Pharyngula

Karl Giberson strikes back!

Perhaps you remember Karl — I ripped into an interview he did a while back. Well, “ripped into” is probably the wrong phrase — I pointed out several things I thought were quite good, and then tore up his sectarian defense of Christianity, his blind obeisance before the Christian bible, and his mangling of what other scientists have said about religion. It must have rankled — he now gripes that “Myers doesn’t seem to like me” and has slapped together a nice bit of hackwork that is the lead story on Salon. And clumsy hatchet job it is.

Here’s his opening:

PZ Myers is a true believer, a science crusader with the singled-minded enthusiasm of a televangelist. A biologist at the University of Minnesota at Morris and a columnist for Seed magazine, Myers has earned notoriety with his blog, Pharyngula, in which he reports on new developments in biology and indiscriminately excoriates those he views as hostile to science, a pantheon of straw men and women that includes theologians, journalists and churchgoers. He is Richard Dawkins without the fame or felicitous prose style.

Then he recounts the tale of the “Great Desecration”, but without any of the context, not bothering to mention the hideous history of the Catholic response to rumors of desecration, and not even mentioning Bill Donohue’s bullying tactics. Oh, and then he compares me to Jonathan Edwards, misrepresents his own interview — he only “suggested that science doesn’t know everything,” which “got [him] condemned to whatever hell Myers believes in” — and claims that atheists like me, Dawkins, Atkins, and Dennett are just practicing a new religion. Over and over again. He goes on at length with this strange claim that we are pushing science as a replacement for religion.

But let’s assume for the moment that this is possible — that science can be canonized, moralized, transcendentalized and politicized into a replacement religion, with followers, codes of conduct, celebrated texts and sacred blogs, houses of worship, “saints” of some sort and inquisitors of another sort. And let’s suppose that it’s possible for this new religion to move out of the ivory towers of academia, where it lives now, to take its place alongside the other “world” religions, attracting hundreds of millions of adherents drawn from the main streets of the world and all walks of life. What would this new religion be like once it became institutionalized? After all, if religion fills a genuine human need, something has to fill the hole created by its passing — something that appeals to billions of people.

He babbles on quite a bit about this bizarre fantasy that we’re trying to replicate the silly superstitions and rituals of his idea of religion. Sacred blogs? Saints? This is just foolishness of his own invention. Right there in the critical post I wrote, I said plainly, “Gould and Dawkins do not claim that evolution as a religion, or that it should be treated as one, and neither do I; that would be ridiculous, since if I were equating the two, that would mean I think people ought to grow out of their absurd faith in evolution.” In the desecration post, I plainly said that nothing should be sacred. Giberson read those, apparently, and then decided that I really meant the opposite.

It’s funny how he provides these botched descriptions of what I said, but doesn’t bother to actually link to it, where it’s rather obvious that his version is misleading and dishonest.

Oh, and I’m not one of the saints. Here’s my role.

And we have inquisitors like Myers to ferret out heretics and martyr them on his Web site when they appear.

Man, my criticism of his ideas must have really burned, that he would now compare me to inquisitors and his own state to martyrdom. Hint to Karl: Catholic inquisitors tied people to stakes and literally set them on fire. Writing in dissent about someone’s ideas does not really compare very well. I might add that historically, Christians murdered Jews by the thousands for imaginary desecrations; I tossed an unpalatable scrap of bad bread in a garbage can. Any comparisons he wants to make will not flatter religion.

In order for many of us to truly feel at home in the universe so grandly described by science, that science needs to coexist as peacefully as possible with the creation stories of our religious traditions. I share with Myers, Dawkins and Weinberg the conviction that we are the product of cosmic and biological evolution, that Einstein and Darwin got it right. But I want to believe that, through the eyes of my faith, this is how God created the world and that God cares about that world. Does this belief, shared by so many of our species, make me dangerous?

No, Karl, it makes you foolish. The eyes of your faith are delusions fostered by tradition and dogma, there is no evidence for your god or that he created anything, and there sure as heck isn’t any evidence that your imaginary friend cares about us.

It also makes Salon look foolish, that they would put an article written by someone with a patent grudge front and center.

Comments

  1. #1 chief
    July 30, 2008

    off-topic
    Scott Adams (Dilbert creator) thinks that both McCain and Obama may be closet atheists:
    http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/decisions_decisions/

  2. #2 Ian
    July 30, 2008

    Have you asked Salon for the chance to reply?

  3. #3 Ric
    July 30, 2008

    [blockquote][PZ], Dawkins, Atkins, and Dennett are just practicing a new religion…. [They] are pushing science as a replacement for religion.[/blockquote]

    Oh geez. Not that hackneyed argument again. Two bad arguments in a row today. First that troll Clayton trundled out the old “atheists have no basis for morality” and now this joker rehashes the much-used “science is a religion too!” argument. Do these guys have an original thought in their head?

  4. #4 semi
    July 30, 2008

    Giberson is a tool. I read his article and can’t figure out what the fuck he’s talking about or what point he’s trying to make. It’s all one big muddle.

    Science as religion? WTF?

  5. #5 Ric
    July 30, 2008

    Sorry about the crappy use of block quotes. Thought I was typing ubb code for a second.

  6. #6 Chet
    July 30, 2008

    Not appearing on Salon.com: “Calling for a student to be expelled and then murdered, as many believers did, does religion no favors.”

    Not ever going to appear on Salon.com, of course.

  7. #7 Nick
    July 30, 2008

    Isn’t it kind of cute how the worst thing the religous types can think to do, time and time again, is to claim that we are like them? Cute or obnoxious, anyhow.

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    July 30, 2008

    Man, this one has really brought the stupid oozing out of the woodwork.

  9. #9 Keith B
    July 30, 2008

    Good respond to Karl’s gibberish. Why does he even have an audience?

  10. #10 Kobra
    July 30, 2008

    I want to declare this an example of Poe’s Law, but Wikipedia disagrees. Shame.

  11. #11 homostoicus
    July 30, 2008

    The science-as-religion argument always amuses me and makes me think we might finally be getting somewhere because it’s an argument (an invalid one) that says science is no better than religions’ blind obeisance to dogma. It’s an admission that religion’s got nothin’.

  12. #12 tintenfisch
    July 30, 2008

    Salon suffered a huge drop in quality after the 2004 presidential election. It’s like their collective spirits were broken, or something.

    I second the motion that P.Z. ask for a rebuttal.

  13. #13 Wowbagger
    July 30, 2008

    The religious do seem limited in defining everything within their own limited scope.

    They can’t see that atheism is about dispensing with religion; they choose to interpret that atheists want to replace it – apparently with science – because they can’t understand that some people are (and all people should be) capable of living their lives without an entity of some sort to tell give them rules to abide by.

  14. #14 Martin
    July 30, 2008

    For my part, I will always be fond of Scalzi’s pointing out that the phrase “I just wrote an article for Salon” are the seven words no writer should say if they want their career taken seriously ever again.

  15. #15 Ken Cope
    July 30, 2008

    I second the motion that P.Z. ask for a rebuttal.

    Not me. It isn’t worthy of a rebuttal; such FCCwittery is not just fatuous, it’s self-refuting. PZ was generous in acknowledging it enough to point and laugh from his own blog.

  16. #16 Ric
    July 30, 2008

    Good point, Wowbagger @13.

    It’s like Sauron. He fell because he couldn’t believe that someone would want to destroy the Ring. He could only envision someone taking it and using it, like he wanted to and would have done.

    The religious can’t conceive that some people don’t think reality has anything to do with religion and don’t think there need be anything to replace religion at all.

  17. #17 Blake Stacey
    July 30, 2008

    Grrr. After posting it, I realized I should have phrased my earlier comment (#8) differently. What I had meant to say (and maybe it comes across, I dunno, it’s late here) is that the simple act of asking for a cracker to throw away and then throwing away the aforesaid cracker has brought the deluded out in full force. And what a sorry spectacle that is. It sorta reminds me of the first few months right after The God Delusion came out, and the earliest Courtier’s Replies were burning up the book-review pages. Lots of us, I think, had the feeling, “This is the best they’ve got? Good grief and dear me, what demented fuckwits.”

    Then he recounts the tale of the “Great Desecration”, but without any of the context, not bothering to mention the hideous history of the Catholic response to rumors of desecration, and not even mentioning Bill Donohue’s bullying tactics. Oh, and then he compares me to Jonathan Edwards, misrepresents his own interview — he only “suggested that science doesn’t know everything,” which “got [him] condemned to whatever hell Myers believes in” — and claims that atheists like me, Dawkins, Atkins, and Dennett are just practicing a new religion. Over and over again.

    Giberson is busily proving, by example, that his brand of mysticism can only survive in the absence of facts.

  18. #18 Narc
    July 30, 2008

    But I want to believe that, through the eyes of my faith, this is how God created the world and that God cares about that world.

    But he wants to believe. Therefore it must be true!

  19. #19 cj
    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 which were Catholic monks, clerics, and laity, 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. #20 llewelly
    July 30, 2008

    He is Richard Dawkins without the fame or felicitous prose style.

    HOORAY! PZ, you realize, this means you’ve pushed the extreme atheist frame far enough that Dawkins is now portrayed as less extreme. Keep up the good work.
    Proof that you know framing and Matt Nisbett does not.

  21. #21 Michael G.R.
    July 30, 2008

    Many Christians are expert at playing the victim, even when people form their sect rule pretty much everything. This is just one more case of this.

  22. #22 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    Did you guys hear something?

  23. #23 Jose
    July 30, 2008

    What an idiot. He doesn’t even know that atheist Saints are known as “Aint’s”.

  24. #24 Steve_C
    July 30, 2008

    Salon is the same site that posts drivel from Chopra. I don’t read Salon because it has too much woo and new age inclusive, “isn’t spirituality great?” crap going on.

    I doubt PZ will get to rebut the article.

  25. #25 Wowbagger
    July 30, 2008

    cj,

    Of course those people are considered catholics, moron; you had to say you were or they’d kill you. It shouldn’t be a big shock that people preferred life over death.

    Try reading something other than the church circulars from time to time. You might just avoid looking like the world-class tool your post suggests you are.

  26. #26 Blake Stacey
    July 30, 2008

    Gee, that rant (currently #19) looks familiar. I think I saw it copy-and-pasted into a few other cracker-related threads.

    (Thinks back.)

    Nope, it hasn’t gotten any smarter since then.

    1. Mendel, a monk, first established the laws of heredity, which gave the final blow to the theory of natural selection.

    Go ahead, pull the other one.

  27. #27 Sastra
    July 30, 2008

    Nobody is trying to turn science into a “religion.” Gilbertson would have been more reasonable (and more consistent) if he had compared Christianity to Secular Humanism, which weds philosophy and ethics to an understanding of reality informed through science.

    You remember philosophy and ethics, don’t you? The search for Knowledge and the Good? Gilbertson seems to think they’re part of religion. Actually, it’s the other way around. Religion is simply philosophy and ethics as interpreted through beliefs about the supernatural. Which, if false, are probably not a good frame for either.

    I read the Salon article, and once again I was struck by how the central issue of whether or not God actually exists seemed to take back stage to what is evidently the much more significant question: is religious belief really, really useful? Does it help us? What’s wrong with believing there is a “rational, creative, and even caring mind” behind the natural world if it fires people up?

    That is, if it fires people up just a little bit. No need to get carried away and think that this rational, creative, and caring disembodied intelligence is so really, truly, scientifically, and technically real that it tells us to do things that don’t make any sense. It’s not real in the sense that it explains anything about the universe.

    It’s real in a much more special way than the tentative scientific truths which have to be built from scratch and risk being wrong. It’s real in the way that makes it impossible for US to be wrong.

    So, per Gilbertson, it seems that the credo is to live like a secular humanist, but reassure yourself that God is still somewhere “behind it all” and significant in some way that doesn’t have to be explained, because having faith in God is just so darn useful. It’s what we do.

    As therapy, perhaps. To show your sensitivity. God of the gaps is there filling the empty spaces of the heart up with sweetness, warmth, and light, so that we REALLY feel at home in a universe made for us, which loves us, and cares about us, and tell us what our ethics should be.

    God evidently tells those in the know that we shouldn’t be arrogant, and approach the existence of God like a science question, a phenomenom which should be consistent with our discoveries. No, God should be treated like that special kind of fact that need only be consistent with our NEEDS.

    Lest we become arrogant. Of course.

    I also hope that Salon offers you a chance to respond. I’m not getting my hopes up, though. The media seems to assume that articles attacking atheists are only responding to unprovoked attacks. Liberal and enlightened Salon readers enjoy their place in the Golden Middle.

    God exists in a moderate way, because the Fundamentalists and atheists define the extremes — and truth is always found in the middle. How easy.

  28. #28 LisaJ
    July 30, 2008

    Oh, I didn’t realize I was supposed to be praising our Almighty Master PZ. How foolish of me, I’m so embarrassed.

    I promise to serve you better, PZ, and to be the true mindless Myers-ian atheist I know I can be. I will bow down before you and live true to your word, the word of the Pharyngugospel. Praise to you, lord Myers.

  29. #29 fastpathguru
    July 30, 2008

    But I want to believe that, through the eyes of my faith, this is how God created the world and that God cares about that world.

    Religion: A crutch endlessly seeking armpits in need of support.

    It’s like a man on crutches expressing amazement that anyone would want to walk around without them…

    (I see Narc@18 beat me to the punch.)

  30. #30 Geolub
    July 30, 2008

    3. Steensen, a Bishop, was the father of geology

    Steenson aka Nicholas Steno (original horizontality of strata) was not a Catholic scientist. To wit: “Steno essentially abandoned science after his conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1667, much to the dismay of some of his scientific colleagues.” LINK

    I always hated those tasteless crackers, the wine on the other hand…not so bad. What a boy does for his mother, or under the threat of the inquisitor.

  31. #31 Ignignockt
    July 30, 2008

    Rebuttal in Salon ^n. PZ’s lack of “felicitous prose style” is almost a requirement to publish at Salon nowadays (Garrison Keillor excepted…)

  32. #32 Blake Stacey
    July 30, 2008

    What could go wrong with asking Salon for rebuttal space? (I know, it sounds like a famous last question, but we’re talking words here, not playing with the starter fluid or nibbling the brown acid.) The response is already written, and it’ll bring some traffic this way. Put a science post up top, or even repost some of that “evil-deevil” science from the archives, and readers clicking over from Salon might even learn something.

  33. #33 PZ Myers
    July 30, 2008

    A strange thing, though: I’m getting almost no traffic from Salon. Not even a hint of a bump.

    Maybe in the morning, but so far it’s almost as if nobody reads Salon. I got more volume from the Catholic League.

  34. #34 Ken Cope
    July 30, 2008

    God exists in a moderate way, because the Fundamentalists and atheists define the extremes — and truth is always found in the middle. How easy.

    Exactly, Sastra. It’s all about the facile equivalence. “Why, he’s no better than I am–wait! what I meant to say was…”

  35. #35 Amplexus
    July 30, 2008

    What is this stupid shit about “science as a religion”? I thought that it grew out of the Dover trial where it was said the religion was illegal to teach in the science classroom. The creationist tried to drive their most insipid wedge to drive science out of schools just because it makes claims about reality.

    Any time some scientist tries to explain science in a poetic or narrative style suddenly he’s accused of writing creation myths.

    I really, really wanted to at least delude myself into being a deist, but with Gilbertson I see no virtue in faith at all.

  36. #36 melior
    July 30, 2008

    Bah, I don’t have time to waste on the whole Salon “Site Pass” nonsense where they try to make you watch a commercial. Pity they can’t seem to track how many readers they lose from such foolishness.

    Sounds like you struck a nerve though. “I want to believe,” Karl says, and who can doubt him? He’s now taken to loudly complaining about how hard it is for him to continue believing in nonsense when you keep pointing out that he’s doing it.

    “[S]cience needs to coexist as peacefully as possible with the creation stories of our religious traditions” must be very close to what Galileo’s friends once whispered in his ear.

  37. #37 Jose
    July 30, 2008

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

    Which is it, monks or clerics? That is one good sentence.

  38. #38 E.V.
    July 30, 2008

    #28
    Were you trying to be snarky, funny, or are you into self humiliation? Shoooooweeeee! Somebody please light a match.

  39. #39 Feynmaniac
    July 30, 2008

    I’d argue against cj #19 but I suspect he’s a Poe. I mean no one would actually use Galileo Galilei as an example FOR Catholicism’s contributions to science!!!

  40. #40 SteveC
    July 30, 2008

    #2: “Have you asked Salon for the chance to reply?”

    Why would PZ want to post on a second rate site like Salon when he can post on Pharyngula anytime he wants?

  41. #41 Phineas
    July 30, 2008

    Seriously, not mentioning the context for CrackerGate nearly takes the whole article into “not even wrong” territory.

    The comments are even worse, in a way. What does PZ’s (or anyone’s, for that matter) publication record have to do with anything? Like there’s some sort of secret scientist council that has a guideline “you have to publish 6 articles a year to be considered successful.” As if where PZ teaches has any impact on whether his point is correct or not.

    Man, that is some annoying, stupid bullshit.

  42. #42 bad Jim
    July 31, 2008

    I agree that Myers ought to submit a response to Salon. There are some good people writing there, Glenn Grenwald and Juan Cole for two, and the article cries out for rebuttal.

    There is a germ of sense to be found within its vast clouds of fantastical nonsense. We do, generally, claim to find emotional and intellectual satisfaction in a purely scientific understanding of the universe. As Darwin said in the closing words of The Origin, “There is grandeur in this view of life.” It would seem, unfortunately, that this is not enough for the religious; they need to have God in there too.

    (also: Sastra, awesome comment, as usual)

  43. #43 LisaJ
    July 31, 2008

    By the way PZ, I saw your review today in Nature about Kenneth Miller’s ‘Only a Theory’ book. Very nicely written. Great summary of the topic in the first paragraph there, in your ‘tell the stupid like it is’ style. I enjoyed that. Very thoughtfuly critiqued too – nice job.

  44. #44 Phineas
    July 31, 2008

    @ Jose, #37:

    I think it’s clerics. Clerics get +1 to science rolls and a bonus skill.

  45. #45 LisaJ
    July 31, 2008

    #38, I was responding to CJ’s post at #19

  46. #46 Rob
    July 31, 2008

    Hey CJ, you forgot one very important one.

    Darwin went to seminary school to be a priest.

    See, people grow up.

  47. #47 SteveC
    July 31, 2008

    “A strange thing, though: I’m getting almost no traffic from Salon. Not even a hint of a bump.” — PZ

    I bet Salon is seeing a bump from the mighty Pharygula though. Shoulda linked to the google cache to spare their servers. :)

  48. #48 Pierce R. Butler
    July 31, 2008

    It also makes Salon look foolish…

    What’s foolish about trying to boost your ad-view numbers with that famous Pharyngula Spike??

  49. #49 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    19#–

    One can acknowledge a historic debt to individual Catholics but that has absolutely nothing to do with the veracity of specific Catholic supernatural claims.

    I think the pyramids at Giza are an amazing testament to human achievement but I don’t consequently feel the slightest bit more inclined to worship the Egyptian gods.

    Those people you listed made important contributions to science and it is in that role that they are honored. God is still a literary character.

  50. #50 Thasyboulos
    July 31, 2008

    If science is a religion, the word “evidence” has become meaningless.

  51. #51 wade
    July 31, 2008

    I don’t understand how these people can talk shit about science and in the same breath compare it to their religion. Thats enough irony to choke a horse.

  52. #52 E.V.
    July 31, 2008

    Lisa J.
    Sorry. I missed that. Perhaps you can reference the commenter # when you parody. No real harm intended.
    Carry on….

  53. #53 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    Two important statesmen who loathed religion and loved science, Hitler and Mussolini, were also sensible enough not to share the audacious faith in democracy, which was coming up at that time.

  54. #54 anne
    July 31, 2008

    Years ago, when salon.com was very new, it had some really great cutting edge writers and published good hard-hitting articles.

    It hasn’t been worth visiting for a long time, sadly. The article by Gibbering Fool is a case in point.

  55. #55 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    Bah. Salon and their “site pass”.

    And, OOT, today I went to the Bad Astronomy site (I usually follow it on RSS) and was dismayed to see a video load and play, plus umpteen zillion scripts and adverts – I didn’t even wait for it to load before closing the tab.

    Kudos to ScienceBlogs, pox on Discover Magazine.

  56. #56 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    I wrote in another post that, as in many of the cases cj listed, all learning was controlled by the church. If you wanted to learn anything you had to sign up.

    Plus it meant that you had the church’s protection from being burned as a witch if you did something the local peasantry suspected was he work of the devil.

  57. #57 Blake Stacey
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas (#53):

    Two important statesmen who loathed religion and loved science, Hitler and Mussolini,

    Stop right there. What part of “Gott mitt uns” is so hard to understand?

  58. #58 Todd
    July 31, 2008

    Salon is still operational? I’ll be damned.

  59. #59 Blake Stacey
    July 31, 2008

    Amplexus (#35):

    Any time some scientist tries to explain science in a poetic or narrative style suddenly he’s accused of writing creation myths.

    And when a scientist tries to speak plainly, she’s accused of “bad framing”. Damned if you do. . . .

  60. #60 Marcus Ranum
    July 31, 2008

    I have never seen such a thoroughly whipped straw man, before. He really kicked its ass.

  61. #61 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas,

    Tired, boring old argument.

    Does your God exist or not? Can we be moral without embracing supernaturalism or not?

    Those are the relevant issues, not the religious views of dead dicators.

  62. #62 LisaJ
    July 31, 2008

    No problem EV. Sorry for the confusion and lack of referencing. I’ll remember to do that next time!

  63. #63 E.V.
    July 31, 2008

    Those are the relevant issues, not the religious views of dead dicators.

    “For want of a T…”

  64. #64 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    Morality itself, just like religion, has nothing to with science. Anyone who believes in “Thou shalt not kill” is as zealous as a martyr who commits a suicide attack.

  65. #65 Nobody
    July 31, 2008

    Hm. Little Paul Zachary called out for what he is, a Prophet of the New Fundie Church of Atheism. . .and here he is complaining about it.

    Imagine that.

  66. #67 E.V.
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas: You lose. Just because I also believe”Thou shalt not kill”, doesn’t mean I won’t.

  67. #68 Rol
    July 31, 2008

    Wow, just wow.

    First theists say, “Science makes ATHEISTS out of people! Atheists have nothing to live for! To them, there is no beauty, no love, no joy, no happiness!!!”

    Then atheists say, “No, it isn’t like that at all. Science (by definition) is the only thing that brings us truth and knowledge of this grand, beautiful universe, and makes us appreciate it.”

    Then theists say, “OMG, look at his ROMANTIC language, that isn’t bleak objectivity/materialism at all!! They are replacing religion with SCIENCE because science IS their religion!!”

    The atheists then collectively sigh.

  68. #69 Screechy Monkey
    July 31, 2008

    I’m really loving this new meme that started on other Scienceblogs (hint — look for the ones by authors who are say they are ashamed to be on the same blog network as PZ but don’t have the balls to leave) and has now spread to Salon, that any of us who dare to post in support of PZ on any issue are just “minions” who are “worshipping” him as a “saint.”

  69. #70 E.V.
    July 31, 2008

    Did any hear the sound of nothing? Of course not; no sound is made if Nobody’s there.

  70. #71 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    #64–

    “Morality itself, just like religion, has nothing to [do] with science.”

    That’s not true. Religion makes scientific claims, like “prayer is effective, we know how and who created the universe, Jesus was the son of a virgin” etc. These are all claims that trespass into science and don’t add up. A claim is either substantiated with evidence or it isn’t. Religion can’t wiggle out of that.

    “Anyone who believes in “Thou shalt not kill” is as zealous as a martyr who commits a suicide attack.”

    I’m not sure I understand this part.

  71. #72 boattruckboat
    July 31, 2008

    Giberson used the phrase “waxed eloquent” in his latest Salon piece. (referring to the speaking skills of some guy who lived long ago)

    “waxed”
    “eloquent”

    Has Salon turned into a 1997 high school newspaper? Hell, while you are at it, Giberson, why don’t you tell us how “rad” he is… or how “fly” he is… or how “dope” he be.

