Pharyngula

The Michigan festival is apparently going to be showing BIll Maher’s new movie, Religulous. I’d like to hear if it’s any good, just to know how much I might suffer when I do go see it. And see it I will: anyone who gets Bill Donohue to start spluttering out threats of physical violence needs to be supported.

Comments

  1. #1 megan
    July 30, 2008

    Looks like both showing of it are already sold out.

  2. #2 Mystyk
    July 30, 2008

    This movie sounds interesting, and I’ve been wanting to see it for a while. Too bad this isn’t the kind of movie that the Army would pick to show on overseas bases…I’ll just have to wait a year.

  3. #3 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    As long as Maher sticks to religion and stays away from animal rights and alti-medicine stuff it should be entertaining. If he starts to get into his PETA and Woo medicine rants, it’s sure to suck.

  4. #4 43alley
    July 30, 2008

    I just hope this movie is more than Bill Maher simply interviewing people on the street. The trailers on YouTube really make it look like something only the “choir” would want to see.

  5. #5 chancelikely
    July 30, 2008

    How exactly did Maher come to his position of being anti-religion but pro-woo? Does that strike anyone else as being inconsistent?

  6. #6 Patricia
    July 30, 2008

    What the hell, I sat through that groaner Expelled, certainly Maher can’t be THAT bad. ;)

  7. #7 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    How exactly did Maher come to his position of being anti-religion but pro-woo? Does that strike anyone else as being inconsistent?

    I’ve wondered that too, but I know people totally reasonable on one topic and completely irrational on others.

    But for Maher, I chock it all up to an incredibly over sized ego.

  8. #8 Nomen Nescio
    July 30, 2008

    i’ve got tickets to it. if, by some secular miracle, nobody else beats me to it, i might write up a quickie review.

  9. #9 PalMD
    July 30, 2008

    I’ll be up there, but not until the last day or two…i’ll have to check into it..

  10. #10 PalMD
    July 30, 2008

    D’OH. Sold out the days im there.

  11. #11 James Goetz
    July 30, 2008

    “I never said that I didn’t believe in God. What I have said is that I don’t believe in religion,” said Maher.

    I wonder if Maher is a deist or agnostic?

  12. #12 Qquiscula
    July 30, 2008

    I’m so bummed that I’m leaving town 2 days before the showing… good or bad, I’m certainly interested in seeing it.

  13. #13 Oran Kelley
    July 30, 2008

    If you are in town anyway, it may not be a bad idea to just show up and get in line for extras. In the past there’s been a fair number of no-shows at even popular screenings, and I think they undersell the venues slightly.

    I know Moore encourages people to try to get in if they really want to see something.

    The only thing I hear a lot of people didn’t get into was Borat a couple of years ago.

  14. #14 Luke O'Dell
    July 30, 2008

    Never mind about Maher’s personal views, on God or other things, the purpose of this film is to show how crazy organised religion is, so we should all support it. You guys are making rationalism sound like a club with too strict a membership vetting policy.

  15. #15 Benjamin Franklin
    July 30, 2008

    PZ-

    You’re just glad that this will give Donohue a bigger fish to fry (especially on Frydays, they still do that right?), and you hope that it will get him and the Catlic League off of your ass, so to speak.

  16. #16 Ducklike
    July 30, 2008

    “And see it I will…”

    Assuming you aren’t banned from this one as well.

  17. #17 Curseword69
    July 30, 2008

    I am a big fan of documentaries. Snobbishly so, if anyone wants, I can totally rant about how Spellbound should have beat out stupid Michael Moore in ’02 for the Oscar! No? Ah well.

    It is better then Expelled, but I cannot think of a lower bar. Like Expelled, it is not terribly well executed stylistically, and suffers from a complete lack of subtelty or nuance. I was left with a sort of LOLCATS like experience.

    REGLION IS OBSURDED!

    Bill Maher does his part to keep the thing somewhat amusing as he preaches to his choir, well maybe not preach, but jokes along with?

