies to God as well as PZ.

  144. #144 Bill Dauphin
    July 18, 2008

    OMH:

    I don’t doubt your reading of the law, but I question the presence of two of the elements you mention:

    2. which is provided on a certain basis
    3. there is (at least a constructive) misrepresentation deliberately made as to the recipient’s entitlement on that basis

    In theory, perhaps, these conditions obtain, but in practice (that is, in my own personal longer-than-I-would-wish experience), the “certain basis” on which communion is provided is almost never communicated to the congregation in any way, with the result that plenty of people who are not entitled to communion receive it without making any sort of misrepresentation (mostly through honest mistakes, probably, but how would we know?). The priests and ministers assume everyone in the communion line is entitled to a host, without any attempt to verify that, or any attempt to warn those who might not be.

    I know what happens at catholic services, I’ve been to a catholic wedding.

    Not the same thing. It’s no accident that I chose weddings specfically as the counterexample in my previous note: That’s one of the few times when the priests, unusually conscious of the presence of outsiders, take specific pains to let non-Catholics know that they’re not welcome at the Lord’s table. On other occasions, it just never comes up.

    You’d have to prove monumental stupidity as a defence to dishonesty.

    On the contrary, I’d be willing to bet that at almost every mass there’s at least one person who takes communion incorrectly without being either stupid or dishonest, but simply due to ignorace of the (unspoken) conventions. Further, I regularly see folks walk well away from the eucharistic minister before putting the host in their mouths; it’s not hard at all to imagine someone taking a host home with them out of innocent curiosity.

    But the kicker for me is that nobody would even think of asking whether taking a host constituted theft if it weren’t a matter of religious doctrine. That something could be a crime solely because it offends the church might not be a foreign idea in places with established churches, but I hope it wouldn’t get past the establishment clause here.

    I have no doubt you’re right on the law, and perhaps the church’s lack of due diligence doesn’t make any difference. But I hope you’ll forgive me for thinking that if the law supposes this to be theft, then “the law is a[sic] ass….”

  145. #145 Kagehi
    July 18, 2008

    Unfair PZ, its hard to reply to someone’s assertions on one thread, while on a different one. But, lets try anyway..

    Richard makes the assertion that attacking highly cherished spiritual beliefs makes the world worse, instead of better, even if those beliefs have an obvious tendency to make some people completely fracking mental. Ok, so, let me get this straight:

    Early religions had human sacrifice, people objected, now we no longer have human sacrifices (well, except for metaphorical ones or a few backward cults). By Richard’s definition, **objecting** to those strongly held and sacred ideals was wrong.

    Some religions where literal death cults, who murdered people for their gods in massive numbers. By Richard’s definition, calling this insane would be wrong, because its a “deeply held religious belief”.

    Some religions followed a pantheon of gods that all had seriously insane and dangerous ideas about what people should do, to who, and how often. These ideas included everything from rape, to slavery, to mutilation, to even “forced” homosexual behavior. Richard thinks that every single person that ever objected to this was “wrong”, since, well, they where strongly held religious beliefs.

    Jesus got real annoyed with certain practices of some Jews, but those where “deeply held religious convictions”, so, by Richard’s logic, Jesus was wrong to challenge, offend to insult them.

    I think you can see where I am going here. The only conclusion I can logically reach is that either Richard actually believes what he is saying, and the resulting world that would exist today, if *none* of those past religious practices would be indistinguishable from the sort of thing one might find in Dante’s Inferno. Or, alternatively, he really hasn’t spent one single second **really** thinking about what he is saying, but instead has simply concluded that nothing in modern religion, never mind the insanity shown over the last seven days, or the insanity shown by many Muslims over the last several years, or… well, again, you get the drift, is of sufficient offense to sense, logic, reason, and/or peace, to be worthy of attack by the very people, some of them religious, and some probably even Catholics, who at one time or another, ***protested*** the excesses, insanity and evils perpetrated in the name, or defense of, all those past religious principles, and defending by believers on the grounds that, “This is sacred, therefor you cannot truly understand or legitimately challenge it!”

    I am confused as to which it is. Does he think that there can be nothing in “any” modern religion, especially his own, even in interpretation of execution, that is wrong, or does he really think that “everyone’s” sacred cow, from first cave man to invent a religion, to the golden calf of the Bible, to the Roman excesses, to the beliefs of the Inquisition, etc., are all “holy and untouchable”?

    Personally, I find either position to be morally reprehensible, but what do I know, I don’t hold such things “sacred” to start with.

  146. #146 melior
    July 18, 2008

    #141: Let P.Z. be the test case, if that’s what he wants to do. There’s no need for simultaneous, redundant test cases.

    Don’t listen to Paul, everyone!

    “And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
    fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out? Friends, they may thinks it’s a movement.” – Arlo Guthrie

  147. #147 Pandora Neurospora
    July 18, 2008

    Thank you very much Lightnin, that was very helpful. And thanks to all the other people who helped me too. You guys are awesome. I now think I know what I am doing. =)

  148. #148 shonny
    July 18, 2008

    #9: How about the first page of Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra?
    Only problem is that the translations into English I found are seriously crappy. Do it in the original German, – it is monumental!

  149. #149 Jams
    July 18, 2008

    ‘The way you phrase this presupposes the crime, but it’s misleading. PZ didn’t “ask [his] readership to steal from a church”; he just said “if you can get your hands on a consecrated host, please send it to me” (OWTTE; paraphrased from memory)’ – Bill Dauphin

    It is important to check these things. So, you’ve inspired me to do just that. Here’s what was said.

    “So, what to do. I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. [...] If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address.” – PZ source

    “Smuggle”? Clearly, not only was there an understanding that taking such a cracker would be against the wishes of the church (and hence, theft), but PZ explicitly requested that a cracker be “smuggled” to him, because he would be refused.

    Anyway, sorry Bill, you don’t really have a argument. Clearly PZ understood that taking a fancy holy cracker from a catholic church would be against the wishes of the church and those you’d expect to be at the church (you haven’t even heard arguments about stealing the host from the mouths of the children it was intended for – ouch). He then proceeded to request that his readers take the cracker against the wishes of the church, and then deliver that property to his home.

    His BEST defense would be to claim it was all satire. Unfortunately, there’s a history of people really doing the things suggested by PZ on this blog, so, he might have a hard time claiming it was simply satire. Anyway, the satire defense is just part of a failure to prove credibility defense.

    It’s all hypothetical anyway… no one wants to push something this silly to court.

  150. #150 Paul W.
    July 18, 2008
    You’d have to prove monumental stupidity as a defence to dishonesty.

    On the contrary, I’d be willing to bet that at almost every mass there’s at least one person who takes communion incorrectly without being either stupid or dishonest, but simply due to ignorace of the (unspoken) conventions.

    Beyond that, I’m guessing there are usually several people who take communion without confessing their mortal sins, or who lie to the priest and don’t tell him the most embarrassing ones, and that’s a sacrilege too.

    I think there’s a substantial percentage of Catholics who don’t buy all the dogma—that you need the priest to forgive your sins, etc.—who are committing sacrilege regularly.

  151. #151 wrpd
    July 18, 2008

    wowbagger: Thanks. I read that as more muslims believe in crackermajic than christians. I got it now.

    Pandora: Don’t believe anything Lightnin’ says. I base this on absolutely nothing but blind disbelief.

  152. #152 Numad
    July 18, 2008

    “Beyond that, I’m guessing there are usually several people who take communion without confessing their mortal sins, or who lie to the priest and don’t tell him the most embarrassing ones, and that’s a sacrilege too.”

    Lets not forget all of those who eat or drink less than one hour after communion. If the service doesn’t go on too long afterwards, that is.

    Oh, and the ‘smuggle’ word-mine is hilarious, considering the sentence the word has been used in.

  153. #153 shane
    July 18, 2008

    Saw an old bloke with a red cape on the back of ute last night. The papicade was moving way too fast to get a good look. If you were inclined to throw something you wouldn’t have had time to wind up even. I wonder just how many crackers we have in Sydney at the moment? Truckloads?

    He’d just come from giving a speech attacking our liberal secular democratic form government. Nice work Pope. We all know how successful sectarian ideology has been in the past. Just what we need, people like Ratzinger and Pell to impose their medieval ideology on us.

    Amused to note however that Alexander Downer, our former conservative foreign minister, on TV last night (Q&A) suggested that churches should be more circumspect in their opinions on secular issues when they can’t even get their theology in order. He then went too far and said the pope was probably a good bloke though. There is also some discussion about the compatibility religion and rationalism which is quite amusing. Kudos to David Marr in this instance.

  154. #154 themadlolscientist, FCD
    July 18, 2008

    there is but one True Cracker, and it’s not a host. It’s an Arnott’s Savoury Shape

    Er, I think you’ll find it’s a Carr’s Water Biscuit, you godless heretic…

    In a recent survey, Ceiling Catlicks preferred Chicken-in-a-Biskit 2 to 1 over all other crackers combined. A small sect in Australia insists that Vegemite-in-a-Biskit is the One True Cracker, but they’re generally considered heretical.

  155. #155 db0
    July 18, 2008

    Hello PZ, I’ve been seeing you closing threads because of the scienceblogs problem and I thought it might be a solution if you outsource your comments (and get some extra benefits in the meantime)
    I would suggest you try out Intense Debate which I’ve been using for a while and it is perfect for handling out long comment threads like yours. You can see how it helped n this particular comment threadi (or just visit any of the Evolved and Rationals’ comments)

    Hope this helps. Cheers!

  156. #156 shane
    July 18, 2008

    I am from the very small Australian sect that would insist that Sakata Rice Snacks are the one true cracker.

    Watching more of Q&A and the “journalist” from The Australian, Murdoch’s Newscorp, is a Papal apologist homophobic slag. Fuck-me-dead! Watch her from about 21 minutes in. Nasty piece of work. Once again kudos to the other journo David Marr who calls her on it.

  157. #157 Pandora Neurospora
    July 18, 2008

    Your a heretic shane, the one true cracker is Jatz!

  158. #158 shane
    July 18, 2008

    Nah mate, I keep my jatz crackers in my jocks.

  159. #159 Robert Byers
    July 18, 2008

    Let me help this Myers guy before he’s fired for hate internet activity.
    I am a evangelical Christian Canadian.and know that this catholic group is tough and effective in fighting against the defamation of Catholic identity and religion.
    If you defame then you will be taken on. Too late to change the subject with bison talk.
    It is time for a public apology.
    This is not about religion but about identity and therefore the ethnic identities that are Catholic.
    You should keep to attacking white, Evangelical Protestants with British names. Not ethnic Catholic identity. Are you aware there is a election coming?
    Hatred should be directed at the weak and not the strong.
    Surely you must notice words matter in the public domaine.

  160. #160 themadlolscientist, FCD
    July 18, 2008

    p.s. apropos of #153: not to be confused with Vitameatavegemin.

  161. #161 OMH
    July 18, 2008

    @143 “But the kicker for me is that nobody would even think of asking whether taking a host constituted theft if it weren’t a matter of religious doctrine.”

    Lawyers would. It’s kind of what we do.

    “That something could be a crime solely because it offends the church might not be a foreign idea in places with established churches.”

    I’m not if you meant to strike such a sanctimonious tone but in any case you’re missing the point a little – it’s important not to get hung up on the religious angle. From the lawyer’s perspective, the Church’s involvement is irrelevant. The cracker is “property” – it gets taken through deception. Doesn’t matter what property, from whom or whether they are offended, annoyed &c by the theft.

    You should try having an established religion, by the way, it works very well: who’s is the more religious country, yours or mine? Who has the least effective church, yours or mine? Established religion seems to me to be substantially weakened religion these days.

    Sending the cracker to PZ would be pretty good evidence that, at the time you took it, your intention was to take it for reasons other than those for which it was being provided. Which would be sufficient to establish dishonesty in most courts.

    @141 – er, there’s quite a lot to answer there but in a nutshell, for “fraud” & “theft”, you need dishonesty. Dishonesty is a question of fact, not law.

    A supermarket biscuit giveaway doesn’t have any especially clear rules usually. Where the rules are unclear, dishonesty is hard to establish factually because a defendant can always say “I didn’t realize”. But let’s say they had a “one per customer only” rule and it was clearly advertised but you nonetheless took two biscuits – it would be much easier to prove dishonesty.

    With a catholic mass, I think it’s easy enough to show dishonesty as a fact if you smuggle the cracker out and give it to PZ.

    Your example with the wheat-allergic woman, if she takes the cracker knowing that she would not be given it if the priest knew she was going to feed it to her dog she is potentially obtaining it by deception (this would vary by jurisdiction, depending on whether an active representation is required or a mere omission would suffice).

    It is a more marginal example because the degree of deception is lesser: she’s catholic, she is taking mass, she isn’t taking the cracker for reasons wholly contrary to the religion. As others have pointed out, prosecutions are, for practical reasons, difficult to envisage. In her case, it would be very unlikely.

    But, as I say above, bear in mind that your later actions can be used as evidence of your state of mind at the time, which is the critical factor.

    I’m sorry if that’s not quite comprehensive enough – I’m at work at the mo’ and don’t really have the time required to set out a detailed argument. Plus, I can see this one running and running…

  162. #162 shane
    July 18, 2008

    Robert Byers, thank god you turned up. I thought the crazies had gone for the weekend.
    “Ethnic Catholic identity”. WTF?
    “Hatred should be directed at the weak and not the strong.”
    And that, your honour, sums up the case for the prosecution. Again, WTF?
    I think I’ll call Poes on this one.

  163. #163 John Scanlon FCD
    July 18, 2008

    Andrew #51, mixing law and theology,
    How can the host be the property of the church, and at the same time be the body of Christ? IANAL either, but I thought it was pretty well established that persons, and bodies of deceased persons, are not property.
    (This may have been pointed out, I haven’t read further yet)

  164. #164 Azkyroth
    July 18, 2008

    Hey, I posted this in the last one, but I had a hard time finding the replies…
    I’m getting married next month and I’m looking for a good secular reading.

    I suggest Adam Lee.

  165. #165 Zarquon
    July 18, 2008

    The one true cracker is Salada, because it’s four biscuits in one, just like God.

  166. #166 shane
    July 18, 2008

    Oh Zarqhon, I am a Salada apostate. I used to have it with loads of butter and creamed honey… droool…

  167. #167 wrpd
    July 18, 2008

    #159: Or Catherine O’Hara doing the Milk of Amnesia commercial on second city.

  168. #168 Paul W.
    July 18, 2008

    How can the host be the property of the church, and at the same time be the body of Christ? IANAL either, but I thought it was pretty well established that persons, and bodies of deceased persons, are not property.

    There’s a long legal tradition of theology and secular arrangements not having to match up sensibly, as long as it doesn’t infere with the smooth running of the law.

    A church building may be theologically “God’s house,” but legally it belongs to a religious corporation. If you burn down a church, they don’t have to prove that God was harmed by your wrecking his house.

    Likewise, I don’t think there’s any problem with saying that legally a communion wafer is property of the church, while theologically, it’s the owner of the church.

    It’s insanely weird, but it’s long-established and very settled insane weirdness that isn’t going to come up in court.

  169. #169 Kitty
    July 18, 2008

    Absolutely has to be a Carr’s Table Water, with a mature Blue Stilton.

    Do they let you take your own cheese to mass?

    Is it true only the priest gets to have the wine in the Catholic church? That somehow would negate the whole experience for me – what’s the point of the cracker if there’s no cheese and no wine?

  170. #170 Monkey's Uncle
    July 18, 2008

    Right. Enough about bloody crackers.

    Geoff @9:

    There is a great story at the end of “last chance to see”
    by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine…I won’t go into the details here but I have read it at a humanist wedding and affixed ” … and that’s why people still get married…” and got a great laugh by the audience. (I’ll leave it to you to read)

    Can we haz a new subject plz? Bored wif Crackers. KTHXBAI.

  171. #171 truth machine, OM
    July 18, 2008

    A supermarket biscuit giveaway doesn’t have any especially clear rules usually.

    These legal arguments are boring, silly, and irrelevant. Take the consecrated wafers, replace them with unconsecrated wafers, let the church try to put a price on the loss, and dare the courts to adjudicate it without violating the First Amendment.

  172. #172 Chris
    July 18, 2008

    Considering that some rabid Catholics sent death threats, I find option (c) relatively appealing, since we all know that prayers do nothing AND those guys feel even good at the same time.

  173. #173 synthesist
    July 18, 2008

    Finally ! proof of gods existance through a miracle !, the divine Orthodontist manifests itself (from Ben Goldacres Bad Science)
    http://www.thisisbournemouth.co.uk/display.var.2397909.0.gold_teeth_a_gift_from_god.php
    I am a BELIEVER !!! (pass me a cracker)

  174. #174 truth machine, OM
    July 18, 2008

    Can we haz a new subject plz?

    Look around.

    Bored wif Crackers.

    Then stay out of cracker threads.

  175. #175 Logicel
    July 18, 2008

    #158, Byers: Surely you must notice words matter in the public domaine.
    ______

    There are state owned wineries in Canada?

  176. #176 truth machine, OM
    July 18, 2008

    I think I’ll call Poes on this one.

    Nonsense. Poe’s Law is that you can’t call anything so absurd that no one could really believe it.

  177. #177 demallien
    July 18, 2008

    Whilst it is indeed true that the Salada is a mighty cracker, coming as a four in one, and very well adapted as a cheese-accompanyment, I must point out that only the Savoury Shape can be the One True Cracker, because it comes in 4 (count them!) 4 glorious shapes!

    Beat that heretics!

  178. #178 truth machine, OM
    July 18, 2008

    I am a evangelical Christian

    And you fulfill our expectations that such people tend to be dumber than dirt.

  179. #179 JM Inc.
    July 18, 2008

    #175: Actually, Poe’s Law is that a sufficiently astute parody of religious fundamentalism is indistinguishable from religious fundamentalism, isn’t it? Or is it just so early in the morning that Clarke and Poe run together like that?

  180. #180 Kimpatsu
    July 18, 2008

    I can’t believe these massive cracker threads are still going. They must be driving you nuts PZ.
    No, they’re driving PZ crackers.
    Bwaaa haaa haaa!

  181. #181 NC Paul
    July 18, 2008

    To all you cracker heretics – your arguments about the identity of the One True Foodstuff are as immaterial as they are misguided.

    I was visited in a dream by an angel of the Most Thin and Wheaty and it was revealed to me that His true nature is neither cracker nor water biscuit – but Wafer.

    Listen all of ye with ears to hear and very sensitive taste buds to taste! Repent your crackerly ways, the Wafer is the New Covenant and the Final Side Order of the One True Foodstuff.

    (Of course, if you don’t repent, we will have to declare you anathema and have several centuries of bitter Biscuitarian conflict until one side or the other is crushed into crumbs beneath the booted heel of the other. Extreme, I know, but that’s how these things work.)

  182. #182 Twisted_Colour
    July 18, 2008

    @#96 – At a cow school in Western Minnesota? Oh yeah. I’m real jealous of that.

    What’s in a name?.. Seems to me that it’s these “cow schools” that would be hiring the top biologists.

  183. #183 Haakon
    July 18, 2008

    I believe there’s a way to test transubstantiation scientifically in three easy steps.

    1. Have a test subject eat nothing but vegan for a day or so.
    2. Have the subject go to mass and receive the Eucharist.
    3. Stomach pumping and analysis of content.

    If transubstantiation has taken place, there should be a presence of meat protein in the stomach contents. That is of course barring bleeding ulcers or other phenomenon that may cause protein to end up in the stomach.

    Now is Bob Donohue up for the challenge?

  184. #184 Bill Dauphin
    July 18, 2008

    I’m not if you meant to strike such a sanctimonious tone…

    I not only didn’t mean to strike a sanctimonious tone, I don’t believe I actually did. As you point out, it’s not at all clear that our way is “better,” from a secularist point of view, and I happily trade our religiosity for your relative lack of it any day. I only meant to highlight a concrete distinction between British and American law, one which explains why I don’t agree that…

    …but in any case [I'm] missing the point a little – it’s important not to get hung up on the religious angle.

    Stipulating that obtaining a host under false pretenses is a theft, it’s a surpassingly trivial one: the item obtained has effectively zero real value and the deception (if any[1]) used to obtain it is of the most passive, benign sort. This is not a crime anyone would be likely to even notice enough to complain about, and certainly one no prosecutor would think about for more than 14.3 femtoseconds… except for “the religious angle”… which, in the final analysis, is the only reason any of us is talking about any of this.

    I’m guessing that if any prosecution were brought, the defense would argue that it amounted to religious persecution (or reverse religious persecution, if you prefer), in violation of the 1st Amendment. Which y’all don’t have. Which is the only reason I mentioned it.

    I wasn’t saying “we’re better than you” — FSM knows, at this particular moment in history it’s hard to say we’re better than anyone — I was only pointing out (without judging) a difference in our legal environments.

    [1] Just imagine, BTW, that instead of PZ wants a cracker and I’m gonna trick the bastards into giving me one, the “perp”‘s interior monologue is more like gee, I’m not Catholic and I don’t know how this works; maybe if I stand in line they’ll just give me a host that I can send to PZ? I’m not trying to change your mind about it being theft, just trying to point out that it might not be as consciously nefarious as you imagine.

  185. #185 Paul W.
    July 18, 2008

    These legal arguments are boring, silly, and irrelevant.

    Yo mama is boring, silly, and irrelevant, tough guy.

    Take the consecrated wafers, replace them with unconsecrated wafers, let the church try to put a price on the loss, and dare the courts to adjudicate it without violating the First Amendment.

    Boring, silly, and irrelevant.

  186. #186 truth machine, OM
    July 18, 2008

    I seems Paul W.’s been drinking again.

  187. #187 truth machine, OM
    July 18, 2008

    “I” -> “It”. Maybe I’ve been drinking too. But in any case I said something reasonably intelligent and worth considering, whereas Paul said something incredibly stupid merely because he’s angry at me.

  188. #188 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    Latest news on Webster Cook :

    http://media.www.centralfloridafuture.com/media/storage/paper174/news/2008/07/17/News/Body-Of.Controversy-3391746.shtml

    Webster Cook, who is a Student Government Association senator, is now facing an impeachment investigation by the rest of the Senate as a result of an affidavit filed against him due to the incident.

    In response to the complaints filed against him, Cook brought hazing charges against Catholic Campus Ministry, filing with the Office of Student Conduct regarding the physical force used against him. The charges were formally dropped yesterday.

    The Legislative, Judicial and Rules Committee met yesterday and voted 5-2-0 to send the complaint affidavit against Cook to SGA Senate, where it will be investigated.

  189. #189 truth machine, OM
    July 18, 2008

    the item obtained has effectively zero real value

    Exactly, and that’s why the legal arguments here are boring, silly, and irrelevant. As I noted above, one can reduce the value obtained even more by replacing the consecrated wafers with non-consecrated wafers. The court would have a hard time ruling that the latter are worth less than the former without engaging in theology.

  190. #190 Neil
    July 18, 2008

    Once again, the “legal scholars” on this issue fail to answer an issue that I, and others have brought up in the area of cracker theft.

    All of those saying that it could be, or is a crime to take a cracker and not eat it, seem to think that everyone who enters an open door church should already be fully versed in church etiquette, while the churches themselves make no effort to ensure this.
    Any other group would be laughed out of court. I’m sorry,
    but insane superstitions are not necessarily “common knowledge.” If I willingly let people into my house or establishment, and they violate the particular rules of my house or establishment without causing physical damage, the only right I have is to ask them to leave. I don’t get to claim that they stole my hors d’oevres. They are guilty of no crime except trespassing, and only if they refuse to leave.

    As I said before, I’m sure that there are some bigot judges who would do their best to make a big stink about it, but where, exactly, is the crime? Why would a church that allows and encourages people to come in off the street be allowed such exclusive rights and use of the court system to enforce private, unwritten, even unspoken contracts, when no other group would?

    More importantly-does this mean that the next time someone shows up at one of my parties and starts praising Reagan while drinking my beer, that I can have them arrested? Everyone knows that I don’t willingly give beer to shitheads. Seriously, if you know me well enough to attend one of my parties, you should already know that such conduct is a great sin. Will local law enforcement back me up on this?

    Maybe I’ll stop by Planned Parenthood tomorrow, and get some free rubbers to use for balloon animals. Then PZ and I can be cellmates!

  191. #191 truth machine, OM
    July 18, 2008

    I’m sorry,
    but insane superstitions are not necessarily “common knowledge.”

    I don’t see how this argument can work, since PZ is asking to have the wafers sent to him, and clearly he is familiar with these insane superstitions and so is anyone who fulfills his request. One would have to argue that they fulfilled the request without having any knowledge of why, or of the numerous discussions here about these insane superstitions, but no judge or jury would believe that.

  192. #192 dg
    July 18, 2008

    Myers expressing an intention to desecrate the “cracker” does nothing but speak very poorly about himself. Its one thing to hear anti-religious trash talk from some random nameless stranger on a generic atheist forum, but to hear it from someone who is a professor at a University, gives the whole thing a new perspective.

    It opens the true rational mind to the reality that Myers has caused irrepairable damage to a) the atheist movement parading under “science” and “rationality” b)the integrity of a website that calls itself “scienceblogs.com”. Considering he uses the headline “Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal” surprising no one noticed the jesters hat on the University Professors head.

    Serious atheist circles (if any) now have to deal with Myers, who is merrily sawing away at the atheist tree of “science” and “rationality”.

  193. #193 truth machine, OM
    July 18, 2008

    Shorter dg: blah blah blah

  194. #194 David L
    July 18, 2008

    @Dustin at the end of the previous thread

    Regarding your plan for the revolution in Hell, I fear you are seriously underestimating Satan. If you are not already familiar with “Old Harry’s Game”, I am sure you will find it enlightening.

    For more info , see
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Harry's_Game

  195. Yeah, I’m sick of crackers. It’s all over, red rover. So last week. Catholics don’t like to dwell crankily on old wounds, I hear.

    PS: BBQ shapes are the One True Cracker, you heathens.

  196. #196 Pimientita
    July 18, 2008

    This is from the cyberpistol thread, but I had to praise MAJeff for this.

    He did so enough to die for you.

    I’ve done nothing so evil it requires the murder of another human being.

    That, MAJeff, is the most succinctly eloquent argument against the idea of Christianity that I have ever read.

    Thank you.

  197. #197 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    From the above posted link #187, we have now a more detailed account of the events that happened that day :

    Cook and a friend decided to attend Mass on June 29.

    “We had been there for about 45 to 50 minutes before Communion took place,” Cook said. “I explained to my friend that he should not accept Communion because he is not Catholic.”

    Cook’s friend accompanied him to the altar without accepting Communion, but Cook was going to bring the Eucharist to his seat so that his friend could see it.

    “I thought I was avoiding a problem,” Cook said.

    Cook said the woman giving out the Eucharist grasped his elbow, and a woman next to him ordered him to eat it. According to Catholic Campus Ministry worker Michelle Ducker’s statement in the affidavit, Cook pretended to consume it.

    When Cook returned to his seat, Ducker realized that he had not eaten it and moved toward him. Cook said that Ducker told him that if he did not eat it, she was going to make a huge scene. According to Cook, she tried to remove the Eucharist from his hand, and he asked her to stop touching him.

    UCF Associate Campus Minister Joshua Swallows asked Cook and his friend to leave. Cook said he was insulted and demanded an apology. Swallows said in his statement that he was following policy to make sure that the Eucharist was not going to be used for devil worship.

    Cook and his friend attempted to explain their intention, but Swallows informed them that they had to leave.

    Cook left with the Eucharist in his pocket.

    Cook said he wanted an apology and he was holding the Eucharist as collateral. He gave the Eucharist back a week later without receiving an apology.

    SO, did Cook wilfully interrupt or disturb this service ? I don’t think so. Or did Ducker’s reaction provoke the interuption ?

  198. #198 speedwell
    July 18, 2008

    To Hell with the damn cracker already. That only pisses off Catholics.

    I love books, for example, and consider purposely defacing or burning a book out of hatred for its ideas to be a profoundly immoral act. But I also consider the Bible to be a profoundly immoral and unnecessary book. Many billion Bibles exist. Defacing or destroying one copy would not destroy the message of the Bible. I’m not by any means advocating that all Bibles should be defaced or destroyed (the Christians themselves have done a pretty good job of that on their own, from what I understand of the Bible’s history).

    But I would gladly use the pages of one of the superfluous Bibles I have on my shelf for paper airplanes, origami, wrapping paper, or decoupage if someone gave me half a reason to do so. Just to send the message about my contempt for what the pages actually say, and my feeling that the paper could be used better for practically anything else used paper could be good for.

  199. #199 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    evry time a catlick postid, i eated a holy cracker.

    im in ur tabernacle eatin ur crackers.

  200. #200 Sauceress
    July 18, 2008

    Kitty #168

    Ahh yes..the sacrament of Cheesus, only begotten son of The One True Creator,the FSM. Much more nutritious and satisfying!
    RAmen

    PS Carr’s Cult for me!

  201. #201 Paul W.
    July 18, 2008

    But in any case I said something reasonably intelligent and worth considering, whereas Paul said something incredibly stupid merely because he’s angry at me.

    TM, maybe you did say something intelligent and worth considering; I’m not sure. But if you start by telling us our conversation is boring, silly, and irrelevant, what do you expect?

    Maybe you have the trump card, maybe you don’t. I’m inclined to think not. I’d be happy to discuss it civilly if you didn’t start off with condescending insults, and seem to imply that you’re no-God’s gift to our conversation.

    We’ve written thousands of messages about this shit, and I thought it was cool that an actual lawyer finally turned up. I don’t want to get into a discussion with you right now if it’s going to get nasty—as it usually does, because you like talking tough. (And as you appeared to want it to, from your opening sentence and the cocky, challenging tone of the rest.)

    I’d rather not drive the lawyer away; I think he may have some things to say that we need to hear. I think it’s probably a bad idea to come off as a overbearing and dismissive know-it-alls right now.

    If you ask nicely, I’ll be happy to say what seems wrong with what seems to be your argument, and let you explain it to me and maybe convince me. I’m not sure I understand exactly what argument you are actually making—you need to unpack it a bit for me. But I’m not up for being dared to prove you wrong, or anything really competitive like that, especially if it’s accompanied by your usual gratuitous abuse, accusations of concern trolling, etc. I’m too old for that shit.

  202. #202 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    Paul W.

    look in the case of Webster Cook, the only charges filed against him are for disruption of religious service, not for infringement of religious property.

    If someone manages to get hold of consecrated Eucharists without in any shape or form disrupting religious service, they cannot press any charges whatsoever.

    Which does seem perfectly logical : don’t disturb the worshippers in their assembly, but you have the right to express your opinion and destroy a religious symbol that is being freely handed over in millions of identical forms throughout the states without any control, nor without any contractual prior agreement.

    And that’s quite obvious.

  203. #203 NC Paul
    July 18, 2008

    PS Carr’s Cult for me!

    Anathema! Heretic! Blasphemy!

    Know you not the bounty of the Holy Wafer? How though it takes many forms, they all contain the Ice Cream of Divine Grace and remove the stain of Original Spill?

    Know you not of the Wafer Sandwich, the Single Cone, the Double Cone and most revered of all, the Triune Triple Cone, which alone among the multifarious forms of the Holy Wafer contains the Three Scoops of Salvation.

    All praise to the Wafer, the name of the Vanilla, the Strachiatelli and the Chocolate Chip, Amen!

  204. #204 O-Dot-O
    July 18, 2008

    > Fresh thread. Don’t fill this one up!

    …is equivalent to “Fresh poll. Don’t crash this one!”

    I love this blog, but we may be reaping what we have sowed.

  205. #205 Carlie
    July 18, 2008

    Going back a ways:

    Okay. We’ll go to church. And you guys stay the hell out of our churches, yes? Or is that too advanced a social concept for you Brights to comprehend?

    I suppose you’ve never heard of a little thing called “evangelism”? Trust me, if all of the churches had signs up stating “stay the hell out”, life might be a lot easier. However, their parishioners keep coming to our houses and knocking on our doors, trying to get us to come to their churches, they keep talking about it during political debates, they keep bringing it up when writing laws and state school curricula… see what gets annoying to us about it? You want us to stay the hell out of your churches, try keeping the churches the hell out of everywhere else.

  206. #206 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    The only thing Id really like to hear from a lawyer here is how Webster Cook’s chances are to sue the University for using state/federal grants to help finance this death cult club at their Uni.

    Im so tired of this whole bullshitting over the issue of whether one can be sued or not for taking a cracker out of a church after it is given to you.For gods sake,there are disclaimers on doors of public toilets these days,just make the churches put one up for what to do with their crackers.There,happy now??

  207. #207 SEF
    July 18, 2008

    These comment threads keep filling up with noise

    They’re called comments, PZ! You could (but almost certainly won’t) go down the route of barring comments altogether. Experience suggests you’d get less “noise” if you stuck to making science entries and abstained from political and religious ones. But again, this being your blog reflecting your interests and not anyone else’s, you probably wouldn’t want to do that.

    Seriously though, you’ve been spoiled up to now by having most of your commenters come from the good tail of the normal distribution. The vast majority of people are neurotypicals or worse. So, as it becomes easier to be an atheist (rather than largely being the preserve of the most intelligent, well-educated and liberal people who’ve managed to resist or cast off the pervasive indoctrination of societal religion), the population of atheists is going to include more people who are merely atheist by default rather than by their own intelligent design. They will be “normal” rather than elite and their comments are more likely to be noise.

    Meanwhile, as you continue to attract more attention from the religiously shallow end of the gene pool, for being the person (most often or most conveniently) cast in the role of “militant atheist”, that degree of celebrity will itself necessarily make you the target of the insane stalker types (who similarly can’t tell the fantasy of soap-operas from the reality of actors) and, in comparison with the quality of comment you previously expected to receive, their posts are inevitably going to seem like noise.

    If you hadn’t been spoiled by dwelling largely amongst the intelligentsia and instead had started and lived most of your blogging life on RaptureReady, conspiracy sites, BBC MBs etc you would still view the comments here as having an unusually high signal to noise ratio.

  208. #208 Pimientita
    July 18, 2008

    @ #24

    Somehow I think this would all have a better SNR if there was some kind of nested replies, like Usenet or something. I’ve long wondered why that never caught on for blog comments.

