Pharyngula

Fresh thread

This is just to handle the overflow from this closed thread.

You crackerbaters are insane.

Comments

  1. #1 jorge666
    July 24, 2008

    Fresh Thread Oh BOY!!

  2. #2 jorge666
    July 24, 2008

    Oh Crackers! I got the first post!

  3. #3 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    Yes… We know.

    Come on, christians! Bring it on! This is round… uh, what round is it?

  4. #4 Luke O'Dell
    July 24, 2008

    The suspense…

  5. #5 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    yea! Enough with the suspense! When do we get to know the surprise?!

  6. #6 jorge666
    July 24, 2008

    Where are those cute ring girls, and where’s that bottle of rum?

    IOW

    Lions 7 ….

  7. #7 JoJo
    July 24, 2008

    Darn. I was going to reply to J. A. Stuart,
    Commander, United States Navy
    . I wanted to point out some problems with his logic and then throw rank at him.

    JoJo, CAPT, USN (Ret)

  8. #8 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    What kind of pompous idiot signs of a post with this ?

    “Very respectfully,

    J. A. Stuart
    Commander, United States Navy”

    What relevance does his being a commander in the US Navy have to discussion ? Does Annapolis teach advanced theology or philosophy ? Or does he just think that by putting that we will think him less of an idiot ?

  9. #9 Rob (Not the Catholic nutter)
    July 24, 2008

    @David #1437, previous thread:

    Gee, trying even harder to make the claims nonprovable now. How unique.

  10. #10 Ale
    July 24, 2008

    Although creationists and other trolling wackaloons are long known around these parts, the unending chasm of idiocy that has been attracted by the crackergate is on a whole new level. I guess that a whole new level in irrational inanity has been uncovered. I wonder how will the zombies react when PZ delivers evidence of the heinous “desecration”?

  11. #11 Geoff
    July 24, 2008

    Blink… you desecrated a Koran… Well you are going to need all the prayers you can get. Good luck in what ever lasts of your short existence.

  12. #12 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Even on a secular level, we can all relate to the need for reminders of the things not readily available to us. To have what we hold sacred close to us whether it is the faint smell of your wife’s perfume on you when you are away at work; or the picture of a deceased child; the 1st place medal for that 8th grade science project. These are personal things that have no meaning to anyone else. Yet most can respect that, but we cannot respect this because it is of “God”? – yet another tedious godbot

    Bill Donahue and most of the Catholics commenting here have been very insistent that the cracker is not just a “reminder” – it is actually part of God’s body (we are, perhaps fortunately, not told which part). If one believed the picture of their deceased child actually was that child, they would be unhesitatingly diagnosed as delusional.

    Moreover, there is an important difference between reminders of people we have known and loved and those of manufactured “celebrities” such as “God”: compare Crackergate with the outpourings of “grief” in the UK when Princess Diana died – I assure you I have quite as much disrespect for the nonsense of people fooling themselves that her death was like losing a member of their own family, as I am of the absurdities the cracker-worshippers have posted here.

  13. #13 BigBob
    July 24, 2008

    Sorry, cracker? Did I miss something?

  14. #14 True Bob
    July 24, 2008

    Me too, JoJo. I wanted to tell him it is poor practice for still serving military to include rank and service. It implies that the service endorses the viewpoint. Not just here, but letters to editors, etc.

    I also wanted to ask him to post his letters to UCF and Catholic League, since it’s all about behavior and respect.

  15. #15 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    I would just like to acknowledge that JoJo is not so pompous. The only times I have seen him (her ?) refer to being a retired US Navy Captain have been in the post about BrokenSoldier and above. Both appropriate.

  16. #16 LisaJ
    July 24, 2008

    Holy shit, I can’t believe this cracker business is still taking up multiple threads. Isn’t anyone else as sick as this cracker crap as I am? I mean, there comes a point when it’s all been said. Crazy catholics: we’ve heard it all a million times, give it a frigging rest. Don’t you have to go to church or confession or something by now?

  17. #17 Ranson
    July 24, 2008

    He closed the Batman thread? But that’s important!

    Oh, wait…

  18. #18 Stephen Wells
    July 24, 2008

    Somebody did point out to the ostentatious public prayer posters that that’s Pharisee behaviour, right?

  19. #19 Andrés Diplotti
    July 24, 2008

    Oh, great! Now we have a new thread
    to talk the same old rancid bread,
    and some to berate:
    “Thou shan’t desecrate!
    I’d rather my children were dead!”

  20. #20 Celtic_Evolution
    July 24, 2008

    “Very respectfully,

    J. A. Stuart
    Commander, United States Navy”.

    Ahh! Thanks for pointing that out… I shall hereforto address you with the respect you so obviouls deserve, since you went out of your way to point it out to us.

    Thank you, Commander Whackaloon.

  21. #21 True Bob
    July 24, 2008

    Geoff at 11,

    What do you mean by that?

  22. #22 Jeffrey A. stuart
    July 24, 2008

    Darn. I was going to reply to J. A. Stuart,
    Commander, United States Navy. I wanted to point out some problems with his logic and then throw rank at him.

    JoJo, CAPT, USN (Ret)

    CAPT,

    You’ll notice I addressed Dr. Myers with his title as well. This isn’t about “throwing rank around” but simply showing respect as a fellow professional and discussing things like gentlemen; something that is increasingly being lost in the college world, OUR NAVY, and society as a whole. Perhaps this is but another windmill I am tilting at but so be it. That aside sir, I welcome your opinion.

    Very respectfully,

    J. A. Stuart
    Commander, United States Navy

  23. #23 Richard Harris
    July 24, 2008

    Why are we wasting all this intellectual effort over puerile, primitive, religious nonsense? Holy books, holy crackers, it’s all crazy stuff. Feck god, (except none of them exist).

  24. #24 Ryan F Stello
    July 24, 2008

    In reference to Jeffrey A. Stuart (#1478), a serious question for anybody:

    Why should someone be dissapointed that attempts to harass and intimidate are not honored (or, as Jeffrey words it, respected)?

    Even the crazed Catholics who came here and ranted in hyperboly should be able to see the obvious irony: Has the ‘desecration’ (which, let me remind you all, we don’t know in what form it was) honestly affected the way you live and practice?

    The dramatic flailings here lead me to make one charge to the hyper-sensitive godbots amongst us: get some perspective.

    So sayeth me.

  25. #25 NC Paul
    July 24, 2008

    Trivia fact: 1480, the number of posts in the previous thread, was the same year the Spanish Inquisition – that noteworthy example of Catholic respect for other religions – was set up by the King and Queen of Spain.

    We now return you to our regularly scheduled whackaloonery.

  26. #26 AJS
    July 24, 2008

    Surely at anytime when martial law is not in operation, any civilian is deemed to outrank anyone in any branch of the military?

    AJS (Civilian)

  27. #27 Forrest Prince
    July 24, 2008

    It’s plain to see the joke’s on PZ.

    IIRC, this all started out with PZ saying something like

    “It’s just a cracker, fer cryin’ out loud”.

    Plainly it’s not just a cracker.

  28. #28 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    Well it would be Professor Myers rather than simply doctor. So much for that respect eh ?

    And also do not presume we are all Americans. If you mean the US Navy say so. Else some will think you are in the French Navy, some in the Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy or Royal New Zealand Navy.

  29. #29 Pete Rooke
    July 24, 2008

    As I mentioned last night; you’ve had time to mull over my analogies and yet no one as sufficiently countered them. There is a phrase about the impossibility of defending the indefensible. PZ Myers actions are indefensible. And his acolytes appear to be willing partners to his crimes.

  30. #30 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Kseniya quote on exorcisms and hell (post #1459): The delusion. It burns. Heh.”

    That’s right Kseniya, every Catholic priest and nun is a liar. In fact, everyone you do not agree with is delusional or a liar. So during an exorcism when the possessed child speaks in languages they could not possibly have ever known previously, the witnesses are all liars? The levitations, the super human strength in a child, the furniture moving, the growling unnatural voices eminating from the child, these are all lies, too. So was Padre Pio a charlatan who bled from his hands and feet every day for 50 years. So also are those lying, tricky nuns who have statues of Mary and Jesus weeping tears of human blood. So, too, were the Fatima children who told the people gathered in three months time on October 13 Mary will perform a miracle for all to see and know this message is from God. So when the sun danced defying cosmic laws and then charged the earth scaring the 70,000 in attendance, that was a lie, too, right? Or was it mass hallucination? Of course you wouldn’t be frightened because you are so smart.

  31. #31 Sastra
    July 24, 2008

    Oh great — my long reply didn’t post, and now I found out why. Since I wrote the darn thing in response to something I said myself, I’ll put it here instead. But I won’t promise to stick around for the entire thread.

    SDG #1277 wrote:

    Deliberately provocative behavior may sometimes be legitimate, but it ought to be subject to some reasonable level of restraint or moderation, especially where stakes are highest even for only one side… Going after the Eucharist is simply the single most disturbing affront to Catholic religious sensibilities one could undertake. It is going for the throat, no restraint, no moderation.

    The fact that the Eucharist is involved is mostly a matter of accident from PZ’s perspective: it was what set off the initial public storm to which he is reacting. The problem here with claiming that the fact that the Eucharist is especially holy, and therefore the criticism should have been modified, is that, as we see it, immoderation is the very problem being addressed. The Catholics in this case are being over-sensitive from a secular perspective, and illegitimately insisting that their sense of outrage requires that blasphemy and desecration be treated as serious crimes. Actively expressing disagreement in dramatic fashion to both the Catholics themselves and — more significantly — to a culture which has become all-too-ready to pander unnecessarily to religious sensibilities, is, I think, legitimate.

    Should PZ have solicited consecrated hosts which could only have been taken by people deceptively breaking a private contract? Technically speaking, no. You’re right. As I’ve mentioned before, if anyone had asked me beforehand I’d have said no, don’t, for just this reason. The “disruption” level is, technically speaking, very small — but it’s there.

    But now there’s a larger issue than this relatively small initial violation: the insistence that, because it is so very distressing to the religious, the initial trespass should be considered a much larger crime. The worst kind of crime. The emotional storm is cause for backing away in respect for over-inflated, immoderate, unrestrained emotional veneration. If something is considered “sacred,” we should not touch it.

    But that’s what’s being protested in the first place.

    As one Catholic here wrote, “It is not a symbol or a religious object it is the one we love more than our own mothers and fathers, more than our children.”

    Along with the many, many voices in society which reward and encourage this sort of thinking, I think we need some few and strong voices on the other side calling foul. This is not moral, it is not moderate, it is not restrained or restrain-able by reason or common sense or even common decency. Frankly, this line of thought is dangerous. It goes for the throat of the very concept of a rational and civil society.

    So the issue is complicated.

  32. #32 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    Plainly it’s not just a cracker.

    More accurately, it is just a cracker, some people believe it isn’t and also think everyone else should believe that simply because they do.

    That’s rather the point, although I fully expect it will go sailing by without a second glance….

  33. #33 Jeffrey A. Stuart
    July 24, 2008

    Me too, JoJo. I wanted to tell him it is poor practice for still serving military to include rank and service. It implies that the service endorses the viewpoint. Not just here, but letters to editors, etc.

    I also wanted to ask him to post his letters to UCF and Catholic League, since it’s all about behavior and respect.

    Sir,

    There is no such prohibition on my signing with the rank that I have earned when speaking as a public citizen. I am a member of this society and have all of the same rights to speak out like anyone else and it in no way suggests endorsement by the Navy nor the United States government. My only hope in taking this tact was to rise above the chaff being thrown by both sides and appeal to Dr. Myers to reconsider what he has done.

    Similarly, I have no issue with telling my fellow Catholics to “cool their jets” WRT mindless rhetoric. Perhaps you can do the same on your side of the fence?

    V/r

    There is nothing

  34. #34 Celtic_Evolution
    July 24, 2008

    @ Rooke

    As I mentioned last night; you’ve had time to mull over my analogies and yet no one as sufficiently countered them.

    We’re all familiar already with your propensity for delusion. That you actually believe this statment comes as no surprise to us. More aptly, we’re just growing tired of you demanding answers, then closing your eyes and blocking your ears when the’re given. You’re a bore, Mr. Rooke. You’re fading into the background noise at this point, along with Fr. J.

  35. #35 True Bob
    July 24, 2008

    Really, CDR, if you are still serving, it is inappropriate to put your rank and service on personal opinion pieces. It implies that you are representing the USN, which you are not.

    Also, did you send any letters to the people who instigated this train of events, UCF and the Catholic League? Would you mind posting those letters as well?

  36. #36 Rob (Not the Catholic nutter)
    July 24, 2008

    @Pete Rook:

    PJ receives junk mail. PJ throws out junk mail. Please explain how that is an indefensible position.

  37. #37 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka@30,

    Do you really not know that any religion could come up with a similar list of “miracles” – some fraudulent, others the product of honest but religiously-induced error? Grow up.

  38. #38 AJ Milne
    July 24, 2008

    As I mentioned last night; you’ve had time to mull over my analogies and yet no one as sufficiently countered them…

    Okay. Here’s an analogy you may like. You’re in a dungeon, wearing a miniskirt, and there’s this blonde woman in a tight rubber suit. With a whip… And then there’s these handcuffs… And an iron maiden… And… ummm… I dunno… Can we throw in a cattle prod? Is that kinky, or just sick?

    Anyway, there’s also this book…

  39. #39 CortxVortx
    July 24, 2008

    Re: #1468 (!) (previous thread)

    You must truly believe that it is the Body and Blood of Christ for it to be that important for you to desecrate it.

    Wow, Barbara, you represent a whole new level of stoopid. That ranks down there with “you have to believe in God in order to reject Him” — actual argument encountered numerous times

    And, yet, those who propose this “argument” never accept that they must, therefore, believe in Zeus in order to reject him. Verily, “religion poisons everything.”

  40. #40 Steve_C
    July 24, 2008

    Commander Cracker.

    It’s already been done. We’re just waiting to see the youtube video. I hope it’s funny. But it may just be a non-event.

  41. #41 craig
    July 24, 2008

    “My only hope in taking this tact was to rise above the chaff being thrown by both sides and appeal to Dr. Myers to reconsider what he has done.”

    Reconsider it? And then what – UNdesecrate the cookie?
    What are the magic words for that trick?

  42. #42 Aaron Baker
    July 24, 2008

    Gee, P.Z., you wanted attention and you got it. There’s no pleasing some people. I do sympathize, though: I’ve gotten into more than one flamewar online and then wondered what I could have been thinking. (Partly thanks to your example, I’ve largely given up on worrying about civility. Gaze upon your works, o Mighty One, and be proud.)

  43. #43 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    “So when the sun danced defying cosmic laws and then charged the earth scaring the 70,000 in attendance, that was a lie, too, right? Or was it mass hallucination? Of course you wouldn’t be frightened because you are so smart.”

    uh… Huh. Or at least a load of bullshit. The Sun is a physical body. If the sun suddenly charged at us and danced around we would’ve burned to death. That and EVERYONE ON THE FUCKING PLANET WOULD’VE SEEN IT

    A guy on a forum I checked puts it the best:

    “I have a hard time believing in this, despite the fact that 70,000 people witnessed it. When you have that many people sitting around, anticipating something, looking for anything that might seem unusual, someone is bound to come up with something. And then what is everyone else going to say? Everyone wants to have seen it, because those who didn’t weren’t special enough to receive the “communication”. Was there any chance that these people were going to go home without having seen anything?”

    Sheesh, what is it with you idiots.

  44. #44 sil-chan
    July 24, 2008

    I wonder if his secret third entry is going to be a copy of origin of species just to show that nothing is sacred…

  45. #45 Stephen Wells
    July 24, 2008

    @30: since you ask, yes, your fairy storires are indeed fairy stories. You may be confusing movies with real life. Padre Pio, like all stigmatics, faked his wounds, apparently with carbolic acid. You have to be quite seriously deluded to find “Person X is miraculously wounded by God” more plausible than “Person X mildly injures themselves and then basks in the adoration of the gullible.”

  46. #46 True Bob
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka

    Masss hysteria and Pious Fraud are not miracles. If you could take a throwaway lighter back 200 years (heck, how about 100), it would be called a miracle. But we both know that the lighter has a valve to release a flammable gas, a wheel with a sparker on it that scrapes a piece of flint, and a little vessel of flammable fluid.

  47. #47 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    Gee, P.Z., you wanted attention and you got it.

    Expected reaction troll. Nothing to see here…

  48. #48 qbsmd
    July 24, 2008

    PZ, when there are multiple threads on the same topic like this, I think it would be a good idea for you to summarize the points that have been made ad nauseam, and ask people not to rehash the same thing over and over, rather than just saying “fresh thread”, which seems to imply “new beginning, repeat everything”. That would also give people just joining the discussion the ability to meaningfully contribute without reading 10000 posts.

  49. #49 Ryan F Stello
    July 24, 2008

    Aaron Barker (#42) lamented,

    Partly thanks to your example, I’ve largely given up on worrying about civility. Gaze upon your works, o Mighty One, and be proud.

    Excuses, excuses.

  50. #50 Moses
    July 24, 2008

    Although creationists and other trolling wackaloons are long known around these parts, the unending chasm of idiocy that has been attracted by the crackergate is on a whole new level. I guess that a whole new level in irrational inanity has been uncovered. I wonder how will the zombies react when PZ delivers evidence of the heinous “desecration”?

    Posted by: Ale | July 24, 2008 9:57 AM

    I’m truly enjoying it. For so long Muslims have been routinely castigated as “unhinged” and “frothing” because of stupid crap like death threats because of cartoons, etc., while the Catholics and other Christians have been on their soapbox about how much better they are than them…

    Add in the usual racism, claims to the lack of “civilization” (as if we didn’t get it from them, hello?) on their part and the entire explicit/implicit religious/racial stereotyping and superiority claims…

    And all it takes is ONE FRIGGIN’ CRACKER and it’s the 15th Century all over again. All we’re lacking are actual pitchforks and torches even though we have the Internet equivalent. So, when the vast bulk of conservative and moderate Christian churches say “not us,” we can say:

    Bullshit, same as…

  51. #51 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    @#30.

    Regarding your lengthy list of the miraculous, the answer is a resounding YES, or even a DUH!

    Unless these miracles can be reproduced on demand, in controlled conditions and ideally doubled blinded, they are to be considered the product of insanity, lies or stupidity, and more often than not, an interlocking, opaque rats nest of all three.

    It really is that simple. There is only one way to “know” things, and the garbled transmission of what some breathless, credulous dolt whispered into the ear of a similarly ignorant primitive, who then mayhap wrote it down, does not meet the required standard of evidence.

  52. #52 Ponder
    July 24, 2008

    We’ve gained notoriety,
    And caused much anxiety
    In the Audubon Society
    With our games.
    They call it impiety,
    And lack of propriety,
    And quite a variety
    Of unpleasant names.
    But you couldn’t call PZ a slacker
    To want to dispose of a cracker.

    (Apologies to Tom Lehrer)

    Not against any law to destroy a book or a biscuit. Is against the law to cause property or personal damage to anyone who does so. Read it and weep god-botherers. Watch your back though, Dr Myers, if nothing else this whole affair has shown that the deranged lunatic quotient is a lot higher than previously thought.

  53. #53 Ryan F Stello
    July 24, 2008

    That would also give people just joining the discussion the ability to meaningfully contribute without reading 10000 posts.

    But that puts the burden on Myers to actually read all the posts devoted to this drivel.
    No human has the time, but maybe he could get the cracker to do it?

  54. #54 Cynthia Heimsoth
    July 24, 2008

    You know, Mr. Myers, you’ve just proven our point. If it’s just a cracker, who gives a flying leap whether you eat it, bury it in the garden or give it to your dog. However, since you get all this press coverage, there must be SOMETHING to the claims that the Blessed Sacrament is something more than “just a cracker.” Count yourself lucky — if you’d profaned a picture of Mohammed, you wouldn’t have lived long enough to try to collect names and addresses. We Catholics know that God forbids murder, and that He desires not the death of the sinner, but his repentance. I’m praying for you, Mr. Myers, whether you like it or not.

    By the way, I was considering calling for all your Biology students to take one Petri dish each from the lab next week, cleaned, sanitized and de-agared per laboratory standards, and giving it to a Catholic of the community (if the student himself/herself was Catholic of course they could do it) to be ceremonially crushed outside the door of your office. But that would be silly and childish. After all, it’s just a piece of glassware.

    And if you want my address, Mr. Myers, just check http://www.smartpages.com.

  55. #55 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    PZ, when there are multiple threads on the same topic like this, I think it would be a good idea for you to summarize the points that have been made ad nauseam,

    SUMMARY:
    “It’s just a cracker”
    “No, it’s not.”

    and ask people not to rehash the same thing over and over, rather than just saying “fresh thread”, which seems to imply “new beginning, repeat everything”. That would also give people just joining the discussion the ability to meaningfully contribute without reading 10000 posts.

    An unfortunate consequence of religious thinking is the idea that no one has ever heard (or debunked) your “completely convincing” argument before. Even when it’s been pointed out to you. A hundred times.

  56. #56 NC Paul
    July 24, 2008

    So when the sun danced defying cosmic laws and then charged the earth scaring the 70,000 in attendance, that was a lie, too, right? Or was it mass hallucination?

    Probably a bit of both. It’s not like Fatima (and the other Marian pilgrimage sites) haven’t made a lot of money out of the “apparitions”. Forging religious relics has a long history in Europe and the Near East.

    Mix in the kind of delusion that equates a piece of magic wafer with a human life and you could certainly have mass hysteria and hallucination.

    Imagine you were one among 70,000 fanatical Catholics who didn’t see the Sun dance (a phenomenon strangely unremarked upon by astronomers of the time). Would you speak up and say you hadn’t seen anything strange our would you go along with the crowd?

    One thing these threads are good for is to show that those who criticised Dawkins, Sam Harris and others for attacking a straw man of primitive irrational faith were completely wrong.

    Religion inspires delusional lunacy and the stuff posted by the Catholics here is ample evidence to that effect.

  57. #57 Rob
    July 24, 2008

    Matt Penfold (#28)

    You only address a full professor as “Professor.” An assistant or associate professor is addressed as “Dr.” Tradition.

    PZ is an Associate Professor, thus he is Dr. Myers.

    Sincerely,

    Professor Coleman

  58. #58 Jeffrey A. Stuart
    July 24, 2008

    Why should someone be dissapointed that attempts to harass and intimidate are not honored (or, as Jeffrey words it, respected)?

    Even the crazed Catholics who came here and ranted in hyperboly should be able to see the obvious irony: Has the ‘desecration’ (which, let me remind you all, we don’t know in what form it was) honestly affected the way you live and practice?

    The dramatic flailings here lead me to make one charge to the hyper-sensitive godbots amongst us: get some perspective.

    So sayeth me.

    Mr. Stello,

    Reasonable questions and reasonable point. As a Catholic, I don’t like what he has purportedly done but according to my beliefs I have effectively done the same thing through my own sins. That is what I would call Catholics to focus upon; our own sinful nature.

    That being said, we can only control our own actions and I would have liked to see Dr. Myers (coming from a profession I respect) rise above such things and take the high road even when others don’t. It seems to me that if we are going to use other’s peoples poor behavior as an excuse for our own, then things will never improve.

    V/r

  59. #59 Sastra
    July 24, 2008

    Since I wrote the darn thing in response to something I said myself

    Duh, I meant I was responding to something which was responding to something I wrote. I only talk to myself in secret.

    As long as it looks like the thread is still in double digits, I thought I’d endorse what someone, somewhere on that other massive thread. PZ wrote “The cracker, the koran, and another surprise entry have been violated and are gone. ” I really do hope that the third surprise entry is a copy of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species.

    If there is one symbol which might, in a sense, be considered “sacred” to an evolutionary biologist, that would be it. Desecrating this book, therefore, would make clearer the point that it’s the idea of sacrilege itself that is being protested. Nothing should be so sacred — untouchable, inviolable, or respected — that it should not be subject to the harshest kinds of criticism. Especially what is dear to us.

    We need to be restrained, moderate, and respectful of our common human tendency to overreact and become over-attached to symbols, and try not to do it, whether we be religious or not. So let us all stick our tongues out at the Origin of Species, blow a rude raspberry — and then learn to get over it.

  60. #60 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    Professor Coleman,

    Where I come from a Professor is a Professor. There are no “ranks”, you either are or you ain’t. And PZ is.

  61. #61 raven
    July 24, 2008

    What kind of pompous idiot signs of a post with this ?

    “Very respectfully,

    J. A. Stuart
    Commander, United States Navy”

    What relevance does his being a commander in the US Navy have to discussion.

    It makes you sound cool to have a fancy title.

    Signed Raven,
    Head of the Galactic True Catholic Truth and Justice League; Most Holy Subpope

  62. #62 Janine ID
    July 24, 2008

    “So when the sun danced defying cosmic laws and then charged the earth scaring the 70,000 in attendance, that was a lie, too, right? Or was it mass hallucination? Of course you wouldn’t be frightened because you are so smart.”

    uh… Huh. Or at least a load of bullshit. The Sun is a physical body. If the sun suddenly charged at us and danced around we would’ve burned to death. That and EVERYONE ON THE FUCKING PLANET WOULD’VE SEEN IT

    A guy on a forum I checked puts it the best:

    “I have a hard time believing in this, despite the fact that 70,000 people witnessed it. When you have that many people sitting around, anticipating something, looking for anything that might seem unusual, someone is bound to come up with something. And then what is everyone else going to say? Everyone wants to have seen it, because those who didn’t weren’t special enough to receive the “communication”. Was there any chance that these people were going to go home without having seen anything?”

    Sheesh, what is it with you idiots.

    Posted by: Michelle

    I have no idea what “miracle” you are referring to. But if the Sun started to move about, it would not be seen by just 70,000 people. It would potentially be seen by at least half of the world’s population. Yet we seem to be lacking these reports from distant lands.

    And you are calling most of us idiots? Please learn how to reason. It will make you less gullible.

  63. #63 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Sorry Michelle, you are clearly an atheist or agnostic so I guess I cannot get through to you that for God, who created the entire universe, to have the sun defy cosmic laws at Fatima Portugal and it not be witnessed by the entire world, that is not much of a trick for Him. But for you to say that 70,000 witnesses all had a mass hallucination is an easy way to weasel your way out of honest examination of the facts. Why not read them in the October 15, 1917 Lisbon newspaper, O Seculo? It is a communist paper who sent atheist journalists to witness and mock the event. They were spellbound and forced to report on what they saw for themselves. I doubt they wanted to see a miracle so I doubt they imagined it. Why not read the accounts in that paper that the ground was totally soaked and muddy as their clothes but after the 12 minute phenomenon every thing was bone dry? Or did they imagine that too? No let’s call it mass hallucination and go have another beer with our brave friends who laugh at the thought of a God.

  64. #64 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    You know, Mr. Myers, you’ve just proven our point. If it’s just a cracker, who gives a flying leap whether you eat it, bury it in the garden or give it to your dog. However, since you get all this press coverage, there must be SOMETHING to the claims that the Blessed Sacrament is something more than “just a cracker.”

    Belief != fact.

    Count yourself lucky — if you’d profaned a picture of Mohammed, you wouldn’t have lived long enough to try to collect names and addresses.

    Koran envy.

    We Catholics know that God forbids murder, and that He desires not the death of the sinner, but his repentance. I’m praying for you, Mr. Myers, whether you like it or not.

    Praying at you.

    By the way, I was considering calling for all your Biology students to take one Petri dish each from the lab next week, cleaned, sanitized and de-agared per laboratory standards, and giving it to a Catholic of the community (if the student himself/herself was Catholic of course they could do it) to be ceremonially crushed outside the door of your office. But that would be silly and childish. After all, it’s just a piece of glassware.

    Theft analogy.

    Really. Can’t we just number these bogus arguments and save us all a bunch of typing?

  65. #65 Philboid Studge
    July 24, 2008

    In these threads, are we godless crackerbaiters?

  66. #66 Rob (Not the Catholic nutter)
    July 24, 2008

    God, who created the entire universe,

    So who created God, if everything needs a creator?

    If God didn’t need a creator, why does the universe?

  67. #67 Andrés Diplotti
    July 24, 2008

    About Mr. Rooke’s “analogies”:

    “You see a man about to rape a woman. At the same time, another man is about to desecrate a consecrated Host. If you intervene you can prevent one of those things from happening, but not in time to prevent the other too. Which one do you choose to prevent?”

    Give that test to 100 people and you’ll be surprised how many intolerant people there are around.

  68. #68 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Fatima is thee miracle that skeptics cannot explain away.

    Below is the text of a science professor who was present on October 13. His testimony is surely validated by many sources. His account is not one of a religious zealot, but one of an unbiased observer.

    An Eyewitness Account by Dr. José Maria de Almeida Garrett, professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Coimbra, Portugal

    “It must have been 1:30 p.m when there arose, at the exact spot where the children were, a column of smoke, thin, fine and bluish, which extended up to perhaps two meters above their heads, and evaporated at that height. This phenomenon, perfectly visible to the naked eye, lasted for a few seconds. Not having noted how long it had lasted, I cannot say whether it was more or less than a minute. The smoke dissipated abruptly, and after some time, it came back to occur a second time, then a third time

    “The sky, which had been overcast all day, suddenly cleared; the rain stopped and it looked as if the sun were about to fill with light the countryside that the wintery morning had made so gloomy. I was looking at the spot of the apparitions in a serene, if cold, expectation of something happening and with diminishing curiosity because a long time had passed without anything to excite my attention. The sun, a few moments before, had broken through the thick layer of clouds which hid it and now shone clearly and intensely.

    Suddenly I heard the uproar of thousands of voices, and I saw the whole multitude spread out in that vast space at my feet…turn their backs to that spot where, until then, all their expectations had been focused, and look at the sun on the other side. I turned around, too, toward the point commanding their gaze and I could see the sun, like a very clear disc, with its sharp edge, which gleamed without hurting the sight. It could not be confused with the sun seen through a fog (there was no fog at that moment), for it was neither veiled nor dim. At Fatima, it kept its light and heat, and stood out clearly in the sky, with a sharp edge, like a large gaming table. The most astonishing thing was to be able to stare at the solar disc for a long time, brilliant with light and heat, without hurting the eyes or damaging the retina. [During this time], the sun’s disc did not remain immobile, it had a giddy motion, [but] not like the twinkling of a star in all its brilliance for it spun round upon itself in a mad whirl.

    “During the solar phenomenon, which I have just described, there were also changes of color in the atmosphere. Looking at the sun, I noticed that everything was becoming darkened. I looked first at the nearest objects and then extended my glance further afield as far as the horizon. I saw everything had assumed an amethyst color. Objects around me, the sky and the atmosphere, were of the same color. Everything both near and far had changed, taking on the color of old yellow damask. People looked as if they were suffering from jaundice and I recall a sensation of amusement at seeing them look so ugly and unattractive. My own hand was the same color.

    “Then, suddenly, one heard a clamor, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed all at once to loosen itself from the firmament and, blood red, advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was truly terrible.

    “All the phenomena which I have described were observed by me in a calm and serene state of mind without any emotional disturbance. It is for others to interpret and explain them. Finally, I must declare that never, before or after October 13 [1917], have I observed similar atmospheric or solar phenomena.”

  69. #69 Richard Eis
    July 24, 2008

    Summary:

    PZ threatened to take someone’s pretend security blanket and destroy it thereby making a point about belief. Thousands died…or would have done 200 years ago. Instead nasty emails were sent.

    PZ destroyed security blanket. We are waiting for proof.

    State of world = World not yet destroyed.
    Rivers of blood = 0
    Feelings hurt = 5 christians and their 30 sock puppets.

  70. #70 SC
    July 24, 2008

    The condensed J. A. Stuart:

    …gentlemen…as a man…men…gentleman…fellow man…

    Indeed, how disappointing.

    Indeed.

  71. #71 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    Jeffrey A. Stuart,

    Why are you refusing to answer the question as to whether you have contacted other parties involved in all thus ?

    It is really a pretty simple question but one that would be telling if you cannot give an affirmative answer. Since Webster Cook was assaulted by a “Eucharist Minister”, and the dioceses concerned called his taking the wafer a “hate crime”, have you contacted the dioceses ? Have you contacted the University of Central Florida, where the alleged cracker abduction occurred ? Have you contacted Bill Donohue to point out to him he does not speak for Catholics ?

    A simple yes or no will do.

  72. #72 Moses
    July 24, 2008

    You’ll notice I addressed Dr. Myers with his title as well. This isn’t about “throwing rank around” but simply showing respect as a fellow professional and discussing things like gentlemen; something that is increasingly being lost in the college world, OUR NAVY, and society as a whole. Perhaps this is but another windmill I am tilting at but so be it. That aside sir, I welcome your opinion.

    Very respectfully,

    J. A. Stuart
    Commander, United States Navy

    Posted by: Jeffrey A. stuart | July 24, 2008 10:03 AM

    No. You were waving your dick, asshole. I don’t sign with my old rank. I don’t throw around my titles. I don’t bring up that I’m effing related to the Queen of England and if, oh, maybe a few tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people higher up in the succession died and I made a byzantine and tortured claim I could be the next King of England. (Of course, if that happened, the death toll will be in the billions and I’d likely be one of them…)

    In other words, big fucking deal. I have to be known for my arguments, not my remote-to-the-point-of-ludicrous shot at a title. Or that I made rank in the military which (having been in there, isn’t hard, you guys are (on average) as dumb as a box of rocks compared to the profession in which I excel).

    Dumb-ass.

  73. #73 craig
    July 24, 2008

    “By the way, I was considering calling for all your Biology students to take one Petri dish each from the lab next week, cleaned, sanitized and de-agared per laboratory standards, and giving it to a Catholic of the community (if the student himself/herself was Catholic of course they could do it) to be ceremonially crushed outside the door of your office. But that would be silly and childish. After all, it’s just a piece of glassware.”

    Do you actually think PZ would have been offended? Do you think he considers a petri dish, or ANYTHING, sacred?

    Are you that fucking stupid?

  74. #74 raven
    July 24, 2008

    Peter Rooke the zombie:

    As I mentioned last night; you’ve had time to mull over my analogies and yet no one as sufficiently countered them.

    Oh gee, your analogies all have to do with rape and dead bodies. Sign of a seriously defective psycopath.

    Although, there is another explanation. Rooke could be an undead, a zombie. What we call dead bodies he calls dinner. I pity anyone who lives within a few hundred miles of him.

  75. #75 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    Can someone please explain to Turzovka the limitations of eye-witness testimony and how easy it is to manipulate people into seeing things that were not there, or not seeing things that were there. Magicians use that fact to perform their tricks.

  76. #76 Moses
    July 24, 2008

    As I mentioned last night; you’ve had time to mull over my analogies and yet no one as sufficiently countered them. There is a phrase about the impossibility of defending the indefensible. PZ Myers actions are indefensible. And his acolytes appear to be willing partners to his crimes.

    Posted by: Pete Rooke | July 24, 2008 10:07 AM

    Well, if your head wasn’t shoved so far up your ass you might have noticed that they were. Only you’re too dense to see that they were.

  77. #77 Richard Eis
    July 24, 2008

    I fail to see how a “sun, whirling wildly, seemed all at once to loosen itself from the firmament and, blood red, advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was truly terrible.” could be seen with a calm manner.

    I should also point out that those effects described would occur if anybody looked at the sun. I fail therefore to understand why you think this a miracle.

  78. #78 Rob
    July 24, 2008

    Matt Penfold

    Don’t address me as Professor. I hate it. My name is Rob.

    Unfortunately, you are wrong. Academic tradition, for what it’s worth, is as I stated. You are not addressed as “Professor” until you are actually a fully vested Professor. Not an assistant or associate. Personally, it is irrelevant, as most students and staff address faculty as “Dr.”

  79. #79 Janine ID
    July 24, 2008

    And if you want my address, Mr. Myers, just check http://www.smartpages.com.

    Posted by: Cynthia Heimsoth

    Your concerns have been note and will be ignored. Please do not waste anytime waiting for any contact.

    And for your information, most of us here do not believe that any supernatural being is being harmed by the smashing of a petri dish. But I love the sound of breaking glass.

  80. #80 JoJo
    July 24, 2008

    From: CAPT J.J. Smuckitelli, USN (Ret)
    To: CDR J.A. Stuart, USN

    Subj: Proper Preparation of Correspondence

    Ref: (a) SECNAVINST 5216.5D
    (b) Amendment 1, United States Constitution

    1. Reference (a) discourages the use of military titles when writing informally on non-military subjects.

    2. It is my recommendation that you refrain from using your rank and military branch when discussing religion and religious matters on a public blog. Such use might be considered a violation of reference (b).

    3. I apologize for not following the formatting requirements of reference (a). Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with HTML to properly format this letter.

    /s/
    J.J. Smuckitelli

  81. #81 Dahan
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka at 30,

    Yes, it’s all bullshit.

    How about all the countless miracles attributed to the Hindu gods or the god of Islam? I suppose you think all their holy people are liars, all their countless claimed miracles were committed by charlatans. You probably believe that the Hindu “milk miracle” of 1995 was a mass hallucination.

    You see, you don’t accept other religion’s miracles. They must be wrong… or maybe done by the devil! If you would view your own silly religion with the same skepticism as you do others, you would end up one of us. An atheist. But you don’t. Maybe you can’t. Try though, huh? Try taking off the blinders.

  82. #82 St
    July 24, 2008

    I think the argument: “The miracle at fatima really happened! Here’s a newspaper picture of a lot of people staring at the sky!” deserves some kind of award for unprecedented levels of fail.

    Here’s a few suggested miracles:

    Quadruple amputee grows new limbs, gets up and walks.

    Stephen Hawking gets up and walks.

    The Pope gains the ability to fly.

    A message appears written on the Moon in 100-mile-wide letters, accurately predicting the medal list of the 2012 Olympics.

    Any of those happens, maybe we can talk. Shouldn’t be any challenge for a deity, right?

    Note: anyone responding that God wouldn’t do anything that obvious as he respects our free will has to agree to never cite any miracle story ever again.

  83. #83 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    @Janine ID: Uh? Janine? Did you notice I was quoting someone? Did you read anything I wrote? Sorry, I don’t know how to make fancy quote blocks like the other folks here so I just use the good ol’ ” ”

    @Turzovka: Okay, let’s say it really DID happen (ah, why the hell are time machines not existing yet?) so what’s your proof that this was a sign from YOUR God and not MY God?

    Yea, MY god. I just decided to found up my own religion 30 seconds ago, and my god’s the One True God and he’s a practical joker.

    The nun woman could’ve made up that she saw the virigin mary, and made the kids say so. Then she made up that “let’s see the miracle!” thing and everyone gathered. As a joke, the One God (let’s call him Dude.), who has a great sense of humor and just LOVES to mess up with our heads, decided to fuck up the sun.

    Now, tell me, what makes my version less valid than yours?

  84. #84 Steve_C
    July 24, 2008

    I love how the Catholics are so sure the Muslims would off PZ in a heartbeat. Talk about bigots.

  85. #85 Ponder
    July 24, 2008

    @ Cynthia, the point is not that we believe it’s something special, but we believe that you believe it’s something special. That you believe we should bow to your beliefs that it’s something special, even though we don’t believe.

    Which is of course beyond belief.

    Incidentally, if the mysterious 3rd object is one of Tove Janssons Moomin books, a Miyazaki film or ANYTHING to do with The Little Mermaid, PZ is toast. We all have our sacred cows. ;-)

    I’m betting on a copy of “Origin of Species” though.

  86. #86 Salt
    July 24, 2008

    It’s plain to see the joke’s on PZ.
    IIRC, this all started out with PZ saying something like
    “It’s just a cracker, fer cryin’ out loud”.
    Plainly it’s not just a cracker.

    Posted by: Forrest Prince | July 24, 2008 10:05 AM

    Ain’t it the truth.

  87. #87 Celtic_Evolution
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka

    So you’re saying there couldn’t have possibly been some natural, atmospheric and localized phenomenon that caused people in a specific place to see something while the rest of the world didn’t? Really?

    And as a follow up… why does god hate the rest of the world except Fatima? Is that the only place worthy? He couldn’t have done something like this for say, the vatican?

    And lastly, in 1983, thousands of people swore David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear right before their eyes. Can’r possibly be a mass halucination, according to your logic… right?

  88. #88 BobC
    July 24, 2008

    Matt Penfold (#8) wrote:

    What relevance does his being a commander in the US Navy have to discussion? Does Annapolis teach advanced theology or philosophy? Or does he just think that by putting that we will think him less of an idiot?

    His job has no relevance at all, but he does provide more strong evidence our military is infested with religious wackos who would say ‘I write to express my disappointment that you chose to carry through on your threat’ as if abusing a cracker is a big deal.

  89. #89 Steve_C
    July 24, 2008

    I’m still hoping for “Dianetics”

  90. #90 Cynthia Heimsoth
    July 24, 2008

    You know, the oldest trick in the book is to say that the opposing side is crazy and making stupid claims. Unfortunately, as Augustine says, “for the one who believes no explanation is necessary; for the one who does not believe no explanation is possible.” By definition one cannot prove by sensory evidence that a consecrated Host is any different from an unconsecrated Host. “Seeing, tasting, touching are in Thee deceived; How says trusty hearing? That shall be believed.” Either you believe or you don’t. However, the vitriol that has been spewed in these threads against those who do believe suggests that there is some core of belief masquerading as disbelief in Prof. Myers’ mind and that of his followers. I happen to believe that a bald eagle is just a bird, and one of its fallen feathers is not that much different from a pigeon feather. However, I don’t take great pains to go to a Native American pow-wow and pounce on any fallen eagle feather to crush it into the dirt and chop it up into tiny pieces just to show those ignorant primitives that my belief is superior to theirs. It’s too much effort for too little return. Besides, in this modern society of ours, there is an ongoing call for tolerance and equality, and allowing others to believe what they like so long as you may believe what you like. The fury and vitriol is reminiscent of — well, a twenty-something who has finally gotten out from under the parental thumb and decides to smash all his family idols to prove that HE’S HIS OWN MAN, HE DOESN’T NEED THAT MAMBY-PAMBY RELIGIOUS CRAP. Most of us outgrow that long before we get our sheepskins. Some of us do indeed leave our family faith, but we lose the need to strike out against our parents by striking out against their idols. We just say, “Whatever,” and go on. Some of us, especially those of us who start families, discover that — shock! — there really is Something/Somebody bigger than ourselves, and there are things that reason and science simply cannot explain, “and this all men know as God.” (Thomas Aquinas, _Summa Theologia_, copied from http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/aquinas3.html
    I have yet to hear a convincing argument from any atheist of why it is so culturally universal (and therefore apparently necessary) that humans “created” gods, whereas with a little bit of research I could probably formulate a sound theory of why it is so necessary that Homo sapiens modernis should reject the existence of God as a threat to his belief that he is the very peak of the Darwinian pyramid.

  91. #91 Stephen Wells
    July 24, 2008

    The third object is Jimmy Hoffa.

  92. #92 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    “Unfortunately, you are wrong. Academic tradition, for what it’s worth, is as I stated. You are not addressed as “Professor” until you are actually a fully vested Professor. Not an assistant or associate. Personally, it is irrelevant, as most students and staff address faculty as “Dr.”"

    Rob,

    There are no such things as assistant or associate professors in the UK. As I pointed out, you are either a professor or you are not.

    I clearly was wrong in assuming that PZ would be entitled to use the title Professor. However you are also wrong in assuming that we have associate and assistant professors in the UK.

  93. #93 S.Scott
    July 24, 2008

    JoJo, you Rock!!

    Stacy (USN Ret)

  94. #94 Dave
    July 24, 2008

    Rob,

    Academic tradition varies from place to place. In some areas, Oz for example, it is as you suggest, only a full professor is addressed as professor. In others, the east coast of the US, any full time professor, full, associate or assistant is addressed as professor.

    Shrug. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

  95. #95 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    @Turzovka:

    Sorry Michelle, you are clearly an atheist or agnostic so I guess I cannot get through to you that for God, who created the entire universe, to have the sun defy cosmic laws at Fatima Portugal and it not be witnessed by the entire world, that is not much of a trick for Him.

    Yet the same God can’t seem to prevent several million children starving to death every year, or keep a cracker out of harms way. Even when it’s abuser gives a heads up of several days. 3-O just ain’t what it used to be:-)

    Anecdote is not evidence, not even when it’s 70K anecdotes. Then there is the issue of the number. Was every person who “saw” the miracle interviewed? Have you read the transcripts of their testimony? Of course you haven’t, you are just breathlessly retelling a bullshit story that any well educated child could refute.

    Lets see it reproduced on demand, then we’ll talk. In the meantime, I’ll stick to the mass hallucination theory, because after all, we have evidence that such mass events actually happen (just watching an episode of Derren Brown should give you pause for thought), the sun dancing around the heavens? Not so much.

  96. #96 Janine ID
    July 24, 2008

    Michelle, I am sorry. I only read the first paragraph and the final line. In my defense, I will point out it is useful to indicate when something is not said by you by blockquoting.
    I hope you accept my apology.

  97. #97 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    Ain’t it the truth.

    Ain’t it missing the point….

  98. #98 Duvenoy
    July 24, 2008

    “It’s plain to see the joke’s on PZ.

    IIRC, this all started out with PZ saying something like

    “It’s just a cracker, fer cryin’ out loud”.

    Plainly it’s not just a cracker”

    This is correct, it is not just a cracker. Rather it is a representation of centuries of deluding people and oppressing those who disagree even to the point of torture & execution. How Donohue must yearn for the good old days when would actually be relevant — tough titty, Bill!

    A ways back uo the page, there was a post describing various “miracles” including the one concerning a trio of chippies actually conversing with the late & long decomposed Mary. I must request: please produce reference acceptable to scientific inquery. If you cannot do this, and you can’t, then you have no argument beyond an appeal to fantasia.

    doov

  99. #99 John Robie
    July 24, 2008

    Surely if your god is omnipotent, he has the power to undo anything he did. If god performs the miracale of transubstantiation that puts himself into the cracker, then surely he can also leave it at will, and thus avoid “desecration.”

    Or can your god create a cracker so unescapable that even he cannot get out of it?

  100. #100 Dahan
    July 24, 2008

    “I’m praying for you, Mr. Myers, whether you like it or not.”

    Can’t speak for anyone else, but if someone was talking to themselves for me, I wouldn’t like it or dislike it. I would just think it was really stupid.

  101. #101 BobC
    July 24, 2008

    Ale (#10) wrote:

    I wonder how will the zombies react when PZ delivers evidence of the heinous “desecration”?

    I predict they will prove there’s no difference between Muslim terrorists and Catholic terrorists.

  102. #102 Stephen Wells
    July 24, 2008

    Cynthia: the concept that humans create the idea of gods is simply an observation; we tell stories with “gods” that have very human attributes- jealousy, pride, anger, and an obsession with genitalia. Ipso facto each religion claims that all the others are made up, which is the one point they’re all correct on :)

    There’s no such thing as a Darwinian Pyramid nor does evolutionary theory say we’re at the peak of anything. Hint: phylogenetic tree. Be less ignorant in future.

  103. #103 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    To follow up on Academic titles, the ranks of academia are Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor.

    Professors normally are either departmental heads or hold some other chair in their subject.

    The only exception I am aware of is the University of Exeter which calls Readers, Associate Professors.

  104. #104 Neural T
    July 24, 2008

    Plainly it’s not just a cracker.

    No, it is a cracker. The furor over these desecrations says more about religious zealots than it does about their desecrated objects.

  105. #105 KristianB
    July 24, 2008

    #54: “Count yourself lucky — if you’d profaned a picture of Mohammed, you wouldn’t have lived long enough to try to collect names and addresses.”

    More likely, if he’d profaned a picture of Mohammed, most muslims would have said “oh, good, he destroyed a forbidden image out of respect for our beliefs”, or something along those lines. If they gave a damn at all.

    “By the way, I was considering calling for all your Biology students to take one Petri dish each from the lab next week, cleaned, sanitized and de-agared per laboratory standards, and giving it to a Catholic of the community (if the student himself/herself was Catholic of course they could do it) to be ceremonially crushed outside the door of your office. But that would be silly and childish. After all, it’s just a piece of glassware.”

    Wow. You actually believe that anyone would care about you ‘profaning’ petri dishes? The cluttering up of the corridor outside his office to deposit the remnants, I dare say, would be more objectionable.

  106. #106 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    @Janine ID:

    S’all ok hon, I understand that. :) But um, like I just said in my explanation…

    “Sorry, I don’t know how to make fancy quote blocks like the other folks here so I just use the good ol’ quotes”

  107. #107 Stephen Wells
    July 24, 2008

    Can people please stop laying down the law about academic titles when they vary between countries and institutions.

  108. #108 Jeeves
    July 24, 2008

    I’ve been following this website for the last couple months and have been fully aware of the circumstances of Crackergate. I have even read 7,846 of the 9,475 comments relating to the threads.
    I do not believe in the existence of god(s). I do not follow the creeds of any organized religion in my daily life. Perhaps it is because I have read books of religious scholarship (as one would read the Odyssey) and I realize the regular commenters hate this sort of comment but I don’t think you guys are going about this in a reasonable way at all. I realize there is a LOT of misinformation coming from the other side and no little amount of red herring and straw man arguments. However, as ridiculous as the religious arguments are, there are hundreds of atheist or agnostic comments that say in some order, “sick fuck child rape, Pope Nazi, go believe in your imaginary sky daddy, Idiot!”
    I realize that this is not the ordinary or perhaps even proper venue to try to convince people of their erroneous ways but for goodness sakes, don’t let them drag you down to their illogical, spewing level! Try to find your better, whip sharp selves (which I have seen plenty of in scientific posts) and forget this false rage induced bravado.

  109. #109 Celtic_Evolution
    July 24, 2008

    # 90

    I have yet to hear a convincing argument from any atheist of why it is so culturally universal (and therefore apparently necessary) that humans “created” gods…

    Well, then you should stop closing your eyes when you read the thousands of good arguments that have been made for this, or uncover your ears when you hear them.

    …whereas with a little bit of research I could probably formulate a sound theory of why it is so necessary that Homo sapiens modernis should reject the existence of God as a threat to his belief that he is the very peak of the Darwinian pyramid.

    Well, since you invented this premise and assertion just now… go ahead! First prove your statement of premise (hint: you can’t). Then formulate your theory. Then present it to the scientific community for peer review, like all theories, and please don’t be afraid to get your feelings hurt when it is torn to shreds and rightfully discarded.

  110. #110 Janine ID
    July 24, 2008

    Michelle, it is easy. Just add (blockquote) and (/blockquote) to the beginning and end of what you wish to high light. Only, use use the ‘greater then’ and ‘less then’ signs instead of brackets.

  111. #111 Alexandre
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka, the event described appears more like to be of a meteor falling.

    And it could be any other thing. People may think it to be the sun, but people think a lot of stupid things.

    And a strange phenomena does not proves the existence of any supernatural being. It is just a phenomena not yet explained.