    This movie is not going to change many (if any) minds. Nor is it likely to spark a meaningful debate about the role of religion in society. The biggest mistake, I think, was having Maher as the interviewer.

    While Ben Stein holds a certain level of respect in various communities, his biggest asset to Expelled was that he is unobjectionable. Whereas Maher, and his snarky reflexive responses come across as sort of snide and off putting. He makes the film entertaining, but he undercuts the message of the film. I found myself (a godless aethist) sort of empthazing with the people he was talking to. It was as if they are on Jay Leno’s Jay-walking segment or Are You Smarter Then a 5th Grader or something, and you laugh at the silly thing they say, or Maher’s kinda mean response and the film moves on.

    It turns out sarcastic banter, not always the best way to make a point in a documentary.

  18. #18 Rev. bigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    Never mind about Maher’s personal views, on God or other things, the purpose of this film is to show how crazy organised religion is, so we should all support it. You guys are making rationalism sound like a club with too strict a membership vetting policy.

    No, rationalism is rationalism. Maher teeters on the precipice between being rational and being an utter fucking loon.

    But the point of the movie is the point of the movie and I hope he’ll stick to it. I really really hope he will because he’s so disappointing in other realms.

    I plan on seeing it if It comes my way.

  19. #19 Glen Davidson
    July 30, 2008

    How exactly did Maher come to his position of being anti-religion but pro-woo? Does that strike anyone else as being inconsistent?

    As far as I know, his woo is not (labeled or promoted as) magical woo. That’s why it’s not especially inconsistent, that is, not for someone like Maher who so often doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Then too, he doesn’t deny the woo that god is (probably because he doesn’t understand epistemology), and seems not to understand the constraints and limits that science recognizes.

    Apparently he likes to think of himself as “politically incorrect,” even though he’s not very original. So he’s “skeptical” on matters that he doesn’t understand–and thus has no legitimate reason to be “skeptical”.

    I’d far rather that someone with good respect for empirical matters was laughing at religion in this movie. OTOH, even a crank can point out the ridiculousness of “foreign religions”, then point out how equally ridiculous our “domestic religions” are. So it might be a good movie despite Maher’s crankiness.

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

  20. #20 James F
    July 30, 2008

    #11

    Maher has called himself an “apatheist.”

  21. #21 Snitzels
    July 30, 2008

    I’m hoping he’s not too snotty to the average middle-of-the-road type people. I’d like to see more people come out of the theater thoughtful, not angry. Even mildly religious folk think the extremist groups are nuts, that shouldn’t be hard to point out. What is difficult is showing that the extremism is based on the exact same ideas that the mildly religious hold. I look forward to seeing it, and here’s hoping it doesn’t suck. ;)

  22. #22 Samuel
    July 30, 2008

    Unfortunately, no, but I’m actually from Traverse City! My girlfriend and I moved out to Boston a couple years ago, but if I still lived there I’d definitely be going. Most of Michigan is solid red, save the Detroit area, with Traverse City a little more left-leaning than the rest of Northern Michigan. I’m surprised it isn’t getting significantly more negative attention in the area, haven’t heard anything about it from family still in the area.

  23. #23 Steve_C
    July 30, 2008

    http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/article/curious_new_religulous_clip/#comments

    Might want to chime in over there. People seemed to be confused about the tenor of the documentary… hehe.

  24. #24 Sastra
    July 30, 2008

    chancelikely #5 wrote:

    How exactly did Maher come to his position of being anti-religion but pro-woo? Does that strike anyone else as being inconsistent?

    Yes, but only because I (and most of us who read this blog) are coming to atheism from a scientific, rational, secular humanist perspective: method, method, method. We reject God for the same reason we reject ESP and space alien abductions. The evidence is poor, and there are better explanations for the experiences people claim as evidence.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I go to conventions. The skeptic and secular humanist conventions have no fans of woo. The atheist conventions — it’s a bit mixed.