    This is just IMO, but I find that nested comments take away a lot of the fun on a blog such as this. Yes, it sometimes gets tedious to wade through tons of comments, but if you want to get the inside jokes and references you wade through them all anyway. I much prefer the linear style, but I also have the ability to carry on multiple conversations in my head. It must come from reading several books at a time (one for the train, one for the bathroom, one to read before bed, etc).

  209. #209 Richard
    July 18, 2008

    dg writes

    “Serious atheist circles (if any) now have to deal with Myers, who is merrily sawing away at the atheist tree of “science” and “rationality”.”

    Heaven forbid that thinking atheists should not follow like sheep everything that PZ says. We should be more like the Catholics who question nothing that their priests do to them or their members and just shut up and bleat.

  210. #210 Davy Jones
    July 18, 2008

    This blog is a lot of fun.

    But why do they call it a “science” blog?

  211. #211 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    It’s always helpful when Robert Byers #158 shows up, by reading his post you can generally follow the exact opposite of what he recommends:

    It is time for a public apology.

    This is not about religion but about identity and therefore the ethnic identities that are Catholic.

    Hatred should be directed at the weak and not the strong.

  212. #212 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    @ No 204,SEF

    //, as you continue to attract more attention from the religiously shallow end of the gene pool//

    What is religiously shallow? Guess you meant “shallow end of the gene pool where plenty religionists originate”.
    Even then,I tend to disagree,people are not born religious,and are not born dumb or intelligent(not going into the norture vs nature debate here,just saying),they are what they make of what others have made of them,to quote Sartre.
    So while we have the tendency to declare religious people dumber and less educated,and god have they proven that to be true in the last week on here,we shouldnt be generalizing and taking the high ground over it,these people were fucked up by their parents and peers,so I have a certain degree of pity and understanding for them.

    Talking about fucked up by your parents,nice poem to start the day,since its an open thread(its 9pm here,but for the US crowd):

    http://www.artofeurope.com/larkin/lar2.htm

  213. #213 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    DG, #191, wrote:

    It opens the true rational mind to the reality that Myers has caused irrepairable (sic) damage to…the atheist movement

    This. This is what annoys me, more than the countless papists telling us what the eucharist means to them. More than pathetic, hypocritical fountains of fatwa-envy. More frustrating than either of those is clueless dimwits who say things like this.

    Atheist movement? What the fuck? Get a clue. It’s not a gang. It’s not a sewing circle. It’s not a fucking country club that you choose to join because you think the golf course has the best back nine in the tri-state area or because you’re impressed by the wine list.

    When you stop believing in god/s you are an atheist, no matter how nice or nasty anyone else who lacks a belief in god/s is about it. If anyone is putting off admitting that to themselves because there are ‘uppity’ atheists out there pulling stunts like this then it’s their loss, not ours.

    Other atheists mightn’t agree with what PZ has done, or what we’ve written on his blog. Do you think they’re going to stop being atheists? You think that, because of something like this, they’re going to turn back to the god/s that were so obviously morally and/or intellectually unfulfilling in the first place?

    And the fence sitters – does anyone really think people are coming here with their doubts about god and reading the posts and thinking, ‘oh, well – I can’t cope with religion’s inability to deal with the problem of evil; plus I like what science is telling me, but there’s that whole evolution thing my church leaders are always saying is a lie; and I’m starting to doubt the bible really has the answers to modern problems since it was written thousands of years ago. I think I’m going to read the posts of this PZ Myers guy ’cause i heard about him from reading an article on Expelled

    Do you think someone with that mindset is going to come away from here thinking, ‘but PZ and the atheists on Pharyngula are such big meanies that maybe those problems I have with religion aren’t as important as being nice and polite and deferential and accommodating. I’m going back to church!’

    If they do, well – to put it bluntly – fuck ‘em and the horse they rode in on. Logic: ur doing it wrong.

    /ranting>

  214. #214 Monti0
    July 18, 2008

    #151 Are you South African?

    BTW… Best cracker eva: Bacon Kips

  215. #215 Carlie
    July 18, 2008

    Davy and SEF – hint: take a look at the archives by category, or, if that’s too much work, just scroll back through the last couple of posting pages. Ooo, look, science!

    Going back to my other going back comment for a moment:

    Okay. We’ll go to church. And you guys stay the hell out of our churches, yes? Or is that too advanced a social concept for you Brights to comprehend?

    Also, we won’t stay the hell out of your churches if you’re committing crimes within those churches. Church as a place of sanctuary for criminals went out of the legal system a long time ago. Remember, this whole crackergate thing started because a kid was physically assaulted in a church. Society has a vested interest in punishing people who assault others, even if they’re in a building with pretty stained-glass windows or if they think God told them to.

  216. #216 Carlie
    July 18, 2008

    Somehow I think this would all have a better SNR if there was some kind of nested replies, like Usenet or something. I’ve long wondered why that never caught on for blog comments.

    NO NESTED REPLIES THANX. Those really hack me off, personally. I love having a straight thread with numbered comments, because then it’s easy to pick up right where I last left off and not miss anything, and specific references to comment number suffice (when needed). With nested comments you have to re-read the entire thread every time to catch the new ones, and then when two separate comment conversations start intermixing it gets really ugly trying to figure out what comment to post in which nest.

  217. #217 OMH
    July 18, 2008

    @189
    “More importantly-does this mean that the next time someone shows up at one of my parties and starts praising Reagan while drinking my beer, that I can have them arrested?”

    Quite possibly, if you had a sign up saying, “This beer is for Democrats only” and a republican drank it, he/she would potentially be committing theft.

    Of course, like it or not, your house parties are less well known than the beliefs of the catholic church (no matter how awesome the house parties no doubt are) and that forms part of the factual matrix underlying the necessary finding on dishonesty, as might the fact that a person has acted consistently with an intention to obtain the cracker in order to hand it to PZ so he can perform acts of unspeakable sexual depravity on it on youtube.

    I hope that answers the question that has eluded legal scholars over these thousands of posts…

  218. My productivity this week has only been slightly better than zero — and all because some kid in Florida refused to eat a goddamn cracker… or perhaps it was because that goddamn Bill Donahue decided to issue a fatwa over it.

    I can’t decide. I’ll need to read more blog posts before I can make a decision.

  219. #219 GunOfSod
    July 18, 2008

    #191 dg – “Serious atheist circles (if any) now have to deal with Myers, who is merrily sawing away at the atheist tree of “science” and “rationality”.”

    Sorry you sound more like a serious atheist square.

    “true rational mind”

    F**k off. Who appointed you Grand Poobah?

    “Serious atheist circles (if any) now have to deal with Myers, who is merrily sawing away at the atheist tree of “science” and “rationality”.”

    Get it straight PZ Meyers does not speak for me as an Atheist any more than you serious atheist circle jerks. This isn’t a club, there are no dues, no tithes and no self appointed spokesmen.

    And People wonder why Atheists get called fundamentalists.

  220. #220 Jud
    July 18, 2008

    Replying to Geoff way back at #9: Going on the theory that songwriters are today’s poets, we had a bunch of song lyric snippets in our wedding program (e.g., from Dylan’s “If Not for You”). There were one or two brief excerpts from Shakespeare (hey, if it’s famous, about love, and in English, chances are Will said it first), and also a snip from the Song of Solomon (it was quite nice, and IMHO excluding something because it’s from the Bible is just the flip side of including stuff for that reason). We didn’t have anyone read them out loud, because that was a bit more formal than we wanted our ceremony to be. And right at the end, we of course had the last couple of lines of the Beatles’ “The End” from Abbey Road.

  221. #221 Carlie
    July 18, 2008

    If it’s stealing for a non-Catholic to take Communion, then shouldn’t Sally Quinn be arrested? She fully admitted to eating a God-cracker at Tim Russert’s funeral, and she’s not Catholic. Why no fuss over her? (and check out the sidebar; there’s a post about PZ. Hey, PZ, you made the Washington Post!)

  222. #222 BT Murtagh
    July 18, 2008

    #96:

    Nah. Just wanted to tell you that you’re an ass and your followers are blind.
    How does such a large group of people such as the inhabitants of Pharyngulaland manage a collective IQ of 100?
    Let’s see, 100/10,000. . .that’s a pretty darned small number.

    You’re dividing an individually applicable ratio by the number of samples in the population? EPIC FAIL!

    At least you’ve proven the proposition “Nobody Knows Nothing.”

  223. #223 GunOfSod
    July 18, 2008

    #212 – Wowbagger

    Yeah! What he said!

  224. #224 El Herring
    July 18, 2008

    Toastmaster: Gentlemen, pray silence for the President of the Royal Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things.

    Sir William: I thank you, gentlemen. The year has been a good one for the Society (hear, hear). This year our members have put more things on top of other things than ever before. But, I should warn you, this is no time for complacency. No, there are still many things, and I cannot emphasize this too strongly, not on top of other things. I myself, on my way here this evening, saw a thing that was not on top of another thing in any way. (shame!) Shame indeed but we must not allow ourselves to become too despondent. For, we must never forget that if there was not one thing that was not on top of another thing our society would be nothing more than a meaningless body of men that had gathered together for no good purpose. But we flourish. (applause) Well done all of you. But there is one cloud on the horizon. In this last year our Staffordshire branch has not succeeded in putting one thing on top of another (shame!). Therefore I call upon our Staffordshire delegate to explain this weird behaviour.

    Mr Cutler: Er, Cutler, Staffordshire. Um … well, Mr Chairman, it’s just that most of the members in Staffordshire feel… the whole thing’s a bit silly.

    (Cries of outrage. Chairman leaps to feet.)

    Sir William: Silly SILLY!! (he pauses and thinks) Silly! I suppose it is, a bit. What have we been doing wasting our lives with all this nonsense (hear, hear). Right, okay, meeting adjourned for ever.

    (Python, of course)

    Now if only the Catlick Church could do this!

  225. #225 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    Do not sidestep reason at the foundation of your arguments. You are in the extreme minority compared to the theists, thus the onus of proof rests on you against the established opinion. You present your logical case as to why I should not respect the Eucharist and I will believe you.

    Ur doin it rong!

    The onus is upon those making the extraordinary claim that something does exist–be it a deity or Christ in a cracker. Do you have anything other than handwaving?

  226. #226 Jud
    July 18, 2008

    Alt Numlock at #100 wrote: The morally sane can see this. Why can’t you?

    Then followed up with Got autism?

    So first this fellow claims the moral high ground, then insults helpless victims of mental illness. Too perfect.

  227. #227 Sauceress
    July 18, 2008

    OMH #216
    “obtain the cracker in order to hand it to PZ so he can perform acts of unspeakable sexual depravity on it on youtube.”

    Que?? Where? When?

  228. #228 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    Jud,

    you might find some people get offended if you call Autism a “mental illness”.Not sure if it is actually in the DSM.

    Your point towards No 100 is valid tho,I would have added: WTF is “morally sane” meant to mean?

  229. #229 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    I think the real issue here is your resentment of PZ’s gainful employment.

    Add it to all of the comments about hell and like, I think the real issue is the Catholic fetishization of suffering, and the desire of people like john and jenn to impose suffering.

  230. #230 Paul W.
    July 18, 2008

    negentropyeater,

    look in the case of Webster Cook, the only charges filed against him are for disruption of religious service, not for infringement of religious property.

    If someone manages to get hold of consecrated Eucharists without in any shape or form disrupting religious service, they cannot press any charges whatsoever.

    That may be true, but I don’t think that the former is good evidence for the latter. The case against Cook would be weak and embarrassing because he has a very believable story that he didn’t initially mean to steal a wafer—he meant to eat it pretty much as per instructions—and he only hung onto it in protest of how things went down with the paranoid church people being afraid he’d do much worse. Plus, he gave it back when he realized how big a deal that was. It seems like a very petty, mostly accidental property crime, so why prosecute that? It’d be beating up on a well-meaning Catholic kid who just made a couple of mistakes handling the cracker.

    That doesn’t say much about PZ’s situation, where he asks people to get him wafers he can’t get directly and says (believably, if not seriously) that he’ll desecrate them.

    Webster Cook knows he’s basically the kind of person who they’re supposed to give the magic cookies to; PZ knows he’s very much the kind they’re NOT supposed to give them to. Big difference.

  231. #231 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    I’m a witch. I’m gathering herbs by the full moon – I have Satans bones, and a fire going under my cauldron. There will be children roasting on the spit while I pluck the eyes out of christians.

    GET FRESH FETUSES! Don’t roast children. Not fresh enough. Go through the local church bulletins for pregnancy announcements, and then go get those new fetuses! with a vindaloo rub? That’s good eatin!

  232. #232 grinch
    July 18, 2008

    expelled II – mary kroll

  233. #233 JeffreyD
    July 18, 2008

    Wow. Patricia, you are so hot! Please tell me you are not married so I can come and worship at your feet. (smile)

    Pox Nabisco

  234. #234 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    MAJeff,No 230 :

    //GET FRESH FETUSES! Don’t roast children. Not fresh enough//

    It would seem the US government has a similar view.

    http://www.buzzflash.com/articles/alerts/426

  235. #235 SC
    July 18, 2008

    clinteas,

    Not sure if it is actually in the DSM.

    According to Wikipedia and other sites, it is. It’s a “brain development disorder.”

  236. #236 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    It would seem the US government has a similar view.

    Yeah, but they can’t tell the difference between a zygote, a fetus, a blastocyst, and an ovum. Well, that and they’re engaging in a war on fucking–sort of like the RCC.

    You gotta get the fetus in the 4-9 week range. Like soft-shell crabs, they are.

  237. #237 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Got married last May. Had the “What is Real?” reading from _The Velveteen Rabbit_. The “Apache Wedding Blessing”, btw, is not Native American in origin actually originates from a Hollywood movie called “Broken Arrow” (starring Jimmy Stewart, not John Travolta).

  238. #238 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    MaJeff,

    How anyone of sound mind could equal contraception to abortion is beyond me frankly….Hm,well,thats the answer right there i guess…

  239. #239 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    The basic problem with people like dg and many others like him, all those who are saying that PZ should stop with this childish exercise and that he is hurting the cause of non believers and freethinkers in the USA, is that they are, in my honest opinion, completely mistaken.

    I’ll just give for example a country which I know well, France, because I’m French, and I’m from this generation that lived through a very similar situation throughout the end of the 60s and continuing all during the 70s.

    We had many people, starting with Jean Paul Sartre, who was the most preeminent philosophical leader, and started a bandwaggon in order to systematically provoke and chock the population in their religious delusions. Let’s not forget that France in the 60s was still a very Catholic country, despite being a secular one, the influence of the Catholic Church was still extremely important in all matters of public life. Approximately 90% of the population then was Catholic and a very large percentage were practicing catholics.
    When Sartre started his movement against the traditional values of the french catholic society, it wasn’t the kind of nice gentle polite talk, it really went into a level of civil disobedience which was never seen before, and absolutely necessary.

    When it culminated in May 1968 with the huge street manifestations, President de Gaulle was feeling pressure to arrest Sartre, and then he made this famous speech where he said :

    “You don’t arrest Voltaire”

    During the next ten years after this, many people carried the same message on TV, comedians, singers, intellectuals, until eventually even politicians wouldn’t have any problem to admit that they weren’t believers. This is what caused the country to move within two generations from 90% catholics to only 45% nowadays. The rest are non believers.

    I think the problem in the USA, is that traditionally, people have avoided this kind of conflict at all cost.

    If non believers and other freethinkers in the USA believe that their cause will be further improved without conflict and without having to provoke and chock the religious folks, they are as deluded as the religious folks.

    BTW, let’s not forget that so far, non believers in the USA represent approximately 15% of the population, and have doubled over the last 25 years, they have now achieved what is fair to call, critical mass.
    The problem is, all statistics show that this critical mass has been gained without eating on the territory of the religionists, who have basically remained stable at 80% of the population.
    Basically, now, if non believers are to increase further, they will necessarily have to do it at the expense of the religionists, and this will automatically cause conflicts. Nobody likes to loose market share, and let’s not forget that for the churches, religion is a business.

    The whole question is how do you manage those conflicts ? Can they be only conflicts of expression, or will they go further ? But it is ridiculous to assume that non believers and other freethinkers have any chance to further improve their cause if they systematically avoid these conflicts and respect religious traditions when the religious folks can’t even recognize the right of non believers to express their opinion, nor to be recognized as American citizens, or continue to think of the USA as a Christian nation.

  240. #240 zer0
    July 18, 2008

    I quick bit of addition this morning (and I’m still not sure if this thread should included in the count) shows that there have been 12,351 comments in all the fracking cracker threads that have been blowing up lately. That’s a lot of troll feeding people!

    Pro tip: You’re not gonna change their minds. The people you’re trying to reason with truly believe a cracker is made flesh with some hocus pocus, just don’t waste your breath. There are 100s of better topics for the majority of us here to waste our time on.

    For example, I was wondering where I could sign up for my concealed cyberpistol carry license? Anyone know how much they’re running these days? Oooohh ooooh… what about concealed cyberpistol carry on campuses… anyone wanna bite on that bait?

  241. #241 Rev.BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Get it straight PZ Meyers does not speak for me as an Atheist any more than you serious atheist circle jerks. This isn’t a club, there are no dues, no tithes and no self appointed spokesmen.

    I love the circle jerks. One of the greatest punk bands ever.

    Group Sex, Golden Shower of Hits and Wonderful. All great albums.

    Killin’ fer Jesus off of Wonderful is awesome

    I’m never bored
    When I’m killing for the lord
    Now I’ve seen the light
    Hail Mary! I’ve got Jesus on my side!

    Oh wait, that’s not what you were talking about.

  242. #242 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    How anyone of sound mind could equal contraception to abortion is beyond me frankly…

    Well, if you believe that human rights & full “personhood” begin when egg meets sperm, then contraception sometimes has the effect of causing an already fertilized egg to fail to implant. This, in the minds of the extremists, means it has the potential as a very early abortifacient (as does breastfeeding, btw).

    Note, I’m not defending this particular view, just explaining it.

  243. #243 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    Neg,

    //But it is ridiculous to assume that non believers and other freethinkers have any chance to further improve their cause if they systematically avoid these conflicts and respect religious traditions when the religious folks can’t even recognize the right of non believers to express their opinion, nor to be recognized as American citizens, or continue to think of the USA as a Christian nation.//

    very well said !

    Btw,Sartre’s anti-religion stance is a not so well known fact,I think he had some articles in “Les temps modernes” and wrote stuff during the discussions with Camus,but you have inspired me to get a few of his books out tonite and have a look at this…..

  244. #244 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    Adrienne,

    by that logic,condoms and the pill are ok? We just ban the IUDs?
    These people are so messed up in the head,its not funny.

  245. #245 Complexity
    July 18, 2008

    Buy some crackers like the ones that your local catholics abuse.

    Drop them here and there. I think leaving one occasionally on the ground just outside of a church’s entrance would be wonderfully entertaining.

    Lie in wait and watch the horrified discovery. An extra five points for filming it and sharing it on the internet.

  246. #246 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    Adrienne,

    It goes even beyond that. Go read Humanae Vitae. The Pope basically says, “all contraception is wrong because it gets in the way of any potential fertilization.” You’re virtually killing potential babies by not allowing them the sperm and egg to even meet.

    It’s similar to the root of early sex laws in this country. The “crimes against nature” weren’t put in place to control homosexuality, but to control non-procreative activity. By engaging in any kind of sexual activity that isn’t vaginal intercourse, and even when engaging in that with some form of contraception, you are going against the nature by frustrating the procreative imperative.

    (It’s also worth noting how sex laws and regulation are tools of domination. The major use of sodomy laws in the south during the nineteenth century was as a tool of white supremacy–they went after the black men who topped white men).

    It’s a very limited and limiting view of sexuality. And, not surprisingly, it’s anti-human.

  247. #247 Shygetz
    July 18, 2008

    Beyond that, I’m guessing there are usually several people who take communion without confessing their mortal sins, or who lie to the priest and don’t tell him the most embarrassing ones, and that’s a sacrilege too.

    Oh, it’s not just sacrilege…it’s theft (at least, according to our resident lawyers). People are submitting themselves to an implied contract with the Church and taking the cracker under the false pretenses that they are a Catholic in good standing to receive the host. Since they know damn well they are not (haven’t fasted, haven’t confessed all of their sins, etc.), they are obtaining the host by fraud and are criminally liable.

    Thanks, Andrew and OMH, you just made it illegal for most Catholics to go to church and receive Communion. Secular courts enforcing religious doctrine for the win!

  248. #248 davem
    July 18, 2008

    IANAL either, but in every church service I’ve had the misfortune to attend, they’ve passed a collection plate around, and expected you to contribute. Unless a catholic here can unreservedly say that the money raised does not buy the crackers, then as far as I’m concerned, if you put at least one cent, one penny, whatever, in the collection plate, then you’ve paid for the cracker. End of crime. No case to answer, M’lud…

  249. #249 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    Bored watching Cricket,im off to the Casino.
    Back for more crackers later.

  250. #250 Brandon
    July 18, 2008

    UPDATE:

    Cook impeached by student government.

    The University of Central Florida’s student Senate voted to impeach one of its own late Thursday night — the student who sparked a firestorm of controvery after taking off from a Catholic Mass on campus with a sacred Communion wafer in his pocket.

    All but two of the 35 senators present voted to impeach Webster Cook, but the action did not result in his automatic removal from office.

    Instead, the vote sets in motion an investigation that could lead to Cook’s eventual removal from his Senate post if he is found to have violated Senate ethics rules.

  251. #251 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    Shit,and then the next troll pops in !

    @ SHygetz,No 246 :

    //Oh, it’s not just sacrilege…it’s theft (at least, according to our resident lawyers). //

    Who are your resident lawyers mate,Itchy and Scratchy??

    //People are submitting themselves to an implied contract with the Church and taking the cracker under the false pretenses that they are a Catholic in good standing to receive the host//

    Been a while Ive been to a church,but dont remember any disclaimers on the church doors stating that if I havent fasted or confessed my sins I am not allowed to eat the holy cracker.As Carlie said before,seems the Churchies are rather keen to get me in their house no matter what !

    Dissonance,youre doing it right !

  252. #252 SC
    July 18, 2008

    Emma Goldman, “The Philosophy of Atheism” (1916):

    http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/goldman/philosophyatheism.html

  253. #253 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    Well Sartre’s writings are not mostly anti-religionist, he was very vocal about his atheism, and he did provide many munitions to those who were anti-religionist, he was also very engaged in manifesting in order to shake up this old traditional catholic french scoiety and its fucked up morality.

  254. #254 Moses
    July 18, 2008

    #58I posted this before on one of the humongously long threads, but I hope PZ won’t mind if I do it one more time. You can contact 1-800-flowers at

    http://ww12.1800flowers.com/serviceform.do

    If you’d like to ask them to consider giving Ms. Kroll her job back. Being married to an asshole should be punishment enough; I think a lot of you agree with me it’s a shame she should also lose her job because of it.

    Posted by: oriole | July 17, 2008 11:56 PM

    She defended her husband. She has, in fact, also shown no remorse or public apology for her husband’s behavior. Behavior in which he’s exhibited multiple times in the past if her non-apology is to be believed.

    I wonder if this is, in fact, “the final straw” after multiple warnings. I don’t know the truth or baselessness of the supposition. But I do wonder. After all, her husband reads the Drudge Report then periodically flies off the handle writing nasty, hateful e-mails. It’s very possible that it’s happened in the past.

    In any case, if you defend and minimize your husbands repeated Internet attacks, including at least one other known death-threat, you can fuck yourself. You are complicit and enabling and do not deserve, from me, any empathy or help for the situation you keep enabling.

    So, please, stop the Kroll-help trolling. The conduct of her and her husband is indefensible and the consequences of the behavior are unworthy of any remediation efforts on our part.

  255. #255 Moses
    July 18, 2008

    Christianity: 2.1 billion
    Islam: 1.5 billion
    Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
    Hinduism: 900 million
    Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
    Buddhism: 376 million

    Top six. Catholicism is about one-third to one-half of Christianity. Don’t remember the exact number, though I’ve read it.

  256. #256 Steven, RI
    July 18, 2008

    OK. First of all, I am praying for you. I am sending to all of my friends and fellow church goers and they will pray for you too.

    Secondly, i don’t get it. I don’t. You come off as somewhat of an intellegient man. You have some rational thoughts, great theories and really seem to have done your research. But now you have contradicted all of that with this immature, unnecessary attack on something sacred to many people. Why? Why have you decided to do so? reading your blogs doesn’t explain it…save for the fact that you don’t believe in GOD or religion and you are an evolutionist….

    So are you just trying to get shameless publicity? YUP! well good for you, you are now the most popular evolutionist in the country…congrats! Makes all of your work look like unintelligable dribble.

    GOD BLESS YOU!

  257. #257 Shygetz
    July 18, 2008

    Who are your resident lawyers mate,Itchy and Scratchy??

    Let’s see, considering I mentioned them by name here: “Thanks, Andrew and OMH, you just made it illegal…” I would say that crosses both Itchy and Scratchy off the list.

    Been a while Ive been to a church,but dont remember any disclaimers on the church doors stating that if I havent fasted or confessed my sins I am not allowed to eat the holy cracker.

    No signs saying that only Catholics may receive the host…it’s part of the “implied contract” that Andrew and OMH say are binding to anyone who received the host, which they say makes taking the host for any reasons other than Catholic-approved ones theft by fraud.

    See, for those of you like clinteas who forgot their reading glasses, I was pointing out that if you state that taking the cracker out of the church is theft because you are taking it against Catholic doctrine under the false pretenses that you are following Catholic doctrine in receiving the host, than it is equally illegal to take the host if you have unconfessed sins, have not fasted, or have broken any of the other myriad rules of the Catholic Church–which, I pointed out, is most Catholics. I then pointed out how you would then be using the secular legal system to enforce Catholic doctrine on believers, as any Catholic who took Communion without following all of the Catholic rules would be committing theft by fraud. I left unspoken the fact that this would be a silly result, which would prevent any court from willingly going down this path.

    Dissonance,youre doing it right !

    Reading…it’s fundamental!

  258. #258 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    SEF wrote @ No 206:

    // If you hadn’t been spoiled by dwelling largely amongst the intelligentsia and instead had started and lived most of your blogging life on RaptureReady, conspiracy sites, BBC MBs etc you would still view the comments here as having an unusually high signal to noise ratio.//

    Yeah,but getting there mate,getting there……

  259. #259 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    OK. First of all, I am praying for you. I am sending to all of my friends and fellow church goers and they will pray for you too.

    And a hearty “Fuck you!” to you too!

  260. #260 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    Shygetz,

    its late,and I read you wrong.Cool post man.

  261. #261 Moses
    July 18, 2008

    #68Again, I am asking for a logical argument as to why I should not believe in the Eucharist Dr. Myers. You are right about the great deal of noise on this thread. In case you have retired, I am going to bed and will check back in the morning.

    Posted by: Trevor | July 18, 2008 12:17 AM

    Can you make a logical argument why we shouldn’t believe in Scientology?

    I’d like to see you try. Seriously. I’d like to see you try. And I’ll respond to you. Every single point. And YOU’LL NEVER WIN NO MATTER HOW CLEVER YOU ARE BECAUSE I’VE GOT A MAGIC BOOK and am actually impervious to your Xenu-spawned lies.

    At the end of the exercise you might just get the clue that someone indoctrinated into a world-view, to the point it has completely indoctrinated the individual against reason, applies to you as well.

  262. #262 Shygetz
    July 18, 2008

    No worries.

  263. #263 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    and you are an evolutionist….

    Hey there Cletus, how’s things?!

  264. #264 Michelle
    July 18, 2008

    @Steven: Sorry dude, imaginary friends do not bless shit. :)

    PS: You strike me as an attention whore too.

  265. #265 astrosmashley
    July 18, 2008

    If I had a cracker.
    I’d eat it in the morning
    I’d eat it in the evening
    all over this land…..

    I’d eat it with ketchup
    I’d eat it with cheeze whiz
    I’d use it as a neutral thickening agent in a nice lamb stew or as a tiny frisbee for an adorable hamster friend

  266. #266 Ash
    July 18, 2008

    A goodwill petition regarding the whole 1-800-Flowers debacle:

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Kroll-Myers/index.html

  267. #267 Mike Nilsen
    July 18, 2008

    EULA
    - Eucharist User End License -

    Note: Receipt of Host upon user’s tongue or other oral appendage or area constitutes an acceptance of this agreement.

    TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR USE, REPRODUCTION, AND DISTRIBUTION

    1. Definitions.

    “Tongue” shall mean the lingual appendage found in the human mouth. Non-human lingual appendages are exempt.

    “Licensor” shall mean God and/or The Pope and the Catholic Church.

    “Holy Entity” shall mean the union of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost or any combination thereof.

    “You” (or “Your”) shall mean, you know, you. Duh.

    “Source” form shall mean the preferred form for delivering the Eucharist, that is, manual dispensation via an authorized service provider, or “priest”.

    “Object” form shall mean any form resembling a pale, tasteless, cracker.

    and so on…

  268. #268 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    OK. First of all, I am praying for you. I am sending to all of my friends and fellow church goers and they will pray for you too.

    Well thanks for nothing.

    Instead, spend that time picking up trash on the side of the road. Time MUCH better spent. I do it at least once a month.

  269. #269 Carlie
    July 18, 2008

    GOD BLESS YOU!

    Hee. When they write it in all-caps, is that equivalent to adding “and your mom too” to the “fuck you”?

  270. #270 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    Steven #255

    wonderful example of cognitive disonnance :

    First

    immature, unnecessary attack

    Second

    Why have you decided to do so?

    Third

    you don’t believe in GOD

    Fourth

    shameless publicity

    Finally

    congrats!

  271. #271 clinteas
    July 18, 2008

    Mike Nilsen,

    thats the spirit !!

    England 110 for 4 btw.

  272. #272 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    Steven RI, #255 wrote:

    OK. First of all, I am praying for you. I am sending to all of my friends and fellow church goers and they will pray for you too.

    Steven, why don’t you try thinking instead of praying? And encourage all your friends and fellow church goers to think too? Trust me, there’s no way it can have any less effect than praying.

    As for PZ’s ‘immature, unnecessary attack’ – if you’re actually familiar with the whole story and not just the rallying cry to outrage transmitted to you by one of your less-perceptive co-religionists whose mailing list you happen to be on – maybe you should pray for the people that threatened Webster Cook with harm – or do you think what they did was okay?

  273. #273 Hessenroots
    July 18, 2008

    For anyone sick of the crackerists, yet still jonesing for a fix of irrational wackyness, I humbly suggest ZetaTalk.

    “ZetaTalk leads you through the vast amount of information being relayed by the Zetas in answer to questions posed to their emissary, Nancy. Blah blah blargh blargh…”

    It’s top shelf alien conspiracy kookiness at its finest.

    I stumbled onto the site this morning but it looks like it’s been around for quite a while.

  274. #274 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 18, 2008

    Re contraception and Catholic nuttiness:
    When I was a med student, we received some literature about fertility investigation that had a section on testing and religious beliefs. IIRC, the big hangup was with RCs. The normal procedure for the male partner is to give him a jar and a private place (and maybe an issue of Playboy). He provides the sample – very simple. If the subject objects to masturbation, a condom is provided so that a sample can be obtained through intercourse. Not so simple, but, hey, it works.
    Not for devout Catholics – masturbation is forbidden, so the simple method is out. Contraception is forbidden, so the condom is out. The solution suggested? Give the guy a condom with HOLES IN IT. Since condom with holes in them are not exactly hot sellers, the lab staff would have to unwrap the condom, get out a needle or paper punch, and go to work. They would then presumably show it to the subject and ask: “Is this good enough?”
    The absurdity is mind-boggling.

  275. #275 Endor
    July 18, 2008

    “I am praying for you. I am sending to all of my friends and fellow church goers and they will pray for you too”

    Great, so you’re going to talk to yourself about us and then get all your friends to talk to themselves about us.

    Um . . what is that supposed to do, exactly?

  276. #276 gdlchmst
    July 18, 2008

    T. Bruce, that was too funny. I would have pissed myself laughing if it weren’t so sad at the same time.

  277. #277 Moses
    July 18, 2008

    Serious atheist circles (if any) now have to deal with Myers, who is merrily sawing away at the atheist tree of “science” and “rationality”.

    Posted by: dg | July 18, 2008 5:47 AM

    Who fucking died and made you the Atheist Pope? Paul Myers does not speak for me. And while I respect his intellect, accomplishments and like his blog, he’s NOT ALWAYS RIGHT in what he says.

    And when he isn’t, I say so.

    Because he’s not the fucking Pope of Atheists, either.

    Seriously, we’re like a bunch of cats. Prickly and intense and as liable to claw each other as we are the barking, empty dogs that are religion.

  278. #278 Dahan
    July 18, 2008

    Buzz Buzz at 93,

    I stand corrected. I should have stated that there are “more Muslims than Catholics”.

  279. #279 Monkey's Uncle
    July 18, 2008

    Truth Machine@173:

    OOH I’ve been slapped by truth machine….ooooh now I feel all warm and fuzzy…can I haz more?!

    The only other new posts are ones about cephalopods and other blogs…both things I am not experienced enough to comment on. So I won’t.

    Sorry for lowering the IQ of the thread, the blog, the interweb etc.

    I will try to do better next time.

    I DO like the truth machine tho..isn’t it dreamy??!!

  280. #280 AJ Milne
    July 18, 2008

    …in every church service I’ve had the misfortune to attend, they’ve passed a collection plate around, and expected you to contribute. Unless a catholic here can unreservedly say that the money raised does not buy the crackers, then as far as I’m concerned, if you put at least one cent, one penny, whatever, in the collection plate, then you’ve paid for the cracker. End of crime. No case to answer, M’lud…

    Wait. No it isn’t. Man, if I’m not allowed to desecrate the crackers I paid for, I want my money back!

    (I just assumed… And shorely there’s some consumer protection columnist can take this up for me if they give me trouble, right? I mean, I can’t use this product… Apparently, it’s non-desecratable, but there wasn’t even visible fine-print to this effect on the packaging, nothin’ so much as a clickthrough EULA… What is this shoddy BS? Ripoff! Call the BBB…

    Granted, for the number of times I’ve actually set foot in a Catholic church, they probably owe me like… um… I’m guessin’ it’s somewhere ’round 40 cents, adjusted for inflation ‘n interest. But still…)

  281. #281 True Bob
    July 18, 2008

    For a change of pace, how about some ideas on improving crackers. I like tortilla chips and salsa, so here’s a recipe I found from Steven Raichlen in The Barbecue Bible. It’s called xni pec (pronounced shnee pec) which he says is a “Mayan”* phrase for dog’s nose, ’cause your nose will run.