  112. #112 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    I realize that this is not the ordinary or perhaps even proper venue to try to convince people of their erroneous ways but for goodness sakes, don’t let them drag you down to their illogical, spewing level! Try to find your better, whip sharp selves (which I have seen plenty of in scientific posts) and forget this false rage induced bravado.

    Appeal to civility.

  113. #113 Norman Doering
    July 24, 2008

    Oh, great! Now we have a new thread
    to talk the same old rancid bread,
    and some to berate:
    “Thou shan’t desecrate!
    I’d rather my children were dead!”

    Is it about the bread, or is it Myers?
    This guy they hope no one hires.
    I do have crackers
    And I’ll abuse those snackers,
    But they don’t threaten me with their fires.

  114. #114 MyaR
    July 24, 2008

    @Cynthia #90 — Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer is not a bad place to start for some good current thought on why humans created “gods”.

  115. #115 Ponder
    July 24, 2008

    @ Cynthia. Sperm whales. Bigger than all of us.

    The Fatima Kerfuffle? Well, if the crowd realised they could make good money out of the Emperor having no clothes on they’d have grabbed the kid and handed him over to the ones who thought that not only was the Emperor’s word sacred but that they should kill anyone who disagreed with him. This isn’t a miracle, it’s a depressing confirmation of human nature.

  116. #116 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    I also want to point out that in the UK it is not a requirement to have a doctorate in order to become a professor, although it is very unusual for a professor not also have doctorate.

    Mick Aston, Professor of Archaeology at Bristol University never got a Phd. Apparently a few days before he was due to submit it, his van and contents, including the manuscript, were stolen.

  117. #117 No One Of Consequence
    July 24, 2008

    In case it hasn’t been mentioned in the 5000+ comments…

    Sure it might be a cracker, but then how do you explain PYGMIES+DWARVES.

  118. #118 Neural Transmissions
    July 24, 2008

    I suppose the best argument that you can make against the desecrations is that, even if the belief in transubstantiation is absurd, the unfortunate followers of this doctrine have been the victims of brainwashing since childhood, and they should be treated with the same sensitivity as anyone else with a brain disorder — like military vets with PTSD.

    In fact, there are psychologists who specialize in helping people who have left their religion, especially to overcome the reflexive anxiety and guilt that they have about apostasy, sex, etc. The extreme forms of religious indoctrination are nothing short of child abuse.

  119. #119 Ben
    July 24, 2008

    I am really looking forward to the cracker post. From wikipedia:

    In cooking, a wafer is a crisp, sweet, very thin, flat, and dry cake, often used to decorate ice cream. Wafers can also be made into cookies with cream flavoring sandwiched between them. They frequently have a waffle surface pattern but may also be patterned with insignia of the food’s manufacturer or may be patternless.

    and crackers:

    he holes in crackers are called “docking” holes. The holes are placed in the dough to stop air pockets from forming in the cracker while baking.

    In U.S. English, the name “cracker” is most often applied to flat biscuits with a savory, salty flavor, in distinction from a “cookie,” which may be similar to a “cracker” in appearance and texture, but has a sweet flavor. Crackers sometimes have cheese or spices as ingredients, or even chicken stock. Some crackers are salted, flour products.

    Brands including Captain’s Wafers, Club Crackers, Town House Crackers, Ritz Crackers, Cream crackers and Water biscuits are used spread with cheese, pâté, or mousse.

    Saltine and oyster crackers are often used in or served with soup.

    Mock apple pie is made from Ritz (or similar) crackers.

    I hope that you’ve done something immoral to the cracker/wafer.

  120. #120 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    The extreme forms of religious indoctrination are nothing short of child abuse.

    Oh bother. Now we’re going to need four more threads.

  121. #121 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    I have yet to hear a convincing argument from any atheist of why it is so culturally universal (and therefore apparently necessary) that humans “created” gods

    Then you’ve read nothing relevant, given the issue even less thought and misunderstood what little of the transmission may have leaked through the faraday cage of your religious upbringing.

    I’ll try and make it simple. Why do dogs bark when snow falls off a roof, or cats start at sudden gusts of wind? They do it because not to do so when the cause is a puma, or a caveman with a club results in death. There is a clear evolutionary benefit to over attributing intention.

    The misfiring of this same core functionality in humans, makes us attribute all kinds of utterly insane intention and design, to entirely inert objects in our environment.

    Not so hard, after all, huh?

  122. #122 clinteas
    July 24, 2008

    Hm,
    at least they’ve come up with something genuinely new in this thread: miracles and exorcisms !!

    Why that would convince me more than the made up 3000 year old goatherder stories is beyond me,but hey,nothing surprises me with christians anymore.

    So let the games begin,lets talk about Fatima !!

    Turzovka babbled @ 63:

    //that for God, who created the entire universe, to have the sun defy cosmic laws at Fatima Portugal and it not be witnessed by the entire world, that is not much of a trick for Him//

    Much into tricks,is he,your god?Bit of a trickster? Felt a lil kinky one day,had nothing else to do in the rest of the entire universe he created,and thought he’d play a lil trick on them Portuguese guys?
    That what happened? Yup,make sense to me,nice one,your god sounds fun,where can I sign up??

  123. #123 Janine ID
    July 24, 2008

    Plainly it’s not just a cracker.
    Posted by: Forrest Prince

    The cracker is a MacGuffin.

  124. #124 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    with a little bit of research I could probably formulate a sound theory of why it is so necessary that Homo sapiens modernis should reject the existence of God as a threat to his belief that he is the very peak of the Darwinian pyramid. – Cynthia Heimsoth (my emphasis)

    An economical way of demonstrating your complete ignorance of evolutionary theory, and indeed, of Darwin’s own insight into the non-teleological, non-progressive nature of evolution by natural selection. He gave himself the advice (which, admittedly, he did not always follow) “Never say higher or lower”.

    By the way, if you really think you could “probably formulate” such a sound theory with trivial effort, why don’t you?

  125. #125 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    The cracker is a MacGuffin.

    It is very scary how apropos that description is.

  126. #126 David Uezato
    July 24, 2008

    This whole thing makes me wish natural selection was more of a key element in todays society. Fundamental whackaloons runing rampent all over the place, on all sides. Honestly geting sick and tired of all this chest puffing about religious symbols. It’s high time my fellow atheists just shut up.

    While pointing out the absurdity of giving religion a special respect is one thing. Acting like a complete jack ass flameing eachother on the internet is worthy of entry into the special olympics for all participants.

  127. #127 craig
    July 24, 2008

    “Mick Aston, Professor of Archaeology”

    Yay Mick! I’m one of the few Americans who isn’t an archaeologist who knows who you’re talking about. Thanks to the wonders of the usenet, I’ve seen ever Time Team episode ever made.

    Time Team – yet another reason I’d leave the US and emigrate to the UK if I were able.

  128. #128 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    [INSERT INSANE CHRISTIAN BABBLES HERE]

    Sweet! It works!!!! Thanks Janine!!

  129. #129 Ben
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka babbled @ 63://that for God, who created the entire universe, to have the sun defy cosmic laws at Fatima Portugal and it not be witnessed by the entire world, that is not much of a trick for Him// Much into tricks,is he,your god?Bit of a trickster? Felt a lil kinky one day,had nothing else to do in the rest of the entire universe he created,and thought he’d play a lil trick on them Portuguese guys?

    It is in poor taste to demean the mentally ill. Turzovka clearly needs medication, not internet banter.

  130. #130 BobC
    July 24, 2008

    Duvenoy (#98) wrote:

    A ways back up the page, there was a post describing various “miracles” including the one concerning a trio of chippies actually conversing with the late & long decomposed Mary. I must request: please produce reference acceptable to scientific inquery. If you cannot do this, and you can’t, then you have no argument beyond an appeal to fantasia.

    It’s true! Mary still speaks to people. Look at this:

    Message of June 25, 2008 “Dear children! Also today, with great joy in my heart, I call you to follow me and to listen to my messages. Be joyful carriers of peace and love in this peaceless world. I am with you and I bless you all with my Son Jesus, the King of Peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

    This scam has been going on in Medjugorje for 27 years. The dead Mary started talking to a group of children in 1981, and the Mary zombie continues to talk to them today. These children, who are now adults, of course get paid for being part of the scam. The messages from the dead Mary are of course made up. What’s interesting is how incredibly gullible their customers are. I met a bunch of these wackos. They really believe a decomposed corpse can talk. There is nobody more insane than Catholics.

  131. #131 Juan
    July 24, 2008

    Wow it’s a little reassuring that stupid superstitious beliefs are not the absolute domain of catholic third world countries like mine, there are plenty of idiots in first world countries too!!! Maybe we are not so far behind (or is the USA going backwards?)
    PZ is the best!

  132. #132 Endor
    July 24, 2008

    “I’m praying for you, Mr. Myers, whether you like it or not.”

    Okay, well, have fun talking to yourself!

  133. #133 chrisD
    July 24, 2008

    Cynthia wailed:

    … a threat to his belief that he is the very peak of the Darwinian pyramid.

    HA HA HA!!! HA! This coming from someone who believes that humans are the pinnacle of creation!!

    You just busted the hell out of my irony meter you twit.

  134. #134 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    @BobC:

    There is nobody more insane than Catholics.

    Now that’s just being discriminatory to all other religions.

  135. #135 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Mick Aston, Professor of Archaeology at Bristol University never got a Phd. Apparently a few days before he was due to submit it, his van and contents, including the manuscript, were stolen. – Matt Penfold

    I heard the dog ate it ;-)
    Excellent TV performer as well as (I’m sure) a highly respected scientist.

  136. #136 Capital Dan
    July 24, 2008
    Gee, P.Z., you wanted attention and you got it.

    Expected reaction troll. Nothing to see here…

    Posted by: tsg

    Well, not to sound like a reaction troll or anything, but I’m also kind of surprised by the response to this. All PZ has to do is put the word “cracker” in a post, and it seems it will drag in a busload of bat-shit crazy Christians.

    Really… It’s just a cracker. And, it’s freakin’ hilarious that people are willing to make complete and total asses out of themselves in order to defend a cracker.

    I mean, this cracker doesn’t have the slightest bit of magic. It’s not like bacon. If PZ were somehow violating bacon, I can see getting all bent out of shape. Bacon is good. Bacon is love. The world’s ills can all be cured with bacon… (sorry. I get distracted easily).

    Anyway, if you go back and look at the comment numbers on the various cracker posts, it’s just funny. Even those comment threads that have nothing to do with any of this have been hijacked by the Cracker Liberation Army, and the numbers just spin into madness.

    It’s Crazy, but it has made for a damn fun summer.

  137. #137 llewelly
    July 24, 2008

    What I find interesting is that the town where the Miracle of the Sun supposedly took place presently has a population of about 8000. What population it had in 1917 I don’t know, but it seems 70,000 visitors would have made quite an impact.

  138. #138 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Dahan from Message #81: You are wrong on your assumption about me disbelieving in Hindu miracle claims. And how do additional miracles bolster the atheist’s argument of No God anyway? Hindu glass cows exuding milk. I believe it, and I believe it is supernatural. Another one drinking milk. I believe it to be supernatural. Other supernatural manifestations from the Islam or Buddhist faiths. I believe them that they are supernatural. I am not looking for crazy improbable “natural” answers to try to explain them away..
    I am of strong belief most of these “hard-to-explain-away” well documented manifestations of any faith, or no faith, are either of God or are diabolic. I will not offer an opinion on most if they are diabolic or not, such as those in the Hindu faith. Actually, I will. I am guessing they are godly directing the believers towards some virtue.
    I do not believe the Christian faith is the true faith because of the miracles I have put forth. I believe that is but one important ingredient. So much more is necessary to validate which faith is the true faith. The magnanimous degree of the manifestation carries weight. Even more so does the very detailed message and the fruits of the event. Beyond miracles, is what else does the faith claim and have to offer? The historical record. The charity of the faith. The incomparable saints. So and so on. Far more is required, agreed. I just cannot go into all that right now, but that is actually the greater reason why I accept Christianity as the fullest and most truthful of God’s message. The miracles assist in validating it for me, not in demonstrating it’s main importance or message.
    Sidenote: If there ever were any so-called UFO appartions that really took place and were seen by humans — those I believe to be demonic apparitions in order to deceive those more readily open to decption. You know that funny looking red guy with a pitchfork? Just a cartoon to you of course.

  139. #139 Jams
    July 24, 2008

    “PZ Myers actions are indefensible. And his acolytes appear to be willing partners to his crimes.” – Pete Rooke

    I thought some very elegant defenses have been mounted. I don’t think PZ should have loosed the dogs on crackers everywhere, but I think it’s important to keep these things in perspective. We must remember that the bible (and thus catholicism) dubs non-belief the most serious of sins (it even has its own commandment), and calls for the extermination of non-believers. I don’t think a global call to steal crackers really stands up as an ethical breech against the massive wall of Catholic (indeed all Cristian) hate – reinforced with every service, every tainted ritual, every foaming acolyte, every ironic call for “respect”.

  140. #140 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Ben, (message #129) I cannot help you. I do pity you. Go bravely into the long dark night (known as death) and be sure to shake your fist at God like Stalin did on his death bed. And all this time we thought we did not believe.

  141. #141 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    I heard the dog ate it ;-)

    Excellent TV performer as well as (I’m sure) a highly respected scientist.

    I love TimeTeam. Very British, the way grown people can get so excited over finding a bit of mud covered pot.

  142. #142 Endor
    July 24, 2008

    “If there ever were any so-called UFO appartions that really took place and were seen by humans — those I believe to be demonic apparitions in order to deceive those more readily open to decption. You know that funny looking red guy with a pitchfork? Just a cartoon to you of course. ”

    Yeah, this is to sad and tragic to make fun of. Mental illness isn’t funny. this guy needs therapy and some good medication.

  143. #143 craig
    July 24, 2008

    As I pointed out earlier, the Catholic church in the US is dying. Losing members, etc.

    If they really want to get popular, they should switch from crackers and make their god transform into little bite-sized pieces of pizza.

    I mean, it’s not like there’s something inherent about the type of cracker, right? God is all-powerful, he can take the form of what ever kind of confection or baked good he wants, right? It’s all in the magic words, isn’t it?

    I mean look… the reason the church uses little thin tasteless wafers is because they are very inexpensive. That way the church can save money to use on more important things like vast hoards of treasure and gigantic expensive buildings. You know, stuff that matters.

    But now the church is dwindling – wouldn’t it make sense to invest a little into increasing membership?

    USE PIZZA. Seriously. Maybe have different lines you can get into – one for pepperoni, one for veggie lovers pizza, etc.

    Make God TASTY and more people will want to eat him!

  144. #144 Celtic_Evolution
    July 24, 2008

    #138

    So much more is necessary to validate which faith is the true faith.

    Not really… for most it’s the fear of eternal damnation christians are indoctrinated with from almost the moment they can walk. That was it for me, anyhow… till I grew up, got educated and decided to stop believing stupid shit people told me “or I’ll burn in hell”.

    On a related note, I never much liked “cause I said so” as a reason for doing something. Same reason… don’t care for scare tactics.

  145. #145 True Bob
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka, you are incredibly credulous.

    Thanks for the anecdote from the Fatima witness. It sounds to me that he saw the results of some folks smoking seegars, and then stared at the sun until it affected his vision. It’ll do that, you know.

    BTW, welcome back, Salt, you old fundament.

  146. #146 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    To PZ Meyers & Friends:

    Many things puzzle me about evolution. Personally, I choke on my soup over it. But allow me to bring up one quote from one of your very favorite high priests, Stephen Gould:
    “”Paleontologists have paid an enormous price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we almost never see the very process we profess to study. We believe that Huxley was right in his warning. The modern theory of evolution does not require gradual change. In fact, the operation of Darwinian processes should yield exactly what we see in the fossil record. It is gradualism we should reject, not Darwinism.”
    .
    Gould is not attacking evolution, but he is making an argument for punctuated equilibrium. So to review the arguments of two of the most revered high priests of evolution.
    Gould & Co: A exists because X is present. There is no evidence for Y.
    Dawkins & Co: A exists because Y is present. There is no evidence for X.
    .
    Conclusion: There is no evidence that experts agree on exist for A. Therefore A is not only yet unproven, it is very highly suspect since, some of the finest experts on the matter highly doubt the presence of the necessary evidence for it to exist. Here in the 21st century when science has made remarkable discoveries unimaginable, they still cannot identify proof of how we evolved that the experts can agree upon.
    Essentially, Gould disproves Dawkins claim for evolution because he says there is no evidence for Gradual evolution. Or does Gould have no credibility? Dawkins disproves Gould’s claim for evolution because he says there is no evidence for punctuated equilibrium (i.e. monster steps). Or does Dawkins have no credibility?
    The most knowledgeable man on evolution in the world Stephen Gould balks at the claims of gradual evolution yet public schools and universities everywhere insist it be taught as fact. And we who challenge evolution based on the same lack of evidence as Gould’s are counted as fools. How rich.

  147. #147 Kevin Klein
    July 24, 2008

    Went to YouTube, started typing “pz myers” in the search box, and the first choice it offered in the auto-complete menu was “pz myers cracker”.

    Lotsa people are hoping to get a sneak peek, eh?

  148. #148 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    Well, not to sound like a reaction troll or anything, but I’m also kind of surprised by the response to this. All PZ has to do is put the word “cracker” in a post, and it seems it will drag in a busload of bat-shit crazy Christians.

    What I mean by “expected reaction troll” is the frequent comment that PZ deserves the response he’s getting because he “should have expected it”. It completely ignores the fact that an irrational and unreasonable reaction does not become right simply because it is predictable. It is frequently followed with Koran Envy (“would you dare desecrate the Koran?”).

    I’m attempting to compile a list of the most common bullshit arguments being made to save some effort in refuting them over and over again.

  149. #149 Ben
    July 24, 2008

    @Capital Dan (136):

    I mean, this cracker doesn’t have the slightest bit of magic. It’s not like bacon. If PZ were somehow violating bacon, I can see getting all bent out of shape. Bacon is good. Bacon is love. The world’s ills can all be cured with bacon… (sorry. I get distracted easily).

    How wrong you are. Hopefully you are just bacon fun of these internet bacon idiots that seem to be everywhere.

  150. #150 craig
    July 24, 2008

    “You know that funny looking red guy with a pitchfork? Just a cartoon to you of course. “

    Hell no that’s not just a simple cartoon, you insensitive clod. It signifies that heavenly treat – Underwood Deviled Ham.

  151. #151 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    shake your fist at God like Stalin did on his death bed – Turzkova

    [citation needed]

    A nice variation on the “deathbed conversion of atheist” trope – well done Turzkova! And let’s admit she’s outflanked us, by casting the net of her gullibility wider than anyone believed possible!

  152. #152 Benjamin Franklin
    July 24, 2008

    Mat Penfold re #8

    I, personally have no problem with the Commander signing his post as he did. It’s not a question of relevance, it’s more a matter of personal taste. Let us be open to anonymous posts as well as those more formally composed.

    Now, as to the body of his post, he really misses the point of PZ’s actions and thus comes to incorrect conclusions, but at least he’s polite.

    CHRISTOCRACKERS – Desecratingly Delicious

    now in 3 great flavors

    Wintergreen,
    Spearmint,
    and Doublemint – get the most from your host

  153. #153 NC Paul
    July 24, 2008

    #138: This is a far more convincing recreation of medieval thinking than you’ll ever get at a Renaissance faire.

    Keep it up, you crazy Catholics. With every post, you’re validating The God Delusion another little bit.

  154. #154 Celtic_Evolution
    July 24, 2008

    #146

    OK… Turzovka has officially passed over from “ignorant and credulous” to completely insane. Commencing ignore mode, out of pity.

  155. #155 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    CHRISTOCRACKERS – Desecratingly Delicious

    now in 3 great flavors

    Wintergreen,
    Spearmint,
    and Doublemint – get the most from your host

    Mmmmmm. Sacrilicious.

  156. #156 gdlchmst
    July 24, 2008

    @Turzovka #146

    Do you even know what you are talking about? Jesus, my IQ dropped 20 points just reading your post. My suggestion, read an entry level evolutionary biology textbook before you comment on evolution.

  157. #157 CrackerLover
    July 24, 2008

    Prof. Myers you are kinda being a goof.

    I would think a university professor could find better uses for his time than run this immature blog and performing immature stunts.

  158. #158 Joeblow
    July 24, 2008

    Your 15 minutes are almost up!

    You’ll be able to look back fondly on all the attention you have gotten!

    This is likely the highest moment of your entire life…sad really.

    I pity you.

  159. #159 True Bob
    July 24, 2008

    Turozka, you don’t seem to understand the difference between proof and assertion.

  160. #160 Erwin Blonk
    July 24, 2008

    #157

    Between someone being goofy and lot of people sending death (or lesser) threaths, I’m on the side of the goofball.

  161. #161 Jeffrey A. Stuart
    July 24, 2008

    CAPT,

    I appreciate your reference to the Navy’s Correspondence Manual and respect your opinion but that does not guide the writing of personal correspondence. Were I to imply that my opinions represented those of the United States Navy (WHICH THEY DO NOT) then I would be wrong. However, I am simply voicing my personal opinion on these matters as a citizen of this country that happens to be a military officer.

    As I stated, my intent was and remains only to appeal to Dr. Myers (Professor Myers if that is what he prefers) as a fellow professional. People here are free to take me at my word on that or dismiss me. As a fellow officer, and my senior, I will hope that you give me the benefit of the doubt in that regard and I remain in your service.

    Very respectfully,

    J. A. Stuart
    Commander, United States Navy

  162. #162 gdlchmst
    July 24, 2008

    I would think a university professor could find better uses for his time than run this immature blog and performing immature stunts.

    Your mama’s immature.

    No, I apologize, I shouldn’t have involved your mother. But really, what PZ does is important and his own damn business.

  163. #163 rb miller
    July 24, 2008

    I’ll bet you he doesn’t do anything to the Koran. He doesn’t have the guts to offend the “religion of peace”. He knows Catholics will just spout off but the jihadis will come after him.

    We’ll see how much principle this hater has. I say none, just and attention needy nerd.

  164. #164 Neural T
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka #146

    But allow me to bring up one quote from one of your very favorite high priests, Stephen Gould

    Umm, no. Gould is highly criticized by evolutionary biologists. See:

    http://cogweb.ucla.edu/Debate/CEP_Gould.html

  165. #165 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Sorry to impinge on your religion (EVOLUTION) and your two Gods (NATURAL SELECTION and GIVE IT MORE TIME) But don’t ask me to read a text book to find the answers, or even to find all the transitional fossils (there should be millions) because they are hesitant to put photos of them in there. Why? But the Gould quote which mocks Dawkins I do find quite entertaining. Gould doesn’t buy gradual evolution, but we are forced to. Oh, the irony.

  166. #166 Ben
    July 24, 2008

    JoeBlow (158): Don’t waste people’s time with your pity. We’re all waiting here too see some cracker desecration (I hope he pooped on it), not read pointless and cliched Warhol references.

  167. #167 Norman Doering
    July 24, 2008

    … it’s freakin’ hilarious that people are willing to make complete and total asses out of themselves in order to defend a cracker.

    It’s funny until someone actually gets hurt.

    PZ stirred up a nest of loonies, a few of them might be dangerously deranged.

    It’s not PZ’s fault. It’s not crackers. You can threaten crackers and not come to the attention of Bill the Shrill Donohue (I have) but do anything Bill can use as an excuse and he’ll cash in on your growing fame. Bill would have found something else.

  168. #168 Saint Frodo
    July 24, 2008

    Posted by: Fr. J | July 23, 2008 3:36 PM

    Aw, poor Fr. Childfucker is maaaad.

    Get bent…

  169. #169 True Bob
    July 24, 2008

    Thanks for being open with your bigotry, rb miller.

    Fatwa Envy

  170. #170 NC Paul
    July 24, 2008

    #163: I’ll take you up on that bet. Your default – post here saying that you were wrong and that your opinion of PZ was mistaken. Let’s see how much principle you have, eh?

  171. #171 palmira
    July 24, 2008

    In October 5 1910 the portuguese monarchy ended and the First Republic was implanted. The first republic, remembered even today by what we call «beatada» ( your religious nutballs) as horrible jacobins, ended centuries of arbitrary and almost absolute power by the catholic church (except in the short period after the big earthquake in 1755 with marquês de Pombal).

    Just to give a pale idea of the sort of power they had, our Department of Justice, overseeing judges,the equivalent to your Supreme Court and so forth, was called Ministério dos Negócios Eclesiásticos e Justiça that translates as Department of Church Affairs and Justice (notice that Justice came after Church business…)

    The catholics wailed that they were being persecuted by the state because, abomination and heresy, for a first in Portugal the church didn’t controll the citizens life literally from birth to death: until then there were no civil offices for registering anything, births, marriages, deaths, etc. were all registered by the church.

    To make a long story short, the first Republic committed something even worst than desecrating a cracker; they were allowed by law heresies like

    - civil marriage and divorce
    - rights for illegitimate sons
    - rights for women
    - no mandatory catholic education in schools

    worst of all, they were very particular about not financing (lavishly) the Church.

    So, the so called miracle of Fátima was a fraud put up by the Church in an attempt to get back some of the power they had lost.

    For various reasons they succeeded specially because the first Republic was short lived, and Salazar, our (very catholic) dictator, was able to put up a dictatorship that lasted almost 50 years with the enthusiastic support of the Catholic Church. Of course he pushed Fátima down every portuguese throat, and everything remotely skeptical of the “miracle” was censored (and his author invited to a «nice» stay in prison where he would repent from his sins with the catholic help PZ has been lavished with).

    The thing is so obviously a fraud, put up for political reasons only, that today even catholic priests recognize that. But they always come up with something like you’re right, the sun didn’t defy the laws of physics, there was no miracles but it’s not a fraud, it’s a symbol of devotion deeply rooted in the heart of the peasantry and to try to sweep it away it is not possible without some measure of scandal and popular disturbance. Continuing that we should «respect» the simple people beliefs even when we know they are completely wrong…

  172. #172 Neural T
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka, you’re so ignorant it’s not enough funny. Read the link that I provided.

  173. #173 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    Maybe it is a cultural thing, but to me the tone of Jeffrey A. Stuart’s posts come across as being rather arrogant, petulant, and sarcastic. The words are civil enough but I would not say he was being polite, in fact far from it. The overly formal tone he adopts comes over as insolence.

  174. #174 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka@156,

    I’m disappointed in you. I thought you had a certain originality, and now you come out with two of the silliest and most stale tricks of creationist liars.

    1) There are no “high priests” of evolution. Unlike you godbots, scientists don’t decide matters off act by argument from authority, but on the evidence.

    2) The issue of “punctuated equilibrium” might be called a typical mid-level scientific dispute, where the fundamentals of a theory (in this case, the reality of common descent and the importance of natural selection) are not in doubt, but there is room for rational disagreement about important features of the theory (in this case, the smoothness or jerkiness of phenotypic change, and the relationship between such change and speciation). The issue has been explored both mathematically and empirically. It casts no doubt whatever on the modern theory of evolution as a whole, as Dawkins and Gould both agreed, and anyone actually familiar with the issues can readily see.

  175. #175 CortxVortx
    July 24, 2008

    Re: #90

    However, the vitriol that has been spewed in these threads against those who do believe suggests that there is some core of belief masquerading as disbelief in Prof. Myers’ mind and that of his followers.

    Another example of the “you must believe in God in order to disbelieve in Him” claim that I mentioned before.

    Cynthia’s post is a goldmine of religious ignorance. Note she makes no mention of the “vitriol” spewed by the Catholics and other religious types, nor of the lack of death threats by the non-religious.

    Her bald eagle Indian ceremony is of a piece with all the other analogies proffered by the religio-nuts. Nowhere is it acknowledged that PZ did not go disrupt a religious ceremony, so all analogies of that form are false. They only point up the dishonesty of the writers.

    I have yet to hear a convincing argument from any atheist of why it is so culturally universal (and therefore apparently necessary) that humans “created” gods …

    As has been pointed out, she obviously hasn’t tried very hard to seek out such explanations.

    And Turzovka has a Starr Jones level of understanding of astronomy. Newsflash, Turz: The Catholic church now admits that Galileo and Copernicus were right.

  176. #176 Dark Matter
    July 24, 2008

    @Turzovka re. sun miracle:

    Stare at the sun long enough and you’ll see it do a can-can dance. Really, do try not to be so gullible.

    Wow, this is getting old…Catholic nutters taking over every thread possible to bitch about a cracker and fight a fight that they’re never gonna win. Do they honestly expect any non-believer here to throw up his hands at one of their arguments and say, “Wow, nobody ever said that to us before! I’m totally convinced that you’re right. Just let me go buy a rosary so I can start repenting?”

    Couldn’t PZ just give them a separate thread to spew their hatred and keep his other threads neat and discussion-y? If you don’t argue with them, they’ll go away.

  177. #177 CR Stamey
    July 24, 2008

    To all those who take time out of their busy schedule to visit PZ’s blog and express how much they “pity” him and congratulate him on his “15 minutes of fame”:

    Thank YOU for making it all possible.

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

  178. #178 Richard Eis
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka – we don’t have high priests (and if you mock high priests what does that say about your religion). And just because evolution studies evolve at the edges does not mean we have to keep changing the school curriculum every 10 seconds.

  179. #179 Erwin Blonk
    July 24, 2008

    There could be the option of saying that due to threaths and harassment he will not doing anything, to see what reactions this brings, as an experiment, so to speak.

  180. #180 garry
    July 24, 2008

    the analyst notices the references to ejaculation and masturbation (which do not indicate any real understanding of the terms), and the need for self-promotion whilst being unable to listen to himself. The absence of scatological uses (although that may come) indicates roughly an emotional age in the subject of perhaps 11 or 12.

  181. #181 Jeffrey A. Stuart
    July 24, 2008

    Jeffrey A. Stuart,

    Why are you refusing to answer the question as to whether you have contacted other parties involved in all thus ?

    Mr. Penfold,

    No, I have not contacted the other parties as I have come to this situation a bit late into the game. I am simply reacting to the “here and now” and have pointed out that I don’t think Dr/Professor Myers’ actions were befitting of his position and stature. That is an independent issue on what actions I may or may not take at this time with the other parties.

    Admittedly, I am tilting against a windmill here but I fail to see why discourse of any kind in this country has to deteriorate to the point that we are all on one big Jerry Springer episode.

    V/r

  182. #182 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    “There are no “high priests” of evolution. Unlike you godbots, scientists don’t decide matters off act by argument from authority, but on the evidence.”

    Not only is not argument from authority, there is much kudos to be gained in science by overturning long accepted theories. Far from being bent on maintaining orthodoxy young scientists want to knock holes in it, and replace old ideas with newer, better ideas.

  183. #183 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Hey atheists. How come everything, now that man is around to observe life, is so nice and tidy? How come there are virtually no vertebrates, amongst the 2000 million or more, on earth making some very noticeable steps into becoming another species? (Spare me your test tube bacteria evidence. Yawn.) How come no lizards want to fly any more? How come no fish have the desire to take a walk on the beach any more? How come no apes want to be humans anymore? Maybe 150 million years ago it was the hip thing to do, but now all these vertebrates are so comfortable in their own skin, they lack that evolutionary desire to change into another species. Isn’t it so convenient for your theory that since man has been around not one single stinking vertebrate is clearly morphing into some higher advanced species? Jeez, you would think we would see a wing or even a few feathers on some reptile yearning to soar higher in life.

  184. #184 RJ Chavez
    July 24, 2008

    I am Catholic but am not insulted by your immaturity. Rather, I feel compelled to point out the obvious–that only a life devoid of meaning and things to do could concoct and implement such a childish act. If you want to slag Catholics, be my guest. For animosity and degradation are nothing but crosses to us. I am embarrassed for you, however, that your existence has now been relegated to such negative and pre-pubescent pranks. It is clear that science and the wonder of it has left you along with the wonder of life and that you now must preen, prance, and imitate a circus performer to hold the attention of your colleagues. It speaks to your status as a man of science that you have reverted to anti-science in this shameless and camera mugging farce.

    You’ve devolved and it’s truly sad to see any person do this, let alone a ‘man of science’.

  185. #185 Richard Eis
    July 24, 2008

    I will take RB Miller up on his bet as PZ has already said he has done it.

  186. #186 Pablo
    July 24, 2008

    Hey atheists. How come everything, now that man is around to observe life, is so nice and tidy?

    Says someone who’s never been to my office…

  187. #187 Rob
    July 24, 2008

    How come everything, now that man is around to observe life, is so nice and tidy?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAH. Have you really looked at everything?

  188. #188 RB Miller
    July 24, 2008

    Btw, Obama is down 6% Ohio

    Obama is down 6% in Ohio

    Obama is down 6% in Ohio

    Obama is down 6% in Ohio

    Obama is down 6% in Ohio

  189. #189 Pablo
    July 24, 2008

    Hey atheists. How come everything, now that man is around to observe life, is so nice and tidy?

    Sorry to repost the same comment twice, but I am suddenly confused. I thought life was all too complex to arise by evolution? Now it is “neat and tidy”?

    Would you dingbats get your story straight?

  190. #190 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    “No, I have not contacted the other parties as I have come to this situation a bit late into the game. I am simply reacting to the “here and now” and have pointed out that I don’t think Dr/Professor Myers’ actions were befitting of his position and stature. That is an independent issue on what actions I may or may not take at this time with the other parties.”

    How telling.

    You arrived late and did not have the manners to learn about what was going on. I thought you were the one saying there was a lack of respect these days ? You are part of the problem, in that you think you are entitled to an opinion without being in possession of the facts. That is simply dishonest.

    If you want to have more respect, then earn it. Dishonesty is not a good start, and nor is hypocrisy.

    Why do you think PZ should be held to a higher standard that you hold yourself ?

  191. #191 Annie Nonny Mouse
    July 24, 2008

    Why did you have to do this? What did Catholics and Muslims ever do to you personally? Why can’t you just leave us alone?

  192. #192 CortxVortx
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka is attempting the oldest debate trick: Change the subject. Turz is just as ignorant of evolution as of astronomy.

  193. #193 Jeffrey A. Stuart
    July 24, 2008

    Maybe it is a cultural thing, but to me the tone of Jeffrey A. Stuart’s posts come across as being rather arrogant, petulant, and sarcastic. The words are civil enough but I would not say he was being polite, in fact far from it. The overly formal tone he adopts comes over as insolence.

    Mr. Penfold,

    Communication via the Internet certainly does present it’s challenges and admittedly I am taking a formal tone for a reason given the circumstances. Perhaps over a beer our discourse would be different. All I can say is the my thoughts are genuine and without malice.

    V/r

  194. #194 Neural T
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka, since you’re still posting, I assume you didn’t read that article that I provided, as you wouldn’t be done yet.

    This is what I don’t get. We post answers and the creationists don’t read them, but continue to spout their nonsense.

    Many of us here have PhDs or (like myself) are pursuing PhDs in one or another biological discipline. I’ve taken graduate level courses in molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, recombinant DNA techniques, and biostatistics, just to name a few. Many others have read numerous books and have thought about and studied evolution for years.

    Yet creationists think they can waltz in here with their Sunday sermonette understanding of evolution and impress us with their arguments. News flash: we’ve heard all the arguments before, and they are utterly lacking at best, and downright absurd at worst.

  195. #195 Richard Eis
    July 24, 2008

    Desire to fly ? you think wishes come true do you…oh yes i forgot you are religious and wish fulfillment is the main point of that.

    Chavez, we don’t need your pity. This is making a point. And clearly it has given the number of entries.

  196. #196 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    Hey atheists. How come everything, now that man is around to observe life, is so nice and tidy?

    You are a puddle asserting that the hole you are in must have been designed for you because it fits you so well.

  197. #197 Hank Fox
    July 24, 2008

    Buried way down here, I don’t know if anyone will see this comment, but …

    Thank you, PZ, for doing this.

  198. #198 Trexler
    July 24, 2008

    This is a science blog. Statements made here are not to be taken on faith, irrespective of the person making such claims. To that end, when can we expect verifiable evidence of the desecration that PZ has claimed to have carried out?

  199. #199 NotAFuckTard
    July 24, 2008

    And his acolytes appear to be willing partners to his crimes.

    Posted by: Pete Rooke | July 24, 2008 10:07 AM

    What crimes fucktard?

  200. #200 masklinn
    July 24, 2008

    @Turzovka (#165)

    Sorry to impinge on your religion (EVOLUTION)

    Sorry to impinge on your stupidity, but evolution is not a religion, religions happen not to be factual

    your two Gods (NATURAL SELECTION and GIVE IT MORE TIME)

    Yeah, whatever

    But don’t ask me to read a text book to find the answers

    You’re right, culture and education are bad, bad things. And books should be burned. Apart from the ones talking about magic men.

    there should be millions

    The concept of transitional fossils is flawed in the first place, but even accepting the concept no there shouldn’t be millions, and there are hundreds if not thousands of “transitional” fossils.

    Gould doesn’t buy gradual evolution, but we are forced to.

    Gould was a creator and proponent of the Punctuated equilibrium subtheory of evolution, which is still debated and is extremely interesting in its own right. But he never doubted evolution as a whole, because he saw it plain as day.

    Nobody forces you do “buy gradual evolution”. In fact, nobody forces you to “buy evolution” either, I’ve yet to see the Evolution Police come a’knocking at 3am, and I fear I’ll sooner see the next instance of “Holy Inquisition” much sooner than the EvoPolice. But people will (rightly) mock you for not understanding (nor wanting to) the facts and theories of evolution.

    Oh, and here’s a thing about Gould: before criticizing gradualism, he understood it. Maybe you could try to draw from his example.

  201. #201 Cheezits
    July 24, 2008

    Another thread? This is why we should go back to Usenet.

    I was considering calling for all your Biology students to take one Petri dish each from the lab next week…

    Yeah, because we all know that biology students worship petri dishes as Sacred Objects. :-D Please do it, I could use a good laugh. Although I don’t think the janitor will be amused.

  202. #202 Laughin_Guy
    July 24, 2008

    Say, “Cap’n” JoJo?

    If you intend to challenge CMDR Stuart may I suggest that you start by showing you are physically equipped to do so by posting your true and correct name, as CMDR Stuart has done?

    That is, unless you were commissioned in the Clown Navy, which BTW would explain a lot.

  203. #203 Morse
    July 24, 2008

    So when the sun danced defying cosmic laws and then charged the earth scaring the 70,000 in attendance, that was a lie, too, right?

    Thousands of people are STARING AT THE SUN and suddenly start seeing things.

    Oh yeah. No natural explanation for that…

  204. #204 MartinDH
    July 24, 2008

    Aron at #1412 (previous crackerjack thread) sez:

    I personally would prefer to be shot in the head than watch the desecration of Jesus in the Host.

    Imagine this scenario: You are on one side of a bulletproof sheet of glass and are constrained to watch whatever events occur on the other side. You have within easy access a trigger that will send a snub-nosed bullet into your head, guaranteeing instant death.

    Someone appears on the other side of the glass and holds up a wafer which, he tells you, has been consecrated. He then holds a dagger and is about to shred the poor defenseless waferJesus in a wafer.

    Do you:
    1) Pull the trigger thus committing the mortal sin of suicide
    OR:
    2) Watch the “desecration” of the host

    Or perhaps you were indulging in a little hyperbole (lie) for Jesus?

    Martin

  205. #205 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    This is what I don’t get. We post answers and the creationists don’t read them, but continue to spout their nonsense.

    Two words: blind faith.

  206. #206 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    Why did you have to do this? What did Catholics and Muslims ever do to you personally? Why can’t you just leave us alone?”

    Preventing gays from marrying, blowing people up, letting people die rather than telling them to use condoms, refusing to allow women to have abortions, allowing paedophile priests to escape justice and given them the ability to continue to abuse to list but a few of things.

    Did you managed to forget about all those ?

  207. #207 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    This is too funny. All you defenders of evolution and attacking my Gould vs Dawkins entry — you all are quick to tell me that no one is a high priest in evolution, not one of you have come to Gould’s defense. As though that makes your case. So I insist on restating the irony. Stephen Gould, highly regarded evolutionist, recently deceased, has studied evolution of his entire life and wrote countless books on it and defends it with academic aplomb. But he highly doubts the evidence for gradual evolution. He, for all intents and purposes, says it is not there. It does not exist. He is an expert and doubts it. But you evolution conspiracy of scientists who mock and discredit and doubters in the field, have it your way. You insist and demand it be taught as virtual fact that we evolved because of the evidence. It was gradual evolution your text books preach to us, not some monster leaps. It is a joke! Stephen Gould says no way it happened like that but you demand we accept it. DO YOU GET THE IRONY HERE? Hilarious.

  208. #208 NC Paul
    July 24, 2008

    It speaks to your status as a man of science that you have reverted to anti-science in this shameless and camera mugging farce.

    I’d look up ‘science’ in the dictionary, were I you. Your understanding of the word seems…flawed.

    Also, can we get agreement from the Catholics here – is desecrating the host a farcical pre-teen prank or a mortal sin worse than murder, rape and making books out of the skin of a relative? There seems to be a schism of opinion here.

  209. #209 Benjamin Franklin
    July 24, 2008

    The occasional Sastra and Sastra-like posts are one of the reasons I spend so much time reading through these silly blogs.

    Well Done.

    Very respectively,

    Dr. Benjamin Franklin
    Grand High Exhalted Mystic Leader
    Villians, Thieves and Scoundrels Union
    Local 12

  210. #210 Hank Fox
    July 24, 2008

    BTW, PZ … You COULD make an interesting little book about all this.

    Start with the initial offer, and then follow with the comments pro and con and the mainstream fallout. Include your own commentary in a running narrative.

  211. #211 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    This is a science blog. Statements made here are not to be taken on faith, irrespective of the person making such claims. To that end, when can we expect verifiable evidence of the desecration that PZ has claimed to have carried out?

    Personally, I don’t really care if he actually did it. The threat was enough to expose the intolerance of those who think that because they hold something sacred, so should everyone else.

  212. #212 Ben
    July 24, 2008

    Turdovka:

    they lack that evolutionary desire to change into another species.

    Desire has nothing to do with it. The fact that you think bacteria can desire anything is just further evidence that you should be looking into seeing a psychiatrist.

    If “evolutionary desire” was an option, your parents probably wouldn’t have chosen to give birth to such an idiot.

  213. #213 Cheezits
    July 24, 2008

    How come everything, now that man is around to observe life, is so nice and tidy?

    Dude hasn’t seen my basement lately.

    How come no fish have the desire to take a walk on the beach any more?

    They’d rather walk on the street: http://www.local6.com/news/16897468/detail.html

  214. #214 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    HEy masklinn (#200), if nobody is forcing us to buy gradual evolution as you say, and nobody is really pushing for punctuated equilibirium or for monster leap theories, then how can you be so sure we evolved? You apparently have no evidence for how it happened. And it sure as hell is not happening now in the higher animal kingdom. Everyone likes the skin they were born in.

  215. #215 gdlchmst
    July 24, 2008

    @Turzovka #183

    Ugh…every time I read your post I get a little dumber. Seriously, the recorded human history is 3000 years at the most, vs. the 3.6 billion years that life has evolved through. Can you even conceive how insignificantly small your life experience is? It is less than 0.000001 % of the length of life on Earth. If I take a glass of water from the sea and see no sharks in that glass, should I conclude that there are no sharks? I wouldn’t, but you probably would.

  216. #216 clinteas
    July 24, 2008

    @ 183 :
    (not that there is any point,but hey,its a quiet night at work !)

    //Hey atheists. How come everything, now that man is around to observe life, is so nice and tidy?//

    You know moron,the guys down there in Darfur,or Iraq, might disagree with you !

  217. #217 Dave
    July 24, 2008

    Say, Laughing Idjit?
    JoJo already did. Pay more attention next time.

  218. #218 E.V.
    July 24, 2008

    Aren’t Salt and Jack the same person?

    Turzovka: You take stupidity to another level.

  219. #219 Ken Cope
    July 24, 2008

    Also, can we get agreement from the Catholics here – is desecrating the host a farcical pre-teen prank or a mortal sin worse than murder, rape and making books out of the skin of a relative? There seems to be a schism of opinion here.

    Good point. Why can’t you agree among yourselves and keep your stories straight? Aren’t you supposed to have some sort of dogma?

  220. #220 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    It IS intolerance, stop saying it as if it’s an insult. It’s a compliment. It’s intolerance for injustice, and the lack of common sense from you all, daring to try to destroy the life of a guy cuz he OH MY GOD took a cracker from your church.

    You say you’re nonviolent yet your force yourself upon us all.

    You say you’re loving yet you send death threats.

    You say you’ve got morals and yet you shake a book that has a total lack of humanity.

    What PZ did is pretty much the equivalent of the women that burned their bras back then (But on a smaller level). I don’t know what the poor bra did to them but it was a message for freedom and a “you don’t scare us anymore.”.

    It’s funny. You christians took something terribly tiny and made a big deal out of it. The bright thing would’ve been to shrug it off.

  221. #221 Neural T
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka,

    Stephen Gould, highly regarded evolutionist

    And again, if you had read the article that I linked to, you wouldn’t be making this absurd statement. So let me post snippets here:

    Because of the excellence of his essays, he has come to be seen by non-biologists as the preeminent evolutionary theorist. In contrast, the evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed his work tend to see him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with…

    Gould “is giving non-biologists a largely false picture of the state of evolutionary theory” — or as Ernst Mayr says of Gould and his small group of allies — they “quite conspicuously misrepresent the views of [biology's] leading spokesmen.”…

    Now science does not progress by authority or majority, and so biologists do not see his heterodox macroevolutionary speculations, for example, as a problem… For biologists, the central problem is that Gould’s own exposition of evolutionary biology is so radically and extravagantly at variance with both the actual consensus state of the field and the plain meaning of the primary literature that there is no easy way to communicate the magnitude of the discrepancy in a way that could be believed by those who have not experienced the evidence for themselves.

    Of course, there’s a lot more if you would bother to read the article and learn something

  222. #222 CortxVortx
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka keeps highlighting her ignorance of science. Gould didn’t say that gradual evolution never happened; he and Eldredge showed that, in some cases, species changed rapidly for a time, then didn’t change much. He even pointed out where Darwin had anticipated such.

    (I’m assuming Turz is female because of the female ending of the name.)

    But the real reason Turz is barking about science, is to divert attention from her idiotic claims about Fatima and Medjugorje.

    Turz is a fool who deserves no further attention.

  223. #223 NotAFuckTard
    July 24, 2008

    Posted by: Turzovka

    Blah, blah, blah, mindless drivel, blah, blah, stupid mindless drivel, blah, blah.

    Do you plan on saying anything that sounds even close to sane or relevent?

  224. #224 Endor
    July 24, 2008

    “that only a life devoid of meaning and things to do could concoct and implement such a childish act. ”

    Yeah, those people sending death threats are totally horrible, huh.

    Oh, you were defending them and complaining about a cracker?

    Well, you’re an idiot.
    +++++++++

    “Why did you have to do this? What did Catholics and Muslims ever do to you personally? Why can’t you just leave us alone?”

    You mean, aside from the death threats, stalking and spamming?

    But who cares about that when a cracker hasn’t been eaten! oohhhh Noess!1111!!!1!1!

  225. #225 Chicago
    July 24, 2008

    All I’ve read here is about how crazy these catholics are and how new threads need to be created for taking too much space, but as I read, the far majority of post are from atheist. Obviously, the atheist are the the crazed ones here. I don’t even think 10% of these post are written by religious people.

  226. #226 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Hey gdlchmst,I don’t find you to be very bright either, but not on my account. If there are 30 million species that have evolved over 3.6 billion years, then something had to ALWAYS be happening. How many changes does it take to grow an eye or a liver? One birth? I doubt it. Probably more than a thousand changes in all of life’s systems would be my guess. So something had to be happening at all times to the entire animal kingdom, AND YET, nothing really noticeable in those 3,000 years since man has been around. HOW CONVENIENT. You would think there would be a few reptiles still with wings and feathers trying to be birds. But no, too convenient once again.

  227. #227 True Bob
    July 24, 2008

    Jeffrey, you are correct, this doesn’t have to like Springer online. What you will see here is that people who are reasonable are usually treated in kind (some exceptions, but that’s a population thing), whereas if someone acts like a troll, they get treated like a troll.

    Those things include the repetitous “I pity”, “I’ll pray”, “you’ll find out when you die”, Fatwa Envy, etc.

    I for one am happy to have a reasoned discussion with you.

    Where this all started was in a misunderstanding at a Catholic Mass. A student intended to take a host to show it to his friend who was sitting in the pews. It is possible that that action was a breach of the ritual, but it appears that different churches allow (minorly) different practices.

    Because this student didn’t eat the eucharist immediately, he was assaulted. After he went to sit down, he was further assaulted when someone noticed he still hadn’t eaten it but was showing it to his friend. Because he was assaulted, he put the wafer in his pocket and left.

    Demands were made that this guy return the host. These escalated into death threats (!) and threats on his career. So he returned it without the apology he was hoping for. Since then, both parties seem to have gone nutsy-fig with accusations and legal complaints.

    PZ picked it up with hyperbole – “You want desecration, I’ll show you some desecration”. He also got death threats, threats against his career, lots of Fatwa Envy, including two Korans provided with the intent that he “desecrate” them. That’s the Catholic League for you.

    So that is the crazy route that got to here. PZ was sort of backed into a corner – if he takes no action with the hosts people sent him, goddists will say “See, it IS real, you’re afraid”, etc.

    See, it’s kooky, all the brouhaha from an isolated incident of assault.

  228. #228 E.V.
    July 24, 2008

    Ken Cope wins the Jonathan Swift Award!

  229. #229 NC Paul
    July 24, 2008

    #214: So is there a “evolution conspiracy of scientists who mock and discredit and doubters in the field” or is it just that no one’s sticking up for a particular scientific idea? Which is it?

    And how does someone not sticking up for a particular scientific idea invalidate the all the evidence supporting evolution, evidence you blatantly ignore in favour of credulous fairytales?

  230. #230 J Dub
    July 24, 2008

    re: the Prof vs. Dr. labels —

    At the universities I’ve worked at in the US, “Dr.” was of course reserved for those who had earned PhDs. “Professor” could be used for ANY instructor, including those who had not quite finished their degrees yet. I taught a semester or two as an ABD visiting prof, and the students called me Professor. When I finally defended, they called me “Dr.” I’ve seen this progression happen for other younger colleagues a few times now, and at different universities in different parts of the US.

  231. #231 Dutch Vigilante
    July 24, 2008

    I sincerly hope that the “suprise” is Dawkins “The god delusion”.
    Thereby showing that Atheists don’t care about such sillyness. That would be the ultimate checkmate, in my eyes, to prove the meaninglessness of such things.

  232. #232 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    All I’ve read here is about how crazy these catholics are and how new threads need to be created for taking too much space, but as I read, the far majority of post are from atheist. Obviously, the atheist are the the crazed ones here. I don’t even think 10% of these post are written by religious people.