    There are atheists who become atheists for what I consider to be poor reasons. They are upset with a church, or a doctrine, or a particular religion — or all organized authorities. They’re more concerned with criticizing the moral and emotional side of religion than the actual truth of the matter. I once spoke with a relatively well-known atheist who told me that if he could only find a church which genuinely followed the loving words of Jesus, he would become a believer. Talk about missing the point.

    Bill Maher is a mixed bag of reasonable and unreasonable. He enjoys being an iconoclast, and buys into conspiracy theories because he finds the idea that just a few people know the real truth to be very compelling. He has swallowed the anti-vaxx kool-aid, complete with the “experts don’t know what they’re talking about” crap. Okay.

    It’s relevant only because it’s annoying if someone poised to become a “relatively well-known atheist” and advocate of reason is a gullible jackass here and there. Ah, well.

  25. #25 Reginald Selkirk
    July 30, 2008

    While Ben Stein holds a certain level of respect in various communities,

    I think the past tense would be appropriate, unless you mean the creotard Godwin-blowing asshat community.

  26. #26 O-dot-O
    July 30, 2008

    I live in Traverse City, and the film festival gets almost universally positive comments from the locals. Part of the reason is that it is largely apolitical, more like Sundance than “the Michael Moore film festival”. In fact he won’t allow his own films to be shown at the festival because he doesn’t want to appear to be promoting his politics. That said, I did see An Inconvenient Truth and Jesus Camp at the festival…

    And BTW, TC is not as “red” as you might think, at least among the younger crowd. It’s more like a little Ann Arbor.

  27. #27 Keith B
    July 30, 2008

    If the movie sucks and it’s mostly just brainless banter from Maher and religious folk without any intelligent analysis, perhaps we atheists/agnostics/secular humanists should write letters to him and Religulous’s director on how it could have been a better film?

  28. #28 Luke O'Dell
    July 30, 2008

    I’m expecting a “give them enough rope” approach. I admit I don’t know a thing about Maher, so I hope the film stays on point and isn’t all about him wisecracking. Borat struck a good balance between the character’s actions and the reactions of the real people involved, which were often far more shocking.

    I don’t expect the movie to make any intelligent points, just to be funny and exposing. If you want intelligent, balanced analysis, don’t look for it in a film entitled “Religulous”.

  29. #29 Carriep
    July 30, 2008

    Though this is relatively near my neck of the woods, alas, I can’t make this. Sounds like fun, though.

    Regarding the red/blue divide in Michigan. I’d say that Detroit is Blue; Grand Rapids, Red. Ann Arbor is Green (ironic if you know your college sports). The rural parts of the state tend to be a reddish color, though some parts are more on the purple side.

    If I’ve confused anyone with my color-wheel metaphor, let me sum up: One of my favorite bumper stickers I’ve seen around town is “You are not the only Democrat in Clinton County.”

  30. #30 TGC
    July 30, 2008

    Greetings from beautiful Traverse City. Just getting home from the 12 noon showing of “Persepolis” (superb)at the City Opera House, one of the four venues of the TCFF. I have tickets for the Friday night show of “Religulous” and will report. Now, the big decision: do I go trout fishing for browns and rainbows (10 minutes out my back door), or jump on the bike and head out on a 36 mile round trip to Suttons Bay on the wonderful bike trails we have here? What a great place to live.

  31. #31 George Smiley
    July 30, 2008

    PZ – Just saw your review of Ken Miller’s book in the new issue of Nature. Nice!

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v454/n7204/full/454581a.html

  32. #32 TGC
    July 30, 2008

    Woops, six venues. Forgot the new one at Milliken Auditorium and the outdoor one at the Open Space, featuring an 80 foot inflatable screen with West Grand Traverse Bay for a backdrop at dusk for the free movies. Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes tonight. By the way, Milliken Auditorium was named for William Milliken, a superb moderate(!) Republican governor of Michigan from 1969 to 1983.