    1 large ‘mater, diced, with juice
    1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
    2 – 8 finely chopped habanero chiles (seed them if you’re a WATB)
    3 TBSP chopped cilantro
    3 TBSP sour oj (or 2:1 lime juice/oj)
    1/2 tsp NaCl

    This is really great, especially fresh, as time takes the heat and awesomely unique flavor out of the chiles and the aroma out of the cilantro. For my WATB family members, I’ll be making a jalapeno version today.

    *I’m guessing he means Yucatec, since that’s the region of origin for the recipe .

  282. #282 John Morales
    July 18, 2008

    This blog is a lot of fun.
    But why do they call it a “science” blog?

    The blog is called “Pharyngula” and is hosted by by ScienceBlogs, PZ is a biologist and when not distracted by stupidities gets time to actually post science.

    That may be why.

  283. #283 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Steven Raichlen in The Barbecue Bible

    Good cookbook.

    I have a cookbook problem. I will buy a new cook book and read in cover to cover. I rarely if ever read novels, but I’ll pick up a new cook book pretty frequently.

    I’ve actually made that recipe you mention. Good stuff. Simple and good.

  284. #284 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    MAJeff @245: Yes, I know it goes beyond that. I have not only read _Humanae Vitae_, I’ve studied the damn thing and had to memorize parts of it. I went to an Opus-Dei run Catholic school for six years, fer cryin’ out loud. I know quite well that the Roman Catholic Church forbids contraception, and their justification behind it. I was just trying to clarify a small point earlier.

  285. #285 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    , I’ve studied the damn thing and had to memorize parts of it

    *shudder*

  286. #286 True Bob
    July 18, 2008

    Rev, we have the reverse problem – more cookbooks than we know what’s in them. My mouth waters whenever I think of xni pec, it’s so good. I may have to go get some habaneros today. //slaver//

    I made some this last weekend, with my 11 year old daughter’s help. She did all the work except fine chopping. Even the next day, when I took it to work, it disappeared

    My daughter isn’t here now, so I can’t make the jalapeno version until she gets back from swim team.

  287. #287 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    MAJeff @284: You ain’t kiddin, pal. A lot of the stuff I had to read and memorize for those six years would make the Pharynguloids have a conniption fit. It still makes *me* shudder. Hell, my teachers told us it was justified to shoot abortion doctors. Many of my teachers and classmates came from families with 7+ kids, too.

    Then again, if I hadn’t gone to Opus Dei school, I probably would not have cared to research the “deep” questions of theology enough to eventually become an atheist.

  288. #288 Trevor
    July 18, 2008

    Dr. Myers et al,

    The proof does not fall on those of us who believe in transubstantiaion. We are not making a positive claim but a negative one- namely, that the Eucharist is not mere substance alone. It is the combination of ordinaries and accidents with qualities in both the material and spiritual world. So again, the burden of proof falls on you who make the positive claim that the Eucharist is simply substance alone.

    On the matter of the ordinaries, which have been referred to so frequently here, yes it is a cracker. Both before and after consecration the host remains a cracker because it retains it substantial properties. Every devout Catholic should believe that if he understands his faith. The cracker never changes. Yes it still looks, feels, and tastes like a cracker. You will not sensually perceive anything different about the Eucharist after consecration because consecration has nothing to do with the ordinaries.

    Instead, at consecration the accidents (essences) of the Eucharist are changed from the qualities of cracker alone to the qualities of Almighty God. No, we can not prove this to you if the methods of proof you are using are simply physical. But be honest with yourself: the life you live day to day is not simply physical. Drawing from your own experiences you can prove enough to believe yourself the existence of a spitirual element to all things (cf Plato, Moses, Gothe, Kant, Kirkengaard, Kreeft, etc.), and it is this proof, however incomplete, that we must operate on for reason’s sake.

    This is nothing different from the “leap of faith” for inferences, etc. that must be made by scientists in all genres at the point where perceptual elements and observable behaviors cease to be measured. Reason starts in faith and time and again returns to faith. The two are inseperable if we wish to have any sanity in our existence. And this is exactly how God operates so as not to impinge on our free will or intellect- he gives us just enough proof so that those who seek Him with an open heart and intellect will find just enough proof to believe in Him and those who do not seek are not compelled against their free will.

    So much more discussion need be had to illustrate even the beginning of these points and I would love to continue to dialogue with the few of you who are serious students of intellect, but the “noise” as you say Dr. Myers is taxing to sift through. Your response (46) is base and unintelligent and I as well as some of your proponents here I am sure, are throughly unimpressed. Thank you to those of you who are actually taking this seriously. Dr. Myers, you certainly are not. Poor show.

  289. #289 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    WATB?

  290. #290 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Trevor @287:

    The proof does not fall on those of us who believe in transubstantiaion. We are not making a positive claim but a negative one- namely, that the Eucharist is not mere substance alone. It is the combination of ordinaries and accidents with qualities in both the material and spiritual world. So again, the burden of proof falls on you who make the positive claim that the Eucharist is simply substance alone.

    Thanks for the example of truly tortured logic there, Trevor. Stuff like this makes me so glad I’m no longer Catholic.

  291. #291 Bill Dauphin
    July 18, 2008

    MAJeff:

    It’s too bad (or maybe it’s lucky for you, depending on how you look at it [g]) that I’m not gay, because after the comments you’ve made in this thread, I think I’m falling in love!

    Tell it, Brother!!

  292. #292 Dahan
    July 18, 2008

    The Star Tribune printed a letter to the editor about PZ, today. It was just the usual “Koran envy” bullshit about how people always attack Catholicism but wouldn’t dare do it to any other religion.

    Where does this persecution complex come from?

  293. #293 AJ Milne
    July 18, 2008

    For a change of pace, how about some ideas on improving crackers. I like tortilla chips and salsa, so here’s a recipe I found from Steven Raichlen in The Barbecue Bible…

    Mmmm. Sounds scrumptious…

    I’m thinkin’ if they do any cocktail hour services, they could do some nice dry martinis, maybe w/ a bit of appropriately blessed lemon for the garnish…

    (Intones) ‘The body of Christ… zested for you…’

  294. #294 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    The proof does not fall on those of us who believe in transubstantiaion. We are not making a positive claim but a negative one- namely, that the Eucharist is not mere substance alone. It is the combination of ordinaries and accidents with qualities in both the material and spiritual world. So again, the burden of proof falls on you who make the positive claim that the Eucharist is simply substance alone.

    Way to suck at logic.

  295. #295 Janine ID
    July 18, 2008

    OK. First of all, I am praying for you. I am sending to all of my friends and fellow church goers and they will pray for you too.

    Posted by: Steven, RI

    I am going to be highly presumptive here and speak for every non believer in your version of the big sky daddy and say this, no one will change how they go about their day as a result of your mass prayer. If you were able to get a thousand of your closest friends to pray for us, it would not have the same force as someone blowing in my face for I would have to close my eyes.

    But I encourage you and your friends to pray, it leaves less time for you and your friends to leave such insipid messages for the rest of us. Go forth and waste your time, Steven RI.

  296. #296 True Bob
    July 18, 2008

    Wowbagger,

    WATB = Whiny Ass Titty baby, I’ve usually seen it used in reference to people scared by them brown-skinned people, all of whom must be terrrsts.

  297. #297 Aquaria
    July 18, 2008

    I like it that PZ doesn’t pull his punches about atheism. He’s doing his part to drag that Overton’s Window closer to our side. The theists hated us anyway, because the only way they’ll accept us, short of perversion–er, conversion–is to not only be quiet about our own view of the matter, but to praise them for their beliefs.

    Fuck that.

    Religion doesn’t deserve any special treatment in the marketplace of ideas. Put it out there. If it’s worth a damn to someone, that someone can adopt it. If it’s bullshit to someone else, that someone else can call it bullshit, and there’s not a damned thing anyone can do about it. That’s how things work in the real world. Live with it.

  298. #298 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    Shorter Trever: I really believe that the cracker becomes Jesus, but only in such a way that there’s no actual, perceptible change. To back that up here’s an explanation with some pseudo-mystical terms like accident and essence that have no meaning whatsoever.

    Sorry Trevor. You’re illustrating the old axiom that you can’t polish a turd – you can only roll it in glitter and hope the suckers can’t see past the sparkles.

  299. #299 Pete Rooke
    July 18, 2008

    Opus-Dei run Catholic school for six years, fer cryin’ out loud. I know quite well that the Roman Catholic Church forbids contraception

    Opus-Dei is a cult. They are not real Catholics although they rightly dismiss the use of contraception (merely incidental).

  300. #300 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Rooke@298: Oh hell yes, the Opus Dei people are absolutely real Catholics. They are recognized as a “personal prelature” within the Church, and their founder was canonized by the last Pope. I believe the current Pope likes them as well.

  301. #301 Lilly de Lure
    July 18, 2008

    Dahan said:

    Where does this persecution complex come from?

    Because the “we’re right, you’re wrong and we’ll kill you if you say otherwise” approach has gone a bit out of fashion in the West post-enlightenment.

    Since then screaming “persecution, no fair!” is the only way left for religious types to enable themselves and their followers to feel all warm and virtuous about pushing their hang-ups down other people’s throats.

  302. #302 True Bob
    July 18, 2008

    Officials at the Department of Elections announced today that the citizens’ initiative to rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant has qualified for the November 4th San Francisco ballot. Voters will decide on the measure in the general election alongside the presidential election, numerous statewide initiatives, and an expected 20 to 30 local measures.

    Some object to shrubco’s name on anything useful, and I can understand and respect that. I’d vote for the name change if the proposed name were “Teh G W Bush Shit Hole”. And if I lived there.

  303. #303 dkew
    July 18, 2008

    clinteas,what have got against spaces after commas,and using apostrophes?Ignoring or flouting the conventions of English detracts from the perceived validity of your comments.That is,it bugs me.

  304. #304 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    True Bob, #295, on WATB:

    Thanks – I stand (well, sit) illuminated!

  305. #305 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Re: Opus Dei, let me add that I agree that the organization operates in a cult-like fashion in many ways. But their theology, their beliefs, their practices are all 100% loyal and faithful to the Roman Catholic Church.

  306. #306 Aquaria
    July 18, 2008

    The proof does not fall on those of us who believe in transubstantiaion. We are not making a positive claim but a negative one- namely, that the Eucharist is not mere substance alone.

    You are saying that a cracker becomes the body of Christ. That is a positive claim, dipshit. Saying that it doesn’t become the body of Christ is a negative claim. Therefore, you must prove that it becomes the body of Christ.

    Show all of your work.

  307. #307 Lilly de Lure
    July 18, 2008

    Wowbanger said:

    Sorry Trevor. You’re illustrating the old axiom that you can’t polish a turd – you can only roll it in glitter and hope the suckers can’t see past the sparkles.

    LOL – I hope you don’t mind if that line is shamelessly stolen from time to time because to be honest I may not be able to stop myself!

  308. #308 Dave
    July 18, 2008

    Trevor @#287,
    Would Mousier like some dressing for his word salad? Italian, I presume.

  309. #309 Hessenroots
    July 18, 2008

    @ 291

    “The Star Tribune printed a letter to the editor about PZ, today. It was just the usual “Koran envy” bullshit about how people always attack Catholicism but wouldn’t dare do it to any other religion.

    Where does this persecution complex come from?”

    Ignorance, jealousy and good ol’ fashioned deception as far as I’m concerned.

    How many hundreds of times have we tried to tell the trolls that it doesn’t matter which fairy tale you believe in?

  310. #310 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    Pete Rooke wrote:

    Opus-Dei is a cult. They are not real Catholics

    Real catholics are not in a cult? Explain how!

  311. #311 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    We are not making a positive claim but a negative one- namely, that the Eucharist is not mere substance alone. It is the combination of ordinaries and accidents with qualities in both the material and spiritual world. So again, the burden of proof falls on you who make the positive claim that the Eucharist is simply substance alone.

    I’m surprised Trevor hasn’t taken flight yet.

  312. #312 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Wowbagger@309: Ha, good point!

  313. #313 Janine ID
    July 18, 2008

    Dr. Myers et al,

    The proof does not fall on those of us who believe in transubstantiaion. We are not making a positive claim but a negative one- namely, that the Eucharist is not mere substance alone. It is the combination of ordinaries and accidents with qualities in both the material and spiritual world. So again, the burden of proof falls on you who make the positive claim that the Eucharist is simply substance alone.

    Posted by: Trevor

    Um, Trevor, you do realize that this can apply to every religion out there. The burden of proof falls on you who make the positive claim that Xenu was simply made up by L Ron Hubbard. Also, the burden of proof falls on you who make the positive claim that Mohammad imagined that Gabriel visited him. And the burden of proof falls on you who make the positive claim that Joseph Smith lied about being given special glasses by Moroni in order to read the tablets. And on and on and on and on…

  314. #314 Wowbagger
    July 18, 2008

    Lilly de Lure, #306 –

    Feel free – the turd plus glitter is an oldie; the part about suckers is 100% my own I’m proud to say.

    Share and enjoy!

  315. #315 True Bob
    July 18, 2008

    That was excellent, Wowbagger. I hadn’t heard the roll it in glitter part before (nor of course your suckers remark).

  316. #316 George
    July 18, 2008

    Okay I had a conversation about the crackers with a devout’ish catholic. I asked this person if they thought that the cracker actually transformed materially into flesh? They said – of course. So I said, we can actually test that and here we could prove that God really exists.

    Wait I was told we cannot test it. It would be a sin to take this flesh-cracker and test it. Also, if we tried it would transform back to being a cracker anyway.

    uhmm.. I guess that covers the bases.

  317. #317 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    The proof does not fall on those of us who believe in transubstantiaion (sic).

    Yes it does.

    A claim that if one says “alakazam” over a carrot, it turns into a piece of elephant is absurd. Substituting a cracker for a carrot, a mythical Levantine Jewish zombie for the elephant and using different magic words does not change the nature of the truth claim. Transubstantiation is absurd on its face.

    If you want to establish transubstantiation as true, you would have to analyse a sample of two different crackers with liquid/gas chromatography, spectroscopy, etc. to establish their exact composition, “consecrate” one cracker with the usual hocus pocus, then analyse samples of the two crackers again, and point out the Jeebus lines in the spectrum of the consecrated cracker which are absent from the control cracker. You would have to repeat this in a double-blind fashion hundreds of times and, at minimum, show that consecrated crackers can be differentiated from unconsecrated crackers at a statistically significant level, if not with 100% reliability.

    It’s just a frackin’ cracker. Transubstantiation is ridiculous nonsense and you cannot shift the burden of proof by fiat.

  318. #318 Bill Dauphin
    July 18, 2008

    Opus-Dei is a cult. They are not real CatholicsScotsmen

    Fixed it.

  319. #319 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    @315:

    Wait I was told we cannot test it. It would be a sin to take this flesh-cracker and test it. Also, if we tried it would transform back to being a cracker anyway.

    Nope, the Catholic theological belief is that the Eucharist only ceases to be Jesus’s body, blood, soul, divinity, etc., until the “accidents” of bread go away…i.e., when it is digested by stomach acids.

    Yes, testing it would be a sin (according to RCC theology). But sometimes there are “miracles” whereby it behaves like flesh/blood/etc. Actually, on one message board for devout Catholics, there are people praying for such a miracle to occur for PZ if/when he desecrates a consecrated Host, so that he will finally BELIEVE.

  320. #320 SEF
    July 18, 2008

    the Eucharist is not mere substance alone.

    Quite apart from Trevor being extremely dishonest and incompetent at logic, there’s also still the issue of fraud over these crackers and the extraordinary claims and positive assertions made about them by Catholics. The Catholics are passing them off as being value-added (over the original unconsecrated wafer) without any evidence to support their claims. Unless they admit the whole rigmarole is just silly entertainment and the communion bit just part of the audience participation in the make-believe, they’re obtaining the monetary “donations” under false pretences. If it’s not a strictly card-holding members only and/or fee-paying event, then it’s unfair of them to claim people can’t walk off with the freebie party favour.

    If the religious ignore evidence (as is generally the case) and stick by their claim that the crackers are really bits of zombie Jesus, then their magic ritual is not merely cannibalism but also witchcraft. So anyone taking the crackers away from these crackers would be either rescuing a Jesus clone or stem-cell from those who seek to enslave him for their own ends or is merely relieving the witches of unimportant toe-nail or hair clippings which were surplus to their needs. A true Jesus-god couldn’t be “kidnapped” unless he wanted to leave and taking discarded skin cells etc isn’t regarded as kidnapping (or even theft).

    As usual, the religious don’t appear to be able to keep their lies consistent and their story straight.

  321. #321 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Oh drat, that “i.e.” in my last comment should have really been an “e.g.”. There are other was for it to stop being Jesus. For instance, if mold consumes it (this was told to me by one of my Opus Dei teachers). Or if a piece were broken off from a Host such that it was too tiny to still act like/smell like/be perceived as bread, then it would supposedly stop being Jesus too. Or so I was taught. Yes, I know, it’s nutty, but I’m just trying to clarify the theological beliefs (as much as this is possible for a belief that is inherently nutty).

  322. #322 SteveM
    July 18, 2008

    Quite possibly, if you had a sign up saying, “This beer is for Democrats only” and a republican drank it, he/she would potentially be committing theft.

    Bullshit. Just putting up a sign with no attempt to verify the status of the beer drinkers would be just so much “boilerplate” and not enforcible. Maybe if you asked everyone as you handed them the beer, “Are you a Democrat?” but in the analogy to the mass, the priest does not ask if you are Catholic, there are no signs that the communion is for Catholics only, there is no guard at the door verifying that you are a Catholic. To all appearance, you are standing on a street corner handing out beer to anyone who walks by and then getting upset that one guy poured it out on the ground instead of drinking it.

  323. #323 davem
    July 18, 2008

    The proof does not fall on those of us who believe in transubstantiaion.

    Sorry Trevor, but it does fall on you. Bernhard Russell’s teapot killed that argument decades ago.

    We are not making a positive claim but a negative one

    Nope. Grade F in logic, there, Trevor. You are claiming a cracker becomes the body of a guy who died 2,000 years ago. That’s quite a claim, and is based on exactly zero physical evidence.

    Both before and after consecration the host remains a cracker because it retains it substantial properties.

    We agree on this.

    No, we can not prove this to you if the methods of proof you are using are simply physical.

    So if it cannot be demonstrated, it can safely be ignored as having zero effect on our world.

    But be honest with yourself: the life you live day to day is not simply physical. Drawing from your own experiences you can prove enough to believe yourself the existence of a spitirual element to all things (cf Plato, Moses, Gothe, Kant, Kirkengaard, Kreeft, etc.)

    Nope. I can prove nothing of the sort. Any feeling in that direction of yourself is a delusion, albeit a powerful one.
    My nearest experience to a ‘spiritual’ one would be after listening to great music, but I’m pretty sure that the emotion engendered is nothing to do with invisible sky faeries, but is mere brain chemistry. I can’t explain, it, but my ignorance is not proof of ‘God’.

    Reason starts in faith and time and again returns to faith. The two are inseperable if we wish to have any sanity in our existence.

    Nope. By definition, reason does not involve faith. Faith is the belief in the unreasonable.

    And this is exactly how God operates so as not to impinge on our free will or intellect- he gives us just enough proof so that those who seek Him with an open heart and intellect will find just enough proof to believe in Him and those who do not seek are not compelled against their free will.

    Only in your collective delusion, as relayed to you by your predecessors, and the church. The whole last supper thing seems to have been borrowed from older organised religions, ie it is an invention of the church.

  324. #324 raven
    July 18, 2008

    Re contraception and Catholic nuttiness:
    When I was a med student, we received some literature about fertility investigation that had a section on testing and religious beliefs. IIRC, the big hangup was with RCs.

    In the USA, in real life, most Catholics smile and nod and do whatever they think is right. Which has nothing to do with the Catholic church.

    The number of children in Catholic US families is identical to the general population at 2+.

    In other words, how many children people have is their business and not the business of old celibate batchelors who won’t kick in a penny to support them.

    The Catholic church just ignores it. Don’t ask, don’t tell. If they really started trying to enforce the silly parts of their dogma, at least half their members would leave for other churches.

  325. #325 D
    July 18, 2008

    Yes, testing it would be a sin (according to RCC theology). But sometimes there are “miracles” whereby it behaves like flesh/blood/etc. Actually, on one message board for devout Catholics, there are people praying for such a miracle to occur for PZ if/when he desecrates a consecrated Host, so that he will finally BELIEVE.

    Ohh, PZ could really have some fun with that. Rig up one to “bleed” or something, but have it be an unconsecrated one. Numerous other possibilities to show the absurdity of it all.

  326. #326 PZ Myers
    July 18, 2008

    Can these guys get any more ironic? Here’s the latest from BIll Donohue:

    Catholics put a premium on forgiveness and reconciliation–they do not conduct vindictive campaigns of personal destruction under the guise of promoting the Catholic cause.

  327. #327 SteveM
    July 18, 2008

    The proof does not fall on those of us who believe in transubstantiaion. We are not making a positive claim but a negative one- namely, that the Eucharist is not mere substance alone.

    You are truly a moron if you think that the fact there is a “not” in that sentence makes it a “negative” claim. You are claiming that it is “not mere substance”, that means you are claimin it is more than mere substance, or something other than mere substance. That is a positive claim.

    The null hypothesis is that the wafer is simply unleavened bread. Nothing needs to be done to prove that since it is blinkin obvious. You are claiming that it is more than that, the burden of proof is on you.

  328. #328 SC
    July 18, 2008

    and point out the Jeebus lines in the spectrum of the consecrated cracker which are absent from the control cracker

    …while keeping in mind that, in social terms, theirs is the “control cracker.”

    (Hi, Emmet! Like your new site.)

  329. #329 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Can these guys get any more ironic? Here’s the latest from BIll Donohue:

    Catholics put a premium on forgiveness and reconciliation–they do not conduct vindictive campaigns of personal destruction under the guise of promoting the Catholic cause.

    The sound you just heard was the screech associated with the Nasdaq stock of the companies that manufacture Irony Meters skyrocketing to new highs.

  330. #330 Twilight
    July 18, 2008

    Hey Geoff, re: your wedding reading question:

    Why don’t you and the new spouse each just get up and speak about how much you love each other and why you’re getting married?

    I mean, having a “wedding reading” seems sort of like the “atheist meal benediction” that was posted a few replies below you: isn’t that just religion by other means? Why does everything still have to be a ceremonial appeal to others once you get rid of religion? Can it instead just be honest, heartfelt and personal?

  331. #331 SC
    July 18, 2008

    Donohue:

    Everyone knows that I was the first to criticize Pastor John Hagee for his offensive past comments about the Catholic Church. When Hudson sought to open Hagee’s eyes about some misconceptions he had about the Catholic Church’s historical role in dealing with Jews,…

    Creepy beyond belief.

  332. #332 Lilly de Lure
    July 18, 2008

    Going way back in the thread, Moses said (regarding Melanie Kroll):

    In any case, if you defend and minimize your husbands repeated Internet attacks, including at least one other known death-threat, you can fuck yourself. You are complicit and enabling and do not deserve, from me, any empathy or help for the situation you keep enabling.

    So, please, stop the Kroll-help trolling. The conduct of her and her husband is indefensible and the consequences of the behavior are unworthy of any remediation efforts on our part.

    Moses, I don’t disagree for a second with any part of your assessment of either of the Kroll’s behaviour (and any sympathy I initially had for Melanie waned considerably once I read her take on the whole issue).

    However, should Oriole’s campaign be successful I do kind of like the idea of them owing every paycheck Melanie picks up to the good offices of the very secularists and atheists her husband harbours such utter hatred for.

  333. #333 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    I was told we cannot test it… if we tried it would transform back to being a cracker anyway.

    So the tri-omni God of the Catlicks, Creator of the Universe, is at the mercy of mass spectrometry :)

    (Hi SC! Actually, that’s the old one, kinda. I haven’t really made up my mind.)

  334. #334 Norman Doering
    July 18, 2008

    Questions for Trevor:

    1) Can you consecrate your own crackers?
    2) If a priest has stopped believing, but is keeping quiet about it because he’s got a cushy job and isn’t qualified to do anything else and he just mumbles “mumbo-jumbo” over your cracker is it consecrated?
    3) Can someone who buys a $15 universal life church degree consecrate crackers?
    4) Could you tell if a cracker was consecrated or not?

  335. #335 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Norman Doering @333: I’m not Trevor, but I can answer your questions:

    1) Can you (Trevor) consecrate your own crackers?

    Not unless Trevor is an ordained RCC priest.

    2) If a priest has stopped believing, but is keeping quiet about it because he’s got a cushy job and isn’t qualified to do anything else and he just mumbles “mumbo-jumbo” over your cracker is it consecrated?

    Actually, yes. Once a man is ordained, it is said to impart a permanent “character” to the soul. So even if a priest leaves, is laicized, or even defrocked, he could still technically transubstantite wafers by following hte proper rubric to do so, even if he no longer believes in transubstantiation. This is what I was taught, anyway.

    3) Can someone who buys a $15 universal life church degree consecrate crackers?

    Nope, ULC doesn’t ordain Roman Catholic priests.

    4) Could you tell if a cracker was consecrated or not?

    Not unless God decided to allow a miracle and let the consecrated Eucharist become flesh-like, which supposedly He has in the past. But of course, these miracles are awfully scarce in today’s skeptical times (probably because they are harder to convincingly fake).

  336. #336 AgnoAtheist
    July 18, 2008

    Trevor (#287)

    Your emperor there has really fine looking clothes.

  337. #337 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Not unless Trevor is an ordained RCC priest.

    Wait. Are you suggesting that RCC priests can? Did I miss something or misunderstand you?

  338. #338 E.V.
    July 18, 2008

    Ever noticed the tone of the arguments?
    These godless half-human ATHEISTS don’t know their place. How dare they challenge OUR GOD, OUR RITES? It’s established authority ! They all should be lynched or at the very least, beaten for speaking out. It’s a CHRISTIAN (substitute preferred religion) World! And if they want to live in it, they need to keep their mouths SHUT! Goddamned monkey’s uncle believing heretics!

    Dese uppitty atheis’ gonna mess it all up for da res’ of us atheis’. They don’ know they place. The theis’ folk gonna get mad at ALL US, cause dem uppitty ones wanna PROVE somethin’. Prove dey jes’ as good as da church folk. No suh, don’t rile dem church folk. Da res’ of us knows our place. We be good atheis’ and keep our mouth shut…

    (please forgive the crude Porgy & Bess stereotypical dialect. No racial slur is intended)

  339. #339 SC
    July 18, 2008

    I object to the disruption of the Mass Spectrometry!

    (Hi SC! Actually, that’s the old one, kinda. I haven’t really made up my mind.)

    Well, they both might as well be in Kazakh, for all that I understand what in the Hi-Ho you’re talking about. :)

  340. #340 AgnoAtheist
    July 18, 2008

    For me, the interesting issues surrounding the (non)legalities of not-eating-a-wafer-for-as-to-decieve is what happens after one is arrested. For instance, wouldn’t Catholics be obligated by their understandings of reality to press an injunction or something to get Jesus out of evidence lock up?

  341. #341 chgo_liz
    July 18, 2008

    I’ve given up reading all the responses. Two quick points:

    1- When it comes to gifts, legally it doesn’t matter what the intent was. If someone sends you a calendar through the mail, or a set of hand-painted cards, and then tries to guilt you into sending them a “donation” in return, US law clearly states that you are under no obligation. Their “intent” on giving you the gift means nothing.

    2- #100 is inexcusable. Seriously bad form. Autism is a medical condition, not a joke.

  342. #342 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Rev Big Dumb Chimp @336:

    Wait. Are you suggesting that RCC priests can? Did I miss something or misunderstand you?

    According to Roman Catholic beliefs, yes, only ordained priests can transubstantiate wafers. Do I personally think that RCC priests can transubstantiate wafers? No. But the original question was put to a believing Catholic, so I figured I’d answer it (having once been one myself).

  343. #343 Norman Doering
    July 18, 2008

    Adrienne wrote:

    2) If a priest has stopped believing, but is keeping quiet about it because he’s got a cushy job and isn’t qualified to do anything else and he just mumbles “mumbo-jumbo” over your cracker is it consecrated?

    Actually, yes. Once a man is ordained, it is said to impart a permanent “character” to the soul. So even if a priest leaves, is laicized, or even defrocked, he could still technically transubstantite wafers by following the proper rubric to do so, even if he no longer believes in transubstantiation. This is what I was taught, anyway.

    Then no law needs to be broken to get a cracker that Catholics would consider consecrated.

  344. #344 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    Norman Doering @#333,

    My understanding is that, according to their dogma, sacraments, including ordination, leave an “indelible mark” on the soul, and you have to have the right mark and say the right hocus pocus in order to turn crackers into meat.

    It’s a bit like a particular power-up in a computer game: even after you’ve got it, you still have to hit the right button sequence to activate it. We couldn’t have transubstantiation going off by accident and have random baguettes turning into 2000 year old flesh.

    I think the answers are:

    1) Not unless you have been ordained as a Catholic priest.

    2) Only if it’s the right mumbo jumbo.

    3) Sure, but they won’t be the flesh of Jeebus according to the Catlicks.

    4) No.

    My question is much less frivolous than yours: if a consecrated cracker is meat and an unconsecrated cracker is bread, then if you put a consecrated cracker between two unconsecrated crackers, is that a Jesus burger and, if so, can I have one with gherkins?

  345. #345 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Norman Doering@342:

    Then no law needs to be broken to get a cracker that Catholics would consider consecrated.

    Nope, not if PZ found a laicized (or other willing) previously ordained RCC priest willing to transubstantiate some wafers for him to desecrate. But I think others have established already that removing a transubstantiated wafer from a Church would not be technically breaking the law, either.

  346. #346 AJ Milne
    July 18, 2008

    For instance, wouldn’t Catholics be obligated by their understandings of reality to press an injunction or something to get Jesus out of evidence lock up?

    ‘I’m sorry, ma’am, we can’t help you there quite yet… Yes, we understand your cracker is allegedy the victim, here, but it’s been suspiciously quiet about the whole thing. So I’m afraid it’s gonna have to stay downtown a bit longer. At least until it answers a few questions.’

  347. #347 Bill Dauphin
    July 18, 2008

    Wait. Are you suggesting that RCC priests can [consecrate hosts]?

    Not only can they do so, it’s one of their primary jobs. The mass is basically divided into two major sections: the Liturgy of the Word (i.e., Bible readings and the sermon) and the celebration of the Eucharist. The latter consists of a long series of prayers and rituals with the purpose of preparing the Eucharist, and of preparing the congregation to receive it (but not, as and aside, detailing the rules or customs surrounding it). During this sequence, the priest consecrates the bread and wine, eats and drinks his own portion, distributes it to the other priests and lay Eucharistic ministers, and leads the distribution of communion to the congregation.

    In fact, if I understand it correctly, only a priest can consecrate the Eucharist. Keep in mind that everyone in the heirarchy — monsignors, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, right up to the pope — is a priest first, and I think it’s in that role that they consecrate the mass.

  348. #348 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    In fact, if I understand it correctly, only a priest can consecrate the Eucharist.

    Correct. Only a man (and it has to be a man) who has received the Catholic sacrament of holy orders can consecrate/transubstantiate/magically transform the wafers into the body/blood/soul/divinity of Jesus. So goes the RCC belief.

  349. #349 Neural T
    July 18, 2008

    I want to use an example to explain the nature of evidence, and if you bear with me, you’ll see that it has a point.

    Let’s say I give you a box that is one foot cubed in size, and I ask you to guess what’s inside. Immediately you can start ruling out some things — it’s not a car or a chair — but there are a large number of hypotheses that you can make about the contents. It could be a toy, or a pair of glasses, or a bottle of sunblock. In order to whittle down these hypotheses, you need to start gathering evidence. You could shake the box to see if it swishes (a liquid), or makes a low pitched thud or high pitched clang. That would rule out more possibilities. Ultimately, though, you could open the box and get the best form of evidence — being able to see and touch the object directly. You open it and discover that it’s a box of matches. All other hypotheses have died.

    The point is that evidence kills hypotheses. The nature of the scientific enterprise is to gather evidence, and what you find over time is that scientific consensus emerges over our view of the world. As just one example, disparate fields merged their knowledge of evolution (the modern synthesisthere’s no evidence to kill the hypotheses.

    If we had any real evidence about God or transubstantiation, we wouldn’t need all the endless philosophizing and weird rationalizations that negative claims are in fact positive claims and so on. You could just present the evidence and let the hypothesis live or die.

  350. #350 Longstreet63
    July 18, 2008

    In perusing the “Eucharistic Miracles” site, I find it interestingly telling that the list of miracles includes only one such in the last century, and it is, of course, a rather cartoonish ‘face’ image on a cracker, which apparently showed up in India. While they claim it looks like Christ crowned with thorns, it looks just as much like Jack Black on a bad hair day, or the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
    I note also that the miracle started when the priest called attention to it. Funny that, the guy with prior access to the cracker is the one who first noticed the three dots, which, by the next day, had become a ‘face’. There are pictures, although some, oddly, are cartoons themselves.

    The rest of the list is the usual litany of pre-enlightenment fairy stories, most of them far more dodgy than this.

    http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/engl_mir.htm

    And oddly, no Eucharistic Miracles in the United States…

  351. #351 Britomart
    July 18, 2008

    On the news here this morning:

    3 women to be ordained Catholic priests in Boston!!

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/07/18/3_women_to_be_ordained_catholic_priests_in_boston/

    Of course they, and all who participate in the ceremony will be automatically excommunicated.

    What do you all think?

    Thank you kindly

    I dont know whether to congratulate them on the ordination or on the excommunication. Do you think they will have the secret special something to be able to magic the crackers?

  352. #352 Moses
    July 18, 2008

    Dr. Myers et al,

    The proof does not fall on those of us who believe in transubstantiaion. We are not making a positive claim but a negative one- namely, that the Eucharist is not mere substance alone.

    blah, blah, blah…

    Posted by: Trevor | July 18, 2008 9:44 AM

    ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID? THAT IS A POSTIVE CLAIM!!!! Logic, UR DOIN IT WRONG!!!!

  353. #353 Neural T
    July 18, 2008

    I should point out another thing about consensus. If I gave a box with the same object to 20 different people and they went through the same process (eventually just opening the box), they would all come to the same conclusion.