    Now, where is my boattruckboat?

  72. #73 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    By the way, who says morality has nothing to do with science? Science is concerned with investigating reality. Suffering is part of reality and morality should be about eliminating needless suffering. Science can be in the business of aiding morality.

    And #65, Nobody, in what sense are we a church? We don’t worship anything or accept any extraordinary claims on faith. Maybe you just can’t stand the fact that there are plenty of us who get by just fine without believing in nonsense like God?

  73. #74 Blake Stacey
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas,

    I’m still waiting for an answer to my question.

    Morality itself, just like religion, has nothing to with science.

    The preference for truth over falsehood has no moral character to it?

    Anyone who believes in “Thou shalt not kill” is as zealous as a martyr who commits a suicide attack.

    For a completely meaningless definition of “zealous”, yes, you could say that. You could also say, with equal justice, that anyone who decides to get stoned and watch Avatar all day is as zealous as a suicide bomber.

  74. #75 Rayven Alandria
    July 31, 2008

    I was going to write letter in response to Giberson’s nauseating rant, but you have to make an account at Salon to post. I have no desire to make an account at such a pathetic site.

  75. #76 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    The stupidity is so vast I feel like I’m at Helm’s Deep.

  76. #77 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    We hold these truths to be self-evident:
    http://www.baycrest.org/spring%202002/article4.htm

  77. #78 deadman_932
    July 31, 2008

    The editor of Salon is Joan Walsh. The online magazine’s headquarters are located near San Francisco. The irony is below.

    Karl Giberson is a member of the Church of the Nazarene, which is a Methodist spin-off in the Arminian tradition.

    Interestingly for Salon (with its seemingly liberal bent), The Nazarenes not only adhere to notions of the Triune God, the divinity of Jesus, and the actuality of “Original Sin” (Karl, you actually *buy* that latter nonsense!?!) BUT ALSO official Nazarene Church doctrine is that homosexuality is both sinful and contrary to the Holy Scriptures (whoops). http://www.nazarene.org/ministries/superintendents/statements/sexuality/display.aspx

    ————————————

    Karl Giberson, if you bother to read any of these posts, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Sucking up to the Templeton Foundation and using poison-the-well tactics is bad enough, but the half-truths and omissions of truth you had to make about PZ’s critique of your blather AND about what actually led to Crackergate… well, I guess you just **had** to do that to make your puff-piece easier to swallow.

    Feel free to go to one of the many sites devoted to debating these issues and let folks here know where you decide to post. I’d love to see you defend yourself in writing, but *honestly* , this time.

  78. #79 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    “The preference for truth over falsehood has no moral character to it?”

    Keep praying.

  79. #80 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    Okay, Lucas, by blatant trolling, you’ve lost the debate by forfeit. Next time come with a coherent argument.

    Are there any non-troll theists who wish to have a real debate? Maybe it’s pointless to ask.

  80. #81 Atheist Boogeyman
    July 31, 2008

    Cj,
    1) The scientific method’s origins — if I recall — stem from ancient Greece, Egypt and the early Islamic World. The Catholics were the johnny-come-latelys when it comes to scientific inquiry and have done more to supress science than promote it — though I hear that has started to change a little these days in some isolated cases.

    2) The fact there are a bunch of catholic scientists proves absolutely dick about anything. There are lots of protestant scientists, gay scientists, muslim scientists, atheist scientists … and probably even some wiccan scientists and scientologist scientists out there too. So what. Science is not religious… Unless you’re an ancient greek or something, you don’t get the credit for inventing science and the idea that a bunch of scientists shared your dark age reasoning is just meaningless.

    3) The only reason the clergy and not many others engaged in scientific inquiry in the middle ages was because they were the only ones with the time and resources to do so at the time while the church kept everyone else illiterate and living in shit as serfs. Read a history book.

    4) I take issue with some of the scientists on your list.. some of the “inventions” seem more than questionable given research and technology that came before them.. but it would take me too long to debunk them all so I’ll leave it at that.

  81. #82 Blake Stacey
    July 31, 2008

    The Adamant Atheist (#80):

    Are there any non-troll theists who wish to have a real debate? Maybe it’s pointless to ask.

    Pointless? Probably.

  82. #83 Susan
    July 31, 2008

    He is Richard Dawkins without the fame

    Man. Somebody wasn’t paying attention during the whole Expelled kerfluffle! I thought that proved once and for all that PZ is more famous than Dawkins?!

    I joined Salon just so I could read Glenn Greenwald every day without the ads, and he is worth every penny. The good thing about reading articles there is that you can post comments after them, and I think I’ll go do that right now.

  83. #84 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    I would gather that science can show that a culture which favours morality will do better than one that doesn’t; likewise, science (demographics) can show that the US prison system has far more religious believers than atheists in its population.

  84. #85 Azkyroth
    July 31, 2008

    “Anyone who believes in “Thou shalt not kill” is as zealous as a martyr who commits a suicide attack.”

    I’m not sure I understand this part.

    That makes at least two of you.

  85. #86 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    #82 Blake–

    Well, for people who claim to have two-way communication abilities with an all-powerful entity, they sure do suck at debating. I mean, why can’t they blow me away with their amazing god-backed debate skills? I’m waiting to be left in awe.

    I have a feeling it will be a long wait.

  86. #87 G Felis
    July 31, 2008

    @ comment #55:
    You need Mozilla Firefox and AdBlock, John. I never even notice the dreck when I visit Carl Zimmer’s blog at Discover.

  87. #88 Jeremy
    July 31, 2008

    #18:

    Attributing historical scientific advancement to Catholicism is as empty as attributing great historical art to Catholicism.

    Medieval, Baroque, and Renaissance art often depicted Catholic themes like “Madonna with Child”. Is this because the artists were devout Catholics? Perhaps. Another equally plausible explanation is that the artists, needing money, had to rely on wealthy patrons. The most common patron was often the Church, since they had all the money (odd, considering Jesus’ teachings on the virtue of poverty). Essentially, they painted Catholic themes because the wealthy Catholic patrons paid them to do so. The entertainment of Catholic mythology was a positive motivator.

    Similarly, the LACK of entertainment of Catholic mythology was a negative motivator. The scientists listed in #19 likely identified themselves as Catholics largely because if they didn’t they’d be burned alive. I find it especially ironic that the poster lists Galilei, who was threatened with such burning if he didn’t abandon his claim of heliocentrism. So while Galilei was busy trying to tell everyone the truth, the Great Catholic Church was telling him to shut up or die. Wow, way to uphold the Catholic Church as a model of scientific advancement.

    Let’s look at the scientific advancements from the last century, free from the oppressive Catholic/Christian dogma that stained everything before it. What religion are/were people like Margulis, Crick, Gould, Carroll, Prothero, Mayr, Feynman, Sagan, Asimov, Einstein, Hawking, *ahem* Myers, etc.? What? They’re all atheists or pantheists? Hmm. You think maybe that’s because people are no longer generally threatened with death for disagreeing with the Church? They’re free to see the universe as it really is, rather than toe the denominational line? (Of course, people like Myers are still threatened with death for opposing the Church, but thankfully the Church is an impotent shell of what it once was).

    Without superstitious hogwash cluttering up otherwise brilliant minds, it seems apparent that every great intellect that ever existed would have no use for fairy tales. Superstition lends nothing to the pursuit of truth, and only confounds it. The scientific method is a robust method for determining fact. Religion only serves to confuse, suppress, and eliminate fact by appealing to meaningless ancient superstitions.

  88. #89 Jeremy
    July 31, 2008

    ^ I meant to cite #19, obviously.

  89. #90 Fergy
    July 31, 2008

    It’s really disappointing when Salon runs articles like this, as they have done several times recently. I don’t know whether they don’t see them for what they are: religious apologist fluff pieces.

    If it continues, I shall have to discontinue my support of the web site; I’ve been a member for many years but articles like Giberson’s represent a big step down in the journalistic quality I expect for my money.

  90. #91 deadman_932
    July 31, 2008

    Re: Jeremy’s post at #88. Nicely said.

  91. #92 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    “The preference for truth over falsehood has no moral character to it?”

    In science there is no such thing as truth.

  92. #93 Oleg
    July 31, 2008

    Jeremy @88

    *applause*

  93. #94 Blake Stacey
    July 31, 2008

    The Adamant Atheist (#86):

    I mean, why can’t they blow me away with their amazing god-backed debate skills?

    Clearly, it must be a consequence of the fact that ATHIESTS R PROTECKTD BY THERE “GOD” SATAN!!!

    G Felis (#87):

    You need Mozilla Firefox and AdBlock, John.

    GreaseMonkey with the anti-troll killfile makes a pretty good Firefox add-on, too. (In addition, I’ve been playing with HyperWords recently, and it has some fun features.)

  94. #95 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    88#–

    Outstanding comment, Jeremy.

    Unfortunately, I fear it’s wasted tonight on a petty, petty troll who has yet to make a single substantive argument.

  95. #96 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    One wonders how many of the listed ‘catholic’ scientists and thinkers (other than Galilei, obviously) had to fight tooth & nail with the church authorities to get any of the discoveries they made known.

    I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised to find that many of them were ignored in their lifetimes (and if those lifetimes weren’t ended prematurely) and only trotted out by the church in an attempt to fend off accusations of anti-science.

  96. #97 Jupiter BFPOE
    July 31, 2008

    I definitely don’t think we could replace religion with science. True science demands challenge and religion must be believed without challenge. Don’t we really want to replace religion with rational thought. Belief in magical creatures is inherently irrational. I think people who tend to be more rational go into science because science, with some exceptions, is rational. The religious don’t make a distinction between a rational thinker and a scientist. I find it interesting that, according to the religious, we have to be worshiping someone, something, Dr. Meyers, Dr. Dawkins, or Tinkiewinkie the Teletubby.

  97. #98 Kel
    July 31, 2008

    I guess it’s just “right of reply” when someone criticises you to be allowed full favour to respond. Where the challenge lies is doing so without making a complete mess of things. Doesn’t seem like Giberson did that very well at all, what a total cock-up. After spending time today reading Dennett’s reply to Orr, this was a huge let-down.

  98. #99 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    July 31, 2008

    screechy monkey (#69):

    If you really want to get Chad’s goat, you need to post as “screechy monkey, FCD.” He hates that FCD thing.

    I wonder if cj knows that an Islamo-Fascist invented algebra, or that the pagan Hindu’s invented “zero.” Okay, that’s math, not science. But just try to do science without statistics, which rely on algebra. Try to define a standard deviation without zero.

  99. #100 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    G Felis @87, I appreciate the suggestion, but I tried Firefox recently and didn’t like it. I do adjust my hosts file to exclude a whole bunch of junk, but otherwise I just don’t go to poxy places.

    Basically, it’s my (irrational and pointless) protest against sites where the content is a tiny fraction of the volume downloaded.

    But, again, thanks anyway. Maybe you’ve helped out someone else.

  100. #101 Dustin
    July 31, 2008

    a pantheon of straw men and women that includes theologians, journalists and churchgoers

    Wait… there’s no such thing as theologians, journalists or churchgoers? Damn it, Myers. You are such a lying bastard. I’ve spent at least four years reading your blog, and now I find out that there are no churches, theology departments, or newspapers after all!

  101. #102 DLC
    July 31, 2008

    Any society can have a code of ethical or moral behavior without reliance on superstition or giving over control of what is moral to the village witch-doctors. This is simple enough as to be self-evident to anyone who has studied history and/or sociology.
    Science is not a religion anymore than a duck is Tuesday.
    Atheism is not religion, but the absence thereof.

    Patricia: I’ll meet you by the cavern entrance. we’ll have a picnic. you bring the holy wafers crackers.

  102. #103 Blake Stacey
    July 31, 2008

    Notice, also, that the list includes alchemists and astrologers — Gassendi, Helmont, Lully and Albertus Magnus spring out to my eye — while omitting Greeks like Thales, Theodoros, Empedocles, Democritus, Aristarchus, Archimedes and so forth. Not to mention the scientific geniuses of the Arab world — I’ll trade a dozen Catholic mediocrities for one Alhazen, thank you very much.

    Oh, and this is droll:

    The list includes Pierre-Simon Laplace, famed astronomer and mathematician of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century France. Of course, it was Laplace who wrote Mécanique Céleste, a landmark five-volume treatise on celestial mechanics; and it was Laplace who was asked by Napoleon why that treatise made no mention of God; and it was Laplace who answered, “Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là” (I had no need for that hypothesis).

  103. #104 Tyler DiPietro
    July 31, 2008

    “In science there is no such thing as truth.”

    And reciprocally, in religion, colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  104. #105 Suzanne
    July 31, 2008

    Why is it that these types of articles refer to Science (capital S) as “knowing” things? Is Science not the tool by which HUMANITY can know things?

    Apologies if this point has already been made but it really annoys me to see the scientific method personified like that.

  105. #106 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    In the Netherlands the debate about the influence of religion is mainly directed to support the wars in Iraq en Afghanistan and curb Mulim immigration.

    Morality is a tricky thing: to protect what you hold dear, one might need to perform medical experiments on human beings or wage a war abroad.

  106. #107 Jeremy
    July 31, 2008

    Was it Sam Harris who pointed out that “atheism is no more a religion than ‘bald’ is a hair color?”

  107. #108 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    #106–

    I’m not trying to ridicule or be cruel here, but is English your first language? You sound like one of those bad free translations one can get on the internet.

    What exactly are you trying to argue? Do you even know?

  108. #109 Brian
    July 31, 2008

    In response to #96: Many “catholic” scientists were well supported by the catholic Church. Copernicus was written letters of encouragement by bishops and cardinals and dedicated his work to the pope. Mendel was made an abbot. Even Galileo was treated quite well by many cardinals and archbishops who realized he got a bum deal. There are plenty of other examples. Many scientists were Catholic because the church supported science as a way to prove what they taught. Once the inquiries and proofs of science started to threaten the teaching, the catholic church abandoned those scientists. So whoever pointed out that many important scientists were catholic was correct but is certainly wrong to characterize the church as accepting of the scientific method. They liked what the scientists said, not the method behind what led to their discoveries.

  109. #110 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    Moral and also medical (“scientific”) practices are derived from religion.

    Hirsi Ali opposes not just the genital cutting of girls, but also the practice of circumcision of boys as practiced by Jews and Muslims, as well as the routine infant circumcision practiced in the United States.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayaan_Hirsi_Ali#cite_note-63

  110. #111 llewelly
    July 31, 2008

    The stupidity is so vast I feel like I’m at Helm’s Deep.

    Thank you, Patricia, for melting down another irony meter. Tolkien was a devout Catholic, yet here we have Catholics taking on the worst aspects of Saruman’s orcs.

  111. #112 Tyler DiPietro
    July 31, 2008

    “Moral and also medical (“scientific”) practices are derived from religion.”

    Which one, and how?

  112. #113 yoyo
    July 31, 2008

    great points at #27 and #96. I read salon occasionally for greenwald and ask the pilot but the woo factor and the misogyny that is camile paglia has nearly driven me totally away. What a lazy piece of reporting two stupid memes, science is religion and without religion we’d all be bad and a good long whinge because “PZ said I was silly”. But it was the lack of context that really marked him out as an appalling journalist.

  113. #114 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas, if there were no religion, scientists would be free to pursue independent research without being pressured to find scientific support for religious claims – like the so-called Intelligent Design movement.

  114. #115 Jeremy
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas@110:

    “Moral and also medical (“scientific”) practices are derived from religion.”

    Evidence?

    Funny how in the absence of an oppressive theocracy, science operates completely independent of religion. In an oppressive theocracy, science is silenced by threats of execution whenever it contradicts the fairy tale in power.

    Please, I implore you, explain to me how the scientific method is based on religion.

    Morality is another issue. I have no religion, I have no fear of punishment from an all-loving yet paradoxically vain and wrathful god, and yet I don’t feel any sort of need to pillage, rape, and murder. Please, explain to me how that is.

  115. #116 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    “Morality is another issue. I have no religion, I have no fear of punishment from an all-loving yet paradoxically vain and wrathful god, and yet I don’t feel any sort of need to pillage, rape, and murder. Please, explain to me how that is.”

    German housewives neither had to bother about medical experiments and white South African toddlers had a warm realtionship with their breastfeeding black nannies.

  116. #117 Eris
    July 31, 2008

    You know, in the middle portion, where he talks about this new “religion” of science, he makes a pretty good case for it. A religion that reverse learning, claims not to have all the answers but instead a willingness to seek them out, a religion that lets people find meaning in their lives without dictating it to them, etc.

    I mean, check this out:

    “Trust traditionally placed in God can be relocated to science, which is reliable and faithful, as well as ennobling. Life can be oriented in a reverential way around the celebration and protection of the great diversity wrought by the evolutionary epic, a diversity that has produced creatures capable of reflecting on this grand mystery.”

    Why yes, Mr. Giberson, science _is_ reliable and faithful, unlike God, and it would be wonderful if people celebrated and protected the living things of Earth and stopped treating them as mere fodder to feed human whims.

    Karl Gibberson, you have converted me! Thank you so much for showing me a better religion!

  117. #118 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas,

    There is no God. We nonbelievers arrive at moral principles anyway using conscience and reason.

    All of the stupid, fallacious comparisons to Nazi Germany in the world won’t alter that.

    You fail, thanks for playing.

  118. #119 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    “Lucas, if there were no religion, scientists would be free to pursue independent research without being pressured to find scientific support for religious claims – like the so-called Intelligent Design movement.”

    Research funding
    US
    See also: Military funding of science

    Government funding for research into defense-related technological research has historically been significant. Some of this takes place in public research institutions such as DARPA, whilst much else is carried out by major defense contractors in expectation of being able to sell the results to the government (so is funded privately, but on the basis of implicit or explicit agreement of costs being recouped from the government).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_funding

    Science’s Worst Enemy: Corporate Funding
    http://discovermagazine.com/2007/oct/sciences-worst-enemy-private-funding/article_view?b_start:int=3&-C=

  119. #120 GuyIncognito
    July 31, 2008

    Depending on how you translate the Greek, atheism could be considered a belief, but I don’t understand how it can be considered a religion. Is monotheism a religion? Pantheism? Deism? They may be beliefs, but not religions. Does that mean one could not theoretically spin a religion out of atheism? I guess not. The human capacity for stupidity knows no bounds. I can’t imagine what the aims of such a religion would be. According to the South Park creators, it could stem from some sort of stupid debate over who has the “truth” of atheism. I’ve always found that to be a dumb notion. Once you raise a man to the level of a deity, be it Jesus or Richard Dawkins, you are no longer an atheist. (This is why North Koreans ARE NOT ATHEISTS.) It would be no less stupid than Jews accusing Christians of atheism because they worshiped a man and not YHWH.

  120. #121 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    “We nonbelievers arrive at moral principles anyway using conscience and reason.”

    That’s nothing more than replacing the word God for conscience and reason.

    “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

    And it this reason and conscience, this “living word”, which is served during Mass.

  121. #122 Tyler DiPietro
    July 31, 2008

    So Lucas, any answer to my above queries?

  122. #123 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas,

    “That’s nothing more than replacing the word God for conscience and reason.”

    Okay, so you agree that God is merely a metaphor that exists only in the heads of people. Great, that’s my view too.

    “And it this reason and conscience, this “living word”, which is served during Mass.”

    No it’s not, mass is simply a human-made ritualistic ceremony. Nothing more.

    God is as fake as Santa Claus. The sooner you accept this the better.

  123. #124 llewelly
    July 31, 2008

    That’s nothing more than replacing the word God for conscience and reason.

    There’s plenty of evidence for conscience. There’s plenty of evidence for reason. There’s no evidence for God. It’s a replacement that makes everyone safer.

  124. #125 Tyler DiPietro
    July 31, 2008

    “That’s nothing more than replacing the word God for conscience and reason.”

    This is little more than a lame bit of “heads I win, tails you lose” rhetoric. If one believes in God and is moral, that belief gets credit. If one doesn’t believe in God and operates from conscience and reason (and empathy, I would add), God still gets credit.

  125. #126 llewelly
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas:

    German housewives neither had to bother about medical experiments and white South African toddlers had a warm realtionship with their breastfeeding black nannies.

    Thank you for those two sterling examples of the morality of overwhelmingly Christian cultures.

  126. #127 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    I see Lucas likes references.
    How’s this one?
    “Puckle demonstrated two versions of the basic design: one, intended for use against Christian enemies, fired conventional round bullets, while the second variant, designed to be used against the Muslim Turks, fired square bullets, which were considered to be more damaging and would convince the Turks of the “benefits of Christian civilization”.”

    Because Christians are so civilised.

  127. #128 kitty
    July 31, 2008

    “So Lucas, any answer to my above queries?”

    It was already there in earlier posts: Medical practices like circumcision, the notion that killing isn’t the most sensible thing to do.

  128. #129 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    #126–

    Yep, Lucas should look into the policies supported by the Dutch Reformed Church in Apartheid South Africa. They viewed racial separation as divinely ordained.

    He messed up with that reference for sure.

  129. #130 Tyler DiPietro
    July 31, 2008

    “It was already there in earlier posts: Medical practices like circumcision…”

    1.) One example, even if valid, is not sufficient to establish the blanket statement made by Lucas in the argument I quoted.

    2.) If circumcision truly has health benefits with regard to, e.g., STD prevention, then one can endorse the practice on that criterion and without any appeal to religion whatsoever.

    “…the notion that killing isn’t the most sensible thing to do.”

    Which does not require religion, there are a vast array of even purely pragmatic reasons why killing isn’t “the most sensible thing to do”.

  130. #131 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    Puckle would be awed is he saw how the Iraqi population is convinced of the benefits and the moral superiority of Western civilisation by the use of airstrikes.

  131. #132 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    The Roman Catholic Church, led by Pope John Paul II, opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Now the Vatican is turning its attention to Iraq’s post-war needs by making offers of humanitarian assistance and calling for all nations to be involved in Iraq’s rebuilding.
    http://www.americancatholic.org/News/JustWar/Iraq/

  132. #133 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas,

    I oppose the Iraq War, for what it’s worth.

    Could you please state clearly what it is you are trying to argue? It’s impossible to have a reasoned discussion when you do nothing but drop hints and seemingly random links.

    For instance, I’ve been very clear–I believe there is no god and that morality precedes religion. Can you state something approximately that clear so we can have a real engagement?

  133. #134 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas @132: The Catholic Church – that’d be the one that gave indulgences to Crusaders and organised the Inquisition?

    Oh yeah, you might want to look at some pictures. Here’s one of the captions: “On April 20, 1939, Archbishop Orsenigo celebrated Hitler’s birthday. The celebrations, initiated by Pacelli (Pope Pius XII) became a tradition. Each April 20, Cardinal Bertram of Berlin was to send “warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany” and added with “fervent prayers which the Catholics of Germany are sending to heaven on their altars.””

  134. #135 Scott Hatfield, OM
    July 31, 2008

    No, Karl, it makes you foolish. The eyes of your faith are delusions fostered by tradition and dogma, there is no evidence for your god or that he created anything, and there sure as heck isn’t any evidence that your imaginary friend cares about us

    OK, PZ…I’ll bite. Aren’t you really sidestepping here? Because, after all, you do think this ‘foolishness’ can be perilous, and not just the fool…right?

  135. #136 Logicel
    July 31, 2008

    Religites have a inglorious history of battling other religites–they are very comfortable psychologically in doing so, quite skilled in fact, with the use of projection, denial, etc., with them feeling justified in their sowing divisiveness in the world and wallowing in their persecution complex. In referring to vocal atheists as being religious, they are trying to summon their trusted psychological weaponry.

    However, the weaponry is proving to be downright duds for this purpose. As their weapons are proving to be ineffective, the fear levels are rising very fast, very steeply. They can’t play the persecution card, as they are not being persecuted; practicing their religion is not in question, they are free to do, unlike in Communist Russia. It is just their ridiculous beliefs that are no longer given respect.

    For those that regard ridiculing the religious as ineffective, think again. Respect is very alluring, and at one time, all you had to do was mouth some religious nonsense, and you got it. Religites know that if their religious beliefs can’t command respect, their particular brands will not be so attractive, and there will be less motivation to remain in the faith or to join it in the first place if there is no generous offering of respect waiting on the table.