  33. #33 Anthony
    July 30, 2008

    Maher’s heart might be in the right place, but I still don’t like the way he does things. I know it has been said before, yet I still agree with all of those who think this will be a “Michael Moore” style religion bashing. I don’t HBO so I don’t watch his show, but of the clips I have seen on Youtube, Maher doesn’t really seem to add to many topics, just restate what has already been said. I always get the the feeling when I listen to him talk about something that he just did a quick google search on the topic an hour before and read the most popular opinions.

    I saw that someone wrote in another comment that because this is going against religious stupidity, we should support it. I don’t agree. If it is worthy of support, it should be supported. If we all just support it because of it’s topic then we have fallen into the trap of groupthink blind support, which is what, I think, we try to avoid. I have only seen the trailers, but still I don’t have high hopes for this movie and I fear it will hurt us. I hold final judgement however until I see it.

  34. #34 Cliff Hendroval
    July 30, 2008

    If you do go, be sure to bring plenty of yummy snacks!

  35. #35 SeanH
    July 30, 2008

    How exactly did Maher come to his position of being anti-religion but pro-woo? Does that strike anyone else as being inconsistent?

    I think people like him come to anti-religion through anti-authoritarianism rather than reason, which unfortunately means they tend to disregard the opinions of doctors and scientists in the same way they do the clergy.

  36. #36 Orac
    July 30, 2008

    How exactly did Maher come to his position of being anti-religion but pro-woo? Does that strike anyone else as being inconsistent?

    This strikes me as a fairly common phenomenon, unfortunately, in which the secular/skeptic/atheist/whatever concludes that religious woo is bad but “natural” woo is good, somehow not realizing that they are basically the same thing: irrational belief systems not grounded in science, reason, or reality.

    I’ve sometimes wondered if the human mind so desperately needs magic and woo that when it rejects the magic of religion it has a distressing tendency to latch on to other forms of magic to take the place of religion.

  37. #37 Orac
    July 30, 2008

    I think people like him come to anti-religion through anti-authoritarianism rather than reason, which unfortunately means they tend to disregard the opinions of doctors and scientists in the same way they do the clergy.

    You may have nailed it. Maher strikes me as being more anti-authoritarian more than truly skeptical and reason-based. If it’s the powers-that-be, be they religion, medicine, science, or whatever, he’s against them. PETA, antivaccinationism, germ theory denialism (I did you not; Maher doubts the germ theory of disease and thinks that Pasteur recanted on his deathbed), and alt-med woo all have a rebellion against authority as part of their appeal. It makes sense.

  38. #38 Hypocee
    July 30, 2008

    I live here; I’ll try my luck at the no-show slots…but if you’re bound and determined to see it anyway, what kind of secondhand information are you looking for?

  39. #39 SoMG
    July 30, 2008

    ROTFL “Father Joe” is afraid to debate abortion with me on his blog.

    http://fatherjoe.wordpress.com/2008/07/27/myers-anti-catholic-bigotry/

    No wonder Catholics are so stupid. They censor anyone who tells them the facts.

  40. #40 Sastra
    July 30, 2008

    Orac wrote:

    Maher strikes me as being more anti-authoritarian more than truly skeptical and reason-based. If it’s the powers-that-be, be they religion, medicine, science, or whatever, he’s against them.

    This describes a lot of my neo-pagan/ New Age/ “spiritual but not religious” friends. They’re against mean authorities which try to tell other people what to do. Religion therefore is bad, but spirituality is good and true. We need to trust our intuitions and inner sense of knowing.

    Their use of reason and science is incredibly inconsistent. The methods don’t matter to them: they care only about the result. Is the “nice” side being supported? Then that’s okay. The science there is good.

    I find they have a lot of problems dealing with a secular humanist. Okay, I’m not condemning anyone to Hell. But they think I’m “dogmatic” when it comes to science. We all have our own truths, and ways of knowing. There’s not a woo they don’t love, as long as it’s open and not “judgmental.” Ironically, they find it easy to slip into conspiracy theories of all kinds. Against the conservatives. Or scientists. Or anyone who isn’t being supportive of people’s own personal experience and right to believe whatever they want with no criticism or disagreement allowed.