    With religion that never happens. The diversity of opinions about God continues to increase, and many people, while professing to follow an established dogma, may have their own idiosyncratic view about God. Again, there’s no evidence to kill the theories.

  354. #354 Lilly de Lure
    July 18, 2008

    Adrienne, as a fellow graduate of a catholic school I stand in awe at your detailed remembrance of your RE lessons. Mine tended to pass in a bit of a haze, unless something being discussed struck me as unusually weird even for RE!

    Actually, yes. Once a man is ordained, it is said to impart a permanent “character” to the soul. So even if a priest leaves, is laicized, or even defrocked, he could still technically transubstantite wafers by following hte proper rubric to do so, even if he no longer believes in transubstantiation. This is what I was taught, anyway.

    It seems like an awful lot of faff to determine who can or cannot mutter magic spells at bread products though!

  355. #355 jim
    July 18, 2008

    The beauty of the Trevor Logic(tm) is that it’s recursive.

    Atheist: You must justify your claim that the cracker transubstantiates.
    Trevor: No, the burden of proof is on you. I make the negative claim that the cracker doesn’t fail to transubstantiate.
    Atheist: Au contraire. We are making the negative claim that the cracker doesn’t fail to refrain from transubstantiating.
    Trevor: No, I’m making the negative claim. I say that the cracker doesn’t fail to refrain from not transubstantiating.
    Atheist: Is that so? Then I claim that the cracker doesn’t fail to refrain from taking the negative of the course that would prevent it from discarding the option to perform the antithesis of the action of not refusing to transubstantiate.
    Trevor: head asplodes

  356. #356 Moses
    July 18, 2008

    #298Opus-Dei run Catholic school for six years, fer cryin’ out loud. I know quite well that the Roman Catholic Church forbids contraception

    Opus-Dei is a cult. They are not real Catholics although they rightly dismiss the use of contraception (merely incidental).

    Posted by: Pete Rooke | July 18, 2008 9:53 AM

    Oh, look, a “no true scotsman” fallacy. Seriously, get a clue:

    Opus Dei, formally known as The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, is an organization of the Roman Catholic Church that teaches the Catholic belief that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity.[1][2] The majority of its membership are lay people, with secular priests under the governance of a prelate appointed by the Pope.[1] Opus Dei is Latin for “Work of God”, hence the organization is often referred to by members and supporters as “the Work”.[3][4]

  357. #357 gdlchmst
    July 18, 2008

    @Neural T #348

    Sadly, the religious prides themselves on having claims that cannot be falsified. They *like* having no evidence. What they really want is a socio-political competition to see who’s dick god is bigger.

  358. #358 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Lilly De Lure @353:

    Adrienne, as a fellow graduate of a catholic school I stand in awe at your detailed remembrance of your RE lessons. Mine tended to pass in a bit of a haze, unless something being discussed struck me as unusually weird even for RE!

    Ha, thanks. I think. ;-) Just remember, I went to an Opus Dei school. My Catholic RE was basically uber-Catholicism on ‘roids. My school had (and probably still has) Mass said at the school chapel every single day as part of the school day. You don’t have to go (you can read an approved book instead), but of course they encouraged you to go.

    We had regular chastity speakers, too, telling us girls (it was an all-girls school, of course) not to go too far. Because nobody marries a slut. Or a cow who gives away her milk for free.

    It seems like an awful lot of faff to determine who can or cannot mutter magic spells at bread products though!

    Well, yeah, but these are really important magic spells that change the waferz into Jesus, remember. The RCC is also ridiculously legalistic, especially for an organization supposedly founded by a guy who spoke out against the extreme legalism of his fellow co-religionists. I think the RCC is nearly as bad as Orthodox Judaism when it comes to the legalism bit.

  359. #359 SEF
    July 18, 2008

    we understand your cracker is allegedy the victim, here

    Yes, unless the Catholics are claiming their Jesus to be a mentally incompetent dependant or slave who is not responsible for his own choices, then the Jesus of the cracker has to be the one to raise any secular-law complaint about alleged mistreatment at the hands of the differently-believing. He has every right to walk out of church with whomever he chooses. The Catholics have no right to falsely imprison cracker-Jesus (let alone eat him!).

  360. #360 gdlchmst
    July 18, 2008

    Do you think they will have the secret special something to be able to magic the crackers?

    Of course not, didn’t you know, God’s a misogynist.

  361. #361 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    Trevor,

    And this is exactly how God operates so as not to impinge on our free will or intellect- he gives us just enough proof so that those who seek Him with an open heart and intellect will find just enough proof to believe in Him and those who do not seek are not compelled against their free will.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with God, nor with him giving you just enough proof and you know it. The only reason you believe in this nonsense is because you have been told since you were a child that when a cracker is handed over to you by a priest it is the body of Christ, and your faith is so ridiculously unhelpful to prove anything that it is absolutely incapable of discerning the body of christ from a cracker and you know it.

  362. #362 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    BAH!

    I misread Adriane when I asked about RCC priests.
    I was mixing up the can consecrate and the can tell if consecrated questions.

    Ignore me… as usual.

  363. #363 SEF
    July 18, 2008

    We so need a cracker-Jesus puppet:

    Puppet-master (listening intently to puppet): “What’s that, cracker-Jesus? You’d like to go visit PZ and play with Prof.Steve Steve today?”

  364. #364 Lilly de Lure
    July 18, 2008

    Adrienne said:

    We had regular chastity speakers, too, telling us girls (it was an all-girls school, of course) not to go too far. Because nobody marries a slut. Or a cow who gives away her milk for free.

    This I do remember, although we just got speechs from the regular RE teacher – same message though.

    *shudders at memory*

    The RCC is also ridiculously legalistic, especially for an organization supposedly founded by a guy who spoke out against the extreme legalism of his fellow co-religionists.

    If there’s one thing that has come out of this cracker affair at all it is the certain knowledge that irony meters and the RCC do not mix!

  365. #365 Clay
    July 18, 2008

    Thus quoth PZ:

    So, what to do. I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart.

    Now that PZ has scored his crackers, where are the photos? Maybe I missed something. I must admit I haven’t been able to read every comment on this subject.

  366. #366 SC
    July 18, 2008

    Oh, Opus Dei, Opus Dei, Opus Dei. Why do they get all the attention?

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

  367. #367 Lilly de Lure
    July 18, 2008

    SC said:

    Oh, Opus Dei, Opus Dei, Opus Dei. Why do they get all the attention?

    Because Dan Browne gets confused by words with more than 4 letters in them?

  368. #368 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    SC @365:

    Oh, Opus Dei, Opus Dei, Opus Dei. Why do they get all the attention?

    They are very politically savvy. They are good at making friends with the rich and powerful (e.g., Sam Brownback, Bob Novak) as part of their greater effort to influence public policy.

  369. #369 Dave
    July 18, 2008

    1. The intellectual atheist.
    This person honestly feels that there is a lack of sufficient evidence to demonstrate God’s existence. The intellectual atheist claims that he cannot put faith in anything that he himself cannot see, feel, nor touch with his physical senses. (This, of course, is not a valid argument, for there are many things we all take by faith that we haven’t seen for ourselves. For example, most people believe that asteroids exist, even though they may have never seen one). Hence, the intellectual atheist uses many arguments of reason and logic to defend his position.

    Most intellectual atheists, however, have never really examined the evidence that demonstrates God’s existence. Since many of them are open to reason, most intellectual atheists reject their atheistic position upon hearing the evidence which supports that there is a God.

    2. The immoral atheist.
    This person denies God’s existence because he loves his sin. He is basically a selfish individual, and delights in practices that offend God’s law. The immoral atheist rejects the notion that God exists so as to make himself feel that he is not accountable to anyone for his actions. His moral state prevents him from acknowledging God’s existence. He surmises that if God exists, then he will be accountable and will have to face judgment for his unrighteous deeds. This person can be likened unto a criminal. A criminal would like to believe that law enforcers do not exist. In like manner, the immoral atheist would like for God not to exist. This, then, is the underlying reason for his belief. So in order to appease his conscience and disregard the fear of judgment, the immoral atheist persuades himself that there is no God.

    3. The emotional atheist.
    Probably most atheists today are of this type. Unlike the intellectual and immoral atheist, the emotional atheist does not reject God’s existence because of reason, nor because he loves sin. Instead, the emotional atheist denies God’s existence because all he has experienced in his life has been pain, sorrow, and heart-break. This person cannot see any sense nor purpose in life; it all makes no sense to him. He has never experienced true love and concern from others. Hence, he can only conclude that if there was a God, life would not be so painful. Out of all of the different types of atheists, the emotional atheist is most open to see the truth that God exists. For once he sees the love of God and experiences it, he abandons his atheism.

  370. #370 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Wow I’m on a roll

    Adrienne not Adriane

  371. #371 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    Dave @#368,

    Fuck off.

  372. #372 SteveM
    July 18, 2008

    Now that PZ has scored his crackers, where are the photos? Maybe I missed something. I must admit I haven’t been able to read every comment on this subject.

    What you are missing is a satire detector.

  373. #373 SC
    July 18, 2008

    They are very politically savvy. They are good at making friends with the rich and powerful…as part of their greater effort to influence public policy.

    As are the Legionarios.

  374. #374 gdlchmst
    July 18, 2008

    Dave, you are a clueless child. You have no idea who we are and what we believe. And here I was, thinking it is common courtesy to know what you are talking about before you go characterizing another group of people.

  375. #375 El Herring
    July 18, 2008

    George #315: It would be a sin to take this flesh-cracker and test it. Also, if we tried it would transform back to being a cracker anyway.

    Aha – it’s a QUANTUM cracker! Maybe it’s one of a quantum-entangled pair (the other being a Devil cracker perhaps?)

    I could write a great story with this as a jumping-off point.

  376. #376 Rev. BigDumbCHimp
    July 18, 2008

    Dave, thanks for showing what a small minded twit you are.

    This is the dumbest analogy I’ve read today.

    (This, of course, is not a valid argument, for there are many things we all take by faith that we haven’t seen for ourselves. For example, most people believe that asteroids exist, even though they may have never seen one).

  377. #377 GunOfSod
    July 18, 2008

    “We are not making a positive claim but a negative one- namely, that the Eucharist is not mere substance alone. It is the combination of ordinaries and accidents with qualities in both the material and spiritual world. So again, the burden of proof falls on you who make the positive claim that the Eucharist is simply substance alone.”

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    Trevor, My cat is the Devil. If you don’t believe me, prove it!

  378. #378 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    Posted by: Dave | July 18, 2008 11:56 AM

    Ah, the joy of highly concentrated idiocy.

  379. #379 dave
    July 18, 2008

    Emmet@370
    You’re number three right?

  380. #380 GunOfSod
    July 18, 2008

    sorry for all the posts but I had to..
    # 287 – Trevor

    “You will not sensually perceive anything different”

    What about if I slip the cracker into my trousers?

  381. #381 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    Not forgetting the Legion of Mary who, at least in Dublin, call door-to-door and proselytize in the street. I don’t remember seeing one in 15 years, though.

  382. #382 Calladus
    July 18, 2008

    And this is exactly how God operates so as not to impinge on our free will or intellect- he gives us just enough proof so that those who seek Him with an open heart and intellect will find just enough proof to believe in Him and those who do not seek are not compelled against their free will.

    I call BS.

    There is no reason why God couldn’t give OVERWHELMING proof of his existence, the kind of proof that even Dr. Myers would accept. The answer that doing so would disturb freewill is demonstrably false, and shown to be false from a well-known example in the Bible.

    You want overwhelming proof? How about turning rivers into blood, boils and open sores, three days of darkness, and the death of every single first-born? How about the parting of the red sea, and a big flipping pillar of smoke and fire that both shows the way and protects the Israelites from the Pharaoh?

    With all of this overwhelming proof, what did the Israelites do at the base of Mt. Sinai?

    They ignored God and built their own idol to worship. THAT is freewill for you! Freewill in the face of overwhelming evidence. (Obviously, they weren’t too bright, were they?)

    So, any time some religious person says that God CAN’T give evidence for fear of negating free will – I know that’s BS. It’s merely an attempt of a sophisticated way to explain away the lack of overwhelming mountains of evidence we could expect if an all powerful being was active in the daily lives of humans.

  383. #383 ctenotrish
    July 18, 2008

    http://www.savethecracker.com/

    If you haven’t clicked through to this link, it is quite funny!!

  384. #384 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    1. The intellectual theist.
    This person honestly feels that there is such a thing as “faith based on reason”. The intellectual theist claims that there is more to reality than what can be empirically verified. Hence, the intellectual theist attempts to use many arguments of reason and logic to defend his or her position.

    Most intellectual theists, however, have never really examined their own reasons for why they believe in God. They may not question the idea of God, having been taught that God exists from a young age. But since some of the intellectual theists are open to reason, some will reject their theistic position after closer examination of the lack of evidence for God.

    2. The immoral theist.
    This person believes in God’s existence because he loves being able to feel himself or herself to be better than others. He or she also gets the jollies from being able to hate the groups that his or her God supposedly hates — people with dark skin, homosexuals, etc. He or she is basically a selfish individual, and delights in thinking himself or herself to be morally superior to all those poor lost souls. He or she may also do terrible things, either in God’s name or because he or she knows that God will forgive whatever he or she does. The immporal theist enjoys being righteously outraged at those who don’t share the same beliefs or who even dare to oppose them. So in order to appease his conscience and disregard the fear of judgment, the immoral theist persuades himself that whatever he or she does, no matter how savage or hurtful, is to advance God’s cause.

    3. The emotional theist.
    Probably most theists today are of this type. Unlike the intellectual and immoral theist, the emotional atheist does not believe in God’s existence because of reason, nor because he or she enjoys being righteously hypocritical. Instead, the emotional theist affirms God’s existence because he or she enjoys the comfort that this belief gives. These people cannot see any sense nor purpose in death or when random terrible events hurt themselves or those whom they love; they cannot accept the idea of permanent loss from loved ones or of bad things happening to good people. They probably enjoy the sense of community they get from worshipping with fellow believers as well. Hence, the emotional theist can only conclude that God will reward those good people who suffered during life. Out of all of the different types of theists, the emotional theist is probably the least open to see the truth that there is no reason to believe in God’s existence. For once he or she sees the world for the cold, hard place it is and understands the finality of death, he or she rejects the truth with a vengeance.

  385. #385 SEF
    July 18, 2008

    If you haven’t clicked through to this link, it is quite funny!!

    So if we do click through to the link it won’t be funny? ;-)

  386. #386 Lilly de Lure
    July 18, 2008

    #383 Adrienne wins the thread!

  387. #387 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    Dave @#378,

    No, I’m #7. Which are you:

    1. A tedious godbot.

    2. A tedious godbot.

    3. A tedious godbot.

  388. #388 gdlchmst
    July 18, 2008

    Another thing Dave, your self-satisfied, overweening, arrogance is unearned. More than anything, it demonstrates just how ignorant, imbecilic, and fatuous you people really are. Small wonder that religiosity is inversely proportional to intelligence.

  389. #389 E.V.
    July 18, 2008

    Adrienne,
    I think I love you…

  390. #390 dave
    July 18, 2008

    Eternity is a looooong time, Just think about it : )

  391. #391 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Lilly and E.V.: You like me! You really, really like me! *Blush*

  392. #392 Dave
    July 18, 2008

    Dave@#378
    Sod you. Now I have to find new nick. I didnt mind being confused with other Daves but I try to keep as far away from weapons-grade stupidity as I can.

  393. #393 Rev. BigDUmbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Not forgetting the Legion of Mary who, at least in Dublin, call door-to-door and proselytize in the street. I don’t remember seeing one in 15 years, though.

    The Legion of Mary side project was awesome!

    I would love it if Jerry Garcia came to my door.

  394. #394 Flit
    July 18, 2008

    Sorry if this has been covered already: Has church charity ever been reclaimed if someone misrepresented their belief in a faith? Like, Mormons have their bishop storehouse for members to use when they fall on hard times. Has a church ever reclaimed it after the Mormon member was proven not to believe in the church? ANyone anyone? Since we’re all pretending to be lawyers here. Can belief in a faith be proven in court? “do you believe in catholicism?” “Yes.” “i rest my case.” This seems to neuter any claims of “stealing” the cracker, due to the necessity to prove that the person who stole the cracker would have to be proven to not believe in the church, which as we all know, is impossible to prove a person doesn’t Believe in invisible Lolcats.

  395. #395 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    In fact, if I understand it correctly, only a priest can consecrate the Eucharist. Keep in mind that everyone in the heirarchy — monsignors, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, right up to the pope — is a priest first, and I think it’s in that role that they consecrate the mass.

    It’s called “St Peter cloning”, here’s the vatican’s “rationale” :

    1369 The whole Church is united with the offering and intercession of Christ. Since he has the ministry of Peter in the Church, the Pope is associated with every celebration of the Eucharist, wherein he is named as the sign and servant of the unity of the universal Church. The bishop of the place is always responsible for the Eucharist, even when a priest presides; the bishop’s name is mentioned to signify his presidency over the particular Church, in the midst of his presbyterium and with the assistance of deacons. The community intercedes also for all ministers who, for it and with it, offer the Eucharistic sacrifice.

  396. #396 Britomart
    July 18, 2008

    Hey Dave, want asteroids?

    Try a museum!
    Try the NASA site! http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/photo_gallery/photogallery-asteroids.html

    We have pictures.
    We have slices of smaller ones that fell to earth and didnt burn up completely.

    It’s called Science, you should try it some time.

    And you missed a category of atheist. I was born an atheist. I have never seen a reason to change. You sure didnt bring any to the table!

    Thank you kindly.

  397. #397 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    Sorry, that should have been: fuck off you smug tedious godbot.

  398. #398 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Eternity is a looooong time, Just think about it : )

    SO is a catholic mass. I mean sheeeeeeesh. Get over with already.

    oh and

    Pascal’s wager

  399. #399 dave
    July 18, 2008

    I knew you were a number three Emmett :(

  400. #400 SC
    July 18, 2008

    I would love it if Jerry Garcia came to my door.

    You can always commune with him by ritually ingesting…uh, never mind. ;)

  401. #401 Clay
    July 18, 2008

    What you are missing is a satire detector.

    Posted by: SteveM | July 18, 2008 12:02 PM

    Um, I guess so, Steve. Help me out:

    “but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart.”

    So, that’s “satire”?

  402. #402 dave
    July 18, 2008

    Eternity……and it keeps going and going and going

  403. #403 Ale
    July 18, 2008

    Dave:

    I stand in awe at the sheer nonsensicality of your taxonomy. There is absolutely nothing in it to warrant further examination. It is nothing but three stereotypes that nobody but most far gone fundamentalist religio-droids believes.

    On the other hand, Adrienne’s one is a thing of beauty. And given your incredible arrogance on pigeonholing people, I would guess that you are a No. 2.

  404. #404 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    I knew you were a number three Emmett :(

    Dave,

    Please stop concern trolling and bring something of substance to the conversation. So far you’ve only demonstrated nothing more that your vapidity.

  405. #405 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Eternity……and it keeps going and going and going

    Really dave, that’s what you’ve got for us?

    grow up.

  406. #406 Dave
    July 18, 2008

    Yes, I know-the truth hurts. Cuts deep don’t it?

  407. #407 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    I would love it if Jerry Garcia came to my door.

    You can always commune with him by ritually ingesting…uh, never mind. ;)

    You just described my 20′s

  408. #408 E.V.
    July 18, 2008

    All these emissaries are coming to this thread to get us to change our heathen ways, I guess you could call them missionaries.
    I’ve learned a lot from the missionary position: priests do more than lay people, it’s a good thing to eat your host, and always accept what a priest puts in your mouth -and swallow, don’t spit it out.

    Thanks, I’ll pass.

  409. #409 Bill Dauphin
    July 18, 2008
    If you haven’t clicked through to this link, it is quite funny!!

    So if we do click through to the link it won’t be funny? ;-)

    No, it’s both funny and not-funny until you click; it’s Schrodinger’s link!

  410. #410 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    Eternity……and it keeps going and going and going

    Ooooh, another torture fetishist.

    Yes, I know-the truth hurts. Cuts deep don’t it?

    And this one’s a cutter!

  411. #411 Rev. BigDUmbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    What a trollish little child you are.

  412. #412 Dutch Delight
    July 18, 2008

    Trevor is apparently going for solipsism as a reasonable description of reality and uses some form of Pascals wager to find purpose anyway.

    That’s a pretty sad philosophy to live life by. And even more sad is that someone could be convinced that it makes sense.

  413. #413 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Ale @402: Thanks! Actually, it could use some editing. But since I was trying to get it out before too many replies separated it from Dave-the-godbot’s original post, I posted mine rather hastily. At least I can say without a doubt that it’s better than the original.

  414. #414 Calladus
    July 18, 2008

    Eternity is a looooong time, Just think about it : )

    Dave, I’ve an honest question for you on this.

    Let’s try a mind experiment – Jesus has said that many, even a majority of people won’t make it to Heaven – not because they are necessarily BAD people – but just because they are not saved. This is doctrine.

    So, there is an excellent chance that someone you know will be going to Hell. In fact, there is a more than excellent chance that a family member will go to Hell.

    One of your parents might go to Hell, or your spouse, or your child.

    There is an excellent chance that someone you love deeply will languish for all eternity in Hell.

    So let’s suppose that this happens… think about this honestly. You go to Heaven, and the person you love dearly goes to Hell.

    Won’t that bother you? Won’t you feel grief while in Heaven?

    Maybe you’re made of sterner stuff than I am, maybe you just don’t feel as deeply as I do – because I gotta tell you, if someone I loved went to Hell while I went to Heaven… well, I’d spend the rest of eternity in Heaven, puking my guts out.

    If the people I love aren’t there – if they are instead doomed to an eternity of hell’s fires and torture – then there is NO WAY that it would be Heaven.

    It would be a Heaven full of Sorrow

  415. #415 dg
    July 18, 2008

    This is a response to comments from delusional atheists over at PZ Myers blog who feel that atheists can network, organize and work for a common cause and yet not be called a “movement” or an “organization”.

    #208 Richard -
    “Heaven forbid that thinking atheists should not follow like sheep everything that PZ says. We should be more like the Catholics who question nothing that their priests do to them or their members and just shut up and bleat.Non-believers”

    #218 Gunofsod-
    “Get it straight PZ Meyers does not speak for me as an Atheist any more than you serious atheist circle jerks. This isn’t a club, there are no dues, no tithes and no self appointed spokesmen.”

    # 191 Wowbagger -
    “Atheist movement? What the fuck? Get a clue. It’s not a gang. It’s not a sewing circle. It’s not a fucking country club that you choose to join because you think the golf course has the best back nine in the tri-state area or because you’re impressed by the wine list.”

    ——————————————————-

    Scrolling down this page will reveal the obscene amount of approval and cheer, that Myers has been showered with by people who obviously share his beliefs. So far I see no one among the atheists questioning Myers acions. With all the talk about atheism not being a club, is it forbidden that atheists even question Myers actions?

    Its simply obvious that Myers has become a celebrity in blogs run by atheists. In addition to people here praising Myers, heres something I found… http://copache.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/pz-myers-notice-me/

    We all thought this type of blindeyed fanboyism was confined to the domain of pop stars and actors. Whats even more more embarassing is that Myers actually responded…

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

    Then heres an excerpt from user comment #238 -

    “If non believers and other freethinkers in the USA believe that their cause will be further improved without conflict and without having to provoke and chock the religious folks, they are as deluded as the religious folks.”

    This is just one tiny example to illustrate the strong “us” mentality among atheists.

    This same “us” mentality is echoed

    -In the repeated targeting of communities holding, lets just say, incompatible viewpoints.

    -In the networking between atheists to form alliances.
    This link provides a list of atheist organizations http://richarddawkins.net/atheistResources

    -In the organized campaigns to achieve common goals under the banner of atheism.
    Please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Atheists#Court_cases to read the legal campaigns run by just ONE atheist organization.

    The fact that atheism has now now evolved into “movement” status is pretty clear.

    And for those who still insist that atheism isnt a movement…denial makes for a warm blanket.

  416. #416 dave
    July 18, 2008

    Like you all said …it’s fun. And I’ve had my fun, but gotta go now cheers all…. what a waste of mom and dads college money..losers

  417. #417 Norman Doering
    July 18, 2008

    Clay asked:

    “but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart.”
    So, that’s “satire”?

    “Satire” isn’t exactly the right word. “Flippant,” “silly,” and “comic” would apply though.

    Terms like “heinous cracker abuse” and “with laughter in my heart” are the clues you need to note.

    I know it’s hard for Catholics to tell having such an already silly and comical religion.

  418. #418 Ktesibios
    July 18, 2008

    “Trevor”‘s gambit is a familiar one- present a bizarre claim and demand that it be proven wrong, with the implication that if it is not proven wrong in detail it is entitled to be accepted as true.

    This hybrid of the argument from ignorance and shifting the burden of proof is beloved of cranks and crackpots everywhere on teh intertubes. You see it from antivaccination liars, Holocaust deniers, 9/11 twoofers and pretty much every variety of paranoid conspiracy theorist and psuedoscientist out there.

    It deserves no refutation beyond simply pointing out that it’s derived from broken reasoning.

  419. #419 Ale
    July 18, 2008

    Yes, I know-the truth hurts. Cuts deep don’t it?

    Yep. Definetly a 2. Do you long for the good times? The Inquisition, and such?

    Creepy asshat.

  420. #420 E.V.
    July 18, 2008

    My new nickname for Dave -Glibby the godbot.

  421. #421 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Like you all said …it’s fun. And I’ve had my fun, but gotta go now cheers all…. what a waste of mom and dads college money..losers

    Well it’s obvious. Dave cut and pasted his atheist taxonomy from somewhere. He’s too dense to have put that many words together to form sentences, however idiotic they are. Secondly, he owes me a new irony meter. Second one today.

  422. #422 StuV
    July 18, 2008

    dave: you’re an unmitigated wackadoodle bugfuck-nuts tool. You are making a fool of yourself. If you want to stick around for more ridicule, don’t say you haven’t been warned.

    Also, can we just get it over with and give OMs to Patricia and Adrienne? The win just keeps coming.

  423. #423 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    Dave,

    can the godbot trolls please try to come up with miscaracterizations and false arguments that are a little bit more sophisticated ?

    Ah well, I guess that would be asking too much.

  424. #424 SEF
    July 18, 2008

    #383 looks like a version of my view that the religious are Mentally, Educationally, Morally and Emotionally retarded – both by nature (making them more inclined to fall for religion in the first place) and by nurture (since these characteristics are artificially induced by religious indoctrination and even held to be religious virtues). It’s the real MEME of religion.

    You’ve understandably put my first two together in your 1 since the components are hard to separate. The ones who leave would be those who were always capable of thinking but had failed to get round to it before or hadn’t previously met the crucial information about which they needed to think.

    Your 2 and 3 match my third and fourth components. Amusingly, you’ve even put them all in the same order as I do.

  425. #425 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008
  426. #426 Calladus
    July 18, 2008

    Like you all said …it’s fun. And I’ve had my fun, but gotta go now cheers all…. what a waste of mom and dads college money..losers

    He left? Just a ‘drive-by’ attempt to save our souls? Aw man, I was really feeling the love.

    I’ll pray for you Dave.

  427. #427 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Occam for the win.

  428. #428 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    I presume everyone’s seen http://www.catholic.ie/ ?

  429. #429 Lowell
    July 18, 2008

    Well it’s obvious. Dave cut and pasted his atheist taxonomy from somewhere. He’s too dense to have put that many words together to form sentences, however idiotic they are. Secondly, he owes me a new irony meter. Second one today.

    Looks like he got it from here: http://www.biblechapel.com/library/there_is_a_god.html

    That’s one steaming pile of stupid.

  430. #430 El Herring
    July 18, 2008

    Belief in asteroids: let’s pick that one apart.

    I have never personally seen an asteroid. I have heard that they can fall from the sky as meteors and I admit I have seen meteorites in museums. However I did not see them fall from the sky, so logically I have no reason to believe that they did. I have read numerous astronomy books that explain the whole asteroid/meteorite deal, and I can see no inconsistencies in the science. But if I am to be totally pedantic, I must still be open to the possibility that the asteroid hypothesis (and by extension, science) is all bogus.

    I have never personally seen god (any god.) I have never witnessed anything I could call a miracle. I have read the bible, and have noted dozens of inconsistencies in it. I have attended church services (I was raised RC) and I have been told that the wafer I have eaten on numerous occasions was really the flesh of Christ etc. etc. as we have all been discussing. Using nothing but my own reasoning, I have come to the conclusion that there are dozens, if not hundreds of inconsistencies with my inherited faith, and with religion as a whole. However, I must leave myself open to the possibility that it is all true.

    Science appears to be (and purports to be) 100% open and consistent. If I am unsure of anythign science tells me, I can find out for myself (up to a point anyway. I can’t afford a particle accelerator.) Religion, on the other hand, is closed and veering on 100% INconsistent. Even the bible contradicts itself on numerous occasions.

    Now I come to the crux of the matter.

    I take a good long hard look at science on one side of the scales, and then at religion on the other. Already, from the evidence provided, religion is doing very badly. I then take into account the effects these two opposing forces have in the world. On the side of science I see mostly good. (Both science and religion, let’s face it, can be used for good or evil.) Science is progress. Not always, to be sure, but 99 times out of 100. If it hadn’t been for science we would still be living in caves.

    On the side of religion I see plenty of good intentions, but the outcome is almost always confusion, obfuscation, hatred and violence. Add that to the fact that it is inconsistent, illogical, shrouded in secrecy, and impossible to prove ANY of it, I have to conclude that beyond all reasonable doubt, religion is false.

    Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. (You have been weighed in the balance, and found wanting.)

    Of course, in summing up I have to also point out that various threats have been made to my alleged “eternal soul” upon rejecting the aforesaid religion. To which I can only say; “I refuse to submit to Pascal’s wager. If there is a god, he (or she) would see though that in an instant. And, if there is a god and he (or she) decided to judge me after my death, then I can only say in my defence (and in complete honesty) that I used the brain he (or she) gave me in order to come to the conclusion that I did.” Any other conclusion would have been dishonest and even hypocritical. If I am to be damned, then I’ll be damned for being honest, and surely any just god worthy of worship would not permit that.

    And thus concludes the longest comment I have ever made on PZ’s site (or anywhere). I hope it was worth it.

  431. #431 drjimmy
    July 18, 2008

    StuV @ 420:

    Also, can we just get it over with and give OMs to Patricia and Adrienne? The win just keeps coming.

    Sorry if I’m missing something obvious, but “OMs”?

  432. #432 Ale
    July 18, 2008

    drjimmy:

    Regarding “OMs”:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/molly.php

  433. #433 khan
    July 18, 2008

    Swallows said in his statement that he was following policy to make sure that the Eucharist was not going to be used for devil worship.

    Catholics believe in devil worship?

    Catholics believe that the magic powers of The Body of Christ(tm) are neutral (capable of being invoked by anybody for whatever nefarious purposes)?

    “Jesus only pawn in game of life.”

  434. #434 AJ Milne
    July 18, 2008

    Can the godbot trolls please try to come up with mischaracterizations and false arguments that are a little bit more sophisticated?

    It’s a drag, I know. Audience is starting to have to bring their own funny. So one-note, these performances… We been hearing it all over the focus groups… C’mon, guys, get yerselves some new writers. And honestly, I know what the board is saying to the investors, but the ratings *are* slipping…

    Still, there are people who lauged at Friends throughout its run. So we’re still hoping we might get another half-season out of ‘I’m rilly outraged; watch me stamp my feet!’. But it’s not lookin’ good…

    I know it’s not what anyone wants to hear, but we may have to drop ‘em, schedule some Seinfeld reruns. It’s sad. We at Unintentional Satire Networks (USN) would like our audience to know we regret that it’s come to this. It’s hard to get good ranting godbots these days… We in managment are blaming the economy. That, and that the Bush administration hired so many of these clowns, drove up salary expectations. What can ya do? Industry’s probably gonna be flat until December, at least. Hang in there.

  435. #435 windy
    July 18, 2008

    It’s safe to say that an atheist taking a wafer in the circumstances of a eucharist would be a crime in the UK. “Obtaining property by deception” under Section 15 the Theft Act 1968 fits the bill exactly.

    Then it’s also a crime for Catholics who aren’t in a state of grace to receive communion. I’m sure that there are some members of the Catholic church who are “closet atheists” but choose to participate in communion, but also unconfessed homosexuals, those who doubt transsubstantiation and so on. Is it still “safe to say” that they are all criminals?

  436. #436 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    I don’t know if it is only my particular impression, but I think one of the most striking aspects of this crackergate is that Pharyngula seems to have attracted a certain number of Godbot troll sub species who show even less critical reasoning ability and share even more ridiculous ideas than the usual IDists and creobots that used to frequent this blog before.

  437. #437 El Herring
    July 18, 2008

    Missed out one small but important point in my rant:

    I have to conclude that beyond all reasonable doubt, religion is false. If it hadn’t been for religion, we would by now be colonising the galaxy.

  438. #438 heddle
    July 18, 2008

    Calladus #413

    Jesus has said that many, even a majority of people won’t make it to Heaven – not because they are necessarily BAD people – but just because they are not saved. This is doctrine.

    No, it isn’t. Revelation 9:7 speaks of the great, uncountable multitude in heaven. You are perhaps referring to the “narrow is the gate.” passage from Matthew 7. But there is no indication that Jesus meant that for all history it will be the exception rather than the rule that one is saved. Indeed, a bit later Matthew records Jesus stating: I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 8:11)

    In this view, Rev. 9:7 and Matt. 8:11 are prophetic. While Matt. 7:14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. is a call to the apostles to get to work–do not sit back and rest on God’s Sovereignty. So few in those early days chose to follow Christ, but that does not imply that such will be the case in all ages. Matt. 7:14, in this perspective, is not prophetic but rather the initial ethical motivation of the Great Commission, and Paul’s call to witness in Rom. 10: 14-15.

    It would appear that heaven will be crowded, not sparsely populated.

  439. #439 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    If I am to be damned, then I’ll be damned for being honest, and surely any just god worthy of worship would not permit that.

    Indeed. There is not a shred of evidence that any gods exist; not a shred of evidence that the particular God of the Christians exists; and even if he does, he’s a wicked, vicious, petty, cruel, immoral prick who should be reviled and condemned by a person of average moral intelligence, not praised or worshiped.