    In addition, these religious critics are well educated and admired people like Dawkins and Dennet. And despite lame efforts to show that these intellectuals are shrill, strident, etc., these model atheists are nothing but admirable people.

  136. #137 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    Religion is nothing more or less than morality.
    Morality in the sense that universal interests precede individual interests. That this message, repeated over and over again in the Holy Script, is perceived by some otherwise cannot be blamed on the Word/Conscience itself.You don’t have to stick your eyes out if you see something ugly.

  137. #138 SEF
    July 31, 2008

    ( I temporarily assume I’m far too late to find anything substantive not already pointed out by someone else. )

    He has such a tempting name too: Giberson gibbers, Giberson’s gibberings, Giberson’s gibberish and even Giberson the Gibbon (except that might be insulting to some gibbons). Hmm… I wonder if parts of his story could be rearranged to rhyme and be set to The Goodies “Funky Gibbon” …

  138. #139 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    137#–

    Religion is NOT the same as morality. Religion makes numerous unsupported claims about the universe.

    “universal interests precede individual interests”

    What on earth does that even mean? That’s a lot of gibberish.

    How is an action moral simply because it says so in a holy text? You decide what it moral, not the book.

  139. #140 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas,

    Killed anyone for collecting sticks on the sabbath lately? The bible say it’s moral to do so.

    And don’t bother to pull the ‘Jesus said we can now ignore the old testament’ bunk either. If you listened to him you’d all be smiting fig trees.

    Or is smiting fig trees moral?

  140. #141 RR
    July 31, 2008

    The first comment says it all:

    “Why does anyone pay attention to this [PZ Myers] guy?
    He’s a failed scientist. He hasn’t published anything in 15 years so he withers away in obscurity at some shitty teaching university and spouts garbage.”

    Ouch! Of course, it is true.

  141. #142 The Adamant Atheist
    July 31, 2008

    RR,

    How about providing evidence for God rather than attacking PZ personally?

    Ah, but you can’t do that, because God is a myth. So you say “hey, look over there, PZ’s mediocre!”

  142. #143 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    RR squawked

    He hasn’t published anything in 15 years so he withers away in obscurity at some shitty teaching university

    Yeah, because teaching is such a lame thing to do – why the heck would we want to educate anyone? Especially kids – what do we need them to be smart for?

    Please tell me you aren’t intending to breed – you fucking cretin.

  143. #144 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas asserted:

    Religion is nothing more or less than morality.

    What, you think we don’t know the meanings of words?

    It’s pretty foolish to think us so foolish.

  144. #145 nacky
    July 31, 2008

    It says a lot about one’s religious beliefs when one proposes that a real religion has to have “‘saints’ of some sort and inquisitors of another sort”. Can’ get by without those inquisitors.

  145. #146 nacky
    July 31, 2008

    Should have been “can’t get by”
    No, not the comfy chair!

  146. #147 themadlolscientist
    July 31, 2008

    Archimedes, Heron of Alexandria, the Muslims who kept Classical science and technology alive through the Dark Ages, and all those unknown Chinese folks who did some pretty kickass naked-eye astronomy and invented all kinds of Really Cool Stuff(TM) several centuries before Westerners ever thought of it, say that cj (@ #19) is a Poe wannabe.

    @ #53:

    Two important statesmen who loathed religion and loved science, Hitler and Mussolini

    [1] Hell of a stretch to call those two megalomaniac dictators “statesmen,” don’t you think?

    [2] Both were cynical opportunists who weren’t afraid to use every tool in the toolbox. They may well have loathed religion, but both were politically savvy enough to co-opt it for their own purposes by merging it with überpatriotism.

    [3] Nazi Germany, at least, was decidedly unkind to science per se. As is all too often under totalitarian rule, German “science” was overshadowed by technology, and research was valued only for what it could contribute to the machinery of war. (As for Italy – not much of note going on there in either science or technology. But who needed it when you could buy anything and everything from Germany?)

    @ #55:

    Bah. Salon and their “site pass”.

    I don’t know wotthehell I did right, but I haven’t been blocked by the “site pass” thing in quite a while. (I suppose I’d better not say that too loudly……)

    I went to the Bad Astronomy site … and was dismayed to see a video load and play, plus umpteen zillion scripts and adverts

    Firefox, outfitted with Flashblock and Adblock Plus, is your friend!

  147. #148 SoMG
    July 31, 2008

    Giberson wrote: “In order for many of us to truly feel at home in the universe so grandly described by science, that science needs to coexist as peacefully as possible with the creation stories of our religious traditions. ”

    Someone should remind him that whether or not an hypothesis makes you feel at home is unrelated to its truth or falsehood.

    To CJ who posted #19, no one denies that the Catholic Church and Islam were both instrumental in the development of modern science and were the guardians of cutting-edge human knowledge in their times. How are the mighty fallen! It’s a tragedy. Two tragedies. Both of them retreating before their descendents like Wotan before Siegfried.

    Do you realize that the list you posted cites Gallileo Gallilei as an example of how great the Catholic Church was for Science? Is that meant to be a joke? Are you aware of the irony? Or did you copy a list from some other web site and post it without reading it? Naughty naughty.

  148. #149 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    SoMG, on certain threads, it’s almost impossible to determine whether a post is the emmision of a clueless godbot or a trollish scat or both.

    Though godbots have (IMO) a greater predilection for cut’n paste spamming, I suspect in this case it’s a troll godbot.
    See here.

  149. #150 Anonymous
    July 31, 2008

    #57

    What part of “Gott mitt uns” is so hard to understand?

    The “mitt”? ;o)

  150. #151 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    @147 I thank you. However, see #100.

  151. #152 maureen
    July 31, 2008

    There’s a nice piece in today’s Guardian by Jim Al-Khalili. It seems that scientists in Iran are bombing along – sorry about that – with the sort of research on fertility and stem cells which get so many knickers in a twist in the religion-bothered US.

    Yes, of course, they have imams on their ethics committees but they seem to be supportive rather than otherwise. How long, I wonder, before the sky is full of rich Americans changing in Europe for Teheran in order to get the treatments they can’t get at home?

    Sorry, I’ve forgotten how to put links into these things.

  152. #153 Arno
    July 31, 2008

    Bloody hell, another morality and religion poster? Can’t we point them to a single thread where this is discussed in detail?
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/its_been_a_while_since_we_boos.php is a good one.

  153. #154 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    maureen, use <a href=”URL”>LINK_TEXT</a>

  154. #155 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    Obviously it means ‘got mittens’. Maybe they were worried about their hands getting cold…

  155. #156 Matt Heath
    July 31, 2008

    When I read “Jonathan Edwards”, I assumed it was the apostate triple jumper. Got to love that guy. So zealously Christian he wouldn’t compete on Sundays. After he retired from athletics, the BBC hired him to present religious programmes. He spent a few years finding out the history of how his religion was put together, saw it was all bollocks and renounced it.

    FTW!

  156. #157 notkieran
    July 31, 2008

    >Try to define a standard deviation without zero.

    Isn’t that what happens when priests do the standard deviant things with the choirboys?

  157. #158 SoMG
    July 31, 2008

    Professor Giberson, when you first learned that a particle’s measurable physical characteristics such as angular momentum were determined by wave functions and operators rather than by changes in the absolute position coordinates of the particle’s center of mass, did it make you feel comfortable or uncomfortable? Did your feelings of comfort or discomfort affect your opinion whether or not it was correct?

    What about when you first learned that an object’s length changes if it moves away from you?

    It sounds like you have forgotten what it feels like to learn something new.

    “Sarek of Vulcan never confused what he wanted with the truth!” –Captain Picard.

    “Whether [you] like a theory or [you] don’t like a theory is not the essential question. Rather, it is whether or not the theory gives predictions that agree with experiment. It is not a question of whether a theory is philosophically delightful or easy to understand, or perfectly reasonable from the point of view of common sense. The theory of quantum electrodynamics describes Nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it agrees fully with the experiment. So I hope you can accept Nature as She is–absurd.”

  158. #159 SoMG
    July 31, 2008

    Forgot to say the second quotation was Feynman, The Introduction to QED, TTTOLAM.

  159. #160 SoMG
    July 31, 2008

    Ooops, that’s QED, TSTOLAM.

  160. #161 Carlie
    July 31, 2008

    As Ian said way up top, they ought to give you some space to reply, since the whole thing was a hatchet job on you. They don’t want any libel lawsuits now, do they?

  161. #162 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    deadman_932 #78

    Interestingly for Salon (with its seemingly liberal bent), The Nazarenes not only adhere to notions of the Triune God, the divinity of Jesus, and the actuality of “Original Sin” (Karl, you actually *buy* that latter nonsense!?!) BUT ALSO official Nazarene Church doctrine is that homosexuality is both sinful and contrary to the Holy Scriptures (whoops).

    Like, OMG! A Christian church affirms the Trinity, the divinity of Christ (the gall!) Original Sin, and the sinfulness of homosexual activity! An amazing revelation! Notify the authorities immediately!

  162. #163 Norman Doering
    July 31, 2008

    cj wrote:

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

    Your Catholic teachers have told you one huge lie there, cj. Science goes back to a time long before Christianity existed. The Greeks were good at it, the Hebrews sucked at it.

    Archimedes was doing science a couple hundred years before Jesus was born. He was a Greek mathematician and engineer. He made up the theory of buoyancy called the Archimedes Principle. One of his inventions is Archimedes Screw which is still used to irrigate fields in some parts of the world.

    Here’s a list of pre-Christian scientists:
    http://www.ics.forth.gr/~vsiris/other_info/ancient_greece_periods.html

    Then check out what the Muslims and the Chinese were up to.

  163. #164 maureen
    July 31, 2008

    Thanks, John.

  164. #165 Fernando Magyar
    July 31, 2008

    Re: #19,

    Get fucking real you stupid moron. Your world view seems to be rather limited to say the least, as underscored by your list of mostly white European scientists. Ever hear of Africa, Asia and the Middle East? Science is a human endeavor and most definitely not the result of Catholicism!

    http://science.jrank.org/pages/11230/Science-History-Middle-Ages.html

    The Middle Ages, from about 500 to about 1600, are in the early twenty-first century recognized as a fertile period marking a transition from the dominance of a handful of ancient authorities to a broad range of theory and experiment. These developments took place throughout Europe, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Asia. For the eventual rise of science in Renaissance Europe, developments in Islamic nations were especially important. For a comprehensive survey of this cultural transfer, see David Lindberg’s The Beginnings of Western Science (1992), which traces the development of ideas within cultures and their transfer from one culture to another as well as the cultural contexts that enframed these developments. As an historian who pioneered studies of the close relationship between science and Christianity in the West, Lindberg is especially good at laying the “religion versus science” myth to rest. He does this in a number of ways, including explanations of support for science and medicine in the medieval church and the transfer of Greek science from Islam to Europe through Christian scholars such as St. Thomas Aquinas.

    Asshole!

    Disclaimer: I’m channeling George Carlin today, so don’t fucking mess with me…

  165. #166 mewletter
    July 31, 2008

    Ahh… Karl Giberson reminds me of people who are quick to demean the opponent’s integrity than to be right about ANYTHING and never EVER admit being wrong. I met quite a lot of these people lately and trying to stay as far away from them as possible.

    At least making sure they have as little ‘power’ over other people as possible…

    Guess I need to sharpen my ‘Black Science’ to counter these cretins… heh heh.

  166. #167 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    I wold suggest that even the most primitive societies practice crude science. How else would they find edible foods, medicinal plants, etc. In fact, it seems that Pan troglodytes has practiced science enough to develop tools – tools that rely on knowledge of other animals’ behaviors.

    Beyond Giberson being such a tool, it sounds like he’s a big fan of the “I have a god shaped hole in my heart” argument. He seems to think “science” wants to fit that hole.

  167. #168 Casual Observer
    July 31, 2008

    Just browsing the comments, and as a rather disinterested observer, I find that most of the commentators posting here in defense of the good professor and atheism match the worst of religion in their contempt for their ‘unbelieving’ fellow human beings.

  168. #169 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    Having browed many comments here in the past, I find trolls easy to recognise.

  169. #170 clinteas
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas,@ 106:

    //to protect what you hold dear, one might need to perform medical experiments on human beings//

    Speak for yourself,dickhead.Or ideally spout your nonsense at the local weekly neonazis anonymous meeting.Or maybe you are just confused.

    Reading more of your posts below : Just confused.

    As to thread topic :

    //PZ Myers is a true believer, a science crusader with the singled-minded enthusiasm of a televangelist//

    Ive heard that a lot in the last few weeks,and in variations even on scienceblogs,with at the same time anyone arguing for PZ being relegated to a “minion”,its not surprising I guess,if you have no real arguments to make your point all thats left is reaching into the box with the fallacies.
    This guy seems no different.
    Cant comment on Salon,never read it before,and not going to.

  170. #171 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    clinteas, why the disdain for whitespace?

  171. #172 Lilly de Lure
    July 31, 2008

    True Bob said:

    Beyond Giberson being such a tool, it sounds like he’s a big fan of the “I have a god shaped hole in my heart” argument. He seems to think “science” wants to fit that hole.

    Agreed – he seems to be under the illusion that because he really, really wants there to be a god, reality is under some moral obligation to produce one for him.

    But naturally, it is us Atheists who are the arrogant ones in all this! ;P

  172. #173 clinteas
    July 31, 2008

    //why the disdain for whitespace?//

    excusez moi??

  173. #174 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 31, 2008

    “…science needs to coexist as peacefully as possible with the creation stories of our religious traditions.”

    Huh? Science has this obligation? Science has this responsibility? Science “needs to” what?

    “Coexist as peacefully as possible” with what?

    Giberson is just another braying jack-ass.

  174. #175 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    clinteas, Lucas is just troll-tastic. If it could think, it’d realize medical experiments are being performed on humans right now, with those humans’ consent.

  175. #176 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    Arnosium, why are you slamming the Irish?
    /humor

  176. #177 clinteas
    July 31, 2008

    True Bob,

    yes for sure,I got the feeling it was referrring to those experiments without consent 65 years ago tho….

    *Looks lovingly at his killfile*

  177. #178 spurge
    July 31, 2008

    Hey Casual Observer

    Why don’t you pick out a few posts and carefully explain how they “match the worst of religion in their contempt for their ‘unbelieving’ fellow human beings.”

  178. #179 SEF
    July 31, 2008

    @ #80

    Are there any non-troll theists who wish to have a real debate?

    I think Scott Hatfield is about the only one there has been around here – and after starting to type this (seeing the thread several hours behind you lot) I notice he’s already put in an appearance at #135.

    Religious people are forced by their religion to be dishonest. The more religious they are the more dishonest they have to be about it (so that the most honest among them tend to be modern Unitarians and the non-religious subset of Buddhists) and the more dishonest they are, the more likely they are to come here as trolls.

    In contrast with the usual theist posters, on arrival here (and perhaps most other places too) Scott Hatfield has his religion window minimised and his science window maximised as the default settings on his world-view browser.

  179. #180 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    Clinteas @173, spaces between delimiters, apostrophes, that sort of thing. I was using the term polysemycally.

    I understand disdain of pointless capitalization, but whitespace?

  180. #181 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    I really must get that killfile add on. Helps me naught here, we are “standardized”. Which is shorthand for “no you can’t have that, WE decide what s/w you get”. So no Firefox, but plenty of Microsoft. Gott IT uns*?

    *Just messing with you IT folks. I know you aren’t much more dangerous than other control freaks

  181. #182 clinteas
    July 31, 2008

    John Morales,

    I think I know what you mean.Then again,its kinda a lil irrelevant dont you think? I have a Cricket game to watch here mate…..

  182. #183 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    as a rather disinterested observer – Casual Observer

    Liar.

  183. #184 Jason Failes
    July 31, 2008

    “PZ Myers is a true believer, a science crusader with the singled-minded enthusiasm of a televangelist.”

    There are really only two possibilities:

    1) He is so wrapped up in his own belief, and its associated structures, that he no longer has the imagination to conceive that others would think, act, and develop social structures in a different way.

    or

    2) Calling science a religion is the worst insult he can think of.

    Neither possibility speaks very highly of religion.

    “science needs to coexist as peacefully as possible with the creation stories of our religious traditions.”

    I forgot who said it here (and whomever it is definitely deserves a Molly), but it bears repeating: “Building bridges between science and religion is like building bridges between science and Dungeons and Dragons”

    Or, think of science as a reporter, exclusively covering the “reality” beat. Do not blame the messenger because reality wound up being completely incompatible with your favorite creation story.

    These things happen. Move on.

  184. #185 joolya
    July 31, 2008

    He just … doesn’t get it. Karl just does not get it. He will never get it. He’s too entrenched in his worldview to entertain the idea of a fundamentally different worldview, which is not religion-centric.
    How can he just not get it so completely, so forcefully, and so foolishly?
    I’d write something elegant and succint about this but my guts are boiling.

  185. #186 l'oca s.
    July 31, 2008

    #53: “Two important statesmen who loathed religion and loved science, Hitler and Mussolini”

    Twice wrong, Holy Polenta! Mussolini gave the church the Vatican state, made roman catholicism the religion of the italian state etc., see Lateran Pacts 1929.

    #147: “As for Italy – not much of note going on there in either science or technology.”

    Surely you mean after the racial laws, and Salvador Luria, Enrico Fermi etc. had to leave

  186. #187 James F
    July 31, 2008

    Giberson’s characterization of PZ as inquisitor was completely unwarranted and his failure to provide context for the “Great Desecration” was a glaring omission. I’m reminded, however, of some of Michael Ruse’s writings:

    [T]here is indeed a thriving area of more popular evolutionism, where evolution is used to underpin claims about the nature of the universe, the meaning of it all for us humans, and the way we should behave. I am not saying that this area is all bad or that it should be stamped out. I am all in favor of saving the rainforests. I am saying that this popular evolutionism–often an alternative to religion–exists.

    Ruse isn’t saying that science or evolution is a religion (although he has been quotemined as doing so), but I think he’s saying that secular beliefs can be informed by science, especially evolutionary biology. It reminds me of Dawkins’ idea of a shifting moral zeitgeist in which slavery moves from common to unacceptable over time in society. I think it is a viewpoint echoed to some degree by Giberson as well:

    Life can be oriented in a reverential way around the celebration and protection of the great diversity wrought by the evolutionary epic, a diversity that has produced creatures capable of reflecting on this grand mystery.

    If Giberson dispensed with the “science is a religion” idea, we might find more common ground.

  187. #188 negentropyeater
    July 31, 2008

    A quicl look at his own profile says it all :

    http://www.karlgiberson.com/Site/Personal.html

    This guy cannot imagine a world without religion, he studied Physics, but then he spent the last ten or twenty years of his life to try to fit Science and Christianity together so everything he thinks about, he relates it to religion, and then he fabulates, his mind is lost to it, that is why he has to translate everything in terms of religious metaphores, for that is all he can relate to.

  188. #189 Kate
    July 31, 2008

    …and the theist commenters here are *still* using the same intellectually dishonest arguments that have been refuted time and again by the rational, thinking commenters.

    I used to feel “left out” as a child, being a born atheist in a moderately religious household. Now I’m glad I was left out of all of it. I wouldn’t want to live my life so blindly, with my intellect and moral compass so stunted by religion that I would be unable to formulate a simple thought about the world around me that has any internal consistency.

    Ugh. I wonder sometimes how sites like Salon can even publish such poorly written and badly cited pieces like the travesty of “journalism” that’s being discussed here. I mean, how can anyone even think it’s appropriate to allow someone to outright lie to others, to the very audience that pays their bills? Don’t they care at all?

    It’s like a really stupid post I saw on “lifehacks” wherein it was suggested that you should put mustard on a burn because it will heal faster and “take the burn out”. I commented that this was dangerous information, that it was an outright lie and someone who followed that advice would come to harm and received a bunch of replies about how I was attacking the author and why didn’t I like the person who wrote the piece, because they were really nice and funny. Yeah, sure… I should just shut up about someone lying and potentially causing harm to others because they’re *popular*. Right. That’s certainly how I want to evaluate medical advice, whether or not the person giving it is popular on a website, not at all basing it on whether or not the person is telling me the truth.

    It’s as though the idiots far outnumber the intelligent and rational. It makes me weep for the fate of humanity, I tell you.

  189. #190 xebecs
    July 31, 2008

    Dear P.Z., please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket.

    …be prepared for plenty of that stuff, now that you are being worshipped.

  190. #191 craig
    July 31, 2008

    “Just browsing the comments, and as a rather disinterested observer, I find that most of the commentators posting here in defense of the good professor and atheism match the worst of religion in their contempt for their ‘unbelieving’ fellow human beings.”

    Really? Dang, you mean there were murders in this comments thread and I missed them?

  191. #192 PZ Myers
    July 31, 2008

    I’ll think about bringing that stuff later. Maybe after you’re dead.

    First, you have to get prepared to start tithing.

  192. #193 Norman Doering
    July 31, 2008

    PZ,

    Maybe you should contact Salon and ask to have them publish a response, if only to get some more Salon readers to visit your blog.

    You’ve already got the material for it in the posts you’ve already written here.

  193. #194 OctoberMermaid
    July 31, 2008

    I didn’t know Salon accepted masturbation fantasies as articles. Guy’s probably got a raging boner when he’s writing about how horribly persecuted he is by the mean old inquisitor.

    I mean, that’s cool if it gets you off, but why not actually go out and get yourself REALLY persecuted instead of lying and fudging facts to make it look that way? Is that less arousing when people actually ARE out to get you? I don’t know how this particular kink works. Maybe he can explain in another article.

  194. #195 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    What do you think the odds are that Salon has asked PZ for a rebuttal* piece. They have more to gain in that exchange, more and smarter readership.

    *Seems they are pretty buttaled already.

  195. #196 Sven DiMilo
    July 31, 2008

    What part of “Gott mitt uns” is so hard to understand?
    The “mitt”?

    I don’t get it–makes perfect sense to me.
    Of course, mein Gott ist Carlton Fisk…

  196. #197 extatyzoma
    July 31, 2008

    “evolution/science is (just) a religion”

    my reply: ‘is that supposed to strengthen my position, or weaken yours?’.

    usual nonsense.

    faith trumps all does it not? so if science is faith then it equally trumps all?

    if evolution as such were a religion then id be saying evolution were true ‘because its says so in the origin of species, no evolutionist says that of course. another asinine set of shit from a theist who realsises that if they talk enough garbage that somebody somewhere will listen.

  197. #198 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    I’ll think about bringing that stuff later. Maybe after you’re dead.

    First, you have to get prepared to start tithing.

    Will there be smitings?

    No tithing without smiting.

    If so can you smite our entire outside sales force?

    Thanks in advance.

  198. #199 mgarelick
    July 31, 2008

    One quick illustration of incoherence:

    And we have inquisitors like Myers to ferret out heretics and martyr them on his Web site when they appear.

    “Martyrs” are good guys, right? And “inquisitors” are also, from the point of view of the religion? So if we’re making up a new religion, we say, “Myers, you can be the inquisitor and torture the martyrs!” ??

  199. #200 thelogos
    July 31, 2008

    Salon has looked foolish for a looong time. I used to only read it for “How the World Works”, Tom Tomorrow and Tom the Dancing Bug, but no more. Too much bullshit, Camila f’n Paglia, and the New Age-y slant they have.

  200. #201 Christopher Waldrop
    July 31, 2008

    I can’t add anything to the debate, but felt compelled to say to Jeremy @88…call me!

  201. #202 minimalist
    July 31, 2008

    Glenn Greenwald’s blog is really the only reason to go anywhere near Salon.

  202. #203 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    #186

    Tactics.

    “As dictator of Italy, Mussolini’s foremost priority was the subjugation of the minds of the Italian people and the use of propaganda to do so.

    In 1929, a concordat with the Vatican was signed, the Lateran treaties, by which the Italian state was at last recognised by the Roman Catholic Church, and the independence of Vatican City was recognised by the Italian state.

    In 1927, Mussolini was baptised by a Roman Catholic priest in order to take away certain Catholic opposition, who were still very critical of a regime which had taken away papal property and virtually blackmailed the Vatican.

    However, Mussolini was never known to be a practicing Catholic, and was privately very hostile to the church.