    But, since they’re not supposed to tell anyone that their “truths” are wrong, they have a hard time staying out of an infinite loop as long as I smile a lot and fake being “nice” while I take down their “Truths.” I mean, am I WRONG? ;)

  41. #41 craig
    July 30, 2008

    Whoa… just was announced today that Cheech and Chong are reuniting, scheduled a comedy tour.

  42. #42 Glen Davidson
    July 30, 2008

    OT, but interesting evolutionary (evo-devo, esp.) research. From Science News:

    How the snake got its fangs
    By Amy Maxmen July 30th, 2008 Web edition

    It likely all started when the back of the mouth left the front. By observing gene activity in snake embryos, a team revealed that, on the evolutionary tree, fangs sprang from one source.

    “How’d you get those newfangled teeth?” hissed the petite garter snake to the venomous cobra. “Same way that you got yours,” cobra replied. All fangs — no matter their size, shape or position — descend from a single evolutionary event, new evidence from snake embryos suggests.

    “I’m sky high on this piece of work,” comments Ken Kardong, a biologist at Washington State University in Pullman, who has been studying snake evolution for more than 30 years. “This will become a textbook example in evolutionary biology identifying how development produces diversity in the natural world that natural selection can then act on.”

    The new study, led by Freek Vonk of Leiden University in The Netherlands, reveals that snakes didn’t reinvent the wheel with each new version of their venom-delivery systems. The report appears in the July 31 Nature.

    “They’ve shown there is a single underlying way of building things that has been elaborated different ways, in different groups,” comments biologist Rick Shine of the University of Sydney in Australia.

    Dagger-sharp frontal fangs allow cobras and vipers to prey on feisty mammals such as the large desert rat. Garter snakes, corn snakes and others that hunt less volatile creatures do just fine with fangs in the back of their mouth. What confused biologists, however, was learning that the front-fanged snakes don’t fall into a neat group. In the snake tree of life, rear-fanged snakes are scattered on evolutionary branches in between the cobras and the more recently evolved vipers, which indicates that fangs evolved at least a couple of times on separate branches leading to front-fanged snakes.

    The assumption of multiple origins is problematic for evolutionary biologists who prefer to find that complex structures like fangs — multi-part weapons consisting of a sharp tooth connected to a venomous gland — don’t just come and go. If they did, fangs presumably would have popped up in other vertebrates. They haven’t.

    The distinction between front-fanged snakes and rear-fanged snakes goes back centuries, Shine says. Most studies focus on fully formed fangs. The new study by Vonk is the first in decades to compare how front and back fangs develop within snake embryos.

    As snake embryos develop within eggs, their cells multiply and differentiate. Genes direct cells to take on different identities — an eye will form here, a tongue there. In snake “gums,” a gene called sonic hedgehog lays out the toothy part of the body plan.

    Vonk and his collaborators collected hundreds of snake eggs, and slowly began the arduous process of tracking down where sonic hedgehog was being expressed in the mouths of the embryos. Finding snake nests in the wild is incredibly hard, Vonk says. So the group sought out eggs from hobbyists around the world who raise snakes in captivity.

    After examining multiple embryos from eight snake species — some with fangs in front, some with fangs in back, some without fangs — Vonk’s team discovered that the initial plans for fang formation consistently began at the back of the mouth, even in front-fanged snakes.

    “When you get a finding like that, where the fangs in all kinds of adults come from the same place in the embryo … it supports the idea that there’s an evolutionarily common origin for the fang and that it hasn’t evolved totally independently,” explains Michael K. Richardson of Leiden University.

    A critical event millions of years ago set the stage for fangs to form, the researchers suggest. Tooth-forming tissue at the back part of the jaw became uncoupled from the front part, so that the back area was free to change while the front part still grew teeth that could grab prey. Thus the primitive snake could survive while the back part was under construction.