    No True Scotsman

  233. #233 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    It was gradual evolution your text books preach to us, not some monster leaps. It is a joke! Stephen Gould says no way it happened like that but you demand we accept it. DO YOU GET THE IRONY HERE? Hilarious.

    What is ironic, is the clear fact, that you really think you’re making some kind of case, while merely backlighting your own near bottomless ignorance. Your primary problem, at least in the context of this site, is that people here know stuff.

    There is something deeply pitiful about the level of credulity, self deception and wilful stupidity on exhibition by you Turdovka. You have my heartfelt sympathy. Thats atheist code for “I’ll pray for you”, and we all know what thats code for:-)

  234. #234 Neural T
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka #226

    How many changes does it take to grow an eye or a liver? One birth? I doubt it. Probably more than a thousand changes in all of life’s systems would be my guess.

    Indeed, that is pure guesswork. If you would bother to do some reading, you might be able to formulate a more accurate estimate. In order to make a single protein more functional in E. coli, it took some 30,000 generations (Cf. the work of Richard Lenski). So to acquire all of the hundreds if not thousands of mutations that it would take to produce a complex organ, we can expect many millions of generations.

    AND YET, nothing really noticeable in those 3,000 years since man has been around. HOW CONVENIENT.

    3000 years is only 120-150 human generations! What the hell would you expect to happen? Even by your complete guesswork of 1000 generations, that would not be long enough. Yet in reality it takes many, many more generations as I just pointed out.

  235. #235 turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Cortx Vortx

    You have no case against the facts of Fatima. NONE. You are no different than so many other desperates trying to hard to have God not appear anywhere. Staring into the sun, oh yes, what a great answer. Read the communist paper where the atheist journalists admit to the miracle! What about everyones soggy clothes and ground becoming bone dry in a matter of minutes as reported as well? Mass hallucination, my foot.

    And google the Gould quote for yourself — then try to dance around that one as well.

    You want more miracles from God to contemplate? Or would you rather ignore all that so you can remain bold and sure of your atheism? I am not angry, I am moved to pity.

  236. #236 Brian W.
    July 24, 2008

    “You would think there would be a few reptiles still with wings and feathers trying to be birds.”

    YOU might think that. No one with any understanding of the subject would.

  237. #237 JoJo
    July 24, 2008

    Were I to imply that my opinions represented those of the United States Navy (WHICH THEY DO NOT) then I would be wrong. However, I am simply voicing my personal opinion on these matters as a citizen of this country that happens to be a military officer.

    Mr. Stuart,

    Your status as a military officer is meaningless in this discussion. Until this thread, I’ve mentioned my prior naval rank once in this blog. That was in the thread where a disabled veteran is explaining how the Army was screwing him over (which it is). There, me being a retired senior officer is relevant. Here, where the discussion is primarily about Catholicism vs atheism, so what you or I did in the Navy adds nothing. If we were discussing ASW the fact that I was a submariner would be germane. Here it’s as meaningless as the fact that I’m right-handed.

    No, Mr. Stuart, the point that you’re a senior naval officer is inconsequential. You notice that I refer to you as Mr. Stuart rather than Commander Stuart. I’m not being impolite or belittling your rank. I both respect and appreciate the effort involved in becoming a commander. On the other hand, I do not appreciate you throwing that rank around in an attempt to garner unwarranted authority.

    Besides, there’s the further point that you, I and only a very few others here have any real idea what a commander is or does. Dr. Myers is not and never has been in the military and I doubt he really knows the difference between your rank and, say, a Senior Chief. Actually, you have it easier than me. I remember, when I was on active duty, having to explain to an Air Force major that I wasn’t one rank junior to him but rather two ranks senior. (If you’re ever at a joint command, wear khakis as often as possible.)

    Being a CDR, USN is as professional as being a lawyer or an accountant. You don’t see other posters here putting “Joe Blow, Dentist” as their signature. Unless the discussion is on teeth, what Dr. Blow does for a living is immaterial. Similarly, my intimate knowledge of S6G nuclear reactors or characteristics of MK48 ADCAP torpedoes doesn’t mean a thing when discussing whether Dr. Myers is justified in desecrating a communion wafer.

    In short, Mr. Stuart, and please excuse my bluntness, nobody is impressed by what you do for a living.

  238. #238 GunOfSod
    July 24, 2008

    #28 “And also do not presume we are all Americans. If you mean the US Navy say so. Else some will think you are in the French Navy, some in the Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy or Royal New Zealand Navy.”

    I think the Royal New Zealand Navy went on holiday last week. He’ll be back in his canoe shortly.

  239. #239 masklinn
    July 24, 2008

    @Turzovka #214

    Ugh, way to fail hard

    if nobody is forcing us to buy gradual evolution as you say, and nobody is really pushing for punctuated equilibirium or for monster leap theories, then how can you be so sure we evolved?

    First of all, I never said “nobody is really pushing for punctuated equilibrium”, I merely hinted that it (still) wasn’t the “main” theory for the part of evolution it covers.

    Second, this is an argument about how a given part of evolution works (go species change very gradually or by quite sudden “evolutionary leaps” separated by periods when the specie stays very stable), not whether it works.

    Third, I think evolution is the way things work because I tried looking at the resources, tried making sense of it, checked the alternatives and found the theory of evolution was the one that matched the facts and realities best. And frankly, each new discovery, genetic, fossil or other, only validates that.

    You apparently have no evidence for how it happened.

    Are you kidding?

    And it sure as hell is not happening now in the higher animal kingdom. Everyone likes the skin they were born in.

    First, it’s not about “likes” or “dislikes”, evolution isn’t a conscious process in any way, shape or form. Second, evolution in the higher animal kingdom takes a lot of time. Think hundred thousands of years. Timescales against which the time-span of human life is pitiful. You’re not going to see new mammals in your backyard tomorrow, but maybe your descendants will see them in 10000 years (if we’re still here, that is). I understand that you don’t have the intellectual tools to grasp that, but seriously you should think about getting some education, you’re making an ass of yourself.

  240. #240 Gimpy
    July 24, 2008
  241. #241 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    If there are 30 million species that have evolved over 3.6 billion years, then something had to ALWAYS be happening.

    Something is always happening, reality is thankfully immune to your ignorance. Go away. Read. Repeat as needed.

  242. #242 masklinn
    July 24, 2008

    @turzovka #235

    You have no case against the facts of Fatima. NONE.

    Ah I get it now, you don’t understand what the word fact means. Makes your previous posts much clearer. Thanks for the heads up.

  243. #243 Ken Cope
    July 24, 2008

    Ken Cope wins the Jonathan Swift Award!

    Joy! I hope I get a fat juicy baby. As Judith Giuliani says, they’re crunchy and salty!

  244. #244 gdlchmst
    July 24, 2008

    @Turzovka #226

    You owe me a new computer. My laptop’s CPU just fried because it couldn’t handle you inanity. But for someone who fatuously refuses to read a textbook on evolution, you sure seem to have a mighty high opinion of your understanding of it. Let me guess, still fighting for that GED?

  245. #245 E.V.
    July 24, 2008

    I flew to New Delhi and the majority of people living there were INDIAN! I expressed my outrage and they assured me that the next time I came there would be more people just like me.

  246. #246 RB Miller
    July 24, 2008

    Do Myers and the Catholic Haters understand that Catholicism is one of the few religions that says it is possible for evolution to be true and that God and evolution are not mutually exclusive.

    Now before you get carried away,,,,POSSIBLE….is the key word.

    Obama down 6% in Ohio

    Obama down 6% in Ohio

    Obama down 6% in Ohio

    Obama down 6% in Ohio

  247. #247 Trexler
    July 24, 2008

    I wish to take this a step further. I am calling on PZ to provide verifiable evidence of his claim to have desecrated a communion host (perhaps via an online video). PZ’s claim, to be completely fact-based rather than faith-based (i.e., by which I mean based on something that PZ asserts), should incorporate chain-of-evidence proof to convince the viewer that the communion host in question was obtained after its consecration in a Catholic service, as opposed to its being an unconsecrated host. Evidence please!

  248. #248 Jon_in_Charlotte
    July 24, 2008

    It appears that any comment will likely get lost amongst the tidal wave of opinions, but, I hope that there might be a few that read of my experience in the links provided below.

    10 years ago I would have likely found the cracker jokes and the Catholic bashing humorous. As a cradle Catholic who had waded, then swam, and eventually surfed into a secular lifestyle the teachings of the Church seemed foolish and backwards thinking.

    However, my perceptions changed. I didn’t choose for them to be changed nor was I seeking for them to be changed.

    My experiences occurred in 3 parts. Each are short in length and written with an objective mindsight.

    http://personalrevelation.wordpress.com/about-the-pages/awakening-the-soul/

    http://personalrevelation.wordpress.com/about-the-pages/you-are-purified/

    http://personalrevelation.wordpress.com/about-the-pages/abba/

  249. #249 Pierce R. Butler
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka @ # 207: Stephen Gould… has studied evolution of his entire life and wrote countless books on it…

    The tragedy of modern innumeracy deserves more attention.

    Turzovka, Gould’s books on evolution can indeed be counted. Here’s a hint: take off your shoes.

    Maybe next year we can have a syntax lesson.

  250. #250 TomMil
    July 24, 2008

    There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another…

    Really? It seems to me that PZ is willing to do more than lay down his life. He is apparantly risking his eternal soul to prove to you all what a bunch of hocum these beliefs are. PZ is more decent than Jesus in that way isn’t he? And btw is it really a big deal that Jesus died when he knew he could come back from the dead? I think you all know that the answer to that question is a problem for your entire belief system which is why you all tend to focus on the torture part of the story(See “The Passion of the Christ” for example).

  251. #251 turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    I have concluded that evolutionists and atheists are some kind of friendly cabal. They are reluctant to discuss the more difficult questions or problems with their religion (evolution) and they are without answers for the thousands of miracles provided by God. They resort to silly jokes and whatever ad hominen that comes into their minds. Or they ask inane questions like, “Why doesn’t God cure cancer instead making the sun dance?” Shall we discuss statues of Mary and Jesus that weep tears of blood, even those video taped, and those ct scanned by science or medical experts. Those that have no natural explanation. Or should we just mock me instead and say the nuns are playing a trick on everyone? I like those kinds of scientific answers.

    My point: Mock me and mine all you want but do not give yourselves ANY credit for intellectual honesty. I see nothing but diversions, red herrings and desperation. Sorry for your troubles.

  252. #252 NotAFuckTard
    July 24, 2008

    Posted by: Laughin_Guy | July 24, 2008 11:47 AM

    Shall I point out the irony of your statement?

    Meh, I need to remember to never argue with the insane…

  253. #253 Jack Picknell
    July 24, 2008

    Good point Trexler. Anyone who would take PZ’s word for any of this without evidence is relying on faith in his testimony. Based on PZ’s philosophy, that makes them stupid. Birds of a feather…

  254. #254 C R Stamey
    July 24, 2008

    Must..resist..temptation..to..join..Facebook..group.

    OOPSIES.

  255. #255 Neural T
    July 24, 2008

    I address Turzovka’s statements with links, quotes, references to research, and thoughtful explanations, and s/he continues to ignore me, and continues to spout nonsense at the crowd.

    I’m done.

  256. #256 Post analysis
    July 24, 2008

    Craig, you’re on track to beat yesterday’s record:
    58 posts over 7 hours, averaging 1 post every 7 minutes 21 seconds
    (MAJeff is not far behind at 1 post every 9 minutes 43 seconds, for 6.5 hours)

  257. #257 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    I wish to take this a step further. I am calling on PZ to provide verifiable evidence of his claim to have desecrated a communion host (perhaps via an online video). PZ’s claim, to be completely fact-based rather than faith-based (i.e., by which I mean based on something that PZ asserts), should incorporate chain-of-evidence proof to convince the viewer that the communion host in question was obtained after its consecration in a Catholic service, as opposed to its being an unconsecrated host. Evidence please!

    Just out of interest (and a shade of masochistic tendencies, I’ll admit), exactly what will it prove if he can’t provide evidence to your satisfaction?

  258. #258 Ale
    July 24, 2008

    @Turzovka:

    Man, you are an idiot of VenomFangX caliber. All those neurons killed, all that critical thought suppressed, all those canards compressed inside your cranium as some sort of ultra-dense spam of idiocy… you are up there, with the big ones, like Kenny or Gene Ray. You can be proud of your accomplishment: stand proudly, basking in the universal recognition of your unfathomable stupidity.

    Enough of ad-hominem. Now, regarding your “arguments” – THAT’s why we need a FAQ. All of them have been refuted many, many times in this blog. You are not as original as you seem to believe you are. And your current attempt to mount a Gish Gallop is pitiful. Just go and hide under your stone, and free this webserver from your inanity.

  259. #259 palmira
    July 24, 2008

    turzovka

    «You have no case against the facts of Fatima. NONE.»

    You know nothing about Fátima. Fátima is the shame of all portuguese with one functional neuron. Fátima is a complete fraud. Fátima was all about power. As simple as that. The portuguese church was trying to regain the power lost with democracy, that, besides all the other blasfemies, allowed freedom of religion.

    It is a pity the book is not translated in any other language but there is a very conclusive book by a portuguese catholic priest called «Fátima nunca mais» (Fátima never more) explaining that and explaining also that Fátima is not a tenet of the catholic faith.

  260. #260 Jeffrey A. Stuart
    July 24, 2008

    Jeffrey, you are correct, this doesn’t have to like Springer online. What you will see here is that people who are reasonable are usually treated in kind (some exceptions, but that’s a population thing), whereas if someone acts like a troll, they get treated like a troll.

    Those things include the repetitous “I pity”, “I’ll pray”, “you’ll find out when you die”, Fatwa Envy, etc.

    I for one am happy to have a reasoned discussion with you.

    Likewise, sir.

    Even if I do choose to pray for someone (which I do), I do agree the “I pity”, “I’ll pray”, “you’ll find out when you die” sort of lines to be condescending and would suggest to my fellow Christians to instead just show charity towards others no matter who they might be and simply pray for them without making a big production about it. In other words, just simply do it without saying anything.

    I am certainly open to the real possibility that the event that started this was handled incorrectly. We are human and often make mistakes. Sometimes big mistakes. I like to assume that people aren’t usually doing things to be offensive and that very well could have been the case with the student in question. Perhaps this all could have been avoided with some more charity from the start by those who approached him. At this point though we well never know.

    But I do think that calmer heads should prevail and it’s time for some “heroes” on both sides to find the high road.

    V/r

  261. #261 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    Well he DID say he would provide evidence, and a special treat too! But you know, The Batsignal shined. Which is way more important than your silly cracker.

    See, that’s the proof he has better things to do. There’s, on a short version of a priority list for a normal person: life, your kid, then batman, and the silly cracker.

    …I wanna see….

  262. #262 RB Miller
    July 24, 2008

    My LAST POST

    MYERS IS A COWARD HATER.

    He will not desecrate the Koran because he knows they will come after him and Catholics will just spout off.

    Global Warming is pseudo science unsupported and indeed refutable by science data…The CO2 levels have been exploding the last 7 years while temperatures are going down the last 7 years. FACT

  263. #263 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    Good point Trexler. Anyone who would take PZ’s word for any of this without evidence is relying on faith in his testimony. Based on PZ’s philosophy, that makes them stupid. Birds of a feather…

    Variation on “faith in your senses justifies faith in god.”

    Conditional acceptance on that which we can observe is not the same as unconditional acceptance on that which we cannot, regardless of whether you use the same word to describe them. In short, equivocation fallacy.

  264. #264 spurge
    July 24, 2008

    “Or should we just mock me instead and say the nuns are playing a trick on everyone? ”

    What? Nuns would not commit pious fraud?

    You really are delusional.

    Consider yourself mocked.

  265. #265 CrackerLover
    July 24, 2008

    “Between someone being goofy and lot of people sending death (or lesser) threaths, I’m on the side of the goofball.”

    How about being on the side of neither.

    If the good professor wants to desecrate the Koran with all the religious nuts out there and then gets a death threat…well, um…duh!

    “No, I apologize, I shouldn’t have involved your mother. But really, what PZ does is important and his own damn business.”

    Important? LOL.

    The fact that the only way you can defend the nutty professor is to insult my mother means your mother didn’t do such a good job raising you.

  266. #266 Jack Picknell
    July 24, 2008

    If he fails to substaniate his claim then it is false.

    Quite simple actually. PZ deifies the “scientific method” and demands proofs yet fails to abide by his own directives.
    Hypocrite and Liar are the proper words to describe such a person… or you could all him a Democrat

  267. #267 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    My LAST POST

    ah SWEET!!! That’s all, folks! He’s done! Let’s go get a beer!

    …Oh wait, there’s more. Fuck.

    He will not desecrate the Koran because he knows they will come after him and Catholics will just spout off.

    He did say he desecrated the Koran, didn’t he? Did you read anything? I can’t wait to see that one!

    Global warming um… Don’t care and that’s not related to the topic. I don’t care about global warming things but I don’t like stinky smog.

  268. #268 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    My LAST POST

    Maybe there is a god…..

  269. #269 Neural T
    July 24, 2008

    Ale #258

    Now, regarding your “arguments” – THAT’s why we need a FAQ.

    That’s why there is a FAQ:

    An Index of Creationist Claims
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

    From now on, just cite the relevant section

  270. #270 The Adamant Atheist
    July 24, 2008

    Fatima was not a bloody miracle. It was most likely a solar event endowed with supernatural meaning by a credulous crowd of believers.

    Exorcisms represent nothing but the horrendous abuse of mentally ill persons. The Virginia Tech shooter, for instance, was “exorcised” rather than treated for his obvious illness. That was tragically stupid and ineffective.

    All the various claims about saints, crying statues, images in windows and such should impress NO ONE.

    I challenge any believer to make an amputee grow back a leg. That shouldn’t be hard. The New Testament frequently asserts the efficacy of Christian prayer. Well, do it. Convince us. Otherwise, I’m not impressed.

  271. #271 turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Ale: A nice “scholarly” retort. IOW, no real answer as expected, just anger. I just happen to believe 70,000 witnesses. It is usually enough to convict. I just happen to believe nuns are not in the business of installing gadgets inside of woodent statues of Mary to make it look like she is crying tears of blood. I just happen to believe that if Gould studied evolution for 50 years and sees no clear evidence for gradual evolution then I should not be required to accept it either. I just happen to believe that if there is not one stinking reptile growing feathers or a wing amongst the 100 million that have been around since man is here, then maybe that is a bit odd to claim that is where all the birds came from.

  272. #272 Annie Nonny Mouse
    July 24, 2008

    From the Proslogium by Anselm of Canterbury

    Therefore, Lord, who grant understanding to faith, grant me that, in so far as you know it beneficial, I understand that you are as we believe and you are that which we believe. Now we believe that you are something than which nothing greater can be imagined.

    Then is there no such nature, since the fool has said in his heart: God is not? But certainly this same fool, when he hears this very thing that I am saying – something than which nothing greater can be imagined – understands what he hears; and what he understands is in his understanding, even if he does not understand that it is. For it is one thing for a thing to be in the understanding and another to understand that a thing is.

    For when a painter imagines beforehand what he is going to make, he has in his undertanding what he has not yet made but he does not yet understand that it is. But when he has already painted it, he both has in his understanding what he has already painted and understands that it is.
    Therefore even the fool is bound to agree that there is at least in the understanding something than which nothing greater can be imagined, because when he hears this he understands it, and whatever is understood is in the understanding.

    And certainly that than which a greater cannot be imagined cannot be in the understanding alone. For if it is at least in the understanding alone, it can be imagined to be in reality too, which is greater. Therefore if that than which a greater cannot be imagined is in the understanding alone, that very thing than which a greater cannot be imagined is something than which a greater can be imagined. But certainly this cannot be. There exists, therefore, beyond doubt something than which a greater cannot be imagined, both in the understanding and in reality.

  273. #273 Kcanadensis
    July 24, 2008

    Moses @#50
    Well said!
    It seems to me like most of these people are missing the point entirely and moving right on to, “WAAAAH YOU HURT ME.”

  274. #274 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    Since we are firing around quotes, here is one for you to chew on Turzovka. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure the quote is supplied in context, with links for you to review it yourself.

    In an October 22, 1996, address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope John Paul II updated the Church’s position to accept evolution of the human body:

    “In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points….Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies — which was neither planned nor sought — constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”[9]

    In the same address, Pope John Paul II rejected any theory of evolution that provides a materialistic explanation for the human soul:

    “Theories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_and_the_Roman_Catholic_Church#Pope_John_Paul_II

    It appears you’ve been hanging out with the wrong crowd, and picked up a nasty social disease. Those protestants! You’d think having rejected the mumbo jumbo of cannibal crackers, they’d have at least as much sense as a Pope.

    So do tell. Why are you in disagreement with a major church man, a previous pontiff no less, on this issue? Do you consider yourself greater than on of Gods Bishop?

    Well? Who is wrong, you or the old Pope?

  275. #275 Jack Rawlinson
    July 24, 2008

    To all the foaming, hypocritical maniacs Catholics posting on these threads, I have only this to say: the Pope smells of wee, Jesus was a nut and if you think this is immature you really ought to think a bit harder about your own behaviour on this whole issue. Because by crackey, it takes a mental condition way, way more pitiful than mere immaturity to honestly believe the rank idiocy you’re defending so furiously here. There’s nothing a credulous fool hates more than having his foolish credulity held up plainly in the spotlight of open ridicule, is there, you transparently overcompensating nutjobs?

  276. #276 NC Paul
    July 24, 2008

    PZ hates cowards? Who knew?

  277. #277 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    One only has to look at Picknell’s blog to know what kind of person he is.

    Anyone who thinks that the Catholic Church does not discriminate against gays because it does not hate them, only homosexual activities is deranged. And anyone who thinks being celibate is an option for most people, be they gay or straight is even more deranged. Why should gay people not have sex simply because it upsets Catholics ?

  278. #278 Sven DiMilo
    July 24, 2008

    Ignoring for the moment the appalling ignorance of the whole “want to” syntax, let’s address T’s factual claims.

    How come no lizards want to fly any more?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIYAYuuv2qQ&feature=related

    How come no fish have the desire to take a walk on the beach any more?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10ilc_CEW2k

    Fucking dumbshit ignorant idiot.

  279. #279 NotAFuckTard
    July 24, 2008

    My LAST POST (liar)

    MYERS IS A COWARD HATER. (true, he hates cowards)

    He will not desecrate the Koran because he knows they will come after him and Catholics will just spout off. (you don’t know him vewy well do you, heh heh heh heh.)

    Global Warming is pseudo science unsupported and indeed refutable by science data…The CO2 levels have been exploding the last 7 years while temperatures are going down the last 7 years. FACT (no, opinion)

    Posted by: RB Miller | July 24, 2008 12:22 PM

    Bye bye troll.

  280. #280 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    I just happen to believe 70,000 witnesses. – turzovka

    All gave independent signed statements, without any possibility they had discussed the matter between themselves, did they?

  281. #281 Brownian, OM
    July 24, 2008

    Do Myers and the Catholic Haters understand that Catholicism is one of the few religions that says it is possible for evolution to be true and that God and evolution are not mutually exclusive.

    Thanks, but we don’t need the Catholic Church’s permission to understand the nature of reality anymore. Your apology to Galileo came 350 years too late for anyone not lobotomisedbaptised to give a shit what the church things, so forgive us for not falling prostrate at your benevolent magnanimosity.

  282. #282 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    If he fails to substaniate his claim then it is false.

    Um, no. Not proving something true isn’t the same as proving it false. The believers use the very same argument when countering atheists lack of belief in god. Irony abounds. There’s words for that…

    Hypocrite and Liar are the proper words to describe such a person…

    Ah, there they are.

  283. #283 aiabx
    July 24, 2008

    I echo Hank Fox’s words. Thank you, Dr. Myers.
    May the FSM touch you with his noodly appendage.

  284. #284 llewelly
    July 24, 2008

    Hey atheists. How come everything, now that man is around to observe life, is so nice and tidy?

    Because you’re an ignoramus who has never heard of a penguin, a parasitic wasp, an appendix, or a DDT-resistant mosquito.

  285. #285 S.Scott
    July 24, 2008

    Wow! I’m so sorry – I just found out that my spoiler link from the other thread is whacked. Here is the link I was trying to post …

    http://catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=13329

    No action to be taken against PZ.

  286. #286 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Annie Nonny Mouse@272

    Wow! None of us here have ever come across the ontological argument before! Expect mass conversions!

  287. #287 JonathanL
    July 24, 2008

    @271 Hey Turzovka your Pope believes in evolution you idiot.

    “According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the ‘Big Bang’ and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5 – 4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution.[10]“

  288. #288 True Bob
    July 24, 2008

    Perhaps this all could have been avoided with some more charity from the start by those who approached him. At this point though we well never know.

    I am in total agreement with you about this. I also think Bill Donohue was seeking his own aggrandizement when he press released about this, but then that’s his job.

    I am leaving this thread. I am terribly tired of arguing about what’s sacred or not, and the vast number of is-there-or-not-a-god arguments have been beat beyond death. I will be interested in seeing what PZ did, but these 1000+ post threads are tedious, and I’ll save my arguments for another topic.

    PS Just for shi*s and grins: I used to work in NAVAIR, buying airplanes and gizmos for USN. I saw a great drawing there. In the distance is a CV, with crew flocking to the deck edge and leaping off, en masse. In the foreground are two USAF F-4s on final approach, in formation. Cheers

  289. #289 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    I am a loon, please contact a mental health professional.

    /screed

  290. #290 The Adamant Atheist
    July 24, 2008

    #271–

    No astronomer anywhere else in the world reported any usual solar activity. The sun definitely didn’t fly towards earth. This is simply not a valid claim.

    You’re snatching at anything to confirm your pre-existing views while ignoring the countless miraculous claims of other religions.

    Use your astonishing prayer power under controlled conditions to levitate a car or grow back a limb, then I’ll be impressed. Otherwise, miracles are nothing but unsubstantiated untestable rumors.

  291. #291 Trexler
    July 24, 2008

    I think that a lot of posters on this forum are being taken for suckers. Why are so many of you willing to believe PZ’s claim of having desecrated a verifiably-consecrated Catholic communion host without any evidence to support the claim? Are you accepting PZ’s assertion on faith and faith alone?

    PZ, it’s time to put up or shut up. Evidence please!

  292. #292 Greg Boettcher
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka said:

    Gould is not attacking evolution, but he is making an argument for punctuated equilibrium. So to review the arguments of two of the most revered high priests of evolution.

    Gould & Co: A exists because X is present. There is no evidence for Y.

    Dawkins & Co: A exists because Y is present. There is no evidence for X.
    .

    Conclusion: There is no evidence that experts agree on exist for A. Therefore A is not only yet unproven, it is very highly suspect since, some of the finest experts on the matter highly doubt the presence of the necessary evidence for it to exist.

    If you’re going to say that, you might as well say:

    Group A says, “Warren Harding died due to natural causes.”

    Group B says, “Warren Harding died because he committed suicide.”

    Group C says, “Warren Harding died because he was murdered.”

    Conclusion: The explanations of groups A, B, and C contradict each other. Therefore, Warren harding is still alive.

    Complete nonsense.

  293. #293 Concerned Catholic
    July 24, 2008

    Dear Athiests (sic),
    Why do you feel the need to be smart-alecky when I and my fellow righteous believers come to this blog and imply you face eternal damnation for not respecting our belief in the eucharist being the holiest of holys? Why must you use your logic and facts when we bombard you with nonsense-laced straw man arguments and half-truths? We prefer our logic to be tortured first, thank you. How DARE you defend yourself when WE attack you! You are all social Asperger Syndrome People. NO Priest sexually abused any children more times than SECULAR TEACHERS. YOU GODDAMN FUCKERS ARE VULGAR AND PROFANE and OFFENSIVE! WE HOPE TO INCITE OTHER RELIGIOUS ZEALOTS TO SMITE YOU SINCE DOING SO OURSELVES MIGHT LEAD TO IMPRISONMENT AND CULPABILITY, YOU GODLESS HEATHEN PAGAN INFIDEL BASTARDS! I HOPE YOU ALL ROT IN HELL!!!!!!!

    Respectfully, A Concerned Catholic
    ps. I’ll pray for you all. God is love.

  294. #294 Bloody Tyrant
    July 24, 2008

    Please gays go have all the sex you want.

    Darwinist Award winners lol.

  295. #295 The Adamant Atheist
    July 24, 2008

    Trexler,

    Perhaps we don’t seek evidence for his claim because we don’t give a rat’s ass and don’t consider the information important to our daily lives?

    Also, are you seriously equating the ordinary claim of desecrating a cracker to the crazy-ass miraculous claims of Christianity?

  296. #296 N.K.
    July 24, 2008

    “Posted by: Jeffrey A. Stuart | July 24, 2008 9:45 AM”

    Bigot?

    Eating a hamburger is bigotry to some people, because to some people the cow is sacred.

    Meanwhile, human beings are being put in harm’s way. A young man was kicked out of college because he pocketed a cracker instead of eating it.

    I think that things are different nowadays because people are tired of people who don’t know what has actually happened in a given situation.

    G’job.

  297. #297 Annie Nonny Mouse
    July 24, 2008

    Nick Gotts @ #286

    Thank you for confirming my suspicion. I shall indeed–maybe not now, maybe not even in years, but someday.

  298. #298 Alexandre
    July 24, 2008

    The first media response:
    http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2008/07/pz-myers-desecrates-the-euchar.html#preview

    And what is best, you can go there and comment on it. So go there and add a comment…

  299. #299 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    Please gays go have all the sex you want.

    I don’t think the gay contributors to this discussion need your permission.

  300. #300 Capital Dan
    July 24, 2008

    My LAST POST

    MYERS IS A COWARD HATER.

    He will not desecrate the Koran because he knows they will come after him and Catholics will just spout off.

    Global Warming is pseudo science unsupported and indeed refutable by science data…The CO2 levels have been exploding the last 7 years while temperatures are going down the last 7 years. FACT

    Posted by: RB Miller

    Ummm… You go from fatwa envy to climate change denial in the same disjointed utterance.

    That sort of thing really proves that you care little to nothing about any of this, and you are simply here hoping someone will pay attention to you by acting like a childish little troll.

    You’re kind of a loser, aren’t you? I mean, really. It’s sad that you are so lonely and desperate for attention that you don’t care how stupid the things you squawk are so long as someone, anyone, pays attention to poor, little RB Miller.

    Perhaps you should go color or play with your blocks or something, RB.

  301. #301 Fr. J
    July 24, 2008

    The Catholic Church is growing in the US and elsewhere. Even Europe is seeing modest signs of growth. Secular Europe is in such terrible shape that people don’t even breed anymore. Atheism with its lack of hope or joy kills even the desire to survive. So sorry folks, we are winning on all fronts. Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict are winning the hearts and minds of the young. Remember the millions of people, many young, who came to Pope John Paul’s funeral? You have nothing to say and nothing to offer. Orwell put the vision of atheism best, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–forever.” That is not attractive to most people.

    This is from an article on WYD which Dr. Myers hates:
    smh.com.au
    “For those who had been to previous World Youth Days in Rome, Manila, Toronto and Cologne, the unqualified success of Sydney’s turn was no surprise. The joy and sweetness of thousands of young Catholic pilgrims who flooded into the city, in the words of Cardinal George Pell, simply “overwhelmed” the rancid negativity of sections of our sex-fixated media, and those aggressive secularists who regard religion as an irrational threat to their way of living.

    Catholic or not, most people want love and goodness in their lives and the contrast between the radiant faces of the pilgrims and the strained masks of their most strident condom-waving detractors was striking. Beauty was not just in the eye of the beholder.”

    I think I have said what needs to be said. For those who say they adhere to reason you have been pretty pathetic. I have searched in vain for an intellectual argument from you. Even your profanity hasn’t been that inventive. Any Marine DI could best you. Most of what I have read is the typical shrill chant of “you are dumb…@#$%…we hate you…@#$%…#$%@…” Not very impressive. But with “teachers” like PZ I guess it is what we must expect. He has brought disrepute on his university, his profession, and his family. He is a very sad little man.

    Pope Benedict said, “Life is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end we make our choices.” Contrast that to your words and actions. Do you really honestly believe that your hate, ugliness, and bigotry will triumph over love? Pax

  302. #302 Annie Nonny Mouse
    July 24, 2008

    Nick Gotts @ #286

    Thank you for confirming my suspicion. I shall indeed–maybe not now, maybe not even in years, but someday.

  303. #303 Steve_C
    July 24, 2008

    HAHAHA.PICKNELL.

    ONE WORD. NIXON.

    LOSER.

  304. #304 Kcanadensis
    July 24, 2008

    Since no-one else has responded to this:

    “However, I don’t take great pains to go to a Native American pow-wow and pounce on any fallen eagle feather to crush it into the dirt and chop it up into tiny pieces just to show those ignorant primitives that my belief is superior to theirs.”

    Cynthia-

    If you have been following the comment sections of these blog posts at all, you would see that this argument is pointless. It isn’t about a “superior belief”, it’s about a kid getting death threats and suspension from school for choosing not to participate in a religious act. It’s about people threatening to kill other people over a stupid piece of bread. The point is to say it’s not okay for people to behave that way. It’s not like PZ just rushed in and destroyed a eucharist for fun/to piss people off for no good reason. In other words; they asked for it. Native Americans do not go around proselytizing and threatening to kill people for “blasphemy”.

  305. #305 Alexandre
    July 24, 2008

    The first media response:
    http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2008/07/pz-myers-desecrates-the-euchar.html#preview

    And what is best, you can go there and comment on it. So go there and add a comment…

  306. #306 Kathy
    July 24, 2008

    You poor, pathetic little man.

  307. #307 Jack Picknell
    July 24, 2008

    Let’s do a science experiment.

    Proposition to test:
    Matthew 7:2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

    That which is to be measured against:
    PZ has displayed arrogance, anger, intolernace, bigotry, and vileness towards Catholics. He very publicly asked for the Body & Blood of the Son of God to be given into his hand so he could desecrate and destroy it. HE now claims to have done so.

    Therefore if Matthew 7:2 is valid, then: The flesh and blood of PZ’s son will be betrayed or taken through deception and given over to one who irrationally holds PZ in utter contempt. His flesh will be desecrated and disposed of in a fashion similar to PZ’s antics.

    That’s the science of justice.

  308. #308 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    I think that a lot of posters on this forum are being taken for suckers. Why are so many of you willing to believe PZ’s claim of having desecrated a verifiably-consecrated Catholic communion host without any evidence to support the claim?

    I conditionally accept his word for three reasons: a) the claim is not all that extraordinary, b) it’s not terribly important to me whether I am correct about it, and c) it doesn’t matter whether or not he really did it, the threat was enough to make the point. Additionally, I will freely admit I was incorrect if it turns out he didn’t.

    Are you accepting PZ’s assertion on faith and faith alone?

    Equivocation fallacy. Conditional acceptance of that which we can observe is not the same as unconditional acceptance of that which we cannot, regardless that you use the same word to describe them.

    PZ, it’s time to put up or shut up. Evidence please!

    You still haven’t answered my question: what will it prove if it turns out he didn’t really do it?

  309. #309 (John)
    July 24, 2008

    Two wrongs do not make a right. Your theft is unjustified, Mr. Myers, and you do nothing but make your own ‘side’ look poor and attention-starved. Shame on you.

  310. #310 Kevin Bryant
    July 24, 2008

    I’m betting he fed it to his fish!

  311. #311 Tony
    July 24, 2008

    Look at all the bitter little atheist!! led by the bitter professor at a fourth tier college

  312. #312 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    Two wrongs do not make a right. Your theft is unjustified, Mr. Myers, and you do nothing but make your own ‘side’ look poor and attention-starved. Shame on you.

    What theft has PZ committed ? What evidence do you have that PZ has in fact committed a theft ?

  313. #313 Norman Doering
    July 24, 2008

    Trexler wrote:

    PZ, it’s time to put up or shut up. Evidence please!

    Oh, wait — if the Catholics ask for evidence that the cracker was abused won’t they be tempting PZ to abuse a cracker he might not abuse otherwise?

    Maybe they should offer PZ money to return the cracker if that’s what they care about.

  314. #314 Ken
    July 24, 2008

    “For those who believe no explanation is necessary, for those who don’t none will suffice.” Unknown

  315. #315 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Secular Europe is in such terrible shape that people don’t even breed anymore. Atheism with its lack of hope or joy kills even the desire to survive.

    Poland is 90% Catholic. It has negative population growth (CIA World Factbook, 2008).

  316. #316 Michael X
    July 24, 2008

    Content J, you’re doing it wrong.

    You still have no grasp of what is true.

    Number of supporters does not equal truth.
    Number of charities does not equal truth.
    Number of ‘nice’ people does not equal truth.
    Number of claims of legal action does not equal truth.

    You claim to know god without proof. You claim a cracker is Jesus without proof. You claim any cracker pocketer will go to jail without relevant evidence. Not to mention it hasn’t and won’t happen.

    This is winning to you J? As I told you before, in that case, best of luck to you.

  317. #317 clinteas
    July 24, 2008

    @ 301 :

    //Pope Benedict said, “Life is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful.//

    In altarboys’ butts.

  318. #318 Laughin_Guy
    July 24, 2008

    Truebob advised: “Really, CDR, if you are still serving, it is inappropriate to put your rank and service on personal opinion pieces. It implies that you are representing the USN, which you are not.”

    Now that is funny!

    Considering that without his connection to the UofM, PZ would be nothing more than another kook spouting hatred on the internet; and you members of PZ’s flying monkey squadron know it.

    That’s why you take such exception to CDR Stuart’s entirely appropriate use of his rank.

    CDR Stuart has comported himself with the decorum one would naturally expect of a senior officer in the US Navy, where as “Cap’n” JoJo’s enthusiastic demeaning of a supposed “fellow” officer’s rank casts serious doubt as to the veracity of his claim to a commission of any sort.

    Oddly enough, I’m sure that Dr. Meyers advertised connection with the UofM will be at the very heart of the effort that is surely underway to deny him the opportunity to continue to use his title in his bid to make the university the laughing stock of the country.

  319. #319 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    “For those who believe no explanation is necessary, for those who don’t none will suffice.” Unknown

    In other words, you have to believe to believe. Nice. Completely useless, but comforting none the less *sigh*.

  320. #320 Jeffrey A. Stuart
    July 24, 2008

    PS Just for shi*s and grins: I used to work in NAVAIR, buying airplanes and gizmos for USN. I saw a great drawing there. In the distance is a CV, with crew flocking to the deck edge and leaping off, en masse. In the foreground are two USAF F-4s on final approach, in formation. Cheers

    I’m sure the zoomies waved off when they realized there was no golf course. :)

    Cheers to you as well.

  321. #321 PA
    July 24, 2008

    @266

    If he fails to substaniate his claim then it is false.

    Another tragic failure to distinguish metaphysics from epistemology.

  322. #322 The Adamant Atheist
    July 24, 2008

    #301–

    “So sorry folks, we are winning on all fronts.”

    Please. You sound like Baghdad Bob. Secularism is in the ascendancy all over Europe. Even self-identifying Catholics are mostly nominally Catholic.

    Oh yes, what about the truth front? I’ll happily concede we atheists are in the minority worldwide, but what the hell does that have to do with which side is right?

    “Atheism with its lack of hope or joy kills even the desire to survive.”

    That’s idiotic. Atheism isn’t a philosophy, it’s a state of disbelief. There’s nothing to prevent an atheist from leading a content life.

    The best life is one in which we delude ourselves with ancient legends and breed like rabbits? Pathetic. No thanks.

    I want to pose a challenge to you. If you were not raised in any faithful environment, and approached the world through objective lens (as though from space), how on earth would you arrive at the conclusion that everything we know about the universe is best explained by the Roman Catholic perspective?

    You wouldn’t. You’d classify it as another human mythical tradition.

  323. #323 JoJo
    July 24, 2008

    Laughin_Guy #202

    Say, “Cap’n” JoJo?

    If you intend to challenge CMDR Stuart may I suggest that you start by showing you are physically equipped to do so by posting your true and correct name, as CMDR Stuart has done?

    That is, unless you were commissioned in the Clown Navy, which BTW would explain a lot.

    I’m supposed to take a challenge to give my real name seriously when it’s given by someone called Laughin_Guy?

    Like most people posting on the internet, I use a pseudonym. I admit JoJo Smuckitelli is not my real name. JoJo Smuckitelli is a bit of Navy tradition, being a generic name like John Doe or Joe Sixpack. If necessary, I would give my real name out, preferably privately. But the request to do so should have a reasonable reason for me to reveal myself and it should be asked politely.

    BTW, the proper abbreviation for a U.S. Navy commander is CDR. Be thankful that Stuart and I weren’t enlisted. I doubt you’d be able to figure out what an HT1(SW/DV) or an STSCS(SS) are.

  324. #324 Pierce R. Butler
    July 24, 2008

    St @ # 82: Here’s a few suggested miracles: …The Pope gains the ability to fly.

    It’s already on record: read Robert Silverberg’s “Good News from the Vatican”.

    Some nit-picking secularists may claim this is (science) fiction, but such trivial distinctions seem to have been left behind ~20 centuries ago by many of the disputants recently arrived here.

  325. #325 Patriotic John
    July 24, 2008

    A tangenital question, seeing as how there are so many fine, upstanding Christians here:

    According to the bible, the blood of Jesus healed people. What would have happened if, say, he’d shot a big wad of his semen right in somebody’s face? I mean like fresh from his hard, throbbing dick, not some semen he’d saved up for later use. Would they have been extra-super-duper healed? Would they have turned into some new creature completely?

    Also, if he threw his shit at you, would it kill you or only heal you half-way or something?

  326. #326 PA
    July 24, 2008

    @266

    If he fails to substaniate (sic)his claim then it is false.

    Another tragic failure to distinguish metaphysics from epistemology.

  327. #327 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Jack Picknell@307

    My my, you are, a nasty piece of work and no mistake. Making implicit threats against a child is plumbing depths hitherto unreached in this matter.

  328. #328 mayhempix
    July 24, 2008

    Obama down 6% in Ohio
    Posted by: RB Miller | July 24, 2008 12:11 PM

    Obama up 8% in Ohio Public Policy Polling 7/23

    Depends on the poll troll. Average across all polls shows Ohio is a toss up.
    http://frontloading.blogspot.com/2008/07/electoral-college-map-72308.html

    Go troll somewhere else like Freep where you will find like-minded idiots.

  329. #329 Islamomexihomofacist
    July 24, 2008

    Posted by: Concerned Catholic | July 24, 2008 12:38 PM

    Nicely done!

    Posted by: Bloody Tyrant | July 24, 2008 12:39 PM

    Not very well done, try HARDER.

  330. #330 Dahan
    July 24, 2008

    turzovka at 271,

    Yes, you just happen too believe all these things. But when several of us asked why you don’t believe all the other religion’s crazy miracles and holy men, and special books and etc. you couldn’t give an answer.

    Thousands of Christians see something they believe is a miracle, you believe them. Thousands of Muslims see something they believe is a miracle, you don’t.

    Your reasoning skills are so stunted that it’s alarming. Please be aware that you have been heavily brain-washed and that you need real professional help. I’m serious. Mental illness is a sickness that often can be treated.

  331. #331 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    Secular Europe is in such terrible shape that people don’t even breed anymore. Atheism with its lack of hope or joy kills even the desire to survive.

    The CIA factbook also notes that

    France has a growth rate of 0.5% and the UK of 0.2%, both are notoriously secular. Which “Europe” did you have in mind?

  332. #332 puzzled
    July 24, 2008

    . . . and still no evidence that Webster Cook ever got any alleged “death threats”. Check the Florida papers and the a.p. reports on this story. The worst was a nun quietly asking him to return the host as he left the church. his fellow students even think he’s a dumbass for his actions (note his impeachment as a member of the student senate).

    so, if the underlying premise is false (i.e., ‘P.Z’ throws tantrum defending everyone’s right to steal hosts from churches and not get death threats) then . . . what was this all about besides p.z.’s need for attention? to be an atheist badass, kicking butt and taking names?

    as an atheist, I feel this is insulting to us all. humorous that p.z. keeps saying, okay, “I am waaaayyy too busy for this” and “this is my last thread”….and then he keeps posting, opening new threads and upping the outrage factor to ensure he keeps getting his chorus of sychophants to laud him. like a chubby Howard Stern or something.

  333. #333 uncle frogy
    July 24, 2008

    I just can not spend so much time reading so much crap to get to the end to see if I want to contribute to the discussion I read to slow and besides it is hard to get the smell out of the computer.
    It is plain to see by now that established religion and I would add the conservative mind set is mostly involved and focused around control, power and fear. It is not about “the salvation of the soul” what ever the hell the soul may be besides an abstract concept of some kind. They, the believers, are not worried about their own “immortal soul” but everyone else’s salvation. So much so that they have to threaten the life of anyone who has the temerity to do or say something that they feel is a “mortal sin” ??
    it has looked to me for a long time that “religion” functions on the personal level as an “us vs them” and has nothing to to with any concept of god what so ever.
    to be suckered into fighting the fight on that level is to fail before you start.

    it is all Bull Shit with a capital god.
    mr sailor above is not who he says. I call him a fake or just some old fossil who answered before he thought it through and now does not know how to apologize and go away.

  334. #334 Celtic_Evolution
    July 24, 2008

    @ Jojo…

    you ain’t kiddin… I was an HT1 on the USS Butte… (damn near 18 years ago now…)

    Nothing like cleanin’ shitters on an old deisel ammunitions ship… good times, good times…

  335. #335 Jim RL
    July 24, 2008

    I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now. I originally agreed with those saying that PZ is needlessly provoking the religious, but their batshit crazy responses tell me it isn’t so needless. There is nothing of symbolic value that I would make death threats over. Catholics may argue that it is not symbolic, but it certainly is. God by definition cannot be injured. If your god exists he is just plotting revenge on PZ, he’ll be the same tomorrow as he was yesterday. It doesn’t affect him, or any living person.

    The nearest secular example I can come up with is if someone stole the original Declaration of Independence. Would any reasonable person threaten the life of the thief? I would be offended and upset if it was destroyed, but it certainly isn’t worth someone’s life. I would also condemn anyone who did make such threats.

    Shining some sunlight on the violent and irrational is always a useful exercise. If Catholics responded with “What a jackass.” and left it at that, we wouldn’t have this issue, and PZ would have far fewer supporters.

  336. #336 Jeffrey A. Stuart
    July 24, 2008

    In short, Mr. Stuart, and please excuse my bluntness, nobody is impressed by what you do for a living.

    CAPT,

    But that in a way is my point and why I initially posted. Dr. Myers, in my eyes, is a professional befitting of respect for his position and the hard work that he completed in attaining such. I simply believe his conduct done openly as a University Professor, in this case, in not befitting and would encourage him to reconsider the actions he has taken.

    V/r

  337. #337 BluesBassist
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka @271:

    I just happen to believe that if there is not one stinking reptile growing feathers or a wing amongst the 100 million that have been around since man is here, then maybe that is a bit odd to claim that is where all the birds came from.

    I agree Turzkova, don’t listen to all these heathen atheists. The theory of continental drift via plate tectonics is another bogus scientific theory, for the same reason you state above.

    I mean, why did the continents stop moving? Sure, the scientist say the continents move maybe a few centimeters per year, but I don’t see any change. And in any case, that’s just MICRO-movement. If South America used to be fused with Africa, by now it would be bumping into Australia. When Columbus discovered the New World, he had to cross MILES of ocean. Yet he would need to cross nearly the same distance today… why is that???

    Not to mention, in all of recorded history since man has been around, we have not seen ONE STINKING mountain form from colliding continents. You would think that somewhere, a new mountain would form! I think it’s a bit odd to claim that mountains form from plate tectonics. Where are all the rising mountains??

    Turkovka, you are the only one around here who REALLY understands science.

  338. #338 (John)
    July 24, 2008

    “What theft has PZ committed ? What evidence do you have that PZ has in fact committed a theft ?”
    You should already know the answer to this. The Eucharist is a Catholic gift meant for Catholics. By going up to receive, the understanding is that you are practicing the Catholic faith. Taking the bread away in spite of its intended purpose (and especially for public desecration) is deceitful and is morally wrong.

    Let me repeat myself when I say two wrongs do not make a right.

  339. #339 Promise to Our Lady
    July 24, 2008

    have some class my catholic bashers! You have every right to believe in what you want and I respect that, but please have some respect for our beliefs! No religion or man is perfect so let’s respect each other since we live in a country that FREEDOM is cherished.

  340. #340 Laughin_Guy
    July 24, 2008

    “Cap’n” Jojo opined: “Be thankful that Stuart and I weren’t enlisted.”

    Judging from you comments, I am not convinced in any way that you ever served in in any capacity, “Cap’n”. Looking up buzzwords on the internet is something that even the most dimwitted PZian is certainly capable of.

    Professional comportment (Military bearing) is something that any naval officer spends his entire career polishing. I doubt that someone who attained the rank of Captain could dispense with the last vestiges so thoroughly as you have, “Cap’n”.

    CDR Stuart has also demonstrated the sort of courage (that you so woefully lack, JoJo) one would expect of a naval officeer by the simple act of placing his name with his words.

    Submitted, with all due respect, of course.

  341. #341 jagannath
    July 24, 2008

    this thread has proven that scientology is not so wacky after all. From books made of skin to suns zooming around while rest of the world looked elsewhere to picknells proposition to

    The flesh and blood of PZ’s son will be betrayed or taken through deception and given over to one who irrationally holds PZ in utter contempt. His flesh will be desecrated and disposed of in a fashion similar to PZ’s antics

    which makes the undertaker/milkman stories seem rather sane after all.

  342. #342 TG
    July 24, 2008

    [i]This is a science blog. Statements made here are not to be taken on faith, irrespective of the person making such claims. To that end, when can we expect verifiable evidence of the desecration that PZ has claimed to have carried out?[/i]

    Of course there won’t be any independently verifiable evidence presented that a conscrated host was involved if anything was done. How could there be? It’s a stunt.

    Bet a dollar to a donut that the surpise entry will be a copy of Darwin’s [i]Origin[/i], though. Not a 1/e copy, or one stolen by PZ from the library, or even one stolen and sent to him by a faithful discipline. No, a copy owned by him. Just more of the stunt. This part being an attempt to save his skin by blunting the outrage. Just having equal opportunity, “You know nothing is sacred around here”, demonstration of principle, folks. Nothing to look at here now. Move along.

    Won’t work.

  343. #343 mjinor
    July 24, 2008

    I hope this is what PZ did :
    Open koran.
    Insert cracker.
    Close koran.
    Step on it.

  344. #344 SDG
    July 24, 2008

    Sastra @#31:

    The Catholics in this case are being over-sensitive from a secular perspective, and illegitimately insisting that their sense of outrage requires that blasphemy and desecration be treated as serious crimes. Actively expressing disagreement in dramatic fashion to both the Catholics themselves and — more significantly — to a culture which has become all-too-ready to pander unnecessarily to religious sensibilities, is, I think, legitimate.