    Since 1927, and more even after 1929, Mussolini, with his anti-Communist doctrines, convinced many Catholics to actively support him.

    In the encyclical Non abbiamo bisogno, Pope Pius XI attacked the Fascist regime for its policy against the Catholic Action and certain tendencies to overrule Catholic education morals.”

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

  203. #204 Snitzels
    July 31, 2008

    These people seriously cannot fathom any life without their faith. They simply can’t. The religious brain actually shuts down entirely when faced with the concept and then decides it didn’t see anything and hurries along its way. Any idea that one can move along in life without worshipping anything truly boggles their minds. I honestly don’t think there’s any reasoning with such people…

  204. #205 mwb
    July 31, 2008

    Even if he insists on rendering words meaningless by pretending that science is a religion, he has to cede that it is then a religion predicated on results. The resulting scorecard won’t favor his magic any.

    It is really boring that the superstitious refuse to acknowledge the obvious: their opponents aren’t shopping for an isomorphism, but rather wish for the crazy to stop. Replacing a broken window with a window that is ostensibly broken in the same way is utterly pointless. I am skeptical that so many demagogues are blithely unaware of this when they practice their atheist sacrifices.

  205. Before you choose a new deity, consider this

    I emailed the link to PZ earlier, but I imagine his inbox is still exploding, and it makes sense here. Oh great holy PZ, can I has a pony and a cheezburgr and a spot of light tentacoo wape, thank you amen f’thagn.

  206. #207 Denis Robert
    July 31, 2008

    #53 Lucas:

    You said:

    “””Two important statesmen who loathed religion and loved science, Hitler and Mussolini, were also sensible enough not to share the audacious faith in democracy, which was coming up at that time.”””

    Uhh.. You must be reading some pretty weird history books, if you believe that Hitler and Mussolini “loathed” religion and “loved” science. It’s quite the contrary, really. Hitler made quite a point of fostering religion, and had strong allies within the Catholic church. Mussolini found that he had to ally himself with the Church, even though he had claimed in his younger days to be an atheist (he was also a socialist at that time). In the end, Mussolini used the Church as much as the Church used him. But one cannot say that Mussolini “loathed” religion with a straight face. He just couldn’t accept any religion that didn’t have him as its leader.

    Both had very ambivalent relationships with science; they both thought little of science’s insistence on openness, and of science’s insistence on separating politics from the pursuit of knowledge. Hitler is famous for the persecution of what he called “Jewish” science, now wasn’t he?

    Simple fact, also, is that neither knew anything about science. Hard to claim that they “loved” it then. But they knew all about the power of religion to keep people from asking questions.

  207. #208 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    Thanks, Snitzels. I had forgotten about the SEP Field.

  208. #209 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    #147

    “Marchese Guglielmo Marconi [gu?e:lmo mar’ko:ni] (25 April 1874 – 20 July 1937) was an Italian inventor, best known for his development of a radiotelegraph system, which served as the foundation for the establishment of numerous affiliated companies worldwide. He shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun, “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy”. Later in life, Marconi was an active Italian Fascist and an apologist for their ideology (such as the attack by Italian forces in Ethiopia).”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guglielmo_Marconi

  209. #210 Kahomono
    July 31, 2008

    I am a soon-to-be ex-subscriber at Salon (I know, I know but it really wasn’t this bad two years ago). As soon as I clicked it early this morning, I was reminded again why I am not renewing.

    By the way, Adblock Plus in Firefox renders the Day Pass ads invisible, and the “continue” link is almost immediately available.

    What I will do today is salt the LtoE with links to this post & comment thread, by way of showing others what rational writing looks like.

  210. #211 anonxian
    July 31, 2008

    Concerning the post by Ric, way above (July 30, 2008 11:30 PM ):

    It’s like Sauron. He fell because he couldn’t believe that someone would want to destroy the Ring. He could only envision someone taking it and using it, like he wanted to and would have done.
    The religious can’t conceive that some people don’t think reality has anything to do with religion and don’t think there need be anything to replace religion at all.

    You do realize that The Lord of the Rings was written by a Catholic, don’t you? The man responsible for converting C.S. Lewis to Christianity, calling it a “myth that is true”?

    I wonder how Tolkein would feel about your comparison.

  211. #212 negentropyeater
    July 31, 2008

    Giberson wrote this book together with Artigas, Oracles of Science: celebrity scientists versus God and religion

    http://www.unav.es/cryf/english/oracles.html

    and it all boils down to this :

    Artigas and Giberson are not foes of science. They simply want scientists to “treat the humanistic issues that lie beyond the boundaries of science with the same rigour they employ when dealing with scientific problems.” Were that ever to happen, there would be an immediate armistice. Intelligent as these scientists are, their understanding of the philosophical issues involved is weak. In many instances, all they do is dust off illogical arguments repeated over hundred, if not thousands of years. Their explanations might be crackerjack material in Philosophy 101, but as serious academic contributions, they hardly pass muster. The fatal flaw is the hubris of scientism, the conviction that the single spyglass of science can encompass all of reality. How about joy, or justice, or order, or truth? The very claim that science can explain absolutely everything cannot be supported by the scientific method.

    This always makes me wonder, how about religion, there are no fatal flaws in there, there are no convictions that there are absolute truths ? What about all these notions about worshipping crackers, the talking snake, that our souls will be saved from eternal damnation if we do not sin, that homosexuals are sinners, that abortion is a sin, that contraception is a sin, that this and that and this and that and blah blah blah blah, aren’t they simply claiming a lot of absolute truths ? Doesn’t the Bible claim that it can explain everything ?

    It’s really strange that for these people, rejecting the authority of religion and theology, and recognizing that they have no validity in this world, that they are pure inventions of antique deluded folks, equates automatically with scientism.
    Why do we have such disciplines as the humanities, history, sociology, politics, philosophy, law, psychology, litterature , arts …etc ?

    I’m very much a pro science guy, but it’s never come to my mind that science without these disciplines can help us to make sense of this world. And we should just treat theology as what it is, a litterary discipline, studying ancient traditions of antique folks.

    That’s Giberson’s problem he just can’t think without religion, it occupies his brain, it’s impossible.

  212. #213 craig
    July 31, 2008

    “”Martyrs” are good guys, right? And “inquisitors” are also, from the point of view of the religion? So if we’re making up a new religion, we say, “Myers, you can be the inquisitor and torture the martyrs!” ??

    Plus, ferrets are nice too.

  213. #214 Snitzels
    July 31, 2008

    SEP field… ha! That’s funny, I’ve never heard it put so succinctly. That phenomenon has kept me up many a night wondering “HOW the hell can people think like this!?”

  214. #215 C R Stamey
    July 31, 2008

    I wonder how Tolkein would feel about your comparison.

    Posted by: anonxian | July 31, 2008 10:16 AM [kill]?[hide comment]

    As the LotR was used as an analogy only, I doubt most people would care what he would think. LotR was a fantasy, and Tolkien is not being held up as an authority. Fantasy writer and Christian. Big surprise, but that is being unkind to authors of fantasy. I guess theists have to appeal to authority to make a point and assume others do as well.

  215. #216 deadman_932
    July 31, 2008

    “heddle” at #162, referencing my post #68

    Like, OMG! A Christian church affirms the Trinity, the divinity of Christ (the gall!) Original Sin, and the sinfulness of homosexual activity! An amazing revelation! Notify the authorities immediately!

    I surmise comprehension isn’t your forte, heddle – *but* you might try to grasp that I was merely pointing out the irony (and used that very term in my post #78) in a nominally liberal Bay-Area online mag courting the babble of someone whose essential beliefs are anything but rational or liberal.

    I doubt anyone is surprised that Christians believe lots of stupid things such as the “sinfulness” of homosexuality and the patently nutty concept of “Original Sin.”

    If you’re David Heddle (1) Read for actual comprehension next time (2) Avoid sarcasm of the statements of others when your own beliefs are far, far more open to ridicule. (3) Apply some balm to that bum ; I think I hit a nerve there with my boot.

  216. #217 PhysioProf
    July 31, 2008

    Salon sucks shit. Other than Glenn Greenwald and Carol Lay, it is Parade Magazine for liberals.

  217. #218 Donnie B.
    July 31, 2008

    To Lucas @203:

    Ah, you’ve done it. I’m convinced. Mussolini was No True Scotsman.

  218. #219 Iain Walker
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas #209

    Later in life, Marconi was an active Italian Fascist and an apologist for their ideology

    So a prominent inventor (not exactly a scientist, but we’ll let that slide) was a supporter of Fascism, ergo the Fascists “loved” science? By that logic, Ezra Pound’s fascist sympathies demonstrate that the Fascists loved poetry, and the fact that a number of Italian Jews supported Mussolini during the earlier part of his regime shows that the Fascists loved Judaism.

    Logic: apparently not a strong point of yours.

  219. #220 waldteufel
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas, do you have any capacity for original thought?

    Most of your posts look like they were scribbled from fortune cookies, and the longer ones look like they were cut and pasted from a church tract.

  220. #221 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    #216 deadman_932,

    If you’re David Heddle (1) Read for actual comprehension next time (2) Avoid sarcasm of the statements of others when your own beliefs are far, far more open to ridicule. (3) Apply some balm to that bum ; I think I hit a nerve there with my boot.

    Actually I understood your point. My comment had an implied:

    (a) Do you think the editors at Salon didn’t know they were giving a byline to a conservative Christian? and

    (b) if so, do you not think they have the rudimentary knowledge that most conservative Christians would affirm the Trinity, the deity of Christ, some variant of Original Sin (as a Nazarene, its a weak version compared to Augustine) and the sinfulness of homosexual activity?

    Perhaps Salon would not be surprised by the revelation. Perhaps they would say “duh, it’s Karl Giberson, do we look stupid?” Perhaps, even though they have a liberal bias, they believe that providing a forum for different perspectives is part of the journalistic tradition.

    No need for the bum balm–nothing here deserves a butt-kick metaphor. I lurk for amusement purposes only.

  221. #222 Reginald Selkirk
    July 31, 2008

    and indiscriminately excoriates those he views as hostile to science, a pantheon of straw men and women that includes theologians, journalists and churchgoers.

    This word “indiscriminate” – I think it does not mean what he thinks it means. And this guy writes for Salon?

  222. #223 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    heddle & deadman,

    Salon is probably doing what my local paper does – print outrageous LtoEs, thus generating more LtoEs, etc. you don’t have to take a side in order to profit from bickering.

  223. #224 Shirakawasuna
    July 31, 2008

    Wow. I don’t think there’s much more this guy could do to lower my opinion of him outside of serious crime. Did he really expect mere arrogance to save him?

  224. #225 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    “When Salon interviewed me about my new book, “Saving Darwin,” I suggested that science doesn’t know everything, that there might be a reality beyond science, and that religion might be about God and not merely about the human quest for a nonexistent God. These remarks got me condemned to whatever hell Myers believes in.”

    Condemned to hell = brought in and subjected to sharp critique. Seems to me there’s a significant difference.

    And from what I can tell Giberson didn’t “suggest” it as a sort of idle speculation, a bit of ‘what-if’ whimsy, perhaps. It was an argument that was one of the major themes of the book.

    Those theists who fit science into their theology play a fun little game. When atheists look at religion and find both its truth and virtue lacking, they laugh merrily and say that well of course SOME versions of religion are patently wrong. The extremist versions are wrong. Atheists are really only going after soft targets, assuming that all versions of God and all religions are like anti-science Fundamentalism. Please.

    The atheists are extremists themselves. They know better than to ever seriously address the more reasonable, sophisticated understandings of God. They can’t touch the moderates. That’s where the GOOD apologetics are. Let me make them for you.

    But read their arguments and go after that more “reasonable, sophisticated understanding of God” and show it as vacuous, obscure, contradictory, muddled, or unnecessary, and they act like wounded puppies.

    “Hey, look! He’s going after the MODERATES! This is just like the INQUISITION where you’re not allowed to say ANYTHING the least little bit spiritual or they ATTACK! See how extreme atheists are?”

    Nice racket. Heads you win, tails we lose.

    Is God a hypothesis? Is it something that might actually exist as a real thing? Then we can and should subject it to analysis in the light of modern science to see if it’s likely or not. And if it’s not your hypothesis, then WHAT the heck is it? A matter of taste? A personal narrative? An expression of longings? A bad analogy? A bit of tradition? A poetic metaphor? A crutch for the weak?

    Any and all of these. Whatever tack gets the atheists to leave it alone. Whatever gets us to stop committing the crime of being picky.

    Giberson the good scientist is apparently whining that someone is taking his beliefs seriously for a change by applying that big, bad, “scientific way of knowing.” Oh noes. Who would have expected a scientific inquisition coming after such a defenseless delicate flower of faith.

  225. #226 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas found himself a scientist who embraced a fascist regime, thus proving that Hitler and Mussolini loved science and hated religion. Just pay no attention to all of those scientists that were chased out of Germany and Italy during that time period.

    Perhaps if Lucas even did anything like read The Arms Of Krupp, he would know that during the time period after the end the of The Great War and the beginning of The Third Reich, the engineers of Krupp worked on weapons technology. This was in defiance of The Treaty Of Versailles and for the benefit of what ever German leader who would lead Germany off to war. This use of science and technology was in no way spurred on by Hitler. It was given to him when he seized power.

    Also, Lucas, Hitler was highly ignorant of many subjects. Science was one of those subjects. He was much more interested in German culture. Your lack of knowledge is showing. Please read up.

  226. #227 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    I lurk for amusement purposes only.

    Posted by: heddle

    More accurate would be this; I lurk for my amusement only.

    killfile

  227. #228 tolkein fan
    July 31, 2008

    Sauron was an atheist, and thus a self-worshipper.

  228. #229 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    #207
    “He just couldn’t accept any religion that didn’t have him as its leader.”
    Sounds like Lucifer.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer

    “Hitler is famous for the persecution of what he called “Jewish” science, now wasn’t he?”
    Hitler’s ideas are based on those of Max Nordau (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Nordau) and Cesare Lombroso
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cesare_Lombroso).

  229. #230 Shirakawasuna
    July 31, 2008

    And am I the only one who noticed ‘cosmic evolution’ thrown in there? That ain’t just the Big Bang! I’m not sure if it’s Hovind-ish nonsense, where Giberson identifies his position by taking the opposite position of what Hovind overtly sets up as a straw man or if he’s actually referring to ‘cosmic evolution’, an idea almost always bound up in religious nonsense: it’s all about finding connections between man + massive celestial events/the big bang in order to make it seem wholly purposeful.

    Go out and find pages: the vast majority is about silly nonsense and almost inevitably includes some lies about “Darwinism”.

    Now, I could be wrong about this, but I simply can’t find consistent and scientific references using that term.

  230. #231 Sven DiMilo
    July 31, 2008

    Sauron was an atheist, and thus a self-worshipper.

    Stoopidist “thus” I’ve seen all week.

  231. #232 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    Don’t forget, Lucas Godwin, that Hitler’s ideas were also based on Martin Luther’s writings.

  232. #233 thorton
    July 31, 2008

    To paraphrase one of my favourite podcasters, Denis Loubet: Religion is a sickness, or a disease. If someone asks what you’d replace religion with, the answer is “health.”

  233. #234 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    Yhere are many Lutheran Catholic churches in Austria.

  234. #235 Steve_C
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas,

    Give it a rest. Arguing the same fallacy over and over doesn’t make your argument anymore true.

    Pope Ratzy was a Hitler Youth therefore all Catholics are Nazis? All Popes?

    Yeah, you still don’t get it.

  235. #236 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    So, Lucas, Hitler spent his time in Vienna reading Zionist literature? Not bloody likely. And you are dangerously close to playing “blame the victim” here.

  236. #237 Greg Peterson
    July 31, 2008

    Something that surprises me–but shouldn’t, because I know it’s part of the routine brainwashing–is that people get away with making arguments that something must replace religion. What exactly do they think religion does that can’t be replaced? OK, fine, there are specific kinds of experiences that might be accessible–or most easily accessed–through religious ritual. In the wake of Crackergate, I explained to my also-atheist girlfriend that communion really was for me a time of powerful connection, reflection, and sometimes epiphany. It’s true, religious settings can provide a context for certain experiences. But they are by NO MEANS exclusive, and I have often felt a similar kind of connection at concerts, with my children and other loved ones, flat on my back in a field look at clouds–whatever. The idea that only religion can provide mystery, connection, a source of morality, or any other function is a malicious fiction, propagated by religious leaders to keep the votaries in line. It might take a little bit of work on our part–people and religion have been co-evolving to fit each other for centuries, after all–but we have the opportunity to jettison off-the-rack Emperor’s brand clothing, and weave something really spectacular. We don’t need to get rid of every vestige of what makes religion attractive to people. We can still meet in groups to share a meal, as we did at Q. Cumbers last Sunday, for example. We can still take on charitable projects and perform acts of empathetic kindness. In fact, it is a celebration of our humanity to do so, and probably an important key to a richly lived life. In point of fact, eliminating boring and often pointless sermons and archaic or repetitious songs of mediocre quality might give us all substantially more time to do the very things that make life richer. This argument that something must replace religion is just knee-jerk egoism that takes no account of the active ingredient that religion provides, which is widely available, versus the side-effects of religion, which are easily avoided in the absence of dogma and superstition.

  237. #238 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    Have I said that?

  238. #239 anonanon
    July 31, 2008

    Mother Teresa, who knew little science, would deliberately touch lepers to convey God’s love to them. Usually no one would touch them. So she made a point to touch them, as Christ touched the untouchables in His day.

    I wonder how many of the oh-so-brilliant-and-superior commenters here have done the same?

    And of course, now will come the knee-jerk reaction: But Mother Teresa was plagued with doubt. And that is what true faith is – not blind, but filled with a life-long groping.

  239. #240 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    Sauron was an atheist, and thus a self-worshipper.

    Add this statement to the pile of evidence showing that theists are incapable of thinking in non-theistic terms.

  240. #241 Kelly
    July 31, 2008

    Looks like its being dug on digg.

    http://digg.com/general_sciences/How_Science_May_be_in_Danger_of_Becoming_a_Radical_Religion

    *burys head back in sand*

  241. #242 Eric Saveau
    July 31, 2008

    And that is what true faith is – not blind, but filled with a life-long groping.

    Everyone, I know I said I wouldn’t go a particular off-color route again, but this line is making me twitch something fierce…

  242. #243 blabblab
    July 31, 2008

    I agree with William F. Buckley: “Bach’s music is proof of the existence of God.”

    How many commenters here listen to Bach? Can they comprehend him? Or is he boring?

  243. #244 responsetokseniya
    July 31, 2008

    Kseniya, do you really believe that Tolkein was incapable of thinking in non-theistic terms?

  244. #245 Greg Peterson
    July 31, 2008

    I love Bach.

    Bach’s music is proof of the existence of Bach.

  245. #246 Sven DiMilo
    July 31, 2008

    #244, do you really believe that K was referring to Tolkein?

  246. #247 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    I wonder how many of the oh-so-brilliant-and-superior commenters here have done the same?

    Posted by: anonanon

    I would say that many commentators here have done more than just touch lepers. They have done work to prevent illnesses and afflictions from happen. While comforting those in pain is needed(And one does not need to be a nun to do this.), even better is to prevent the pain. This come from learning, not from faith.

  247. #248 dubiquiabs
    July 31, 2008

    @ cj #19
    “Science itself was the result of CATHOLICS in the first place!”

    You don’t say. How could I have missed that Democritos, Eratosthenes, Euclid, Pythagoras, and colleagues were catholic monks!

    A scientist is someone who asks questions and follows the answers wherever they may lead. For example, a scientist may propose an idea with testable implications, or carry out tests that can help decide whether an idea holds up, or work out new ways of testing an idea, etc., hoping to replace an established idea with a better one. No idea is beyond questioning (!), no idea is sacred!

    Should younger scientists find a better way of coherently explaining the diversity of species, the remarkable similarity of their enzymatic outfits, geologic stratigraphy, cosmic background radiation and a lot of other stuff, scientists will ditch evolution as the prevailing explanatory device and it will become the dominant model, once the old farts like me are out of the way and are composting.

    Sure there are scientists whose thinking follows one set of rules in their daytime job and another set of rules when they sit down in the pew and sure there are scientists like Leon Kass, who have gone over to the dark side, but then they no longer behave like scientists.

    Asking questions and following the answers wherever they may lead is diametrically opposed to making up stuff so you can keep hanging on to ideas that are not tethered to any kind of reality. The former is doing science, the latter is doing religion. Never the twain will be compatible. Ever.

  248. #249 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    #236

    Entartete Kunst (degenerated art) was defined by Nordau.

    “Nordau’s major work Entartung (Degeneration), is a moralistic attack on so-called degenerate art, as well as a polemic against the effects of a range of the rising social phenomena of the period, such as rapid urbanization and its perceived effects on the human body.”

    I wouldn’t call the thesis that people with hawk-like noses and fleshy lips are criminals Zionist.

    “Lombroso rejected the established Classical School, which held that crime was a characteristic trait of human nature. Instead, using concepts drawn from physiognomy, early eugenics, psychiatry and Social Darwinism, Lombroso’s theory of anthropological criminology essentially stated that criminality was inherited, and that someone “born criminal”‘ could be identified by physical defects, which confirmed a criminal as savage, or atavistic.

    If criminality was inherited, then the born criminal could be distinguished by physical atavistic stigmata, such as:

    * large jaws, forward projection of jaw, low sloping foreheads
    * high cheekbones, flattened or upturned nose
    * handle-shaped ears
    * large chins, very prominent in appearance
    * hawk-like noses or fleshy lips
    * hard shifty eyes, scanty beard or baldness
    * insensitivity to pain, long arms.

  249. #250 C R Stamey
    July 31, 2008

    blabblab blathered:

    I agree with William F. Buckley: “Bach’s music is proof of the existence of God.”

    How many commenters here listen to Bach? Can they comprehend him? Or is he boring?

    Proof? Please tell me you aren’t suggesting that a composer’s music is proof of something other than the ability to produce music that is aesthetically pleasing. I make a mean lasagna that my friends say is heavenly. Is that proof of the FSM? If that is the only proof you need then you set the intellectual bar very low. Sad.

  250. #251 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    How many commenters here listen to Bach? Can they comprehend him? Or is he boring?

    Posted by: blabblab

    If only MAJeff were here to bury this comment. So, are you implying that one’s taste in music determines if one can detect the big sky daddy. Methinks you gave yourself the perfect moniker. “Blab”, in deed.

  251. #252 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    I wonder how many of the oh-so-brilliant-and-superior commenters here have done the same?

    real help.

    Stuff it.

  252. #253 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    *stabs self in eye with blockquote tag

  253. #254 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    I agree with William F. Buckley: “Bach’s music is proof of the existence of God.”

    How many commenters here listen to Bach? Can they comprehend him? Or is he boring?

    I agree with James Brown. “Happiness is hearing Fred Wesley play the trombone”.

    I don’t listen to Bach but I listen to Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and I believe that Coltrane believed in a higher power.

  254. #255 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    blabblab@243
    Can you really be that stupid?

    As it happens I am listening to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.2 as I type this.

  255. #256 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas, the idea of culture and art being degenerate is a depressingly common idea. But it is bloody unlikely that Hitler read Nordau or Lombroso because they were both Jewish. It is in the entries that you referred to.

  256. #257 dubiquiabs
    July 31, 2008

    @ Lucas #92
    Absolute truth is neither.

  257. #258 Steve_C
    July 31, 2008

    Celine Dion is proof that there is no god. A true god would never let her exist.

  258. #259 ogghead
    July 31, 2008

    PZ, you should *really* look into the rel="nofollow" attribute when you link to sites, but don’t wish to drive traffic to them.

  259. #260 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    #248 Dubiquiabs,

    The former is doing science, the latter is doing religion. Never the twain will be compatible. Ever.

    I’ll call you on that bullshit. Now either the so-called incompatibility of religious faith and science has detectable consequences–i.e., the religious views of a scientist affect his science in a detrimental, observable way, or you are just vomiting meaningless drivel.