    “Nature took the easiest path,” says Richardson, “and the easiest path is not to evolve a whole new structure but to just move this wonderful biological weapon around in the skull to suit different lifestyles.” Cobra fangs are rather stationary compared with rattlesnake fangs, which lie flat against the roof of their mouths and swing downward like a kickstand to pierce prey. Stiletto snake fangs, on the other hand, snap out of their mouths horizontally. Yet all those frontal fangs grew from tissue at the back of the mouth in an early snake ancestor. Embryonic fang development is a relic of that early process, says Vonk.

    Early snakes with a mouth more like today’s fangless boa constrictors diverged from lizards some 100 million years ago, says Vonk. Fossils of fanged snakes date back about 24 million years. The researchers found that boas bear just one section of dental tissue, while fanged snakes all have two. So, they propose, in those millions of years between the fangless and fanged snakes, dental tissue split and in doing so, allowed fangs to form. In turn, fanged snakes feasted, flourished and diversified. Of the 2,700 species of snakes, 2,300 are in the fang-bearing group.

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/34604/title/How_the_snake_got_its_fangs

    Developmental pathways once again tell much of the story. The IDiots inadvertently do one useful thing, which is to point out how really much more plastic life is than observable designed entities are.

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

  43. #43 RamziD
    July 30, 2008

    #17

    Lo and behold, it took a comment about “Spellbound” to finally get me to post on here :) Who’d have known?

    I do agree with you, curse. Spellbound is one of my favorite documentaries, and I think it’s a bit underappreciated.

    BTW, I’ve been a long-time lurker on this forum and really enjoy reading PZ’s blog entries and the dialogue that ensues. I usually post on richarddawkins.net, but I’ll probably be around here from time to time, too.

    Ramzi

  44. #44 truth machine, OM
    July 30, 2008

    Never mind about Maher’s personal views, on God or other things, the purpose of this film is to show how crazy organised religion is, so we should all support it.

    False dichotomy. We can support the film while being critical of Maher’s views.

    You guys are making rationalism sound like a club with too strict a membership vetting policy.

    Better hand in your own card if you think being rational is too strict a requirement for being a rationalist.

  45. #45 Brian W.
    July 30, 2008

    This movie has me nervous. It could easily backfire.

  46. #46 Luke O'Dell
    July 30, 2008

    @#44:

    You’re right of course, on both counts. My point was that if this movie can move someone away from religion, but said person clings on to other irrational views, alternative medecine for example, then that’s a positive thing, a step in the right direction. Our goal should not be to convert everyone to strict rationalism, I think, but merely to eliminate those irrational beliefs that cause the most harm.

  47. #47 truth machine, OM
    July 30, 2008

    My point was …

    No, your point was an irrational attack on “you guys”. PZ said right up front “anyone who gets Bill Donohue to start spluttering out threats of physical violence needs to be supported”.

  48. #48 Luke O'Dell
    July 30, 2008

    What’s that got to do with anything? Complete non sequitur.

  49. #49 simian
    July 30, 2008

    Hmm, my uncle lives not far from Traverse City. He’s the executive director of an organization you may have heard of, PZ. It’s the Inland Seas Education Assocation (ISEA). They take schoolkids out on Lake Michigan in a schooner called the Inland Seas that’s loaded with science equipment, and teach them about marine biology and Great Lakes conservation. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were planning to attend the Traverse City Film Festival… I’ll have to ask him if he saw Religulous.

  50. #50 Tessa
    July 30, 2008

    I can hardly wait until I get to see this movie!
    http://www.lionsgate.com/religulous/

  51. #51 Paper Hand
    July 30, 2008

    #36:
    I’ve sometimes wondered if the human mind so desperately needs magic and woo that when it rejects the magic of religion it has a distressing tendency to latch on to other forms of magic to take the place of religion.

    I’ve noticed that with science fiction. A number of authors, although atheistic, seem to delight in peopling their creations with superhuman, practically godlike, beings. Such as Asimov’s Foundation series, with Hari Seldon, the Second Foundation, and most especially R. Daneel Olivaw (sp?)