    Should PZ have solicited consecrated hosts which could only have been taken by people deceptively breaking a private contract? Technically speaking, no. You’re right. As I’ve mentioned before, if anyone had asked me beforehand I’d have said no, don’t, for just this reason. The “disruption” level is, technically speaking, very small — but it’s there.

    But now there’s a larger issue than this relatively small initial violation: the insistence that, because it is so very distressing to the religious, the initial trespass should be considered a much larger crime. The worst kind of crime. The emotional storm is cause for backing away in respect for over-inflated, immoderate, unrestrained emotional veneration. If something is considered “sacred,” we should not touch it.

    But that’s what’s being protested in the first place.

    Again, I’d like to express my appreciation for the moderation of your tone and approach in the midst of all the vituperation flying both ways.

    “If something is considered ‘sacred,’ we should not touch it” is, I agree, too broad a rule. Not everything that could possibly be considered “sacred” to somebody can reasonably be fenced off from “profane” (i.e., non-sacred, “secular”) use.

    The example of Hindu veneration of cows is a fair example. Humanly speaking, no one has the right to ask or expect the whole non-Hindu world to completely change their lifestyle and adopt Hindu dietary practices in order to avoid offending Hindus. In a similar way, Catholics can’t and generally don’t expect non-Catholics to change their lifestyle in deference to Catholic sensibilities.

    In our desacrilized society, it is hard to find parallels in common human experience for the notion of sacredness, or for deference to the sacred affinities of others. One of the few widely accepted points of reference remaining is the respect accorded to the mortal remains of our dead, and the deference shown to the family’s affinity for the dead in making choices regarding how the body is to be treated (e.g., whether to bury or cremate; if burial, where and how the site is marked; whether to embalm; if cremation, whether to bury, scatter or preserve the ashes).

    It is widely considered unethical and unacceptable to buy or sell a corpse, and ghoulish in the highest degree — something like sacrilege — to misappropriate one. Although the family from whom the body is stolen is not deprived of any material thing, to violate their special affinity by disposing of the body in a manner contrary to their intentions is considered inexcusably vile.

    This, obviously, is a widely shared ethic, something we can all understand, or it wouldn’t be a useful point of reference. I cite something we can all understand to offer a point of entry toward something many don’t.

    This, of course, is where people start screaming “It’s only a cracker,” “A cracker is not a person,” etc. The thing is, any effort to work toward a reasonable understanding among all parties and a workable way forward (which I well realize many on both sides are not interested in) must deal with the fact that Catholic belief posits a God who has become a man and who miraculously makes himself present under the appearances of bread and wine. This doesn’t mean you aren’t free to find this belief incredible and ridiculous and raise the strongest objections you like. It does mean that it’s not helpful to say “You’re just being oversensitive.”

    It’s true that there have been disproportionate and unacceptable actions (e.g., threats of violence) as well as what I would agree are misguided and disproportionate expressions of veneration or conclusions drawn from it. (For example, while it’s true that my commitment to my family is secondary to my commitment to Jesus, since Jesus is not harmed when the Eucharist is desecrated I can’t say I would rather see my family harmed than the Eucharist desecrated.) However, there is no way we can believe what we do about the Eucharist and not regard something like this as a hurtful, hateful offense, not only against those whose disproportionate actions may have helped incite PZ’s wrath, but against all of us who hold the belief.

  345. #345 Logicel
    July 24, 2008

    I would suggest to Turkzovka that she/he gets her/himself a baloney detection kit a la Carl Sagan in order to understand how to identify the extraordinary evidence necessary to give credence to extraordinary claims, such as the common garden variety of religious miracle. But, I am afraid that she/he just would buy a lunch box containing mystery meat sandwiches.

    Turzovka’s main thrust is using the argument from incredulity. Because evolution is counter-intuitive for her/him, she/he hides behind a little fluffy coverlet of patchwork knowledge to refute it, while at the same time completely embraces something truly incredulous, that is, an extraordinary miraculous claim without the required extraordinary evidence.

    Scientists, however, if given the proper evidence, would accept miracles, so their incredulity could possibly be ended while Turzovka’s will continue unabated through her ignorance and her arrogance.

    Her/his patchy grasp of knowledge regarding evolution allows her/him to play the role of a cracked mirror, pathetically reflecting back our arguments (strawman, red herrings), distorted and fuzzy, without realizing that when doing this, she/he only shows how deep her/his ignorance is.

    Though ignorance is normal, and we all are ignorant to degrees (I certainly need to know more about evolution, but unlike Turzovka through time I will), the confused manner in which religites stay steeped in their ignorance is depressingly familiar.

  346. #346 Michael X
    July 24, 2008

    Yes, TG and would you be kind enough to explain how to prove any random cracker is consecrated or not?

  347. #347 BobC
    July 24, 2008

    puzzled (#332): The worst was a nun quietly asking him to return the host as he left the church.

    A church member grabbed his arm, and tried to pry his fingers back to get the cracker. Catholics are now trying to get both him and his friend (who did nothing) expelled. Other Catholics tried to break into his room to retrieve the cracker.

    Considering the number of death threats PZ received, it’s reasonable to assume Cook received the same kind of threats.

    I’m wondering Mr. Puzzled, do you think everybody should just ignore the Catholic terrorists who overreacted to a student who didn’t want to eat a cracker?

    Also, Mr. Puzzled, are you really an atheist, or are you just a lying stupid asshole?

  348. #348 Celtic_Evolution
    July 24, 2008

    @ JoJo…

    comments in #340 are completely not worth even reading. You are being bated by shit-for-brains (aka laughin_guy). It’s the last resort of the intellectually impaired…

    So, ya know, bury the moron if you wish… but he wouldn’t be worth my time. My two cents.

  349. #349 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    “You should already know the answer to this. The Eucharist is a Catholic gift meant for Catholics. By going up to receive, the understanding is that you are practicing the Catholic faith. Taking the bread away in spite of its intended purpose (and especially for public desecration) is deceitful and is morally wrong.

    Let me repeat myself when I say two wrongs do not make a right.”

    PZ has not taken a Eucharist. So why lie and say he has ? PZ has made it clear has not done that, and yet you still feel you can made that claim without evidence.

    You lied.

  350. #350 NotAFuckTard
    July 24, 2008

    Posted by: Fr. J | July 24, 2008 12:42 PM

    Yawn, what?

  351. #351 Jim RL
    July 24, 2008

    BluesBassist, I am totally with you. I also think the whole “an asteroid killed the dinosaurs” is BS for the same reason. If giant asteroids caused global extinctions, you think it would’ve happened by now. Sure, small meteorites fall to earth all the time, and sure there are giant craters on the Earth, moon, and other planets, but those could be formed by anything. Human civilization is almost 10,000 years old, how could we not have seen these processes that take millions of years or have a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of occuring in any given year.

  352. #352 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    You should already know the answer to this. The Eucharist is a Catholic gift meant for Catholics. By going up to receive, the understanding is that you are practicing the Catholic faith. Taking the bread away in spite of its intended purpose (and especially for public desecration) is deceitful and is morally wrong.

    Your rules don’t apply to anyone else no matter how much you want them to.

    Let me repeat myself when I say two wrongs do not make a right.

    You mean, like threatening someone’s life over the “theft” of a cracker?

  353. #353 Dahan
    July 24, 2008

    Time for Annie Nonny Mouse (with a few others) to get tossed into the dungeon for:
    1. Godbotting
    2. Insipidity
    3. Stupidity

    Really, posting passages from Anselm of Canterbury? That’s what you’ve got?

  354. #355 puzzled
    July 24, 2008

    347…thanks for proving my point for me: your “recitation” of the events is fun, but where are your facts? no newspaper has reported that any assault took place.

    Moreover, your analysis makes no mention of a death threat against webster cook: only against pz, AFTER he threatened desecration….in response to the alleged death threats against webster cook.

    I ask again…….where are the “death threats” against webster cook? anyone??

  355. #356 Alejandro
    July 24, 2008

    This is too rich. Religion has actually people discussing about freaking crackers. Hahahaha. The world is crazy. It’s less crazy than during the Dark Ages, though.

  356. #357 Chris P
    July 24, 2008

    I’m really impressed that PZ has stood up to the BS. Many atheists tend to play dead too often. I have a great deal of respect for PZ, Dawkins and the rest for finally trying to put and end to this BS where the religious get to control other people. I think the University should be proud of the eloquence and straight thinking.

    I just realized this morning that we have a form of state controlled form of bigotry in that the likes of Focus on the Family is allowed to discriminate against hiring atheists. Isn’t that wonderful. Every job ad they post in the paper says you have to write a “Christian affirmation” to get to work for them.

    Documented legal bias against a section of the population.

  357. #358 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    You have every right to believe in what you want and I respect that, but please have some respect for our beliefs!

    No, none of us are obliged to respect anything. You are of course free to believe, embrace and practice whatever retarded class of absurdity you like, and I am likewise free to point and laugh, breathless with mirth, tears of helpless hilarity running down my face … Thats how it works.

  358. #359 Cheezits
    July 24, 2008

    He very publicly asked for the Body & Blood of the Son of God to be given into his hand so he could desecrate and destroy it.

    No, he asked for a communion wafer.

  359. #360 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    However, there is no way we can believe what we do about the Eucharist – SDG

    How very true! Sorry to quote-mine, but this one was just too good to miss!

  360. #361 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    “I just realized this morning that we have a form of state controlled form of bigotry in that the likes of Focus on the Family is allowed to discriminate against hiring atheists. Isn’t that wonderful. Every job ad they post in the paper says you have to write a “Christian affirmation” to get to work for them.”

    Here in the UK that would be illegal. Religious organisations can only insist on a person having religious belief if they are to become a priest or the like.

  361. #362 Hap
    July 24, 2008

    I’m sure that Prof. Myers is considering suicide now – his personal integrity has been questioned by somone called “Laughing_Guy”…

    I’m just curious as to why one would actually derive any self-worth from the “respect” and ravings of someone with no higher brain functions. I can understand why aggrieved people would write and hope for divine intervention (they can’t do anything and need to vent their hatred and attempt to enforce respect for themselves and their beliefs in a way that allows them to pretend that they aren’t actually trying to do so), but I can’t understand why I would care what some random on the Internet thinks of me, and I can’t see anyone with brain function above the brain stem thinking that I actually should care about their rantings. So, why do it? Don’t you have a Darwin Award to be working at? (With the combination of hormones and lack of higher brain function exhibited here, it shouldn’t take long.)

  362. #363 Rayven Alandria
    July 24, 2008

    Putting aside crackergate for a moment, I have a message for

    J. A. Stuart
    Commander, United States Navy

    I am a military spouse (USN). I will not throw my husband’s, my father’s, or my son’s rank around, since it’s utterly IRRELEVANT to this discussion and not only inappropriate, but unethical.

    You strike me as the type of man who throws his rank around to intimidate others. During our military life I have crossed paths with the type of man I strongly suspect you are. They are the ones who open military functions with a prayer (only to their godfairy of course). They are the ones who have religious symbols in their offices and mistreat and abuse anyone serving under them who dare raise a complaint about the religious symbols and prayers being shoved down their throats.

    It will be incredibly interesting if our paths cross in the military. I kind of hope they do. Your name and rank have been jotted down for future reference.

    You seem to think it’s appropriate to use your name and rank as a signature in personal, (and controversial), correspondences. You might want to learn to control your arrogance. It takes all of 30 seconds for someone with access to find out exactly who and where you are. You put your family at unnecessary risk by allowing your whereabouts to be known to strangers on the Internet. It is irresponsible of you. Although I have never met an Atheist who would do harm to a religiously deluded person, there may be one. Plus, who knows what other debates you’ve gotten into. You might piss off a whacko of another religious feather. Those are abundant.

    There is no need to use your name or toss your rank out there. If words have validity, a person does not need to throw around titles and ranks to get people to take him/her seriously. If words are a crock of BS, no amount of title-tossing or rank-pulling will make those words any more valid.

  363. #364 TG
    July 24, 2008

    Yes, TG and would you be kind enough to explain how to prove any random cracker is consecrated or not?

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

    Not to you.

  364. #365 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    no newspaper has reported that any assault took place.

    Because that would make it especially true.

  365. #366 Jack Picknell
    July 24, 2008

    Hey Nick Gotts … It’s just a frackin’ blob of cells.

  366. #367 Pablo
    July 24, 2008

    You have every right to believe in what you want and I respect that, but please have some respect for our beliefs!

    Not all beliefs deserve respect.

    For example, I have absolutely no respect for the beliefs of members of the Aryan Nation. Do you? I sure hope not.

    Yes, everyone has the right to believe in what they want. However, no one has the right to insist that their beliefs must be treated with respect. Respect needs to be earned.

  367. #368 Ken Cope
    July 24, 2008

    “Very respectfully,

    J. A. Stuart
    Commander, United States Navy”

    Ix-nay on the awberries-stray!

  368. #369 BobC
    July 24, 2008

    “no newspaper has reported that any assault took place.”

    I read the news item myself, Mr. Puzzled. Cook was assaulted by a Catholic asshole.

    Your “The worst was a nun quietly asking him to return the host as he left the church.” is not correct. It’s a fact that Cook was violently assaulted (in a church). It’s a fact Catholics are trying to get him expelled.

    Also, your nun who asked him to return the cracker was an idiot and deserves to be ridiculed.

    It’s interesting that you, an atheist, call the worthless cracker a host. I don’t think you’re an atheist. I think you’re a shit-for-brains lying Catholic asshole. You sure do act like one.

  369. #370 puzzled
    July 24, 2008

    no one is asking pz to have religious beliefs….they are asking him to refrain from certain overt acts; engaging in outrageous behavior where the only goal is to outrage and incite is more Howard Stern than science. . .

    again, this all allegedly started because as many of the chorus have stated, pz was making the case that a cracker was worth less than a human and he didn’t like that webster cook got death threats for stealing a host; yet no one has proven that cook actually got death threats…..

    only that pz did, after he made his own threats….interesting.

  370. #371 Dutch Delight
    July 24, 2008

    Atheism with its lack of hope or joy kills even the desire to survive.

    Of course, we all accept your unstated premise that a godbelief is somehow required for hope, joy and the desire to survive. Oh wait, we don’t. You just make shit up, as if religion has anything to offer, what a joke.

    Maybe you could start by explaining why animals are doing fine and surviving anyway, without any sign of believing in gods, nevermind your specific god.

  371. #372 Rich Stage
    July 24, 2008

    Donahue and Catholic attackers
    have clearly gone totally crackers!
    The taste can’t be beat
    when god’s what you eat.
    Try the new Messiah Snackers?!*

    The comedy’s really first class,
    but I almost gave this a pass.
    Then I thought “would a priest
    say the god that you eat
    is still god when he comes out your ass?”

    *For when Scooby Snacks? aren’t holy enough. Messiah Snacks?! Now with less flavor!

  372. #373 chicago
    July 24, 2008

    All miracles cures at Lourdes – Explain it for us. The Doctors can’t explain it and I know none of you can. Most of you will not even read it-

    Colonel Paul Pellegrin
    3 October 1950
    age 52; Toulon, France Post-operative fistula following a liver abscess in 1948. By the time of his pilgrimage in 1950, the condition had degenerated to an open wound that required multiple dressing changes each day, and showed no sign of healing. On emerging from his second bath in the waters, the wound had completely closed, and the condition never bothered him again. Recognized by the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France on 8 December 1953.

    Brother Schwager Léo
    30 April 1952
    age 28; Fribourg, Switzerland multiple sclerosis for five years; recognized by the diocese of Fribourg, Switzerland on 18 December 1960

    Alice Couteault, born Alice Gourdon
    15 May 1952
    age 34; Bouille-Loretz, France multiple sclerosis for three years; recognized by the diocese of Poitiers, France on 16 July 1956

    Marie Bigot
    8 October 1953 and 10 October 1954
    age 31 and 32; La Richardais, France arachnoiditis of posterior fossa (blindness, deafness, hemiplegia); recognized by the diocese of Rennes, France 15 August 1956

    Ginette Nouvel, born Ginette Fabre
    21 September 1954
    age 26; Carmaux, France Budd-Chiari disease (supra-hepatic venous thrombosis); recognized by the diocese of Albi on 31 May 1963

    Elisa Aloi, later Elisa Varcalli
    5 June 1958
    age 27; Patti, Italy tuberculous osteo-arthritis with fistulae at multiple sites in the right lower limb; recognized by the diocese of Messine, Italy on 26 May 1965

    Juliette Tamburini
    17 July 1959
    age 22; Marseilles, France femoral osteoperiostitis with fistulae, epistaxis, for ten years; recognized by the diocese of Marseille, France on 11 May 1965

    Vittorio Micheli
    1 June 1963
    age 23; Scurelle, Italy Sarcoma (cancer) of pelvis; tumor so large that his left thigh became loose from the socket, leaving his left leg limp and paralyzed. After taking the waters, he was free of pain, and could walk. By February 1964 the tumor was gone, the hip joint had recalcified, and he returned to a normal life. Recognized by the diocese of Trento, Italy on 26 May 1976.

    Serge Perrin
    1 May 1970
    age 41; Lion D’Angers, France Recurrent right hemiplegia, with ocular lesions, due to bilateral carotid artery disorders. Symptoms, which included headache, impaired speech and vision, and partial right-side paralysis began without warning in February 1964. During the next six years he became wheelchair-confined, and nearly blind. While on pilgrimage to Lourdes in April 1970, his symptoms became worse, and he was near death on 30 April. Wheeled to the Basilica for the Ceremony the next morning, he felt a sudden warmth from head to toe, his vision returned, and he was able to walk unaided. First person cured during the Ceremony of the Anointing of the Sick. Recognized by the diocese of Angers, France on 17 June 1978.

    Delizia Cirolli, later Delizia Costa
    24 December 1976
    age 12; Paterno, Italy Ewing’s Sarcoma of right knee; recgonized by the diocese of Catania, Italy on 28 June 1989

    Jean-Pierre Bély
    9 October 1987
    age 51; French multiple sclerosis; recognized by the diocese of Angoulême on 9 February 1999

  373. #374 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    Puzzled. Apt.

  374. #375 puzzled
    July 24, 2008

    #368, once again you prove my point for me:

    where is evidence of the death threat against cook that (allegedly) started this all?

    where is the “newspaper account” of a violent assault?

    I am not the only atheist that dislikes myers as a spokesperson: read some of the opinions of other scienceblog bloggers…….

  375. #376 Janus
    July 24, 2008

    I think the best analogy is this:

    You know those little flags that are sometimes handed out for free at parades on national holidays and the like, so people can joyfully wave them around? Some guy, let’s call him ‘Webster’, takes his given flag, but since he doesn’t have any nationalistic urges, he decides to NOT wave it around and just takes it back home with him. Unfortunately he’s noticed by several nationalistic nuts who think it’s their duty to _fight_ with Webster to get the little flag back; because you see, little American flags are very important to American nationalists. Webster eventually manages to escape; you’d think the story would end here, but no! The Nationalist League of America decides that such a crime cannot go unpunished, and asks nationalists throughout America to take action; and indeed they do: They send Webster insults and death threats, they even try to interfere with his life.

    Eventually this comes to the attention of another man, a blogger (let’s call him ‘PZ’). PZ, partly because he’s not a very fervent nationalist himself, and partly because he’s, well, sane, is shocked and outraged that so much maliciousness could be harnessed over something so insignificant. After all, he says, it’s just a little flag. So to show his support for Webster and his opposition to the nutty nationalists, PZ declares on his blog that if someone will send him a little American flag, he’ll do something to ‘disrespect’ it, if such a thing is possible.

    So what do the nationalists do? Much the same that they did to Webster: They flood his e-mail box with spam, they send him death threats, and they try to get him fired from his job. They say PZ is a bigot, that he hates nationalists, that he’s impinging on their freedom to be nationalists, that by disrespecting a little American flag he’s severely hurting their feelings, that he’ll be tortured in North Korea for eternity for having disrespected a little American flag, etc etc etc.

    ——

    Of course, I’m being a bit too generous to Catholics. While the nationalists have obviously been driven to insanity by their nationalism in this analogy, they aren’t being completely irrational about this: At least the thing they feel so strongly about (the USA) actually exists.

    For my analogy to be completely fair, the nationalists would have to believe that each and every one of these mass-produced flags has the magical power to turn into the metaphysical body of Benjamin Franklin when it is eaten by a nationalist.

  376. #377 Jeffrey A. Stuart
    July 24, 2008

    Mrs “Alandria”,

    Thank you for your concern. You are certainly free to form your opinion about me given all that you know. I am confident that if we do meet someday you will find that your characterization of me is quite incorrect.

    As to putting down my name and rank to my personal thoughts, I don’t see such as “arrogance” but simply openly stating my viewpoint. There was a deeper reason why I added my title which I have expressed here. Again, you are free to take me at my word on why I did so or simply dismiss me out of hand.

    Regards to you.

  377. #378 Detective-Parson Smith
    July 24, 2008

    OH NO, PZ DONE COMMITTED UH CRIMEZ!!?!?

    Son: (coming in the door) ‘Ello Mum. ‘Ello Dad.
    K: ‘Ello son.
    S: There’s a dead bishop on the landing, dad!
    K: Really?
    M: Where’s it from?
    S: Waddya mean?
    M: What’s its diocese?S: Well, it looked a bit Bath and Wells-ish to me…
    K: (getting up and going out the door) I’ll go and have a look.
    M: I don’t know…kids bringin’ ‘em in here….
    S: It’s not me!
    M: I’ve got three of ‘em down by the bin, and the dustmen won’t touch ‘em!
    K: (coming back in) Leicester.
    M: ‘Ow d’you know?
    K: Tattooed on the back o’ the neck. I’ll call the police.
    M: Shouldn’t you call the church?
    S: Call the church police!
    K: All right. (shouting) The Church Police!

    (sirens racing up, followed by a tremendous crash)
    (the church police burst in the door)

    Detective What’s all this then, Amen!
    M: Are you the church police?
    All the police officers: (in unison) Ho, Yes!
    M: There’s another dead bishop on the landing, vicar sargeant!
    Detective: Uh, Detective Parson, madam. I see… suffrican, or diocisian?
    M: ‘Ow should I know?
    D: It’s tatooed on the back o’ their neck. (spying the tart) ‘Ere, is that rat
    tart?
    M: yes.
    D: Disgusting! Right! Men, the chase is on! Now we should all kneel!
    (they all kneel)
    All: O Lord, we beseech thee, tell us ‘oo croaked Lester!
    (thunder)
    Voice of the Lord: The one in the braces, he done it!
    Klaus: It’s a fair cop, but society’s to blame.
    Detective: Agreed. We’ll be charging them too.
    K: I’d like you to take the three boddlabin into consideration.
    D: Right. I’ll now ask you all to conclude this harrest with a hymn.
    All: All things bright and beautiful,
    All creatures great and small,
    All things wise and wonderful,
    The church has nicked them all.
    Amen.

  378. #379 Dave Mueller
    July 24, 2008

    At the very least, I’d say that even if the events Fatima WERE some sort of strange localized atmospheric phenomenon, it is quite strange that they took place exactly when the children had predicted a miracle, no?

    However praiseworthy your intentions, Turzovka, you see, you are wasting your time. The atheists have a dogma that there are no miracles, you see, and thus the evidence cannot be admitted. They will bring up silly ideas such as mass hallucination before taking any of your evidence seriously, even though an unbiased look at the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano (studied by the World Health Organization, who admitted that science had no explanation), the miracles of Padre Pio, Fatima, incorrupt saints, healings at Lourdes, etc etc. would give them a lot to chew on. They will not check into any of this, though, because it is incompatible with their dogma.

    They ask for evidence, but then reject it out of hand, or say that the miracle must be able to be repeated at will.

  379. #380 CJO
    July 24, 2008

    #339
    please have some respect for our beliefs!

    Get some respectable beliefs.

    SDG @ #344:
    In our desacrilized society, it is hard to find parallels in common human experience for the notion of sacredness, or for deference to the sacred affinities of others.

    You can’t quite bring yourself to say it, can you? It’s a secular society with freedom of expression as a foundational principle, and, as such, it cannot have provisions with the force of law that require “deference to the sacred affinities of others.” Yet that’s what you want, and that’s the entire reason PZ did what he did.

    As the only even remotely reasonable commenter who’s come here over this “from the other side,” please explain to me how you yourself can make the point, and then fail to see it?

  380. #381 TS
    July 24, 2008

    If this is how secularists behave, I’ll have nothing to do with it. Such intolerance and bigotry is unbecoming a college professor.

    Consider me a former secularist now. This intolerance from this professor, is embarrassing to the human race.

  381. #382 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    I just wanted to point out (though it’s probably been noticed already) that, I think, every single “concerned Catholic” that visits this site spells PZ’s name wrong. Is that because it is the same person, or because Catholics have a habit of dropping random ‘e’s into peoples’ names?

  382. #383 Rob
    July 24, 2008

    @Chicago,

    Please explain the following miracle of God’s love to us:

    Miracle Cures at Lourdes: 1/75,000

    Rate of spontaneous cures elsewhere: 1/50,000

  383. #384 Ben
    July 24, 2008

    former secularist: good one.

  384. #385 BobC
    July 24, 2008

    puzzled, you said you are an atheist, and it’s obvious you were lying.

    Cook said he received death threats. I’m more willing to trust him than you, especially since you proved you know virtually nothing about the cracker incident. You didn’t even know about his being assaulted in a church.

    You’re a Catholic, puzzled, and like most Catholics you’re a liar, a moron, and a stupid asshole.

  385. #386 Michael X
    July 24, 2008

    No need to snipe TG, I haven’t insulted you yet.

    It’s simply that in order to claim that PZ can’t prove he has a consecrated cracker, one must be able to prove that a cracker is consecrated. I would then assume that since you are the one questioning the “consecrated-ness” of the cracker formerly in PZ’s possession, you would be able to prove if one was consecrated or not.

    Simple.

  386. #387 Believer
    July 24, 2008

    “Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” – William Penn

  387. #388 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    Rayven Alandria said:

    Although I have never met an Atheist who would do harm to a religiously deluded person, there may be one. Plus, who knows what other debates you’ve gotten into. You might piss off a whacko of another religious feather. Those are abundant.

    Sigh. Okay look, first your name isn’t very common so telling a guy to not sign his full title cuz it’s not careful is the same as me saying to not sign your name because there isn’t a load of Rayven Alandrias around. Not that I think that this other guy or you are in any threat.

    Second… Don’t go the “You might get killed by the side that disagrees” alley. You sound smart, you should be above such paranoia. It doesn’t work that way. There are killers everywhere, and killers are INSANE. Their religious allegiance does not matter. There are murdering christians, there are murdering muslims, there are murdering atheists, there are murdering jews, there are murdering raelians. Insanity, lack of morals… they have nothing to do with what your faith or lack of faith is. It’s social.

  388. #389 Jeffrey A. Stuart
    July 24, 2008

    “Very respectfully,

    J. A. Stuart
    Commander, United States Navy”

    Ix-nay on the awberries-stray!

    Now that is admittedly funny and got me to chuckle. :)

  389. #390 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    Consider me a former secularist now. This intolerance from this professor, is embarrassing to the human race.

    So what does this mean exactly? That you’ve accepted Jesus into your heart, in a fit of pique? I’m pretty certain it’s not supposed to be done that way …

  390. #391 Neural T
    July 24, 2008

    Low population growth rates are not caused by secularism, but rather, both are caused by other factors.

    Since children are an asset in agrarian societies, but a liability in industrialized societies, industrialization decreases population growth rates. Also, industrialization brings a higher quality of life and better education, which probably increases the rate of secularism.

  391. #392 puzzled
    July 24, 2008

    Hi Janus, since you mentioned them, maybe you can point out a link to me: WHAT death threats did webster cook recieve? the Florida and A.P. sources on this don’t mention death threats…..

    people mindlessly repeating “webster cook got death threats” because their leader says so sounds a bit like. . . like religion. gulp.

  392. #393 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    If this is how secularists behave, I’ll have nothing to do with it. Such intolerance and bigotry is unbecoming a college professor.

    Consider me a former secularist now. This intolerance from this professor, is embarrassing to the human race.

    If you think it’s okay to insist on obligatory deference to religious symbols, you weren’t a secularist to start with.

  393. #394 Cheezits
    July 24, 2008

    The thing is, any effort to work toward a reasonable understanding among all parties and a workable way forward (which I well realize many on both sides are not interested in) must deal with the fact that Catholic belief posits a God who has become a man and who miraculously makes himself present under the appearances of bread and wine.

    Well, I prefer to deal with that fact by pointing out what a friggin’ stupid doctrine it is, not to mention idolatrous. A sane, grown person can not seriously believe that a communion wafer actually, really, truly, magically turns into human flesh or anything else as a result of being blessed. Did Jesus really need to spell it out, that what he said was merely a metaphor? He also said he was a vine; do you take that literally?

  394. #395 chicago
    July 24, 2008

    Explanation please – Rob

    Colonel Paul Pellegrin
    3 October 1950
    age 52; Toulon, France Post-operative fistula following a liver abscess in 1948. By the time of his pilgrimage in 1950, the condition had degenerated to an open wound that required multiple dressing changes each day, and showed no sign of healing. On emerging from his second bath in the waters, the wound had completely closed, and the condition never bothered him again. Recognized by the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France on 8 December 1953.

    Brother Schwager Léo
    30 April 1952
    age 28; Fribourg, Switzerland multiple sclerosis for five years; recognized by the diocese of Fribourg, Switzerland on 18 December 1960

    Alice Couteault, born Alice Gourdon
    15 May 1952
    age 34; Bouille-Loretz, France multiple sclerosis for three years; recognized by the diocese of Poitiers, France on 16 July 1956

    Marie Bigot
    8 October 1953 and 10 October 1954
    age 31 and 32; La Richardais, France arachnoiditis of posterior fossa (blindness, deafness, hemiplegia); recognized by the diocese of Rennes, France 15 August 1956

    Ginette Nouvel, born Ginette Fabre
    21 September 1954
    age 26; Carmaux, France Budd-Chiari disease (supra-hepatic venous thrombosis); recognized by the diocese of Albi on 31 May 1963

    Elisa Aloi, later Elisa Varcalli
    5 June 1958
    age 27; Patti, Italy tuberculous osteo-arthritis with fistulae at multiple sites in the right lower limb; recognized by the diocese of Messine, Italy on 26 May 1965

    Juliette Tamburini
    17 July 1959
    age 22; Marseilles, France femoral osteoperiostitis with fistulae, epistaxis, for ten years; recognized by the diocese of Marseille, France on 11 May 1965

    Vittorio Micheli
    1 June 1963
    age 23; Scurelle, Italy Sarcoma (cancer) of pelvis; tumor so large that his left thigh became loose from the socket, leaving his left leg limp and paralyzed. After taking the waters, he was free of pain, and could walk. By February 1964 the tumor was gone, the hip joint had recalcified, and he returned to a normal life. Recognized by the diocese of Trento, Italy on 26 May 1976.

    Serge Perrin
    1 May 1970
    age 41; Lion D’Angers, France Recurrent right hemiplegia, with ocular lesions, due to bilateral carotid artery disorders. Symptoms, which included headache, impaired speech and vision, and partial right-side paralysis began without warning in February 1964. During the next six years he became wheelchair-confined, and nearly blind. While on pilgrimage to Lourdes in April 1970, his symptoms became worse, and he was near death on 30 April. Wheeled to the Basilica for the Ceremony the next morning, he felt a sudden warmth from head to toe, his vision returned, and he was able to walk unaided. First person cured during the Ceremony of the Anointing of the Sick. Recognized by the diocese of Angers, France on 17 June 1978.

    Delizia Cirolli, later Delizia Costa
    24 December 1976
    age 12; Paterno, Italy Ewing’s Sarcoma of right knee; recgonized by the diocese of Catania, Italy on 28 June 1989

    Jean-Pierre Bély
    9 October 1987
    age 51; French multiple sclerosis; recognized by the diocese of Angoulême on 9 February 1999

  395. #396 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    Puzzled: Let’s a assume for a second that you are right and there were no death threats (and, Catholics being Catholics, I doubt this very much). What about those who called for his immediate expulsion from the university? You don’t think THAT is an overreaction to what he did? Because I do. Get expelled for pilfering a bit of bread? Give me a break.

  396. #397 Pope Fuckdachildren
    July 24, 2008

    Posted by: TS | July 24, 2008 1:26 PM

    Nice concern troll.

  397. #398 tsg
    July 24, 2008

    I just wanted to point out (though it’s probably been noticed already) that, I think, every single “concerned Catholic” that visits this site spells PZ’s name wrong. Is that because it is the same person, or because Catholics have a habit of dropping random ‘e’s into peoples’ names?

    To be fair, I often misspell it as well (although I tend to correct it more often than not). It is a rare spelling of a common name.

  398. #399 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    If you think it’s okay to insist on obligatory deference to religious symbols, you weren’t a secularist to start with.

    Heresy! BOW DOWN TO THE MIGHTY COW.

    …damn I need a steak. But I got to take my stupid bird to the vet and I don’t have time to cook tonight! Boo. Boo.

  399. #400 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    The atheists have a dogma that there are no miracles

    False – it’s just that to establish a miracle would require much better evidence than has ever been presented. If palmira@259 is correct, the “miracle” of Fatima was a politically-motivated fraud, and is disbelieved even by Portuguese Catholic priests!

  400. #401 TG
    July 24, 2008

    Not sniping MX. I don’t intend to impart that knowledge in this place to you or anyone else.

    The intent to desecrate a consecrated host (the Eucharistic body of Christ) is PZ’s. The burden of proof that he has done that is solely his, not mine. The methods of proof should have beeen considered before the claim was made he had done it, a claim he made yesterday.

    Of course, this is quite obvious even to juveniles.

  401. #402 puzzled
    July 24, 2008

    bobc, calling me an “asshole” and a “lying stupid asshole”…..what great argument! such witty comebacks! why is it so hard (and clearly, troubling) for you to understand that other atheists don’t agree with pz’s um, methodology?

    so what is the source of “webster cook says” he got death threats? did you speak with him?

    okay why don’t you just call me a lying, stupid, madras-plaid asshole? just some helpful suggestions as you seem excessively angry at me for asking such a simple question.
    :)

  402. #403 Steph
    July 24, 2008

    Everything that can be said has probably already been said, but all I want to say at this point is:

    If this list represents what happens to people when atheism is adopted, then the church was right to outlaw it (if the church indeed ever did.) All I see here is a mob. An angry, rude, vindictive mob. I know you don’t care how you appear though, which further bolsters my perspective. Who would want to listen to you other than angry, rude people. Grow up.

  403. #404 Adrienne
    July 24, 2008

    Seems a lot of true believin’ Catholics are really hoping the Eucharists bled for PZ.

    On one board for those Catholics who reject Vatican II (i.e., are really truly crazy, think Jews are evil, etc.), someone posted this on a thread about PZ’s desecration:

    I remember the story of the Jews from 14th century Brussels who kidnapped and proceeded to desecrate a consecrated host. The sacred wafer started to bleed in front of them and this caused them so much grief that they had the species returned to the Church. The return was done in triumph and a series of murals were painted on the walls of the Cathedral to celebrate this true victory Our Lord over the forces of darkness.

  404. #405 Ben
    July 24, 2008

    Good point Michelle @ 398. The biscuit is basically a graven image, which by their own commandments should be verbotten.

  405. #406 Beep
    July 24, 2008

    PZ is a such a pompous phony.

    He acts as if his desecration is meaningless, and then draws out the drama for another day.

    He probably sits home masturbating to the number of posts he’s gotten off of his own initial masturbatory exercise.

    For a grown man to act this way is embarrassing.

    It doesn’t matter if PZ loses his job, his livelihood, or his head, as he’s already destroyed his credibility.

    Yuck!

  406. #407 Dave Mueller
    July 24, 2008

    #399, palmira is full of BS. Anyone who has studied Fatima at all knows those claims are bogus. Please try again.

    The one thing palmira is correct about is that Fatima is not a dogma of the Church. That is correct – no purported miracle is a dogma.

  407. #408 Rob
    July 24, 2008

    Chicago:

    Quit with the cut and paste.

    There are unexplained cures at a HIGHER rate in places (namely, everyplace else) other than Lourdes. Why is Lourdes special?

    Where have we claimed that science has an explanation for all observed phenomena? All that means is this needs to be put under scientific scrutiny, nothing more, nothing less. You pull out the “I don’t know so God did it” card, which is pointless. Until mechanisms have been proposed and all possible have

  408. #409 BobC
    July 24, 2008

    The worst was a nun quietly asking him to return the host as he left the church.

    Puzzled, you were lying when you said you’re an atheist. I’m sure of it.

    No atheist would call the cracker a host. I have no respect for liars. Go fuck yourself mister.

  409. #410 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    chicago@394,
    Are you seriously expecting us to accept the word of the diocese of this, that and the other that miracle cures have occurred, without fully authenticated medical reports before and after the alleged occurrence? You must think we were born yesterday.

  410. #411 sex_target
    July 24, 2008

    @ chicago

    Explain to us the evidence you have that “godditit”. Please show us the bridge you build to jump the massive fucking whole from “we don’t know how this happened” to “god did it, and not only that, this SPECIFIC god did it and no other gods were involved- nor do they even exist.”

    Explanation, please. Oh, and if you don’t reply I’ll copy and paste this a bunch, which seems to be your substitute for having something good to say.

  411. #412 Michael X
    July 24, 2008

    Chicago.

    Other religions make the same claims. How do you prove them wrong?

  412. #413 spurge
    July 24, 2008

    Steph blathered

    “All I see here is a mob. An angry, rude, vindictive mob. ”

    You are blind.

  413. #414 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    Hi Steph, I’m an atheist and I’m offended by your comments. I am neither angry nor rude. You shouldn’t generalize.

  414. #415 Adrienne
    July 24, 2008

    Steph @402:

    If this list represents what happens to people when atheism is adopted, then the church was right to outlaw it (if the church indeed ever did.) All I see here is a mob. An angry, rude, vindictive mob.

    Reality check, please You are looking at an Internet blog. Yes, some of your Eucharists may have been desecrated. But nobody has died or been sent to the hospital. A few people have been rather ruthlessly insulted. Your religious sensibilities have been offended. But that is the extent of the damage caused by this “angry, vindictive mob”. No Jews suffered a pogrom; no embassies were burned; nobody died. Just ponder that for a bit, will you?

  415. #416 puzzled
    July 24, 2008

    Amy, thank you for the civil response. The reason I bring up the “alleged” death threats is that so many of the posters here–and pz myers, in his original posts on the subject–have used that as their rallying cry: that a cracker is not worth a human being’s life and thus the outrage was directed at people making death threats against webster cook. I agree with that.

    But now that more of the story is unfolding (the hearing on cook’s impeachment as a student senator), there is absolutely no mention of a death threat.

    I am just saying, if that was the original premise, that a cracker is not worth a death threat, if we remove the threat, then it seems to me we don’t have the need for similar outrageous conduct on the part of an atheist who claims his only motive was sticking up for a student who received a death threat.

  416. #417 E.V.
    July 24, 2008

    Steph:
    …and the horse you rode in on.

  417. #418 Jim RL
    July 24, 2008

    chicago,

    You list a bunch of supposed miracles that are recognized by Catholic dioceses. Were any of them recognized by medical professionals? Someone should be able to track down that one in 1999. Also, haven’t millions of people visited Lourdes looking for a miracle? You only have less than 20 examples. That is a very low success rate. What did all those other people do wrong?

    Also, the miracles peaked 50 years ago. It was one a year in the 50′s then only 1-2 every decade afterwards. Could that be because healthy modern skepticism would have easily found fraud in many of the earlier “miracles”?

  418. #419 Ken Cope
    July 24, 2008

    Explanation please – Rob

    Whether it’s Fatima or the yet another televised megachurch collecting the tax-free donations, faith healing is never more than a grift and a fraud, and a profitable one at that.

    As the wise men say, “There’s a seeker born every minute,” so, “Never give a seeker an even break.”

  419. #420 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    Explanation please – Rob

    Oh allow me. Run a million people, with a bias to the credulous and religious, and you’ll get a crop of juicy anecdotes, some genuine spontaneous improvements (sheer numbers will do that) and some outright lies. I bet every one of your little stories, if there was any meaningful evidence to parse, would qualify as one of the above.

    If you can reliably repeat the results under controlled conditions then you’ve got something, otherwise, it’s just an anecdote, like Mohammed and the winged horse, or Joseph Smith and the golden plates.

  420. #421 Norman Doering
    July 24, 2008

    SDG wrote:

    However, there is no way we can believe what we do about the Eucharist and not regard something like this as a hurtful, hateful offense, not only against those whose disproportionate actions may have helped incite PZ’s wrath, but against all of us who hold the belief.

    It reminds me of some old Sufi stories:

    “One woman says to another, “Poor Maisie really has suffered for what she believes in.”
    “And what DOES she believe in?” asks the other.
    “She believes that you can wear a size six shoe on a size nine foot.”

    – Idries Shah

    Methinks you want to suffer, else how else would you know if you believed?

  421. #422 Ben
    July 24, 2008

    He acts as if his desecration is meaningless, and then draws out the drama for another day.

    Agreed. I hope he hurries up and posts images of pooped-on holier than holy crackers.

    From wikipedia:

    Suspense or tension is the feeling of uncertainty and interest about the outcome of certain actions, most often referring to an audience’s perceptions in a dramatic work. However, suspense is not exclusive to literature. Suspense can be considered as any situation where there a lead up to a big event or dramatic moment, with tension being a primary emotion felt as part of the situation.

    I am on the edge of my seat here. Show us the poopy cracker already!

  422. #423 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    …I had no idea that the church was supposed to make laws. I guess I’ll have to turn myself to the polic- Oh wait, you mean doctrines. Who cares.

    We’re not quite an angry mob. We’re an outraged mob. Why are you so pissed off anyway? Your bible does say “an eye for an eye.”

  423. #424 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Anyone who has studied Fatima at all knows those claims are bogus. – Dave Mueller

    [citation needed]

  424. #425 charfles
    July 24, 2008

    where is the “newspaper account” of a violent assault?

    Alright fucktard. I’ve done the work for you, here’s one linked from PZ’s original post:

    http://www.wftv.com/news/16806050/detail.html?rss=orlc&psp=news

    “Cook, who was raised Catholic, said he decided to bring the Eucharist home after a church leader tried to physically pry it from his hand.”

    It’s pretty obvious from Cook’s comments that he was threatened via e-mail as well. That not good enough for you? That’s not enough to get outraged over?

    asshole.

  425. #426 chicago
    July 24, 2008

    Prove that God didn’t do it Rob-
    As far as Gods love for you, what do you need god to come down and give you a hug? that’s why he gave you a mother. You don’t find it at all interesting that all of these cases have been in one way or another related to faith? faith in God. 70% percent of Doctors believe in miracles, but because God hasn’t reached down and given Rob a hug with his own two arms, therefore; God doesn’t exist for Rob or the rest of you.

  426. #427 puzzled
    July 24, 2008

    .. a nun prying a cracker from a hand is now a “violent physical assault”? I bet she was pretty buff!

    this just gets more hilarious….

    oh and still no mention of a death threat. :)

  427. #428 Michael X
    July 24, 2008

    TG, PZ claims to have received a cracker form those who sent them. He himself doesn’t believe that such a miracle takes place. So he need not care about how to prove it true as he believes the whole act to be false. All that matters for him is that he received crackers which the senders claim to be consecrated.

    As for you, I’m trying to state that I don’t believe you actually have the ability to tell between random crackers which has been consecrated and which has not.

    As for PZ, he’s making the point that for those of us who are not Catholic, we will not show undue respect for or condone threats of violence made out of care for an unprovable belief.

  428. #429 BobC
    July 24, 2008

    puzzled, The death threats were just a small part of the problem. The student was assaulted (which you deny which proves you know nothing about what happened). Catholics are now trying to get two students expelled and one professor fired.

    By the way, did I mention you’re a lying asshole? You said you were an atheist but you called the cracker a host. No atheist would say that.

  429. #430 Dahan
    July 24, 2008

    Dave Mueller at 378,

    So same question for you then. Do you believe in all the miracles and such that other religions claim? You know, the ones from Islam, Shinto, Norse Mythology, Janeism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, etc? Hey, Check out the Hindu Milk Miracle of 1995. Thousands of people experienced it. It MUST be true! But wait, it can’t be right, because it’s not your religion.
    You’re just as skeptical as us atheists in regards to every other religion but yours gets a free pass? Well that’s bullshit.
    When you can show why your “miracles” are better and more authentic than anyone else’s, come back and we can talk. Until then, you should probably just sit in the corner and not let on how gullible you are.

  430. #431 Michael X
    July 24, 2008

    No, no, Chicago. You have to disprove all the things Allah has done.

  431. #432 Rob
    July 24, 2008

    @Chicago:

    You don’t understand science and logic do you? You’re making the claim, YOU make the proof. All you’re doing is arguing from ignorance.

    The blasphemy on these threads prove god doesn’t exist, does it not? The god of the bible would strike everyone here dead.

    Anyone? Anyone? Jehovah? Anyone?

  432. #433 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    Um… chicago… why does saying that 70% of doctors believe in miracles somehow make the existence of miracles credible? Medical doctors are regular people. There is this misconception that they are somehow brilliant. I assure you, they are no more brilliant than the average person.

    In my little universe, no gods exist. Leave it at that, won’t you?

  433. #435 Laughin_Guy
    July 24, 2008

    Say, BobC?

    You must have had a really tough time of it in high school, didn’t you little guy?

    *laughing*

  434. #436 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Hey Nick Gotts … It’s just a frackin’ blob of cells.
    - Jack Picknell

    No you psychopathic scumbag, PZ’s son is a person.

  435. #437 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    @Puzzled: they did mention death threats in another article. Anyway, yes, a nun trying to pry your hands is a violent act. You CANNOT, under any circumstances, assault a person. The moment you try to force someone’s body (fingers or anything), it becomes an assault. That’s the law.

    This was a physical assault and personally I would’ve sued that bitch.

  436. #438 TripMaster Monkey
    July 24, 2008

    chicago sez:

    Prove that God didn’t do it Rob-

    If I can jump in…

    Chicago, it is not up to Rob to prove God didn’t do it. You made the claim that God did do it, you are the one responsible for proving your claim. I can just as easily claim that Russell’s Teapot worked those “miracles”, and it would by just as absurd to expect you to prove it didn’t.

  437. #439 Rich Stage
    July 24, 2008

    Prove that God didn’t do it Rob-

    –Chicago

    Prove that Thor didn’t do it, moron.

    Anything your jeebus can do, Thor can do better. Thor can do anything better than you. Now with more lightning!

    I can’t believe you were stooooopid enough to pull out that argument here, Chicago. It’s hard for me to understand how you can remember to breathe with all your stupid.

  438. #440 Jack PIcknell
    July 24, 2008

    To those who attempt to convince an atheist of hte truth, remember;

    Proverbs 27:22
    “Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.”

    Matthew 7:6
    “Never give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs. Otherwise, they will trample them with their feet and then turn around and attack you.”

    The abusive, insulting, vulgar responses these atheists post is certain proof of the validity of these scriptures.

    Praise be to God the Father Almighty and all Honour and Glory to His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

  439. #441 Jack PIcknell
    July 24, 2008

    To those who attempt to convince an atheist of the truth, remember;

    Proverbs 27:22
    “Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.”

    Matthew 7:6
    “Never give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs. Otherwise, they will trample them with their feet and then turn around and attack you.”

    The abusive, insulting, vulgar responses these atheists post is certain proof of the validity of these scriptures.

    Praise be to God the Father Almighty and all Honour and Glory to His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

  440. #442 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    “Consider me a former secularist now. This intolerance from this professor, is embarrassing to the human race.”

    If you are so easily dissuaded from secularism then I have to question how committed you were.

    Still, I hope you find the theocracy you clearly want. Just make sure it is nowhere near me.

  441. #443 BobC
    July 24, 2008

    .. a nun prying a cracker from a hand is now a “violent physical assault”?

    It wasn’t a nun, moron. Some shithead grabbed his arm and tried pry his fingers away from the cracker, or what you call a host because you’re a Catholic (not an atheist as you claimed you lying shithead). Yes, that’s violent. If somebody grabbed my arm and tried to pry my fingers open he would get clobbered.

    By the way puzzled, did I mention you’re a liar?

  442. #444 Jim RL
    July 24, 2008

    chicago, can you prove that I didn’t do it? Can you prove the FSM didn’t do it? No you can’t. You have a list of church recognized “miracles” that magically has trailed off over time. The miracle rate is also really low. Does that also mean if my loved ones die it’s because they didn’t deserve a miracle that costs god nothing?

    Also, you do realize that atheists also get spontaneous cancer remission at the same rate as theists.

  443. #445 charfles
    July 24, 2008

    oh and still no mention of a death threat. :)

    You have trouble with the internet I see. http://news.google.com, search for “webster cook death threat” or ANYTHING similar and you’ll find plenty of articles to suit your fancy.

    Is that what you really want though? A death threat. The physical force, threats of breaking and entering, the REAL proceedings to get this student expelled. All of that is ok with you? We don’t need a fucking death threat to get angry over something.

  444. #446 Ben
    July 24, 2008

    Praise be to God the Father Almighty and all Honour and Glory to His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

    real original.

  445. #447 puzzled
    July 24, 2008

    Hi Asylumseeker,

    nice articles but still no death threats re: webster cook. . . threats to steal the wafer “back” and telling him he would go to hell if he didn’t return the host, but no death threats.

    thanks for the links, though.

  446. #448 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    Jack, don’t make us start posting quotes from other books on how ridiculous religious ideas are. They’d have just as much authority as your book, which is, after all, just a book like any other book.

  447. #449 Aug.
    July 24, 2008

    it’s funny how you said there isn’t any kind of religion on earth that deserve respect when you all treat atheism as if it is your own religion, and say people should “respect” your “Godless” beliefs…

    And hey, it’s BREAD, not crackers..
    seriously, if you all love science and reason so much, at least you should be more “scientific” and “specific” on what you’re talking about.

  448. #450 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    As for the claim 70% of doctors believing in miracles, I suspect that what the data really showed is that a large number of doctors accept that some patients die when they do not expect them to, some patients live longer that they expect them to, and some patients end up cured and they cannot explain how the cure happened.

    Not miracles, just doctors realising that the human body is a complex thing, and sometimes things happen in it that they cannot yet explain.

  449. #451 Steve_C
    July 24, 2008

    Chicago. Get a grip.

    Hey puzzled. I don’t believe you’re an atheist.
    I think you’re a concern troll.
    Are you a former Catholic?

  450. #452 El Herring
    July 24, 2008

    Spike Milligan brilliantly sent up the idea of ridiculous beliefs:

    (Knock on door)

    “Good afternoon madam. We’re Jehovah’s Burglars.”

    “Jehova’s Burglars?”

    “Yes madam, and we’re being persecuted by the police over our beliefs.”

    “What beliefs?”

    “We believe you have a lot of valuables in your house…”

  451. #453 Dave Mueller
    July 24, 2008

    For details on Fatima, you only need read the wikipedia article to know it wasn’t a fraud perpetrated by the Portuguese Church.