  440. #440 Ale
    July 18, 2008

    @negentropyeater (434)

    Yes, I also think that the level of idiocy has increased significantly. Maybe Pharyngula is being advertised in the fundamentalist recesses of the Internet? It would be interesting to see the webserver logs of scienceblogs, maybe many of these godbots are being sent from the same website/forum.blog/gutter etc…

    Maybe if there is blogging from the Republican convention they will just go, like the rats in the piper of Hamelin?

  441. #441 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Khan @431:

    Catholics believe in devil worship?blockquote>

    Oh yeah, very much so. I’ve seen devout RCCers fret openly on message boards at the thought of Satanists/witches getting their hands on consecrated Hosts. This is a big reason that so many of them oppose “Communion in the hand”.

    And I remember back in my Opus Dei school one of my teachers telling us about some priest (former friend of a friend of a friend…) who became *gasp* a Satanist…and who transubstantiated wafers just so he and his fellow Satanists could enjoy desecrating them.

  442. #442 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    It would appear that heaven will be crowded, not sparsely populated.

    The someone needs to tell every preacher I’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of sitting in front of on many Sunday mornings, not to count the multitude I hear and read on the internet, TV, Print etc..

  443. #443 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Oh, crappy darn, forgot to properly close the blockquote on that last comment. Sorry, y’all.

    Let’s trt that again:

    Khan @431:

    Catholics believe in devil worship?

    Oh yeah, very much so. I’ve seen devout RCCers fret openly on message boards at the thought of Satanists/witches getting their hands on consecrated Hosts. This is a big reason that so many of them oppose “Communion in the hand”.

    And I remember back in my Opus Dei school one of my teachers telling us about some priest (former friend of a friend of a friend…) who became *gasp* a Satanist…and who transubstantiated wafers just so he and his fellow Satanists could enjoy desecrating them.

  444. #444 Britomart
    July 18, 2008

    Re OM’s this month, dont forget Owlmirror and that lovely LOL thingy way back early in the Crackergate days.

    last week was it ?

    Thank you kindly.

  445. #445 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    It would appear that heaven will be crowded, not sparsely populated.

    Of course, if one accepts the Catholic dogma that ensoulment takes place at conception and the medical evidence that 2/3 zygotes fail to implant, the necessary conclusion must be that however many there are in heaven, hell, and purgatory combined, they are outnumbered two to one by those in limbo. Oh, I forgot, there’s no limbo any more. My bad.

  446. #446 T. Bruce McNeely
    July 18, 2008

    I would love it if Jerry Garcia came to my door.

    You can always commune with him by ritually ingesting…uh, never mind. ;)

    Stoned Wheat Thins, maybe?

  447. #447 just passing through
    July 18, 2008
  448. #448 StuV
    July 18, 2008

    I could’ve sworn OwlMirror already had one. If not, I agree. Is there a monthly cap?

  449. #449 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Just passing through,

    Welcome to Pharyngula. SIWOTI is par for the course here.

  450. #450 dgt
    July 18, 2008

    #208 Richard -
    “Heaven forbid that thinking atheists should not follow like sheep everything that PZ says. We should be more like the Catholics who question nothing that their priests do to them or their members and just shut up and bleat.Non-believers”

    #218 Gunofsod-
    “Get it straight PZ Meyers does not speak for me as an Atheist any more than you serious atheist circle jerks. This isn’t a club, there are no dues, no tithes and no self appointed spokesmen.”

    # 191 Wowbagger -
    “Atheist movement? What the fuck? Get a clue. It’s not a gang. It’s not a sewing circle. It’s not a fucking country club that you choose to join because you think the golf course has the best back nine in the tri-state area or because you’re impressed by the wine list.”

    ————————————-

    Scrolling down this page will reveal the obscene amount of approval and cheer, that Myers has been showered with by people who obviously share his beliefs. So far I see no one among the atheists questioning Myers acions. With all the talk about atheism not being a club, is it forbidden that atheists even question Myers actions?

    Its simply obvious that Myers has become a celebrity in blogs run by atheists. In addition to people here praising Myers, heres something I found… http://copache.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/pz-myers-notice-me/

    We all thought this type of blindeyed fanboyism was confined to the domain of pop stars and actors. Whats even more more embarassing is that Myers actually responded…

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

    Then heres an excerpt from user comment #238 -

    “If non believers and other freethinkers in the USA believe that their cause will be further improved without conflict and without having to provoke and chock the religious folks, they are as deluded as the religious folks.”

    This is just one tiny example to illustrate the strong “us” mentality among atheists.

    This same “us” mentality is echoed

    -In the repeated targeting of communities holding, lets just say, incompatible viewpoints.

    -In the networking between atheists to form alliances.
    This link provides a list of atheist organizations http://richarddawkins.net/atheistResources

    -In the organized campaigns to achieve common goals under the banner of atheism.
    Please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Atheists#Court_cases to read the legal campaigns run by just ONE atheist organization.

    The fact that atheism has now now evolved into “movement” status is pretty clear.

    And for those who still insist that atheism isnt a movement…denial makes for a warm blanket.

  451. #451 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    I’ve seen devout RCCers fret openly on message boards at the thought of Satanists/witches getting their hands on consecrated Hosts.

    I wonder what the “ultimate desecration” they fear might be? Is it that they’ll piss on them, stick them up their ass, feed them to goats and chickens, or what? The mind boggles.

  452. #452 drjimmy
    July 18, 2008

    Ale~

    Thanks for the link.

  453. #453 Patricia
    July 18, 2008

    Sorry JefferyD – married 33 years. ;)

    Rev. BigDumbChimp, #213 – Montio has Bacon Kips crackers! I call a foul on what ever country has Bacon Kips and is keep them all for themselves.

  454. #454 Ken Cope
    July 18, 2008

    SEF, at #319! We got a 319!

    Quite apart from Trevor being extremely dishonest and incompetent at logic, there’s also still the issue of fraud over these crackers and the extraordinary claims and positive assertions made about them by Catholics. The Catholics are passing them off as being value-added (over the original unconsecrated wafer) without any evidence to support their claims. Unless they admit the whole rigmarole is just silly entertainment and the communion bit just part of the audience participation in the make-believe, they’re obtaining the monetary “donations” under false pretences. If it’s not a strictly card-holding members only and/or fee-paying event, then it’s unfair of them to claim people can’t walk off with the freebie party favour.

    That is the crux of the biscuit. They’re selling Soylent Jesus, and the laity only get a cracker. There’s your contract violation right there. Magic crackers are a fraud, a swindle, a scam, a grift, the bunk, and people consuming crackers expecting them to magically transform into “transubstantiated gobbets of man-god fleshTM” are pathetic marks who have been conned. We’ve got to tell them: Soylent Jesus is crackers.

  455. #455 Clay
    July 18, 2008

    Norman @ #415:

    Well, thanks Norman…I appreciate your straightening me out on that.

    See, I would have thought the only reason PZ requested people to score him some of those crackers, would be that he fully intended to “desecrate” them in a public manner, such as by using photography, and the posting it on the net.

    I mean, asking people to send them to you, and then “desecrating” them all by your lonesome, in the privacy of your own home, just seemed a bit anti-climactic to me.

    I mean after all, it’s just a goddamned cracker, right?

    But since I know better now, I’m disappointed I won’t get to use my quote from True Grit, where Ned Pepper says to Rooster Cogburn, “I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man”.

    Oh well. C’est la vie.

    BTW. I’m not Catholic. Barely even what you’d call a Xtian, in fact.

  456. #456 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Emmet Caulfield @448 asked:

    I wonder what the “ultimate desecration” they fear might be? Is it that they’ll piss on them, stick them up their ass, feed them to goats and chickens, or what? The mind boggles.

    Hmm, maybe use them as contraceptives? These are Catholics, after all. ;-)

    Not that they’d work all that well in that capacity, methinks.

    Or maybe using transubstantiated wafers as some sort of a sex toy during gay sex would also really upset Jesus?

  457. #457 AJ Milne
    July 18, 2008

    Or maybe using transubstantiated wafers as some sort of a sex toy during gay sex would also really upset Jesus?

    Depends on what he’s into, I guess…

    Speaking of which, further to the previous legal analysis re the general expectation the cracker should be of age, and generally capable of speaking for itself before the courts, what the cracker and PZ or anyone else involved might do in the confines of a private residence is *entirely* their business. Leave ‘em alone! Y’know… consenting adult, consenting fragment of reincarnated deity, and all…

  458. #458 Calladus
    July 18, 2008

    It would appear that heaven will be crowded, not sparsely populated.

    Thanks, it’s great to know I will be saved anyway!

    But you dodged the question.

  459. #459 Numad
    July 18, 2008

    “I’m sure that there are some members of the Catholic church who are ‘closet atheists’”

    It’s worse than that. You can be an avowed atheist and be a member of the Catholic Church. Everybody who is baptized and went through the rite of first communion and who didn’t go through the unpublicized process of getting themselves apostasied are counted by the Church itself and its statistics as Catholics.

    Lets just say that, having lived in Quebec as a Catholic in name only a long while, this colors my conception of how select communion is, somewhat.

    From:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deception_%28criminal%29

    Which deals with the Theft Act of 1968 that was referred, it does seem that passive deception can be a crime in English Law. Yet, there’s this passage:

    “Most deceptions will relate to actual or supposed facts, or to an existing state of affairs, but this must be distinguished from a false statement of opinion which, no matter how persuasive, is not a deception.”

    Even more interesting, the Theft Act of 1978 that reforms the previous somewhat:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theft_Act_1978

    “The ‘services’ must be non-gratuitous, i.e. the benefits must be provided by the victim of the deception in the expectation that they are to be paid for at commercial rates (see s1(2)). It must be conferred by the doing, causing, or permitting of some act; a failure to act which confers a benefit is not sufficient.”

    It seems pretty clear that the previous poster who claimed that this “legal structure” obviously made receiving a wafer with a non-orthodox intent a crime either wasn’t really as familiar with the Acts as advertised or was deliberatly misrepresenting them.

    But I’m not a lawyer or a pretend lawyer, and I’m not even from the UK, so…

  460. #460 Brownian, OM
    July 18, 2008

    I wonder what the “ultimate desecration” they fear might be?

    Maybe they’re afraid someone might use ‘em to feed an African before passing out condoms to stem the spread of HIV.

  461. #461 BobC
    July 18, 2008

    Back in the 1950′s when I was a little brainwashed Catholic in Catholic grammar school, we had to confess our sins to a priest once a month. I never did anything wrong, but I didn’t want to go to confession with nothing to say, so I’d always commit some minor crime before every confession.

    I was just thinking this would be an interesting experiment. Two people could go to a Catholic confessional. One person could tell the priest he killed a homeless person for the fun of it. The second person could tell the priest he desecrated a jebus cracker for the fun of it. Then they can compare the number of ‘Hail Mary’ prayers they have to repeat to determine which is the worst crime according to the priest. They’re both mortal sins (punishment = hell for eternity) so maybe the cost of the ‘get out of hell free card’ is the same.

  462. #462 raven
    July 18, 2008

    Swallows said in his statement that he was following policy to make sure that the Eucharist was not going to be used for devil worship.

    Not seeing how that works. Isn’t Jesus part of the trinity, the omniscient creator of the universe? Why couldn’t he just turn the devil worshippers into frogs or catholics or something? What is the point of being all powerful if you can’t do anything?

    I doubt if there are too many devil worshippers. And why wouldn’t they just go to the store and buy their own crackers? Even Levoys Church of Satan central doctrine is that no gods or devils exist, atheistic.

    A lot of this just seems to be primitive superstition that has been updated to the 11th century.

  463. #463 Norman Doering
    July 18, 2008

    Clay wrote:

    I would have thought the only reason PZ requested people to score him some of those crackers, would be that he fully intended to “desecrate” them in a public manner, such as by using photography, and the posting it on the net.

    So? That would have been flippant, silly and comical too.

    However, if Bill Donohue hadn’t made a big stink about the statement I suspect PZ would have forgotten about it and moved on and no one would have cared. Now that Donohue has noticed, I expect PZ’s brain is whizzing away trying to figure out how to make some kind of statement with the crackers.

  464. #464 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp, #213 – Montio has Bacon Kips crackers! I call a foul on what ever country has Bacon Kips and is keep them all for themselves.

    Yeah. What the hell is up with that?

  465. #465 Calladus
    July 18, 2008

    Revelation 9:7 speaks of the great, uncountable multitude in heaven.

    No it doesn’t

  466. #466 heddle
    July 18, 2008

    #455 Calladus

    But you dodged the question.

    The question wasn’t directed at me. It was directed to “Dave”. I’m “heddle” or “David”. But never am I “Dave”.

    Nevertheless, you asked:

    Won’t that [loved ones in hell] bother you? Won’t you feel grief while in Heaven?

    And the answer is: I cannot fathom under any circumstances how it will be anything less than totally devastating.

  467. #467 Clay
    July 18, 2008

    However, if Bill Donohue hadn’t made a big stink about the statement I suspect PZ would have forgotten about it and moved on and no one would have cared. Now that Donohue has noticed, I expect PZ’s brain is whizzing away trying to figure out how to make some kind of statement with the crackers.

    Posted by: Norman Doering | July 18, 2008 1:52 PM

    Perhaps you’re right Norman. But, I’ve got a five-spot that says although PZ might do some parlor tricks with them in private company, I don’t think you’ll see him whooping them out for any kind of a public demonstration.

    Personally, I don’t think he has the nads.

  468. #468 heddle
    July 18, 2008

    #462 Calludus,

    Transposition error on my part. It’s not Rev 9:7, but Rev 7:9.

  469. #469 El Herring
    July 18, 2008

    BobC #458: Read Sting’s autobiography. There’s a hilarious bit at the start of the book where he reminisces about going to confession. I won’t spoil it here, but I imagine a whole lot of xians (and ex-xians) will get a good chuckle out of it. He hit the nail right on the head.

  470. #470 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    Or maybe using transubstantiated wafers as some sort of a sex toy during gay sex would also really upset Jesus?

    Yeah, but you’d need to glue hundreds of them together to make a dildo or a butt-plug.

  471. #471 Patricia
    July 18, 2008

    #213-Montio – Hey, buster! What’s up with you hogging all the Bacon Kips? KEEPING Bacon Kips from us Amerikens is a mortal sin. Hand some over, or we’ll tell Pat Robertson.
    So there.

  472. #472 Ken Cope
    July 18, 2008

    But, I’ve got a five-spot that says although PZ might do some parlor tricks with them in private company, I don’t think you’ll see him whooping them out for any kind of a public demonstration.

    Personally, I don’t think he has the nads.

    WTF would require nads, or ovaries, for that matter, for PZ to do something to some fracking crackers publicly? He’s already gotten death threats and idiots trying to get him fired for just talking about it, how is doing it going to make it worse? Or are you accusing him of being afraid of being zotted by some Kozmik Muffin in retribution for being mean to crackers?

  473. #473 SteveM
    July 18, 2008

    Perhaps you’re right Norman. But, I’ve got a five-spot that says although PZ might do some parlor tricks with them in private company, I don’t think you’ll see him whooping them out for any kind of a public demonstration.

    Personally, I don’t think he has the nads.

    Has nothing to do with “nads”. The point has been made purely by threatening to do it. Actual “desecration” would, at this point, be a let down.

  474. #474 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    Emmet #448

    I wonder what the “ultimate desecration” they fear might be?

    Well actually, that’s I think part of the problem, they don’t know themselves, when their own Christ, didn’t seem to be that worried about his own body if he let himself be crucified by these damned unfaithful romans.

    Actually, if they followed the teachings of their own hypothetical Christ rather than trying to protect the “body of Christ” which himself didn’t seem to be worried about at all, they’d be more worried about making sure that nobody takes this sacrament unworthily rather than be worried about an unfaithful desecrating a cracker and reacting according to their more primitive tribal instincts.

  475. #475 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    I’ve got a five-spot that says although PZ might do some parlor tricks with them in private company, I don’t think you’ll see him whooping them out for any kind of a public demonstration.

    Assuming he has actually had scored some communion wafers, if I were he, I’d just post a YouTube video flushing them down the toilet. Should be enough to piss off the Bill Donahue types mightily and it’s so absolutely final that there could be no ongoing drama about repeated desecration or when/if he might return them.

  476. #476 Sven DiMilo
    July 18, 2008

    I claim that the cracker doesn’t fail to refrain from taking the negative of the course that would prevent it from discarding the option to perform the antithesis of the action of not refusing to transubstantiate.

    Yes!! This–This is my creed!!!

    The Legion of Mary side project was awesome!

    Have to disagree, BDC. That sax player (name escapes for the moment) sucked 90% of the time. A honker, chronically flat, stupid cliches, always stepping on Jerry’s metaphorical toes, and choosing at whim to play through some sort of electronic gizmo that changed his already crappy tone to that of a congested Aflac duck. That band would have been sweet and tight, but the sax player ruined it. I can barely listen to those tapes anymore.

    I would love it if Jerry Garcia came to my door.
    You can always commune with him by ritually ingesting…uh, never mind. ;)

    No, no, wait…this–This is my creed!!! (or it was…back in my twemties…)

  477. #477 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 18, 2008

    Good point. He was a honker and honestly I haven’t listed to them in a WHILE. I just Love Merle though.

  478. #478 Sven DiMilo
    July 18, 2008

    Merle’s da man fo sho.
    [We now return you to your regularly scheduled dialect, already in progrees.]
    Speaking of whom, did you know that Bill Vitt’s little brother Laurie is a biologist? He’s curator of reptiles at the Oklahoma State Museum and professor at OU.

  479. #479 Norman Doering
    July 18, 2008

    Clay wrote:

    Personally, I don’t think he has the nads.

    Well, if it were me I’d exploit the attention Bill Donohue has created, maybe put out video promising this is where the cracker gets it — but then telling people to stay tuned for part two, where the cracker really gets it… but all the videos would really be like the first three here on my blog. And then when I destroyed a cracker (who cares if its consecrated) I would draw little faces on some crackers and do a Mr. Bill voice: “Eat me! Eat me! I’m your savory Lard! — Ohhh Noooo!!”

    And then I’d send fake emails to Bill Donohue claiming I was a Christian/Catholic who saw this horrible video saying “and I could hear Jesus screaming…” because Donohue just might repeat that shit without watching the video.

  480. #480 Mike Nilsen
    July 18, 2008

    He’ll put CHEEZ-WHIZ on them!!

    Oh, the humanity…

  481. #481 Clay
    July 18, 2008

    Actually Norman, I think that would be rather amusing myself.

    And Steve M,: “The point has been made purely by threatening to do it. Actual “desecration” would, at this point, be a let down.

    Posted by: SteveM | July 18, 2008 2:24 PM

    That’s pretty weak, don’t ya think?

  482. #482 Dahan
    July 18, 2008

    Dave at 389,

    “Eternity is a looooong time, Just think about it : )”

    Almost forever! So think about this. In an infinite amount of time, you could do all the thing possible to do, even the really unpleasant ones, an infinite amount of times. With an infinity still before you. So you’re up in heaven having a squid sandwich for the 1 x ^1000000000000th time. Considering you hate squid sandwiches, this is quite a feat. You’re doing it though, because all the things you actually enjoyed at one point in your life, you hate just as much as this sandwich.
    You look ahead to your future. Infinity. that last number, because of the nature of infinity, can’t even be shown as a fraction of how many squid sandwiches you’ll eat eventually. There will still be an infinity of time ahead of you. An infinity of time that can’t be filled up with things to do. Remember, you don’t get to do evil things, which makes the number of things you can do a finite number.

    This is the never ending nightmare life you wish for. Of course, big daddy could just snap his fingers, and you’ll be in bliss forever no matter what. Kinda like being drugged out of your mind for eternity with no free will to feel anything else. Sure sounds good doesn’t it.

    You see, this life is precious because we have a finite amount of time. You only get to have your first kiss once, or hold your son or daughter for the first time once. We treasure our time with friends and (sometimes) family, because we know we’re so damned lucky to be here with them in the first place. There can be no happiness without having known pain before. If you were never allowed to be thirsty how could you know the true enjoyment of drinking a glass of water when you were parched from working in the garden under the hot sun?

    But this life isn’t enough for your ilk. You want life, life, and more life. Life forever! Not everything in the universe is enough to sate your desires. Your world view is sad, pathetic, and the most depressing thing I can think of.

    Yep, eternity sure is a Looooong time. So while I hope to be around for a good bit more, I’m sure glad I won’t have to live for eternity.

  483. #483 Paul W.
    July 18, 2008

    Shygetz,

    Oh, it’s not just sacrilege…it’s theft (at least, according to our resident lawyers). People are submitting themselves to an implied contract with the Church and taking the cracker under the false pretenses that they are a Catholic in good standing to receive the host. Since they know damn well they are not (haven’t fasted, haven’t confessed all of their sins, etc.), they are obtaining the host by fraud and are criminally liable.

    Thanks, Andrew and OMH, you just made it illegal for most Catholics to go to church and receive Communion. Secular courts enforcing religious doctrine for the win!

    I think what OMH may be saying is that yes a lot of people are stealing communion wafers, and usually in cases where it’s hard to enforce and maybe complicating factors come up, but that doesn’t make it not theft, or not enforceable in easy cases.

    It’s not a matter of enforcing religous dogma, just a matter of enforcing a basic law about theft, which often goes unenforced with respect to communion wafers.

    If I’m reading him right, he’s just saying that “everybody does it” is not a good defense in court. It doesn’t matter, in determining your guilt, whether lots of Catholics are also stealing communion wafers by deceptively implying they’ll obey the terms of use, or that hairy issues come up depending on the degree of their conformity to the terms of use. If you admit to getting a cracker by deception, you’ve made it easy for them to nail you, and you’re off to the pokey, even if there are plenty of equally guilty people who aren’t getting caught.

    I don’t know if I’ve got that right… OMH, if you’re still around, could you clarify?

  484. #484 Cephus
    July 18, 2008

    Re #33

    Once the hand you the cracker or put it in your mouth, they are transferring ownership to you, therefore you are free to legally do whatever you wish to with it. As they have no test to receive communion, anyone who wants to go up can do so and likewise get a cracker and wine. There’s nothing remotely illegal about it.

    Now if they announced that only those who were going to consume the cracker and wine on the premises were welcome to come forward, there might be something to the “fraud” claim, but it’s iffy, again because ownership passes when it’s handed over and you’re welcome to do whatever you want with your own property.

  485. #485 BobC
    July 18, 2008

    #479, I also wouldn’t wish for eternal boredom in heaven. The god nuts who want to go there never think about what eternity really means. Of course they never think about anything else either.

    A few years ago while watching a parade with some friends in a small Illinois town I used to live in, I was handed a pamphlet from a Baptist Church. The pamphlet warned that we must go to church or else be tortured in hell for eternity. I told one of my friends ‘It says here you should go to this Baptist church, or else you’re going to hell’. He said ‘I want to go to hell. That’s where all my friends are.’

  486. #486 BobC
    July 18, 2008

    That was meant for Dahan in #481, not #479.

  487. #487 Numad
    July 18, 2008

    Paul W.,

    OMH’s demonstration that this is covered by “a basic law about theft” has been a little tiny bit dubious, and I think that Shygetz was aiming more to ridicule how low OMH’s definition of theft sets the bar on stealing, rather than saying that a crime becomes unpunishable by law if it’s very common.

    And yes, it does look like defining crime by infraction to religious dogma.

  488. #488 windy
    July 18, 2008

    Let P.Z. be the test case, if that’s what he wants to do. There’s no need for simultaneous, redundant test cases.

    People are already on YouTube snacking on those things like there’s no tomorrow.

    Numad:

    The ‘services’ must be non-gratuitous, i.e. the benefits must be provided by the victim of the deception in the expectation that they are to be paid for at commercial rates

    That does sound like something a lawyer should have considered. Maybe OMH didn’t have his wig on properly.

    PS. Sorry that I repeated an argument in #433 that had already been made by Shygetz and others, I missed those posts the first time.

  489. #489 SEF
    July 18, 2008

    “everybody does it” is not a good defense in court

    It’s a logical fallacy (of the “tu quoque” sort). However, I’d say it is potentially a reason to get a court case dismissed.

    The church authorities can hardly claim ignorance of the existence of the other types of things they would count as cracker abuse. Yet the overwhelming evidence is that they do nothing about them. No precautions are taken by them. No real-world retaliation is enacted by them. They appear to be content to let their cracker god use his own judgment and enforce his own penalties.

    Which inevitably raises the issue of why they would treat this one type of instance differently, since their religion itself doesn’t do so. It suggests that they are dishonest and hypocritical about their faith and what it requires. It suggests that they are bringing charges maliciously when they don’t really believe there could be anything wrong in the alleged sacrilege which their god couldn’t handle alone, ie without assault by their members or secular legal involvement.

    In short, it suggests they don’t really believe in their own mumbo-jumbo and they are selectively afraid of (and thus angry with) atheists for honestly disbelieving in it. They can’t exert any fake religious moral blackmail against atheists, so they need to lash out at them some other way.

  490. #490 RC POV
    July 18, 2008

    Adrienne @ 357:
    The RCC is also ridiculously legalistic, especially for an organization supposedly founded by a guy who spoke out against the extreme legalism of his fellow co-religionists. I think the RCC is nearly as bad as Orthodox Judaism when it comes to the legalism bit.

    You’re are doing a pretty good job giving the RC explanations for thing, seeing as most commenters on this blog devoted to study are merely offering conjecture when they have the nearly unlimited reference offerings of the Internet.

    A few points before I respond to the legalism bit:

    A RC Sacrament requires matter, form, and intent. The understanding is that a man is the proper form for Holy Orders. As for the laicized/defrocked/etc. priest consecrating a host, the intent portion will play a large role. If they have truly become an unbeliever, they would not be able to have the intent required for the transubstantiation.

    As for being able to identify consecrated hosts, that is not an ability generally recognized as being held by any Catholics. However, Occult worshipers require consecrated hosts from RC masses for their black masses. Some Satanists can identify consecrated hosts. The theology behind this is that Satan has granted them that ability to increase their ability to sin.

    Re: legalism
    Any system can be reduced to legalism. Christian moral theology has its roots in virtue ethics, which is a positive expression of morals rather than a negative legal one. Through study, one can arrive at negative moral norms, which can then be codified into “rules” that reflect the positive Beatitudes. It’s roughly analogous to deriving scientific laws from first principles. The reality of both situations is that the laws are an interpretation of some positive rule set that is divorced from legalism. I’m sorry to report that this isn’t how most Christians understand or live it. I’m not going to pull a “no real Christian” argument, but I am going to say that you are criticizing a misunderstanding of Christian ethics.

  491. #491 Numad
    July 18, 2008

    “That does sound like something a lawyer should have considered. Maybe OMH didn’t have his wig on properly.”

    On how valid Section 15 is:

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/ukpga_20060035_en_2

    I’m not sure what to make of it: there may be a replacement provision in effect, but then I’d expect a lawyer to quote that one and not the one that’s ‘abolished.’ Not that the reference to the Section 15 was in any way clear or explicit to begin with.

  492. #492 Calladus
    July 18, 2008

    Beddle

    Thanks for agreeing that Heaven would be a sorrowful place if your loved ones don’t make it. I know it wasn’t your question to answer, but I was pointing out that the way you answered seemed to be a dodge.

    Transposition error on my part. It’s not Rev 9:7, but Rev 7:9.

    Ah! Yes, the multitude saved during the Tribulation. There is a conflicting area of interpretation here. Some Christians believe that you can die outside of a state of grace, and are therefore hellbound. While other Christians believe that people like myself can die a poor sinner, and then lie slumbering in death until they are resurrected and given a sort of second chance during the Tribulation.

    The church I was raised in believed the first way – which meant that if I lived through the second coming, I’d have a chance to be recruited by the 144,000 who would try to save my soul in this last-ditch effort to save those “uncounted multitudes” left on Earth.

    But if I died before that point, then I wouldn’t be part of that great multitude. I’d just be in Hell.

  493. #493 Numad
    July 18, 2008

    SEF,

    The Church hasn’t actually made legal threats, has it? This is all from commenters here. But the point about the Church being strongly selective against dissent seems to be valid. I always thought that the use and non-use of excommunication is telling.

  494. #494 Ken Cope
    July 18, 2008

    As for being able to identify consecrated hosts, that is not an ability generally recognized as being held by any Catholics. However, Occult worshipers require consecrated hosts from RC masses for their black masses. Some Satanists can identify consecrated hosts. The theology behind this is that Satan has granted them that ability to increase their ability to sin.

    BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!

  495. #495 khan
    July 18, 2008

    As for being able to identify consecrated hosts, that is not an ability generally recognized as being held by any Catholics. However, Occult worshipers require consecrated hosts from RC masses for their black masses. Some Satanists can identify consecrated hosts. The theology behind this is that Satan has granted them that ability to increase their ability to sin.

    Please somebody, tell me he’s kidding.

  496. #496 cicely
    July 18, 2008

    Gotta catch up before the thread gets away from me.

    Trevor @#287:

    So again, the burden of proof falls on you who make the positive claim that the Eucharist is simply substance alone.

    Nonono. The priest starts with an ordinary, mortal cracker, then, by use of ritual, purportedly adds the divine ‘essence’ or ‘spirit’, which isn’t in any way perceptible (and, an interesting idea; monitor the act of consecration for any kind of energy discharge in either priest or sanctified ‘host’). It’s up to you (by which I mean, believers in this particular belief-system) to prove that, in the first place, there was anything to add, secondly, that it could be added by means of this ritual, to this object, and thirdly, that it has been added. Otherwise, if it looks like a cracker and quacks like a cracker, we’ll just have to assume that it’s a cracker.

    George @#315:

    Wait I was told we cannot test it. It would be a sin to take this flesh-cracker and test it. Also, if we tried it would transform back to being a cracker anyway.

    Ah, but if it was that easy for the deific-ness to get out of the cracker, we wouldn’t have this whole brouhaha. Catholics could just say that god had left the cracker, no desecration was possible, no harm, no foul, just bad taste. Since the Church has had this problem running back to medieval times (torturing of the host, saints made for defending the host, etc.), and haven’t fixed it (after all, they’ve changed other features of dogma), it must consider it a feature, not a bug. The obvious advantage to them is that they can try to claim special privilege, and give them something to feel persecuted and martyred about when someone else refuses to humor them.
    (Either Jesus needs to learn how to escape from the cracker, or the Church needs to learn how to install a ‘kill’ switch.)

    Adrienne @ #383: Awesomeness! You should publish it; it’s too good to let it disappear when this thread vanishes to archives.

    dave @#401:

    Eternity……and it keeps going and going and going

    Individual consciouness…..it doesn’t. Making the threat of eternal punishment or reward (but obviously, you’re thinking punishment, here) a completely moot point.

  497. #497 Bored enough to be pretending to be Kenny
    July 18, 2008

    Individual consciouness…..it doesn’t.

    You need to read more about NDEs and the secret dead uncle that is my OPIONIN.

  498. #498 E.V.
    July 18, 2008

    *****************BLOATED THREAD ALERT*************
    We’re nearing the 500 mark and I think she’s gonna blow, Captain!

  499. #499 SEF
    July 18, 2008

    The Church hasn’t actually made legal threats, has it?

    Lots of times! However, in the current context I think they’ve only done so within the limits of the University legal system rather than calling in the FBI or whatever over anything like the silly kidnap claims made by some religious commenters.

  500. #500 Norman Doering
    July 18, 2008

    cicely wrote:

    Otherwise, if it looks like a cracker and quacks like a cracker, we’ll just have to assume that it’s a cracker.

    And if Trevor ducks that like a quack, then I’d assume he’s a quacker.

    Catholics could just say that god had left the cracker, no desecration was possible, no harm, no foul, just bad taste.

    But PZ would still “hate them more than Muslims.” It’s the anger they object too. “Why are you picking on us poor, peaceful Catholics?”

    Eternity……and it keeps going and going and going

    Individual consciouness…..it doesn’t.

    I think Dave might disagree about that.

    I don’t. Individual consciousness requires a functioning brain and all the evidence points to consciousness being altered by physical changes to the brain.

  501. #501 Tom P.
    July 18, 2008

    Prosecuting someone for fraud for getting a communion wafer?

    Imagine this scenario. I trick you into giving me a penny. I tell you that if you give me the penny, it won’t rain on Tuesday. But it does rain so you go to the police and demand my arrest for tricking you out of a penny. A penny, they ask. But you insist it was a very special penny that had a very special value because if you rubbed it three times while thinking about dalmatians it makes your headaches go away. Now what prosecutor is going to actually prosecute that case? Because Catholic Direct sells communion wafers for less than 2 cents each. Any value beyond that is simply irrelevant in court.

  502. #502 Rey Fox
    July 18, 2008

    “Eternity is a looooong time, Just think about it : )”

    Eternity is a meaningless concept.

    “Catholics put a premium on forgiveness and reconciliation–they do not conduct vindictive campaigns of personal destruction under the guise of promoting the Catholic cause.”

    I think Donohue just crossed the line from “ironic” to “lying”.

    “My question is much less frivolous than yours: if a consecrated cracker is meat and an unconsecrated cracker is bread, then if you put a consecrated cracker between two unconsecrated crackers, is that a Jesus burger and, if so, can I have one with gherkins?”

    Only if it’s a special electric Jesus gherkin.

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

  503. #503 cicely
    July 18, 2008

    Norman Doering @#500 (A nice, round number! :) ):

    Individual consciousness requires a functioning brain and all the evidence points to consciousness being altered by physical changes to the brain.

    And I think that rotting away, or being pickled in formaldehyde, count as “physical changes”. :)

  504. #504 N.K.
    July 18, 2008

    It’s a cracker.

    We know it’s a cracker.

    We don’t know it’s Jesus, and if someone claims it’s Jesus, the burden of proof lies with them.

    It’s really that simple.

  505. #505 earlgregg
    July 18, 2008

    Anyone from Corpus Christi, TX? and like to steal things?
    http://www.caller.com/news/2008/jul/15/eucharist-taken-cathedral-tabernacle/

  506. #506 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    Posted by: Bored enough to be pretending to be Kenny | July 18, 2008 4:14 PM

    Die, fowl anal hemorrhoid!

    And then come back to life and tell us which came first.

  507. #507 Paul W.
    July 18, 2008
    “everybody does it” is not a good defense in court

    It’s a logical fallacy (of the “tu quoque” sort). However, I’d say it is potentially a reason to get a court case dismissed.