  52. #52 asimov
    July 30, 2008

    TO THE MYERS-IAN ATHEISTS:

    IF YOU TRULY BELIEVE “NOTHING IS SACRED”, WHY DO YOU MINDLESSLY BOW DOWN & WORSHIP YOUR GOD, P.Z. MYERS, EVER FOLLOWING EVERY WORD OF HIS GOSPEL?????

    How many times need I remind you folks that Science itself was the result of CATHOLICS in the first place!

    It’s interesting to note that the first scientists were all monks, they were all clerics!

    So, yes, there was “assistance from the imaginary”; that is, it was the Catholic Faith of the first Scientists who were Catholic that drove them to Science in the first place and inspired them to discovery and seek out the very workings of God’s Creation!

    The Big Bang theory that the universe originated in an extremely dense and hot space and expanded was developed by Belgian priest, Fr. George Lemaître.

    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.

    American Catholicism is in a Protestant culture. We borrow a lot of our attitudes, along with a lot of our hymns, and not always the best of either.

    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.

    CRACKERS RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  53. #53 PZ Myers
    July 30, 2008

    Buh-bye, spammer!

  54. #54 Paper Hand
    July 31, 2008

    Haha, our “god” PZ Meyers hath spoken unto the vile spammer and cast him into the Outer Darkness! :P

  55. #55 Jochen
    July 31, 2008

    Can someone point asimov (#52) to the obvious?
    Co-relation does not necessarily mean causality.

    And the simple reason why many scientists in their time were monks or clerics is obvious: those guys had time to delve into those topics, being fed by the church.

    BUT
    just try to imagine how far advanced our science would be now, if it would not have been systematically oppressed by religion.
    If there would have been well-funded scientific institutions hundreds of years ago, we probably wouldn’t have to discuss these trivial things now and could tend to more interesting things

  56. #56 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    #55: see #53.

  57. #57 Ranson
    July 31, 2008

    In reference to the banned spammer:

    ‘Course, if the library at Alexandria hadn’t been burned, we might have had most of that stuff a few centuries earlier…

  58. #58 chuckgoecke
    July 31, 2008

    Bill is often berated in these science sites for his views on modern medicine. I don’t necessarily disagree with him on some of his comments about the medical establishment. I don’t necessarily trust big Pharma, or the medical insurance establishment, nor their connections to the Republicans. I think that the idea that we are not well served by our hi-tech, germ-free world is valid, for most of us. Babies, older folks, and immunity compromised people are benefited, though. More and more research is showing that germs are our friends, and I eat about a gallon a week of homemade yogurt because of it.

  59. #59 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Bill is berated because bill is an idiot on some things.

    More and more research is showing that germs are our friends, and I eat about a gallon a week of homemade yogurt because of it.

    More and more research shows that some bacteria is beneficial, but we’ve known that, for a while. Not all bacteria is.

    Get yourself a big heaping does of Treponema pallidum and see how that works out for you.

    Bill’s ego gets in the way of his ability to actually learn how wrong he is on things.

  60. #60 Nomen Nescio
    August 2, 2008

    i just stepped out of a showing of the movie, and it was… meh.

    lots of preaching to the choir, basically. nobody who’s followed alt.atheism for a while, or pharyngula for that matter, will see anything new in it. nor does Maher really supply much in the way of evidence, logic, or argumentation; apart from mentioning the parallels between jesus and earlier middle-eastern sons of god, it’s mostly just him stating up front how ridiculous he finds religion. take him at his word, he’s Bill Maher, he can crack ad-lib jokes, that’s all he really needs.

    he manages to trap a senator from Alabama (IIRC) in some embarrassingly stupid quotes, but that’s not much to hang a movie on. that, and pounding the pulpit of how dangerous and destructive religion can be. again, nothing new for anybody who’s reading here. folks who’ve never heard religion called silly and dangerous before in their lives will be shocked, shocked, but there’s not much substance in it. no Maher-woo either, unless you count some passing references to psychiatry that served very little purpose.

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