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

    Call it strange atmospheric phenomena if you like, but a fraud!?! That’s a joke.

    BTW, regarding another discussion, the cures at Lourdes (and those used to canonize saints) are ALL approved by medical doctors. I used to have a link that described the process in detail…I’ll see if I can find it.

  452. #454 TG
    July 24, 2008

    “I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address.” – PZ

    You have it all gargled, MX.

    PZ specifically refers to “consecrated” communion wafers. The burden of proof that he has one and has done something to it is uopn him and him alone. If it boils down to the word of the guy who sent it to him in the mail – ROTFLMAO! That’s some really great science for you.

  453. #455 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    “It’s funny how you said there isn’t any kind of religion on earth that deserve respect when you all treat atheism as if it is your own religion, and say people should “respect” your “Godless” beliefs…”

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

  454. #456 BlueIndependent
    July 24, 2008

    puzzled @ 369:

    You don’t seem to get it. How is PZ’s criticism of religion the same as conducting science? The fact is, it’s not. He’s criticizing religious beliefs that are not based in reality, and have no proof. Science is what he does in his day job, a completely separate thing. Criticizing religious belief is what he does outside of that. I can be a professional in one industry, and criticize something in another area. It happens all the time. Are you incapable of, or just unwilling to make, this distinction?

    “again, this all allegedly started because as many of the chorus have stated, pz was making the case that a cracker was worth less than a human and he didn’t like that webster cook got death threats for stealing a host; yet no one has proven that cook actually got death threats…..

    only that pz did, after he made his own threats….interesting. “

    No, you apparently do not know the back story, or have forgotten it: This started because Mr. Cook took a wafer out of church, and a furor over his having done so ensued. PZ then criticized (rightly) the furor for all its pathetic hand-wringing and yelling over a simple piece of bread and the ease with which religious anger is stoked at the slightest touch, and begins receiving “prayers” and physical threats on his person. All this is really a case study in how Christians act much the same way they perceive the acts of Muslims or adherents of other religions when something is perceived as being disrespected. Mulims in Afghanistan threw a fit when a former Mulism converted to Christianity. Christians here would likely take similar offense to a Christian going Muslim. How do I know this? Well, there are still plenty of Christians willing to go about beating Jews over the head with the Jesus thing, so it stands to reason any other deviance from Christianity would similarly be uh, frowned upon. Christians here will claim they don’t act like Muslims over there, but really, this is a function of the rule of law, and if this society was theocratic as many Christians seem to think or wish it was, well frankly, they’d be doing everything fundamentalist Muslims in the ME do now. Only law helps prevent (though not entirely) religious sectarian violence from spreading uncontrollably.

    But to the point, are you seriously going to argue Mr. Cook did NOT receive death threats, when PZ did? People have gotten death threats for far less than what Mr. Cook did. I can pretty much guarantee he’s gotten at least a couple. That Mr. Cook doesn’t have the kind of visiblity PZ does, does not change the liklihood of Mr. Cook having received them or not. Frankly, PZ’s criticism likely brought over a bunch of the same powerless, angry, busy body idiots that were jumping all over Mr. Cook.

    You continue to make PZ’s point: That religion places undue deference on false icons and rituals, and makes otherwise normal people fairly well nuts if a certain object is criticised in any way. PZ did not make a “threat”; that you treat his disrespect of what truly is a cracker (it IS manufactured as such, and is such until it goes through the ceremony, according to the beliefs of the Catholic community) as a dire threat really speaks to how fragile the religious mind can be when it comes to someone who is frank in their deviance from religious traditions. If the body of Christ can be desecrated, how sacred is it really? How powerful ccould it possibly be, if a mere mortal has the power to single-0handedly reduce its value, tarnish it, etc.?

    Answer that question.

    If you answer it any other way than that it is in fact still divine, and truly unalterable by man once it has undergone the proper ritual, than nothing any single huan being does to the “consecrated body” would mean anything, because it is divine now, and beyond the power of mortals to ruin it. If you don’t think this, then is follows that you really trhink your god, Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, whoever, is not nearly as powerful as you claim he/she/it is. You cannot claim an unproveable being has universal power beyond imagination, and then argue that a man doing something to a cracker completely reduces the being’s value, or in any way affects said being in a serious and negative way. You’re trying to have it both ways.

    The point is, you dseserve respect for thinking something different about the supposed afterlife, life in general, whatever. What you do not however get automatic respect for, and have no right to demand it for, are fairy tales that cannot be proven or studied, are untestable, do not appear to benefit mankind in any measureable way, etc. I do not have to respect that someone may think reality was created in 6 days by some being I haven’t seen. You do however, have to respect things that can be proven to exist, or are real and can be observed, studied, etc.

  455. #457 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    Aug, atheism is not a religion. It is a lack thereof. Also, crackers ARE bread. Hard and crumbly bread. Like a communion wafer.

  456. #458 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    70% percent of Doctors believe in miracles – chicago

    [citation needed]

  457. #459 TS
    July 24, 2008

    >If you are so easily dissuaded from secularism then I have to question how committed you were.

    I can say the same about those who left their religions because they saw bad examples there.

    I regret being a secularist, the hatred here is proof that the secularism is the wrong way.

  458. #460 Dahan
    July 24, 2008

    Jack PIcknell into the dungeon for Godbotting.

  459. #461 charfles
    July 24, 2008

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,378081,00.html

    puzzled is an appropriate name. Must be referring to the English language or maybe the whole concept of the intertubes.

  460. #462 Michelle
    July 24, 2008

    @Puzzled: Goddamnit, Puzzled. THE INTERNET! USE IT! What a twat.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,378081,00.html

    (forgive me father for I have sinned and posted something from FOX…)

  461. #463 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    Call it strange atmospheric phenomena if you like, but a fraud!?! That’s a joke.

    No, if it was indeed an atmospheric phenomenon then for the Catholic Church to take credit for it is fraud.

  462. #464 BobC
    July 24, 2008

    puzzled claimed he’s an atheist but he calls a cracker a host.

    I noticed puzzled has chosen to not repeat his lie and he hasn’t defended his atheist claim.

    It’s obvious Mr. Puzzled is a liar, and it’s obvious he’s a Catholic.

  463. #465 Jim RL
    July 24, 2008

    Aug, we don’t ask everyone to respect our beliefs. You can say whatever you want about atheism, just accept my right to argue back. If you think atheism or secularism is utter bullshit you just better have an argument to back it up. We won’t run and cry that you are mean to our cherished beliefs. We will just prove you wrong, and we may not be very nice while doing it because we’ve heard all the arguments before. There haven’t been original arguments for theism in centuries.

    Also, crackers are bread too.

  464. #466 JonathanL
    July 24, 2008

    Hi Asylumseeker,

    nice articles but still no death threats re: webster cook. . . threats to steal the wafer “back” and telling him he would go to hell if he didn’t return the host, but no death threats.

    thanks for the links, though.

    You mean aside from the news article titled “College Student Gets Death Threats for Smuggling ‘Body of Christ’”

    Webster Cook says he received death threats and eternal damnation after he removed a wafer of bread from his mouth during communion and smuggled it from the church in a Ziploc bag.

    Hmm? Wait let me guess now you are going to call him a liar even though you have been exposed as a liar here.

  465. #467 Rich Stage
    July 24, 2008

    nice articles but still no death threats re: webster cook. . . threats to steal the wafer “back” and telling him he would go to hell if he didn’t return the host, but no death threats.

    thanks for the links, though.

    Posted by: puzzled

    Google and ye shall find:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,378081,00.html
    http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/148476/woman_fired_over_death_threat_sent_from_work_email.html

  466. #468 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    Is there an assumption among the religious that atheists were once religious? What about those of us who never had a religion, and who never believed in a god?

  467. #469 CJO
    July 24, 2008

    And hey, it’s BREAD, not crackers..

    Really? I thought it was supposed literally to be the flesh and blood of our lord and savior, holy of holies, precious beyond compare.

    As Moses pointed out, for a bunch of dogmatists, cracker worshippers seem a mite divided over what is actually at stake here.

  468. #470 Logicel
    July 24, 2008

    A common ploy used by the flood of religites since crackergate hit the intertubes, is that PZ is acting immaturely and rebelliously. Mr. (I refused to refer to him as father as I already have one) J, especially and repeatedly offered this feeble explanation. Mr. J does realize that PZ is 50ish?

    Rigid, blinkered, dogmatically authoritarian people adore hurling the juvenile label when their authority is justifiably challenged. Also, Mr. J, was fond of referring to PZ as being indecent. Indecent is one of those words that are descriptive per the parameters of the user. My parameters says that Mr. J is indecent, with his patronizing, flimsy appeal to blind/dogmatic authority and to what he consider comprises civility. Give me a honest, non-civil person any day over the likes of puffed up, stuffed with inanity and crazy beliefs people like Mr. J.

    Mr. J types are exhibiting their clueless state when they think that it is mere rebellion with which they are dealing. They are dealing instead with very determined, well educated, insightful, courageous people who have decided that it is finally the time to challenge religious beliefs consistently and without abating. No more respect for religious beliefs–just respect for the right to have religious beliefs.

    And I want to repeat what a high opinion I do have of PZ–he is a funny, smart, and brave fellow. As Dawkins says of him, an hero for our times.

  469. #471 gdlchmst
    July 24, 2008

    it’s funny how you said there isn’t any kind of religion on earth that deserve respect when you all treat atheism as if it is your own religion, and say people should “respect” your “Godless” beliefs…

    Uh no. For the thousandth time, atheism is not a religion. And no one ever asked you to respect my beliefs. I wouldn’t expect something so unrealistic.

    And hey, it’s BREAD, not crackers..

    Oh the irony. Bread is fermented, crackers are not. But I like the forceful tone you used, really shows off your ignorance.

  470. #472 Steph
    July 24, 2008

    The abusive, insulting, vulgar responses these atheists post is certain proof of the validity of these scriptures.

    Here forward, if anyone I know is tempted to adopt atheism, I will direct them to the comments of this blog to demonstrate the organic outcome of such belief.

  471. #473 Andrés Diplotti
    July 24, 2008

    El Herring #451, that’s a lot like something in Terry Pratchett’s Pyramids:

    ‘You were being persecuted,’ said Teppic. ‘That’s why you fled into the desert.’

    ‘Oh, yes. You’re right. Damn right. I was being persecuted for my beliefs.’

    ‘That’s terrible,’ said Teppic.

    Khuft spat. ‘Damn right. I believed people wouldn’t notice I’d sold them camels with plaster teeth until I was well out of town.’

  472. #474 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    I can say the same about those who left their religions because they saw bad examples there.

    I regret being a secularist, the hatred here is proof that the secularism is the wrong way.

    As I said, good luck with your theocracy. I assume you will be happy taking orders from whichever religious leader gets put in charge, because of course you will not have a say in it. Authoritarian dictatorships, be they run by theists or atheists are not normally very pleasant.

  473. #475 BlueIndependent
    July 24, 2008

    Theists alwways run to the “atheism is a religion too!” excuse when they’re getting pwned. They can’t explain why the lack of religion is a religion, probably because that’s an oxymoron grammatically, and a complete paradox logically.

    It really is looking for the closest available thing to throw when they run to that one.

  474. #476 Aug.
    July 24, 2008

    quoted from http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jul/08072309.html

    “But the curious thing is that [Dr. Myers] cannot rest with mere verbal blasphemies. He has to get a host in his hands and destroy it with a savage glee that, curiously, places him not among scientists but among the most magical-thinking Bronze Age fanatics.”

    Oh, and isn’t it interesting that when a Prof in Iowa State University was found to have a bible on her desk, she is fired immediately, whereas, Prof. Myers will not be subject to any disciplinary action from UMM even if he has expressed clear disrespect to other’s belief both in words and in action?

  475. #477 Rayven Alandria
    July 24, 2008

    Michelle wrote

    “Sigh. Okay look, first your name isn’t very common so telling a guy to not sign his full title cuz it’s not careful is the same as me saying to not sign your name because there isn’t a load of Rayven Alandrias around. Not that I think that this other guy or you are in any threat.

    Second… Don’t go the “You might get killed by the side that disagrees” alley. You sound smart, you should be above such paranoia. It doesn’t work that way. There are killers everywhere, and killers are INSANE. Their religious allegiance does not matter. There are murdering christians, there are murdering muslims, there are murdering atheists, there are murdering jews, there are murdering raelians. Insanity, lack of morals… they have nothing to do with what your faith or lack of faith is. It’s social.”

    ___________________

    Do you seriously think Rayven Alandria is my real name? Although I do use it quite a lot, it is not my legal name. Very few people know my real name.

    Although you are correct, there are insane people everywhere, they are more likely to be religious than not. I have no doubt there are a few crazy Atheists. My point was that although I don’t think he has anything to fear about posting his name here, he should be more responsible in the future.

    Whether you like it or not, most of the whackos he might run across who would do him harm would be of the religious persuasion. Do a little research into the prevalence of religious belief in the mentally ill.

  476. #478 Blondin
    July 24, 2008

    Here’s an interesting parallel in today’s news:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080724/od_nm/model_flag_dc_1

    A Peruvian model posed nude on a horse using a flag as a saddle. Like Webster Cook there was no disrespect intended (initially) but she is now facing a possible 4 year prison term for disrespecting a symbol.

    Oh yes. That’s the kind of reaction that really deserves our respect (NOT)!

  477. #480 Turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Dahan (message 429) You accused me of not responding to your question as well. But I did in message 138, I just did not feel like telling you that. But I will repost it here now so we do not have to hear you ask the same question again again.
    ————————————–

    Dahan from Message #81: You are wrong on your assumption about me disbelieving in Hindu miracle claims. And how do additional miracles bolster the atheist’s argument of No God anyway? Hindu glass cows exuding milk. I believe it, and I believe it is supernatural. Another one drinking milk. I believe it to be supernatural. Other supernatural manifestations from the Islam or Buddhist faiths. I believe them that they are supernatural. I am not looking for crazy improbable “natural” answers to try to explain them away..
    I am of strong belief most of these “hard-to-explain-away” well documented manifestations of any faith, or no faith, are either of God or are diabolic. I will not offer an opinion on most if they are diabolic or not, such as those in the Hindu faith. Actually, I will. I am guessing they are godly directing the believers towards some virtue.
    I do not believe the Christian faith is the true faith because of the miracles I have put forth. I believe that is but one important ingredient. So much more is necessary to validate which faith is the true faith. The magnanimous degree of the manifestation carries weight. Even more so does the very detailed message and the fruits of the event. Beyond miracles, is what else does the faith claim and have to offer? The historical record. The charity of the faith. The incomparable saints. So and so on. Far more is required, agreed. I just cannot go into all that right now, but that is actually the greater reason why I accept Christianity as the fullest and most truthful of God’s message. The miracles assist in validating it for me, not in demonstrating it’s main importance or message.
    Sidenote: If there ever were any so-called UFO appartions that really took place and were seen by humans — those I believe to be demonic apparitions in order to deceive those more readily open to decption. You know that funny looking red guy with a pitchfork? Just a cartoon to you of course.

    Posted by: Turzovka | July 24, 2008 11:10 AM

  478. #481 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    Steph… people don’t “adopt” atheism. They just stop believing in whatever they believed before, assuming that they believed in something before.

  479. #482 BlueIndependent
    July 24, 2008

    “I regret being a secularist, the hatred here is proof that the secularism is the wrong way.”

    Right. Because a theocracy or authoritarian state just sounds like a much more appealing option. Well feel free to move to one of those. Let me know in two weeks how it’s going. I suggest moving to one where you’ll be an oppressed minority, just to get the full effect.

    You intentionally confuse criticism with hate, another symptom of religious thinking. Secularism is what allows you to live peacefully with your worldview amongst others that don’t share it. It’s pretty obvious you don’t really know the definition of secularism, you just ate what someone told you about it.

  480. #483 TS
    July 24, 2008

    >As I said, good luck with your theocracy

    I’m not supporting a theocracy. I’m merely voicing my disgust at how PEOPLE are being treated simply for having a different viewpoint.

    Dehumanizing is what is being done when, simply for disagreeing, one is demonized and treated like dirt.

    Thanks again, for giving more reasons. Your knee-jerk fear of authority outside of the self is not reasonable. Science is still one, no need to be afraid of it.

  481. #484 TG
    July 24, 2008

    And, oh…MX. If what PZ claims to have was an unconsecrated host (just a “cracker”), instead of a consecrated one (the body of Christ), then no descration could have taken place according to the Catholic Church. He claimed he’d “descrate” a “conscrated communion wafer”, though.

    So, PZ has cornered himself with and has no way “out” as you point out. We shall wait with bated breath to see how he proves he has done was he claims in writing. Scientific publishing 101.

  482. #485 JonathanL
    July 24, 2008

    Here forward, if anyone I know is tempted to adopt atheism, I will direct them to the comments of this blog to demonstrate the organic outcome of such belief.

    Please do! Hopefully unlike you they might read the rest of the posts and discussions on this blog which are usually lively, informative, funny and quite friendly.

  483. #486 Dave Mueller
    July 24, 2008

    #462…as I said earlier, if it was strange atmospheric phenomena that took place at Fatima, it’s still awfully strange that it occurred at the exact place and the exact time that a miracle was predicted by the children.

    And, let’s be clear, the phenomenon was strange enough that it hasn’t been classed into any existing category of known atmospheric phenomena. Plus, there are details of the ground suddenly being completely dry which don’t fit into that classification.

  484. #487 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    TS: PEOPLE are not being mistreated. Symbols are.

  485. #488 El Herring
    July 24, 2008

    Thank you Andrés Diplotti, I’m a big Pratchett fan. I wonder what he’d make of all this nonsense. I’m sure he’s already aware of it, he’s quite internet-savvy. I wouldn’t put it past him to be anonymously posting here already.

    I’d recommend Pratchett’s book Small Gods too, for everyone here, whatever your beliefs.

  486. #489 JoJo
    July 24, 2008

    Michelle #461

    (forgive me father for I have sinned and posted something from FOX…)

    It’s all right, my child. Puzzled will be more likely to accept Fox, the home of the rabidly Catholic Bill O’Reilly, than most other sources. Now go and sin no more.

  487. #490 Dahan
    July 24, 2008

    Chicago? Dave? Turzovka?

    Hello?

    Yep. A deafening silence. That’s what we hear from all these christians when asked why we should believe in their miracles more than anyone else’s. It never ceases to amaze me that otherwise rational people would believe batshit crazy claims from one group, but not another, just because mommy and daddy brought them up to believe in the one.

    Time to grow up and think for yourself. Time to realize that you’ve been had. There’s no shame in it. Many of us here were at one time too.

  488. #491 gdlchmst
    July 24, 2008

    “But the curious thing is that [Dr. Myers] cannot rest with mere verbal blasphemies. He has to get a host in his hands and destroy it with a savage glee that, curiously, places him not among scientists but among the most magical-thinking Bronze Age fanatics.”

    I disagree. PZ is a socially conscious scientist, exactly what we need.

    Oh, and isn’t it interesting that when a Prof in Iowa State University was found to have a bible on her desk, she is fired immediately, whereas, Prof. Myers will not be subject to any disciplinary action from UMM even if he has expressed clear disrespect to other’s belief both in words and in action?

    I call BS.

  489. #492 TS
    July 24, 2008

    >Secularism is what allows you to live peacefully with your worldview amongst others that don’t share it.

    What peace? What I see here is a professor who shows contempt for people who don’t share his holy viewpoint? How he is he different from the relgionists you rail against?

    If he were truly at peace, he wouldn’t have to dehumanize others by pulling some moronic stunt – and ASKING FOR ATTENTION while doing it!

  490. #493 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Dave Mueller@452
    I have read the wikipedia article. Completely inconclusive in any direction, but the most likely explanation is the combination of a vague prophecy of a miracle, a suggestible crowd, and possibly (but by no means necessarily) an unusual meteorological phenomenon – followed by susbsequent hyping of the story for ideological and monetary gain.

    Palmira cited a specific book, «Fátima nunca mais», by a Portuguese Catholic priest. (This was Fr. Mario de Oliviera.) So why has this Portuguese Catholic priest remained unconvinced?

  491. #494 SDG
    July 24, 2008

    CJO @#379:

    You can’t quite bring yourself to say it, can you? It’s a secular society with freedom of expression as a foundational principle, and, as such, it cannot have provisions with the force of law that require “deference to the sacred affinities of others.” Yet that’s what you want, and that’s the entire reason PZ did what he did.

    As the only even remotely reasonable commenter who’s come here over this “from the other side,” please explain to me how you yourself can make the point, and then fail to see it?

    Thanks for what may have been the most generous compliment within your capacity to pay me. :-)

    You seem to be a bit off both on my motives and the thrust of my case. I chose “desacrilized” rather than “secular” not because I “can’t bring myself to say” secular, but because for my purposes “desacrilized” was more precise. “Secular” as you are using I take to have legal or constitutional significance (separation of church and state and all that); “desacrilized” as I was using it was a socio-cultural term, denoting a generalized atrophy of the sense of the sacred.

    Where on earth did you get the notion I had any brief regarding “force of law”? Haven’t said one word about it. What I said is that PZ’s actions are “just plain incivil, and should be generally recognized by civil people as socially unacceptable.” Is that any clearer?

  492. #495 Brownian, OM
    July 24, 2008

    If there ever were any so-called UFO appartions that really took place and were seen by humans — those I believe to be demonic apparitions in order to deceive those more readily open to decption. You know that funny looking red guy with a pitchfork? Just a cartoon to you of course.

    Not a cartoon; a convenient apologetic. Lessee, miracles that confirm one’s faith: evidence of God. Miracles that don’t: evidence of the devil AKA evidence for God.

    It’s a damn shame that your brain was so molested as a child by these purveyors of lies, but did it ever occur to you to break the cycle?

    Sidenote: You really should look into the history of the devil in Christianity before you go spouting off your ‘knowledge’ if him. Then again, we already know how you deal with inconvenient information: The DEVIL did it!

    Logic: just a word to you of course.

  493. #496 Matt Penfold
    July 24, 2008

    I’m not supporting a theocracy. I’m merely voicing my disgust at how PEOPLE are being treated simply for having a different viewpoint.

    Dehumanizing is what is being done when, simply for disagreeing, one is demonized and treated like dirt.

    Thanks again, for giving more reasons. Your knee-jerk fear of authority outside of the self is not reasonable. Science is still one, no need to be afraid of it.

    Well if you are not supporting a theocracy you are certainly demanding that the rights of most religious and non-religious people be curtailed.

    A secular society is one which religion does not play a role in public life. In such a society if you wish to advance a policy you cannot get away with saying that it is your religious belief. A secular society also does not prevent people from practising their religion, although it may well stop them from imposing their religiously based moral views on others. You do not want that, so that does suggest you think religious freedom should be curtailed for some, and that the religious morals of one group be imposed on everyone.

    That sure sounds like a theocracy to me. Have you never heard of the Enlightenment ? The idea that evidence and reason should be used to decide how we are governed ?

  494. #497 TS
    July 24, 2008

    >TS: PEOPLE are not being mistreated. Symbols are.

    That’s nonsense. Look at the contempt he is showering on the people who dare to disagree with him. He dehumanizes anyone who disagrees with him.

    Feel free to defend dehumanization. I won’t join you.

  495. #498 gdlchmst
    July 24, 2008

    TS, I’m not sure that you know what “dehumanize” means.

  496. #499 turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Dahan (#489),

    If you can read English respond with one of these. ;)

    Because I have posted to your question twice now. The one you think is some smoking gun. Read it (#138) and (#479)digest it. Then give us your expert opinion why God is a joke or Catholics are or communion is or whatever else it is that makes you puff up like a peacock.

  497. #500 Nick Gotts
    July 24, 2008

    Plus, there are details of the ground suddenly being completely dry which don’t fit into that classification.
    - Dave Mueller

    What proof is there that that claim is true?

  498. #501 Rob
    July 24, 2008

    @TS:

    I’ve only seen contempt against people with unsupportable positions.

  499. #502 TripMaster Monkey
    July 24, 2008

    TS sez:

    That’s nonsense. Look at the contempt he is showering on the people who dare to disagree with him. He dehumanizes anyone who disagrees with him.

    No, TS, by abandoning reason in favor of superstition and ignorance, they’re doing a fine job of dehumanizing themselves. PZ is just the guy with the flashlight.

  500. #503 Steve_C
    July 24, 2008

    Hehe. DEMONS! Too funny. I guess if you believe the bible you ahve to believe in all sorts of wacky shit.

    Demons
    Angels
    Archangels
    Leviathans
    Talking Burning Bushes
    Giants
    Arc of the Covenant
    Zombies

    Sounds like a night of TV on the Chiller Channel.

  501. #504 Sastra
    July 24, 2008

    SDG #344 wrote:

    In our desacrilized society, it is hard to find parallels in common human experience for the notion of sacredness, or for deference to the sacred affinities of others.

    In a sense, the idea of the “sacred” is very common in the secular world. It’s there in dogmas which must not be questioned, questions which must not be asked, ideas which must not be challenged, people who must not be crossed, and irrational claims which must be defended by appeals to rhetoric, fallacy, emotion, misdirection, and violence — instead of by reason.

    I use this analogy as an addition to your reasonable analogy of desecrating the dead, because ‘hurt feelings’ are not the only issue here. PZ seems to be trying to restore a rational perspective to what has just been revered too much by performing an act of irreverence. He is trying to point out the obvious: no one is truly harmed when the sacred is violated. The “hurtful, hateful offense” hurts no one, and the scorn in the act is directed not at the believers, but at the high value put on Belief itself. Beliefs should only be as good as what backs them up.

    There’s a lot of talk about respect for the sensitivities of others, but I sense a form of disrespect lurking under the heartfelt pleas. The idea seems to be that Catholics simply shouldn’t be expected to handle insolence. They can’t reason with secular logic, and think of the Eucharist as a cracker, and both Cook and PZ as minor annoyances. They just can’t be held to the same standards we nonbelievers hold ourselves — either because they’re weak, simpleminded, and have been brainwashed, or because they’re operating on the higher, loftier, more spiritual plane of Faith. Not only atheists, but society itself needs to recognize this, and cordon off certain areas and actions as just too hard for religious people to handle.

    I don’t know. Maybe I have more ‘faith’ in the religious than that. I don’t think we’re really all that different. And if my mother’s remains were not treated with proper deference, I would struggle hard to keep in mind that there are bigger problems, and my automatic reactions are not necessarily reliable. It’s not really my mother. It’s just a frickin’ corpse.

    there is no way we can believe what we do about the Eucharist and not regard something like this as a hurtful, hateful offense

    Ah, but I think you can believe some of what you do about the Eucharist, and regard ‘something like this’ as a minor annoyance at best. As a longterm goal, it might be a good idea. The Catholic Church has already improved a lot.

    Bottom line, the emperor has no clothes, and I still think your sense of outrage needs to be tempered by the recognition that having a convinced faith that the emperor does indeed have clothes is not necessarily a crowning act of moral strength, and will not be recognized as such by others. In fact, it shouldn’t be recognized as such by others. We all need reminders not to take the common ground too lightly, for it’s what we all stand on, religious or not.

    Perhaps it’s a bit of a standoff. If PZ is not exactly behaving with the decorum usually expected of a university professor (which is arguable), then the overwrought handringing and pleas for mercy are not exactly the behavior expected of the heirs of Erasmus, either.

  502. #505 Michael
    July 24, 2008

    #27 It’s plain to see the joke’s on PZ.

    IIRC, this all started out with PZ saying something like “It’s just a cracker, fer cryin’ out loud”. Plainly it’s not just a cracker.

    No, here is what provoked a lot of angry responses from Catholics…PZ wrote this on July 8, 2008…

    “Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers?” Myers continued by saying, “if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web.”

    To me, this is playground trash talking, on public funds rather than his own funds. Anyway, the outrage wasn’t sparked by a mere little joke saying the “wafer is just a cracker.”

  503. #506 Rey Fox
    July 24, 2008

    “If this list represents what happens to people when atheism is adopted”

    It doesn’t. It represents what happens when a multinational religious corporation starts witch hunts because someone misused a cracker and demanding undeserved deference. We get rude.

    “then the church was right to outlaw it (if the church indeed ever did.)”

    Yes, the church tortured and killed an awful lot of people because they were “angry and rude”. Such a shining moral beacon.

    -Brigadier General Arthur P. Jones (Mrs.)

  504. #507 Dave Mueller
    July 24, 2008

    #489, FYI, I was not brought up in the Catholic Faith but converted in young adulthood (23).

    Anyway, I can affirm Catholic miracles without denying others, as Turzovka has already said. Some are probably genuine, some probably not, but I have no need to investigate them. Miracles are not the primary reason that I believe in Catholicism, though I guess they are a piece of the puzzle, and my belief doesn’t depend upon claiming that ONLY Catholicism can have miracles.

  505. #508 rebelest
    July 24, 2008

    (For example, while it’s true that my commitment to my family is secondary to my commitment to Jesus, since Jesus is not harmed when the Eucharist is desecrated I can’t say I would rather see my family harmed than the Eucharist desecrated.)

    SDG@#344

    The fact that your commitment to your family is secondary to your commitment to Jesus is one of the many reasons that we atheists consider your religion to be poison/anathema. It also causes me to dismiss most of your pondering (just knowing that a person is a theist causes me to dismiss most of what they proffer as argumentation since they have already demonstrated to my satisfaction that they aren’t capable of reasonable thought)…if you believe in a deity you will believe in anything…your credulity is a profound weakness and should be remedied.

    So: I assert that the idea of “God” implies the abdication of human reason and justice and it (the god idea) is the most decisive negation of human liberty and necessarily ends in the enslavement of humankind both in theory and practice and that those who profess to worship “God” must harbor no childish illusions about the matter but humbly renounce their liberty and humanity.

  506. #509 NotAFuckTard
    July 24, 2008

    Posted by: Laughin_Guy | July 24, 2008 1:50 PM

    Try trolling HARDER.

  507. #510 spurges
    July 24, 2008

    TS blathered

    “Look at the contempt he is showering on the people who dare to disagree with him.”

    He is showing contempt for people who care more about a cracker than people.

    Get that through your thick skull.

  508. #511 Dave Mueller
    July 24, 2008

    #489, FYI, I was not brought up in the Catholic Faith but converted in young adulthood (23).

    Anyway, I can affirm Catholic miracles without denying others, as Turzovka has already said. Some of the non-Catholic ones are probably genuine, some probably not, but I have no need to investigate them. Miracles are not the primary reason that I believe in Catholicism, though I guess they are a piece of the puzzle, and my belief doesn’t depend upon claiming that ONLY Catholicism can have miracles.

  509. #512 TS
    July 24, 2008

    >I’ve only seen contempt against people with unsupportable positions.

    You mean we should dehumanize anyone with unsupportable positions? How is this different from what the religionists do?

    Dehumanization is always illogical, and irrational.

  510. #513 turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Devils, yes, too funny hey Steve_C? I love how you are so sure that God is a phony. I thought we could not prove a negative? But you go ahead and laugh at the darkness. No God, hee, hee. Just keep believing that evolution happened all on its own. One day some animal said, JEE it would be nice to grow a liver, I never had one before. And that is how we got a liver. Not to mention a heart, brain, eye, ear, nervous system, lungs, et al. Just because “natural selection” had some inkling it might be neat to have.

  511. #514 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    TS: Bill Donahue said something to the effect that he couldn’t think of anything more vile than desecrating a communion wafer. Do you agree with that? Out of curiosity…

  512. #515 God
    July 24, 2008

    Worship me, or I will torture you forever

  513. #516 Steve_C
    July 24, 2008

    It’s just a cracker. And how exactly were public funds used?
    This was PZ’s response to The Catholic League harrasing the student. The point is that he won’t be bullied and that it is JUST a cracker, despite what Catholics believe.

  514. #517 TS
    July 24, 2008

    >He is showing contempt for people who care more about a cracker than people.
    > Get that through your thick skull.

    Dehumanization is always illogical, and irrational. Feel free to support dehumanization of others, I won’t join you.

  515. #518 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    “One day some animal said, JEE it would be nice to grow a liver, I never had one before. And that is how we got a liver. Not to mention a heart, brain, eye, ear, nervous system, lungs, et al. Just because “natural selection” had some inkling it might be neat to have.”

    Ugh. Just stop, alright? You’re making yourself look like a fool. Tell me you don’t believe what you wrote there… please.

  516. #519 kerovon
    July 24, 2008

    Michael (#504)

    “on public funds”? PZ isn’t being publicly funded to on this blog. Its hosted by Seed magazine. You might have a point if this was hosted by UMM, but the only way you could make that arguement is if you claim that because he eats food that he gets the money for through a public job, everything he does is publicly funded.

  517. #520 Steve_C
    July 24, 2008

    Hehehe! Turz is a riot!!!

    Demons are real! Evolution is a lie!!!

    Wow you’re a fucktard.

    But keep going, please, pretty please with Holy Water on top.

  518. #521 spurges
    July 24, 2008

    Dave Mueller

    You have no evidence that god caused any miracles.

    At best you have unexplained healing that you assume were done by god.

  519. #522 Cowboy Bob
    July 24, 2008

    Tard hearding is fun…ya sure, you betchya!

  520. #523 Dan L.
    July 24, 2008

    I want to address those that insist the boy “stole” the host:

    I was raised Catholic. While I don’t think I ever actually believed, I went to a fair many masses and received the eucharist on most of those occasions. Speaking from experience, there are no bouncers at Catholic churches screening for non-believers and heretics. Nor does anyone check that a congregant is a practicing Catholic before that person receives the eucharist. No one tells the congregation that failing to eat the host once it is received constitutes theft (or sacrilege for that matter).

    Now, suppose I were to throw a party and buy food for the guests. Suppose a guest pocketed some of the food and left with it. Would they be guilty of a crime? If I did not make it clear before offering the food that it must be consumed on the premises, then I imagine any court in the US would throw the case out at a preliminary hearing. Now, I understand that the host isn’t merely “food.” However, this argument is merely against the charge that removing the host from a church is “stealing.” It’s not stealing because the rules are not clear at the outset. Guilt is contingent on intent, and it is not clear that anyone who is ignorant of the cracker rules and disobeys them has the intention of stealing.

    As far as disrupting a religious service, no one knew that the service had been “disrupted” until after the fact. It’s not clear to me what it even means to disrupt an event post hoc. The kidnapping charge is ludicrous, but if it must be addressed: Jesus the Christ is legally dead. He has been a missing person for almost 2000 years, so even if some people think he’s still alive, he’s dead in the eyes of the law. Can’t kidnap a dead guy.

    Now, was it right for the young man to remove the host from the church? I certainly don’t think so. But I’m not sure it was clear to him that he was doing anything wrong. And Catholics responded to the event NOT by trying to make it clear that the host is a special cracker for believers only, but instead by bullying and harassing the young man.

    Bottom line is that there is reasonable doubt as to the intent of the boy in taking the host. Since that is the case, I think the Christian thing to do would be give him the benefit of the doubt and make it clear that what he did was wrong. Then if he did it again, there would be no need to bully; the Catholic church would have legal recourse.

  521. #524 turzovka
    July 24, 2008

    Steve_C and Amy: I am capable of getting a joke, too. For those who think ID is a joke, I find the fact there are those who reject God entirely or any involvement in the evolution process to be even more laughable. At some point a giraffe was nothing more than an amoeba sized animal right? At some point in the evolution game, a liver was formed and an eyball, brain, et al. because that early form of life had none of them. So how did it happen? Why “natural selection” of course which is some inanimate force or sensory world that decides it is more fit to go right than left. So somehow, some non-intelligent “force” or whatever your screwy definition tries to dance around, was the engine that brought about a liver where there once was none. OH, that is SOOOOO CREDIBLE! No ID, just our own little friend, natural selection.

  522. #525 CJO
    July 24, 2008

    What I said is that PZ’s actions are “just plain incivil, and should be generally recognized by civil people as socially unacceptable.” Is that any clearer?

    It amounts to the same thing, though. In a nominally democratic society, those actions “generally recognized…as socially unacceptable” are recognized as such in the body of law. Most people on that bus in Birrmingham, “civil people” all, no doubt thought Rosa Park’s actions were “just plain incivil.” I’m not trying to make a strong claim as to the necessity or rectitude of those actions versus PZ’s (or Cook’s) in this case, but I would like you to reflect on the idea that in a free society “unacceptable” doesn’t have the force that outraged Catholics want it to have. Offensive and incivil are subjective value judgements. In the eyes of the law, it was just a cracker –an object of negligible value that society has no general interest in protecting. In your eyes Cook did something rude; but that does not, and should not, carry any force, as it is nothing but an opinion with which anyone is free to disagree, as I do.

  523. #526 Dahan
    July 24, 2008

    Turzovka,

    Sorry for overlooking your post. Easy to do here right now, but I do try not to do it.

    First, you ask “And how do additional miracles bolster the atheist’s argument of No God anyway?”
    Well, I never said they would. You’re the one that claims to believe in them, not me. But I had only heard of you talking about the ones from christian mythology.

    Second, you claim to believe all sorts of supernatural things and state that you’re “not looking for crazy improbable “natural” answers to try to explain them away.. ”

    Hmmm, neither are we. Not crazy ones. Although nature can seem pretty crazy at times. This falls back to the same old saw about extraordinary claims needing extraordinary proof. Time and again, the proof part falls down in the miracle department.

    You speak of faith a lot. As Samuel Clemens once said “Faith is believing in something you know just ain’t true.” Faith is what people ask you to have when they can’t show you any proof of something. The claim of a god’s existence is an extraordinary claim, hard to think of one bigger. So where’s the proof?

    Oh, and as long as you believe in the existence of a devil, you really are bullet-proof to logic. You’ve got two imaginary entities that can be pointed to for anything that goes good or bad. Amazing that people still believe in this sort of thing in the year 2008.

  524. #527 TripMaster Monkey
    July 24, 2008

    turzovka sez:

    OH, that is SOOOOO CREDIBLE! No ID, just our own little friend, natural selection.

    Argument from Incredulity. Invalid.

  525. #528 freethinker
    July 24, 2008

    Chicago #372:

    We don’t have to explain it; it is presented without evidence. A list of people “cured” by magic water is not convincing to anyone that knows how people exaggerate and (yes, it’s true) lie to make a point or for their own profit. The people that run Lourdes (and make a lot of money off of it) are not impartial witnesses. Of course they claim that it can cure people so that gullibles (like you) will use their claims to strengthen their faith and make the pilgramage themselves. Anyone can make these sort of claims about anything – do you know how many people swear that they have seen the Loch Ness monster? Yet there is zero credible proof. The legend continues, though, because it is good for business.

    Incidentally, Lourdes has had about 200 million people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lourdes) visit it since the magic lady “appeared” and you can only offer 12 “miracles” in the last 50 YEARS? If we assume 50 million visitors in the last 50 years (a gross underestimate) that’s a cure rate of only 0.000024% – I think the placebo effect can easily cover that. And why is your god so stingy with his cures? Are the vast majority of people (many of which, I’m sure, are “good” Catholics) not “worth” curing? And if you really want to convince me, show me ONE amputee that has had his limb grow back after praying fervently at Lourdes (http://whydoesgodhateamputees.com/). Can’t do it, can you? It’s always something that we can’t see or test – convenient, isn’t it?

  526. #529 Amy
    July 24, 2008

    turzovk: As an evolutionary biologist, all I can tell you is that you do not understand evolutionary theory in the slightest. What you are arguing makes no sense, because the theory makes none of the claims that you are criticizing. You are building a straw man.

  527. #530 freethinker
    July 24, 2008

    Chicago #372:

    We don’t have to explain it; it is presented without evidence. A list of people “cured” by magic water is not convincing to anyone that knows how people exaggerate and (yes, it’s true) lie to make a point or for their own profit. The people that run Lourdes (and make a lot of money off of it) are not impartial witnesses. Of course they claim that it can cure people so that gullibles (like you) will use their claims to strengthen their faith and make the pilgramage themselves. Anyone can make these sort of claims about anything – do you know how many people swear that they have seen the Loch Ness monster? Yet there is zero credible proof. The legend continues, though, because it is good for business.

    Incidentally, Lourdes has had about 200 million people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lourdes) visit it since the magic lady “appeared” and you can only offer 12 “miracles” in the last 50 YEARS? If we assume 50 million visitors in the last 50 years (a gross underestimate) that’s a cure rate of only 0.000024% – I think the placebo effect can easily cover that. And why is your god so stingy with his cures? Are the vast majority of people (many of which, I’m sure, are “good” Catholics) not “worth” curing? And if you really want to convince me, show me ONE amputee that has had his limb grow back after praying fervently at Lourdes (http://whydoesgodhateamputees.com/). Can’t do it, can you? It’s always something that we can’t see or test – convenient, isn’t it?

  528. #531 Saint Smeg
    July 24, 2008

    Why does God hate amputees?

    http://whydoesgodhateamputees.com

  529. #532 Jon_in_Charlotte
    July 24, 2008

    *bump*

    It appears that any comment will likely get lost amongst the tidal wave of opinions, but, I hope that there might be a few that read of my experience in the links provided below.

    10 years ago I would have likely found the cracker jokes and the Catholic bashing humorous. As a cradle Catholic who had waded, then swam, and eventually surfed into a secular lifestyle the teachings of the Church seemed foolish and backwards thinking.

    However, my perceptions changed. I didn’t choose for them to be changed nor was I seeking for them to be changed.

    My experiences occurred in 3 parts. Each are short in length and written with an objective mindsight.

    http://personalrevelation.wordpress.com/about-the-pages/awakening-the-soul/

    http://personalrevelation.wordpress.com/about-the-pages/you-are-purified/

    http://personalrevelation.wordpress.com/about-the-pages/abba/

    My reason for my submission and subsequent bumps is to offer a testimony that presents a case that God does indeed exist. Non-believers are always insistent on being provided with proof. I can understand why. Some might see my experiences as a blessing, however, having lived with them I can attest that they are also a curse. The burden of truth carries a great weight on one’s conscience.

  530. #533 gwangung
    July 24, 2008

    To me, this is playground trash talking, on public funds rather than his own funds.

    Pharyngula is NOT on public funds.

    And this has been said numerous times. And it’s pretty damn obvious.

    If you can’t get THAT straight, why should anyone take anything else you say seriously?

  531. #534 The Adamant Atheist
    July 24, 2008

    #530–

    I’ve been making that point over and over again

    I want the religious people to use their magic prayer power to regrow a missing leg in controlled conditions.

    They won’t, because they can’t. They are bullshitters who will believe anything that helps comfort them.

  532. #535 SDG
    July 24, 2008

    rebelest @#507:

    The fact that your commitment to your family is secondary to your commitment to Jesus is one of the many reasons that we atheists consider your religion to be poison/anathema.

    Would you kill a village of innocent people to save yourself and your family?

    Or would you choose to die with your family and allow the village to live?

    Even if you would choose the former, I hope you wouldn’t regard the latter choice as poison and anathema (nice NT word there BTW).

    In any case, perhaps we may say that those who make the latter choice choose good over the life of their family.

    This is the theist’s position, except that for him “good” is not abstract, but concrete. For the theist, good : God :: wet : water. Good, Truth and Beauty are names of divine attributes. My commitment to God is simply my commitment to the Good itself. And my commitment to Jesus is simply my commitment to God/the Good, in human form.

    So: I assert that the idea of “God” implies the abdication of human reason and justice and it (the god idea) is the most decisive negation of human liberty and necessarily ends in the enslavement of humankind both in theory and practice and that those who profess to worship “God” must harbor no childish illusions about the matter but humbly renounce their liberty and humanity.

    While I assert that your ideals of “reason,” “justice” and “liberty” are in fact divine attributes, and to the extent that you align with them, you are inadvertently aligned with what I call God. Beyond that, you’re simply pitting wetness against water, which is a problem. Ultimately you either choose both or reject both. If water sticks in your throat, what will you use to wash it down?

  533. #536 NotAFuckTard
    July 24, 2008

    Posted by: Jon_in_Charlotte | July 24, 2008 3:10 PM

    Sorry Jon, try again.

  534. #537 Eric
    July 24, 2008

    J. A. Stuart, I am confused. You decry the abuse of a crack as immoral, but you support the bombing of Iraqi civilians with depleted uranium? You are disconnected from reality if a cracker has more dignity than human life in Iraq.

  535. #538 cicely
    July 24, 2008

    Mercy! Yet another cracker thread!

    From somewhere up-thread:

    I have yet to hear a convincing argument from any atheist of why it is so culturally universal (and therefore apparently necessary) that humans “created” gods

    Humans want explanations…for natural phenomena, for intangibles, for why we act the way we do. Hence, just-so stories, gods, and scientific procedures. It’s about wanting to understand why.

    Also, humans have a tendancy to anthropomorphize. We tend to attribute human motives and characteristics to every frickin’ thing; trees, the weather, our pets, vans that persistently and maliciously hork up their serpentine belts for no adequately explained reason, sewing machines that deliberately suck fabric down into the bobbin slot and chew it up….but I digress.

    These two things, taken together, seem to me to be good and sufficient explanation for why humans make up gods. But wait, there’s more!

    Also also, humans want to feel secure. We want it to be All Right. We want our boo-boos kissed (or at least we want the promise that, at some point in the future, they will be kissed). We want to think that Everything Works Out For The Best. We want to think that we a Special. We particularly don’t want to have to know that one day, we will each and every one of us be dead and gone, our consciounesses ended, and likewise for everyone and everything we know and love. In short…we don’t want to know that the universe doesn’t care about us, individually or as a species. Lots more where we come from.

    Cold, but true.

    As to whether it’s necessary…I would say, not necessarily. :) Human behavior is a spectrum (more like a series of spectra, but that just doesn’t sing the way ‘spectrum’ does), and I suspect that it’s always been a spectrum….just not necessarily the same spectrum, over time. Thoughts and feelings and behaviors don’t fossilize well (in a physical sense). Further developments will tell us.

  536. #539 Dan L.
    July 24, 2008

    I want to address those that insist the boy “stole” the host:

    I was raised Catholic. While I don’t think I ever actually believed, I went to a fair many masses and received the eucharist on most of those occasions. Speaking from experience, there are no bouncers at Catholic churches screening for non-believers and heretics. Nor does anyone check that a congregant is a practicing Catholic before that person receives the eucharist. No one tells the congregation that failing to eat the host once it is received constitutes theft (or sacrilege for that matter).

    Now, suppose I were to throw a party and buy food for the guests. Suppose a guest pocketed some of the food and left with it. Would they be guilty of a crime? If I did not make it clear before offering the food that it must be consumed on the premises, then I imagine any court in the US would throw the case out at a preliminary hearing. Now, I understand that the host isn’t merely “food.” However, this argument is merely against the charge that removing the host from a church is “stealing.” It’s not stealing because the rules are not clear at the outset. Guilt is contingent on intent, and it is not clear that anyone who is ignorant of the cracker rules and disobeys them has the intention of stealing.

    As far as disrupting a religious service, no one knew that the service had been “disrupted” until after the fact. It’s not clear to me what it even means to disrupt an event post hoc. The kidnapping charge is ludicrous, but if it must be addressed: Jesus the Christ is legally dead. He has been a missing person for almost 2000 years, so even if some people think he’s still alive, he’s dead in the eyes of the law. Can’t kidnap a dead guy.

    Now, was it right for the young man to remove the host from the church? I certainly don’t think so. But I’m not sure it was clear to him that he was doing anything wrong. And Catholics responded to the event NOT by trying to make it clear that the host is a special cracker for believers only, but instead by bullying and harassing the young man.

    Bottom line is that there is reasonable doubt as to the intent of the boy in taking the host. Since that is the case, I think the Christian thing to do would be give him the benefit of the doubt and make it clear that what he did was wrong. Then if he did it again, there would be no need to bully; the Catholic church would have legal recourse.

  537. #540 Feynmaniac
    July 24, 2008

    Pete Rooke #29,
    “As I mentioned last night; you’ve had time to mull over my analogies and yet no one as sufficiently countered them. There is a phrase about the impossibility of defending the indefensible. PZ Myers actions are indefensible. And his acolytes appear to be willing partners to his crimes.”

    I’m a bit slow and have to confess I did not understand your point. Please provide another analogy, in graphic detail, for all of us to ponder. Please?

    [Please feel free to use any of the following words: anal pear, chlorophilia (sexual attraction to plants), incest, foot of a corpse, Iron Maiden, interracial cannibalism, and Aztec human sacrifice rituals]

  538. #541 allonym
    July 24, 2008

    SDG, I failed to respond to something in the now-closed previous thread. I will include the relevant bits here for easy reference:

    SDG (from #266 in closed thread):

    If one imagines Catholicism reconfigured so that no one would be pained by desecration of the Eucharist…in such a world it is hard to imagine PZ working up such enthusiasm for this course of action.

    My reply:

    Aha! This is precisely correct. SDG, I recommend you go back and read the original frackin’ cracker post (not the comments, just PZ’s original text), and re-evaluate your comment in light of what you find there. Your ability to unintentionally cut to the heart of the matter is truly uncanny (and the irony delicious!).

    Your response:

    Um. I was already familiar with PZ’s “frackin’ [sic] cracker” post when I wrote, so I’m not sure what reevaluation you anticipate, or what irony you perceive.

    I didn’t think I’d have to spell it out. What do you think would have been the result when Webster Cook tried to take the cracker back to the pew to show his friend, if this event had transpired in the world you ask us to imagine? It is indeed difficult see P.Z. even being aware of the resultant non-event, let alone taking the time to write about it, or to threaten a bit of food over it.

    The fact that in arguing against P.Z. you unwittingly captured the essence of his point is, if not ironic, at least very amusing to me.

  539. #542 Anton Mates
    July 24, 2008

    #31,

    Should PZ have solicited consecrated hosts which could only have been taken by people deceptively breaking a private contract? Technically speaking, no.

    But he didn’t. As Dan pointed out at #522, there simply is no contract involved, public or private, written or verbal. We can’t even say there’s a reasonable expectation that participants would know exactly what the clergy expects from them–evidently, both some Catholics and some invited non-Catholics (like my wife) don’t.

    If they gave a sort of orientation or posted a brief description of the ritual on the church door or something, it’d be different.

  540. #543 Cheezits
    July 24, 2008

    TS: PEOPLE are not being mistreated. Symbols are.

    This all reminds me of a stupid email that was going around last year, that someone made the mistake of forwarding to me. The subject line said something like “If this doesn’t piss you off, nothing will”, and went on to describe the “heart-stopping photos” attached. With all that hype you would think you were about to see people being brutally murdered or tortured or something. But no, it was just pictures of a group of kids staging a protest against US immigration policies. And they were flying a MEXICAN flag, oh no!!!!! And flying a US flag upside down!!!!!11!1!! Apparently I’m supposed to see that as the most vile thing imaginable. Priorities, indeed.

  541. #544 Longstreet63
    July 24, 2008

    @478
    Yes, I read about The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, wherein a cracker literally became a tiny heart back in the 8th century yet is still miraculously amenable to analysis.

    And you know, I was that close to being convinced when I read this line:

    “The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).”