    I’ll repeat a challenge. I’ll provide you with ten peer reviewed, first-rate-journal, scientific articles. Five from known believers, five from known atheists. I want you to tell me which ones are the articles from believers. Now since that would be easy to determine by Google, you must give credible explanations as to how you determined which articles came from believers and which came from atheists.

    Want to try, or are you just blowing smoke?

  260. #261 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    anonanon@239,
    “Mother Theresa” was a disgusting sycophant to vile dictators, who deprived her charges of adequate pain relief and urged them to dedicate their sufferings to God.

  261. #262 TheBowerbird
    July 31, 2008

    I think this H.L. Mencken quote goes nicely with this:

    The liberation of the human mind has never been furthered by such learned dunderheads; it has been furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe — that the god in the sanctuary was finite in his power, and hence a fraud. One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent.

  262. #263 blahblabwhatever
    July 31, 2008

    My point to those here who are fellow Bach-lovers, is that you have tremendous disdain and contempt for “theists” or people of faith. Yet Bach composed his music “for the glory of God.” And Bach would consider you incapable of truly comprehending his music, whether sacred (i.e. St. Matthew Passion) or secular (i.e. Brandenberg Concerti).

  263. #264 Sven DiMilo
    July 31, 2008

    Both Bach and Coltrane are proof that, if god(s) existed, he/she/it/they would have pluralistic musical tastes.

  264. #265 jj
    July 31, 2008

    anonanon wrote,

    And that is what true faith is – not blind, but filled with a life-long groping.

    Yes, Catholic priests are infamous for their life-long gropings.

  265. #266 deadman_932
    July 31, 2008

    David Heddle at #221

    (1) Viewer irony isn’t neccessarily diminished by the subjects being aware of their inconsistency. I’m sure Bush was aware at some level of the perversity of “combatting terrorism” with terrorist tactics. That doesn’t make it less ironic to me as a viewer.

    (2) I’m unsure that Salon’s editors (or readers) are aware of details concerning the Church of the Nazarene’s stance on many things. It’s a minor denomination that has less than 650 thousand members in the U.S. Its views on homosexuality and faith healing, “Original Sin,” etc. are not exactly household words to my knowledge, nor do they trumpet such things as blatantly as other groups. It’s more likely that the editors (as True Bob #223 suggests) are simply interested in generating controversy for profit rather than actually knowing such details.

    (3) I doubt you lurk “for amusement purposes only
    .” (my emphasis) – You’re also in this thread to defend your fellows in faith, aren’t you? I don’t think characterizing that as mere amusement is quite accurate.

  266. #267 Sven DiMilo
    July 31, 2008

    Bach would consider you incapable of truly comprehending his music

    Say, if you can also channel Coltrane, I have some questions for him about Ascension…get back to me!

  267. #268 Matt Penfold
    July 31, 2008

    If Lucas had bothered to read Kershaw’s first volume on Hitler he would have learnt that during his time in Vienna Hitler seemed to read only anti-semitic writings.

    For the benefit of Lucas, Kershaw refers to Ian Kershaw, author of what is regarded as the best English language biography of Hitler. It comes in two volumes and both deal extensively with Hitler’s dealings with religion.

  268. #269 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    anonanon #239 wrote:

    Mother Teresa, who knew little science, would deliberately touch lepers to convey God’s love to them. Usually no one would touch them. So she made a point to touch them, as Christ touched the untouchables in His day.

    Bad example. Apparently, her personal theology involved something about the “touch of Christ” as a way to participate in his crucifixion. Mother Teresa believed that suffering ennobled the sufferer, pleased God, and helped pay the price for sin. Therefore, she had little or no pain medication in her “hospitals/hospices,” which were a horror of nuns rewashing bandages and patients lying on rows of hard, miserable cots. They had more than enough money to buy real equipment and comfortable beds. But no. The money she received “for the sick” went to build more nunneries.

    “”The suffering of the poor is something very beautiful and the world is being very much helped by the nobility of this example of misery and suffering.”” (Mother Teresa)

    A reporter told of her visiting a man in her care who was dying in great agony, with no drugs given for his discomfort. She told him “Jesus is kissing you.” He responded “please tell him to kiss someone else.” Better he had asked for morphine — though it probably would have been refused. And miss Jesus’ “kisses?”

    Of course, even if Mother Teresa had been a wonderful fount of love and compassion in the secular (reasonable) sense, that would not do anything to show that either God exists, or the Catholic Church must be true. Some of the nicest people I know are New Agers. That’s a load of crap, too.

    Theists find it far too easy to fall into the temptation of changing the question on whether God exists to whether some religions can be useful, sometimes, for some things. Short answer: sure they can.

    But only a religion could provide the justification that would encourage an otherwise kind, loving person to withhold modern pain medicine from a person wracked in agony, in the firm faith that suffering is a blessing which brings God closer.

  269. #270 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    #266, deadman_932,

    (1) Fair enough.
    (2) Yes they may have done it just to generate controversy. But I would be surprised if they were shocked at discovering the statement of faith Giberson’s denomination affirms.
    (3) Fair enough.

  270. #271 spurge
    July 31, 2008

    blahblabwhatever posted

    “And Bach would consider you incapable of truly comprehending his music, whether sacred (i.e. St. Matthew Passion) or secular (i.e. Brandenberg Concerti).”

    You know this how?

  271. #272 Screechy Monkey
    July 31, 2008

    Mike @ 99: I may have to turn in my Minion Union card, but I don’t know what the “FCD” is supposed to stand for. (I figured out the “OM” bit)

  272. #273 blahblabwhatever
    July 31, 2008

    By reading biographies of Bach, and being familiar with Lutheran Germany’s musical history.

  273. #274 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    Greg Peterson #237 – Hear, hear!

    I’ve had more moments of epiphany, a greater sense of the infinite oneness of creation and of my own humble, infinitesimal presence within it, and more feelings profound joy while lying on my back looking up into the star-filled night sky than I ever did at church. And I liked my church.

  274. #275 deadman_932
    July 31, 2008

    blahblabwhatever @ # 263. Heh. “Argumentum ad verecundiam Bachulum.”

    Bach would consider you incapable of truly comprehending his music, whether sacred (i.e. St. Matthew Passion) or secular

    Glad you’re capable of reading the minds of the dead. Can you pull a rabbit out of your ass, too? P.S. I listen to Bach all the time. What a dead composer *might* think of my ability to comprehend, dissect and interpretively play his music…is irrelevant. It’s a fallacy, as is any “ipse dixit” you might dredge up.

  275. #276 Dreadneck
    July 31, 2008

    Just thought I would share my letter to Salon…

    Don’t Let Fact Get In The Way Of Your Delusion

    I wonder how many of the pro-religion IDiots on here have ever actually bothered to study evolution or cosmology in any detail? Rather few, I think, as evidenced by such pronouncements as:

    “Help me, oh brainy one. I await your Science.”
    — AnOptomist

    “Sagan was an idiot, which says a lot about his followers, too.”
    — Knows Better

    How typical of the religious to show contempt for intellect and reason, but it is to be expected. After all, their holy books and their great ‘thinkers’ tell them to check their brains at the door and that faith and reason are mutually incompatible.

    “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
    — Proverbs 3:5

    “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has…Reason should be destroyed in all Christians.”
    — Martin Luther

    That someone like Giberson, who is well educated and accepts evolution, can maintain a nebulous belief in a deity is not evidence of the compatibility of science and religion. Rather it is evidence of cognitive dissonance.

    So, how was it?

  276. #277 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    blabblabwhatever # 263 wrote:

    My point to those here who are fellow Bach-lovers, is that you have tremendous disdain and contempt for “theists” or people of faith.

    No, you misunderstand. Our contempt is for bad or false ideas and their consequences. We admire many theists — but not for their religious beliefs.

    As for the work inspired by their beliefs, it stands on its own merits. Every impulse in religion — love, compassion, beauty, wonder, joy, and gratitude — has its analog in personal experiences in this world. We can relate to all of it. None of it is foreign to us.

  277. #278 negentropyeater
    July 31, 2008

    blahblabwhatever #263

    My point to those here who are fellow Bach-lovers, is that you have tremendous disdain and contempt for “theists” or people of faith. Yet Bach composed his music “for the glory of God.” And Bach would consider you incapable of truly comprehending his music, whether sacred (i.e. St. Matthew Passion) or secular (i.e. Brandenberg Concerti).

    1. tremendous disdain and contempt for “theists” or people of faith : please explain
    2. what makes “a person of faith” capable of comprehending Bach’s music better than a person without faith ?
    3. don’t you think you are a tiny bit arogant ?

  278. #279 Lucas
    July 31, 2008

    #268

    Hitler can’t have been a Christian, because he abhorred Jewish literature and therefore also the Bible.

  279. #280 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    How many commenters here listen to Bach? Can they comprehend him?

    More shallow godbot elitism. Is that the best you’ve got?

  280. #281 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    #268

    Hitler can’t have been a Christian, because he abhorred Jewish literature and therefore also the Bible.

    /headdesk

    Did you really just make that argument?

  281. #282 Cliff Hendroval
    July 31, 2008

    I’ve subscribed to Salon since around 1998. They’ve always been hit or miss, but they’ve really been hitting the skids lately. There are some good columns, like Glenn Greenwald and Ask The Pilot; a couple of the comics are funny, and today they have very good articles by Chalmers Johnson and Juan Cole. For some reason, though, they’ve always tended to be bad at science, and in the last year or so, they feel it necessary to run silly articles featuring some Templeton-grubbing ditz telling us how speerchuality is, like, so awesome (and those mean old rationalists are poopyheads)!

  282. #283 SC
    July 31, 2008
  283. #284 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    Hitler can’t have been a Christian, because he abhorred Jewish literature and therefore also the Bible.

    LOL!

    (Is Lucas a Poe?)

  284. #285 waldteufel
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas, every German soldier’s belt buckle in WWII was inscribed with “Gott mit Uns”.

    Look in your bag of fortune cookies and see if you can find an explanation for that.

  285. #286 Damian with an a
    July 31, 2008
  286. #287 Mena
    July 31, 2008

    Yet another example of people who are born followers not understanding that no one is substituting anything for religion. Lamb of god, no. Flock of sheep, yes.
    It looks like there are a lot of trolls here today. Ah, the fall out of Crackergate: new trolls who won’t leave and people who won’t stop feeding them. :^(

  287. #288 Sili
    July 31, 2008

    He is Richard Dawkins without the fame or felicitous prose style.

    Well, right there it’s obvious he hasn’t read anything you’ve written.

    Not The Courtier’s Reply.
    Not The Planet of Hats.
    Not The Reverence Due Those Who Have Gone Before Us.
    And not even The Great Desecration that he reviles so.

    What a whackamaroon.

  288. #289 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    I have read LoTR, and many of JRR’s other works, and I don’t once recall or , but i can’t

  289. #290 SC
    July 31, 2008

    Screechy Monkey @ #272,

    See here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/looking_for_a_host_and_its_mol.php#comment-1023285

    (And I agree – Snorzel does seem to have a bee in his bonnet about it for some reason.)

  290. #291 Glen Davidson
    July 31, 2008

    Frankly, the whole article is simply ridiculous.

    No scientist should suggest that another scientist wants to make a religion out of science–unless it were somehow true. The jerk is producing quotes for the IDiots to mine, which would seem to indicate that he cares little about the prospects of science in our society.

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

  291. #292 Benjamin Franklin
    July 31, 2008

    It took a re-reading of PZ’s July 1 post, but I think what stuck in Giberson’s craw is the worm statement.

    We are not princes of the earth, we are the descendants of worms, and any nobility must be earned.

  292. #293 Emmet Caulfield
    July 31, 2008

    “Mother Theresa” was a disgusting sycophant to vile dictators, who deprived her charges of adequate pain relief and urged them to dedicate their sufferings to God.

    Not to mention that she accepted money she knew to be stolen (and refused to return it) and grossly misrepresented what legitimate donations were used for: people thought they were giving money for the relief of the suffering of the poor, when the money was used predominantly for building convents and increasing the size of her order. The best than can be said of “Mother” Teresa is that she was a quick study: she learned the art of self-promotion effortlessly after Muggeridge cast the spotlight on her.

  293. #294 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    you have tremendous disdain and contempt for “theists” or people of faith. – blabblabwhatever

    For lying idiot trolls like you, certainly, but not for theists in general.

  294. #295 dubiquiabs
    July 31, 2008

    @ 260
    Heddle, please open your mind to the distinction between scientists and science – as in process or method of science. What you quote from my post refers to the latter, what you are discussing concerns the former.

  295. #296 Bob Bekker
    July 31, 2008

    Yahhh PZ… you go man…. You make those Catholics look like fooooooooooools. I think you’re the best…….wait a minute PZ said to “question everything” does that mean I should question him???:(
    Nah………. everyone knows he included the Dawkins thing as a CYA. He sure stuck it to those idiot Catholics. But what if I do need to question him? I have already questioned spirituality. If I question materialism where does that leave me? I am getting the strange feeling that if I look through everything I see nothing. Oh well….Go PZ. Catholics are soo stupid, yah!!!
    But then there is:
    “there’s an underlying anxiety that atheist humanism has failed…Atheist humanism has not generated a compelling popular narrative and ethic of what it means to be human and our place in the cosmos. Where religion has retreated it the gap has been filled with consumerism, sports and a mindless absorption in passing desires” Madeline Bunting (The Guardian). So what that the Guardian is a left wing newspaper, but never mind that.

    But Catholics SUCK!!!! Call it a cracker again. It makes them sound like idiots and make us sound sooooooooo funny.

    Oh but then there is this:
    Atheist Roy Hattersley (speaking about the response to hurricane Katrina) “faith does breed charity. We Atheists have to accept that most believers are better human beings. (Almost all of the groups helping with relieve) have a religious origin and character. Notable be there absence are teams from rationalist societies, free thinkers clubs, and atheist associations.”

    Never mind. Throw something else in the garbage. Yahhh PZ!!!!

  296. #297 CrypticLife
    July 31, 2008

    “as a rather disinterested observer, I find that most of the commentators posting here in defense of the good professor and atheism match the worst of religion in their contempt for their ‘unbelieving’ fellow human beings.”

    Oh? The worst of religion — current religion, not even going back to mass slaughters, and in relation to PZ Myers — has been calling for PZ to be fired and for Webster Cook to be expelled. If you want to go to comments of supporters, there have been wishes for PZ’s death and eternal existence in hell. What’s been said here in PZ’s defense is that a belief in religion is idiotic.

    Take what PZ actually did with what another teacher, John Freshwater, did. Freshwater displayed a Bible in his high school classroom, and Christians jump all over themselves defending this as proper expression. PZ desecrated a Eucharist on the internet, and there are cries for his termination and for him to be charged with a hate crime. Some atheists (myself included) think Freshwater should be fired, but there would have been no notice at all of his activity if he’d merely made internet postings supporting Christianity.

    Here’s the comparison
    Freshwater: display concurrent with official duties
    PZ: display separated from official duties
    Freshwater: captive audience of minors who were in his class by virtue of their parents’ residence
    PZ: public but not in class, but if it were to his students they would be adults who chose to be in the class

  297. #298 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    Bob Bekker: Are you aware that the Bush administration actively worked to channel funding away from secular relief organizations? No, of course not – that would require you to wipe the snide, sarcastic sneer off your face for a few seconds.

  298. #299 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    Oh FFS. I meant to state that Sauron was not an atheist.

    The highest form of self-worship is god-belief.

  299. #300 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Bob Bekker thanks for that waste of a comment.

    What you and others repeatedly fail to understand is as an atheist, I don’t have authorities I look to on how I should behave in an atheistic fashion. Because it’s not the same thing as religion with rules, and laws and a book I have to follow. It’s merely a label I accept to describe some of my persona. As in it describes the fact that I find no evidence that convinces me, even slightly, of the existence of a higher power. Those quotes are from two people I couldn’t care less about. It would be as if some guy in Toldeo I’d never heard of said something.

    Nice try shoving my behavior into the box you’ve been told you need to work from inside of your whole life.

  300. #301 Carlie
    July 31, 2008

    Don’t forget Freshwater: BURNED CROSS-SHAPED BRANDING MARKS INTO STUDENTS’ ARMS.

    Ah, the fall out of Crackergate: new trolls who won’t leave and people who won’t stop feeding them.

    We don’t try to feed them, it’s just that chomping down on a few dozen eucharist crackers at a time tends to be messy and leave crumbs that they hoover up.

  301. #302 tracieh
    July 31, 2008

    >It also makes Salon look foolish, that they would put an article written by someone with a patent grudge front and center.

    Agreed. Far be it from me to dictate what Salon can publish in their magazine–but I can’t say I respect their choice to feature crap like Gibberish-son.

  302. #303 Richard
    July 31, 2008

    Sounds like Giberson wants science to compromise.

    science needs to coexist as peacefully as possible with the creation stories of our religious traditions.

    Reminds of what John Galt has to say on the subject,

    There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. … In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromiser is the transmitting rubber tube.

  303. #304 aratina
    July 31, 2008

    Giberson also pulls this one from his bag-o-tricks: “the best-known men of scientific cloth are Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.” Doesn’t he mean ‘Professor Hitchens’ or perhaps ‘Doctor Hitchens’? :P

    Like Donohue and Stein, he is intentionally conflating science with atheism as well as pretending atheism is a religion. I think Salon owes you and an unbridled response to this trash piece of an article.

  304. #305 James F
    July 31, 2008

    #300 Rev. BDC wrote:

    [A]s an atheist, I don’t have authorities I look to on how I should behave in an atheistic fashion.

    I think this is the single best encapsulation of why atheism isn’t a religion that I’ve come across.

    *sets it aside for the next Molly nominations* ;-)

  305. #306 kermit
    July 31, 2008

    Lucas @64: “Morality itself, just like religion, has nothing to [do] with science.”

    Morality is not derived form science, but it is *informed by science. You cannot make moral decisions if you willingly deny facts or avoid learning them. For instance, *if it were true that birth control education and materials lead to a *reduction in teen sex and abortions, then one cannot morally fight the presentation of such information and materials to young people. Unless, of course, the “moral” purpose is to punish girls for having sex, rather than saving fetuses from abortions. The expected consequences of behavior cannot be separated from the question of whether or not it is ethical.

    Whether X is true or not is necessary for deciding the right thing to do, and science, with its verifiable data and testable models, is the quickest and most reliable way to find out how the world works.

    One cannot fight scientific methodology and be moral at the same time.

  306. #307 GuyIncognito
    July 31, 2008

    #228: Calling Sauron an atheist is like calling Satan an atheist. Do you even know what an atheist is? Your comment occupies a special place amongst the many stupid claims made by theists.

  307. #308 BlueIndependent
    July 31, 2008

    “Hitler can’t have been a Christian, because he abhorred Jewish literature and therefore also the Bible.”

    Nevermind the fact that he invoked the Christian god several times, invoked religion overall very often, and that we have photographic evidence of the intertwining of Hitler’s efforts with Christianity. Swastikas and crosses holding hands.

    How inconvenient for you.

  308. #309 GuyIncognito
    July 31, 2008

    “…science needs to coexist as peacefully as possible with the creation stories of our religious traditions.”

    Why does this sound like a threat?

  309. #310 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    Bob Bekker #296 quoted:

    “Atheist humanism has not generated a compelling popular narrative and ethic of what it means to be human and our place in the cosmos.”

    I want to point out that yet again, the question is changed. The issue is no longer whether or not God exists. It’s whether religious belief — true or false — is useful. Does it provide a “compelling popular narrative?” Does it “breed charity?”

    If so, then hands off religion. Sure, one can apply philosophy and ethics to the natural universe as revealed through our best understanding of science, and derive a valid, reasonable, workable, and inspiring world view. But, you see, it only works for the few. The “intelligensia.” The people who have time and inclination to read books on ethics, or have a strong background of support, or have a thoughtful disposition.

    It’s not enough for the masses. It doesn’t flatter them, and it provides no easy answers. They have a taste for other things, so stop being picky about the truth, and give it to them. Pander. Dodge. Nod and smile. Condescend. Recommend religion, any religion.

    Faith becomes a form of personal therapy. Placebo or not, it “works” better than other things. It makes people nicer (except when it doesn’t, but I’m not going to deal with that here.)

    I’m curious about something, Bob. I want to ask you a question, and it’s really because I don’t know how you’d answer (you, or Gilberson, or some of the other people who have made similar arguments):

    IF you found a church which was really, truly, caring and helpful, which promoted a religion which was inspiring, beautiful, and encouraged you to be a better person — and it did a BETTER job at this than your current religion — would you switch? Would you say “okay, give me the creed, show me what I’ve got to believe. Hand that list over. I’m going to try to believe it as hard as I can. Whatever it is. Whatever it says. Because I want to become a better person.”

    Would you?

    Are there some things you could “swallow,” and some things you couldn’t? Space aliens and angels, maybe, but not time-traveling interdimensional beings. A God that was Power and Light, but not one that also wanted you to give up electricity. You’ll renounce the Trinity, and you’ll renounce Christ — but they better replace the Virgin Mary with a kind female deity of similar type, or no go.

    In the pursuit of becoming a happier, more content, more charitable and giving person, what supernatural forms would you be willing to apply your faith to, and believe in?

  310. #311 Helioprogenus
    July 31, 2008

    Karl, you know you’re a religious whore, pandering to the delights of misguided idiots. If you had any sense, you would wake up and embrace reality, but all you do is wrap your mind around some comfortable blanket of imaginary beliefs, hoisted aloft by mindless drones who never stopped to think of their irrationality.

    As for you apologists, religion is just another excuse for xenophobia, mindless exercises of repetitive rituals, indoctrinated dogma, limited imagination, and the swamps of ignorance that cloud your judgments. You feel a moral superiority complex because of your ignorance, but all we see is a mass hallucination that is completely devoid of rationality and reality. Your beliefs, regardless of your religious views, whether you’re Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Animists, neo-pagans, etc., are all completely wrong. It’s called brain washing folks, and if you can’t dissociate from it, then don’t defend it. It’s impossible to defend your irrational beliefs when faced with evidence, and honest arguments.

  311. #312 James F
    July 31, 2008

    #304

    aratina,

    I have to defend Giberson here. He’s arguing that some people are espousing science as a religion (which I disagree with, see #187), and picks out two of the “Four Horsemen” to illustrate this. But he’s not conflating science with atheism. He’s a professor of physics and an evangelical Christian, and a central claim of his writings is that science doesn’t equal atheism. I recommend a brief essay he wrote here, where he writes (and remember his book is targeted to evangelical Christians):

    I suggest in Saving Darwin that we must abandon the historicity of the Genesis creation account. Adam and Eve must not be thought of as real people or even surrogates for groups of real people; likewise the Fall must disappear from history as an event and become, instead, a partial insight into the morally ambiguous character with which evolution endowed our species.

    So yes, he’s wrong about “science as religion,” but to put him in the same camp with Donohue and Stein is unfair. In the fight to counter creationism, at least, he’s on our side.

  312. #313 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    BlueIndependent, #308

    Nevermind the fact that he invoked the Christian god several times, invoked religion overall very often, and that we have photographic evidence of the intertwining of Hitler’s efforts with Christianity. Swastikas and crosses holding hands.

    How inconvenient for you.

    Sorry, I wanted to stay out of this tiresome debate, but I endured one too many stupid “Hitler was a Christian” comments. I have to jump in again and remind you that the Nazis had a master plan for persecuting Christians.

    Here is one on famy links:

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/rbartley/?id=105001815

    and here is another:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/shiflett/shiflett012102.shtml

    and the Rutgers documents are here:

    http://org.law.rutgers.edu/publications/law-religion/nurinst1.shtml

    Could it possibly be that Hitler used Christian symbology for political expediency? Could it be (*gasp*) that Hitler was sometimes less than truthful? I know, it does make the mind reel…

    How inconvenient for you.

  313. #314 mwb
    July 31, 2008

    Please show your (or Buckley’s) work for the proof of the existence of supernatural entities from the works of Bach. Please be sure to elide any self-important claims on the part of any musicians whose works are cited. Note that there is no need for concision and the use of shorthand such as “it follows trivially” or “it is obvious that” should be saved for publication in the journals.

  314. #315 Steve_C
    July 31, 2008

    Heddle,

    Was the Nazi party, the SS, the german people; all atheists?