    That sounds good to me. I was just presenting what seemed to be OMH’s position, up to a certain point.

    I’m very, very unclear on the basic legal issues here, and what the precedents say.

    It’s not clear to me how you go about fighting things based on selective enforcement, etc. For example, when can you use it to get a charge dismissed before trial, and when do you have to wait until after conviction to get a law struck down or restricted on appeal?

    I’m guessing there’s a ton of precedents about it, so that if first amendment issues don’t come up, it’d be pretty straightforward—you just have to know the ins and outs of well-settled criminal law.

    But if first amendment issues do come up, it could get very weird and go either way.

    Maybe P.Z. could say that his first amendment right to free expression trumps the tiny material value of the cracker, so any enforcement of theft law about this is ridiculous.

    On the other hand, maybe the Catholics could say that their right to free exercise trumps trumps the tininess of the material value of the cracker.

    That kind of reasoning does seem to get upheld in the case of specific laws about hate crimes. The seriousness of a petty property crime goes way up if the property owner was targeted “because of” religion (in Minnesota), or out of “religious bias” (in Texas, where I am).

    It’s not at all clear to me how the various things interact. So, for example, if there’s a threshold of seriousness to a crime that’s relevant to whether it’s “too trivial” or “too selective” to prosecute a particular case, is that threshold applied before or after any amplification of seriousness by a specific hate crime statute? Can you get a similar amplification of seriousness of an offense by applying the First Amendment directly, without a hate crime law? Can you use it to justify whether to prosecute, or only how seriously to penalize something that you can prosecute on basic legal grounds?

    It sounds like OMH is saying that there is no threshold of seriousness (property value) in deciding whether obtaining something by deception is theft. Lots of petty things are theft, even if they usually go unprosecuted and even if most of them can’t be prosecuted because it would be too trivial or unfairly selective.

    Presumably there are several principles that can determine whether a case can be thrown out for triviality or selectiveness, or whether it can be appealed on similar grounds. It would be good to have a clear statement of those principles.

  508. #508 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    BobC @461 wrote:

    I was just thinking this would be an interesting experiment. Two people could go to a Catholic confessional. One person could tell the priest he killed a homeless person for the fun of it. The second person could tell the priest he desecrated a jebus cracker for the fun of it. Then they can compare the number of ‘Hail Mary’ prayers they have to repeat to determine which is the worst crime according to the priest. They’re both mortal sins (punishment = hell for eternity) so maybe the cost of the ‘get out of hell free card’ is the same.

    Actually, intentional desecration of the Eucharist is a sin that only the Pope himself can absolve. Although the Pope might be able to delegate this power to a bishop, not sure. So while any ol’ priest can absolve the sin of murder, only the Pope or someone with his expressly delegated permission could forgive the Host desecrator.

    It used to be too that only a bishop could absolve the sin of intentionally having an abortion (or aiding someone’s attempt to have an abortion). I believe that has been changed now such that ordinary priests can forgive the sin of abortion in the confessional, although it might be up to the individual bishop in whose diocese that priest resides.

  509. #509 aratina
    July 18, 2008

    The Washington Post piece on this topic is extremely annoying. I was blocked from trying to post this:

    Not satire? Ha. It represents the worst nightmares of the orthodox believers, that a Darwinist liberal atheist professor demands his minions to kidnap and torture the body of the Catholic god, a.k.a. a cracker. It has been a good ongoing laugh to be sure and it does not make Catholicism look good especially considering the fuss they are making over the issue.

    The author is, of course, an Orthodox Christian who must consider my comment offensive but I can’t understand why. Is it because I used the word orthodox or god without capitalizing the first letter? How rude of me to use improper nouns.

  510. #510 Tom P.
    July 18, 2008

    Here’s a couple for you lawyers that are so sure it is a crime…

    Suppose I set up a card table on a street corner and give out blank pieces of paper but if you take one you must write a poem on it. You can’t use it for any other purpose. Suppose someone walks by and takes a piece of paper, spits their gum into it, and tosses it in the garbage. What do you think my chance is of getting anyone to prosecute this for me?

    What if I ask my friend to go into a card shop and take a penny from their little penny cup used when you buy something and it costs $5.01 and you don’t have a penny? Do you think a prosecutor would take that case to charge me with conspiracy?

  511. #511 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    RC POV @490, thanks for your thoughtful post.

    You wrote:

    A RC Sacrament requires matter, form, and intent. The understanding is that a man is the proper form for Holy Orders. As for the laicized/defrocked/etc. priest consecrating a host, the intent portion will play a large role. If they have truly become an unbeliever, they would not be able to have the intent required for the transubstantiation.

    Aha, yes, you bring up an excellent point.

    As for being able to identify consecrated hosts, that is not an ability generally recognized as being held by any Catholics. However, Occult worshipers require consecrated hosts from RC masses for their black masses.

    I realize this is a commonly held belief (or urban legend) among Catholics. My Opus Dei teachers repeated the same thing. But I’ve never seen any proof of it. From what I’ve read, in fact, “the black mass” is largely an invention of the witch hunts from Medieval Europe. Even Internet searches on “the black mass” don’t come up with a standard ritual for it, leading me to believe it exists largely in the mind of fearful Catholics and maybe some fanciful Pagan/Satanist types. Care to offer some evidence of either 1) black masses occurring or 2) Satanists using consecrated hosts for anything? And no, Malachi Martin’s writings don’t count.

    Some Satanists can identify consecrated hosts. The theology behind this is that Satan has granted them that ability to increase their ability to sin.

    Again, I’m familiar with this claim going back to my Catholic school days, but I’ve only heard it repeated as “friend of a friend of a friend” stories. I think it’s really just an urban legend among Roman Catholics.

    Re: legalism
    Any system can be reduced to legalism…The reality of both situations is that the laws are an interpretation of some positive rule set that is divorced from legalism. I’m sorry to report that this isn’t how most Christians understand or live it. I’m not going to pull a “no real Christian” argument, but I am going to say that you are criticizing a misunderstanding of Christian ethics.

    I know the theory behind Catholic ethics. I’m talking about how it plays out in the real world. And telling me I’m misunderstanding Christian ethics doesn’t exactly wow me as an argument. I’m sure that you think a misunderstanding of the Church is what led me into atheism, but I would disagree stridently with that assertion. I’d argue that it’s the deeper understanding of the Church and its history that actually led me away from the Roman Catholic faith. I believe that the foundational beliefs from which “Christian ethics” are derived is about as real as fairies or Santa Claus. Therefore, I believe most of Catholic dogma is quite divorced from who and what Jesus (later termed “Christ”) actually was: a human being and a Jewish rabble-rouser, not the Second Person of the Trinity.

  512. #512 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    the mind of fearful Catholics

    That’s a vaaaaaaaaaaast landscape.

  513. #513 Pete Rooke
    July 18, 2008

    Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

    Surely it is the atheist that wallows in fear rejecting God and salvation out of some sense of unworthiness. It is the brave who acknowledge their sinful nature.

  514. #514 Tom P.
    July 18, 2008

    And one last one for you prosecutors… how do you prove that the cracker that was desecrated was actually a consecrated cracker from an actual mass and not one purchased online? I am fairly certain that they don’t have serial numbers. This would be as if someone complained that their #2 pencil was stolen and then trying to prove which of the thousands of #2 pencils lying around in a typical office was the stolen one.

  515. #515 Tom P.
    July 18, 2008

    Surely it is the atheist that wallows in fear rejecting God and salvation out of some sense of unworthiness. It is the brave who acknowledge their sinful nature.

    Sure. Yeah. Whatever. Let’s go with that. Can you leave now?

  516. #516 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    Surely it is the atheist that wallows in fear rejecting God and salvation out of some sense of unworthiness. It is the brave who acknowledge their sinful nature.

    So, you have engaged in activity so evil that the murder of another human being is somehow reasonable and welcome.

    Please, do stay away from me. You’re one sick puppy.

  517. #517 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Pete Rooke @513: So what is so brave about branding oneself as “sinful”? Did you ever think that maybe the Church is like the proverbial snake oil salesmen of old, trying first to convince you of what an awful sinner you are and then trying to sell you the remedy for “sin” (meaningless rituals, repeated prayers, groveling before a priest)? And not for free, of course. Good Catholics donate part of their income to the Church. And, of course, you’re only sinful because supposedly the first human beings sinned. You’re being punished for something you didn’t even do, and you receive this punishment (Original Sin) before you’re even born!

  518. #518 ctenotrish
    July 18, 2008

    SEF #385

    Aaarrrrgghhh! My grammar!

    Okay, the site at other side of link (http://www.savethecracker.com/) is funny whether you click through or not! Well, I think it is hilarious, that is. But unless you are psychic, you’ll never know unless you go read the posts yourself.

    Oooooooh, if you ARE psychic, call Randi, get proof, make millions. (calling Randi and getting proof are, apparently, optional)
    ;) ctenotrish

  519. #519 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Tom P. @514:

    And one last one for you prosecutors… how do you prove that the cracker that was desecrated was actually a consecrated cracker from an actual mass and not one purchased online?

    Apparently you need to find a devoted Satanist who has this particular talent. Priests don’t.

  520. #520 El Herring
    July 18, 2008

    Dahan #482: That was deep. Beautifully put.

  521. #521 StuV
    July 18, 2008

    Surely it is the atheist that wallows in fear rejecting God and salvation out of some sense of unworthiness. It is the brave who acknowledge their sinful nature.

    I do not wallow in fear. You do.

    I am very worthy of a lot of things. God is not one of them, because there is no such thing.

    I am not sinful. There is no such thing outside of your puny feverish mind.

    Needing an imaginary friend to forgive you and give you worth makes you a pathetic coward without any sense of worth or self-esteem.

    Project much, you gibbering fool?

  522. #522 Pete Rooke
    July 18, 2008

    Here is some insight into original sin:
    http://home.newadvent.org/summa/2082.htm

  523. #523 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    Adrienne,

    I realize this is a commonly held belief (or urban legend) among Catholics.

    Which is in direct contradiction with the doctrine of the catholic church itself, which holds true, in its own catechism, the following :

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a3.htm

    1381 That in this sacrament are the true Body of Christ and his true Blood is something that ‘cannot be apprehended by the senses,’ says St. Thomas, ‘but only by faith, which relies on divine authority.’

  524. #524 El Herring
    July 18, 2008

    Bill Dauphin #409: No, it’s both funny and not-funny until you click; it’s Schrodinger’s link!

    Actually that appears to be quite correct. Humour is subjective. The link by itself is neither funny nor not funny. It is simply a link. The reader (observer) decides whether it’s funny or not.

    Argh – I’m turning into Truth Machine!

  525. #525 Pete Rooke
    July 18, 2008

    ‘Project much, you gibbering fool?’

    The fool hath said in his heart: “There is no God”; they have dealt corruptly, they have done abominably; there is none that doeth good.

    Hmm, on one side you have Rev. Dawkins and his acolytes. On the other God. Which should I value?

  526. #526 MAJeff, OM
    July 18, 2008

    The fool hath said in his heart: “There is no God”; they have dealt corruptly, they have done abominably; there is none that doeth good.

    blah blah blah blah blah

  527. #527 Kseniya
    July 18, 2008

    Surely it is the atheist that wallows in fear rejecting God and salvation out of some sense of unworthiness. It is the brave who acknowledge their sinful nature.

    “Surely”? LMAO. More inane bullshit from Mr. Rooke, who uses a online “complaint letter generator” when he wants to post a substantial comment.

    It is the sane who seek to know themselves, and who acknowledge the imperfect nature of mankind. The concept of “sin” is for suckers, Pete. Nobody’s perfect, and nobody behaves perfectly at every moment of their lives. Knowing this, we do the best we can to live well, and to treat other with as much fairness and compassion as we can spare. Go ahead, dress these self-evident truths up as much mystical, theological nonsense as you like – but don’t expect everyone to be as irrationally credulous and superstitious as yourself.

  528. #528 Steve_C
    July 18, 2008

    Yeah but who do you want to have your back in a bar fight?

    A person or god?

    Oh that’s right god won’t step in… ever. What a whimp.

  529. #529 StuV
    July 18, 2008

    Hmm, on one side you have Rev. Dawkins and his acolytes. On the other God.

    You do? Says who?

    Which should I value?

    The one that exists?

    Keep ‘em coming, I can do this all day.

  530. #530 Dan
    July 18, 2008

    I only read about 100 comments in, so this may be way out of date but:

    With regard to knowing about implied contracts of receiving crackers, I made it to the age of, oh, let’s say 21 without actually knowing that technically you’re supposed to be a Catholic who believes in transubstantiation to be allowed to receive a wafer. And I went to Catholic school for 13 years (kindergarten through high school). In college, I even had a friend who wasn’t Catholic come to mass with me once, and I told him it’d be all right if he went through the line, which was probably incorrect, by Catholic rules. But I was pretty liberal and thought, for some odd reason, that god wouldn’t really give a shit.

    Now, maybe I’m colossally stupid, but it seems that if I can make it that long without knowing all the details of the “implied contract” (which, as someone mentions, almost no one ever bothers to talk about), you’d be hard pressed to claim that any random non-Catholic would obviously know about it unless they’re a moron. It’s, perhaps, obvious in light of the huge stink being made over this situation, but excepting that, it’s not something I’d expect to be common knowledge.

  531. #531 Moses
    July 18, 2008

    William A. Donohue, Ph.D.
    President
    Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
    450 Seventh Avenue
    New York, NY 10123

    Dear Dr. Donohue:

    Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention. Let me assure you that the views expressed by biology professor Paul Myers on his personal blog do not reflect those of the
    University of Minnesota, Morris or the University of Minnesota system.

    Per the University’s Web policy, the link to Myers’ personal blog from the University’s Web site has been deactivated.

    Sincerely,
    ~bcN.jj~
    Robert H. Bruininks
    President

    So, that’s Donahue’s big victory. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…

  532. #532 karen
    July 18, 2008

    At the risk of sounding like a concern troll, should we be doing something to support Webster Cook in his battle with the trogs at his school? Pelt me with jeezits, if you must. BTW, I thought the idea of gluing hordes of them in a stack to make a dildo was an excellent idea! I was just going to line my cat boxes with them, but now you’ve got me thinking in other directions.

  533. #533 Patricia
    July 18, 2008

    #522 – Pete Rook – Do you believe your own saviour?
    Jesus Christ – “There is no sin.”
    Gospel of Mary Magdelene, 7:15

    So Pete, take your sin and shove it. Don’t come trolling here until you learn the gospels. Piss off!

  534. #534 tguy
    July 18, 2008

    Wow, look how PZ’s traffic has dropped off since Donohue got the link removed from the U Minn page. It’s been so dead here since that happened. Yup.

  535. #535 Moses
    July 18, 2008

    If the people I love aren’t there – if they are instead doomed to an eternity of hell’s fires and torture – then there is NO WAY that it would be Heaven.

    It would be a Heaven full of Sorrow

    Posted by: Calladus | July 18, 2008 12:39 PM

    Sorry, but theologians have all figured this out, when you get to heaven God gives you a lobotomy and you’re HAPPY!!! HAPPY!!! JOY!!! JOY!!!

    Except for “Left-Behind” Evangelicals. If you’re a “Left-Behind” Evangelical, you don’t have to get your second lobotomy.

  536. #536 Rey Fox
    July 18, 2008

    And here I was thinking that fear of God is a virtuous thing. Go fig.

    Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

    “Suffer the little children! Humperdumperdoo!”
    Ennis 21:11

    “Jog on.”
    Pegg 24:17

  537. #537 negentropyeater
    July 18, 2008

    Pete Rooke,

    thank you for drawing my attention to this verse. Did you notice the passage :

    29 “And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. 30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. 31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

    32 “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

    Well, that was just the kind of message the church needed to maintain most of Europe’s population in absolute misery for about 1700 years… and now, what they are using in Africa.

    Thank you Church.

  538. #538 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    BTW, I thought the idea of gluing hordes of them in a stack to make a dildo was an excellent idea!

    Just make sure you put a condom on it or all those sharp edges of cracker will ream the hole out of you.

  539. #539 AgnoAtheist
    July 18, 2008

    It looks pretty clear at this point that walking out with the wafer would probably not get you arrested and in the unlikely event that it did the case would be dropped. Unfortunate since it would potentially be epic social theatre. The more His Crustiness gets into the public forum the worse it’s going to be in the long run for Catholicism.

    I’m still interested in trying to find the boundries on some social issues. I’ve got some thought experiments and wonder what you think.

    Which of the following would: create civil injustice; be bigotry; hate speech; or, bring about undo pain and suffering?

    1. Sneaking into the headquarters of a voodoo sect and removing a live chicken who’s head is scheduled to come off in that night’s rites.

    2. Taking a hidden cam into a gay s/m club to tape scurrilous scenes to be used on a conservative religious web page.

    3. Deviously obtaining Mormon sacred under garments to use in a public comedy monologue.

    4. Publicly mock Tom Cruise on The Tonight Show for believing in alien possession.

    5. And hauling out Godwin’s Corrolary, a TV preacher excoriating jihadist beliefs.

    It strikes me that the jihadists and the Catholics would be the most tormented. To what extent in the social action context does one have to protect the sensibilites of others?

  540. #540 Sauceress
    July 18, 2008

    I was recently listening to one of my favourite philosophers, Flacco, commenting on George Pell and the CC’s stand on cloning…

    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2008/2301580.htm
    (listen to mp3)

    ..isn’t this exactly what the church is claiming to be doing when consecrating the host? Cloned Jesus in a cracker?

  541. #541 Moses
    July 18, 2008

    It would appear that heaven will be crowded, not sparsely populated.

    Posted by: heddle | July 18, 2008 1:09 PM

    Considering the archaeological record tends to refute the claims and doctrine of Christianity as a unique religion, but is rather quite apparent that it is an amalgam of many religions, including a core taken from Judaism I find any argument you make, or will make, to be laughable. Your bible is a construct. Your religion is a construct.

    And Paul, like Mohammad centuries later, was the L. Ron Hubbard of his day. He and the early Christians ripped off at least nine different pagan religions which they combined with the Jewish core-faith.

    Even that core-faith had changed dramatically, though you’re blissfully unaware of that fact. It’s clearly documented that there were massive changes of the Jewish religion, from a POLYTHESITIC religion with HUMAN SACRIFICE to a MONOTHESTIC religion. The largest re-write came in 700BCE which included the writing out of Gods’ wife.

    Really, considering it’s just a bunch of clumsily co-opted, and frequently changing, myths ranging from the Mediterranean to India, I think the non-existent heaven will be empty. Just like the non-existent Tir-Na-Nog. Or the non-existent Valhalla. Or the non-existent Paradise.

    So, all your hand waiving is for naught. Your religion is empty of original “divine” content. And it is only your shared delusion with other “Christians” that makes it seem true.

    Just like the Hindu Heddle.

    Just like the Muslim Heddle.

    Just like the Heddle from whatever religion that Heddle is from.

  542. #542 wrpd
    July 18, 2008

    My friend Vicky is a female episcopal priest. She once had a debate with an opponent of women’s ordination where her opponent actually said the priest has to be a male because the priest inseminates the snacks. Vicky’s response was “So that’s why they always did it with their backs toward the people.” End of debate.

  543. @299: Fuck, yes, Opus Dei are Catholics. Who do you think the Pope is staying with right now, while he visits Australia?

  544. #544 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Emmet Caulfield @538 wrote:

    Just make sure you put a condom on it or all those sharp edges of cracker will ream the hole out of you.

    No danger. 1) They are wafers, not crackers. And pretty insubstantial wafers at that; they will either break or bend when subjected to force 2) They are round. No sharp edges.

    Given that they will partly dissove and get very sticky when they come into contact with any sort of liquid, though, a condom in such a circumstance would be a wise idea.

  545. #545 OMH
    July 18, 2008

    @322 Don’t shoot the messenger… It’s potentially criminal: when you say “boilerplate” and “enforceable”, I suspect you have civil law in mind. All we’re discussing is whether something is a crime or not – issues of proof, value, likelihood of prosecution are not relevant.

    @459, 488 – You’re looking at the wrong offence: obtaining services by deception. I was dealing with the offence of obtaining property by deception.

    This said, both were due to be repealed by the Fraud Act 2006, although it may not have come into force yet (but remember, as I said, I’m an ex- not a current prosecutor). If they have been replaced by the Fraud Act offence, the situation is worse for your potential cracker-nabber as the statutory offence of fraud was much wider as I recall. Omissions were sufficient for deception in the Fraud Act, for example.

    @487 “OMH’s demonstration that this is covered by “a basic law about theft” has been a little tiny bit dubious.” I’m sorry that you feel that way. The fact is that the theoretical threshold for “theft” is pretty much nil. That’s the way the law works. The way prosecution works is that someone then decides whether to bring a prosecution considering the public interest, value stolen, whether the perpetrator will offend again &c.

    “And yes, it does look like defining crime by infraction to religious dogma.” You need to ignore the religion angle. A cracker is property. It can therefore be stolen.

    And, yes, I am a lawyer, I was called to the Bar of England and Wales in November 1999 by the Inner Temple. I practised for a year and a half in chambers and then became a prosecutor of financial crime, which I left for a career in forensic accounting abroad… Happy?

  546. #546 Numad
    July 18, 2008

    “A cracker is property. It can therefore be stolen.”

    Obviously. Claiming that it would constitute theft in specific instances is a different thing altogether. The Fraud Act of 2006 came into effect the 15th January 2007. Is that before or after last October? I’m done with these generalities and done with this issue.

    There’s no TOS on wafers.

  547. #547 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    1) They are wafers, not crackers. And pretty insubstantial wafers at that; they will either break or bend when subjected to force

    I haven’t touched one in 20 years, but I recall a variety of levels of rigidity, chewiness, and crumbliness. Some of them I recall being as hard as the hob of hell.

    2) They are round. No sharp edges.

    The lids off tin cans are also round, does that mean they have no sharp edges?

    I imagine that a glued together stack of communion wafers would be pretty darn rough if you rubbed it with a sensitive part of your anatomy. Worse still, as you say, little bits of it would break off, and it would start to dissolve in contact with moisture. Best to just soak the whole thing in marine epoxy, allow to harden, then sand it down, or turn it on a lathe. Ribbing and contours optional, although the more like a penis it is the better for pissing off Bill Donahue.

  548. #548 Adrienne
    July 18, 2008

    Hmm, Emmet Caulfield, have to say I never had a communion wafer that was “hard as the hob of hell”. Mine were always soft, although Opus Dei used purely white flour versions whilst my parish church used a whole grain version (which I preferred, both tastewise and texturewise).

    Both would stick to the roof of my mouth, though, which I always hated. It’s hard to reverence Jesus when you can’t get him unstuck from your palate.

    And yes, I think epoxy and sanding down a stack of them would be the way to go, were you or someone else looking to make a sex toy out of a stack of them.

  549. #549 Emmet Caulfield
    July 18, 2008

    Adrienne,

    I suggested it, someone else said they thought it was a good idea. I think if you were seriously contemplating it, putting them in a blender and using the powder as a buffer in epoxy or latex and using a dildo mould would be the way to go.

  550. #550 OMH
    July 18, 2008

    @546
    “There’s no TOS on wafers.” Well, I think in the relevant sense that there is. I don’t think they are correctly analysed as “gifts” either, which was suggested somewhere above by someone.

    Okay, so the relevant offence is a Fraud Act offence (my bad – I’m outdated…) I don’t believe that makes any difference to the analysis: s2 “Fraud by false representation fits the bill exactly (and NB s2(4) A representation may be express or implied). Legal principles don’t tend to change much, I’m afraid.

    Whether you are “done” with the issue or not is not going to alter the proposition that if someone misrepresent themselves as a catholic “eucharistee” and in order to obtain & thereby obtains a cracker they are committing an offence in the UK and almost certainly in the US too. In much the same way as the republican drinking the “democrat-only” beer.

    I appreciate that folks don’t seem to like it but that’s the way it is. Yes, you can alter the facts a bit and it becomes more marginal; yes, a prosecution is highly unlikely; yes, “crimes” such as this are committed all the time; yes, we probably wouldn’t be discussing this if it weren’t for the publicity; yes, there is unlikely to be much by way of civil recovery (although I understand that the US has quite a strong exemplary damages doctrine). Still a crime, technically.

  551. #551 Elf Eye
    July 18, 2008

    “Eternity……and it keeps going and going and going.”

    Am I the only one who got an image of the Energizer Bunny stuck in his/her head after reading this line?

  552. #552 John Morales
    July 18, 2008

    Where’re all the funny genuinely offended Catholics?
    The trolls, cretins and godbots are boringly routine.

    I miss the hostility and fatwa envy.

  553. #553 Sauceress
    July 18, 2008

    #543 Cath the Canberra Cook

    Who do you think the Pope is staying with right now, while he visits Australia?

    Speaking of Poppy Red Shoes…a couple of Chasers were on ABC radio earlier. Sounded like they’re up to something. :)

    “Chasing the Pope” (36.39 mins in)
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/saturdayextra/stories/2008/2308164.htm

  554. #554 Imsosrmt
    July 18, 2008

    Yeah, you haf to be reel dense to believe in the “cracker”. Stupid like Blaise Pascal, an idiot. Or how about Louie Pasteur, that dummy. Gregor Mendel,another fool. Dos Catliks sure is dum.

  555. #555 JoJo
    July 18, 2008

    Blaise Pascal…Louie Pasteur…Gregor Mendel

    What have any of them done recently?

  556. #556 Clay
    July 19, 2008

    Do ya’ll think, if you leave the Christians alone, they might leave you alone?

    But no, this appears more political, than anything spiritual.

    I guess I should ask…why are the Christians cramping your style? What power do they have, which is preventing you from living the lifestyle you choose?

  557. #557 amk
    July 19, 2008

  558. #558 N.K.
    July 19, 2008

    At #556: I don’t think someone’s being following along particularly well.

  559. #559 Adrienne
    July 19, 2008

    Emmet Caulfield @549:

    I think if you were seriously contemplating it, putting them in a blender and using the powder as a buffer in epoxy or latex and using a dildo mould would be the way to go.

    Just for the record, I’m not seriously contemplating it. :-)

    Also, pulverizing the consecrated wafers into fine powder would de-Jesus them.

  560. #560 Adrienne
    July 19, 2008

    When have Christians, even Catholics, left anyone else alone?

  561. #561 Kseniya
    July 19, 2008

    Speaking of Tom Cruise, I read the other day that his IQ is 98. Well, that explains a lot was the first thought to scamper through my brain…

  562. #562 Sauceress
    July 19, 2008

    Once again, physical aggression is initiated by a *loving* (newspeak) Cathaholic.
    This one got arrested :)

    “Pilgrim ‘annoys’ protester”
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24044508-12377,00.html

  563. #563 Rey Fox
    July 19, 2008

    “I guess I should ask…why are the Christians cramping your style? What power do they have, which is preventing you from living the lifestyle you choose?”

    I’m sure MAJeff, or any other homosexual who frequents this blog, would just love to enlighten you.

  564. #564 Janine ID
    July 19, 2008

    Open thread so I will drop this bit of randomness. In case you are not aware of Joss Whedon’s Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, here is your chance to get a PhD in Horribleness. Damn, I think I need to join a Neil Patrick Harris fan club. (Yes! I made a very geeky Buffy in-joke there.)

    Today, July 19, is the only day it will be free.

  565. #565 MAJeff, OM
    July 19, 2008

    I’m sure MAJeff, or any other homosexual who frequents this blog, would just love to enlighten you.

    That doesn’t count, Rey. We gay folks aren’t people.

  566. #566 MAJeff, OM
    July 19, 2008

    Do ya’ll think, if you leave the Christians alone, they might leave you alone?

    Been waiting a hell of a long time for that, especially from Papa Nazi, who has called allowing people like me to raise children doing evil to those children, and who sends out his legions of hateful fuckwits to actively attempt–through political policy as well as cultural life–to make the lives of queer people worse.

    Don’t even get me started on the murderer wannabes in the Southern Baptists Church.

  567. #567 MAJeff, OM
    July 19, 2008

    Damn, I think I need to join a Neil Patrick Harris fan club.

    If I join, is there a chance I can have Neil as a sugar daddy? That would rock!

  568. #568 clinteas
    July 19, 2008

    Sauceress,

    yeah but you know,he was from Newcastle,not a true catholic !!

  569. #569 Lowell
    July 19, 2008

    OMH:

    “if someone misrepresent themselves as a catholic “eucharistee” and in order to obtain & thereby obtains a cracker they are committing an offence in the UK and almost certainly in the US too.

    OMH, you keep saying this, but I haven’t seen you point to a statute. I don’t know how it works in England, but in the U.S., criminal law is statutory. If you think something is a crime, you need to point out what statute is being violated. I looked through the Minnesota code and didn’t see anything that would even come close to criminalizing PZ’s (anticipated) behavior. Do you have any authority to the contrary? Otherwise, you’re just blowing smoke.

  570. #570 Imsosrmt
    July 19, 2008

    JoJo (#555),

    Pascal, Pasteur, and Mendel- you ask, what have they done recently? Ever hear of Pascal’s triangle? Or pasteurized milk (thanks to L. Pasteur)? Mendel is considered the father of modern genetics. Of course they’re dead now but I’d love to hear prof. Myer’s explanation of why these three believed in the “cracker” as he likes to say. After all, these three made foundational contributions to math (Pascal) and science (Pasteur, Mendel) so they weren’t stupid and should have been smart enough not to believe in the “cracker”. Tell me why those three believed the wafer to be the body of Jesus. Someone explain how smart people could believe that because as this blog teaches me, only idiots, moron, bigots, and whatever else believe in the “cracker”.

  571. #571 spurges
    July 19, 2008

    Nice straw man you got there Imsosrmt.

  572. #572 MAJeff, OM
    July 19, 2008

    Nice straw man you got there Imsosrmt.

    You could actually make enough sense of that blabbering to find a straw man?

  573. #573 Lowell
    July 19, 2008

    @570,

    Imsosrmt, that’s what’s called an appeal to authority. It’s a logical fallacy:

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

  574. #574 spurge
    July 19, 2008

    I never let almost total incoherence get in the way of finding logical fallacies.

  575. #575 swangeese
    July 19, 2008

    In regards to #101, it would appear that the poster reads a lot of Vox Day.

    Vox Day likes to disparage Aspies in an attempt to insult atheists, but really he only makes himself look stupid. What Vox Day knows about autism would fit neatly inside of a thimble.

    Anyway autism isn’t a mental illness, it’s a developmental disorder. The brain is simply wired differently. And as an Aspie I can attest that empathy isn’t always my strongest suit, but that doesn’t make a person a psychopath.

    Psychopathy and autism are two entirely different things. Fortunately psychology has come a long way in the past few decades.

    Getting back to the topic, services are not being disrupted nor is anyone condoning interfering with worship services or destroying parish/non-personal property. If someone does that then he or she is an asshole and deserves any legal repercussions.

    Simply descrating a food item that was freely given to you is not harmful to anyone nor is it stealing.

    The point is that you don’t harm or threaten harm to others over a cartoon or a cracker. They are not worth a single human life. Maybe if the cartoon is posted enough times or the cracker descrated enough they’ll get the idea. It is ,after all, a fracking cracker.

    Funny how theists whinge about the intolerance of athiests and yet ignore the plank in their own eye.

  576. #576 Paul W.
    July 19, 2008

    Lowell,

    IIRC, OMH is saying that the basic theft law in all “common law” countries (the U.S., U.K, etc.) is basically the same, with variations mostly in terminology, thresholds, etc.

    This may be the particular Minnesota Statute (609.52) that would cover what he’s talking about:

    https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.52

    Subd. 2. Acts constituting theft. Whoever does any of the following commits theft and may be sentenced as provided in subdivision 3: [...] (4) by swindling, whether by artifice, trick, device, or any other means, obtains property
    or services from another person; [...]

    Subdivision 3 of the same law lists severities and penalties, the last and least category is for property under $500; there doesn’t seem to be a lower bound, so technically, tricking somebody out of a two-cent wafer would be swindling and therefore theft. The relevant penalty clause is

    (5) in all other cases where the value of the property or services stolen is $500 or less, to imprisonment for not more than 90 days or to payment of a fine of not more than $1,000, or both [...]

    Before the paragraph about swindling, there’s one about “false representation,” but I don’t think it applies. I think swindling is pretty general and covers all sorts of theft by deception that are not covered by the enumerated types of false representation.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a link saved, but I came across a case in which (IIRC) a Minnesota court ruled that it does not have to enumerate all the varieties of swindle, and that that would put undue burden on the legislature and courts; there are just too many was of tricking people out of their property, and people keep inventing new ones. So apparently, if the courts think you tricked somebody out of their property, that’s swindling and therefore theft.

    I really doubt that PZ would be prosecuted for a two cent wafer, and maybe he couldn’t be, but I think this is the kind of law that OMH is talking about when he says it’s technically theft to trick somebody into giving you a two cent wafer.

    There’s also a Minnesota Statute (609.595) that makes damaging somebody else’s property much more serious if it’s done “because of” their religion. (It doesn’t have to be a religious object—it seems to cover any property of theirs that you damage.) The least serious category (again, no lower bound) makes you eligible for up to 1 year in prison and/or a $3000 fine. (For “not more than” $500 worth of damage.)

    https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.595&year=2007&keyword_type=exact&keyword=religion

    If both those laws applied, that would make tricking somebody out of a communion wafer and proceeding to damage it pretty serious. Oddly, damaging the property would be much more serious than simply stealing it. (Or maybe there’s some legal principle that precludes applying the law that way? Or maybe not; it’s a hate crime law, so maybe it’s meant to punish things like sacrilege more harshly than things like theft, without making that explicit and putting the courts in the position of deciding whether something is sacrilegious.)

  577. #577 imsosrmt
    July 19, 2008

    Lowell,

    It would be a logical fallacy if I was using the stature of Pascal, Pasteur, and Mendel to try and “prove” that the “cracker” is Jesus. I’m not trying to prove that or anything else, I’m just asking why Pascal, Pasteur, and Mendel believed it. Why would intelligent people believe this? If only retarded, backwards, intolerant people believe it, why would they? Prof. Myers must have some ideas, or maybe not since all the Catlicks he taut be slow ones, therefore, all Catlicks be slow, therefore Pascal, Pasteur, and Mendel, being Catlicks were slow and stupid and thus couldn’t really have done the great work credited to them.