    Annnnnd…you lost me. Since The Holy Shroud is a medieval forgery with no blood whatsoever on it.

    Too bad the prior claims about the World Health Organization investigating it don’t seem to be mentioned. maybe that was in some chain email you received.

    A Shame. Also a shame that, whatever it is in the little glass case, there’s no proof that it was ever a cracker. I do wonder what a little DNA testing would show, though.

  542. #545 SteveG
    July 24, 2008

    From the Wikipedia:

    Argumentum ad baculum (Latin: argument to the cudgel or appeal to the stick), also known as appeal to force, is an argument where force, coercion, or the threat of force, is given as a justification for a conclusion. It is a specific case of the negative form of an argument to the consequences.

    A fallacious logical argument based on argumentum ad baculum generally has the following argument form:

    If x does not accept P as true, then Q.
    Q is a punishment on x.
    Therefore, P is true.

    [...]

    Examples:

    “God exists, because if you don’t believe in Him you will go to Hell.”

    An awful lot of Christians absolutely love using this fallacy, in all kinds of ways.

  543. #546 SteveG
    July 24, 2008

    RJ Chavez writes:

    I am Catholic but am not insulted by your immaturity. Rather, I feel compelled to point out the obvious–that only a life devoid of meaning and things to do could concoct and implement such a childish act.

    Only a life devoid of meaning and things to do could concoct and implement such a childish act as saying mumbo-jumbo words over a cracker and thinking that this will magically change the cracker into flesh. And only a blithering idiot would claim that the cracker is flesh anyway despite the fact that ALL physical evidence, with no exception of any kind, shows that it really is just a cracker. Ironic how Christian disparage themselves with their own rhetoric.

  544. #547 cicely
    July 24, 2008

    For Puzzled, who hasn’t read any newspaper article concerning the initial incident that started this whole thing (I assume an article from a TV site’s news will do?), and therefore doesn’t believe it happened:

    ‘Body Of Christ’ Snatched From Church, Held Hostage By UCF Student http://www.wftv.com/news/16798008/detail.html

  545. #548 Adobedragon
    July 24, 2008

    One day some animal said, JEE it would be nice to grow a liver, I never had one before. And that is how we got a liver. Not to mention a heart, brain, eye, ear, nervous system, lungs, et al. Just because “natural selection” had some inkling it might be neat to have.

    Oh my, that’s mind rapingly stupid. Not only does Turdska (whatever) feel the need to personify natural selection, but he/she/it can’t even get the narrative straight. First, it’s the animal that wants to change its anatomy; then natural selection.

    To paraphrase Mr. Universe from Serenity, “P.Z., you always bring us the very best trolls.”

  546. #549 Ken
    July 24, 2008

    We, as catholics, do not believe that the Holy Eucharist turns into the material flesh as many of you tend to be joking about, rather we believe in the transubstantiation of the host(cracker), whereas it retains the physical properties of the host but is indeed the flesh of Jesus Christ. DNA testing would be useless. The same is true of the wine turning into the precious blood of Jesus.

    And Mr SteveG(#545), it is not a teaching of the catholic church that one goes to hell for not believing in God.

  547. #550 Paul W.
    July 24, 2008

    Anton Mates:

    Should PZ have solicited consecrated hosts which could only have been taken by people deceptively breaking a private contract? Technically speaking, no.

    But he didn’t. As Dan pointed out at #522, there simply is no contract involved, public or private, written or verbal. We can’t even say there’s a reasonable expectation that participants would know exactly what the clergy expects from them–evidently, both some Catholics and some invited non-Catholics (like my wife) don’t.

    I think Sastra’s right, and that wafernapping is technically (ridiculously) petty theft of a 2 cent cracker.

    There doesn’t have to be a contract; it’s covered under the basic definition of theft, not by contract law.

    Bear with me here…

    Basically, any time you trick somebody out of their property, that’s theft. (In Minnesota, it’s covered under the “swindle” clause of Minnesota Statute 609.52) There doesn’t have to be a custom rule defined by a contract ( implicit or explicit).

    In cases where the terms under which you’re given something are unclear, there’s a gray area as to what constitutes tricking somebody into giving your property. Unfortunately, admitting that you knew they wouldn’t give it to you without your pretending to follow their rules is pretty much an admission of guilt.

    So legally, as I understand it, this sort of theft happens all the time, but it would be very weird to prosecute somebody for theft of a 2-cent cracker. (Or conspiracy to steal a few 2-cent crackers.)

    For more on this, see OMH’s comments (he’s a former prosecutor) and my comments attempting to clarify his opinion in the “Fresh thread. Don’t fill this one up!” thread:

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

    Interesingly, by far the biggest thieves of wafers appear to be Catholics themselves. I’d guess they steal wafers and commit sacrilege with them millions of times a week and of course it goes unprosecuted.

    Many Catholics don’t buy all the Catholic dogma, and do NOT confess all their sins to the priest before taking communion. That violates the terms of use for the wafer, and they know it. So any not-entirely-orthodox Catholic who takes communion in a state of sin commits the crime of theft and the sin of sacrilege. (Cracker Jesus really hates being ingested into somebody who’s in a state of sin. The sin—it burns!)

    I myself committed wafer theft and tortured Jesus crackers hundreds of times, when I was a Catholic. No way was I going to tell a priest all my sins, or refrain from communion and have to explain why to my parents. You can bet that millions of “good” but not dogmatic Catholics do the same.

    So it appears that there’s some possibility that PZ could be prosecuted by an overzealous prosecutor—but if he was, the Catholic church would be put in the awkward position of having to explain why they’re so upset about this cracker theft and not the millions of cracker thefts they ignore.

    Much hilarity would ensue, and I’ll bet they don’t want that.

  548. #551 SDG
    July 24, 2008

    Norman Doering @#421:

    Methinks you want to suffer, else how else would you know if you believed?

    Heh. If I wanted to suffer, I’d be a pretty unhappy guy. My life is just about as suffering-free as it gets. :-)

    CJO @#525:

    It amounts to the same thing, though. In a nominally democratic society, those actions “generally recognized…as socially unacceptable” are recognized as such in the body of law. Most people on that bus in Birrmingham, “civil people” all, no doubt thought Rosa Park’s actions were “just plain incivil.”

    Absolutely false. Illegal, incivil and immoral are all conceptually distinct. For example, many ethnic slurs are nearly universally regarded as incivil, but there is no proscription in law for using them.

    Sastra @#504:

    PZ seems to be trying to restore a rational perspective to what has just been revered too much by performing an act of irreverence. He is trying to point out the obvious: no one is truly harmed when the sacred is violated.

    The latter sentence is in one important sense true (though there is also an important sense in which it isn’t, as your reference to “struggling hard” in the thought experiment with your mother suggests; you wouldn’t have to struggle if it weren’t hard).

    As regards the former sentence, again, no degree of reverence can ever be disproportionate to what we believe the Eucharist to be. This doesn’t excuse every action inspired by reverence combined with poor judgment or bad behavior (e.g., threats of violence), but that’s a separate matter.

    There’s a lot of talk about respect for the sensitivities of others, but I sense a form of disrespect lurking under the heartfelt pleas. The idea seems to be that Catholics simply shouldn’t be expected to handle insolence. They can’t reason with secular logic, and think of the Eucharist as a cracker, and both Cook and PZ as minor annoyances. They just can’t be held to the same standards we nonbelievers hold ourselves — either because they’re weak, simpleminded, and have been brainwashed, or because they’re operating on the higher, loftier, more spiritual plane of Faith. Not only atheists, but society itself needs to recognize this, and cordon off certain areas and actions as just too hard for religious people to handle.

    I don’t know. Maybe I have more ‘faith’ in the religious than that. I don’t think we’re really all that different. And if my mother’s remains were not treated with proper deference, I would struggle hard to keep in mind that there are bigger problems, and my automatic reactions are not necessarily reliable. It’s not really my mother. It’s just a frickin’ corpse.

    I appreciate much of this. There’s no question in my mind that people in general are just way too thin-skinned today, and “sensitivity” is a much overrated “virtue.” The one place I think you’re crashingly wrong is positing this to be some sort of specifically “Catholic” problem, or imagining that there is some very different thick-skinned ethic among “we nonbelievers” or secular society at large.

    Being able to “handle” insolence or disrespect, keeping perspective and bearing in mind that there are bigger problems are all excellent qualities. To borrow the case you posit, if, say, my mother were cremated instead of buried in accordance with our wishes, I would struggle to keep perspective, though I would also probably seek appropriate redress against the individual(s) responsible. Minimally, I would want an apology, even if it were only an accident. Given sufficient deliberate affront, someone might have to be fired.

    Logic and reason are neither secular nor religious, although premises may be. I see no reasonable grounds for expecting Catholics to adopt secular premises and “think of the Eucharist as a cracker.” Seeing PZ as a “minor annoyance” is more plausible, although deliberate desecration is by definition a serious event, not a trivial one. Not a paralyzing crisis, not a crippling emotional blow, but a serious and, I would say, unacceptable affront.

    I still think your sense of outrage needs to be tempered by the recognition that having a convinced faith that the emperor does indeed have clothes is not necessarily a crowning act of moral strength, and will not be recognized as such by others.

    I can’t say I recognize in the notion of “a crowning act of moral strength” anything corresponding to my own outlook on faith.

    Perhaps it’s a bit of a standoff. If PZ is not exactly behaving with the decorum usually expected of a university professor (which is arguable), then the overwrought handringing and pleas for mercy are not exactly the behavior expected of the heirs of Erasmus, either.

    While I agree it may be fair to expect better than “overwrought hand[w]ringing and pleas for mercy” from the “heirs of Erasmus,” and while I’ve tried to do better than that myself, “heirs of Erasmus” would be a pretty lofty standard to hold up for every Joe Catholic in the street.

    I definitely think it’s fair to expect and demand a lot more from a man entrusted by his employer with the instruction of a diverse population of students including Catholics and Muslims.

  549. #552 Zorpheous
    July 24, 2008

    I would have fed the crack to my pet Octopus. Or maybe just slushed it down the toilet,… after all that what Catholics do it about 24 hours later. Do they use special toiletpaper bless by the Poop to ensure the body of Christ doesn’t suffer from Kilingon?

  550. #553 Brian Coughlan
    July 24, 2008

    Highlights of Obama’s Berlin speech from today are up : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xrKuQw0Ayw

    It’s good stuff, don’t miss it:-)

  551. #554 Paul W.
    July 24, 2008

    SDG,

    Where is the outrage among the dogmatic Eucharist-adoring Catholics about the millions of Hosts that are stolen and eaten sacrilegiously by less dogmatic Catholics?

    I think the most underreported aspect of this dustup is that the reaction to PZ exposes the hypocrisy of Catholics about the Host.

    Why is it not a pressing problem to root out the millions of heretical Catholics who commit a crime against the Church and a sin against God, all over the world, week in and week out?

    This is all ridiculous. You guys should check out that beam in your own eye—it’s a doozy.

  552. #555 Anton Mates
    July 24, 2008

    Basically, any time you trick somebody out of their property, that’s theft. (In Minnesota, it’s covered under the “swindle” clause of Minnesota Statute 609.52) There doesn’t have to be a custom rule defined by a contract ( implicit or explicit).

    In cases where the terms under which you’re given something are unclear, there’s a gray area as to what constitutes tricking somebody into giving your property. Unfortunately, admitting that you knew they wouldn’t give it to you without your pretending to follow their rules is pretty much an admission of guilt.

    But who’s making that admission? PZ said his local churches probably won’t give him a cracker willingly…so he’s not taking one. There’s plenty of ways to get a cracker without deceiving the person giving it to you; you simply have to find a priest or a church that doesn’t care much. Dan L. at #523 gave an example of that from his own life. My wife, an open Jewish atheist, has been invited to communion in two different Catholic churches. Take a cracker if you want, eat it if you want, no biggie.

    Many Catholics don’t buy all the Catholic dogma, and do NOT confess all their sins to the priest before taking communion. That violates the terms of use for the wafer, and they know it.

    Well, no, it doesn’t, because the “terms of use” are implicit, and given that priests know that many Catholics take the wafer without confession, and they happily hand it out anyway, there’s no implication that confession is required. If the church wants to write up terms of use and hand them out to all comers, or have a brief verbal announcement before communion, they’re welcome to do so. But until they do, all we can do is see which people are invited to or excluded from communion, and make an inference from that. If your local church doesn’t seem to exclude anybody, nor does it make a fuss about strict adherence to the ritual, so much for terms of use.

    Your position, it seems to me, requires that some subset of Catholics–Bill Donohue and his buddies, or the Vatican, or somebody–gets to decree what the legal terms of use will be for crackers handed out by all Catholics. I just don’t find that legally or morally tenable. If the church you’re attending doesn’t act like they care who takes a cracker or what they privately do with it, more dogmatic Catholics at other churches have no say in the matter.

  553. #556 palmira
    July 24, 2008

    I will go back to the Fátima business, I´m still trying to find some references in english to a (very) skeptical witnesses of the so called «miracle» of Fátima, the photographer sent there by the newspaper Século and his nephew (I have the live report of the grandfather of a friend of mine that lived nearby and saw absolutely nothing, not even freak meterological conditions…).

    But the thing about the propalled miracles of Lourdes remembered me of something I wrote about two years ago, the despair of Jacques Perrier, Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes and the most senior cleric at the Catholic shrine, about the scarcity of “miracles” taking place there and the indignity of some of them. No spectacular cures only supposed cures of rheumatic disorders and the like. Between 1858 and 2006, only 57 “miracles” took place and 4 only between 1978 and 2006.

    Even though that’s no big news to the Catholic Church that has been «forced» to make new saints with things like the one behind the beatification of the last emperor of Austria, Karl I, an alleged alcoholic adulterer who sprayed poison gas on enemy soldiers in World War I. The Pontiff argued that Karl had fulfilled the saintly criteria by suffering for his beliefs and “performing a miracle”, in this case curing a Brazilian woman of pesky varicose veins.

    And some of them are really irksome like the portuguese that regained miraculously the use of her legs, with the “scientific” evidence provided by the Vatican and three portuguese doctors (father, mother and daughter, all of them devoted catholics). She died shortly after, completely cured, and the miraculous cure of Maria Emília Santos was enough for the beatification in 2000 of the two little sheperds that died shortly after the sun danced in Cova da Iria.

    But it was very bothersome for the bishop that was loosing clients, as the Time wrote back then «with the church facing stiff competition from evangelists, apparently less picky when it comes to proclaiming miraculous cures, Perrier wants the guidelines to be changed so that news of an unexplained cure can be announced as soon as it happens. Cures could be categorised as “unexpected” or “exceptional” — a sort of sub-miracle category».

    Now using the Guardian report on the case «The bishop said he had been inspired by two healings in the past 15 years that in his view were miraculous but were not recognised».

    But recent reports from the french police suggest that the inspiration may had been miraculous but in a different sense :)

    At least that’s what I thought when I read that the Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes «a href=”http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/13/catholicism.france”>is at the centre of a major and very mundane fraud investigation. Father Raymond Zambelli, the 65-year-old Treasurer and Rector of the pilgrimage site, is suspected of embezzling hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    Much of the money was raised for the sick and the dying who visit the shrine but ended up in the priest bank account, probably due to…a miracle?»

  554. #557 CJO
    July 24, 2008

    It amounts to the same thing, though. In a nominally democratic society, those actions “generally recognized…as socially unacceptable” are recognized as such in the body of law. Most people on that bus in Birrmingham, “civil people” all, no doubt thought Rosa Park’s actions were “just plain incivil.”

    Absolutely false. Illegal, incivil and immoral are all conceptually distinct. For example, many ethnic slurs are nearly universally regarded as incivil, but there is no proscription in law for using them.

    I see your point, and I think where we’re talking past each other is “unacceptable.” In the case of racial slurs, we, as a society have come to the position that they must be accepted, because the right to free expression in effect supercedes any legislation limiting pure speech. However, when used to intimidate or harass an individual, speech may be proscribed. So, “incivil” does not equate to “socially unacceptable,” intimidation and harrassment are unacceptable; incivility is acceptable. By taking measures in the secular realm against Cook (impeachment from the student senate at UCF and possible expulsion from the university), Catholics and their sympathizers signal that they believe their rules regarding civility should have force in society at large. Furthermore, in intimidating and harassing individuals (Cook and PZ), individual Catholics are engaging in the only actually “socially unacceptable” behavior on display in this whole sorry incident –in the sense of ‘behavior that society will not accept as a provision of law.’

  555. #558 Colin Principe
    July 24, 2008

    What a class act PZ is.

    I wonder if he goes to the houses of vegetarians bearing steaks or stands outside NOW and shouts “Nice tits baby!”

  556. #559 SDG
    July 24, 2008

    Where is the outrage among the dogmatic Eucharist-adoring Catholics about the millions of Hosts that are stolen and eaten sacrilegiously by less dogmatic Catholics?

    Assuming you’re asking because you’re genuinely unfamiliar with Catholic thought on this point, the answer is simple.

    Perfect theology is not a prerequisite, first of all, so “less dogmatic” is a red herring. The big question is not theology, but whether the recipient is in the state of grace, which is a question ultimately known only to God and best judged by the person himself or herself.

    A Catholic in the state of grace, even if he or she is “less dogmatic” or even (materially) “heretical,” does not commit sacrilege in receiving communion. Even a Catholic not in the state of grace who sincerely believes he is does not commit the sin of sacrilege. If he is knowingly in mortal sin, he commits sacrilege, but that again is known to him and to God, and in general people have no business judging one another’s souls.

    Even then, at least the host is being consumed, which is what is meant to be done with it. Taking the host “for a profane purpose,” or otherwise deliberately profaning a host, is an issue on another order of magnitude.

    Capice?

  557. #560 SDG
    July 24, 2008

    CJO: I agree that the main issue now appears to be semantic. FWIW, I wouldn’t say that “In the case of racial slurs, we, as a society have come to the position that they must be accepted.” They may be protected, legally, but they don’t have to be accepted, either socially or, e.g., institutionally. You can’t be prosecuted for using the n-word, but you can be socially ostracized and you can lose your job, depending on circumstances.

  558. #561 Maria
    July 24, 2008

    Please join me in praying for this Professor and his family and all those posting here who do not believe, do not adore, and do not love God. These people esp. this Professor need our prayers. They do not know realize what they are doing!!

    I especially recommend praying the rosary for this Professor’s conversion.

    ****************************************************

    My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you. I ask forgiveness for those who do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you.

    Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly. I offer you the most precious body, blood, soul, and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which he is offended. Through the infinite merits of his most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners.

    O my Jesus, I offer all my personal sacrifices, pains and suffers, and penances up for love of you, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  559. #562 Evolving Squid
    July 24, 2008

    J. A. Stuart
    Commander, United States Navy

    Wow, I don’t know how it is in the US services, but here in Canada, I’d have been disciplined for signing my rank on a non-military message board post. In fact, I’m pretty certain someone doing that would be disciplined now.

    Of course, I was only a two-ringer back in the day. Maybe times have changed.

  560. #563 Jim Lippard
    July 24, 2008

    Cynthia Heimsoth: “I have yet to hear a convincing argument from any atheist of why it is so culturally universal (and therefore apparently necessary) that humans “created” gods, whereas with a little bit of research I could probably formulate a sound theory of why it is so necessary that Homo sapiens modernis should reject the existence of God as a threat to his belief that he is the very peak of the Darwinian pyramid.”

    Pascal Boyer’s _Religion Explained_ covers it pretty well. So, I’ve heard but not read myself, does Stewart Guthrie’s _Faces in the Clouds_ and Daniel Dennett’s _Breaking the Spell_.

  561. #564 CortxVortx
    July 24, 2008

    Re: #256

    Craig, you’re on track to beat yesterday’s record:
    58 posts over 7 hours, averaging 1 post every 7 minutes 21 seconds
    (MAJeff is not far behind at 1 post every 9 minutes 43 seconds, for 6.5 hours)

    Best of all: No truth machine!

  562. #565 articulett
    July 24, 2008

    Rock on Craig.

    You sure have a way of making the theists show their ugly side while they imagine themselves moral and humble.

    As for the inane lie promotes by theists, that atheism kills, 2 words: Malleus Maleficarum

    Learn it and be ashamed. You Catholics (an affliction I once shared)have much more to answer for than pedophilia, spread of AID through misinformation, supporting Hitler, atheist bigotry, lies proffered as divine truths, overpopulation, and cracker issues. Malleus Maleficarum

    Atheism is a lack of belief. It can no more lead to killing than a-demonism or a-scientology or a-astrology. A lack of belief in your god is the same as all the crazy shit you don’t believe in. Does that inspire you to do anything? People act on the ideals that unite them (like sacred crackers)– not on infinity of things they don’t believe in! Moreover, your sacred beliefs have resulted in the torture and death of millions– I bet that makes that zombie cracker extra scrumptious, eh?

    Your magic story and beliefs about crackers deserve no more respect then Mormon magic underwear or Scientology “clearing”. Big deal– all religious people thinks that others that believe as they do are more moral than everyone else–including those belonging to the religions you find “evil” or crazy. Lots of believers doesn’t make it more true, you know. Consider all the people who believed the earth was the center of the Universe (including your church and your magic book inspired by your invisible friend.) Your church’s history of lies, torture, and abuse upon humanity that you have blinded yourself deserve all the scorn it can get. It has furthered no real knowledge. PZ has furthered real and useful information.

    From my viewpoint, theists are posting here to continue to keep their delusion alive– while the smart folk giggle– glad that they escaped the “breathtaking inanity”.

    You have lost sight of things that actually matter –and distracted yourselves with rants that make a stink over silly magical rituals that mean nothing. And you’ve posted it all here for us to shake our heads and go– “wow, the faithful sure are blind to their own hypocrisy.”

    I hope one day you are smart enough and rational enough to be embarrassed for what you theists and apologists have posted here. You defended a magical ritual while threatening real people, spreading bigotry, and ignoring the FACT that faith is not a way to know anything true at all. Your spread of atheist lies is particularly offensive to me.

    Learn what true humility is. PZ, Craig, et. al. have something to be humble about– they are honest, they tell the truth, they are rational… they work hard to break down silly superstitions and engage critical thinking. They can teach you real and valuable information if you weren’t so damn sure you knew everything all ready. Your humility is based on an illusion just like your god and crackers and imagined superior morality. There is no such thing as “divine truths”. You have been deluded and you are passing on the lie just as Muslims and Mormons and Moonies are doing.

    I am proud to be on the Team Rational. It is true my “sides” seems extra brilliant in comparison to the daftness of the believers– but damn, we write so much better and funnier and logically then the self important believers and assorted apologists posting here. I’m sure lots of people are learning… even thought I doubt it’s what the theists imagine it is.

  563. #566 TSS
    July 24, 2008

    Jesus Christ on a cracker….it’s a damn cracker!! No real live people were hurt, it’s a cracker. Do you seriously think that your god is so weak he has the strength of a cracker and would allow himself to be taken advantage of?? Invent a stronger god and don’t make him a cracker.

  564. #567 puzzled
    July 24, 2008

    Bobc., I am an atheist.

    Thanks for all the kind words….being called an asshole and twat really, really convince me that, my oh my, all these other atheists–in the cult of PZ–must be correct and have all the answers!

    Still no death threats, sorry, folks; read carefully what webster cook states and what he reveals….a nun grabbed his arm……..interestingly, many of you stated that such “physical assault” would be enough to enrage everyone to desecration…….yet, remember, that’s not what the master, PZ, told everyone…..he was basing his whole set of moral righteousnous (check his original posts) on the DEATH THREATS! made to webster cook….now cook is saying oh, really, some people just told me I’m going to hell. . .

    if it is cracker (or host, or wafer or whatever: me not calling it what you like, bobc, does not make me a liar but again, your extreme anger is palpable…guess I hit some nerves, huh?) vs. human, sure, I say that is silly and let the human win and be vindicated…but cracker vs. nun grabbing my arm? puhleaze………

    still no text of any “death threat” from webster cook….many of you PZ-ophytes have acknolwedged none exist and therefore, and ohmygosh, suddenly, it doesn’t matter anyway! pz is still angry cause those nuns were mean to webster!

    bobc: certainly go ahead and call me names if it makes you feel better…..just, again proves my point about the high drama–and attendant drama-queens–spinning around here in the absence of any logic or facts.

    have a good night all….

  565. #568 articulett
    July 24, 2008

    Damn… I wish I could edit for typos..

    Ah well. My applause to Craig and PZ and the many funny, rational and eloquent posters. I hope to be more like you.

    (At least as a skeptic, I can learn from my mistakes… I think the theists posting here have convinced themselves that they are immune from making them.)

    I’m voting for PZ to desecrate sacred Mormon Underwear next.

  566. #569 Ktesibios
    July 24, 2008

    Quoth Turzovka:

    Hindu glass cows exuding milk. I believe it, and I believe it is supernatural. Another one drinking milk. I believe it to be supernatural. Other supernatural manifestations from the Islam or Buddhist faiths. I believe them that they are supernatural. I am not looking for crazy improbable “natural” answers to try to explain them away..

    Indeed, you don’t look for any answers at all, save a reflexive “It’s supernatural!”, and that is the very essence of your problem.

    You also appear to be unaware that clever mechanical frauds have been a part of priestcraft at least since Hellenistic times, when Heron Ktesibiou (he of the aeolipile), was devising a way to use the heat from a sacrificial fire to “miraculously” open a temple door and a coin-operated holy water dispenser.

  567. #570 SDG
    July 24, 2008

    Your position, it seems to me, requires that some subset of Catholics–Bill Donohue and his buddies, or the Vatican, or somebody–gets to decree what the legal terms of use will be for crackers handed out by all Catholics. I just don’t find that legally or morally tenable.

    FWIW, the “terms of use” are (a) set forth in canon law and (b) printed in missalettes that can be found in virtually every parish church in the United States. A statement of terms can also be found at the website of the US bishops here. Since the bishop has responsibility for every parish in the diocese and the priest exercises his ministry only under the local bishop, the rules apply in every parish.

    That’s not to deny that innocently ignorant people may violate the terms without incurring guilt, or that lax priests may abet such abuses. But the rules are what they are.

    Incidentally, it is not correct that Catholics must confess all their sins before receiving communions. Confession of venial sins is voluntary; only confession of known mortal sin is obligatory. (If anyone needs clarification on the distinction between mortal sin and grave matter, I’d be happy to oblige. :-)

  568. #571 SDG
    July 24, 2008

    (At least as a skeptic, I can learn from my mistakes… I think the theists posting here have convinced themselves that they are immune from making them.)

    Don’t know many theists, huh? :-)

  569. #572 JoJo
    July 24, 2008

    Many of the Catholics posting here appear convinced that papal infallibility extends to them. Fr.J, Sandi, and SDG come immediately to mind.

  570. #573 SDG
    July 24, 2008

    Many of the Catholics posting here appear convinced that papal infallibility extends to them.

    What’s really strange is, so do many of the atheists. :-)

    I have found some openness of mind here, from one or two posters. I’ve tried to bring some myself. I have some small hope that my efforts haven’t been as wholly lost on everyone here as they evidently have on you, JoJo. Peace.

  571. #574 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 24, 2008

    SDG says, “That’s not to deny that innocently ignorant people may violate the terms without incurring guilt, or that lax priests may abet such abuses. But the rules are what they are.”

    Well, evidently, the “what they are” rules seem pretty good at ignoring (if not cultivating) the violations and abuses.

    Or, perhaps the effectiveness of the rules just ain’t “what they are”? Or, perhaps (dare I raise the possibility?) that the interpretation or execution of the rules are subject to personal judgement? Say, largely on a case-by-case basis primarily governed by the overpowering tendency to cover one’s ass?

    As rules EVERYWHERE are typically observed?

    BTW, your “small hope that [your] efforts haven’t been…wholly lost on everyone here” is MAGNIFICENTLY unimpressive and forgettable. No, don’t blush – I really believe it. It really IS that magnificent.

  572. #575 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 25, 2008

    Maria # 561: Do you know that prayer is infinitely more effective if you practice it privately? Prayers are far more effective if performed in a quiet setting with all electronic devices turned off, especially when reciting them in long repetitive chains as long as one can remain awake. The increased effectiveness that comes about because our loving Father in Heaven can better hear us. I’m serious! Try it.

  573. #576 Vickie
    July 25, 2008

    Eternal Father, I offer you the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

    For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

    Holy God, Holy mighty one, Holy Immortal one. Have mercy on us and on the whole world.

    Jesus I trust in You.

  574. #577 marty
    July 25, 2008

    hey,
    looks like you’re just another hypocritical windbag. you didn’t deny the holocaust happened, so you do hold something sacred. as an atheist, when you die, you will just go 6 feet under, to become fertilizer. perhaps you can request being fed to the pirahnas.
    i almost sent a cracker to you, but mine would say”squeal like a paig”. too late now.
    looks like you didn’t take me up on the exorcism offer either.
    toodles
    marty

  575. #578 j.e.madden
    July 25, 2008

    It seems respect for anyone or anything is a hard thing to come by nowadays, from the religous, AND the anti-religous. So you don’t believe, okay whatever, do you really have to pull a stunt like this? Seems like a petty cry for attention… easy to understand though, since shock value is quite the rage these days. Still, as a Catholic convert I would just like to say that I respect anyone with a different opinion, I would just ask the same respect for something that we hold sacred.

  576. #579 Anton Mates
    July 25, 2008

    FWIW, the “terms of use” are (a) set forth in canon law and (b) printed in missalettes that can be found in virtually every parish church in the United States. A statement of terms can also be found at the website of the US bishops here. Since the bishop has responsibility for every parish in the diocese and the priest exercises his ministry only under the local bishop, the rules apply in every parish.

    But canon law has no relevance here. We were discussing whether someone taking a cracker could be guilty of theft under, for instance, Minnesota law. The secular judicial system is not concerned with whether one bunch of Catholics behave properly according to the rules laid down by another bunch of Catholics.

    In churches such as the ones I and Dan mentioned, the terms of use clearly are not those printed in the standard instructional missals or on the website you provide. That’s the church’s problem; the rest of us aren’t obligated to figure out what conditions good Catholics should enforce.

  577. #580 Cracker Jack
    July 25, 2008

    The Big Bang theory that the universe originated in an extremely dense and hot space and expanded was developed by a Belgian priest. It’s interesting to note that those people, the first scientists, were all monks, they were all clerics!

    People today aren’t even aware of this fact!

    Here are some examples of scientists who were Catholic clergy:

    1. Mendel, a monk, first established the laws of heredity, which gave the final blow to the theory of natural selection.
    2. Copernicus, a priest, expounded the Copernican system.
    3. Steensen, a Bishop, was the father of geology.
    4. Regiomontanus, a Bishop and Papal astronomer; was the father of modern astronomy.
    5. Theodoric, a Bishop, discovered anesthesia in the 13th century.
    6. Kircher, a priest, made the first definite statement of the germ theory of disease.
    7. Cassiodorus, a priest, invented the watch.
    8. Picard, a priest, was the first to measure accurately a degree of the meridian.

    The conflict between evolutionary science and creationism in the United States comes from the Protestant tradition, not the Catholic one, he said.

    American Catholicism is in a Protestant culture,” he said. “We borrow a lot of our attitudes, along with a lot of our hymns, and not always the best of either.

    Unfortunate, but true.

    List of Catholic Scientists

    Algue, a priest, invented the barocyclonometer, to detect approach of cyclones.

    Ampere was founder of the science of electrodynamics, and investigator of the laws of electro-magnetism.

    Becquerel, Antoine Cesar, was the founder of electro-chemistry.

    Becquerel, Antoine Henri, was the discoverer of radio-activity.

    Binet, mathematician and astronomer, set forth the principle, “Binet’s Theorem.”

    Braille invented the Braille system for the blind.

    Buffon wrote the first work on natural history.

    Carrell, Nobel prize winner in medicine and physiology, is renowned for his work in surgical technique.

    Caesalpinus, a Papal physician, was the first to construct a system of botany.

    Cassiodorus, a priest, invented the watch.

    Columbo discovered the pulmonary circulation of the blood.

    Copernicus, a priest, expounded the Copernican system.

    Coulomb established the fundamental laws of static electricity.

    De Chauliac, a Papal physician, was the father of modern surgery and hospitals.

    De Vico, a priest, discovered six comets. Descartes founded analytical geometry.

    Dumas invented a method of ascertaining vapor densities.

    Endlicher, botanist and historian, established a new system of classifying plants.

    Eustachius, for whom the Eustachian tube was named, was one of the founders of modern anatomy.

    Fabricius discovered the valvular system of the veins.

    Fallopius, for whom the Fallopian tube was named, was an eminent physiologist.

    Fizeau was the first to determine experimentally the velocity of light.

    Foucault invented the first practical electric arc lamp; he refuted the corpuscular theory of light; he invented the gyroscope.

    Fraunhofer was initiator of spectrum analysis; he established laws of diffraction.

    Fresnel contributed more to the science of optics than any other man.

    Galilei, a great astronomer, is the father of experimental science.

    Galvani, one of the pioneers of electricity, was also an anatomist and physiologist.

    Gioja, father of scientific navigation, invented the mariner’s compass.

    Gramme invented the Gramme dynamo.

    Guttenberg invented printing.

    Herzog discovered a cure for infantile paralysis.

    Holland invented the first practical sub marine.

    Kircher, a priest, made the first definite statement of the germ theory of disease.

    Laennec invented the stethoscope.

    Lancist, a Papal physician, was the father of clinical medicine.

    Latreille was pioneer in entomology.

    Lavoisier is called Father of Modern Chemistry.

    Leverrier discovered the planet Neptune.

    Lully is said to have been the first to employ chemical symbols.

    Malpighi, a Papal physician, was a botanist, and the father of comparative physiology.

    Marconi’s place in radio is unsurpassed. Mariotte discovered Mariotte’s law of gases.

    Mendel, a monk, first established the laws of heredity, which gave the final blow to the theory of natural selection.

    Morgagni, founder of modern pathology; made important studies in aneurisms.

    Muller was the greatest biologist of the 19th century, founder of modern physiology.

    Pashcal demonstrated practically that a column of air has weight.

    Pasteur, called the “Father of Bacteriology,” and inventor of bio-therapeutics, was the leading scientist of the 19th century.

    Picard, a priest, was the first to measure accurately a degree of the meridian.

    Regiomontanus, a Bishop and Papal astronomer; was the father of modern astronomy.

    Scheiner, a priest, invented the pantograph, and made a telescope that permitted the first systematic investigation of sun spots.

    Secchi invented the meteorograph. Steensen, a Bishop, was the father of geology.

    Theodoric, a Bishop, discovered anesthesia in the 13th century.

    Torricelli invented the barometer.

    Vesalius was the founder of modern anatomical science.

    Volta invented the first; complete galvanic battery; the “volt” is named after him.

    Other scientists: Agricola, Albertus Magnus, Bacon, Bartholomeus, Bayma, Beccaria, Behalm, Bernard, Biondo, Biot, Bolzano, Borrus, Boscovitch, Bosio, Bourgeois, Branly, Caldani, Cambou, Camel, Cardan, Carnoy, Cassini, Cauchy, Cavaliere, Caxton, Champollion, Chevreul, Clavius, De Rossi, Divisch, Dulong, Dwight, Eckhel, Epee, Fabre, Fabri, Faye, Ferrari, Gassendi, Gay-Lussac, Gordon, Grimaldi, Hauy, Heis, Helmont, Hengler, Heude, Hilgard, Jussieu, Kelly, Lamarck, Laplace, Linacre, Malus, Mersenne, Monge, Muller, Murphy, Murray, Nelston, Nieuwland, Nobili, Nollet, Ortelius, Ozaman, Pelouze, Piazzi, Pitra, Plumier, Pouget, Provancher, Regnault, Riccioli, Sahagun, Santorini, Schwann, Schwarz, Secchi, Semmelweis, Spallanzani, Takamine, Tieffentaller, Toscanelli, Tulasne, Valentine, Vernier, Vieta, Da Vinci, Waldseemuller, Wincklemann, Windle, and a host of others, too many to mention.

  578. #581 jparenti
    July 25, 2008

    #580: So what? Lots of people throughout history were religious. That’s like saying some of the notable creative people in history were suicidal, so suicide is indicative of creativity. Observe Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Cobain, Alan Turing, Sigmund Freud, etc. Of course, this is a ridiculous line of reasoning, because you can tie two things together all day to get meaning out of it.
    The problem isn’t always evolution and intelligent design being debated. While science could benefit from the dissolution of superstition, it’s not the only victim. Observe the casual denial of critical thinking imposed by religion. Don’t think, just read the Bible. Don’t study science, just observe Genesis. Don’t question prejudice, just follow the ancient book that tells us slavery is acceptable and homosexuality is a sin. The problem is that religion poisons the well for everyone, not just scienists.
    Please, please, please, to all atheists: Desecrate something. Speak up. Argue with a friend about his Pentecostal upbringing. Ask a preacher about a particularly nasty Bible verse. We’ll never be rid of this nonsense unless we all take some action, alone or in droves if possible.

  579. #582 MarkW
    July 25, 2008

    #580

    Before the industrial revolution, the clergy was the major class of people with any time on their hands to actually do science.

    Before the reformation, it was virtually impossible not to be a catholic.

    Rather neatly demolishes your talking point there Cracker Jack.

  580. #583 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    In churches such as the ones I and Dan mentioned, the terms of use clearly are not those printed in the standard instructional missals or on the website you provide.

    That is not “clearly” true and is in fact likely false. It is entirely possible that visitors didn’t flip open the missalette cover and read the guidelines, but the missalettes themselves are nearly ubiquitous.

  581. #584 Turzovka
    July 25, 2008

    I, for one, have argued with atheists, agnostics and pagans for years on trying to establish the credibility of God and the divinity of Jesus Christ. By and large I would say it has been futile. But Scripture does point out that most are “called” by the Holy Spirit so does that mean our efforts are not warranted? I think not because Jesus also made clear to go to all corners of the world announcing the good news. So that leaves God’s final judgment on each and every soul a great mystery.

    I will say this. I am convinced to utter certainty of the existence of heaven, hell and purgatory. I am totally certain the Christian faith is the one, true faith established by Jesus Christ the only Son of God and even if Muslims, Buddhists, pagans and atheists are to be saved, it is only through Jesus this can ever be.

    So I see no point in trying to point out the absurdity of evolution without God or the irrefutable evidence of the supernatural in thousands of miracles, apparitions, and divine manifestations. After all, it is the skeptic who has zero use for faith, he demands empirical evidence for God. So you supply such evidence in these supernatural manifestations and they respond with the most absurd, improbable possibilities as to what else might explain the event or apparition, etc. So it becomes a dead end, unfortunately, because to explain Christianity in terms of historical documentation, in terms of Scriptural prophecies, in terms of the blood of the martyrs and early eye witnesses to the resurrection, in terms of the lives and revelations of the saints, in terms of the incalculable amounts of charity and kindness bestowed upon the poor, oppressed, sick, the bold witness to hostile nations, in terms of how Christianity brought civilization, government and order to barbaric world, in terms of the undeniable plight of the Jews who were used by God to manifest Himself to the world, to explain Christianity in any terms —- it does not impress the skeptic. Why?

    Because most do not want to know God. They do not want to be accountable for their sins or their lifestyle to God, if there is one. They do not want to be judged, they want to plead ignorance at the end of their days. Oh, there are many other reasons for rejecting God’s message, but most are found to be wanting. I do find it interesting that God is so much closer to the poor, the sick, the oppressed and impoverished, and those who are without hope for this life. As the Virgin Mary said to Pachi, a visionary in Ecuador, “Most come to know God only on bended knees.”

    That is not so hard to believe. But it is tragic. If Christianity is correct, then eternal life is just that —- forever. And there is eternal reward and eternal suffering. Don’t rail against God and say how could he be so punishing to some? God’s ways are not our ways, He has revealed enough to us to trust Him. He has promised us eternal life and happiness, and we are to call Him unfair with that gift of love? Those whose fate may be in hell are only there because they have chosen so. They willingly and knowingly have rejected God’s love and mercy for reasons of pride, hate, anger, selfishness, or whatever. I do believe anyone who truly wants to know God and be forgiven, they will not end up in hell, but may very well spend centuries in purgatory being purified. It seems apparent almost everyone who ends up in heaven will be in purgatory for some period. That is God’s mercy overcoming His justice. What a gift!

    So when someone responds to this in terms of “you have no way of knowing anything, why should I care” I will not be surprised. But what have they to gain by remaining a critic without any certainty of their own what lies beyond the grave? What good is their cursing the darkness? What hope to they bring to the down trodden and the destitute? What merit is there in mocking Christ by putting a Darwinian fish on their bumper sticker? What merit is there in denying heaven and hell and just living out one’s days in total uncertainty? As I have stated, there are countless miracles associated with the saints and others that demand a verdict. To ignore them is to make a choice as to what you care about in this life. To me it sounds very much like the great sin of pride — the very sin that brought God’s most beautiful angel, Lucifer, to his demise. One had better be certain that Jesus Christ is not true or the answer to the world before one curses Him.

  582. #585 spurge
    July 25, 2008

    “I, for one, have argued with atheists, agnostics and pagans for years on trying to establish the credibility of God and the divinity of Jesus Christ. By and large I would say it has been futile.”

    Judging from the crap you post here it is easy to see why.

  583. #586 turzovka
    July 25, 2008

    To Spurge:

    Yes, and your responses to my “crap” are so filled with intellectual arguments or opposing documentation. NOT. More just the “your a jerk” kind of comments which must make you feel all puffed up and confident around your friends. “You really told him off buddy!”

  584. #587 SEF
    July 25, 2008

    #68

    Fatima is thee miracle that skeptics cannot explain away.

    Untrue. It was probably an example of an air lens, where a piece of one air mass gets trapped inside another and acts as a lens, focusing the sun’s light and heat such that it seems closer while the surrounding sky from which the light was taken becomes darker (as per the dark band between primary and secondary rainbow). The swirling distortion fits and at the edge of the air lens passing over, the last glimpse could easily appear red (as per other examples of lenses and solar phenomena). Mountaineers have occasionally reported being under air lenses – with it suddenly getting very hot and bright.

  585. #588 turzovka
    July 25, 2008

    So the whole world is a liar, is that is SEF (#587)?

    If you were not there to see it for yourself, then 70,000 who were there had to be liars. If you want to deal in facts then go read the anti-clerical, communist Lisbon newspaper account from October 15th. They were enemies of the church, they had every reason to want to discredit this event. Go check the weather reports for Lisbon and Fatima on October 13, 1917. You will note it was rainy for several days including that one. The newspaper article and all the witnesses report of the soggy clothes and soaked, muddy ground turning to bone dry after 12 minutes of this solar phenomenon. Lies? And do you science folks deal in probabilities? What is the probability that 3 young children could predict the exact day this solar phenonmenon would occur three months in advance? What is the probability this sun would burst onto the scene through a dark, rainy sky almost on command and do its thing? Finally, what is the probability that those who so-do-not want to believe in this God will reach for any straw to try to explain it away? Your answer sounds so desperate and agenda driven I cannot take it seriously.

  586. #589 Steve_C
    July 25, 2008

    Turz is by far my favorite wackaloon troll at the moment.

  587. #590 Eric Saveau
    July 25, 2008

    @Colin Principe #558
    What a class act PZ is.

    Yes, he is. Certainly compared to scum like Bill Donohue and his legions of trolls.

    I wonder if he goes to the houses of vegetarians bearing steaks or stands outside NOW and shouts “Nice tits baby!”

    Well, those are interesting suggestions. Let’s compare them to the situation and see if they are in any way relevant!

    First off, are these hypothetical vegetarians bothering someone else? Do they have an arrogant hate-mongering media-whore spokesman who sets himself up as the voice of all TRUE vegetarians? Do they support an organization that has a long-standing policy of harboring and protecting child molesters? Have they issued death threats, veiled or otherwise? Have they sent legions of trolls to storm the blog of a rational man to demand that he respect irrational beliefs in the supernatural?

    No? No to ALL of these things? Wow! So, in other words, that example has nothing to do with anything!

    Let’s look at the second example. Are the members of NOW bothering someone else (other than, merely by existing, bothering insecure conservatives who think uppity women need to be kept down)? Do they have an arrogant hate-mongering media-whore spokeswoman who sets herself up as the voice of all TRUE women? Do they support an organization that has a long-standing policy of harboring and protecting child molesters? Have they issued death threats, veiled or otherwise (no; refusing to wash your socks and cook your dinner does not count)? Have they sent legions of trolls to storm the blog of a rational man to demand that he respect irrational beliefs in the supernatural?

    Gosh, the answer to all of those is also a resounding NO!
    There’s no comparison at all! Thanks for providing this handy illustration of exactly what morally empty shithead you are? And now, please feel free to fuck the fucking fuck off.

  588. #591 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Yes I’m a Catholic but no u won’t be hearing the usual from me:

    I recently read a book by Terry Pratchett entitled The Last Hero where there is talk of a group of people who worships a piece of bread. That got me thinking: do we Catholics worship a piece of bread? Not really. We don’t worship the Eucharist (your cracker) like we don’t worship statues and crucifixes. Now I don’t think ur interested in what we Catholics actually worship so I’m going to continue on.
    If I as a Catholic worship a piece of bread then I would be offended by what u did 2 ur cracker. But I don’t. So I’m not. And don’t worry about ur soul being condemned to hell and all that (which I’m very sure ur not)- that is between u and Jesus. IMHO he’s probably smirking at how u and ur fans (both those who love u and those who don’t) are making a big deal out of this whole business. But that’s just me.

  589. #592 turzovka
    July 25, 2008

    Steve C (#589), I am not a troll. What is a troll anyway?
    I am your conscience. I am gentle exhortations representing Christ as a servant of his. There is no easy way to prick your heart. Surely if I said “Jesus loves you, won’t you share in his message?” that would not do anything for you. It seems to me, the more militant opponents of the faith like to tell us Christians to be kind as your Lord would have you — is that so we can be more easily ignored? Or I would be remiss if I did not mention your all time favorite “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” That one is misused more than any other Scripture I know of. What it does not mean is to keep quiet. It does not mean to let others mock and plunder. It means do not dare suggest what final fate awaits any man. But do not be afraid to call sin a sin. Not that I’m pefect, mind you. :)

  590. #593 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Here’s my two bits on why atheists are atheists. Please feel free to comment (not that this makes any difference):
    Atheists are atheists because they don’t see enough proof of the existence of God and they are deeply suspicious of the people trying to force them to believe in God.
    Now for my response:
    I don’t see much proof for the existence of God and yet I believe in Him (the Catholic version). I remain doubtful about all the experiences I have of Jesus and the Holy Spirit- they could be products of self-delusion and mass suggestion. People forcing others to believe in this, that or the other is definitely wrong- that’s why the reason I’m Catholic is because I chose to be. Yes, I chose to remain self-deluded, massly-suggested and yoked to an organization commonly referred to as the Whore of Babylon. And I dare anyone to force me to choose otherwise. Cause that definitely wouldn’t be sporting.
    Therefore I remained convinced that the difference between atheists, agnostics, lapsed religionists, moderate religionists and fanatical religionists is this one: you are who you are because of who or what you have experienced.

  591. #594 Donovan
    July 25, 2008

    *giddy with laughter*

    I know this isn’t the right thread, but PZ closed it before I could post. I’m referring to his “Great Desecration.” One of the Catholics referred to “Myers and Co.” HA! Someone gave us credit for supporting his sacrilege. Prof. Myers, I am glad to have been condemned by your side. Granted, I was thrown (quite literally, by the collar of my Sunday best) from the Catholic Church (St. Peters, NH) while in the second grade for blasphemy. I had accused the priest of “kissy, kissy” in his private confessional. I was indeed a monstrous child and I do owe my current education to the nuns of a Catholic school, but that tumble down cement stairs into the New England icy snow was the best thing that could have happened to me. Ravage the crackers!!!

  592. #595 MAJeff, OM
    July 25, 2008

    I am your conscience. I am gentle exhortations representing Christ as a servant of his. There is no easy way to prick your heart. Surely if I said “Jesus loves you, won’t you share in his message?” that would not do anything for you. It seems to me, the more militant opponents of the faith like to tell us Christians to be kind as your Lord would have you — is that so we can be more easily ignored? Or I would be remiss if I did not mention your all time favorite “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” That one is misused more than any other Scripture I know of. What it does not mean is to keep quiet. It does not mean to let others mock and plunder. It means do not dare suggest what final fate awaits any man. But do not be afraid to call sin a sin. Not that I’m pefect, mind you. :)

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

  593. #596 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    You know, I also wonder why God doesn’t create any miracle that is so obvious that people would fall down in awe and worship Him. I.e. proving once and for all that He’s the Almighty.
    My ultimate answer is: I have no idea so why don’t we all ask Him instead of others who also have no idea. My penultimate answer is that He doesn’t want everyone to believe in Him. It’s that simple. You may argue that if God is so loving He would want everyone to love Him so He can share His love with everyone. But you are not God. No human being is God. And that kind of thinking is that of a human being. All we know of God is what He deigned to tell us. And this is not done directly, but through other human beings. And you ask why this God doesn’t do something so awesome that you simply cannot deny the fact that he is God. If he is that kind of God, do you think He would reveal Himself through other human beings?

  594. #597 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    Turzovka,
    You boast that your god is a torturer, and will torture people forever. So do you worship evil out of fear – in which case, that is forgiveable, but be assured no such psychopathic monster as you imagine is at all likely to exist; or because you enjoy the thought of the torture that will be meted out to those who disagree with you?

  595. #598 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Should any religionists care if atheists are going to hell, especially when those atheists don’t believe there is a hell in the first place? As to why they are going to hell or are they actually going to Hell, don’t ask me. Cause I’m not God.
    Why should we Catholics care if anyone desecrate the Eucharist? It’s not as if tolerating it means we are bad Catholics (at least not in my opinion). After all Jesus has been hurt so much from the start of His ministry till this very moment, so what’s some extra wounds? And desecrating the Eucharist doesn’t make Jesus any less God or Man or Redeemer or what have you.

  596. #599 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    gatherofknowledge@597,
    Does it not occur to you that there is a much less convoluted answer to your puzzlement: “God” does not create obvious miracles, because “God” does not exist.

  597. #600 turzovka
    July 25, 2008

    Nick (#597), I am not convinced God will torture anyone forever. And torture is not the right word, but leave that aside for the moment. I am convinced that God is giving us the proper message for all souls on earth to learn, know, serve and obey. I am convinced of eternal life and happiness in heaven. What ultimately happens to those who reject God with contempt I do not dare say for certain. They may be blotted out of existence. They may be given another chance to live by trial eons from now. They may be blotted out of our consciences in heaven as well. So perhaps God is just telling us it will be eternal punishment, because it some ways it truly is, but in more sublime, godly ways of thinking it does not necessarily apply. Irrespective, it is what God wants us to understand for our own good and salvation.

  598. #601 MAJeff, OM
    July 25, 2008

    After all Jesus has been hurt so much from the start of His ministry till this very moment, so what’s some extra wounds?

    Again with the torture and mortification fetishism.