    Hitler was one man. It took a nation of followers to do what they did. They were Christian and their nationalistic, fascist ideals were wrapped in God and Country.

  315. #316 MS
    July 31, 2008

    Concerning Mother Teresa (as in #293 above) see Mother Teresa, The Final Verdict, by Aroup Chatterjee, and Indian physician who did exhaustive research on the Mother Teresa phenomenon. You can read it at http://www.meteorbooks.com/index.html .

    It’s absolutely devastating. She was perhaps the most succesful con artist of the 20th Century.

  316. #317 OctoberMermaid
    July 31, 2008

    “Could it possibly be that Hitler used Christian symbology for political expediency?”

    Could it be possible that the Catholics use it for the same purpose?

  317. #318 GuyIncognito
    July 31, 2008

    “Where religion has retreated it the gap has been filled with consumerism, sports and a mindless absorption in passing desires”

    Because the Catholic church didn’t sell indulgences to build big fancy churches and decorate them in ways about which an Orange County housewife could only dream. Because the Mormons never used tithing funds to erect massive temples around the world and establish for-profit corporations left and right. Because evangelicals, flush with cash, haven’t erected mega-churches across America. Because we all know that Notre Dame University, BYU and other religious educational institutions, are in no way, shape or form committed to athletics whatsoever. Because Catholic priests, leaders of said mega-churches and their respective flocks, are never known to indulge their “passing desires” (a euphemism if I’ve ever heard one).

    Nope, nuh uh. Only atheists indulge in the above. Just a bunch of football-playing, bling-displaying druggies.

  318. #319 ?????? ?????????? ?????????
    July 31, 2008

    “…science needs to coexist as peacefully as possible with the creation stories of our religious traditions.”

    Indeed.

    + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

  319. In the beginning, there were no earth and no people, only the primordial sea. Bielobog flew over the face of the waters in the shape of a swan and was lonely. Longing for someone to keep him company, he noticed his shadow, Chernobog, and rejoiced.
  320. “Let us make land” said Bielobog.
  321. “Let us,” said Chernobog, but where will we get the dirt?”
  322. “There is dirt under the water, go down and get some,” answered Bielobog, but before you can reach it, you must say ‘With Bielobog’s power and mine’.”
  323. The devil dived into the water, but said “With My Power”, instead of what he was instructed to say. Twice he dived down, and neither time did he reach the bottom. Finally, the third time he said “With Bielobog’s Power and Mine” and he reached the dirt. Scraping some up with his nails, he brought it to the surface but hid a grain of dirt in his mouth in order to have his own land.
  324. Bielobog then took the dirt from him and scattered it upon the water. The dirt became dry land and began to grow. Of course, the land in Chernobog’s mouth also began to grow and his mouth began to swell. Chernobog was forced to spit and spit to rid himself of all the earth and where he spit, mountains were formed.
  325. Angered that he was cheated out of his own land, he waited for Bielobog to fall asleep. As soon as the Bielobog was sleeping peacefully, Chernobog lifted him up to throw him in the water. In each direction he went, but the land had grown so much, he could not reach the ocean. When Bielobog awoke, Chernobog said “Look how much the land has grown, we should bless it.”
  326. And Bielobog said slyly, “I blessed it last night, in all four directions, when you tried to throw me in the water.”
  327. This greatly angered Chernobog, who stormed off to get away from Bielobog once and for all. In the meantime, the earth would not stop growing. This made Bielobog very nervous as the Heavens could no longer cover it all, so he sent an expedition to ask Chernobog how to make it stop.
  328. Chernobog had since created a goat. When the expedition saw the great Bielobog Chernobog riding astride a goat, they couldn’t stop laughing. This angered the Bielobog and he refused to speak to them. Bielobog then created a bee, and sent the bee to spy on Chernobog.
  329. The bee quietly alit upon Chernobog’s shoulder and waited. Soon, she heard him say to the goat “What a stupid Bielobog! He doesn’t even know that all he has to do is take a stick, make a cross to the four directions and say ‘That is enough earth’. Instead he wonders what to do.”
  330. Hearing this, the bee buzzed off in excitement. Knowing that he’d been heard, Chernobog yelled after the bee, “Whoever sent you, Let him eat your excrement!”.
    The bee went directly to Bielobog and said “He said All you need to do is make a cross to the four directions and say ‘That is enough earth.’ And to me he said ‘let whomever sent you eat your excrement’.
  331. So Bielobog stopped the earth from growing and than said to the bee “Then forever after, let there be no excrement sweeter than yours.”

    + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

    That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

    FYI: Literally, Bielobog = “Whitegod”, Chernobog = “Blackgod”

  • #320 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    Steve_C,

    Was the Nazi party, the SS, the german people; all atheists?

    I am not saying anything of the kind. Of course there were Christian Nazis and atheist Nazis and even Jewish Nazis. There were, after all, a lot of Nazis. I am not pressing the existence of a Nazi plan to persecute the churches any farther than this: it provides compelling evidence that the kind of arguments presented on here, that Hitler was a Christian because we can find some quotes to that effect, are simpleminded, willfully naive, transparently wishful thinking, hideously muddled thinking, and childishly superficial.

  • #321 Elyse
    July 31, 2008

    I think the most effective thing at this point to ask the Giberson type when they assert that science is the newest religion –

    How do you define science?

    I think that’ll trip them up a bit.

  • #322 mwb
    July 31, 2008

    “It took a nation of followers to do what they did. ”

    It really took more than one nation. There were many participants from conquered territories. When the godlings are so quick to make appeals to popularity to support their mass delusions, there’s simply no way for them to escape the fate of owning the ghettos and death camps. Though this ignores the obvious: even if all of the participants of the Holocaust had a crisis of faith and suddenly become materialists (despite hunting around for mystical treasures and other nonsense), it does not lend any credence to the idea that magical beings, forever outside the purview of human perception, exist.

    At this point even trying to argue against atheism with such things is like them admitting that their religions are false, but that they fear living in a world where everyone else isn’t deluded into believing them, because teh Hitler will get them.

  • #323 Sam
    July 31, 2008

    That guy who shot up the Unitarian church was an atheist who hated Christians. Like it or not he was one of you. He just happened to be a conservative atheist. Atheists are violent and filled with hatred.

  • #324 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    Gah! (*facepalm*) I can’t even proofread my own slavic creation myth. Correction:

    Chernobog had since created a goat. When the expedition saw the great god Chernobog riding astride a goat, they couldn’t stop laughing. This angered the god, and he refused to speak to them. Bielobog then created a bee, and sent the bee to spy on Chernobog.

  • #325 GuyIncognito
    July 31, 2008

    “I am not pressing the existence of a Nazi plan to persecute the churches any farther than this: it provides compelling evidence that the kind of arguments presented on here, that Hitler was a Christian because we can find some quotes to that effect, are simpleminded, willfully naive, transparently wishful thinking, hideously muddled thinking, and childishly superficial.”

    Christians are certainly not known to persecute other Christians. That’s never happened…

    (Are you fucking kidding me?)

  • #326 Blake Stacey
    July 31, 2008

    Sam (#323):

    That guy who shot up the Unitarian church was an atheist who hated Christians.

    Nope. He was a right-wing Christian who hated liberals and gays.

  • #327 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    GuyIncognito,

    Christians are certainly not known to persecute other Christians. That’s never happened…

    (Are you fucking kidding me?)

    Read the Rutgers documents, jackass. Hint: They don’t say: “let’s get rid of all those pesky Methodists and Presbyterians, confiscate their churches, and hand them over to decent and proper God fearing Lutherans.”

  • #328 GuyIncognito
    July 31, 2008

    #323:

    “KNOXVILLE, TENN. – An out-of-work truck driver accused of opening fire at a Unitarian church, killing two people, left behind a note suggesting that he targeted the congregation out of hatred for its liberal policies, including its acceptance of gays, authorities said Monday.”

    Hmm…hatred of gays? Sounds like he’s one of yours…

  • #329 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    Atheists are violent and filled with hatred.

    Wow! All of them? I had no idea!

    Oh, by the way… Virginia Tech?

  • #330 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    Sam, that guy was a conservative (suckling at the teat anyway) who hated progressives. One thing there probably not a lot of in there, were christers.
    Conservatives are violent and full of hate.

    Oh sorry, he was old, and hated young people. Old folks are violent and full of hate.

    No wait, he liked Wendy’s and he hated folks who liked McDonald’s, as the UUs did. People who like Wendy’s are violent and full of hate.

    Or was it that he was a Vogon and hated them for not loving his poetry. Vogons are violent and full of hate.

    Sam, this specious argument could go on forever.

    Goats have beards.
    Santa has a beard.
    Santa is a goat.

    Thanks for playing.

  • #331 Gustav Nyström
    July 31, 2008

    So what you are saying, heddle, is that Hitler was No True Scotsman?

  • #332 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    That guy who shot up the Unitarian church was an atheist who hated Christians. Like it or not he was one of you. He just happened to be a conservative atheist. Atheists are violent and filled with hatred.

    AHHHHHHHHHHHh no.

  • #333 Sam
    July 31, 2008

    Blake, he was muttering about how the Bible contradicted itself while he shot those people. He hated religion. This is what hatred does and what atheists do. I have been told many times that not all atheists are alike. So this guy was a conservative atheist, but an atheist just the same.

    Kseniya, yes they are. They say Christians are all stupid and evil. I say you are all stupid and evil. I am just using your logic and tactics.

  • #334 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    Sam #323 wrote:

    That guy who shot up the Unitarian church was an atheist who hated Christians.

    Well, it’s probably a bit silly to bother to point this out, but a hypothetical “atheist who hated Christians” would have been very, very unlikely to pick a Unitarian Church in order to find Christians, liberal or otherwise.

  • #335 Berlin
    July 31, 2008

    Dr David Berlinski is an award winning mathematician and an author of many books on evolution. A theory he chokes on, mind you. Most interesting of all is that he is more or less an agnostic, not a believer in any faith —- therefore, no axe to grind against non-believers and no reason to support Biblical teaching. Go read his many articles questioning evolution. They are entertaining. Or watch his 5 minute YouTube video. If nothing else, it pretty much points out that evolution does not and cannot deal with pragmatism or probabilities. No, they need faith to complete their puzzles.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-UCo7JQm-A&feature=related

    Quote: “Anytime science avoids coming to grips with numbers, it’s somehow immersing itself in perhaps an unavoidable but certainly unattractive miasma (i.e. cloud of murkiness).”

  • #336 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    I think there’s some sort of Law the causes violent criminals to magically become atheists.

    Is Cho an atheist yet?

    How about that preacher down south who kept his dead wife in the freezer for a couple of years? Is he an atheist yet?

  • #337 Sam
    July 31, 2008

    True Bob, that is strange. I use the exact words and logic that atheists use about Christians and yet you don’t find that convincing? So do you think that calling Christians names and blaming them for everything is convincing? If not then maybe atheists better find another form of argumentation. How about using something like reason? Or is that asking to much?

  • #338 GuyIncognito
    July 31, 2008

    “I am not pressing the existence of a Nazi plan to persecute the churches any farther than this: it provides compelling evidence that the kind of arguments presented on here, that Hitler was a Christian because we can find some quotes to that effect…”

    I shouldn’t have to download several huge files to respond to the words in front of my face, dumbass. If the Rutgers documents say something more than the stupidity quoted above, perhaps you should do a better job representing their position, dipshit.

  • #339 StuV
    July 31, 2008

    And that is what true faith is – not blind, but filled with a life-long groping.
    Posted by: anonanon | July 31, 2008 11:11 AM

    Odd. I thought priests only abused children.

  • #340 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    So now a mathematician knows it all. Gawds, they’re worse than engineers.

  • #341 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    Berlin #336 wrote:

    Dr David Berlinski is an award winning mathematician and an author of many books on evolution.

    Hi, Berlin.

    PZ Myers and the rest of us have looked at some of Berlinski’s work, and have found it less than impressive. At the top of this page on the left hand side there is a little search window and button which scans some of the back posts in this blog. I think you will enjoy typing in the word “Berlinski,” and reading what comes up.

    By the way, Karl Giberson is a scientist who has no problems with evolution. This wasn’t really a thread about creationism.

    But nice that you could join us.

  • #342 Sven DiMilo
    July 31, 2008

    Double fail in the very first sentence:

    Dr David Berlinski is an award winning mathematician

    Nope. Not a mathematician. PhD in philosophy, author of popular books on mathematics.

    and an author of many books on evolution.

    Nope. Author of zero books on evolution.
    He’s also incredibly blockheaded; there is a large and sophisticated mathematical theory of evolution. It’s not that hard to find, either. If Berlinski’s your idea of an expert, you’re stoopid. Got Google?

  • #343 Sam
    July 31, 2008

    Sastra, okay he wasn’t a very bright atheist. Lot’s of those around. He probably just picked a liberal church. Atheists hate all churches and religions. They do not discriminate among those that they kill.

    Ksneyia, Jeff Dahmer was an atheist who rejected religion. Only later did he go back to his childhood faith. In his atheist days he killed and ate people.

    So are you all convinced yet that atheism is wrong? What? No? Then why do you think these same kinds of “arguments” will convince Christians? You think the usual “Hitler” argument is going to work when it hasn’t the last thousand times you tried it? Come up with something NEW for God’s sake! Use reason maybe?

  • #344 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Dr David Berlinski…

    I’ll pass, we’ve all seen his gibberish before.

  • #345 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    What’s odd Sam, is that you think an isolated incident means something magical or profound. If he is an atheist, maybe it’s a miracle?

    Did you not understand what I wrote about Santa the goat?

    And how does any of that present an argument in favor of whatever you’re trying to convey (whatever that is)?

    Riddle me this – what’s a god?

  • #346 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    Sam:

    I say you are all stupid and evil. I am just using your logic and tactics.

    Even assuming that “all atheists” say what you claim they say, you’re assuming that two wrongs make a right. My logic? My tactics? Nice job, you miserable wretched hypocrite.

    Oh, by the way – are you a Christian?

    Say – what’s that in your eye?

  • #347 craig
    July 31, 2008

    “Then why do you think these same kinds of “arguments” will convince Christians? “

    Actually in my experience NO arguments will convince Christians.

  • #348 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    They say Christians are all stupid and evil. I say you are all stupid and evil. I am just using your logic and tactics.

    Who is this “they”?

  • #349 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    Gustav Nyström

    So what you are saying, heddle, is that Hitler was No True Scotsman?

    No, but I would have bet the farm (and won) that it wouldn’t be long until someone brought up that pinheaded argument.

    Here is how it might apply. If I was arguing that, yes, Hitler claimed to be a Christian but from his actions you can see that he isn’t a True Christian?, then you might be justified in pulling the hair trigger on the No True Scotsman charge. You’d still be wrong, but you’d at least have a case.

    And I have made that argument before, but I haven’t made it here.

    This is different. With the documents I can claim that it is at least plausible that Hitler only feigned Christianity when it was politically expedient. If so, the overused True Scotsman argument would not apply.

    GuyIncognito,

    I shouldn’t have to download several huge files to respond to the words in front of my face, dumbass. If the Rutgers documents say something more than the stupidity quoted above, perhaps you should do a better job representing their position, dipshit.

    Clearly it would be a waste of time on simpletons such as you. And no, you shouldn’t have to download such “huge” files (on you on a 300 baud modem?) and read them when it is much easier to dismiss them, unread, with a quip.

  • #350 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    By the way, Sam, cherry-picking only those homicidal sociopaths whose infamous actions support your “arugment” does not qualify as the use of “reason, maybe.”

  • #351 WRMartin
    July 31, 2008

    Mena #287

    Ah, the fall out of Crackergate: new trolls who won’t leave and people who won’t stop feeding them. :^(

    Maybe the trolls are eating the crumbs. ;)

    To others who have pointed out the SEP effect – that is a bull’s eye. It’s quite amazing and baffling to talk to religious types from the fundamental sect. They simply cannot imagine what we occupy our time with. To them if we aren’t Christian then by default we are Pagan or worship the Occult. I asked my wife once what it is they think I do on Sundays – Am I suposed to dance naked in the Papa John’s Pizza parking lot wearing snake livers for shoes? Although I do confess I did have a secret wish to lay down a large tarp in my living room and ‘accidentally’ be discovered by one of our fundamental neighbors while I was going through my weekly ritual of dismembering a goat and eating its brain raw without utensils while standing naked in a puddle of blood and entrails using the blood and guts to paint designs on my body.

    P.S. Just for funzies, the next time your local (or related) Christian is requesting money for their next mission trip tell them that instead of money you are going to pray for them. They never get the irony but it sure does feel good.

  • #352 Berlin
    July 31, 2008

    Oh, here is another good 3 minutes of commentary from David Berlinski. Oh, no doubt, your hero PZ Myers can fill you full of rebuttals to satisfy your fiercly held theory that we evolved. Still, I put it out there for my pleasure. The man is interesting, entertaining, and really quite brilliant. It doesn’t take too many agnostic, well credentialed scientists to discredit the entire body of evolutionist lovers, IMO. They are just sick of the games you people are playing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW2GkDkimkE&feature=related

  • #353 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    And no, I don’t have a spell-checker or typo-filter.

    *mutter*

  • #354 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    Sam #343 wrote:

    So are you all convinced yet that atheism is wrong? What? No? Then why do you think these same kinds of “arguments” will convince Christians?

    As far as I can tell, nobody here (and few atheists in general) would use the argument that “(some) Christians do bad things: therefore, religion is false.” As you point out, that doesn’t follow. In theory, every Christian could be nasty as nasty, and yet Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose on the third day. It’s irrelevant.

    So it’s a different argument — can people be moral without a belief in God?

    When theists bring up Hitler, they often do so to bolster the claim that religion is necessary for morality. They insist that, because Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot etc. were “atheists,” that must be what atheism leads to. An atheist would have to assume that, because there is no God, it’s okay to rule over others by force. Like Hitler.

    We get that argument on regular basis.

    Pointing out that Hitler (Christian or not) used religion to promote, justify, and inspire his followers is a valid counter.

    Only in the steady and constant application of force lies the very first prerequisite for success. This persistence, however, can always and only arise from a definite spiritual conviction. Any violence which does not spring from a firm, spiritual base, will be wavering and uncertain.”
    -Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf

    Religion is a very effective motivator. Not always for good.

  • #355 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    Hey, I just saw this on Facebook:

    “Berlin is not getting it.”

    The man is interesting, entertaining, and really quite brilliant.

    Sure, sure – but is he RIGHT? That’s a question you’re apparently unwilling (or, more likely, unable) to answer.

  • #356 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    The man is interesting, entertaining, and really quite brilliant. It doesn’t take too many agnostic, well credentialed scientists to discredit the entire body of evolutionist lovers, IMO. They are just sick of the games you people are playing.

    yawn.

    Come up with the science. Hours upon hours of marketing takes and PR campaigns are not science.

  • #357 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    Sam, I don’t think most atheists bring up Hitler as an example of christiness gone nutsy-fig. Usually some christer brings it up, saying “Hitler was an atheist intending to kill religiofolk”. We usually don’t leave that (or Stalin, or Mao, or Kim, or [name of tyrant here]) undefended. There are so many better examples of why any religion is snafu, anyway.

  • #358 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Ksneyia, Jeff Dahmer was an atheist who rejected religion. Only later did he go back to his childhood faith. In his atheist days he killed and ate people.

    Posted by: Sam

    And here I was, thinking he stopped murdering and eating young men and teenage boys after he was arrested and placed in prison. I had no idea that his faith in Jesus made Dahmer stop. You have a very odd idea about cause and effect.

  • #359 Sven DiMilo
    July 31, 2008

    The man is interesting, entertaining, and really quite brilliant.

    You forgot “narcissistic,” “arrogant,” and, most importantly, “entirely wrong.”

    It doesn’t take too many agnostic, well credentialed scientists

    Berlinski is zero-credentialed as a scientist you dumbass. I bet you can’t name a single real scientist with even so-so credentials who agrees with your stoopid opinion.
    Jeez, this gets tiresome.

  • #360 GuyIncognito
    July 31, 2008

    I did not dismiss the article, I dismissed your stupid comment. To paraphrase, you said Hitler persecuting churches is compelling evidence that Hitler is not Christian. I responded that historically, Christians have shown that they have absolutely no problem with persecuting other Christians, therefore it is NOT compelling evidence. That is what I responded to. If these documents add something more, then you should provide that something more in your arguments instead of expecting me to read a fucking book in order to respond to you.

    Dipshit.

  • #361 Blake Stacey
    July 31, 2008

    Dr David Berlinski is an award winning mathematician and an author of many books on evolution.

    As previous commenters have pointed out, Berlinski is neither a mathematician nor an author of many books on evolution. He is, however, a demented fuckwit.

  • #362 mwb
    July 31, 2008

    Sam, the Bible does contradict itself. There are differences in the tales of creation, and Jesus has two different lineages. That is just for starters. Recognizing this does not mean that you do not believe in the existence of one or more supernatural entities with magical abilities, it just means that you can read and have bothered to look at a Bible for more than ten minutes.

    The nutter in question may or may not be an atheist; I haven’t seen any convincing evidence of his metaphysics. I don’t really know or care what the guy’s religious convictions are. Killing things certainly doesn’t require the belief in an imaginary friend. An unassailable imaginary friend whose dicta you adhere to for no reason is a powerful tool over your brain to leave in the hands of self-important beggars and pedophile enablers, but who do you think is arguing it is the cause of all human ills?

  • #363 Damian with an a
    July 31, 2008

    Perhaps, Sam, you’d like to explain how non-believers only make up 0.209% of the prison population?, given that roughly 10% of the US population are non-believers,

    I don’t read too much in to that, to be honest, but it is difficult to deny that non-believers are vastly under-represented in prisons.

  • #364 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    You think the usual “Hitler” argument is going to work when it hasn’t the last thousand times you tried it? Come up with something NEW for God’s sake! Use reason maybe?

    Posted by: Sam

    Anytime Hitler comes up as a point about morality, it is made by a particularly ignorant christian claiming that atheism leads to genocide. Please note that adjective I placed before the term ‘christian’. I know not all christians make this argument. But that is some fine projecting on your part. And, yes Sam, I am implying that you are an ignorant christian.

  • #365 Blake Stacey
    July 31, 2008

    Sastra:

    When theists bring up Hitler, they often do so to bolster the claim that religion is necessary for morality. They insist that, because Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot etc. were “atheists,” that must be what atheism leads to.

    Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot did not believe in Zeus. Therefore, Zeus-belief is necessary for morality.

    Simple, ain’t it?

  • #366 James F
    July 31, 2008

    #342

    Sven, I sense a possible triple fail. What awards has Berlinksi won? I mean, other than something on the level of the Casey Luskin Award….

  • #367 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    Berlin #352 wrote:

    It doesn’t take too many agnostic, well credentialed scientists to discredit the entire body of evolutionist lovers, IMO.

    Yes it does, if you’re talking expert opinion. David Berlinski has not persuaded the scientific community.

    But of course, he is not trying to persuade the scientific community, is he? He’s trying to please folks like you — no real education, expertise, or experience in the field of biology, but, by gum, you’ve got more’n a lick ‘o common sense, and can see through all those pointy-headed scientists for what they are.

    They all get it wrong. All of them, thousands and thousands of experts get it completely, totally wrong for over a hundred years of research and discovery across multiple fields and NOBODY NOTICES. None of them! It takes Brave Maverick Scientist David Berlinski and Ordinary Guys just like you to finally get it right. And point it out.

    That’s very exciting, but don’t you think it’s a bit far-fetched?

  • #368 Eric Saveau
    July 31, 2008

    Cross-threaded (no pun intended) @Sam
    he was muttering about how the Bible contradicted itself while he shot those people. He hated religion. This is what hatred does and what atheists do.

    Commenting about contradictions in the Bible does not an atheist make; Christians do it as well (or are they No True Christians?). You need far more than that to identify him as an atheist.

    By the way, that guy who shot up the Unitarian church was a conservative who hated atheists, liberals and gays. Like it or not he was one of you. He just happened to be a conservative who may or may not have been an atheist. Conservatives are violent and filled with hatred.

    Also, that guy who blew up the Oklahoma Federal Building was a Christian who hated atheists and Jews. Like it or not he was one of you. Christians are violent and filled with hatred.