  578. #578 windy
    July 19, 2008

    I’m not trying to prove that or anything else, I’m just asking why Pascal, Pasteur, and Mendel believed it. Why would intelligent people believe this?

    Why did intelligent people believe in Zeus and Athena?

  579. #579 Kalirren
    July 19, 2008

    In general, the Christians who troll here are so bad as to be giving the rest of their faith another bad rep. Not to say that the other aspects of said bad rep aren’t justly deserved.

    However, that’s not the point I’ve come to address. My fellow Catholics, I’m going to make a claim that’s probably going to piss you off unless you’ve bothered to think it through. Here it is:

    The Catholic church has fundamentally betrayed the tradition of the Eucharist.

    What makes me say that? Didn’t the Church invent the whole idea?

    It’s more accurate to say that they adapted it. The Jewish idea of the Last Supper was a community meal held in the evening. The bread was broken -before- the meal and the wine was drunk -after- it. When the Christiansgot ahold of the tradition, they combined the breaking of the bread and the libation of the wine at the end of the meal to better emphasize the ritual parallels.

    Back in ancient Greece, it was common for holy celebrations to include a ritual feast, where one would eat the food blessed under the auspices of a god. When early Christianity hit Greece, the remembrane of the Last Supper fit straight into this existing cultural paradigm. That’s right, people; back in the day, the Eucharist was in fact an actual meal, not just a holy wafer and a dabble of grape juice. For the poorest of the congregation, it was one guaranteed dinner of the week.

    When Paul came around again to Greece and saw what the congregations there were doing, he was outraged – this is what he wrote in I Cor 11: 17, 20-22:
    when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. . . When you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord’s supper. For when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk. What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?

    The quote is fairly self-explanatory. Paul said this in response to his observation that when everyone went to eat, the people stratified themselves by social class as they are wont to do, leaving the poor eating the common fare with the poor and the rich sharing their delicacies. Hence the poor “went hungry” because all they had was what the church had prepared, while the rich brought their own wine and shared with their table, which proceeded to “become drunk.”

    Well, as it turns out, Paul had some influence within the early churches, and at his behest the Eucharist as a ceremony was separated from the communal meal which it used to bracket, with the intent of emphasizing that all were equal before God. The ceremony was separated moved to the morning, with the understanding that people would all eat the church lunch together.

    Fastforward a few years, and according to Justin Martyr, at the end of the consecration of the Eucharist, the bread and wine were distributed to the members of the congregation, who could either consume it there -or take it home-. (So what is the outrage over the current stunt all about?) Incidentally, Justin Martyr’s views of the Eucharist were decidedly against transubstantiation; he speaks of the ritual bread and wine as being “in rememberance” of Christ’s sacrifice, not a reenactment of it.

    Fast-forward 2000 years, or so, and what do we get now? a wafer and a shot of wine that anyone can get by standing in line. No dinner. No lunch unless we pay for it. So,without further ado, here are my indictments:

    Specifically,

    a) the Catholic church is betraying the Eucharist by serving it to strangers who have shown no interest in joining the congregation.

    Also,

    b) the Catholic church has discarded the fundamental idea of having its congregation share the common meal that was the Eucharist of old, and is instead working an empty ritual with the promise of a miracle. This is called bait and switch (even if the switch did take two millenia.) I want my early church Eucharist, dammit!

    The bottom line is this: even if you won’t even condescend to consider the atheist arguments that have already been presented to you, you -still- have no argumentative ground to stand on in this debate because -you don’t even understand your own damned ritual in the context of your own tradition-!

    Read up on your Justin Martyr. Read up on your Didache, on your Irenaeus. And read up on that Bible of yours before you forget it’s there. And please don’t forget that the Council of Nicaea had to include four (4) gospels because they couldn’t agree on which one of the many gospels that were in circulation at the time was right in the first place. You think they’d have included four if they could have made a single account? That would have saved so much trouble in the end, you know…

  580. #580 SEF
    July 19, 2008

    it’s technically theft to trick somebody into giving you a two cent wafer.

    But in order to bring that sort of prosecution, the religious nutters would have to drop all their guff about it being zombie Jesus and admit in a court of law that they know it’s only a rubbish cracker really.

  581. #581 Paul W.
    July 19, 2008

    I’m just asking why Pascal, Pasteur, and Mendel believed it.

    It seemed like a good idea at the time?

    One reason is that vitalism and classical dualism were not evidently unreasonable in those days, as they are now.

    We’ve learned a fair bit since then. Science has pretty well destroyed the metaphysical bases of traditional religion over the last three hundred years.

    They didn’t know any better; we do.

    There’s a reason why top scientists now generally disbelieve in God. (93 percent of the National Academy of Sciences are non-theists. For the Royal Society, the percentage is even higher.)

    To turn your question around, why are the modern-day heirs of Descartes, Pasteur, and Mendel—top philosophers, biolists, physicists, etc.—overwhelmingly atheists who not only don’t believe in the cracker, but think it’s a patently ridiculous idea?

    I think the answer is obvious. Vitalism is dead, classical dualism is dead, and Aristotle and St. Thomas were just flat wrong about essences and causation. Catholic theology about the Eucharist is, scientifically speaking, a load of bollocks.

    There’s just no way that a stone dead wheat cracker is a living god.

  582. #582 SEF
    July 19, 2008

    you don’t even understand your own damned ritual in the context of your own tradition

    Of course they don’t! They like being retarded (mentally, educationally, morally and emotionally) – and the church especially likes them that way and makes it out to be a virtue.

    They don’t want to think about the stupidity of it all or be well-educated on the truth of the matter. Having a holy book (which they generally haven’t even read but can pretend contains all knowledge) and priests (to tell them what to think and do) is much easier. They like being able to get away with lying (eg for Jesus) and all manner of other immoral acts (forgiven by confession without having to make amends) while pretending to be morally superior. They particularly like throwing over-emotional (and sometimes violent) tantrums at every imagined slight instead of having to be rational and civilised.

    They like being artificially retarded and the church enables their addiction and feeds off it and them.

  583. #583 Owlmirror
    July 19, 2008

    Did Pascal, Pasteur, and Mendel actually believe in the reality of the Eucharist? I honestly don’t know, and I would suggest that as smart people, they in fact might not have believed, but, being smart people, knew that speaking out about their disbelief might well get them into trouble, and therefore feigned belief.

    Yet even if they believed, we know that even some very smart people can nevertheless in fact be very gullible, especially if they are indoctrinated at an early age with particular beliefs.

    The point is not that smart people believe religions; the point is, can they provide actual evidence for their beliefs? If their rationalizations can be reduced to: “Well, that’s what I’ve always believed, and that’s all I need for a reason”; or, “My religion makes me feel good”, or, “I had a wonderful experience that convinced me that God was real”, then they are certainly not using their intelligence to analyze their own beliefs. Even with all of their intelligence, they use fallacious reasoning, and ignore the point that the burden of providing evidence remains with them.

  584. #584 SEF
    July 19, 2008

    vitalism and classical dualism were not evidently unreasonable in those days, as they are now.

    Actually, much of all the religious rubbish was clearly unreasonable back then, even before having significant amounts of the stuff we now call science. It’s just that very few people were in a position to notice – being too wrapped up in themselves, enslaved and struggling to survive at all, or already hopelessly indoctrinated (and having invested all their self-worth and social structure in holding to the lies).

    There were atheists back then (and unfortunately I still don’t know where to re-find a copy of one particularly revealing inscription – but even the Bible gives the game away).

  585. #585 Paul W.
    July 19, 2008

    SEF:

    But in order to bring that sort of prosecution, the religious nutters would have to drop all their guff about it being zombie Jesus and admit in a court of law that they know it’s only a rubbish cracker really.

    I don’t think they’d have a problem with saying it’s a cracker for certain legal purposes, if it gets them something they want. (Just as they admit that legally a church building is owned by a corporation run by humans, while claiming that it’s really the property of God himself. They claim those humans answer to God, because he’s the real owner, but the law doesn’t worry about that part.)

    They’ve always maintained two sets of books about what’s what and who it belongs to according to earthly law vs. according to theology.

    In the case of the wafer, I suppose they would say that the law is only concerned with “accidental” properties of the Eucharist, so for some “legal” purposes it’s a wheat wafer, while theology is concerned with its “actual” essence, which is the Body of the Living God.

    I have great faith in the Catholic Church’s ability to define things conveniently and situationally when it’s to its advantage.

    I also have great faith in the courts’ ability to turn a blind eye toward that kind of bullshit. For the most part, the Church is not responsible in court for the claims it makes in Church.

  586. #586 Owlmirror
    July 19, 2008

    Or, in other words: Even very smart people may use mental compartmentalization, such that “religious beliefs” are in a mental compartment that never is subjected to the careful analysis and skepticism that these very smart people use on their respective areas of expertise.

  587. #587 SEF
    July 19, 2008

    I don’t think they’d have a problem with …

    Oh I don’t doubt their ability to lie – to themselves and to others. They’re extremely proficient at lying. What I do doubt is their ability to get away with it quite so easily these days, eg without being roundly mocked.

  588. #588 John Morales
    July 19, 2008

    Unfortunately, the smarter one is the better one’s self-rationalisations are.

    I think intellectual honesty is a more important factor than intelligence, when it comes to rationality.

  589. #589 JC
    July 20, 2008

    It’s funny. You people, most of whom are frequently using the “f word” and other profanity, who apparently know no other method of argument than insults and ad hominems, are accusing Catholics of being delusional??

    All I see when I read the ramblings of atheists is hatred towards religion–Christianity in particular–without anything positive about why it’s good to be an atheist, except the ability to think that you’re intellectually superior to over 90% of the world’s population (even though, in most cases, atheists’ brains are too muddled by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs to even qualify as intellectually capable.).

    It’s really pathetic. I’d like to see one ounce of proof that atheists actually make the world a better place (except, of course, by their promotion of self-defined “good things” like evolution and “population control”).

  590. #590 Zarquon
    July 20, 2008

    …know no other method of argument than insults and ad hominems…

    (even though, in most cases, atheists’ brains are too muddled by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs to even qualify as intellectually capable.).

    !

  591. #591 John Morales
    July 20, 2008

    “JC”:

    All I see when I read the ramblings of atheists is hatred towards religion–Christianity in particular–without anything positive about why it’s good to be an atheist, except the ability to think that you’re intellectually superior to over 90% of the world’s population [blah blah blah]

    Ignore reality much?

  592. #592 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 20, 2008

    Posted by: JC | July 20, 2008 1:35 AM

    You people, most of whom are frequently using the “f word” and other profanity, who apparently know no other method of argument than insults and ad hominems, are accusing Catholics of being delusional??

    Being intentionally insulting to someone who ignores repeated attempts at logical explanation has absolutely nothing to do with being delusional. Believeing something for which there is no actual evidence is delusional. Posting dickish – and quite humorous – responses to such illogical and irrational argumentation is simply enjoyable, because you’ve proven that nothing will sway you from your unfounded positions. And in the face of that, derision is the best method of ultimate refutation.

    (even though, in most cases, atheists’ brains are too muddled by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs to even qualify as intellectually capable.).

    As someone who regularly utilizes one of those substances you mentioned for the purpose of both mitigating constant pain and moderating the inordinate amounts of manufactured chemicals induced into my body for the same purpose at the peril of my oh-so-precious liver, along with being someone who values reason over mysticism, I can honestly say that you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about when it comes to those substances you mentioned. Instead, you’re using such a comment about them to somehow conflate me with those individuals who use them illicitly and excessively for merely recreational purposes to the extent of stunting their capacity for intelligence. (And it is certainly clear that you need no such substances to achieve that level of restricted intellect…)

  593. #593 Ichthyic
    July 20, 2008

    even though, in most cases, atheists’ brains are too muddled by alcohol (too expensive for anything that actually is drinkable), marijuana (not where I live) and other drugs…

    suggestions?

  594. #594 clinteas
    July 20, 2008

    //even though, in most cases, atheists’ brains are too muddled by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs to even qualify as intellectually capable//

    Finally a rational well-thought out argument from a Christian !

    //All I see when I read the ramblings of atheists is hatred towards religion//

    Yes we know,trying to make you think about your delusions,critisizing pedo priests or the killing of the african population by proxy of their condom policy,is nothing but an expression of atheists hatred !

    Dream on mate.It is obvious you are not in need of any drugs to muddle your thoughts.

  595. #595 SEF
    July 20, 2008

    JC is projecting wildly – and, in particular, with much use of ad hominems. :-D

    Incidentally, one of the Bible give-aways, ie about the existence of atheists all along, is also an ad hominem attack, ie made in lieu of having any rational argument against them. Psalm 53:

    The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none that does good.

    Note how it can’t be intended as a definition of a fool. Rather it has to be a false and ad hominem description of atheists. Hence atheists already existed back then and the Bible-writers, even with their supposed pet god-in-a-box allegedly performing miracles, didn’t have a decent argument to present against them.

  596. #596 Wowbagger
    July 20, 2008

    The fool says in his heart there is no god; the wise man says it to the world.

    Not sure where that originates, but i like it a lot…

  597. #597 SEF
    July 20, 2008

    My own explanatory modification of another well-known(?) biblical quote is:

    The meek shall inherit the Earth, for the bold will have gone to the stars.

  598. #598 John Morales
    July 20, 2008

    Yeah, gotta love that.

    ‘Cos Papists* are so meek ;)

    * That’s the pejorative term Calvinists use for Catholics.

  599. #599 JeffreyD
    July 20, 2008

    Nice to see that people are trying to respond politely to JC. Personally, I think he should fuck himself with something with knobs on it.

    Been a long trip on these threads and a good bit of personal growth. I started thinking Cook’s action was a stupid stunt and that it was being blown way out of proportion – by both sides. However, the utter asinine behavior shown by Donahue’s League of Ordinary Catholics and the pro-cracker posters on this thread have changed that view. This IS a battle worth engaging in. Sacrilege needs to encouraged so (insert religion of choice) learns that it is not in control in the US. There is also the hope that questions will raise doubts in the minds of believers and that they may toss off their shackles and learn to live without fear and without a god who is apparently to weak to protect a bit of unleavened bread – I guess Jesus really is not risen, eh?

    Pax Nabisco

  600. #600 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    If it is not so important (Jesus in the Eucharist) why do you keep talking about it. Why dont you talk about your molecular B.S. Oh I know why because the “cracker” makes more sense then “splat we are here”.

  601. #601 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    Were is everyone, at Church

  602. #602 JeffreyD
    July 20, 2008

    Sorry johnpreiss, assumed you knew your comment was not worth addressing, but you are apparently new here. You may go now.

    Pax Nabisco

  603. #603 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    No been here before to and talked to the scholarly MAJeff.
    I told him about this site: http://www.johnpreiss.wordpress.com

  604. #604 John Morales
    July 20, 2008

    johnpreiss, we keep talking about it because wankers like you keep bringing it up.

  605. #605 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 20, 2008

    to weak to protect a bit of unleavened bread – I guess Jesus really is not risen, eh?

    Posted by: JeffreyD | July 20, 2008 6:41 AM

    As a recovered Catholic, that one made me spit orange juice on the screen of my laptop – nicely done.

  606. #606 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 20, 2008

    congratulations johnpreiss:

    you are the 1,000,000th religiot to use a intellectually painful non-sequitur to shamelessly plug your own blog here at Pharyngula! You get a word of recognition as reward, but the catch is that truth machine gets to come up with it…

  607. #607 JeffreyD
    July 20, 2008

    brokenSoldier – “As a recovered Catholic, that one made me spit orange juice on the screen of my laptop – nicely done.”

    My work here is done. (evil grin)

    BTW, I enjoy your blog and on your recommendation will try to see Dark Knight today. I very much enjoyed Hellboy II and recommend it to anyone.

    Pax Nabisco

  608. #608 Damian
    July 20, 2008

    JC said:

    It’s funny. You people, most of whom are frequently using the “f word” and other profanity, who apparently know no other method of argument than insults and ad hominems, are accusing Catholics of being delusional??

    I have never once used the F-word on this blog, and nor have many other posters. What you have done is only notice those who do, which is not a rare occurrence amongst those who seek out offense.

    And what is wrong with a little colorful language, anyway? As Stephen Fry, one of the most intelligent and erudite people on British television, put it:

    “The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or of a lack of verbal interest is just fucking lunatic,” he says. “Or they say, ‘It’s not necessary.’ As if that should stop one doing it. Things not being necessary is what makes life interesting.”

    And it is often the case that people pick up on minor, rather irrelevant details, when they don’t really have an argument to defend — they just know that something offends them.

    JC said:

    All I see when I read the ramblings of atheists is hatred towards religion–Christianity in particular–without anything positive about why it’s good to be an atheist, except the ability to think that you’re intellectually superior to over 90% of the world’s population (even though, in most cases, atheists’ brains are too muddled by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs to even qualify as intellectually capable.).

    Define hatred, and explain how that applies to the criticism of religion? So far you have been unoriginal in your complaints, to say the least. And they are complaints that we have answered, and shown to contain little merit, on numerous occasions.

    It’s not easy to be positive about simply not believing in god. That is, after all, all that being an atheist entails. There are, however, plenty of positive aspects to my life. I am under no obligation to either disclose them to you, or to prove that I am anything whatsoever. Mind your own business.

    And you last remark — “in most cases, atheists’ brains are too muddled by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs to even qualify as intellectually capable” — says more about you than it does about me. At the very least, you are a massive hypocrite. Of course, it’s a complete fabrication, which also makes you a liar. Quite revealing for one sentence.

    JC said:

    It’s really pathetic. I’d like to see one ounce of proof that atheists actually make the world a better place (except, of course, by their promotion of self-defined “good things” like evolution and “population control”).

    Well, how about the fact that, given that a conservative estimate of the number of non-believers in the US is roughly 10%, that same group only make up 0.209% of the prison population.

    Atheists are massively under-represented in prisons, in other words.

    Does not committing crime make the world a better place?

    Or, how about the fact that 93% of the National Academy of Sciences and 96.7% of the Royal Society don’t believe in god?

    Do the vast majority of scientific advances make the world a better place?

  609. #609 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    Posted by: JC | July 20, 2008 1:35 AM

    Wow, that’s some intensely concentrated stupidity.

  610. #610 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    No been here before to and talked to the scholarly MAJeff.
    I told him about this site: http://www.johnpreiss.wordpress.com

    Why would I want to go hang out with and read the work of idiots? I mean, c’mon, bleading wafers and images of white dudes on pancakes? Come back when you’re ready to deal with reality.

  611. #611 SEF
    July 20, 2008

    nor have many other posters

    JC, being a delusional fantasy-based religious type rather than a sane reality-based scientist type, failed to provide any statistical evidence to support his (ad hominem) claim of “most” anyway. I dispute the claim is even true (ie that more than half of the ill-defined “You people” group do it and that, for the point to have significance at all, this is more than in his control group (presumably the religous would-be cracker-defenders).

    Not being a Stephen Fry worshipper, I believe him to be wrong in his view. I suspect there’s quite a high degree of correlation between prolific use of bad language and lack of education or of anything worthwhile to say. Furthermore:

    And it is often the case that people pick up on minor, rather irrelevant details, when they don’t really have an argument to defend — they just know that something offends them.

    that’s one big reason not to do it. It gives the irrational, emotional and/or dishonest people who are in the wrong a great excuse to ignore the substantive points and whinge instead (to anyone, especially an authority figure, who’ll listen) about how they’re being abused (conveniently ignoring all the abuse they themselves have been heaping onto the people who are in the right).

    Not that it’s really enough to stop the artificially retarded folk, who are typically quite incompetent at even addressing let alone refuting anything honestly, in their dishonest whinging anyway. I never use profanities and yet they still routinely whinge away about how mean I am to have all the evidence and decent arguments on my side.

  612. #612 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    Good to hear from you again MA Jeff. Glad you got to check out the site. I am living in reality not you Alice.

  613. #613 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    You must be the Queen, thinking impossible things–like bleeding crackers! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    What’s next, talking snakes?

  614. #614 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    No , I do have a new article on my site you maybe interested in. Its on Homosexuality are you for it also.

  615. #615 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    I’m not interested in a word you say.

    You’re really rather pathetic in your whoring for blog hits.

  616. #616 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    In other words, I’ve never been to your delusional little world, and I have no intention of visiting.

    You seem to think I’m somehow interested in your idiocy.

  617. #617 Adrienne
    July 20, 2008

    Owlmirror@583:

    Did Pascal, Pasteur, and Mendel actually believe in the reality of the Eucharist? I honestly don’t know, and I would suggest that as smart people, they in fact might not have believed, but, being smart people, knew that speaking out about their disbelief might well get them into trouble, and therefore feigned belief.

    Yeah, that was my thought too. Public disbelief didn’t exactly go over well in those days. Not sure about Pasteur, but Mendel and Pascal would have certainly been risking death for speaking out against the absurdity of transubstantiation.

  618. #618 Adrienne
    July 20, 2008

    Johnpreiss, that creepy peering half-faced Jesus picture on your site makes it hard to concentrate on anything else there. Also, remember that punctuation is your friend.

  619. #619 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    Did I touch on something sensitive towards you?MA JEFF, At Least I have a site and A life. I am not on here 24 /7 under PZ Myers site because I dont have the kahunas to have my own site. The Jesus picture is for you guys to reflect on.

  620. #620 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    Did I touch on something sensitive towards you?MA JEFF, At Least I have a site and A life. I am not on here 24 /7 under PZ Myers site because I dont have the kahunas to have my own site. The Jesus picture is for you guys to reflect on.

    You’re a chew toy, a less intelligent version of the catnip toys I give Harriet.

  621. #621 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    john

    You don’t have the first clue about anyone here.

  622. #622 negentropyeater
    July 20, 2008

    Johnpreiss,

    which century do you live in ?

    what you write on your website is so ridiculous, it must be a joke :

    For a wife to be holy she must be obedient to God’s Word and obey her husband…
    Submission is when the wife lives here God-given role for the better of her family. That role is to be obedient to her husband, care for the children, be a good home-maker who makes the home a happy place. She has the primacy of love in the home. She is not stressed out with worry and work to increase material values for the home. She lets the work and worry of support of the family to her husband. She does not interfere in his business or work. She is happy to see her husband come home for the evening. She is happy to have him at home when he has free days from work. He is happy to be home because his wife lives her the God-intended role as a home-maker for the family. She contributes greatly to harmony in the home. Her husband returns to a peaceful home.

    How old are your children ? Any girls ? We’ll see how well they accept your “God given role”…

  623. #623 john preiss
    July 20, 2008

    I have 1 girl and two boys and one on the way. My girls will be happy to live this life. You must of come from a family with a weak father and that has left you bitter. You can overcome this, are you married??

  624. #624 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    1. “According to Ovid the word comes from hostis, enemy: “Hostibus a domitis hostia nomen habet”, because the ancients offered their vanquished enemies as victims to the gods. … It was applied to Christ, the Immolated Victim, and, by way of anticipation, to the still unconsecrated bread destined to become Christ’s Body. ”

    2. “Out of respect for the sacrament, some of the faithful would not consent to having the bread made by bakers, and took charge of it themselves. … At present many parishes apply to religious communities which make a specialty of altar-breads. This offers a guarantee against the falsifications always to be feared when recourse is had to the trade: unscrupulous makers have been guilty of adulterating the wheaten flour with alum, sulphates of zinc and copper, carbonates of ammonia, potassium, or magnesia, or else of substituting bean flour or the flour of rice or potatoes for wheaten flour.”

    3.”According to Mabillon, as early as the sixth century hosts were as small and thin as now, and it is stated that from the eighth century it was customary to bless small hosts intended for the faithful, an advantageous measure which dispensed with breaking the host and consequently prevented the crumbling that ensued. … Eventually all hosts were made round and their dimensions varied but little. However, some very large ones were at times consecrated for monstrances, on occasion of the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. To-day in Rome the large hosts are nine centimetres in diameter and the small ones four centimetres. In other countries they are usually not so large.”

    4. “About the ninth century, when anti-Eucharistic heresies began to appear, accounts of miracles multiplied in a way to convince even the most obstinate. … In olden times many cities possessed a miraculous Host, but the French Revolution destroyed a certain number of them, especially the one at Dijon where each year a Mass of expiation is yet celebrated in the church of St. Michael. In other places the miraculous Hosts have disappeared, but their ancient feast is still commemorated.”

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07489d.htm

  625. #625 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    oh goody. He’s a misogynist. What a shock.

  626. #626 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    john makes a whole lot of assumptions about other people.

    I bet he is going to be in for a big surprise someday.

  627. #627 john preiss
    July 20, 2008

    People are making assumptions of me. I don’t take it personal. I know what I stand for. I just wonder when one of you guys start making some valid points or is this a chatroom?

  628. #628 Richard in Edmonton
    July 20, 2008

    John preiss writes

    “I just wonder when one of you guys start making some valid points or is this a chatroom?”

    A question arises in trying to understand the origins of the eucharist john. Exactly what are the words uttered by a priest that allows the transubstantiation to occur and where did the catholic church derives these words to use on the wafer to perform the act?

  629. #629 Kseniya
    July 20, 2008

    who apparently know no other method of argument than insults and ad hominems

    JC either does’t see fit to actually read the comments, or is perhaps the most dishonest commenter to stagger down the aisle here in at least… oh, three or four days. Epic fail.

    Preiss is a waste of time. In a single comment, he pulled out the “I have a life, you don’t” and “I have a blog, you don’t” arguments that add up to “I have a very weak mind.” His content is as intellectually robust and emotionally compelling as kindergarten paste, and can be ignored.

  630. #630 negentropyeater
    July 20, 2008

    jonhpreiss
    Not yet married, planning to with my homosexual partner. It has been legal here in Spain already for the last 5 years and strangely almost everybody here, Catholics included, are now perfectly Ok with it.
    My sister is married and has two chidren.
    And we both had quite succesful academic studies and professional lives, so please do not make any unnecessary assumptions about my father’s education, nor my mother, and fyi, they are still happily married and are going to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this month.
    btw my mother is an atheist, my father an anglican, and I was brought up in a Jesuit school.

  631. #631 Kseniya
    July 20, 2008

    Exhibit A:

    “I just wonder when one of you guys start making some valid points”

  632. #632 john preiss
    July 20, 2008

    Interesting??—- Is the mentality of the atheist negative towards society?

  633. #633 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    Is the mentality of the atheist negative towards society?

    too fucking precious.

  634. #634 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    What are you blathering about john?

  635. #635 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    It appears that most in here are negative. How do you deal with Christians at work?

  636. #636 Richard in Edmonton
    July 20, 2008

    john preiss writes

    “It appears that most in here are negative”

    Check out and answer #628 John. I have placed a valid question there so put up already.

  637. #637 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    The Holy Eucharist is the oldest experience of Christian Worship as well as the most distinctive. Eucharist comes from the Greek word which means “thanksgiving.” In a particular sense, the word describes the most important form of the Church’s attitude toward all of life. The origin of the Eucharist is traced to the Last Supper at which Christ instructed His disciples to offer bread and wine in His memory. The Eucharist is the most distinctive event of Orthodox worship because in it the Church gathers to remember and celebrate the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ and, thereby, to participate in the mystery of Salvation.

  638. #638 Matt Penfold
    July 20, 2008

    “It appears that most in here are negative. How do you deal with Christians at work?”

    I live in the UK. Although I am now freelance, when I was an employee I had no idea of the religious beliefs of most of my colleagues. On a few occasions I became aware because someone started to proselytise. They were simply informed that they should not do so.

  639. #639 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    You did not answer the question john.

  640. #640 Richard in Edmonton
    July 20, 2008

    john preiss writes

    “The Holy Eucharist is the oldest experience of Christian Worship as well as the most distinctive. Eucharist comes from the Greek word which means “thanksgiving.” In a particular sense, the word describes the most important form of the Church’s attitude toward all of life. The origin of the Eucharist is traced to the Last Supper at which Christ instructed His disciples to offer bread and wine in His memory. The Eucharist is the most distinctive event of Orthodox worship because in it the Church gathers to remember and celebrate the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ and, thereby, to participate in the mystery of Salvation.”

    I wrote previously

    “A question arises in trying to understand the origins of the eucharist john. Exactly what are the words uttered by a priest that allows the transubstantiation to occur and where did the catholic church derives these words to use on the wafer to perform the act?”

    Do you feel that you have answered my question here John?

  641. #641 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    The Eucharist is the most distinctive event of Orthodox worship because in it the Church gathers to remember and celebrate the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ and, thereby, to participate in the mystery of Salvation.

    So, you are so evil that your actions require the murder of another man. Please do stay away from me.

  642. #642 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    THE EUCHARIST GIVES US JESUS CHRIST
    The other Sacraments give us grace, the Holy Eucharist gives us not only grace but the Author of all grace, Jesus, God and Man. It is the center of all else the Church has and does.

    As St. Mark records that, at the Last Supper, Jesus “took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them: “Take this, this is my Body” (Mk 14:22). That word blessed in Greek is eucharistesas, from which the Eucharist derives its name.

    Three of the four Gospels record the institution of the Holy Eucharist: Matthew 26:25-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-23. St. Paul also records it in First Corinthians 11:23-25. St. John’s Gospels does not report this, presumably because he intended chiefly to fill in what the others had not written, for he wrote probably between 90 and 100 A.D. There are small variations in the words, but the essentials are the same in all accounts: This is my body… this is my blood.

    In John 6:53 Jesus said: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you will not have life in you.” Of course, He did not mean to cut off salvation from those who through no fault of their own do not know or grasp this truth. It is like the case of Baptism: one must receive it if one knows.

    The form, that is the words required for the Eucharist, are of course the words of institution. The matter is wheat bread (white or whole wheat) for the host, and natural wine (mixed with a very little water) for the chalice. Addition of a notable amount of other matter would make the material invalid.

    Jesus is present wherever the appearances (species) of bread and wine are found after the consecration. Hence He is found even when the host is divided. The substance of bread and wine is gone, only the appearances remain. The Church calls this change transubstantiation: change of substance.

    In John 6:47-67 Jesus did not soften His words about His presence even when so many no longer went with Him: had He meant only that bread and wine would signify Him, He could have so easily explained that, and they would not have left.

    The Church has always understood a Real Presence. For example, St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was eaten by the beasts in Rome around 107 A.D., wrote: “The Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ” (To Smyrna 7:1). St. Justin the martyr wrote around 145 A. D: “We have been taught that the food is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh” (Apology 1. 66. 2). The Council of Trent in 1551 defined that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, body and blood, soul and divinity.

    Obviously, this divine presence deserves our worship. Really, someone who believes in it should be much inclined to come before the tabernacle often. Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament seems to have started in the 15th century. The Church also promotes Forty Hours devotion. In some places there is perpetual adoration.

    We can correctly speak of other kinds of presence of Jesus. (On this see our discussion on the Ascension in the sixth article of the Creed, and Vatican II, On the Liturgy #7). But none of them compare to that in the

  643. #643 Sven DiMilo
    July 20, 2008

    Nice cut-&-paste job, there, John. Without attribution. That’s called “intellectual dishonesty” and it’s not going to improve your reputation around here (hint: we all think you’re a dumbass).

    Say, what part of “Don’t fill this one up!” is unclear to you people, anyway? (he said, posting comment # six-hundred-and-something)

  644. #644 Sven DiMilo
    July 20, 2008
  645. #645 Matt Penfold
    July 20, 2008

    Plagarism by Preiss. I guess being a Christian he gets a free pass on that because he was doing it for Jesus. Back in the real world the rest of just think it is dishonest, and something if you tried at university should get you expelled.

  646. #646 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    We can not expect john to think for himself can we?

    What can he do but quote his masters?

  647. #647 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    The above article was written By: Father William Most. As you see his name was cut off at bottom of article. I did not know exact dates so I let Fr. Most explain it to you.

  648. #648 JoJo
    July 20, 2008

    It appears that most in here are negative. How do you deal with Christians at work?

    I suspect I deal with Christians at work the same way you do. I don’t differentiate co-workers as Christians, Jews, Hindus (I work with one), Muslims (I work with two), atheists, or whatever. I look upon them as being either likeable or unlikeable, and being productive or unproductive. The likeable ones I’m friendly towards, the unlikeable ones I treat in a purely professional manner. As a manager, I’m much more interested in productive and unproductive. The productive people I encourage and publicly praise. With the unproductive ones I attempt to discover why they’re unproductive. I teach, motivate, and do whatever else seems appropriate to make them productive. I won’t discuss how I deal with equals and superiors, but only because I don’t want to be too longwinded.

    Sorry, but religious belief has nothing to do with how I interact with the people I work with.

  649. #649 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    Hey JoJo
    I understand some Christians are not Christ-like in the way of treating people equal and I realize this, so what you say makes sense and a good approach.

  650. #650 Matt Penfold
    July 20, 2008

    “The above article was written By: Father William Most. As you see his name was cut off at bottom of article. I did not know exact dates so I let Fr. Most explain it to you.”

    So you were just incompetent.

    Twice.

  651. #651 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    I am with JoJO. Religion plays no role in how I deal with people at work.

  652. #652 Adrienne
    July 20, 2008

    JohnPreiss wrote @635:

    How do you deal with Christians at work?

    Probably much better than you deal with coworkers who are openly gay or atheist (or both). And also probably better than you deal with your female coworkers.

  653. #653 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    Alot of assumptions in here. I treat my employees great. My wife is the queen of the castle. What more can I say. True happiness if you live in your God intended Role.

  654. #654 Matt Penfold
    July 20, 2008

    John,

    Do you steal other people’s work in your business ? Or do you just do that in your spare time ?

  655. #655 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    It is the height of arrogance to think you know what role god intended for everyone.

  656. #656 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    Matt what is it to you I am not even discussing anything with you. If you have something constructive to say then fine.

  657. #657 Adrienne
    July 20, 2008

    johnpreiss @653:

    …my wife is the queen of the castle.

    Of course, she’s not a “co-regent” of the castle, now, is she? As long as she knows her place (under yours), all is well, eh?

    Well, if that’s what makes both her and you happy, so be it. I am just as happy not living in any manmade or phony Scripture-mandated “role” as my husband’s equal.

  658. #658 Adrienne
    July 20, 2008

    Ack, garbled that last bit. Should have said, I am just as happy not living in any manmade or phony Scripture-mandated role as a “submissive wife”. I’m fully my husband’s equal, and we are extremely happy.

  659. #659 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    The Bible discusses roles of Husband and Wife Esphesians 5

    Not Me, GOD

  660. #660 Adrienne
    July 20, 2008

    Johnpreiss: Men (and maybe some women) wrote the Bible. Not God.