  599. #602 Steve_C
    July 25, 2008

    I think we are who we are by choosing how rational we want to be. Choosing to believe in gods. for which there is no evidence, and has never been evidence for. is irrational.

    The world appears to need no supernatural deity to be exactly as it is. So what’s the point? Fear of death is probably the strongest instinct most have… an afterlife allays that fear, I think that’s the main reason most people choose to be irrational. Believing that if you follow the right rules of your chosen superstition, you’ll never die, or will be given paradise is irrational, I think even stupid and unhealthy.

  600. #603 Benjamin Franklin
    July 25, 2008

    gathererofknowledge asks-

    Why don’t we all ask… why God doesn’t create any miracle that is so obvious that people would fall down in awe and worship Him? I.e. proving once and for all that He’s the Almighty.

    It seems to me that millions have been asking that question for thousands of years. So far – no answer.

    You say -
    “All we know of God is what He deigned to tell us. And this is not done directly, but through other human beings.” This is precicely where all revealed religion fails. You have to put your faith, ultimately, in another human beings’ interpretation of their “revelation”, and believe that their revelation was truly from God. I don’t, and it can not be proved that they are.

  601. #604 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Nick (#599), that’s one possibility. I think I’ll politely disagree, though.

    MAJeff, OM (#601) Catholicism (and probably all Christianity too) is all about Jesus being tortured and mortified a long time ago, so yes, again with the torture and mortification fetishism.

  602. #605 Benjamin Franklin
    July 25, 2008

    Sheesh! – make that …precisely

    It’s tough to be precise when you can’t even type out the bloody word correctly. Meh.

  603. #606 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Benjamin Franklin (#603), you’re absolutely correct. It can’t be proved that anyone has got hold of The Truth. But irrational old me has arbitrarily decided to believe that the Catholic church has a firmer grasp of The Truth than other religions and irrational old me has no intention of defending his arbitrary decision using facts that can’t be proven anyway. And irrational old me will stick to his decision until the moment he dies when he’ll find out how irrational and arbitrary he is. And that’s his choice.

  604. #607 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    If Christianity is correct, then eternal life is just that —- forever. And there is eternal reward and eternal suffering. – turzovka@584

    I am not convinced God will torture anyone forever. And torture is not the right word turzovka@600

    You don’t seem to know what you believe. Care to clarify?

  605. #608 Damian
    July 25, 2008

    gathererofknowledge:

    I think that there is much validity to what you have said. Sometimes atheists can go overboard, in my opinion, when claiming that our atheism is entirely a rational, evidence based decision. That is often an ad hoc interpretation, in my experience, although I do not doubt that many people have seriously looked at the evidence [or lack thereof] and concluded that there is no rational basis for believing.

    Of the many stories that I have heard about personal journeys from theism to atheism, very few have mentioned that they were persuaded entirely by evidence. Many people talk about a kind of epiphany [in the non-religious sense of the word] where they pretty much wake up one day and it hits them. I am generalizing here, of course.

    All that I would say to you is that there are ethical issues concerned with belief [The duty to believe according to the evidence -- it's very long, but it lays out the evidentialist position], and a theistic morality is certainly not as straight forward, or defensible, as some believers would like to think — in fact, I would suggest that it is decidedly indefensible [Read this].

    In many ways, that is why I believe that theists have a fairly unique duty to make sure that members of their own faith do not allow themselves to become too fanatical. You may say that is unfair, but if you admit that much of what you believe is not grounded in evidence, you must also accept that that very mode of thinking is more susceptible to producing fanatics.

    And why wouldn’t it be. With all due respect, and as we have seen with cracker-gate, the process that one must go through to convince themselves that a food item really does become the body of Jesus Christ — a man who, even if he is a real historical figure [and there is some doubt about that], has been dead for over nearly 2000 years — often manifests itself in a strange sort of devotion. That is not the case with factual claims, in my experience.

    There are few, if any, people that are fanatical about the Theory of Evolution. All that I have to do is present the evidence and argue a case. There is no faith involved. When you believe outlandish claims, and become reliant on them for comfort, health, happiness, etc, you will be prepared to go to greater and greater lengths to rationalize those beliefs. I don’t believe that this is healthy — at least not in some people.

    That is why it is often very difficult for an atheist to have a discussion with a certain percentage of believers. It is almost as if they don’t take in a single word that you say to them, and instead continually repeat things that you have long shown to be faulty. Once again, I am generalizing, of course, and there are some theists that are extremely intelligent, rational, and interesting to talk to, but there are also many that worry me in their disconnectedness from reality.

  606. #609 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Let me give my two bits in answer to Nick Gotts’ (#607) question. Bear in mind that since I neither know nor have read any of turzovka’s posts, I may be entirely unreflective of turzovka’s opinion.

    Eternal suffering and eternal torture are two different things. The first implies no doer (person causing suffering) while the second more than implies a doer (an actual torturer). Now you may ask why would a loving God want to torture His creation eternally in Hell. You’re right. He doesn’t want to. Nor does He actually torture them. He simply creates a painful place for those who don’t want to be with Him and let them live there eternally.

    You may also ask why an all-powerful God doesn’t simply forgive the sins of everyone and unite all His creation in Paradise. It simple. He isn’t that all-powerful. He puts limits on Himself. And one of His limits is issuing blanket amnesties. Another one is forcing people to accept Him or even believe in Him. A third is acting as if it’s okay to force those living in Hell to accept Him, just as long as they don’t suffer eternally.

    I know. It’s all convoluted. But that’s how my mind works.

  607. #610 Steve_C
    July 25, 2008

    Where do you get these ideas from? It’s all just a man made construct. Circular and pointless.

  608. #611 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Damian (#608), I agree with you. We theists do try to prove that our decision to believe in God is a thinking one (full of proofs) instead of an emotional one (gut feeling commonly labeled ‘encounter with God’). Yet since religion isn’t scientific in ways that physics (for example) is scientific we tend to fail miserably. So some of us get so excited over this fact that we close our mind to all differing opinions, believing that only with this can we stay theist. And that’s my two-bit on how some theists become fanatics. May I submit that a similar mind-set seems to affect some atheists, causing them to appear to be similarly fanatical about their beliefs as some of the fanatical theists.

  609. #612 Damian
    July 25, 2008

    gathererofknowledge said:

    Eternal suffering and eternal torture are two different things. The first implies no doer (person causing suffering) while the second more than implies a doer (an actual torturer). Now you may ask why would a loving God want to torture His creation eternally in Hell. You’re right. He doesn’t want to. Nor does He actually torture them. He simply creates a painful place for those who don’t want to be with Him and let them live there eternally.

    You may also ask why an all-powerful God doesn’t simply forgive the sins of everyone and unite all His creation in Paradise. It simple. He isn’t that all-powerful. He puts limits on Himself. And one of His limits is issuing blanket amnesties. Another one is forcing people to accept Him or even believe in Him. A third is acting as if it’s okay to force those living in Hell to accept Him, just as long as they don’t suffer eternally.

    With all due respect, gathererofknowledge, you seem like a nice person, but this is what I was talking about in the post above yours. This reasoning is shown to be both wrongheaded, and dare I say, immoral, with a simple example:

    Let’s say that you have the choice between sending a group of children [perhaps your own?] to a place that they really, really don’t like going to — even to the point where it caused them great suffering — would you consider it moral to claim that you cannot not send them to this place because you have limited yourself in such a way?

    Just think about what you are saying in ethical terms. Many theists retort that we can not possibly limit God by holding him to our own ethical standards, but that is simply a cop-out. For a start, if God is omnibenevolent, and we are expected to behave in a certain manner, according to what God considers to be good, then even if God’s moral nature goes far beyond ours, His must necessarily include our idea of what is good.

    As what you have described is not the case, there are only two options — (1) God is evil, and/or (2) your interpretation is false.

    This might also interest you: The End of Pascal’s Wager: Only Nontheists Go to Heaven

  610. #613 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Steve_C (#610), allow me to presume that you’re addressing your question to me and answer it. I treated the man-made construct you call religion as a philosophy, rumbled some thoughts about it, and came up with some thoughts justifying my belief. Hopefully this is similar to the process with which you decided that religions are man-made constructs.

  611. #614 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    Now you may ask why would a loving God want to torture His creation eternally in Hell. You’re right. He doesn’t want to. Nor does He actually torture them. He simply creates a painful place for those who don’t want to be with Him and let them live there eternally. – gathererofknowledge

    This is ludicrous sophistry. He “creates a painful place”, which he knows people are going to end up in, and then denies responsibility for their eternal suffering. Not only a torturer, but a moral coward.

    You may also ask why an all-powerful God doesn’t simply forgive the sins of everyone and unite all His creation in Paradise. It simple. He isn’t that all-powerful. He puts limits on Himself. And one of His limits is issuing blanket amnesties.

    Why? Since this “self-limitation” is going to result in an infinite amount of suffering, it would be an evil thing to do.

  612. #615 Damian
    July 25, 2008

    gathererofknowledge said

    May I submit that a similar mind-set seems to affect some atheists, causing them to appear to be similarly fanatical about their beliefs as some of the fanatical theists.

    This may or may not be true, but you cannot place the blame on atheism, in my opinion. If there are fanatical atheists, that fanaticism must necessarily manifest itself through some other avenue.

    Why? Because atheism is simply a lack of theism. It would be like blaming a lack of stamp collecting. I realize that this seems like a cop-out, but I am honestly not trying to absolve blame.

    There has to be a logical link between anything that you believe and the actions that you undertake. I could show you evidence from the psychology of religion to support my claim, but there is no such psychology of atheism, because nothing follows from it. It is not a philosophy, and there really is nothing else to it, other than a lack of belief. What we believe beyond that cannot be blamed on our non-belief in god’s.

    I suppose that you could attempt to show that, without religion people become less moral, etc, but there are no real-life statistics to back that up. In fact, all statistics show that there is either no difference, or that atheists are more moral in some cases. One such statistic is that roughly 10% of the US citizenry are non-believers, while the same group only constitutes 0.209% of the prison population. In other words, we are massively under-represented.

    By the way, I don’t place too much store in those statistics. Many social issues are very complex, and attempting to draw conclusions based on one factor is not very rigorous, and it certainly isn’t fair.

  613. #616 turzovka
    July 25, 2008

    Nick (#614),

    As far as I am concerned there are only two “eternal” questions that address all of mankind’s stuggles with God, death, and the unknown.

    1) Why are we given life or why are we here? (This would include the other often asked question “Why does God allow suffering on earth?”)

    2) Why would a supposed all good God allow people to suffer in hell, apparently forever?

    Both questions are beyond the scope of man as far as I am concerned, but the first one may be more easier to venture a guess. Would you prefer to have a beautiful woman arranged to be your wife or would you prefer she choose to be your wife? Which would give you greater satisfaction? Perhaps God created mankind to be subject to some trial and those who stay obedient or seek to love God are of greater joy to Him, than say the angels who are beyond sinning or falling away (Lucifer in eons past notwithstanding).

    Question #2, I answer this way again. God has revealed more than enough, empirically and otherwise to me that there is no question in my mind of his existence and the truth of His Son Jesus Christ. In so many ways, I am grateful and feel very much assured of his mercy and his promises of eternal life and happiness. What a feeling of security and serenity. To be able to know there is life beyond the grave, you can be with your loved ones, and to know you will live forever and not be blotted out into non-existence. I am convinced of this, I see the evidence for it, and so I am grateful. Therefore: When God then says “my ways are not your ways, i.e. do not question that which is beyond your understanding or need to know” then I accept that. I cannot understand hell, I cannot understand how someone would be bound there forever, so I do not question it. It will always be a mystery for man, but God is so superior in his thoughts and ways, there may be something quite valid about it that will some day be made clear. No need to question the mystical or that which we are not privy to, just obey and be grateful. I know enough. It very well may be that no one is in hell forever, but God poses it that way for man to process his own path properly. Good enough for me.

  614. #617 Steve_C
    July 25, 2008

    What a pile of superstition.

  615. #618 Paul W.
    July 25, 2008

    That got me thinking: do we Catholics worship a piece of bread? Not really. We don’t worship the Eucharist (your cracker) like we don’t worship statues and crucifixes.

    I think you’re mistaken. Many Catholics do worship the Host. Look up “transubstantiation,” “Real Presence”, and “adoration of the Eucharist” in the Catholic Encyclopedia online.

    Dogma says that the Host is literally transubstantiated into the Body of Christ. It’s the body of the living god. It is god. And it’s a good thing to “adore” it, which doesn’t mean standing around saying “what a cute cracker!”

    I think that by any reasonable standard, that’s a form of worship—worshipping God in the form of a cracker—and it’s also idolatry.

    Catholics aren’t supposed to admit that, and have some very special terms and fancy footwork to avoid it, but I do think that’s what it is.

    (And of course I’m not alone. That’s one of the things the Protestant Reformation was about.)

    Catholics like to say that adoration of the Eucharist isn’t anything like pagan idol worship.

    But then, Catholics have never been very interested in what pagan idol worship is actually about—do idol-worshipping pagans really worship mere wood and stone objects in a different, worse sense? Generally, they don’t. They do the same kind of fancy footwork, and are more likely to believe in something weaker like consubstantiation than transubstantiation.

    Transubstantiation and eucharist adoration are about as idol-worshipping as idol-worshipping actually gets. If it doesn’t count as idol-worship (believing that a mundane physical object literally is a god, and adoring that object as a form of worshipping the God), nothing does.

  616. #619 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    Damian@615,
    I think you’re wrong: I think you can get “pure” atheist fanatics: individuals can identify with and commit themselves to any facet of their belief system, even a negative one; and I take “fanaticism” to mean the conviction that anyone who disagrees with you on a particular point is an enemy, and must be either stupid or wicked. However, I don’t think they are nearly as common as atheists who are fanatical about something other than atheism (typically some variant of Leninism or right-libertarianism).

  617. #620 spurge
    July 25, 2008

    More hand waving and special pleading than superstition I think.

  618. #621 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    It seems to me that atheists and religionists live in two different worlds (realities). Atheists say that there is no God and even if there is he/she/it/they must be bound by human rules and expectations (moral, ethical, physical, etc.) The first is because they see little proof of the existence of such a being or beings, and the second is because they put human life and happiness as the reason for the existence of God (in other words, God must agree with our ideas of what is good and what is evil). Religionists see it as the other way around. Our ideas of what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong are but imperfect reflections of God’s morals and ethics. Thus though we can be moral and ethical without God, we can be more moral and more ethical if God reveals to us his morals and ethics. And my particular religion (Catholicism) believes it has the clearest refection of God’s morals and ethics.
    By the way, thank you Damian and Nick Gotts for your comments. Please forgive me if my comments hurt your feelings.

  619. #622 spurge
    July 25, 2008

    “And my particular religion (Catholicism) believes it has the clearest refection of God’s morals and ethics. ”

    and yet they protect pedophile priests, help spread AIDS, oppress Homosexuals and Women.

  620. #623 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    turzovka@616,

    You have stated very fairly the starting points for arguments that: (a) If there is a creator, that creator cannot be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent; (b) The Abrahamic god, if he exists, is evil beyond human comprehension.

    You then continue:
    “Both questions are beyond the scope of man as far as I am concerned”. In other words, you are aware that the “answers” you give are weak. In fact, they are hardly worth calling answers. You ask:

    Would you prefer to have a beautiful woman arranged to be your wife or would you prefer she choose to be your wife? Which would give you greater satisfaction? Perhaps God created mankind to be subject to some trial and those who stay obedient or seek to love God are of greater joy to Him, than say the angels who are beyond sinning or falling away (Lucifer in eons past notwithstanding).

    This God sounds a very selfish fellow; just because he wants a particular quality of sycophancy from his creatures, he creates a world in which many of the beings suffer terribly (infinitely, if we admit the doctrine of eternal punishment). I note by the way that the case of Lucifer completely badly damages your hypothesis about God’s motivation – clearly angels are not per se beyond “sinning”.

    With regard to hell, you just admit you “don’t understand”:
    No need to question the mystical or that which we are not privy to, just obey and be grateful.
    This is truly spine-chilling; it is sheer power-worship, the psychological foundation of fascism. You abandon moral responsibility, in exactly the way people are pressured to do under totalitarian regimes. Do not question God! very quickly becomes: Do not question the Leader/Party/Church/Ayatollah!

    Recognising the weakness of your arguments, you fall back on the trust you feel in God. How can you possibly claim to know what you think is “God” is trustworthy? Whatever you may have felt, a sufficiently powerful evil creator could cause you to feel that trust and joy. Why would such an evil creator do this? Why, for a certain type of psychopathic sadist, I imagine that a large part of the pleasure is in anticipation, and in gaining the trust of your intended victims. The only evidence we have is of a world which does not look as though it was designed by a virtuous creator, and of “holy books” such as the Bible, which tend to suggest that this creator, if he exists, is not at all a nice chap.

  621. #624 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    It seems to me that atheists and religionists live in two different worlds (realities). – GoK

    It seems to me theists live in a fantasy, atheists (some of them, at any rate) in the real world!

  622. #625 Damian
    July 25, 2008

    Nick Gotts:

    I agree with you on that point, and perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. There are certainly atheists that are fanatical about what they do or do not believe, but I was attempting to suggest that the fanaticism does not follow from that belief. I don’t know if you agree with that or not, but I have never seen a sound logical argument that shows it to be possible.

    I don’t believe that religious fanaticism necessarily follows from the religious teachings, either. A good example of that would be Muslim fanaticism. It has been successfully argued, in my opinion, that much of the fanaticism that we have seen in the Muslim world and elsewhere is not necessarily a consequence of Islam, itself. I don’t think that you can absolve Islam of all of the blame, but there are obviously political, tribal, and cultural dimensions, as well.

  623. #626 Lucifer
    July 25, 2008

    than say the angels who are beyond sinning or falling away (Lucifer in eons past notwithstanding).

    Make up your mind, willya?

    Did I have a choice to rebel?

    If I did, then I have as much free will as you. In fact, I have more free will — I knew for a fact that God existed when I rebelled. You humans don’t.

    If I didn’t have a choice to rebel, then I don’t have free will. So I’m just God’s sock puppet.

    So which is it? Free-willed angel, in which case humans are redundant, or sock-puppet?

    And if the latter, how do you know that you’re not actually all sock-puppets too?

  624. #627 turzovka
    July 25, 2008

    Nick (#623),

    If you would accede to proof for this God that we worship then there would be no “weakness in my arguments.” But I never have been able to get a coherent answer as to what proof or evidence is required? As far as I am concerned, statues of Mary that weep blood are highly convincing of the supernatural. There are hundreds of them! Many have been examined by medicine or science. Do I have to do the research again and tell you which ones? Would it make a difference? Start with the one in a convent in Akita, Japan that has been video taped on a number of occasions weeping tears of blood. It has been thoroughly examined, cat scanned, what have you. Why these manifestations do not blow the minds of humans or skeptics is beyond me? There is NO WAY these are all hoaxes, many are supernatural, there is no reasonable natural explanation for them whatsoever. It is obvious. Mary is weeping because of the state of sin in this world.

    Anyway, I submit that is proof of supernatural occurrences, divine intervention. Now if you want to argue which god is God, then we go further with the evidence, historical, reason, rationale, claims, prophecies, charity, fruits, and so on. Maybe you would get stuck on “there must be a God but not sure which one.” For many of us, there is no question which one.

    However once you are accepting of God, then to question all His ways which are not in line with your human understanding I consider to be very demanding, arrogant or foolish. He has given all one needs to attain eternal life.

  625. #628 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    Hey, Lucifer,
    Has it been one of your chaps playing at being God for turzovka all the time?

  626. #629 Paul W.
    July 25, 2008
    Basically, any time you trick somebody out of their property, that’s theft. (In Minnesota, it’s covered under the “swindle” clause of Minnesota Statute 609.52) There doesn’t have to be a custom rule defined by a contract (implicit or explicit).

    In cases where the terms under which you’re given something are unclear, there’s a gray area as to what constitutes tricking somebody into giving your property. Unfortunately, admitting that you knew they wouldn’t give it to you without your pretending to follow their rules is pretty much an admission of guilt.

    But who’s making that admission? PZ said his local churches probably won’t give him a cracker willingly…so he’s not taking one. There’s plenty of ways to get a cracker without deceiving the person giving it to you; you simply have to find a priest or a church that doesn’t care much. Dan L. at #523 gave an example of that from his own life. My wife, an open Jewish atheist, has been invited to communion in two different Catholic churches. Take a cracker if you want, eat it if you want, no biggie.

    That’s an interesting case. If the priest knows she’s an atheist and gives her the wafer, she may not be stealing it, but the priest may be.

    She might be technically stealing the cracker, too, or receiving stolen goods, if she knows that she’s not supposed to take it, or if she plans to do something with it that the priest would not or should not approve of. (For example, if she plans to give it to PZ to desecrate, and knows the priest would not give it to her if he knew that.)

    One of my points in this is that it’s often not determinate whether something is “legal.” Often there’s a gray area where the law says something is illegal, but the issues are unclear and the stakes are so small (like a 2-cent cracker) that the courts would not decide either way whether a crime had been committed. They’d usually just say “the law doesn’t concern itself with trifles” (I forget the Latin) and worry about something else.

    Many Catholics don’t buy all the Catholic dogma, and do NOT confess all their sins to the priest before taking communion. That violates the terms of use for the wafer, and they know it.

    Well, no, it doesn’t, because the “terms of use” are implicit, and given that priests know that many Catholics take the wafer without confession, and they happily hand it out anyway, there’s no implication that confession is required.

    I don’t think that’s clear. The terms of use don’t have to be explicit and clear in everybody’s mind for theft to be committed. If they’re clear enough that you resort to deception to obtain the property, that usually counts as theft.

    And interestingly, if they’re unclear enough to you, and you can’t be expected to know you’re stealing, the legal fault may be with somebody who was supposed to make it clear, but didn’t. Such as a priest.

    If the church wants to write up terms of use and hand them out to all comers, or have a brief verbal announcement before communion, they’re welcome to do so. But until they do, all we can do is see which people are invited to or excluded from communion, and make an inference from that. If your local church doesn’t seem to exclude anybody, nor does it make a fuss about strict adherence to the ritual, so much for terms of use.

    I don’t think that’s clear. If you understand that they’re not supposed to give you the cracker for your intended purposes, and you act innocent and nice so that they’ll assume you’re taking it “the right way” and give it to you, that may technically be (ridiculously) petty theft.

    Your position, it seems to me, requires that some subset of Catholics–Bill Donohue and his buddies, or the Vatican, or somebody–gets to decree what the legal terms of use will be for crackers handed out by all Catholics. I just don’t find that legally or morally tenable. If the church you’re attending doesn’t act like they care who takes a cracker or what they privately do with it, more dogmatic Catholics at other churches have no say in the matter.

    Under law, I think that the wafers are church property, which means that they’re the property of a religious corporation. I don’t know if that’s the individual parish, and I suspect it’s the diocese; it’s probably not the whole Catholic Church.

    (Legally they try to operate as something like a franchise operation and avoid having the Catholic Church legally responsible for the actions of dioceses—the buck stops there. That’s a farcical aspect of the priestly pedophilia scandal. The International Church uses the dioceses as a cutout, saying they’re just franchises, not subsidiary corporations. Given the top-down control that the church actually exerts despite that overt lack of ownership, especially the way they covered up and fostered pedophilia, I think RICO should have been invoked and the church should have been nailed for racketeering. They were literally acting as an international child-fucking racket.)

    Depending on how the diocese’s legal charter reads, I think that dogma about crackers may in fact be very relevant to whether they’re being “stolen,” and who is doing the stealing. Priests are employees of a corporation, and have the usual responsibilities for not giving away the corporation’s property in ways the corporation says not to.

    If some overzealous prosecutor were to make an issue of it, and the judge didn’t throw it out as a frivolous waste of the courts’ time over 2-cent crackers, it could be an entertaining farce. Especially if it was found that the fault lay mostly with the priests for not taking dogma seriously enough and illegally giving away corporate crackers.

  627. #630 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    Paul W:

    I think you’re mistaken. Many Catholics do worship the Host.

    The word “host” is from the Latin hostia, “sacrificial victim,” i.e., Jesus. Yes, Catholics worship the Host, i.e., our passover sacrifice, God incarnate in Jesus Christ, whom we believe to be present under the appearances of bread.

    However, even if you disbelieve in the Real Presence, it is a category mistake to say “Catholics worship a piece of bread.” They do not. They direct their worship to God whom they believe to be present under the appearances of bread. On the hypothesis that He is not present, their worship would then be directed to an unreal, imagined object, but it is still not directed at bread. Bread is finite. We cannot worship what is finite.

    Dr. Johnson (a Protestant) understood this quite well: “Sir, there is no idolatry in the Mass. [Catholics] believe [God] to be there, and they adore him.”

    That’s one of the things the Protestant Reformation was about.

    Not exactly. Both Lutherans and Anglicans believed that Jesus was really bodily present in the Eucharist, with some philosophical differences in explanation. It would be better to say “That was one of a complex of ideas that eventually came out of the Reformation.”

    If it doesn’t count as idol-worship (believing that a mundane physical object literally is a god, and adoring that object as a form of worshipping the God), nothing does.

    However, the same argument could equally be extended to argue that worshiping God incarnate in the flesh would also be “idolatry.”

    In Judeo-Catholic thought, “idolatry” might be defined as “worship directed to anything or anyone less/other than the eternal, infinite Creator God who revealed himself to Abraham and Moses.”

    What makes pagan worship “idolatry” is not ultimately that they do it before a bit of wood or stone, but that they offer worship to what is finite, whether you call it “a statue” or “Dagon” abstractly conceived.

  628. #631 Damian
    July 25, 2008

    gathererofknowledge:

    Don’t worry, you are not hurting our [my] feelings! I rather like to converse with believers, and even if we don’t agree on a great many things, we will at least gain a better understanding of one another.

    Now, having said that :), we seem to disagree about [or perhaps you have misunderstood] my argument?

    If what you consider to be good is supposedly a reflection of what God considers to be good — after all, without that, there would be no grounds for a theistic ethics — then it follows that God cannot violate or directly contradict that standard of goodness, does it not?

    And I am arguing that what you describe as God’s rationale for not allowing atheists in to heaven, and indeed for essentially punishing us for an eternity, is a direct contradiction of anything that we would normally describe as moral. If a theist believes that it would immoral to do what you describe here on earth [and I hope that they would], and they claim biblical support for that position, then something is not quite right.

    As I’ve said, there is no doubt that God would be immeasurably more morally developed than we are, but he canno directly contradict His own teachings!

    So, either we should be doing what you describe [or actions that are morally similar] here on earth, or you are wrong about what happens when we die. Of course, there is the option that God is evil, but that then destroys most of what theists believe. Most of the tenets of your faith would fall if God was evil, I’m sure.

  629. #632 turzovka
    July 25, 2008

    Lucifer (pitiful you should assume such a name)(#626),

    In eons past long before man came on the scene, apparently you did have the free will to rebel. (I bet you’re regretting that move?)

    Anyway, God is God so He does as He so wills. He has revealed much knowledge and understanding through His inspired saints, those like Catherina of Sienna. She is beyond reproach. Her words are words of divine wisdom and the Church has benefited immeasurably from such revelations. If they instruct us that angels no longer can be tempted by sin, then so it is. Big deal.

    God also said at some point in Scripture, I assume once the population of the earth was suffice, no longer can marriage or relations within the same family be allowed. And so it is. He also cut short the life span of man to no more than 120 years after populations grew. And so it is. Don’t get hung up on those little incongruencies or paradoxes that you think are smoking guns. It is the enormous white elephants in the room (or should I say that cross?) which you seem to be ignoring for ulterior reasons. Just a guess on my part.

  630. #633 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    Why these manifestations do not blow the minds of humans or skeptics is beyond me?

    Because they are not actually very impressive, and we know such “miracles” are easily faked, and that there are strong incentives to fake them, in order to enhance the repuation of a particular shrine. I have not heard of the particular statue in Japan you mention, but it would require thorough investigation by an independent body including forensic scientists and professional conjurors, before I would take it seriously. If it were proved to be beyond explanation, that would of course tell us nothing about the nature of the force or agent behind the phenomenon.

  631. #634 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2008

    Bread is finite. We cannot worship what is finite.

    So why the fuss over the cracker?

    However, the same argument could equally be extended to argue that worshiping God incarnate in the flesh would also be “idolatry.”

    In Judeo-Catholic thought, “idolatry” might be defined as “worship directed to anything or anyone less/other than the eternal, infinite Creator God who revealed himself to Abraham and Moses.”

    The Jewish take on Christianity is certainly that it is idolatry. Of course, saying so got them burned alive, so they started to just not talk about it.

    Really, once you read through the Nicene Creed, your whole “worship directed to anything or anyone less/other than the eternal, infinite Creator God who revealed himself to Abraham and Moses” is obviously out the window.

  632. #635 cricket
    July 25, 2008

    Even if Catholics are both wrong and stupid, P.Z. Meyers is mean, just like a person who would come into my house and rip my three year-old son’s “art” off the fridge and burn it in front of me… And that’s sadder, much sadder, than being wrong and stupid.

  633. #636 SC
    July 25, 2008

    Anyway, I submit that is proof of supernatural occurrences, divine intervention.

    Dear Ms. Turzovka:

    Thank you for your submission of 25 July, 2008. We received a large number of submissions this year, many of them of very high quality. We regret to inform you that yours has been rejected as woefully inadequate and indeed risible. Thank you for your time and effort, and we hope that you will consider us in your future endeavors.

    Sincerely,

    SC, The Reality-Based Community

  634. #637 turzovka
    July 25, 2008

    Thank you Mr SC for your diligent work on determining the statue weeping in the convent of Akita Japan is not of supernatural origin. Question: Is this kind of like the Shroud of Turin — i.e. you can tell the world it is not, but heaven forbid, that you could tell us what it is? Tons of questions remain unanswered on those objects, but apparently they are of no concern of yours?

    Sincerely, Turzovka

  635. #638 Lucifer
    July 25, 2008

    Lucifer (pitiful you should assume such a name)

    Why pitiful? The name means “Lightbringer”. Do you think that light is pitiful for some reason?

    In eons past long before man came on the scene, apparently you did have the free will to rebel.

    So there you go. Free will.

    (I bet you’re regretting that move?)

    Do you regret moving out of your parents’ house? Or have you even done so?

    Anyway, God is God so He does as He so wills. He has revealed much knowledge and understanding through His inspired saints, those like Catherina of Sienna. She is beyond reproach. Her words are words of divine wisdom and the Church has benefited immeasurably from such revelations. If they instruct us that angels no longer can be tempted by sin, then so it is.

    Interesting. Catherina of Sienna tells God to not allow angels to be tempted by sin, so he just does it.

    God sure sounds easy to boss around.

    And of course, if God can remove the free will of angels on a whim, he can remove the free will of anyone on a whim. Including humans. Say, maybe the Calvinists are right after all.

    Don’t get hung up on those little incongruencies or paradoxes that you think are smoking guns.

    You mean “contradictions”.

    It is the enormous white elephants in the room (or should I say that cross?) which you seem to be ignoring for ulterior reasons.

    You mean, the fact that God, according to the stories in the bible, and exterior to the bible, is utterly capricious? I’m not ignoring that. Are you?

  636. #639 Paul W.
    July 25, 2008

    SDG:

    The word “host” is from the Latin hostia, “sacrificial victim,” i.e., Jesus. Yes, Catholics worship the Host, i.e., our passover sacrifice, God incarnate in Jesus Christ, whom we believe to be present under the appearances of bread.

    OK, so far so good.

    However, even if you disbelieve in the Real Presence, it is a category mistake to say “Catholics worship a piece of bread.” They do not. They direct their worship to God whom they believe to be present under the appearances of bread. On the hypothesis that He is not present, their worship would then be directed to an unreal, imagined object, but it is still not directed at bread. Bread is finite. We cannot worship what is finite.

    I think it’s more correct (for a nonbeliever in transubstantiation) to say that Catholics worship a piece of bread which they believe to be God. (Because they believe it to be God, not because they believe it to be bread.)

    My point is that you can say the very same thing about pagan idol worship. Nobody worships a wooden or stone statue as a mere wooden or stone statue. Everybody has rationale for idol worship that involves something like a special presence within the physical object, or a metaphysical transformation of the physical object into a different kind of thing despite the observable sameness, or something unfalsifiable like that.

    Idol worshippers worship idols because they believe them to be gods, or to contain gods, or whatever.

    If we accept the Catholic reasoning about the wafer, we have to accept (other) idol-worshippers’ reasoning as well, and decide that idol-worshipping doesn’t exist. Nobody actually worships idols.

    That’s ridiculous. Of course idol worshipping exists, and Catholic adoration of the eucharist is an excellent example of it.

    (Even if we decide it’s not real idol worship, and is just what’s traditionally and mistakenly called “idol worship” when referring to other cultures, Catholics are no better in that regard. Whatever so-called “idol worship” actually is, Catholics do it too.)

    The thing that’s special about Catholic idol worship is the neat combination of idol worship and cannibalism. The very strong claim of transubstantiation allows eating the idol to be literal, not merely symbolic cannibalism. (Or attempted cannibalism, to nonbelievers.) Cool.

    You can dance around the cannibalism thing, too, but I don’t think it will wash. Most cannibalism is not eating people for food, per se, but to absorb a spiritual essence that the meat is believed to contain. (It’s usually a sign of respect for the deceased, in one way or another.) The distinguishing feature of Catholic cannibalism is just that it’s such an abject failure—people try to eat Jesus, but it’s just a frackin’ cracker.

  637. #640 SC
    July 25, 2008

    Thank you Mr SC for your diligent work on determining the statue weeping in the convent of Akita Japan is not of supernatural origin. Question: Is this kind of like the Shroud of Turin — i.e. you can tell the world it is not, but heaven forbid, that you could tell us what it is? Tons of questions remain unanswered on those objects, but apparently they are of no concern of yours?

    That’s Ms./Dr. SC.

    Please refer to Nick Gotts @ #633. With all that is wondrous in the natural world, everything we have learned and continue to learn from science, it amazes me that people can take these paste-miracles seriously, much less base their broader beliefs on them.

  638. #641 CJO
    July 25, 2008

    Even if Catholics are both wrong and stupid, P.Z. Meyers is mean, just like a person who would come into my house and rip my three year-old son’s “art” off the fridge and burn it in front of me… And that’s sadder, much sadder, than being wrong and stupid.

    Analogy fail. (someone should really collect all these. There have neen literally hundreds of handwringing attempts at analogies on the assorted cracker-gate threads. I have yet to see one that worked. anyhoo…)

    Each object created by your child, while resembling the cracker in that it is assigned negiligible value in monetary terms, is nevertheless a unique object, with its connection to a time and place and a phase of your son’s development as a creative being. Its value is a product of this uniquness and your close connection to your son as he grows up. A cracker is a cracker, and it’s indistinguishable from all the trillions of jesus-crisps mass produced over the years.

    What you (and I imagine most of the over-wrought bad analogy peddlers we’ve hosted over the last fortnight) seem to be getting at is that PZ’s motivations for demeaning a cracker are the same as the motivations that would be behind a senseless act like destroying your son’s artwork. All I can say is, you’re wrong. You’re trying to divorce the act from the context of what went on in Florida, without which, none of this would ever have happened.

  639. #642 PZ Myers
    July 25, 2008

    There’s a common theme to these analogies.

    The cracker is so cheap, so trivial, so inane, that they can’t actually argue against its desecration without looking like lunatics. So instead, they use these bad analogies to substitute in something that really matters: “What you are doing is like butchering babies!”

    After all, no one argues that butchering babies would be bad. If I were actually butchering babies, no one would be making analogies to explain how bad it was — they’d just tell me that that act is horrible and evil.

    This is a case where they can’t. The cracker is just too damned stupid.

  640. #643 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    no one argues that butchering babies would be bad – PZ Myers

    Erm, I think it would be very bad! I think your meaning would be better conveyed by sticking in “against the view” after “argues” ;-)

  641. #644 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    The Jewish take on Christianity is certainly that it is idolatry.

    That was certainly not the “Jewish take” of Jews like Saul of Tarsus and thousands of first-century Jewish Christians.

    Really, once you read through the Nicene Creed, your whole “worship directed to anything or anyone less/other than the eternal, infinite Creator God who revealed himself to Abraham and Moses” is obviously out the window.

    This thesis cannot be exegetically maintained without smuggling non-exegetical philosophical or theological assumptions, such as “the eternal, infinite Creator God who revealed himself to Abraham and Moses did not go on to become incarnate in Jesus Christ and reveal the Triune mystery of His being.”

    Non-Christian Jews, of course, would affirm this, while Christians would affirm the contrary. Non-theists, rejecting the veridicality of the key terms, would appear to have to consider it a non-problem and leave it at that.

  642. #645 CJO
    July 25, 2008

    Erm, I think it would be very bad!

    Nick, I think he means “no argument is considered necessary to support the assertion that butchering babies is bad.”

  643. #646 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    After all, no one argues that butchering babies would be bad.

    By “argues,” do you mean no one maintains that, or no one contests it?

    Whichever you mean, you’re wrong, unless by “butcher” you mean something more precise than “kill.” For example, Peter Singer maintains that killing babies under, e.g., 30 days old is not bad. And lots of people contest it.

  644. #647 SC
    July 25, 2008

    Nick,

    Judging from the sentences that follow, I think he meant that no one would bother to construct an argument requiring elaborate analogies and such about the badness of butchering babies, this being evident to all.

  645. #648 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    CJO, SC – Yes, I realised what he meant to say – it just amused me that it could appear to mean the exact opposite.

  646. #649 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    Judging from the sentences that follow, I think he meant that no one would bother to construct an argument requiring elaborate analogies and such about the badness of butchering babies, this being evident to all.

    Except academics like Peter Singer, and others who think just like him.

    And Obama and others who oppose legal protection for born-alive babies who survive botched abortions.

    And any number of professors of philosophy (e.g., emotivists) who deny that “badness” has any noetic meaning at all, as distinct from an expression of the speaker’s emotional state (“Boo! Hurrah!”).

    Apparently, it is evident to many, but not to all. Whether it should be evident to all is, of course, another question.

  647. #650 Anton Mates
    July 25, 2008

    That is not “clearly” true and is in fact likely false. It is entirely possible that visitors didn’t flip open the missalette cover and read the guidelines, but the missalettes themselves are nearly ubiquitous.

    It doesn’t matter. The church itself is not following the guidelines, so they do not accurately reflect the church’s terms of use.

    If I stand around handing out candy canes for free, people who take one are not guilty of swindling me even if the candy canes actually have a price tag on the side. Clearly, the price tag does not reflect my conditions for distribution.

  648. #651 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    SDG, fuck off, no-one’s interested in your abortion obsession.

  649. #652 Anton Mates
    July 25, 2008

    Under law, I think that the wafers are church property, which means that they’re the property of a religious corporation. I don’t know if that’s the individual parish, and I suspect it’s the diocese; it’s probably not the whole Catholic Church.

    You’re right; I didn’t think of that.

    So far as I can see from the Catholic Encyclopedia, in the US the bishop or archbishop generally operates as a one-man corporation…all church property in the diocese is technically his. (It varies somewhat by state, though.)

    So, yeah, anyone taking communion in a diocese where the bishop would personally disapprove of that action is actually stealing-by-swindle or receiving stolen property…and, interestingly, in a number of states, receiving stolen property is a crime even without awareness or intent.

    The solution, of course, would be to take communion in a diocese where the bishop doesn’t give a damn–find a bishop like John Shelby Spong, say.

  650. #653 PZ Myers
    July 25, 2008

    Good grief, but you people are pettifogging pedants.

    Situation: I go to the local hospital, grab a random baby, and chop it up with a meat cleaver. Would you stop to say, “Well, gosh, that might be kinda awful. Here are a bunch of analogies that might convince someone that he done wrong.” No. You don’t argue, you call the cops.

    Situation: I get a communion cracker in the mail, and I punch holes in it and throw it in the trash. It is obviously not criminal, entirely harmless, and at best silly. Now the analogies come out, trying to inflate the pain and suffering caused by this trivial act. “It’s like killing my family!” “It’s like crucifying Jesus all over again!” “It’s like spraypainting swastikas on a church!” No, it’s not. It’s not like any of those things. Just because you can invent an analogy does not make it valid, and the exaggerated attempts at analogizing the act are indications that you’ve got nothing.

    This is a situation that doesn’t need any analogies, because it is so simple and straightforward. I was sent crackers that Catholics believe are holy. I destroyed the crackers. Easy.

  651. #654 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2008

    After all, no one argues that butchering babies would be bad. If I were actually butchering babies, no one would be making analogies to explain how bad it was — they’d just tell me that that act is horrible and evil.

    This is a case where they can’t. The cracker is just too damned stupid.

    I think Avalos is sort of pointing in that direction when he talks about “sacred ground” in Fighting Words. The land itself may or may not have economic value — but asserting that it is “sacred” changes it in the minds of the adherents such that its value now transcends the economic; it is changed to “infinite” by psychological fiat; it is now worth killing and dying for.

    In this case, instead of “sacred ground”, it is “sacred food“, meant to be eaten ritually. A violation of the ritual is perceived psychologically as being an intrusion on the sacred.

    Of course, what “sacred” means to adherents is something that still needs to be articulated properly. It is probably tied to magical thinking, and to the emotional and psychological perception of real taboos — hence the baby-killing analogies.

    Christianity may be unique in articulating the concept of God as being at the same time powerful and transcendent, and at the same time, being weak and vulnerable, and in need of human defense.

    Orthodox Judaism and Islam would deny that God is explicitly weak, yet in some ways, the fact that God is weak is implicit in that both of those religions recognize the concepts of blasphemy and heresy: God does not speak for himself, and can therefore be blasphemed and spoken of incorrectly; hence adherents must be willing to come to God’s defense, and “protect” God from being blasphemed.

    Of course, it is also blasphemous to speak of God being weak, so Islam and Judaism must experience cognitive dissonance when confronted with that. Christianity does as well, of course, but some of the Catholics have explicitly stated that the host cracker’s defenselessness is comparable to Jesus’ defenselessness at the Crucifixion — again, basically stating that God is indeed weak.

    Although of course, when actually called on it, they too have that cognitive dissonance, and evade the issue.

  652. #655 Nick Gotts
    July 25, 2008

    PZ, we’re just sorry for this thread – it got left behind the other “cracker” threads in the excitement of the Great Desecration, so we need to get it to 1000 at least!

  653. #656 Benjamin Franklin
    July 25, 2008

    PZ-

    The analogies are also a common them in Donohue’s press releases – i.e. swastikas, cross burnings, koran, ad infinitum.

    He certainly plays those cards to the max.

    And you’re absolutely right. They use analogy to change the irrationality into comprehensibility. Kind of like changing a stale cracker into the living son of God, or is that just a bad analogy?
    .

    ChristOCrackersLike no other cracker on Earth

    ..
    .

  654. #657 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2008

    That was certainly not the “Jewish take” of Jews like Saul of Tarsus and thousands of first-century Jewish Christians.

    You will note that the Jewish Christians did not believe that Jesus was literally God, but was the Messiah. The Messiah is given power by God; he may be the viceroy or agent of God; but the Messiah is most certainly not God himself.

    Why do you think early Jewish Christianity died out? The heteroousians were declared anathema by the later majority of homoousians.

    This thesis cannot be exegetically maintained without smuggling non-exegetical philosophical or theological assumptions, such as “the eternal, infinite Creator God who revealed himself to Abraham and Moses did not go on to become incarnate in Jesus Christ and reveal the Triune mystery of His being.”

    Which is basically so much hot air and handwaving. Exegesis is just making shit up.

    Non-theists, rejecting the veridicality of the key terms, would appear to have to consider it a non-problem and leave it at that.

    A non-theist can still point out that it’s even more contradictory than the usual contradictions in the original.

  655. #658 Benjamin Franklin
    July 25, 2008

    I can see it now-

    The headline in the next issue of the National Enquirer:

    MINNESOTA BABY BUTCHER

    ATHEIST PROF/BLOGGER PZ MYERS SAYS “I go to the local hospital, grab a random baby, and chop it up with a meat cleaver.”

    Oh no, PZ – jumping from the cracker pot right into the baby frying skillet.

    New ChristOCracker Minisfor that baby Jesus taste

    ..
    .

  656. #659 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    PZ: Lots of things that many not be illegal are still despicable. I’m not myself accusing you of a crime. I’m accusing you of vile contempt for your fellow man. And it’s a shame, because I’ve learned a thing or two from your science blogging, and I don’t regard you as personally beneath contempt or unworthy of serious consideration, as not a few of your readers seem to regard anyone like me.

  657. #660 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    Owlmirror:

    A non-theist can still point out that it’s even more contradictory than the usual contradictions in the original.

    You are welcome to try… although I suspect you’ll run into some philosophical difficulties around the concept of “contradiction.”

    Exegesis is just making shit up.

    Oh, well then, that simplifies matters for you, doesn’t it. You can just make up whatever shit you want about the Creed, and say that it’s contradictory.

  658. #661 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    Owlmirror:

    You will note that the Jewish Christians did not believe that Jesus was literally God, but was the Messiah. The Messiah is given power by God; he may be the viceroy or agent of God; but the Messiah is most certainly not God himself.

    How did you reach those startling conclusions? Oh. Exegesis. Nevermind.

  659. #662 Benjamin Franklin
    July 25, 2008

    SDG-

    You brought up a key point that is worth correcting.
    The non-transubstantiationalists (dammit-there has to be a better word to convey that meaning) like PZ do NOT have vile contempt for their fellow man. At worst, most have vile contempt for what they feel is an absurd, outdated belief of their fellow man that has been shown to cause actual vile contempt and disregard for life of fellow man (death threats, etc).

    In words that might bring it closer to home for you,
    Hate the idea, not the ideaer – or whatever.

  660. #663 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    Benjamin Franklin:

    Contempt for the idea, you can express in words, and PZ has, as is his right, a right I uphold.

    The actions PZ has undertaken — and, frankly, the words accompanying them — express more than contempt for ideas. They express contemptuous disregard for persons.

    Look. Take it out of the realm of Eucharistic theology. For some reason I can’t fathom, lots of people seem to have the confused notion that Catholics asking non-Catholics to leave our Blessed Sacrament alone is somehow analogous to Hindus asking the whole world to completely change their lifestyle and adopt a Hindu diet.

    Although I reject this sophistry out of hand, I can say this. If one were moved by animosity toward Hindus — or Hinduism, let us say — to acquire some cows, precisely because they are the Hindu sacred animal, and then to go about doing bizarre and pointless things to said cows that one would never otherwise do, precisely because it is the sort of thing Hindus find objectionable, with the aim of putting pictures of this on the Internet…

    …with a lot of scorched-earth rhetoric about how stupid and insane Hindus are…

    …then it seems to me that would begin to resemble what’s happened here. (I leave out the issue of property rights because of the ambiguous exchange value of a eucharistic host.)

  661. #664 CJO
    July 25, 2008

    doing bizarre and pointless things to said cows that one would never otherwise do

    People never throw stale crackers in the garbage?

  662. #665 Benjamin Franklin
    July 25, 2008

    SGD-

    Nope, I don’t buy it.

    It was contemptuous disregard for a cracker. Granted, it was a cracker some think has been mystically, magically, supernaturally transformed into the physical flesh of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, son of God.

    But, at the end of the day,

    No humans were physically harmed in the desecration of this cracker. Maybe, at worst, their beliefs got a little bruised. And I think that God, King of the Universe can take care of himself and his family.

    And your Hindu analogy doesn’t hold Holy Water.

  663. #666 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    P.S. FWIW, Benjamin Franklin, as I’ve already made clear numerous times, I — and the vast majority of transubstantiation-ers objecting to PZ’s actions — totally share your and PZ’s abhorrence to the contemptible actions that outrage over PZ’s actions has inspired in some (e.g., threats of violence).

    Widespread outrage or anger for whatever reason, however justified or unjustified, will always elicit unacceptable behavior in some. This is in no way to make excuses for anyone. It is merely to note that the effects of outrage doesn’t necessarily directly impact the question of the basis for outrage.

  664. #667 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    No humans were physically harmed in the desecration of this cracker. Maybe, at worst, their beliefs got a little bruised. And I think that God, King of the Universe can take care of himself and his family.

    Who could disagree with that? Not that I accept this as a rebuttal, but it’s nice to agree on some things.

    And your Hindu analogy doesn’t hold Holy Water.

    Of course, no actual holes are poked by mere assertions of non-water-tightness. But it isn’t my analogy in any case. I just took a really bad analogy that a lot of PZ supporters keep bringing up, and tried to align it closer up to the facts.

  665. #668 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2008

    Oh, well then, that simplifies matters for you, doesn’t it. You can just make up whatever shit you want about the Creed, and say that it’s contradictory.

    No, no, no. Theologians make shit up.

    I’m just pointing out that it’s so badly made up that it contradicts itself.

    How did you reach those startling conclusions? Oh. Exegesis.

    It’s not my exegesis, though. I’m just citing the made-up shit of Roman-occupied Judea.

    But I’m glad that you agree that it’s just made-up shit.

  666. #669 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Hi, I’m back!
    Just to follow up on some of the posts:
    Damian, one of your posts seems to imply that atheists are automatically denied entry to Heaven. That one I believe to be untrue since only God can decide who is to be automatically denied entry to Heaven, and we theists can only make assumptions about it. After all, it’s possible that if you meet God face to face after you die you would immediately fall in love with Him, ask for baptism of desire (look it up in Wikipedia) and get admitted into Heaven. Don’t ask me about the possibility or impossibility of this scenario, though.
    Now about those of you who equate desecration of Eucharist to baby-butchering. What’s the connection? One is disrespect of God, and the other is cold-blooded murder. How can both be equally wrong? Equating the two is a bit over the top in my opinion, unless you’re talking about Muslims, who I think believe that these two acts are equal in horrendous-ness. But I’m a Catholic not a Muslim.

  667. #670 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    I’m just pointing out that it’s so badly made up that it contradicts itself.

    So far, you haven’t actually pointed out anything at all… and I’m not yet convinced of your credentials to practice the law of non-contradiction.

    I’m just citing the made-up shit of Roman-occupied Judea.

    Which you know about how? Were you actually there? Or did you (or someone you read, or someone someone else read and told you about) have to read some stuff from the time and try to exegete what they thought at that time and place?

  668. #671 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2008

    After all, it’s possible that if you meet God face to face after you die you would immediately fall in love with Him, ask for baptism of desire (look it up in Wikipedia) and get admitted into Heaven.

    Ah! Apokatastasis. Yes, Origen came up with that, as I recall. Some condemned the idea, some accepted it. I see now that at least one Catholic Cardinal thinks that it’s compatible with Catholicism.

    Huh. The Wikipedia articles on apocatastasis and universal reconciliation (which articles really ought to be merged, I think; they are nearly entirely synonymous) do not mention “baptism of desire”.

    And I see now that “baptism of desire” itself does not, in fact, exactly refer to apokatastasis; it just means that those that die, as converted Christians, without having been baptized, but wanting to be baptized, are to be considered as having been baptized. Poof! Magic not-water is magic water!