    And that guy who bombed the Olympic Center in Georgia was a Christian who hated liberals and atheists and women. Like it or not he was one of you. He just happened to also be a Southern redneck. Christians are violent and filled with hatred.

    And the guy who shot up Virginia Tech was a Christian who hated liberals and the “debauchery” of “rich kids”. Like it or not he was one of you. He just happened to also be of Korean descent. Christians are violent and filled with hatred.

    And those guys who bomb abortion clinics, shoot the employees and stalk their family members are Christians who hate atheists, liberals, women and doctors. Like it or not they are part of you. They just happen to be willing to act out the sick fantasies that you only masturbate to. Christians are violent and filled with hatred.

    We can play this game all day long, Sam, and it will never get old.

  • #369 JimC
    July 31, 2008

    If so, the overused True Scotsman argument would not apply.

    It’s certainly not overused.

  • #370 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    GuyIncognito #360,

    To paraphrase, you said Hitler persecuting churches is compelling evidence that Hitler is not Christian.

    That’s not a paraphrase, that’s a misquote. What I said (see #320) was it provided compelling evidence for the conclusion that the arguments made on here are naive. I wrote:

    I am not pressing the existence of a Nazi plan to persecute the churches any farther than this: it provides compelling evidence that the kind of arguments presented on here, that Hitler was a Christian because we can find some quotes to that effect, are simpleminded, willfully naive, transparently wishful thinking, hideously muddled thinking, and childishly superficial.

    As for Hitler, I did not use the documents as “compelling evidence” that he was not a Christian, I wrote (see #349):

    With the documents I can claim that it is at least plausible that Hitler only feigned Christianity when it was politically expedient.

    Without proof:

    “compelling evidence” != “at least plausible.”

    So we can add misrepresentation to your bag O’ tricks.

  • #371 Sven DiMilo
    July 31, 2008

    @#366: James, you’re right!
    Although I could think up some “awards” I’d like to “award” to Berlinski. That guy gives me the serious creeps.

  • #372 Steve_C
    July 31, 2008

    Berlinski is a toolski.

  • #373 kjdamrau
    July 31, 2008

    Arguing with – or imparting information to – believers in bronze age myths is ultimately futile. It is akin to arguing with a 3 year old. They lack the requisite intellectual equipment.

    I say we leave them with their myths. Don’t bother them. Like Zeus and Osiris, these “ideas” will fade and eventually become quaint and laughable. Surely we see the seeds of that future in blogs like this.

    As for the adults in the room, embrace the future, for it is ours.

  • #374 Tyler DiPietro
    July 31, 2008

    “With the documents I can claim that it is at least plausible that Hitler only feigned Christianity when it was politically expedient.”

    It’s certainly “at least plausible”, but nothing in the documents contradicts Hitler’s commitment to what was known as “positive Christianity“. That he saw other Christian sects as an obstacle to A.) total state power and B.) perpetual warfare and planned to violently undermine them is not good evidence that he faked his Christianity, only that he didn’t see the other Christianities as conducive to his own mission.

    One could claim that positive Christianity and the paganism practiced in the Third Reich were non-Christian and anti-Christian respectively. However, it is worth noting that the point still stands that neither were atheistic.

  • #375 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    Of course there were Christian Nazis and atheist Nazis and even Jewish Nazis. There were, after all, a lot of Nazis. – heddle

    How revoltingly disingenuous. You know as well as the rest of us that the vast majority of Nazis were Christians. If Hitler was feigning Christianity (actually the evidence is pretty clear that he was not an orthodox Christian but was a theist), why would he do that?

  • #376 observer
    July 31, 2008

    Sam,

    Find me one reference to an eyewitness who reports that the gunman was muttering about contradictions in the Bible as he shot those people. I’ve searched and found several reports of him ranting against homosexuality and liberalism.

    One neighbor reported that several years ago the guy had griped to her about religion, but nobody’s reported that he was making any noises about that at the shooting.

    They guy might or might not have been an atheist. Hatred of religion is not, however, a justification he appears to have used in this case. Hatred of liberals is.

  • #377 kermit
    July 31, 2008

    “I agree with William F. Buckley: “Bach’s music is proof of the existence of God.” How many commenters here listen to Bach? Can they comprehend him? Or is he boring?
    Posted by: blabblab”

    One of my favorites is his “Coffee Cantata”, which clearly establishes that coffee is the divine drug. I like baroque, but usually prefer ecstatic jazz. Alice Coltrane’s “P’tah the el Daoud” proves that God was the first divine ruler of Egypt, and the father of Ra.

    Kermit

  • #378 CJO
    July 31, 2008

    That’s no true No True Scotsman argument!

    (Expand modularly for hours of entertainment!)

  • #379 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    One of my favorites is his “Coffee Cantata”, which clearly establishes that coffee is the divine drug. I like baroque, but usually prefer ecstatic jazz. Alice Coltrane’s “P’tah the el Daoud” proves that God was the first divine ruler of Egypt, and the father of Ra.

    Kermit

    And Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra informed us that Space is the Place.

  • #380 kermit
    July 31, 2008

    heddle @260 “I’ll repeat a challenge. I’ll provide you with ten peer reviewed, first-rate-journal, scientific articles. Five from known believers, five from known atheists. I want you to tell me which ones are the articles from believers. Now since that would be easy to determine by Google, you must give credible explanations as to how you determined which articles came from believers and which came from atheists.

    Want to try, or are you just blowing smoke?”

    Since I, and I think, most regulars here, would claim that religion does not contribute to science, it would be impossible to tell. The claim that religion and science are incompatible is not the same as claiming a theist can’t do science; it is instead claiming that one is not doing religion if one is doing science.

    Most of us would agree that having sex and teaching kindergarten students is incompatible (“never the twain shall meet”), but I would not suggest that the same person can’t properly do both in the appropriate context.

    A more interesting test would be if you showed how the religion of those five theists in your selection *contributed to their papers.

    Or are you just blowing smoke?

  • #381 Damian with an a
    July 31, 2008

    heddle:

    I would agree with you that Hitler used, not only Christianity, but anything that he felt was of use to him, to further his aims.

    However, he was either a Christian or he was not [and we know that Germany was overwhelmingly Christian]. So unless you can provide compelling evidence that he was an atheist, it is perfectly reasonable to point to the fact that his writings, as well as many of his actions, do suggest that he was a Christian, whether a good one or bad.

    To claim that pointing that out — when told that Hitler was an atheist, don’t forget — is “simpleminded, willfully naive, transparently wishful thinking, hideously muddled thinking, and childishly superficial”, is, I’m afraid, meaningless, and rather misses the point.

    All that you have done is provide evidence that he was planning to persecute the churches in Germany. That may well be evidence that he wasn’t a Christian, or that he wasn’t a very good Christian, or that he felt that he needed to rid Germany of the churches in order to further his own aims.

    As you are quite aware, there is much evidence that he thought of himself as a Christian. That is all that most people suggest, in my experience, and it is a counter to the claim that he was an atheist.

    So you have far more work ahead of you to show that it is “simpleminded, willfully naive, transparently wishful thinking, hideously muddled thinking, and childishly superficial” to claim that Hitler was a Christian.

    Thus far, you haven’t even come close.

  • #382 GuyIncognito
    July 31, 2008

    #370: Fine. You are not saying that Hitler was not a Christian, but that a Nazi plan to persecute churches means that arguments for Hitler’s Christianity based on Hitler’s word alone are basically dumb. I apologize for completely misrepresenting your position. However, I am saying that the existence of a Nazi plan to persecute churches is NOT compelling evidence that it is “simpleminded, willfully naive, transparently wishful thinking, hideously muddled thinking, and childishly superficial” to argue that Hitler was a Christian based on what Hitler said. I base this on the fact that Christians have historically not had any problem with persecuting other Christians. However, if the Rutgers documents say something more about this persecution, include that in your arguments rather than linking to 100 pages of poorly scanned reports, especially if it is as painfully simple to understand as you seem to imply.

  • #383 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    If Hitler was feigning Christianity (actually the evidence is pretty clear that he was not an orthodox Christian but was a theist), why would he do that?

    This is a stupid question posed by an obviously unthinking moron. Let’s free murderers from prisons because they say that they’re innocent!!! Why would they do that!!!??

    JESUS. H. CHRIST!! Some of you guys will believe anything.

  • #384 Epikt
    July 31, 2008

    heddle:

    Could it possibly be that Hitler used Christian symbology for political expediency? Could it be (*gasp*) that Hitler was sometimes less than truthful? I know, it does make the mind reel…

    Suppose Hitler was completely atheistic and totally cynical. Doesn’t the fact that he could use christianity as a effective pretext for genocide suggest that, just maybe, something is fundamentally wrong with that religion?

  • #385 Sven DiMilo
    July 31, 2008

    And Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Solar Arkestra informed us that Space is the Place.

    ‘Deed they did!
    A friend of mine worked the stage crew once when the Arkestra played our college town, and he asked Sun Ra how he preferred to be addressed. The answer came:
    “Some call me Sun Ra. Others call me Mr. Ra. You can call me: Mr. Ree”

    They plan to leave…

  • #386 Epikt
    July 31, 2008

    Sven DiMilo:

    Say, if you can also channel Coltrane, I have some questions for him about Ascension…get back to me!

    He told me it was supposed to be the backing track for a Carpenters pop tune, but something went horribly wrong.

  • #387 WRMartin
    July 31, 2008

    Sam #343

    Atheists hate all churches and religions.

    I do, do I? How is it you know so much about me? Have you been watching me dance naked in the Papa John’s Pizza parking lot every midnight? If so, what was I wearing for shoes?
    Have you been peeking in my windows Sunday afternoons while I was standing on a blood covered tarp in my living room eating a freshly dismembered goat’s brain without utensils and using the blood and guts to paint designs on my body?
    If so, you’ve been very naughty. Besides, you should have politely asked to join me – the goat brain is wonderful.

    See the deal is Sam, we aren’t trying to convince Christians of anything. Frankly we don’t care who or what you worship or how often you do it or whether you need a tarp or not. Mostly we’re puzzled why you are here at an Atheist’s blog making posts claiming to know what I do and what I think.

  • #388 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Doesn’t the fact that he could use christianity as a effective pretext for genocide suggest that, just maybe, something is fundamentally wrong with that religion?

    Another history moron. Please think for yourself, don’t just read things that support your narrow capacity for comprehension or challenge your pre-conceived hopes of how history should look in order to support your wishful thinking.

  • #389 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Baba, you are the dumb fuck who claimed that rationalism was the backbone of Nazism. Talk about a history moron. You see one every time you look in a mirror.

  • #390 Jacques
    July 31, 2008

    who the fuck reads salon anymore? They’ve been a bunch of wankers writing that piece of crap for ages. Well, at least the modern age of the internets.

  • #391 C R Stamey
    July 31, 2008

    Please think for yourself, don’t just read things that support your narrow capacity for comprehension or challenge your pre-conceived hopes of how history should look in order to support your wishful thinking.

    Posted by: Baba | July 31, 2008 3:43 PM

    BANG.
    There goes another irony meter. Project much, Baba? Ok, enough troll feeding.

  • #392 Dhea
    July 31, 2008

    Epikt, I am not sure it does, one could, and I dread saying this, imagine even science being used as a pretext for any form of mass horror? I am not completely sure about this, and please correct me if I am wrong, but I imagine that there have, in the past, been social policies that have used science – incorrectly – as a justification. I am thinking mostly of birth control policies? I suppose one could argue though that religion is more prone, by virtue of an underlying principle of blind belief, than science to such a manipulation though even that might be controversial because my understanding is that some adherents of faith consider an exercise of reason with their religious framework to be essential to a practice of their religion.

  • #393 Berlin
    July 31, 2008

    Oh, I just researched PZ Myers archive on Berlinski’s comments about the whale evolving from a cow. PZ sure leaves a lot out of what Berlinski is questioning. I wonder why? Probably because they have no answers or sound evidence for their conjectures. On the other hand, PZ Myers does a wonderful of job of defending evolution by doing what all evolutionists do when cornered; that is, they always tell us what evolution is not and ignore describing what it is. The rest of you sycophants also seem to specialize in just telling us the “Berlinski is a dope” or “we’ve debunked his challenges before” and then leave it at that because your superior time and talents are not to be bothered by questions.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/08/berlinski_and_his_astonishing.php#more

    Berlinski also raises some very good points in that three minute YouTube I pass along a few hours ago. But all you students are quick to call it bunk but conspicuously absent are academic rebuttals to his arguments. I know, both Berlinski and I are too stupid to waste your time on. Keep patting your peers on the back though.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW2GkDkimkE&feature=related

    Since everyone keeps telling us now whales did not evolve from cows, then what advanced land mammal did they evolve from? Apparently it was not exactly how National Geographic tried to pass off to us as fact either?

    http://www.trueorigin.org/ng_whales01.asp

  • #394 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp – I’ve done 10 more silent head/desks reading this thread. Who’s leading the head pounding today, you or me?

    All this Hitler shit, blah blah blah!

  • #395 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Berlin, you really are an insulting little schmuck.

    But all you students are quick to call it bunk but conspicuously absent are academic rebuttals to his arguments. I know, both Berlinski and I are too stupid to waste your time on. Keep patting your peers on the back though.

    There are scientists here who are familiar with Berlinski’s ideas. They feel no more need to answer him than they feel the need to disprove Ray Comfort’s idea that the banana is proof of design. There do not have to waste time on the stupid. Laughter is enough.

    People are laughing at you, Berlin.

  • #396 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    But Patricia, Hitler shit is all they have. And you desire to mock them for having such a meager haul.

    Oh, who am I shitting. I am enjoying rolling over the stupid.

  • #397 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    Since everyone keeps telling us now whales did not evolve from cows – Berlin

    What do you mean now, you insolent fraud? Nobody ever said they did.

    I see you regard Harun Yahya, the well-known and respected jailbird, as an authority on this matter.

  • #398 Lee Picton
    July 31, 2008

    @ #373

    “I say we leave them with their myths. Don’t bother them. Like Zeus and Osiris, these “ideas” will fade and eventually become quaint and laughable. Surely we see the seeds of that future in blogs like this.”

    If only that were possible. In a better world, the comfortable delusions of the faithful would not concern any of us, and “live and let live” could be the order of the day. Unfortunately, entirely too many of these deluded fuckwits want us (nay, DEMAND of us) to validate their fantasies. They also vote (even against their own best interests) for candidates who reflect their “family values.” They have outsize influence in the choice of textbooks in Texas and thus in the rest of the USA (a scandal of its very own). They are anti-science, anti- woman, anti-intellectual, anti-everything that is NOT LIKE THEM. They are a clear and present danger to our society, and only the resistance (it’s really, really happening!) of the rational individuals in this society will check their outsize power. Each and every one of you can be an instrument of this resistance. Join something. Write letters. Give money. Agitate. I have recently become a life member of FFRF, and like to think I am contributing. But it takes more, much more. OK, I am getting down from the box now.

  • #399 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Janine – Sheesh, this thread looked like Helm’s Deep when I went to bed, now it’s worse! We have orcs and Hitler trolls to back them up.
    Codswalloping blatherskites of buffonery! Begone!

  • #400 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    Tyler DiPietro, #374

    It’s certainly “at least plausible”, but nothing in the documents contradicts Hitler’s commitment to what was known as “positive Christianity”. That he saw other Christian sects as an obstacle to A.) total state power and B.) perpetual warfare and planned to violently undermine them is not good evidence that he faked his Christianity, only that he didn’t see the other Christianities as conducive to his own mission.
    One could claim that positive Christianity and the paganism practiced in the Third Reich were non-Christian and anti-Christian respectively. However, it is worth noting that the point still stands that neither were atheistic.

    Perhaps–that is certainly a valid counter argument. And it would lead us up to the doorstep of the debate as to whether or not Nazi-ized Christianity, with the very symbol of the cross replaced by the Swastika, sufficiently resembled orthodox Christianity to be called Christian–which, rather than being argued on its merits, would be drowned out with shouts of “No True Scotsman.” No point going there.

    Nick Gotts, #375

    How revoltingly disingenuous. You know as well as the rest of us that the vast majority of Nazis were Christians.

    I “know” of no such thing. It may be correct, but it is not manifestly true. Even today, in the US, it is complicated. Few would dispute that the huge disparity between the relatively small percentage of Americans who attend church each week and the rather large percentage that respond positively to the simple question “Are you a Christian?” is suggestive of the possibility that some answer “yes” from social and peer pressure. On this blog I have seen “the US is filled with Christians, reference the big self-identifying percentage” when that was useful for the point being argued, and also invocations of “there may not be as many Christians as surveys suggest, reference the church attendance figure” when that was useful.

    In short, I have no clue the how many Nazis were Christians. It may indeed have been a majority–but you cannot prove that, nobody can, so stop pretending it is an established fact. And if you insist that it is a fact, why would the Nazis have a plan to persecute the church, and how could they hope to carry it out? Would they use Christian kappos?

    If Hitler was feigning Christianity (actually the evidence is pretty clear that he was not an orthodox Christian but was a theist), why would he do that?

    Is that a trick question? He might feign Christianity to garner support from German Christians.

    Kermit #380

    A more interesting test would be if you showed how the religion of those five theists in your selection *contributed to their papers.
    Or are you just blowing smoke?

    Well, if I ever claim that a scientist’s atheism is incompatible with his science, then come back and issue your challenge. Until then, your challenge doesn’t apply.

    Damian with an a, #381
    So you have far more work ahead of you to show that it is “simpleminded, willfully naive, transparently wishful thinking, hideously muddled thinking, and childishly superficial” to claim that Hitler was a Christian.

    Why should I do that when I didn’t make the claim? I said the arguments made on here were naïve. I didn’t rule out that someone could make a serious case, but if so they must deal with the Rutgers documents.

    GuyIncognito #382

    However, if the Rutgers documents say something more about this persecution, include that in your arguments rather than linking to 100 pages of poorly scanned reports, especially if it is as painfully simple to understand as you seem to imply.

    Fair enough–but at least read the analyses of people who have read the documents to get a flavor of what they contain. I didn’t even pretend to present a summary–I just reminded everyone of their existence.

    Epikt, #384

    Suppose Hitler was completely atheistic and totally cynical. Doesn’t the fact that he could use christianity as a effective pretext for genocide suggest that, just maybe, something is fundamentally wrong with that religion?

    I think it suggests that many people everywhere, of all persuasions, will find it difficult to resist a totalitarian regime. And that people in hard times will rationalize to survive. And that Hitler employing the trappings of Christianity helped some to rationalize that what they were doing was not evil.

  • #401 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Dang! No body peek – I gotta bend over and pick up that ‘o’.

  • #402 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Baba, you are the dumb fuck who claimed that rationalism was the backbone of Nazism. Talk about a history moron. You see one every time you look in a mirror.

    You fracktard! You couldn’t be more wrong. Try to stay rational.

  • #403 SeanD.
    July 31, 2008

    (sniffs)

    Yuck, who let the trolls poop everywhere?

  • #404 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Project much, Baba?

    Not much!

  • #405 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    I “know” of no such thing. – heddle
    Liar.

  • #406 Geoffi
    July 31, 2008

    Maybe in the morning, but so far it’s almost as if nobody reads Salon.

    Not almost PZ, pretty much what it is. No one really reads Salon unless someone else links to it.

    It’s the kind of thing people scan quickly and then move away from.

  • #407 Blake Stacey
    July 31, 2008

    But all you students are quick to call it bunk but conspicuously absent are academic rebuttals to his [Berlinski’s] arguments.

    Closing your eyes makes them go away, eh?

  • #408 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Hitler trolls, yikes! Now that is a hideous looking creature. Patricia, are you familiar with Orac’s Hitler Zombie?

    I do like the use of old timey language.

  • #409 Berlin
    July 31, 2008

    Janine ID said: “There are scientists here who are familiar with Berlinski’s ideas. They feel no more need to answer him than they feel the need to disprove Ray Comfort’s idea that the banana is proof of design. There do not have to waste time on the stupid. Laughter is enough.”

    But your bright peers told me to go to PZ’s archives to see him debunk Dr Berlinski’s comments on the whales, et al. and so I did. And PZ had his article about it, but he did nothing of the sort. He mostly did what you are doing. i.e. telling us “we’ve addressed that ridiculous argument in the past, don’t waste our time.”

    I guess I am starting to get the point. I’m wasting both of our time because even though you have no answers, you are well past dealing with difficult questions coming from those who question evolution. So, Ok, I guess whales came from something somehow and that is all I need to know. But don’t ask us about the fossils either.
    Thanks.

  • #410 Pimientita
    July 31, 2008

    @heddle:

    Could it possibly be that Hitler used Christian symbology for political expediency? Could it be (*gasp*) that Hitler was sometimes less than truthful? I know, it does make the mind reel…

    Could be, but you would still have to explain why his use of Christian symbology worked! Why millions of German Christians bought into Hitler’s insanity.

    Could it possibly be that Jews had been used as scapegoats and bogeymen for centuries in Christian Europe bolstered by the ravings of Christian leaders such as Martin Luther among many others? If the narrative of the evil, devious, dirty, Christ-killer Jews hadn’t been so thoroughly cultivated by Christianity over these centuries, the German people most likely would never have bought into Hitler’s propaganda. But they did and it was through the usage of the imagery that had been part of the Church for hundreds and hundreds of years.

    So, yes, it is possible that Hitler was not a Christian (despite his church attendance and his writings declaring his work to be for God and so on), but the vast majority of those who actually supported and carried out his evil deeds were Christians which is why his symbolism worked.

  • #411 Matt Penfold
    July 31, 2008

    The point atheists make when showing that Christians, or followers of other religions, have acted badly is that it would seem to show that being religious does not make someone especially moral.

    Some, but not all, religious believers claim that morality comes from god, and that those who do not believe cannot be moral, or will at least be less moral. If we take that as a hypothesis we would expect to find atheists committing more immoral acts that religious people. We do not find that.

    With regards Hitler, Heddle is right, he may well not have been a Christian although he probably was some kind of deist. However he did make use of Christianity, especially in respect of the widespread anti-Semitism found in German religion at the time. Hitler built on that, but did not create it. In addition a good number of the German Churches initially welcomed Hitler as a bulwark against socialism and approved his dismantling of the democratic state. When it comes to the history of the Third Reich the German Churches do not come across as bastions of defiance against the excesses of the state.

  • #412 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Mein Gott! That’s one ugly zombie.
    I suppose we could stuff the thing in the catapult and fling it back at them. It stinks as bad as their arguments.

  • #413 Emmet Caulfield
    July 31, 2008

    mwb #362, re: “pedophile enablers”

    The Roman Catholic Church are, in fact, a child rape enablement mafia. You see, a pædophile could be inactive, never touching a child, and not ever commit an evil act. It is buggering children, forcing children to perform fellatio, and otherwise raping children that’s the problem. Calling what the Church criminally conspires to cover up mere “pædophilia” sanitises their disgusting crimes and makes it sound less than it really is.

    IMO, we should call them “child rape enablers” rather than just “pedophile enablers”.

  • #414 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    The enemy is authoritarianism fueled by tribalism.

    Not religion. Not science. Not atheism.

    But of the three, which relies on authoritarianism and promotes tribalism?

  • #415 CJO
    July 31, 2008

    So, Ok, I guess whales came from something somehow and that is all I need to know. But don’t ask us about the fossils either.

    Fossils? Did somebody ask about fossils?
    From
    TalkOrigins:
    (sorry about the long block, but, well, there are a lot of fossils!)