  661. #661 Matt Penfold
    July 20, 2008

    John,

    You lied to us. You posted something, passing it of as your own. It was only when you got caught you owned up.

    Such behaviour does not speak well of you. Someone who does that sort of thing clear has problems understanding ethical standards. And you claim to run a business. Unless shown otherwise I will assume you apply the same ethical standards in that as you do here. In other words, you are likely to lie and be dishonest in that as well.

    You lack even the grace to apologise for your plagarism.

  662. #662 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    Thats fine Adrienne and I am glad you have a good marriage

  663. #663 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    It is the height of arrogance to think you know what role god intended for everyone.

    Actually, since gods are the product of human social activity, it’s entirely to be expected that humans would claim to know what those deities want. Their gods are simply reflections of themselves.

  664. #664 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    I was thinking more from a Theists perspective but I see your point Jeff.

  665. #665 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    Ok I apologize, I just wanted to get something to yall fast and truthfully did not leave Father’s name off on purpose. I am a honest man and run my business to the T.
    If I cannot explain something well enough and you seriously want to understand it. What more than have a Priest do it.

  666. #666 negentropyeater
    July 20, 2008

    John Preiss writes :

    The origin of the Eucharist is traced to the Last Supper at which Christ instructed His disciples to offer bread and wine in His memory.

    So he writes this, but he doesn’t ask himself, how come the Church corrupted this important message into Eucharist = bread = “body of Christ” ?

    John Preiss any idea ? Any explanation you can offer ? Can’t you see the obvious contradiction in what you write ?

  667. #667 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    “This is My Body This is my Blood” do this in memory of me. . We receive His actual Body and Blood present at consecration as a memory of Him.

  668. #668 johnpreiss
    July 20, 2008

    Got to go eat see you guys

  669. #669 Kseniya
    July 20, 2008

    We can not expect john to think for himself can we?

    Nope. As I said: Kindergarten paste (but less palatable, not that I would personally, errr, know that).

    How do I deal with Christians at work? The same way I deal with Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and everyone else: in a cheerful and civil mannner, with no regard whatsoever to their religion. (Is there some other way to treat people?) Nobody ever pushes their beliefs on me, and if they did, I’d smile and nod, and if necessary tell them that I’m Not Really Very Religious. The Hindu stuff is interesting, though. Very different from what I was raised with.

  670. #670 Matt Penfold
    July 20, 2008

    “We receive His actual Body and Blood present at consecration as a memory of Him.”

    How do you know that ? I know you think it, but how do you know it ? Have you had a DNA test done ? And even if you had, and found real human flesh and blood, do you have a control sample from Jesus to compare it with ?

    Do not confuse what you believe with reality, unless you are not afraid of embracing mental illness.

  671. #671 negentropyeater
    July 20, 2008

    Johnpreiss,

    when he said, this is my body do this is memory of me, it was quite obvious that it he was refering to a symbol of his body, otherwise, he wouldn’t have said, do this is memory of me…
    BTW, this is also was is clearly meant by :

    The origin of the Eucharist is traced to the Last Supper at which Christ instructed His disciples to offer bread and wine in His memory.

    So, you do not answer the question : where is the evidence in the sacred scriptures, for transubstantiation, which is most obviously an invention from the church which only appeared approximately 1000 years after Christ ?

  672. #672 Kseniya
    July 20, 2008

    Comments #667 and #668, taken together, are pretty amusing.

  673. #673 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    “This is My Body This is my Blood” do this in memory of me.

    A cannibalistic orgy.

  674. #674 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    If it was meant to be literal wouldn’t Jesus have bled into a cup and cut off some of his flesh to give the disciples?

    He was sitting right there!

    No need for transubstantiation.

  675. #675 Richard in Edmonton
    July 20, 2008

    john preiss writes

    “If I cannot explain something well enough and you seriously want to understand it. What more than have a Priest do it.”

    If you cannot explain something then it is likely because you yourself do not understand it very well. If such is the case that you do not then why such a defense of that which you do not understand? Ignorance is not a virtue.

  676. #676 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    And how does everyone (here) feel about prayer shawls? If someone close to you dies, and you are given a prayer shawl, what would you think? What if the yarn and color was not to your liking, but, for some reason you find yourself thinking about it? What would you tell yourself? Just think how much more there is for those who believe that a Host becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. The shawl becomes more than a “ugly” shawl, it gives one comfort. So, in other words, other qualities can exist in an object. In the case of a consecrated Host, God dwells there as the one person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. The Consecration, takes it further then being prayed over and blessed, as Protestants may do before offering Communion to each other. But Protestants and Catholics can agree that something prayed over, shawl or host is blessed, and certainly there is respect for that. Check out the Methodists, when they have communion: Except that they are without the Real Presence, the Holy Spirit may be there … They have the comfort of the shawl, the memory, and the love and care for each other. Why, not just say they are consuming crackers. You cannot, rationally say that about them just as you cannot say that that shawl only keeps the cold air off.

  677. #677 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    … A sin against the Holy Spirit is the only one that cannot be forgiven.

  678. #678 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    … A sin against the Holy Spirit is the only one that cannot be forgiven.

    blah blah blah

  679. #679 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    WTF are you blathering about Sharon?

  680. #680 Kseniya
    July 20, 2008

    Yes, Sharon, ordinary objects can have symbolic value. However obvious this may be, it does not prove or even convincingly suggest that the value is inherent – quite the opposite, in fact. It’s in the mind of the beholder.

    Photographs of my deceased mother, her writings, and other keepsakes do comfort me in times of darkness and despair. However, I do not believe that any of these things are actually imbued with any aspect of her physical (or, if you like, spiritual) being. Her image is there, her words are there, my memories of her are there – but the meaning and the value are in me, not in the objects.

  681. #681 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    Sometimes only a small handmade square is given, rather than a whole shawl. It is prayed over, and thus, here we have an analogy: The utilitarian aspect is even gone, but it still gives comfort!

    This reminds me of the cause of Pro-Life, when (the elderly, the dependant, and …) the fetuses are considered less than the adult person who is contributing to society by working and so, they are expendable.

    Those “little” consecrated Hosts, those “little” pieces of knitting or crocheting that are called Prayer squares, those “little” people. All more valuable than you can imagine!

  682. #682 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    and yet no human is as valuable as the made up holy spirit or magic cracker.

  683. #683 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    I am not attached to material things of my parents. And, I do think that the photos are utilitarian, as they help with memories. A shawl given to you by a stranger, after it is prayed over that is not something that your parents touched. God did.

  684. #684 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    A shawl given to you by a stranger, after it is prayed over that is not something that your parents touched. God did.

    whooooooooooosh!

  685. #685 Kseniya
    July 20, 2008

    Jeff, I think Sharon is just trying to tell us that Size Doesn’t Matter.

  686. #686 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    I could “give a hoot” about the symbolic value of things. Symbolism is something that one finds in everyday life, as it is found in art, novels, movies. I would not save something for the symbolic value, but it is useful for educational purposes?! Blessed items, are quite different.

  687. #687 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    Sharon

    Inanimate objects do not give comfort. People may take comfort from them but I doubt you are capable of understanding the difference.

    Linking the elderly,the dependent, and fetuses is dishonest.

  688. #688 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    Blessed items, are quite different.

    IT’S MAGIC!

  689. #689 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    “Blessed items, are quite different.”

    I bet you lack the ability to tell them apart from non-blessed.

  690. #690 Kseniya
    July 20, 2008

    Sharon:

    The utilitarian aspect is even gone, but it still gives comfort!

    Sharon again:

    And, I do think that the photos are utilitarian, as they help with memories.

    Therefore, the prayer shawl, regardless of size, is also utilitarian, as it provides comfort.

    You’re really good at contradicting yourself.

  691. #691 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    You’re right, I don’t take comfort from objects. There is a story in one of the old Catholic Anthologies, about a woman who dusts her collection of porcelain. Like little idols, they seemed in the story. The Church was down the street from her, but, her ritual on Sunday morning was not to attend Mass, or any Church, but to fill her time with these things … if I remember the story. A Priest visited her.

  692. #692 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    The little tiny prayer squares will not keep you warm! That’s utility! Comfort comes from the Holy Spirit!

  693. #693 JeffreyD
    July 20, 2008

    Is it just me or is Sharon not making a lot of sense?

  694. #694 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    The woo is strong with this one.

  695. #695 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    “Comfort comes from the Holy Spirit!”

    Goodie for you.

    Are you done?

  696. #696 Kseniya
    July 20, 2008

    Sharon. You missed the point completely.

  697. #697 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    What is your point? That God made me different than you? I make sure that objects used for prayer are blessed. It doesn’t prevent them from being damaged, though. They are just for Holy use. I’ve sent some old blessed Catholic objects to India, when they were requested. These things belonged to my Grandparents and, I should have had kept them for myself? I guess Catholics go overboard with charity. I know someone with her cupboards filled with appliances that she doesn’t use. What I get from my Parents and Grandparents is my Faith. One aspect specifically is charity.

  698. #698 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    “I make sure that objects used for prayer are blessed. ”

    How exactly do you do this?

  699. #699 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    I’ve sent some old blessed Catholic objects to India, when they were requested.

    Were the recipiets safe from the boogy man after that?

  700. #700 Wowbagger
    July 20, 2008

    I think Sharon’s been huffing the Holy Furniture Polish?.

  701. #701 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    I don’t want to be the person who will respond to a lot of questions about Catholicism. I’m just a Eucharistic Minister, who came back to post a little bit in defense of Our Faith. Catholics have their symbols of the Faith blessed by a Priest, if they are used for prayer. Symbol is a very well used word in Catholicism. One of the first things we learn in elementary school is to find signs and symbols of our Faith in our everyday life.

  702. #702 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    I think Sharon’s been huffing the Holy Furniture Polish?.

    She’s mainlining that shit.

  703. #703 Wowbagger
    July 20, 2008

    Sharon, we know what you believe (we’ve heard it ad nauseam; perhaps that’s karma in action) and we know you believe it.

    Thing is, we neither believe it nor care that you believe it. We think your beliefs are irrational and worthy of mocking. If you and your ilk kept your beliefs to yourselves then you wouldn’t have to worry about anyone making jokes about them.

    But you don’t. You try to get special privilege for yourselves by claiming that your god is real and has said you get to make the rules – about gays, about contraception about morality.

    That is why we’re mocking your beliefs. What you’ve done is the equivalent of sticking your head out of a window wearing a silly hat and yelling at the kids on your lawn – are we not supposed to laugh at you?

  704. #704 Sven DiMilo
    July 20, 2008

    I just took a dump and now I’m worried that an itinerant Priest might have wandered by before I got there and Blessed the TP…I’m guessing that would make what I did with it a sin.
    Sharon, if I accidentally wipe my ass with Blessed TP, symbolically smearing the Holy Ghost with shit, is that forgiveable?
    Please get back to me; I’m really prety worried about this.

  705. #705 Adrienne
    July 20, 2008

    Sharon wrote:

    You’re right, I don’t take comfort from objects. There is a story in one of the old Catholic Anthologies, about a woman who dusts her collection of porcelain. Like little idols, they seemed in the story.

    So of course this old lady with her porcelain deserved hell for all eternity. Lovely story.

    The Church was down the street from her, but, her ritual on Sunday morning was not to attend Mass, or any Church, but to fill her time with these things … if I remember the story.

    So she actually spent her time in a way that was useful and pleasurable to her. Smart lady.

    A Priest visited her.

    I hope she told him to go back to his church and let her finish her dusting in piece.

  706. #706 Sharon
    July 20, 2008

    The fellow Catholics that I know, who I have been told are gay, are celibate. My brother and my nephew are two of the men in my life who thought I should know these things. I don’t think it was necessary to know if someone is gay or not. You can have the Catholic Faith and be homosexual. Celibacy is easy if you use some self control, and have the right friends. Proverbs has some help with right friendships. The truth is, one must be careful about friendships from the start. I doubt that the relationships that people have with the same sex, are anything else but a developmental phase that a person gets stuck in. The same with with a lot of personality problems. I’m no expert, just my thoughts. Relationships with one’s own sex, need to be kept on an even keel. They should not be encouraging each other to be promiscuous. Mocking or teasing … leads to young people being hurt. Obviously, the Catholics who respond here are much older than the atheists. For one thing, most all people who have born children, believe in God. I won’t be back to post. I have posted too much!

  707. #707 spurge
    July 20, 2008

    “I won’t be back to post. I have posted too much!”

    One post was too much.

  708. #708 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    Posted by: Sharon | July 20, 2008 8:39 PM

    Idiocy.

  709. #709 Wowbagger
    July 20, 2008

    Sharon,

    It’s not that you have posted too much – it’s that you have said (in meaningful terms) far too little.

  710. #710 brokenSoldier, OM
    July 20, 2008

    Posted by: Sharon | July 20, 2008 8:39 PM

    You can have the Catholic Faith and be homosexual. Celibacy is easy if you use some self control, and have the right friends.

    Bigot. So it is only acceptable to be gay as long as you don’t practice your homosexuality? Doesn’t religion say something about being true to yourself and refraining from putting on false pretenses for anyone, even God?

    For one thing, most all people who have born children, believe in God. I won’t be back to post. I have posted too much!

    Congratulations, you’ve shown us all that you both an idiot – “most all people who have born children (as if there are any other types of children) believe in God” is so nonsensical that it really is hilarious – and a liar as well, because you’re far from the first religiobot to say that you’re not coming back. (For the record, I hope you actually prove me wrong on the second one.)

  711. #711 MAJeff, OM
    July 20, 2008

    So it is only acceptable to be gay as long as you don’t practice your homosexuality?

    Well, yes. According to the RCC–and Popes JPII and Nazinger–engaging in same-sex sexual activity is “objectively evil.” Now, we can’t be blamed for that desire, since it seems that we are “inherently disordered,” but we must refrain from engaging in that evil lest we be tortured for eternity (loving god, remember).

    However, even though we cannot be blamed for our orientation, to place children in our care would be do to “evil” to them as well.

    Remember, this is all love…and all coming from a loving deity who required the murder of the son he produced by raping a teenager so that I might not be tortured for eternity for disobeying one of his arbitrary rules by having sex with a guy.

  712. #712 Britomart
    July 20, 2008

    Sharon, it sounds like you are very young, niaf and inexperienced. Read the bible all the way thru, every page, and see if you still think there is a nice god behind it.

    My daughter is 29 today, she knew from the time she was 5 that the stories in it were contradictory and impossible.

    I hope you grow up soon.

    Thank you kindly

  713. #713 Kseniya
    July 20, 2008

    Britomart, Sharon IS all grown up.

    Physically.

    Unfortunately, she never learned to think, so she’ll never know what it’s like to live as an adult out here in the real world.

    Sharon, my point was…

    . . .

    On second thought, why bother?

  714. #714 imsosrmt
    July 21, 2008

    Thanks for the comments Owlmirror, Paul W., and Adrienne on my references to Blaise Pascal, Louis Pasteur, and Gregor Mendel who all believed the “cracker” to be Jesus.

    I did a little more research: the famous mathematician Pascal was a real believer, not faking it, actually wrote some spiritual things and came up with Pascal’s wager(about what he saw as the logic in choosing to be a god believer)- but he lived in the 1600′s so that might explain it.

    Mendel, who is known for his contributions to the science of genetics, lived in the 1800′s and was actually a monk. Don’t know what to think about that.

    L. Pasteur is tough to figure also because he also lived in the 1800′s in France during an anti-church time but was said to be very religious, even prayed the beads.

    So it seems like all three were real god believers but maybe just compartmentalized that part of their lives as separate from everything else as someone on this thread mentioned. Could it be possible, however, that an intelligent person could be a god believer and still be one after using their intellect to investigate it? Could they have intellectually come to the conclusion that it was a rational decision to be a god believer?

  715. #715 Wowbagger
    July 21, 2008

    imsosrmt,

    One of the main problems with using historical figures is that they’re not around to ask why they did (or appeared to do) anything.

    I also think part of it is about hope. In some ways I’d like there to be a god; unfortunately, I can’t make myself believe – at least, not in any depicted by the religions I’m familiar with. That they’re all human contructs is patently obvious as far as I’m concerned.

  716. #716 Adrienne
    July 21, 2008

    imsosrmt @714:

    Could it be possible, however, that an intelligent person could be a god believer and still be one after using their intellect to investigate it? Could they have intellectually come to the conclusion that it was a rational decision to be a god believer?

    Yes and yes. But still, so what? This doesn’t mean that everyone would agree with the theist’s reasoning process on this matter or the conclusions the theist drew from that reasoning process. Smart people can disagree on things. Even on “the big” things like whether it’s rational to believe in a god or gods.

    And let me turn the question around to you: Could an intelligent person be an atheist after using his or her intellect to investigate the question? Could a smart person have intellectually come to the conclusion that it was a rational decision not to believe in a god or gods?

    I think you already know the answers.

  717. #717 SEF
    July 21, 2008

    How odd. Someone using a female name claims to be a Catholic Eucharistic minister (= glorified waitress, not being allowed to hold any serious position of power in that misogynistic cult) and claims to have the advantage of greater age (either for herself or for other Catholic posters) and yet is clearly barely literate and posts a lot of prejudiced nonsense. She probably imagines she’s doing her side a favour instead of, in reality, demonstrating further just what retards (mentally, educationally, morally and emotionally) they tend to be.

  718. #718 Paul W.
    July 21, 2008

    imsosrmt@714

    You should read Carl Zimmer’s book Soul Made Flesh for some historical perspective.

    Pascal was the last brilliant gasp of of people who took theology seriously, during the earlier part of his career. During the latter part, he did little of merit and wasted his time going around in theological circles.

    Meanwhile the natural philosophers (what we would call scientists, more or less) were kicking ass, by ignoring theology and actually figuring out how things work.

    For example, Pascal was conservatively coming to grips with the increasingly obvious fact that the heart was not the seat of the passions, and that the brain had a lot to do with cognition. So he shifted the seat of the soul from the heart—which is just a pump—to the pineal gland, which he thought was the best candidate for an interface between the brain and the soul.

    The natural philosophers, especially the Oxford Circle, were meanwhile finding out that basically evertything people “knew” about the natural world was wrong.

    The Oxford Circle—Hooke, Boyle, Wren, Thomas Willis, and a few others—systematically demolished the conventional understanding of many things. They were not atheist revolutionaries—they were Christians of various degrees of orthodoxy, some Protestant and some Catholic. They took pains to distinguish themselves from atheistic philosophers like (most notably Hobbes), largely sincerely because they though they were “reading God’s other book” (the book of Nature); it was also partly for political reasons (so that they’d be left alone to cut up corpses and whatnot).

    Willis especially was very important, because despite being a devout Christian, he increasingly realized that the Catholic Church and its Aristotelianism and Thomism were just obviously wrong about how the brain and mind worked. He was the first serious neuroanatomist, and over the next two hundred and fifty years, a lot of stuff would fall into place, given the groundwork he laid. In particular, neuroscientists and cognitive scientists would come to realize that Willis was righter than he knew when he disagreed with Pascal—not only does the brain do much of what Pascal assumed the soul did through the pineal interface port, it does nothing at all that anybody can figure out; it evidently doesn’t exist.

    Much of the work done by the Oxford Circle over a few decades in the 17th century is like that. They took advantage of a relatively liberal theological climate to do science pretty much as we know it, and made great strides.

    Much of what they did reached a plateau that didn’t really pay off until the 19th and 20th centuries, when a whole lot of dots connected up and things fell into place. They did not consider themselves atheist materialist revolutionaries, but in effect they were despite themselves—their discoveries kicked the legs out from under the conventional wisdom and orthodox Christian theology, but it took hundreds of years before the edifice actually collapsed. Atheists like Hobbes and his predecessor Democritus had been right all along, and Thomists and their predecessor Aristotle were just wrong.

    A key factor was that the natural philosophers tried to explain everything they could in terms of material causation, if only because that was the only clearly-understood kind of causation. They didn’t have much use for the four kinds of causation that Aristotle and the Church favored for theological reasons. (Formal and final causation are pretty useless for actually making the rubber meet the road.) They found alchemy and its occult nonsense mostly useless, and invented chemistry.

    Darwin followed in their footsteps, showing that the best examples of funky Aristotelian causes—from biology—were actually better explained by the same material causation that explained the motions of the planets, the refraction of light, molecules being built from atoms, etc.

    In the 17th century, it wasn’t obvious just how revolutionary this was—that by the 21st century, we’d would understand cosmology, life, and minds without reference to gods, vital essences and souls. Many of the participants assumed there’d be important stuff left unexplained by their obsession with material causation, and simply realized there was a lot of work left to be done in that vein, before running up against the hard problems that require souls and God to explain.

    Scientists have often exhibited this kind of failure of imagination—the inability to see just how incredibly powerful their own theories are.

    A good example of that is Darwin. Darwin’s theory of evolution predicted the discovery of nuclear power, but Darwin was not confident enough to believe it.

    Lord Kelvin, the preeminent physicist of Darwin’s time, argued against Darwin that the solar system couldn’t be more than 100 million years old. It was assumed, based on 19th century physics, that the heat of the sun was created by gravitation, as the sun formed from a gas cloud and shrank. (Squeezing moving particles into a smaller space makes them bang around harder.) Kelvin showed, using simple math, that there just wasn’t enough energy to keep the sun hot for nearly as long as Darwin believed things had been evolving. The solar system just wasn’t old enough for things on Earth to have evolved as Darwin said.

    That freaked Darwin out, and in later editions of Origin he backpedaled and hedged in ways he shouldn’t have. He was right in the first place—the geological record and evolution showed that the Earth was very old indeed, and if Kelvin’s physics said otherwise, he needed to look for a previously un-thought of form of energy far more powerful than any known one.

    That’s easy to say in hindsight of course. In real time, things are rarely that clear.

    But that’s the point. What Pascal and Pasteur and Willis believed about religion in their time is irrelevant. We know many, many things they did not—Pascal didn’t know shit about the brain, Pasteur didn’t know shit about microbial genetics and evolution, Darwin had no idea of nuclear fusion or modern genetics, etc., etc., etc.

    I can’t prove it of course, but I’m pretty confident that if those guys could see what’s happened in the last two or three hundred years, almost none would believe in God, much less a cracker God, for the very same reasons that top scientists now generally don’t. The materialist paradigm has been vastly more successful than they’d have thought possible, and the Christian theological paradigm has been such a colossal failure that their reasons for believing have been thoroughly discredited.

    If you look at the few top scientists who are orthodox believers, you’ll see that they mostly don’t buy the arguments that Pascal et al. bought. Most understand that many of the earlier reasons for religious belief have been shown wrong, and resort to things like fideism to salvage belief in the face of absolutely underwhelming evidence. So even if we look at believers, Pascal et al. are mostly irrelevant for telling us what to believe. The very few who still buy some of the old “rational reasons” for belief are pretty clearly crackpots and sloppy thinkers when it comes to theology. (Francis Collins is no Blaise Pascal. Nowhere close.)

  719. #719 johnpreiss
    July 21, 2008

    L

  720. #720 Bill Dauphin
    July 21, 2008

    Remember, this is all love…and all coming from a loving deity who required the murder of the son he produced by raping a teenager so that I might not be tortured for eternity for disobeying one of his arbitrary rules by having sex with a guy.

    Well, gee, Jeff, when you say it that way you make it all sound so wrong. 8^)

    When someone like Sharon says you can be homosexual as long as you don’t act on it, they’re implicitly admitting what so many of their coreligionists try to deny: That homosexuality is an inherent state of being, rather than a matter of choice. Now, if we stipulate (only for the sake of argument) the existence of a Creator, then presumably our individual states of being — including those of gay folk — are attributable to His “perfect” will, no?

    So how is it that God made people whom He forbids to behave like the people He made them to be? This is the sort of question that made smoke come out of androids’ ears on old Star Trek episodes, yet anti-gay Christians seem to be able to contemplate this absurdity with impunity.

    Sadly, I think the Catholic church (and most Christian churches to some degree or another) is not just anti-gay, it’s anti-sex. They tolerate what the late, lamented Carlin called “man on top [of woman], get-it-over-with-quick sex” for the sake of its obvious necessity, but they pretty much condemn every other expression of sexuality, and anything that tends to insulate people from the consequences of their sexual behavior (e.g., shame, unwanted pregnancy, disease, premature death).

    And all of this is just a reflection of the absurdity that lies deep in the heart of Christianity: The notion that a perfect, infallible, and loving God created a physical world that is, in nearly every detail, corrupt and depraved and deserving of eternal punishment. [SmokeFromEars]

  721. #721 imsosrmt
    July 22, 2008

    Thanks all for the insights. Time for me to move on to a new thread, takes too long to scroll down now on this one.

    Paul W.- I’ll have to find the Zimmer book you mention. You sound like a former Jesuit or something with your background on theology and philosophy.

    Adrienne- Good thoughts although intellectually I have trouble with atheism rather than agnosticism. Atheism seems to me involves proving a negative which doesn’t work. The agnostic, I think, has an easier time of it logically.

  722. #722 SEF
    July 22, 2008

    intellectually I have trouble with atheism rather than agnosticism. Atheism seems to me involves proving a negative which doesn’t work. The agnostic, I think, has an easier time of it logically.

    That’s probably because you have faulty definitions of those things and haven’t thought it through carefully enough.

    The original agnostics were people who firmly believed in god but who declared god’s specific nature to be unknowable. These days it tends to mean people who are determinedly sitting on the fence and who aren’t honest about the way they actually live their lives – which is on the default position that no gods exist (ie as atheists) rather than by trying out every possible religion (and a few they’ve just invented) to try and work out which might be real.

    The original atheists were typically people who might believe in some gods but not worship the specific one the accuser wanted them to worship. Modern atheists have to not believe in any gods at all in order to qualify, now that so many cultures are aware of the existence of other cultures (and even individuals) each with their own version of god(s). Even so, that’s typically just the default position of not bothering with any gods because nary a one has even been bothered enough to exist so far. Hardly any atheists (particularly among the non-stupid ones) take the “strong” atheistic position of claiming definitely nothing could ever exist which might get labelled a god. They’re prepared to review any decent evidence of such beings were there ever to be any.

    Most modern agnostics are either really atheists in their actual behaviour or are rather dishonest (and apathetic) in their claim to agnosticism. They have in fact decided not to bother with gods because they don’t really believe any gods are around – just like the atheists do – but merely like the pretence and conceit that they haven’t, for all practical purposes, already made up their minds on what the most likely situation is.

  723. #723 SEF
    July 22, 2008

    That and of course a lot of them are cowards who don’t want to be black-listed with the scary label of Atheist when they can wimpishly weasel out of nearly all the demonisation, persecution and prejudice by pretending to be Agnostic instead. It’s not more logical at all, just pragmatic – and typical in a theist-infested society where they’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that atheists are evil and lack the moral fibre and critical thought to question the false characterisation.

  724. #724 Damian
    July 22, 2008

    imsosrmt:

    Have a read of this: Atheist or Agnostic?, by Richard Carrier.

    He argues that it is logically impossible not to be both an atheist [a-theismos, without theism, i.e. without a belief in god] and an agnostic [a-gnostikos means "without knowledge"], depending on the god that is posited.

    He uses two examples to show this to be true: (1) a god that makes sure that you never have any reason to believe that he exists [it is therefore necessary to be an agnostic with respect to this god], and (2) a god that makes sure that there is more than enough evidence to convince everyone of its existence [it would be perverse not to call yourself an atheist with respect to this god -- the absence of evidence pretty much entails its non-existence].

    All other gods fit on a continuum between these two. All that we are left to argue about is which gods we outright deny and which gods we merely disbelieve in.

  725. #725 SEF
    July 22, 2008

    I usually go with agnostic atheist anti-theist myself (since I would additionally oppose the evilness of the sort of gods most people posit were they actually to exist at all).

  726. #726 John Morales
    July 22, 2008

    imsosrm, one word: zeitgeist.

  727. #727 Sven DiMilo
    July 22, 2008

    The thread is filling up! PZ said “don’t” right in the title! You’re–aaa! we’re!–in big trouble now ’cause PZ’s going to be “very, very cranky” when he sees the 1000+ comments in the “rolls eyes” thread. So watch out! I foresee banninations, purges, vulgarity…

    Actually, what I really wanted to point out here is the starkly beautiful contrast between the cogent, interesting, knowledgable, and well-written posts from people like Paul W., SEF, and Bill Dauphin, on the one hand, and the typically [sarcasm]worthwhile[/sarcasm] contribution from johnpreiss (#719) on the other. Hand.

  728. #728 Sharon
    July 22, 2008

    Bill Dauphin:

    You may have had an unhappy marriage with a Catholic, or, have you some “other” experience to base your claims on? Your statements are completely false. I mentioned celibacy, for one thing, which has nothing to do with what you said. Further, a Catholic may think that someone who considers themselves homosexual may have an aberration in their X’s and Y’s. (Mom.) I, myself lean toward the developmental theory, and also the peer group behavioral idea. You may be confusing Catholics with what has been reported about a group like the Shakers, Baptists or Puritains. In any case, baptized married Catholics have a lot in common with Adam and Eve … before the fall. I believe that the last Pope has an Encyclical about our bodies, and the current Pope, about Love.

  729. #729 MAJeff, OM
    July 22, 2008

    In any case, baptized married Catholics have a lot in common with Adam and Eve … before the fall. I

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    Wait. Ok…

    …I think I’m back….

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  730. #730 Steve_C
    July 22, 2008

    Teehee. At least Catholics can be really damn funny. Even if it’s un intentional.

  731. #731 Bill Dauphin
    July 22, 2008

    You may have had an unhappy marriage with a Catholic, or, have you some “other” experience to base your claims on?

    You’ll be confounded to learn that I’m happily married to a Catholic woman, and in preparation for that marriage (almost 25 years ago, now), I converted to Catholicism (aside to Pharyngulans: I got better!). Because I studied catechism as a young adult (and a graduate student in literature, no less), it’s possible I have a more mature understanding of Catholic doctrine than many who got their catechism in Sunday School as grade-school-aged children. I make no broad claim to being an expert on Christian doctrine, but in addition to my sojourn in the Catholic church, I was raised in a liberal protestant church (Episcopal) and at various other times attended a moderate protestant church (Methodist) and a fairly conservative evangelical church (Church of the Nazarene). So it’s not as if I’m some recent Hindu immigrant who’s totally clueless about what Christians think. That said…

    Your statements are completely false.

    …my “statements” are matters of interpretation and judgment, rather than assertions of fact, and as such they cannot be “completely false.” They might be misguided or based on incorrect understandings… but in general I don’t believe they are. I’ve commented on well established, mainstream (by their standards) public positions taken by Catholics and other Christians. Do you deny, for instance, that Catholic doctrine condemns not only abortion but also contraception, premarital sex, extramarital sex, postmarital sex (i.e., sex with anyone other than the ex-spouse after a [non-Church regognized] divorce), homosexual sex, heterosexual “sodomy,” and masturbation?

    At this point, you may be nodding along, thinking that it’s a good thing the church opposes all those nasty, immoral practices. But here’s the question: Other than the bald assertion that God hates that icky stuff, on what basis can they said to be immoral? You do realize, don’t you, that many people enjoy those activities in healthy, happy ways (aside: extramarital sex could be adultery, which is shameful not because of sex per se but because it involves personal betrayal… but many polyamorists and swingers enjoy “extramarital” relations with no sense of promise-breaking)… and many more would do so if only they could free themselves of the shame laid upon them by their religious background?

    I don’t pretend to know what a priest might counsel a married Catholic couple about the acceptability of marital sex acts other than “regular” intercourse, but the usual explanation for the church’s opposition to contraception — that every “act of marital love” must be open to God’s will regarding procreation — strongly suggests that they probably take a dim view of oral sex, anal sex, and other nonprocreative forms of sex play, even within marriage. Since you think my view of the Catholic church — and Christianity more generally — as sex-negative is “completely false,” can you make the alternative case? Can you show us that Christianity is sex-positive? That Christian doctrine approves of any expression of human sexuality other than monogamous, heterosexual, procreative marital intercourse?

    In fact, there is a deep thread running through Christian doctrine generally that at least devalues, when it doesn’t outright condemn, human physical pleasure of all sorts. Notwithstanding the sensual delights that run through the Song of Solomon, Christian teaching generally holds that the things of the world, and specifically the things of the flesh, and most specifically fleshly pleasures, are inherently corrupt and opposed to the ways of God. As I mentioned above, I’ve attended a wide selection of Christian churches over the years, and while they vary considerably in terms of tone and level of tolerance, all of them have taught some version of the depravity of worldly things.

    So why did your presumably perfect Creator make such an imperfect, sinful world? And more to the point…

    I mentioned celibacy, for one thing, which has nothing to do with what you said.

    …try to follow the logic on this: I never denied that it’s possible to live a celibate life (regardless of whether you’re gay or straight, BTW), but that was tangential to my point. Since you agree that it’s possible to be homosexual without engaging in homosexual behavior, you’re implicitly agreeing that gayness is an inherent aspect of a person’s fundamental being, rather than a matter of behavioral choice. I happen to think you’re right about that, but you must know that many other Christians deny that position (witness the many Christian ministries that promote “recovery” for gays).

    To bring it back this thread, MAJeff is gay because he is gay, not because he’s made a conscious decision to violate your notion of the sexual “rules.” Since you believe in an omnipotent God, presumably you believe MAJeff is the way he is because God made him that way! So my question to you (again!) is this: Why would God forbid Jeff to behave in the way that God Himself made Jeff to be? Wouldn’t that be just gratuitously cruel?

    IMHO, this God you believe in sounds more like Loki than the loving father we hear about on Sunday morning.

  732. #732 Bill Dauphin
    July 22, 2008

    Clarification:

    In re-reading my post @731, it occurs to me that it’s possible to (mis)understand this…

    You do realize, don’t you, that many people enjoy those activities in healthy, happy ways…

    …as including abortion. In fact, I meant it to refer to the activities listed after the words “but also”… which is to say:

    contraception, premarital sex, extramarital sex, postmarital sex (i.e., sex with anyone other than the ex-spouse after a [non-Church regognized] divorce), homosexual sex, heterosexual “sodomy,” and masturbation?

    In no way did I mean to suggest that anyone “enjoy[s]” abortion in “healthy, happy ways”!

    The rest of that stuff, though? Rock on!

  733. #733 johnpreiss
    July 23, 2008

    S