  669. #672 Benjamin Franklin
    July 25, 2008

    I am not licensed to practice the law of non-contradiction,

    Or is that a contradiction?

    Or is that an agument?

  670. #673 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    Owlmirror: The key concept you really need is “implicit baptism of desire.” It is not at all controversial among orthodox Catholics. You can find the theology well set out, e.g., in the 1949 letter of the Holy Office to Fr. Feeney.

    The basic idea is that the normative way of salvation is through baptism into the Church, but that God also gives grace for salvation to many unbaptized non-Catholics who are open to receiving grace and whose non-Catholic status is not due to some deliberate rebellion against God on their part.

  671. #674 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2008

    So far, you haven’t actually pointed out anything at all… and I’m not yet convinced of your credentials to practice the law of non-contradiction.

    What, you need credentials now?

    Hey, let’s start with the very beginning, with one of my favorites.

    Genesis 2:17 : God says “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. for in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.

    Genesis 3:6 : And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat.

    Genesis 5:5 : And all the time that Adam lived came to nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

    930 years is 339450 days.

    339450 ≠ 1

    Gen 3:6 + Gen 5:5 contradict Gen 2:17

    QED

    But of course, you have some exegesis made-up shit that explains that, right?

    Which you know about how? Were you actually there? Or did you (or someone you read, or someone someone else read and told you about) have to read some stuff from the time and try to exegete what they thought at that time and place?

    Reading history is exegesis now?

    Look, how about you read the article on historical Jewish beliefs about the messiah. Then you can tell me that it’s all made-up shit. I’ll even agree with you. Because all religion is made-up shit.

    http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=510&letter=M

  672. #675 Epimendes of Crete
    July 25, 2008

    I am not licensed to practice the law of non-contradiction

    All Cretans are liars.

  673. #676 SDG
    July 25, 2008

    Owl:

    Real quick, cuz I’m walking out the door…

    1. I thought you wanted to talk about the Creed.

    2. So far, you haven’t established a formal contradiction of X vs. non-X. No, I don’t need theology to explain why. I’ll be back for logic 101 later.

    3. Reading history is very largely reading documents. Exegesis in its most basic sense is just interpretation. All meaningful reading implies interpretation.

    4. When did I say the historical Jewish belief about the Messiah implied that he would be God? You said that “the Jewish Christians did not believe that Jesus was literally God, but was the Messiah.” You seem to be assuming that the Jewish Christians accepted Jesus as the pre-expected Messiah with no further modification or expansion of their previous understanding as to who or what the Messiah would be, which is perfectly ridiculous.

  674. #677 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2008

    The key concept you really need is “implicit baptism of desire.” It is not at all controversial among orthodox Catholics. You can find the theology well set out, e.g., in the 1949 letter of the Holy Office to Fr. Feeney.

    It’s very amusing that you assert that it “is not at all controversial among orthodox Catholics” when the letter itself states that there was a controversy, and in fact, is followed by the excommunication (!) of Leonard Feeney, who, it says on Wikipedia, FWIW, was later re-accepted and never actually recanted.

    Toward the end of this same encyclical letter, when most affectionately inviting to unity those who do not belong to the body of the Catholic Church, he mentions those who “are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer by a certain unconscious yearning and desire,” and these he by no means excludes from eternal salvation, but on the other hand states that they are in a condition “in which they cannot be sure of their salvation” since “they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church” (AAS, 1. c., p. 243). With these wise words he reproves both those who exclude from eternal salvation all united to the Church only by implicit desire, and those who falsely assert that men can be saved equally well in every religion (cf. Pope Pius IX, Allocution, <Singulari quadam>, in <Denzinger>, n. 1641 ff.; also Pope Pius IX in the encyclical letter, <Quanto conficiamur moerore>, in <Denzinger>, n. 1677)

    OK, not apokatastasis. If you really, really believe, really hard, and really, really want to join the Church, maybe you’ll be let in to heaven, even if you don’t join the Church.

    But maybe you won’t be let in! So join the Church!

  675. #678 DingoDave
    July 25, 2008

    Turzovka asked @ #183:

    “How come no lizards want to fly any more?”
    Look here;
    http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngexplorer/0703/images/articles_gallery_2_0703.jpg

    “How come no fish have the desire to take a walk on the beach any more?”
    Look here;
    http://cache.virtualtourist.com/2921792-Mudskipper-Singapore.jpg
    http://www.sms.si.edu/IRLspec/Clarias_batrachus.htm

    “How come no apes want to be humans anymore?”
    Look here;
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5479501/

    Imbecile.

  676. #679 CJO
    July 25, 2008

    they are in a condition “in which they cannot be sure of their salvation” since “they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church”

    I LOL’ed.

  677. #680 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Hi, just went to a crackerbaters mass, and (with due respect to PZ) I seem to be able to. Or maybe the news that I can’t attend mass any more is a bit slow in reaching my archdiocese… :)
    Anyway, when God told Adam and Eve that when they eat the fruit they will die, He was NOT talking about physical death. This is pretty obvious, since they live to reach 900+ years of age (at least Adam did). Now (this may sound like after-the-fact rationalizing)God is really talking about spiritual death here- their connection to Him as friend and worshiper will die if they eat the fruit.
    Why did God make it like that? I have no idea, but I do have a lot of conjectures. Was it because He was being irresponsible, like a parent who put dynamite around the house, gave the trigger to his children and said “Don’t push the button.”? I also have no idea, but I don’t think so.

  678. #681 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2008

    I thought you wanted to talk about the Creed.

    The Creed is on top of on all of the earlier contradictions…

    So far, you haven’t established a formal contradiction of X vs. non-X.

    Oh? By all means, please explain how dying after 930 years is not a formal contradiction of dying in less than a day.

    Reading history is very largely reading documents. Exegesis in its most basic sense is just interpretation. All meaningful reading implies interpretation.

    Exegesis is essentialist interpretation.

    And making shit up.

    I mean, take “original sin”. Nowhere in Genesis does it say anything about “original sin” condemning all humans to hell. Nowhere. Not word one. So where did it come from? Paul, performing exegesis making shit up.

    You seem to be assuming that the Jewish Christians accepted Jesus as the pre-expected Messiah with no further modification or expansion of their previous understanding as to who or what the Messiah would be, which is perfectly ridiculous.

    You seem to be assuming that Jewish Christians thought that the Messiah Jesus was exactly the same as God, which is indeed perfectly ridiculous.

  679. #682 gathererofknowledge
    July 25, 2008

    Owlmirror(#681), you do realize that original sin is the business about Adam and Eve disobeying God, don’t you? And that is in the Bible, right? Christians use the term original sin instead of saying “that business about Adam and Eve disobeying God, etc. etc.” for time-saving reasons. Just because we coin a term doesn’t mean it’s something never seen before in the Bible.

  680. #683 Steve_C
    July 25, 2008

    Way to hold a grudge god. What a bastard.

  681. #684 DingoDave
    July 25, 2008

    Posted by Fr. J #301:
    The Catholic Church is growing in the US and elsewhere. Even Europe is seeing modest signs of growth. Secular Europe is in such terrible shape that people don’t even breed anymore. Atheism with its lack of hope or joy kills even the desire to survive.

    I think you meant to say, “that people don’t even breed (like rabbits) anymore.” There I fixed it for you.

    -”Orwell put the vision of atheism best, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–forever.”

    You mean like the Catholic church did for over 1500 years?

    “The joy and sweetness of thousands of young Catholic pilgrims who flooded into the city, in the words of Cardinal George Pell, simply “overwhelmed” the rancid negativity of sections of our sex-fixated media,”

    And he has been roundly and rightly condemned for saying so, as has Bishop Anthony Fisher.

    ‘Outrage over bishop’s abuse remarks’
    “THE Pope’s expected apology to victims of sexual abuse by priests has been sabotaged by a senior Australian bishop, who criticised people for “dwelling crankily on old wounds”.
    The bishop organising World Youth Day, Anthony Fisher, made the remarks in response to questions about two Melbourne women who were repeatedly raped by priest Kevin O’Donnell when they were pupils at Sacred Heart Primary School in Oakleigh from 1988 to 1993…The girls’ parents, Anthony and Christine Foster, are flying into Sydney from London to confront Cardinal George Pell before Sunday’s papal Mass in Sydney. Speaking from transit in Tokyo, they said Bishop Fisher’s comments were outrageous. “We are still grieving over our daughters, and many other victims are struggling every day,” he said. “To think this issue is over when the abuse stops is ridiculous. There are people self-harming, committing suicide, drinking, using drugs, because of sexual assaults committed by Catholic priests.”
    http://www.theage.com.au/national/outrage-over-bishops-abuse-remarks-20080716-3gcr.html

    You are a despicable, amoral excuse for a human being Priest J. I suggest that you go fondle a cracker, and then beg it for forgiveness.

  682. #685 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2008

    Now (this may sound like after-the-fact rationalizing)God is really talking about spiritual death here- their connection to Him as friend and worshiper will die if they eat the fruit.

    Yes. That’s essentialist exegesis. Exactly like that.

    See that phrase “really talking about spiritual death”? That’s making shit up.

    The words themselves — “??? ????”, “die the death” — are used elsewhere, I see. For example, 2nd Kings 1, about Elijah, uses that exact phrase about Ahaziah, who does, indeed, actually die. Dead. Not spiritually, literally. Dead, dead, dead. As a doornail!

    Why did God make it like that? I have no idea, but I do have a lot of conjectures.

    Since God is made up, and the story is made up, you can conjecture anything you like. It’s still all just made up.

  683. #686 Owlmirror
    July 25, 2008

    Owlmirror(#681), you do realize that original sin is the business about Adam and Eve disobeying God, don’t you?

    Yes, I realize that that is Paul of Tarsus’s essentialist exegesis about the text. Because Paul of Tarsus was just a human being making shit up about a text that had been written hundreds of years before he was born, which was based on legends floating around hundreds of years before that, which were all just made up to begin with. By human beings.

  684. #687 Holbach
    July 25, 2008

    Holy crap, the world didn’t end! No hordes of locusts, or rivers running red with blood, ot the dead rising from their graves! I was away all day Thursday and got back on Friday afternoon, knowing that the comments would pass 2000 and perhaps 3000 with the posted overflow, and yet Pharyngula and the earth is still here! Hey, what gives here? Damn, I’d figured I would be on a small patch of earth heading for the Andromeda Galaxy! Leave it to the catholics to dash one’s belief in apocalyptic happenings. Oh well, back to the bashing of more insane religion and the hope of further sacred desecrations with dire warnings of hell and torture. Mercy, this is fun!

  685. #688 Holbach
    July 25, 2008

    Fr jackass @ 301 and turdzovka(now why did I spll it that way?) Isn’t it blatantly plain to you religious cretins that there is no god to come down and kick our asses? Why does it take all of our reasoning and pernicious debasing to try to get you to realize that there is no imaginary god in the form of a cracker, a pile of shit, an image in a cloud, a mashed turnip or any other medium to cinvet this imaginary thing? Wasn’t this recent demonstration more than enough to convince you that you unredemptively and hopelessly insane? You are pissed because your ghost god did not beat the crap out of us, explode our planet, or in any way show signs of any retribution to that deatardly deed. All the outcry was made and puked by your insane fellow humans who are flagellating their hides and demented brains trying to figure out why there was no apocalyptic retribution. You are being soundly laughed at and drag through the deserving muck. Hey, it’s not your fault that there is no god; blame the morons that put that shit idea into your demented brains in the first place. And then blame yourselves for keeping that crap there to fester into a more pernicious form of insanity. Can’t you see that you are losers, up against the universe and all the rational minds let loose to turn you into the shit that you are? There is no imaginary god to help you, you pathetic morons, grovelling in the muck of insanity until the day you die, with no imaginary hand to pull you out of that stultifying crap. Can we put all this in any way plainer and rational than we have been doing on these many comments? Hey, there’s always suicide to decidedly find out if all we say is bullshit, or all the bullshit you have been living with all your pathetic lives is just that.
    The choice is yours; convert, snicker, to a godless and sane life or end your life to verify nothing. Sorry, no more crackers.

  686. #689 DingoDave
    July 25, 2008

    Posted by turzovka #524:
    -”I find the fact there are those who reject God entirely or any involvement in the evolution process to be even more laughable. At some point a giraffe was nothing more than an amoeba sized animal right?”

    Yes. When a baby giraffe is first conceived in it’s mothers uterus, it is an amoeba sized animal, just the same as you were when you were first conceived. But it doesn’t stay that way for very long. So what’s your point?

    -”At some point in the evolution game, a liver was formed and an eyball, brain, et al. because that early form of life had none of them. So how did it happen? ”

    Go and read some introductory biology books to get a general idea. Here are some suggestions

    A good one to start with would be ‘How the Leopard Changed it’s spots’, by Brian Goodwin.
    Another good one is ‘Why Elephants Have Big Ears: Understanding Patterns of Life on Earth’, by Chris Lavers
    Another excellent one, but it’s got small writing so I don’t know whether you’ll be able to handle it, is ‘Life: an Unauthorised Biography’ by Richard Fortey.
    Or you could try ‘Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea’ by carl Zimmer.

    Read those first, and then report back to us with your scholarly analysis.

  687. #690 Holbach
    July 25, 2008

    Dingo Dave @ 689 Good reply to turzovka, but I think your efforts to educate this religionist are wasted on suggesting titles for his awakening. He should be able to think for himself and to find out the answers to the questions he proffers. There are libraries galore, the Internet, bookstores, and other manner of education oneself in other than the stultifying position one is currently encased in. He is a deadhead religionist and no amount of convincing or suggestions is going to steer him away from his present state. I would not give him one second of my time or mind, the latter probably to lambaste his dementia. However, it was nice to see someone mentioning Richard Fortey and his excellent book which I have. I also have his “Earth: An Intimate History”, which I’m surprised you did not mention. I have four books by Carl Zimmer which are very worthy to the cause. I mentioned Richard Forty and his books in a previous post and was surprised at the lack of response or interest?

  688. #691 DingoDave
    July 25, 2008

    Posted by gathererofknowledge @ #591:
    -”do we Catholics worship a piece of bread? Not really. We don’t worship the Eucharist (your cracker) like we don’t worship statues and crucifixes. Now I don’t think ur interested in what we Catholics actually worship so I’m going to continue on.”

    Bullshit! Just read this from a CHRISTIAN website;

    -”See that little white circle in the middle of the sunbursts? That is a cracker. Catholics call it Jesus or the “holy” Eucharist. They eat their Jesus. But before they eat him, they have to bow down in front of this gold thing that holds their Jesus and worship him. The gold thing is called a monstrance. But before they bow down in front of the monstrance (graven image) with their Jesus (idol) in it, they like to parade him through the streets and “adore” him in their solemn processions. You see, their Jesus can’t walk. He has to be borne about by men. THIS is the Catholic Jesus that we write about here at Jesus is Lord–he is plainly not the Jesus of the Bible.”

    -”You don’t believe that they actually worship and “adore” this thing called the Eucharist? Look at what pope John Paul II (a.k.a. Karol Joseph Wojtyla–his real name) said about the Eucharist in his 1980 Encyclical Letter on the Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist–
    “Adoration of Christ in this Sacrament of love must also find expression in various forms of Eucharistic devotion: personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament [the Eucharist], hours of adoration, periods of exposition – short, prolonged and annual (Forty Hours) – Eucharistic benediction, Eucharistic processions, Eucharistic Congresses…The mass is the center of Catholicism and the Eucharist (that little round wafer above) is the center of the mass. “…[E]ucharistic worship is the center and goal of all sacramental life.”
    –Karol Wojtyla, aka pope John Paul II – ‘DOMINICAE CENAE ON THE MYSTERY AND WORSHIP OF THE EUCHARIST’ , February 24, 1980

    -What else did Karol say?
    “The encouragement and deepening of the Eucharistic [cracker] worship are proofs of that authentic renewal…Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love…”

    -”Many Catholics say that I don’t understand Catholicism BUT NOT ONE will deny that they consider that cracker Jesus! NOT ONE WILL DENY that they fall down in front of images like this as well as statues, relics, paintings, and other images. NOT ONE will say that the ONE TIME sacrifice of Jesus Christ is enough to save your soul.”
    http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/monstran.htm

    No sirreee! No cracker worshipping going on around here.

    Now move along folks.

  689. #692 Holbach
    July 25, 2008

    Dingo Dave @ 691 You would think that what you retold as concerning that incredulous demented catholic ritual, that anyone reading that drivel would not give vent and exclaim those rantings as only to come from a mind that has gone completely insane. And yet to the religious morons, that speaks of unadulterated wonder and awe! But never would they be considered fodder for insane asylums! Incredible!

  690. #693 DingoDave
    July 25, 2008

    Posted by gathererofknowledge @ #609:
    “Eternal suffering and eternal torture are two different things. The first implies no doer (person causing suffering) while the second more than implies a doer (an actual torturer). Now you may ask why would a loving God want to torture His creation eternally in Hell. You’re right. He doesn’t want to. Nor does He actually torture them. He simply creates a painful place for those who don’t want to be with Him and let them live there eternally…I know. It’s all convoluted. But that’s how my mind works.”

    Dear gathererofknowledge,
    Do you even believe your own bullshit?

    The Bible speaks of non-believers being THROWN into Hell by the god you worship. If I THREW someone into a fire, would you consider that to be the same thing as ‘leting them’ get burned to a crisp?

    Matt.5
    [29] If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.

    Mark.9
    [45] And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
    [47] And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,

    The Bible also speaks about Jesus and his angels being physically present, and gloating, while people are being tortured in Hell.

    Rev.14
    [10] he also shall drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
    [11] And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night…

    I do wish you Christians would read your own Bibles before presenting the rest of us with your absurd rationalisations for your god’s brutality.

    Your mind certainly does work in convoluted ways! But I guess that it has to, in order for you to continue worshipping this cosmic monster without feeling any sense of shame for doing so.

  691. #694 DingoDave
    July 25, 2008

    Posted by turzovka @ #616:
    -”Therefore: When God then says “my ways are not your ways, i.e. do not question that which is beyond your understanding or need to know” then I accept that…I cannot understand hell, I cannot understand how someone would be bound there forever, so I do not question it…No need to question the mystical or that which we are not privy to, just obey and be grateful. ”

    That statement just about sums up all of your arguments so far, both FOR the defence of your religious convictions, and AGAINST the findings of modern scientific research.

    The first step towards liberating yourself from your primitive superstitions is to question what your shamans (sorry priests) have been telling you for all these years.
    In fact, it’s what Dr. Myers has been trying to tell you all along, if only you’d listen and learn.

    It’s no wonder that Christians like yourself, refer to yourselves as ‘sheep’!

  692. #695 turzovka
    July 26, 2008

    Dingo Dave,

    Of what value are you to this world? Where do the poor, the sick, the dying and the destitute receive any comfort from your vile words or from your sitting at home cursing those who may be reaching out to help them? All you appear to be to me is some pitiful small-minded half-educated angry man who will say the most slanderous comments towards his neighbor for one simple reason — to puff up his own ego and get a laugh or a nod of approval from his sycophantic peers.

    You are such an honorable one Dingo Dave. Why not really make a splash? Why not get in the communion line and tip the whole ciborium full of hosts onto the floor in front of those Catholic sheep and scream out “You Idiots are wasting your lives!” as you run from the church laughing? That would be even bigger headlines than your fearless leader, PZ Meyers made, and it might even sway some of us sheep to reconsider this drudgery we’ve been putting ourselves through. I would think that would be your idea of real altruism.

    Well anyway, I know I can be repetitive and boring so I will not say much more. In fact, my “mission statement” in post #584 pretty much sums it all up. Anyone interested in anything I have to say would do well to read it all there. It is the voice of a confident Catholic lamenting at the condition of the world in which he lives.
    Dingo Dave, How can you be so certain there is no God? You know what I am fairly certain of, and forgive me God for saying this — I am certain you are strongly in the clutches of the devil. It is people like you that brings a smile to his face — those who doubt his existence and make merry of him. Those who sin without a hint of remorse or concern. The passage in Romans 1 I leave you with at the end of this post speaks of those who God, sorrowfully, has given them over to their lusts and reprobate minds because, apparently, they will never be interested in redemption.

    As Jesus said: “An evil age is eager for a sign, but no sign will be given it except that of Jonah.” You demand a sign, but you are incapable of discerning one. The cross is your only sign that you need or may be able to humble yourself before. Everything else given to you for discernment is cast aside like swine trample upon precious pearls. So I am not at all surprised you laugh at weeping statues, the miracle of the sun at Fatima, the story of Lourdes, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the inexplicable qualities of the Shroud of Turin, the inexplicable bleeding stigmata wounds of Padre Pio, the incorruptible bodies of saints long gone, the dismissal of all divine healings, the manifestations of the children of Garabandal Spain, the 500,000 Egyptians who witnessed Mary on a cathedral in Zeitoun in 1968, and so on and so on. Laugh Dingo Dave but I leave you with my own joke.

    Two Americans were visiting the world famous art museum in Paris, The Louvre. As they were leaving, a French guard overheard one American saying to the other, “I don’t think much of this place.” The French guard responded, “Monsieur, the Louvre is not on trial here… you are.”
    Jesus is not on trial here Dave…. you are.

    [Footnote #1. from Romans Chapter 1:]
    22Professing to be wise, they became fools,
    23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
    24Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
    25For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    26For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
    27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
    28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
    29being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
    30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
    31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
    32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

    [footnote #2: thanks to PZ Meyers for this forum to exchange ideas]

  693. #696 Nick Gotts
    July 26, 2008

    I know I can be repetitive and boring so I will not say much more blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah… [footnote #2: thanks to PZ Meyers for this forum to exchange ideas] turzovka

    Who is this PZ Meyers of whom you speak?

  694. #697 Emmet Caulfield
    July 26, 2008

    turzovka #695,

    I evacuate myself on your nauseating sanctimony.

  695. #698 Nick Gotts
    July 26, 2008

    OT, what is this “Meyers” thing? It’s not frequency, at least if this (Most common US surnames) is right. Is it (probably mostly subconscious) anti-semitism? (I tend to identify “Meyers” but not “Myers” as a Jewish name, but I’m not sure this is statistically justified.) Any other hypotheses?

  696. #699 clinteas
    July 26, 2008

    //Any other hypotheses?//

    Illiteracy?

  697. #700 Nick Gotts
    July 26, 2008

    DingoDave@678,
    No fair! You weren’t supposed to refute her unanswerable challenges like that!

  698. #701 Wowbagger
    July 26, 2008

    Good grief.

    I just read all of Turzovka’s post at #695 – I don’t know how I got through it without rupturing something. I haven’t laughed that hard for some time.

    Seriously, I’ve taken drugs – good, strong, hallucinogenic drugs – that wouldn’t have put me in a place where I’d be able to believe in that nonsense. I believed that an owl put thoughts in my head and a river spoke to me, and that’s not even half as flaky.

    Man, my stomach still hurts. I want to read through it again but I don’t know if it’s safe to.

  699. #702 clinteas
    July 26, 2008

    Re 695:

    I just can not for the life of me make up my mind about whether this is mental illness,self-delusion,the result of brainwashing of a simple mind,or what…..

  700. #703 Nick Gotts
    July 26, 2008

    Wowbagger@701,
    I just got round to reading the whole thing properly. I realise my summary doesn’t do it any justice at all – it really is one of the funniest things I’ve read this year! Thanks turzovka – laughter is very good for the health, and you’ve supplied several days’ worth!

  701. #704 echidna
    July 26, 2008

    I think the religious sorts are used to the spelling Meyers from Dr. Stephen Meyers, head of the Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies.

    Then they have trouble adapting.
    -Cheers.

  702. #705 Anton Mates
    July 26, 2008

    Orwell put the vision of atheism best, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–forever.”

    Orwell was an atheist socialist with a strong dislike of the Catholic church, you extremely silly person. He once pointed out that “a totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy.”

    And:

    “The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent. Each of them tacitly claims that ‘the truth’ has already been revealed, and that the heretic, if he is not simply a fool, is secretly aware of ‘the truth’ and merely resists it out of selfish motives.”

    Oh, and:

    “One cannot really be a Catholic and grown up.”

    Quote-mine someone else mb.

  703. #706 Nick Gotts
    July 26, 2008

    echidna@704,
    Thanks, yes, that’s plausible – a trivial indication of their general tendency to force new information into a framework they’re used to.

  704. #707 SDG
    July 26, 2008

    It’s very amusing that you assert that it “is not at all controversial among orthodox Catholics” when the letter itself states that there was a controversy, and in fact, is followed by the excommunication (!) of Leonard Feeney, who, it says on Wikipedia, FWIW, was later re-accepted and never actually recanted.

    It’s very amusing that you seem to think that statements made in the present tense in 1949 and 2008 must be chronologically interchangeable, and/or that Fr. Feeney must be orthodox because he was later reaccepted and never actually recanted.

    OK, not apokatastasis. If you really, really believe, really hard, and really, really want to join the Church, maybe you’ll be let in to heaven, even if you don’t join the Church.

    But maybe you won’t be let in! So join the Church!

    Close. Except that as the word “unconscious” indicates, the “really, really wanting” business doesn’t have to have the Church as its conscious object. “A certain unconscious yearning and desire” may, by God’s grace, be sufficient, thank God.

    Oh? By all means, please explain how dying after 930 years is not a formal contradiction of dying in less than a day.

    Did I say I would do that? Well, no, but perhaps I will anyway.

    Logic 101, with no theology or exegesis. (Incidentally, on that latter term, see below.)

    The law of noncontradiction states that it cannot be truly said of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time. In one shorthand statement, if X, not non-X.

    You have identified two propositions A and B. A is “God said that Adam would die on the day he eat of the tree.” B is “Adam died 930 years after eating of the tree.”

    Given these propositions A and B, non-A would be “God did not say that Adam would die on the day he ate of the tree,” while non-B would be “Adam did not die 930 years after eating of the tree.”

    For A + B to entail a logical contradiction, A must entail non-B, and, of course, B must conversely entail non-A. On the facts admitted to date, prescinding from theology and exegesis, this cannot be shown to be the case.

    That is, from A (God said that Adam would die on the day he ate of the tree), one cannot show non-B (Adam did not die 930 years after eating of the tree), while from B (Adam died 930 years after eating of the tree), one cannot show non-A (God said that Adam would die on the day he eat of the tree).

    Perhaps you think that the problem can be simplified as follows: “God said X would happen, but non-X happened.” Even if this is granted (though it need not be), logically speaking — prescinding from theology and exegesis — the proposition “God said X would happen” does not yield “X happened,” nor does “Non-X happened” yield “God did not say that X would happen.”

    Perhaps you think that if God says X will happen, X must happen, because God is omniscient, omnipotent, absolute and eternal, and thus cannot lie, be mistaken or change his mind. Those are all fine theological assumptions, but we aren’t doing theology right now, we’re doing logic. Really, of course, we ought to be reading a story, except that you don’t want to do exegesis either (again, see below).

    The irony, of course, is that you are doing exegesis, you just haven’t noticed. Ironically, you’re applying a Fundamentalist-literalist hermeneutic that presupposes Genesis 1-3 as literal history.

    If we were reading a story, we might notice that the text depicts God as sometimes present and sometimes not, and as apparently not knowing things, and so forth, and we might begin to suspect that we are reading a story in which those nice theological assumptions don’t necessarily apply to God as he is depicted here. But then we might be doing exegesis (or interpretation).

    Incidentally, as noted above, it has not been established that the problem can be simplified to “God said X would happen, but non-X happened.” What God said is that Adam would die on a particular day — not that he would not die on another day. Perhaps you think those are contrary propositions because scientifically death is a one-time event. But we’re doing logic now, not science.

    So, in fact, “dying after 930 years is not a formal contradiction of dying in less than a day.” Even if we grant that death in both cases is in the same respect, i.e., physical death (which has not been shown), it is not logically impossible that Adam should have died more than once.

    Now, as exegesis (or interpretation), this would of course be perfectly ridiculous. I’m not for a moment proposing either that this is what happened or that the text could reasonably be read that way. But once we start talking about reasonable ways to read the text, we are talking about interpretation, or exegesis, not just logic.

    Let me tell you a secret: When you said that Genesis 2 contradicts Genesis 3, I suspect what you really meant was something like “You have no reasonable explanation for this” or “You cannot reasonably interpret this story in a way that is plausible and makes sense.”

    I think I can, though it would be a reading quite different from the one suggested by your literalist-Fundamentalist hermeneutic. First, though, a word about exegesis.

    Exegesis is essentialist interpretation.

    I’m tempted to say that’s an awfully essentialist statement. But instead I will simply note that words have ranges of potential usage and meaning, and this particular term, as first introduced into this particular discussion (i.e., in my reference you your exegesis of the Creed), did not carry the implication of any particular school of interpretation. If you thought otherwise, you misunderstood me. For my purposes in this discussion, exegesis = interpretation.

    You seem to be assuming that Jewish Christians thought that the Messiah Jesus was exactly the same as God, which is indeed perfectly ridiculous.

    When did I assume that? All I said was that it was not the Jewish take of Jews like Saul of Tarsus that Christianity is idolatry.

    I certainly grant and insist that the Jewish Christians worshipped Jesus, and did not believe this to be idolatry. But the implications of phrases like “exactly the same as God” presuppose centuries of unpacking that had not yet taken place in the earliest decades of the Church.

  705. #708 SDG
    July 26, 2008

    Correction: I just noticed a couple of typos in non-A in the graf below. Here is how it should read:

    That is, from A (God said that Adam would die on the day he ate of the tree), one cannot show non-B (Adam did not die 930 years after eating of the tree), while from B (Adam died 930 years after eating of the tree), one cannot show non-A (God did not say that Adam would die on the day he ate of the tree).

    Other incidental typos shouldn’t affect the material issue.

  706. #709 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2008

    Oh, bravo. That was the most beautiful piece of sophistry that I have seen in a long, long time. Take the laurel wreath, for it belongs to you.

    What God said is that Adam would die on a particular day — not that he would not die on another day. Perhaps you think those are contrary propositions because scientifically death is a one-time event. But we’re doing logic now, not science.

    So, in fact, “dying after 930 years is not a formal contradiction of dying in less than a day.” Even if we grant that death in both cases is in the same respect, i.e., physical death (which has not been shown), it is not logically impossible that Adam should have died more than once.

    *laughter*

    And it’s not logically impossible that when it comes to bullshit, that that is the most bullshittiest conclusion ever uttered by anyone, theologian, scientist, or logician.

    Hey, as long as we’re redefining “death” to be something that can “logically” occur more than once, why not just say that God was speaking obscene Elizabethan and/or French slang, where “to die”, in addition to meaning the absolute termination of life, also means “orgasm”? And of course, Adam “died” when he knew Eve, and “died” again and again and again, because being newlyweds, they fucked a lot?

    Why the fuck not? It makes exactly as much sense as anything you wrote.

    I’m not sure I even want to bother addressing the rest of your arguments. What’s the point when you can spout off the most ridiculous and patent nonsense and say that it’s “logical”?

  707. #710 SDG
    July 26, 2008

    As I expected, you missed the point.

    It probably hasn’t occurred to you that don’t actually have the slightest idea what I think of Genesis 2-3 — because you didn’t ask that. All you did was wave a couple of verses around like a Fundamentalist slinging proof-texts and crow “Here’s a contradiction!”

    Coming at the Bible like a Fundamentalist looking for proof-texts, like you did, is pointless and stupid. Do you get that now? You didn’t make the slightest effort to ascertain what you were looking at. You wanted to throw “exegesis” to the winds. More precisely, you pretended you weren’t exegeting when you were, you claimed exegesis is just making shit up — and and now all of a sudden you complain about “ridiculous and patent nonsense.”

    Oh, now you want to be reasonable too — to have a reasonable reading of the text? Okay. You wanna exegete? Let’s exegete. Otherwise you’re just a Fundamentalist seeing what he’s already decided to see. That’s called eisegesis. You could also call it making shit up.

  708. #711 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2008

    You’re just all huffy because I called bullshit on your bullshit.

    Coming at the Bible like a Fundamentalist looking for proof-texts, like you did, is pointless and stupid.

    I agree that the bible is pointless and stupid from any perspective that interprets the text as being in any way true.[/disingenuous prooftexting]

    Oh, now you want to be reasonable too — to have a reasonable reading of the text? Okay. You wanna exegete? Let’s exegete. Otherwise you’re just a Fundamentalist seeing what he’s already decided to see. That’s called eisegesis. You could also call it making shit up.

    You mean like you’re doing?

    All interpretation of fiction is equally made up. Because it’s fiction to begin with. All “exegesis”, all of this sort of thing: This line here secretly means its exact opposite. This entire passage must be an interpolation. Well, if we take this relativist perspective, the text can be deconstructed as this allegorical and poetic reification of the ideal essence. The scribe/printer must have made a typographical error. This word meant something completely different in this other era, so the meaning of this sentence is completely different!

    It’s all fanwanking.

    You can analyze the text all you want, but unless you acknowledge upfront that it’s all just stories made up by imperfect human beings who were writing down things that they may or may not have know were made up, all you’re doing is not just fanwanking, but actively conspiring in your own self-deception.

    But hey, whatever gets you off.

    How about this exegesis? It rather amusingly draws a comparison between the bible and film montage.

    http://georgeleonard.com/yahweh.html

  709. #712 SDG
    July 26, 2008

    In other words, when you talk about contradictions, you’re just “fanwanking.”

    I agree. You don’t particularly care whether there are contradictions or not. It’s just a convenient stick to beat Fundamentalists with. One of your “favorites,” as you said.

    It’s a nice hobby for you, but it doesn’t have anything to do with reality… about the Bible, or about anything else.

    As for what I do or don’t acknowledge upfront, you wouldn’t know, because you haven’t asked.

  710. #713 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2008

    In other words, when you talk about contradictions, you’re just “fanwanking.”

    The contradictions are in the text. Coming up with absurdist sophistries that they are not “really” contradictions is the “fanwanking”.

    but it doesn’t have anything to do with reality… about the Bible, or about anything else.

    Right, because the Bible doesn’t have anything to do with reality. That’s what I’ve been saying all along.

    As for what I do or don’t acknowledge upfront, you wouldn’t know, because you haven’t asked.

    You could just write it out. I certainly haven’t stopped you from doing so. But will it just be more self-deceptive fanwanking? I don’t know, but I have my suspicions…

  711. #714 SDG
    July 26, 2008

    The contradictions are in the text.

    My gosh, you still don’t get it.

    How can you talk with a straight face about what’s “in the text” after all your shit about “all interpretation” being “making shit up”?

    You really are a Fundamentalist: You really think that you can see and say what’s “in the text” without any “interpretation.” “Interpretation” is what other people do when they read texts.

    Let’s review. This is you:

    All interpretation of fiction is equally made up. … It’s all fanwanking.

    But then you say:

    The contradictions are in the text.

    I’m left wondering: Which word do you not understand: interpretation or contradiction?

    In what universe can you declare a text to contain contradictions without interpreting what it means?

    If all interpretation is “making shit up”, then the contradictions you pretend to perceive are just shit you made up. If the contradictions are “in the text,” then you had to be able to interpret what’s in the text without just making shit up.

    Is any part of this still confusing to you?

    You could just write it out. I certainly haven’t stopped you from doing so.

    It may come to that. I’d like to iron out this little point first.

  712. #715 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2008

    If all interpretation is “making shit up”, then the contradictions you pretend to perceive are just shit you made up. If the contradictions are “in the text,” then you had to be able to interpret what’s in the text without just making shit up.

    You seem to be confusing “reading” with “interpretation”. Either words mean what they mean, or they don’t mean what they mean. Which one is it? You tell me.

    Look, here’s a simple narrative:

    Alice told Bob “You will not die today”.
    Bob lived for many years.

    Read the words. Is there contradiction there? Is any additional interpretation necessary?

    Another simple narrative:

    Alice told Bob “You will die today”.
    Alice killed Bob that day.

    Same deal. Is there contradiction there? Is any additional interpretation necessary?

    Finally, one last narrative:

    Alice told Bob “You will die today”.
    Bob lived for many years.

    Is there contradiction there? Can you see the contradiction just by reading the words themselves? If not, why the hell not?

    Sheesh.

  713. #716 SDG
    July 26, 2008

    See, this is just sad.

    Third narrative: No, no contradiction. As far as I can see, the most reasonable interpretation is that Alice was incorrect.

    Is that the only interpretation? No, but it’s the one I would defend against all comers, until and unless more information comes to light.

    So, now we need Interpretation 101. I’ll be back.

  714. #717 Owlmirror
    July 26, 2008

    As far as I can see, the most reasonable interpretation is that Alice was incorrect.

    Ahem. You came up with, that is, imagined a “reasonable” interpretation, because you saw the contradiction.

    So! Now replace “Alice” with “God” and “Bob” with “Adam”.

    Are you saying that the most “reasonable interpretation” of the contradiction in the Genesis verses quoted is that “God” was just flat-out wrong?

  715. #718 SDG
    July 26, 2008

    Wow. Just wow. You don’t understand logic, and you don’t understand interpretation.

    The following sentence literally does not make any sense — at all:

    You came up with, that is, imagined a “reasonable” interpretation, because you saw the contradiction.

    Please try to follow this: If I saw a contradiction, I could not propose a “reasonable” interpretation.

    Look. Here is a narrative with a prima facie contradiction:

    Alice killed Bob.
    Alice did not kill Bob.

    Assuming the terms are meant in the same respect — assuming we’re talking about the same Bob and the same Alice, and assuming that killing means killing — the narrative is flatly self-contradictory. Thus, no reasonable interpretation of the narrative as we have it is possible. It might be possible to imagine additional information that might ameliorate the prima facie contradiction, but going by the facts established to date the prima facie contradiction excludes reasonable interpretation.

    Now, let’s try a variant on your problem narrative:

    “Now, Alice,” said Bob, “I will kill you today.”
    Alice killed Bob, and lived for many long years afterward.

    Do you read this and think, “Wow, contradiction”?

    If someone read it and said, “Wow, Bob was going to kill Alice, but Alice killed Bob instead,” would your response be, “That interpretation is just shit you made up because you saw the contradiction?”

    Because if you do, gosh, no wonder you think the Bible is full of contradictions. Anything would be. You know how to read words, evidently, but you don’t know how to read narratives.

    Let’s go back to your original narrative:

    Alice told Bob “You will die today.”
    Bob lived for many years.

    The logic is basically the same as in my example. A character makes a statement. Something happens. Two events in a narrative that is perfectly coherent, with no prima facie contradiction between sentence 1 and sentence 2.

    Obviously, I don’t know why Alice’s statement turned out to be untrue. I could only speculate about that, and speculation, even plausible speculation, isn’t interpretation.

    If I were inclined to speculate, I must guess that perhaps Alice was joking. Perhaps she was misinformed. Perhaps she was trying to scare Bob. Perhaps Bob was on death row but received a pardon hours later. Perhaps Alice was Bob’s doctor and didn’t expect Bob to survive his terminal disease, but Bob experienced a miraculous recovery. Who knows? That’s only speculation, not interpretation.

    The interpretation part is: Evidently, for whatever reason, Alice said something untrue.

    The logic part is: Sentence 1 does not contradict sentence 2.

    Please let me know what part of this I need to explain next.

    So! Now replace “Alice” with “God” and “Bob” with “Adam”.

    Wow, never saw that one coming.

    Are you saying that the most “reasonable interpretation” of the contradiction in the Genesis verses quoted is that “God” was just flat-out wrong?

    What on earth would make you think that? Please review what I said: I said that would be the most reasonable interpretation “until and unless more information comes to light.” Since Genesis 2-3 provides more information than that, other interpretations may be more plausible.

  716. #719 SDG
    July 26, 2008

    Argh, another malignant typo. That should have been “If I were inclined to speculate, I might guess that perhaps Alice was joking.”

  717. #720 Owlmirror
    July 27, 2008

    If I were inclined to speculate, I must guess that perhaps Alice was joking. Perhaps she was misinformed. Perhaps she was trying to scare Bob. Perhaps Bob was on death row but received a pardon hours later. Perhaps Alice was Bob’s doctor and didn’t expect Bob to survive his terminal disease, but Bob experienced a miraculous recovery. Who knows? That’s only speculation, not interpretation.

    The interpretation part is: Evidently, for whatever reason, Alice said something untrue.

    It looks like you’re shifting the meanings of words around. OK, so now it’s just an interpretation that for whatever reason, God said something untrue? And coming up with reasons like “Oh, he really meant spiritual death” is speculation?

    Well, the speculation part is certainly “making shit up”.

    Y’know, I went and looked up the Wikipedia entry for “Exegesis”, and then looked at the New Advent Catholic encyclopedia entry for the same topic, and y’know, I don’t think you’re correct about “exegesis” just meaning “interpretation”. But it’s a pain to slog through word salad. About 19,000 words of word salad, too. Still…

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05692b.htm

    Hm. I see an essentialist presuppostion……

    No error in Scripture

    Since God is the principal Author of Sacred Scripture, it can contain no error, no self-contradiction, nothing contrary to scientific or historical truth.

    And the article also talks about hermeneutics, which has its own article…:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07271a.htm

    Which is even more word salad. Argh. Feel free to wade through all that, if you must. I’m pretty sure that somewhere in there, something boils down to “we make shit up”. But I am too tired to wade through it just now.

    I said that would be the most reasonable interpretation “until and unless more information comes to light.” Since Genesis 2-3 provides more information than that, other interpretations may be more plausible.

    Oh? Feel free to bring this additional information…

    Say, that reminds me. There were some verses that I left out…

    Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death.

    Genesis 3:5 For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.

    Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened:

    Let’s put this into proper boolean form:

    A = “you eat the fruit”
    B = “you will die that same day”
    C = “your eyes will open that same day”

    Gen 2:17 ⇒ God asserts that if A then B (A→B)
    Gen 3:4 ⇒ Snake asserts that if A then not-B (A→¬B)
    Gen 3:5 ⇒ Snake asserts that if A then C (A→C)

    (A→¬B) ∧ (A→C) ⇒ (A→(¬B∧C))

    So the snake contradicts God, and adds in some additional info.

    Gen 3:6 ⇒ A
    Gen 3:7 ⇒ C
    Gen 5:5 ⇒ ¬B

    And from Boolean logic, an implication is false if its implicated part is false.

    Looks like the only one who speaks truly is the snake…

  718. #721 SEF
    July 27, 2008

    Looks like the only one who speaks truly is the snake

    That’s always been my view of that section, bearing in mind the whole thing’s fictional anyway. God is either clueless or a liar or both (since he does other clueless and other dishonest things too).

  719. #722 Anton Mates
    July 27, 2008

    Liar, primarily. You can see from 3:22 that the gods (plural at the time) knew quite well what eating from the tree would do; they had to boot Adam and Eve from the garden before the humans ate from the other tree as well and became uncomfortably close to gods themselves. Same as the Tower of Babel, pretty much, and quite reminiscent of the Prometheus story.

    I don’t think it’s at all contradictory in itself; it’s a perfectly consistent story from a polytheistic religion, featuring non-omnipotent gods who fear that mortals will usurp their status. Of course, it contradicts later henotheistic and monotheistic parts of the Bible.

  720. #723 SEF
    July 27, 2008

    The differing accounts of the creation are completely contradictory (to each other and in being contradicted by reality!). It’s just the individual account which contains the sort of claim contradicted by subsequent claim which reveals that the character (god) in the story has to be a falsehood-teller or deliberate liar.

  721. #724 Owlmirror
    July 27, 2008

    Actually, looking at the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia page on hermeneutics, the following sure looks like a confession that they make shit up:

    Hence a hermeneutic truth may be an objective falsehood, unless the writing subjected to the hermeneutic rules be endowed with the prerogative of inerrancy.

    It’s interesting that the article has a whole section on “inerrancy” which handwaves various explanations for various contradictions and inconsistencies, but does not, so far as I can see, address the very first chapters of Genesis. But I am skimming, so perhaps I missed something.

    Or perhaps that’s one of the “objective falsehoods” that is confessed to above.

  722. #725 Tigernerd
    July 27, 2008

    So what does this “crackerclysm” prove? That P.Z Meyers is about as witty as H.L Menken, and about as much of a jerk? That P.Z Meyers doesn’t mind that, if he were Catholic, he would be excommunicated several times over?

    If you want to argue, argue logically, and please, don’t act like we have no brains in our heads.

    To me, violating the Eucharist, in the eyes of a secular humanist is like me forcing my way into your house, stuffing a rosary in your hand, and slapping a crucifix on your wall.

    Oh, and Owlmirror.

    Your argument holds as much water as a sieve. A two year-old can spot the logical error. Every theologian I have heard has said that the serpant spoke a half-truth. There is a detailed explanation, but your head would probably explode, even though you *have* more education than I.

  723. #726 Owlmirror
    July 27, 2008

    Every theologian I have heard has said that the serpant spoke a half-truth.

    And logic says that the serpent spoke a full truth, and the God spoke a full falsehood. But I guess logic loses to “every theologian”.

    There is a detailed explanation, but your head would probably explode

    So far, all of the detailed explanations have involved making up ridiculous bullshit. That does not make my head explode, although it is irritating to see bullshit justified because a hermeneutic truth may be an objective falsehood.

  724. #727 Owlmirror
    July 27, 2008

    That P.Z Meyers doesn’t mind that, if he were Catholic, he would be excommunicated several times over?

    Sheesh. If PZ were part of the club, he would be kicked out of the club. Except he isn’t part of the club. So why would he care about being kicked out of it?

    To me, violating the Eucharist, in the eyes of a secular humanist is like me forcing my way into your house, stuffing a rosary in your hand, and slapping a crucifix on your wall.

    No, it’s more like Catholics praying for “heretics, schismatics, lebertines, atheists, blasphemers, sorcerers, Mahomedans, Jews, and idolaters”. They do it in their own space, and it has no actual affect on those persons. Just like nailing a cracker in one’s own home.

    Logic: You’re doing it so very, very, very wrong.

  725. #728 SDG
    July 27, 2008

    Actually, looking at the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia page on hermeneutics, the following sure looks like a confession that they make shit up: Hence a hermeneutic truth may be an objective falsehood, unless the writing subjected to the hermeneutic rules be endowed with the prerogative of inerrancy.

    That would be a hermeneutical error on your part. Here is the hermeneutical truth of the sentence (and, I would argue, objective truth about reality) in colloquial paraphrase: “A correct statement of the meaning of a text (i.e., a “hermeneutical truth”) may still be a false statement about reality (i.e., an “objective falsehood”), if the text in question is subject to error.”

    Example: It is a hermeneutical truth about Mein Kampf, but an objective falsehood about reality, that the Aryans are the Master Race.

    Capice?

    It looks like you’re shifting the meanings of words around.

    That’s your interpretation, huh?

    OK, so now it’s just an interpretation that for whatever reason, God said something untrue? And coming up with reasons like “Oh, he really meant spiritual death” is speculation?

    Concluding that God said something untrue would be an interpretation, yes. Based on Genesis 1-3 in isolation, reading “die on that day” as spiritual death could be labeled speculation — not necessarily unreasonable speculation, just as my speculation of Alice’s misstatement regarding Bob’s impending death is not unreasonable, but not something you can nail down in the text either. Certainly we would minimally need more information to make more of it than that.

    Y’know, I went and looked up the Wikipedia entry for “Exegesis”, and then looked at the New Advent Catholic encyclopedia entry for the same topic, and y’know, I don’t think you’re correct about “exegesis” just meaning “interpretation”.

    Since you’ve pronounced them both to be “making shit up” or “fanwanking,” what difference does it make? Are you backtracking now?

    Again, “words have ranges of potential usage and meaning,” etc. Exegesis certainly has technical senses more specific than just interpretation, but they don’t apply here. At no time in this discussion have I presupposed exegeting Genesis as sacred scripture in light of any particular religious commitment. I’m just interested here in a reasonable approach to the text, like any other text.

    Let’s put this into proper boolean form

    Uh huh. You can write boolean truth tables, yet you make elementary logical errors in identifying contradiction or noncontradiction in a simple narrative.

    Why don’t you try applying boolean analysis to Alice and Bob and see whether the contradiction you were so sure was there really exists?

    Also, I’d still like your thoughts on my proposed revision in which Alice kills Bob. Is that contradictory? If not, why not? Are you just fanwanking?

    Let’s try to nail down the theory, please. Is interpretation just making shit up, or not?

    Oh? Feel free to bring this additional information…

    If you want, sure. We don’t have a working theory of interpretation yet, but I don’t mind going ahead anyway with what makes sense to me. (How far afield we’ve gotten from Eucharistic theology…)

    So. Approaching Genesis 1-3 like any other text, I find various reasons to regard it as a literary composition in a mythic mode, a story without the sort of claims of historicity found in, say, the court records of the Judean kings, or the Gospels.

    As with all myths, I take it to be a story embodying a worldview of the people and culture in which it took shape, among whom it was presumably told and retold, revised and reshaped for countless generations, in various forms and variations, before being set down in its present literary form. As such, it expresses, in story form, certain aspects of a particular people’s understanding of the world in which they live, the god they worship, and so forth. (BTW, by referring to “the god” rather than “God,” I hope to facilitate reading the text as a story rather than projecting onto it theological assumptions and expectations unhelpful at this stage.)

    For various reasons, the story impresses me as a literary composition of considerable artistry and subtlety, not at all a crude redaction patchwork “so badly made up that it contradicts itself,” as you put it, though clearly there are signs of more than one previous source. Most obviously, the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 can reasonably be seen as reflecting originally separate sources — though in their present literary form, far from being slapped together, they have apparently been dovetailed with sufficient care there is considerable unity, and scarcely any (I don’t say there is zero) prima facie contradiction, between the two accounts.

    In general, the god of this account is called “Elohim” in Genesis 1 while in Genesis 2-3 he is given the joint name “YHWH Elohim.” “Elohim” is a morphologically plural word which in other contexts may mean more or less “gods” or “mighty ones,” and is sometimes used as such in reference to the gods or pantheons of other nations, or to human rulers. Despite the plural morphology, when used with reference to the Hebrew god, “Elohim” is treated grammatically as a singular noun, with singular verbs and adjectives.

    The origins of the plural usage for the singular Hebrew god are not known. Speculation about a connection to a prior polytheism is — well, speculative, if not necessarily unreasonable. However, in its present literary form the Genesis story uses Elohim to refer to the singular Hebrew god.

    The story bears certain resemblances to other creation myths, but also striking differences, so that to call it “a perfectly consistent story from a polytheistic religion” is certainly wide of the mark. For example, I’m not aware of any other creation myth in which a god deliberately and systematically creates the heavens and the earth without any sort of resistance, conflict, collaboration or inadvertency, as in both Genesis 1 and 2. Many aspects of the story contain implicit critiques of polytheistic religion. (For example, the sun and moon, honored as divine in other religions, are simply “lights” here without even being given names. And while IIRC the theme of a god “resting” after a creation is found in other creation-myths, in connection with, e.g., recovery after a primeval battle, I’m not aware of any parallel example of a god taking his ease after an effort