    Eoconodon or similar triisodontine arctocyonids (early Paleocene) Unspecialized condylarths quite similar to the early oxyclaenid condylarths, but with strong canine teeth (showing first meat-eating tendencies), blunt crushing cheek teeth, and flattened claws instead of nails.
    Microclaenodon (mid-Paleocene) — A transitional genus intermediate between Eoconodon and the mesonychids, with molar teeth reorganizing in numerous ways to look like premolars. Adapted more toward carnivory.
    Dissacus (mid-Paleocene) — A mesonychid (rather unspecialized Paleocene meat-eating animal) with molars more like premolars & several other tooth changes. Still had 5 toes in the foot and a primitive plantigrade posture.
    Hapalodectes or a very similar mesonychid (early Eocene, around 55 Ma) — A small mesonychid with very narrow shearing molars, a distinctively shaped zygomatic arch, and peculiar vascularized areas between the molars. Probably a running animal that could swim by paddling its feet. Hapalodectes itself may be just too late to be the whale ancestor, but probably was a close relative of the whale ancestor. Says Carroll (1988): “The skulls of Eocene whales bear unmistakable resemblances to those of primitive terrestrial mammals of the early Cenozoic. Early [whale] genera retain a primitive tooth count with distinct incisors, canines, premolars,, and multirooted molar teeth. Although the snout is elongate, the skull shape resembles that of the mesonychids, especially Hapalodectes….”
    Pakicetus (early-mid Eocene, 52 Ma) — The oldest fossil whale known. Same skull features as Hapalodectes, still with a very terrestrial ear (tympanic membrane, no protection from pressure changes, no good underwater sound localization), and therefore clearly not a deep diver. Molars still have very mesonychid-like cusps, but other teeth are like those of later whales. Nostrils still at front of head (no blowhole). Whale- like skull crests and elongate jaws. Limbs unknown. Only about 2.5 m long. This skull was found with terrestrial fossils and may have been amphibious, like a hippo.
    Ambulocetus natans (early-mid Eocene, 50 Ma) — A recently discovered early whale, with enough of the limbs and vertebrae preserved to see how the early whales moved on land and in the water. This whale had four legs! Front legs were stubby. Back legs were short but well-developed, with enormous broad feet that stuck out behind like tail flukes. Had no true tail flukes, just a long simple tail. Size of a sea lion. Still had a long snout with no blowhole. Probably walked on land like a sea lion, and swam with a seal/otter method of steering with the front feet and propelling with the hind feet. So, just as predicted, these early whales were much like modern sea lions — they could swim, but they could also still walk on land. (Thewissen et al., 1994)
    Rodhocetus (mid-Eocene, 46 Ma) — Another very recent (1993) fossil whale discovery. Had hind legs a third smaller than those of A. natans. Could probably still “waddle” a bit on land, but by now it had a powerful tail (indicated by massive tail vertebrae) and could probably stay out at sea for long periods of time. Nostrils had moved back a bit from the tip of the snout.
    Basilosaurus isis, Protocetes, Indocetus ramani and similar small-legged whales of the mid-late Eocene (45-42 Ma) — After Rodhocetus came several whales that still had hind legs, but couldn’t walk on them any more. For example, B. isis (42 Ma) had hind feet with 3 toes and a tiny remnant of the 2nd toe (the big toe is totally missing). The legs were small and must have been useless for locomotion, but were specialized for swinging forward into a locked straddle position — probably an aid to copulation for this long-bodied, serpentine whale. B. isis may have been a “cousin” to modern whales, not directly ancestral. Another recent discovery is Protocetes, a slightly more advanced whale from the late Eocene. It was about 3m long (dolphin sized), and still had primitive dentition, nostrils at end of snout, and a large pelvis attached to the spine; limbs unknown. Finally Indocetus is known from only fragmentary remains, but these include a tibia. These late Eocene legged whales still had mesonychid-like teeth, and in fact, some of the whale fossils were first mis-identified as mesonychids when only the teeth were found. ( See Gingerich et al. (1990) for more info on B. isis.)
    Prozeuglodon (late Eocene, 40 Ma) Another recently discovered whale, found in 1989. Had almost lost the hind legs, but not quite: still carried a pair of vestigial 6- inch hind legs on its 15-foot body.
    Eocetus, & similar “archeocete whales” of the late Eocene These more advanced whales have lost their hind legs entirely, but retain a”primitive whale” skull and teeth, with unfused nostrils. They grew to larger body size (up to 25m by the end of the Eocene), an had an elongate, streamlined body, flippers, and a cartilaginous tail fluke. The ear was modified for hearing underwater. Note that this stage of aquatic adaptation was attained about 15 million years after the first terrestrial mesonychids.
    Dorudon intermedius — a late Eocene whale probably ancestral to modern whales.
    In the Oligocene, whales split into two lineages:

    Toothed whales:
    Agorophius (late Oligocene) — Skull partly telescoped, but cheek teeth still rooted. Intermediate in many ways between archaeocetes and later toothed whales.
    Prosqualodon (late Oligocene) — Skull fully telescoped with nostrils on top (blowhole). Cheek teeth increased in number but still have old cusps. Probably ancestral to most later toothed whales (possibly excepting the sperm whales?)
    Kentriodon (mid-Miocene) — Skull telescoped, still symmetrical. Radiated in the late Miocene into the modern dolphins and small toothed whales with asymmetrical skulls.
    Baleen (toothless) whales:
    Aetiocetus (late Oligocene) — The most primitive known mysticete whale and probably the stem group of all later baleen whales. Had developed mysticete-style loose jaw hinge and air sinus, but still had all its teeth. Later,
    Mesocetus (mid-Miocene) lost its teeth.
    Modern baleen whales first appeared in the late Miocene.

  • #416 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    Nick Gotts, #405

    Liar.

    Well that settles that. With such irrefutable arguments, you must already have an “OM” that you are too modest to append to your name. If not, it can’t be long until your acumen is recognized by your peers.

    Although you did forget the “pants on fire” part.

    Pimientita, #410

    Could it possibly be that Jews had been used as scapegoats and bogeymen for centuries in Christian Europe bolstered by the ravings of Christian leaders such as Martin Luther among many others? If the narrative of the evil, devious, dirty, Christ-killer Jews hadn’t been so thoroughly cultivated by Christianity over these centuries, the German people most likely would never have bought into Hitler’s propaganda. But they did and it was through the usage of the imagery that had been part of the Church for hundreds and hundreds of years.

    Of course–that is rather self evident, is it not? Are you expecting me to argue that Luther’s shameful antisemitism as well of that of the Catholic church played no role? If so, sorry to disappoint.

  • #417 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    you are well past dealing with difficult questions coming from those who question evolution.

    No its just that most of them have been dealt with, and many times over, but you types just don’t like the answers.

  • #418 Epikt
    July 31, 2008

    Baba:

    Another history moron. Please think for yourself, don’t just read things that support your narrow capacity for comprehension or challenge your pre-conceived hopes of how history should look in order to support your wishful thinking.

    So you’re claiming Hitler *didn’t* use christianity as pretext? (cue sound of knee-slapping laughter)

    And–thank you. Being called a moron by the likes of you is about the highest praise imaginable.

  • #419 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    but the vast majority of those who actually supported and carried out his evil deeds were Christians which is why his symbolism worked.

    And all of those who carried out Stalin’s evil deeds were atheists whose philosophy of materialism made it easy for them to kill.

  • #420 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    But of the three, which relies on authoritarianism and promotes tribalism?

    Atheism.

  • #421 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Baba, you are the worst sort of liar. You said;

    Hitler had no contempt for rationality – it formed the backbone of his ideology.

    Posted by: Baba

    It is comment number 579.

    Poor little Baba, nutted by reality. You really are a stupid, lying fucktard. And I say this in the most rational manner.

  • #422 themadlolscientist, FCD
    July 31, 2008

    Surely you mean after the racial laws, and Salvador Luria, Enrico Fermi etc. had to leave

    Sorry. I guess I did sound awfully dismissive. I certainly didn’t mean to, but then I really shouldn’t be posting at 5 am when my sleeping pill hasn’t kicked in completely and my Firefox is choking on its cache. :-\

    Of course you’re right. Those crazy laws drove out quite a few of the scientific greats and denied untold opportunies to others.* I don’t know how true it is, but I’ve heard it said more than once that the exodus of scientists as a result of anti-Semitic laws and policies set both German and Italian basic research back a couple of decades. (OTOH, I suspect that was a blessing in disguise. I shudder to think what might have happened if the Nazis had gotten the A-bomb first.)

    *The chemist Primo Levi comes to mind. He was a brilliant student, and Ceiling Cat only knows what he might have accomplished if he’d had the opportunity. Unable to secure a research post, he worked in the mining industry for several years under an assumed name and eventually spent a year at Auschwitz. He is remembered mainly as a writer and advocate for his fellow survivors.

    Both Luria and Fermi left Italy in 1938. In Fermi’s case, it was largely out of concern for his Jewish wife.

    Thanks for prodding me to do a little homework. I don’t recall ever having heard of Rita Levi-Montalcini, who set up her own lab at home after having been forced out of an academic research position. She shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1986. She’s 99 years old and a Senator for Life in the Italian Parliament. I’ve really gotta look up her autobiography.

    BTW, I didn’t know anything about Luria either. I suppose I’ve led a deprived life on account of not being a biologist. Maybe I should brush up a bit on my Nobel laureates, huh?

    Ciao!

  • #423 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    So you’re claiming Hitler *didn’t* use christianity as pretext? (cue sound of knee-slapping laughter)

    And–thank you. Being called a moron by the likes of you is about the highest praise imaginable.

    Cool. Moron!!

  • #424 Damian with an a
    July 31, 2008

    Berlin:

    No genes were lost in the making of this whale

    Cetacean Evolution (Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises)

    It isn’t our job to teach you anything. David Berlinski has no [read, no] peer reviewed papers about evolution. If he was in the least credible, he would have. The information is out there, but you seem to believe that we should have to point to it, or we are somehow lying.

    Come back when you have even one credible objection to the research that has been conducted concerning the evolution of Whales. Until that point, get reading.

  • #425 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Poor little Baba, nutted by reality. You really are a stupid, lying fucktard. And I say this in the most rational manner.

    You comprehension retarded dim-wit. I’m not retracting anything I said. You irrational fool.

  • #426 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    The main reasons why I spent time digging up that turd is so people know that Baba is a moral idiot. Also because that slimy motherfucker denied saying this.

    Do not fucking lie to me!

  • #427 Brownian, OM
    July 31, 2008

    Could it possibly be that Hitler used Christian symbology for political expediency? Could it be (*gasp*) that Hitler was sometimes less than truthful? I know, it does make the mind reel…

    Not at all, Twaddle. Most of us here are aware that you use the trappings of Christian and Calvinist theology for political expediency here, but there is no reason why we should believe that you are any more Christian than Hitler or even myself.

    How inconvenient for you.

  • #428 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    But of the three, which relies on authoritarianism and promotes tribalism?

    Atheism.

    Now that is funny.

  • #429 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    Heddle, my comment was not an argument, it was a simple observation. The great majority of Germans before and during the Nazi era were officially affiliated to a church. You can pretend they were not “True Christians” all you like, but I’m sick of your dishonesty. The churches and the Nazi party shared a hatred of the Weimar republic, and both Protestant and Catholic churches played crucial roles in Hitler’s rise to power, and in enabling the holocaust. See Robert Gellately’s Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany and Ian Kershaw’s Hitler: 1889-1936 for details.

  • #430 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    The main reasons why I spent time digging up that turd is so people know that Baba is a moral idiot. Also because that slimy motherfucker denied saying this.

    JESUS H. CHRIST!!! You are one of the most stupid people on this site.

    Do not fucking lie to me!

    SIEG HEIL!!! SIEG HEIL!!

    Did you forget your rationality pills today?

  • #431 Pimientita
    July 31, 2008

    @Sam:

    Blake, he was muttering about how the Bible contradicted itself while he shot those people. He hated religion.

    Well, that was quick. An anecdote from a neighbor about how Adkisson disagreed with her biblical literalism years ago has morphed into him “muttering about how the Bible contradicted itself while he shot those people.” (who BTW were freaking UU’s…hardly the biblical literalists or even really Christians – except those who consider themselves to be such)

    Wow.

    Any bets on how long it takes for the story to include him screaming “I HATE GOD!!!! PZ TOLD ME TO DO IT!!!!” ?

  • #432 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Did you forget your rationality pills today?

    Do you have a coherent point baba or just more of your little tantrums?

  • #433 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Now that is funny.

    But true.

  • #434 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    Rev, I’m afraid Baba will be held back again this year. I’m so sorry, for it’s unsettling for the other kindergarteners to have to wipe flecks of spittle off their drawings every three minutes.

  • #435 Berlin
    July 31, 2008

    CJO (message 415),

    Oh I just googled a picture of your whale ancestor, Ambulocetus natans, which you described as ”
    a recently discovered early whale.”

    http://static.flickr.com/113/302480866_14768c2748_o.jpg

    Hmmm?, I am having a bit of a struggle calling that an early whale or calling that proof that a whale came from that rat looking like creature. Then to think that species just became the next species over time, Rodhocetus, is quite a leap of faith. As is the pictures you make of Rodhocetus based on the few bones found. Oh, it is all such a religion of belief and hope, I know where you are coming from.

    But Berlinski is much kinder in this interesting youtube discussion on transitional sequences. He grants that he does not have the answers, but is quick to add, neither do they.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QlyKP6cUhQ&NR=1

  • #436 Berlin
    July 31, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp,

    Don’t bother. You are incapable of answering any question with documentation, evidence or reason. Just the standard “you are such an idiot” kind of reply.

    I get it. I know where you are coming from. Too bad you have no idea where you are going.

  • #437 kermit
    July 31, 2008

    heddle: “Kermit #380
    A more interesting test would be if you showed how the religion of those five theists in your selection *contributed to their papers. Or are you just blowing smoke?

    Well, if I ever claim that a scientist’s atheism is incompatible with his science, then come back and issue your challenge. Until then, your challenge doesn’t apply.”

    Your trouble with reading comprehension might help explain the confusion of ideas you entertain. *You had interpreted someone’s claim that science and religion were incompatible as meaning that theists couldn’t do science. I, and I suspect most scientifically literate folks, claim that theists can do perfectly good science, as long as they leave their theism out of it.

    Since you are claiming that this is our claim, I asked if you can tell the difference between a theist’s research paper and an atheists. If it’s science, you cannot, anymore than you can tell by looking at his work if a carpenter was Muslim, atheist, or a Semitic demigod.

    A researcher may use the occasional religious metaphor, but I defy you to show one paper where the science was enhanced by religion in any way.

  • #438 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Ahhhhh, I think Baba needs his baba.

  • #439 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    head/desk*head/desk
    Blah, blah, blah!
    Where the hell is MAJeff? Slacker!

  • #440 Shaden Freud
    July 31, 2008

    #435

    Peer-reviewed research or GTFO.

  • #441 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Rev, I’m afraid Baba will be held back again this year. I’m so sorry, for it’s unsettling for the other kindergarteners to have to wipe flecks of spittle off their drawings every three minutes.

    Nooooooo!! Not the Kindergulag again!

  • #442 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Do you have a coherent point baba or just more of your little tantrums?

    Yes.

  • #443 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Ahhhhh, I think Baba needs his baba.

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Thank God for rationality pills!!

  • #444 Gustav Nyström
    July 31, 2008

    heddle #349:

    No, but I would have bet the farm (and won) that it wouldn’t be long until someone brought up that pinheaded argument. Here is how it might apply. If I was arguing that, yes, Hitler claimed to be a Christian but from his actions you can see that he isn’t a True Christian?, then you might be justified in pulling the hair trigger on the No True Scotsman charge. You’d still be wrong, but you’d at least have a case. And I have made that argument before, but I haven’t made it here. This is different. With the documents I can claim that it is at least plausible that Hitler only feigned Christianity when it was politically expedient. If so, the overused True Scotsman argument would not apply.

    Did it occur to you that I pulled that trigger because so many trolls are so quick with the “Hitler was an atheist” crap. And even if Hitler is shown not to be a christian, that doesn’t mean he was an atheist. Now, I’m not sure you’re making that argument, but many trolls who come here do, so I twitched my fingers.

    Also, why would Hitler even bother with the christianity if he wasn’t one? Other dictators seems to have managed. Does it even matter if Hitler was christian or not? There are people who are christian who are bad people and those who are good people, and the same goes for atheism.

  • #445 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    That’s KinderGULAG.

    Please explain how atheism relies on authoritarianism more than religion (or science) does. When you’re finished, explain how atheism promotes tribalism more than religion (or science) does.

  • #446 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Don’t bother. You are incapable of answering any question with documentation, evidence or reason. Just the standard “you are such an idiot” kind of reply.

    I get it. I know where you are coming from. Too bad you have no idea where you are going.

    Says the fan of Berlinksi. A fan who didn’t even know the details of the profession and education of the person he was holding up as some sort of super genius. And had he done a little research would have discovered that he is a laughingstock.

    What exactly were you wanting answered berlin? What more on the inadequacies of the target of your little fan-crush and his ilk do you need to have shown to you?

  • #447 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Who knew that there was so much fizzle and pop when a troll’s brain starts to overheat?

  • #448 CJO
    July 31, 2008

    I am having a bit of a struggle calling that an early whale or calling that proof that a whale came from that rat looking like creature. Then to think that species just became the next species over time, Rodhocetus, is quite a leap of faith. As is the pictures you make of Rodhocetus based on the few bones found. Oh, it is all such a religion of belief and hope, I know where you are coming from.

    I imagine you have a bit of a struggle just to get your shoes tied in the morning, but why should your struggles with basic tasks concern us in the least, much less lead us to believe you’ve made some kind of argument?

    (Hint: personal incredulity indicates a failure of imagination on your part, not a failure of scientific work you don’t even comprehend anyway.)

  • #449 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    That’s KinderGULAG.

    My bad! You now what I mean!

    Please explain how atheism relies on authoritarianism more than religion (or science) does. When you’re finished, explain how atheism promotes tribalism more than religion (or science) does.

    No. Think for yourself.

  • #450 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Do you have a coherent point baba or just more of your little tantrums?

    Yes.

    Then make it you twit.

  • #451 berlin
    July 31, 2008

    “Scientific work,” “failure of imagination,” “fossil evidence.” Got it CJO. Fools gold by any other name is still fools gold.

    Too bad you people have abandoned God in your work, instead of marveled at his creation.

  • #452 mary
    July 31, 2008

    If this website is strictly about science, then why is there an argument here about the existence of God? Atheists claim there is no God. Why then are they consumed with proving they’re right? Atheists should be indifferent to God, if they’re sure he’s not there. Why launch an attack against someone who is not there? It seems from the vulgar language being used by Herr Myers and his fans that there is great rage and frustration beneath their suits and ties. Myers’ desperate need to desecrate what he thinks is just a cracker looks frantic, backwards, ignorant and foolish. Plus, insane. Why go to such lengths if it’s just a cracker? Blaming the victim for one’s own crime is a very old but slick ruse. It’s still your own fault, and you, we all, are accountable, to the last penny, in this life and the next. If you gamble on your eternity and end up on the wrong side of the fence,there is no chicken exit.

  • #453 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Then make it you twit.

    It alway make me twit!!!

  • #454 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Too bad trolls & orcs are probably just as vile skinned and roasted. We have enough today for a BBQ. I just bought one of those fancy stainless steel beer can up the chicken ass thingy’s…. oh, that wouldn’t work on a troll. They’re ass all the way down.

  • #455 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Ok playtime is over.

    baba, grow up.

  • #456 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    Nick Gotts, #429

    Heddle, my comment was not an argument, it was a simple observation. The great majority of Germans before and during the Nazi era were officially affiliated to a church.

    And the counterpoint, which you haven’t addressed, is that the designation of a nation as “majority Christian” is problematic. As I said, the US, by some measures, has a majority Christian population and by other measures it does not.

    In any given evangelical Church church there is an approximate rule of thumb: only 1/3 of those on the books, those “officially affiliated” with the church, actually show up. Now I have now way of knowing what percentage of those that do show up are “True Christians,” nor anyway of knowing what percentage of those who don’t are not–that is, whether they are just social Christians or garden variety liars. The point is only that is is not trivial to measure in a broadly accepted unambiguous way, what percentage of the population of a nation is Christian.

    Likewise for prewar Germany. There is simply no way of knowing, short of subtracting a background of those who identify themselves as Christians purely for family, economic, employment, social, tradition, or cultural pressures. You can’t know either, yet you confidently assert that not just a majority of Nazis were Christian but a vast majority (#375). And I suspect the only way you have to defend that claim, if any, is some “percentage” you dug up somewhere coupled with clip filled with “No True Scotsman” bullets should anyone suggest that its more complicated than that.

    Heddle,You can pretend they were not “True Christians” all you like, but I’m sick of your dishonesty.

    That’s fair, I’m sick of your stupidity, so I suppose that makes us even. Please add me to your browser’s kill list.

  • #457 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Chimpy, I already gave proof that Baba is a liar. The the truth caused him to blow up in the most amusing way. But feel free to call him names, just so long as they are accurate. Twit is very accurate, though.

    Too bad we cannot enter Baba Incubator Jones in this competition.

  • #458 CJO
    July 31, 2008

    Too bad you people have abandoned God in your work, instead of marveled at his creation.

    Too bad that utter morons are so often narcissists.

  • #459 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Too bad trolls & orcs are probably just as vile skinned and roasted.

    Try a slow braise in Burgundy and thyme!

  • #460 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    My bad! You now what I mean!

    ??. ? ?????.

    Think for yourself.

    LOL!

    Oh, I think all the time.

    You’re approaching Waste of Paint status, there, Baba. Put up or shut up.

    Explain for the poor, brainless atheists following along at home how atheism promotes authoritarianism more than religion does. If your argument has a leg to stand on, maybe someone will try to knock it over. Otherwise, the most parsimonious explanation for your behavior will be that you have no argument, and that will be the conclusion that our readers will reach (assuming they haven’t already done so).

  • #462 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Chimpy, I already gave proof that Baba is a liar.

    You also gave proof of your own stupidity and irrationality. But roll on with your delusion!

    MOTHER!!!! MOTHER!!!! Is that you????!!????

  • #463 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    (assuming they haven’t already done so).

    that ship sailed a while ago

  • #464 Badger3k
    July 31, 2008

    Hmm – Scientism, Hitler, Berlinski, Pascal’s Wager, persecution complex, arguments from incredulity and ignorance, trolls par excellence (ok, so I set the standard pretty low) – what’s left?

    Maybe “Won’t somebody think of the children”? I’ve actually kept this thread open and just refreshed it from time to time – it’s like a train wreck, and I’m watching the bodies being pulled out. There is a kind of sick fascination in troll-watching, I have to admit.

  • #465 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Ok playtime is over.

    baba, grow up.

    Awwwwww noooooo!

  • #466 SeanD.
    July 31, 2008

    I see Baba is desperately trying to get banned. I thought I smelled burning martyr…

  • #467 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    This is what atheists want to do to Christians:

    We put them in an opera?

    I’ll have to let my Mother and siblings know that’s what I have in store for them

  • #468 Danon
    July 31, 2008

    #229
    “He just couldn’t accept any religion that didn’t have him as its leader.”
    Sounds like Lucifer.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer

    Lucas, my man, stop smoking pot.

  • #469 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    You also gave proof of your own stupidity and irrationality. But roll on with your delusion!

    MOTHER!!!! MOTHER!!!! Is that you????!!????

    Posted by: Baba

    I ask this question knowing that the answer is going to make me want to hit myself over the head with a hammer. Where
    was I being stupid and irrational?

  • #470 Badger3k
    July 31, 2008

    Now Opera?

  • #471 Emmet Caulfield
    July 31, 2008

    notkieran #157, jj #265, and StuV #339,

    That some priests rape children does not, on its own, damn the entire Roman Catholic Church: after all, some accountants, teachers, scientists, engineers, and lawyers also rape children.

    What does damn the Church is that the current Pope orchestrated a criminal conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by concealing these crimes, protecting the criminals from prosecution, and thereby endangers children all over the world. Every Catholic clergyman of bishop rank or higher knows this. The international Church policy of concealment and non-cooperation with police is currently in force and has been since the mid nineteenth century. All Popes since, at least, John XXIII (that’s 5 Popes) were complicit in the modern cover-up. The current Pope was a) responsible for the coordination of that conspiracy since 1981 and b) responsible for updating the policy documents relating to it in 2001.

    That this international child-rape enablement mafia lectures us on sexual morality, based on nothing less than a divine and infallible monopoly on knowledge of right and wrong, would be laughable if it wasn’t so sickening.

  • #472 Pimientita
    July 31, 2008

    @heddle:

    Of course–that is rather self evident, is it not? Are you expecting me to argue that Luther’s shameful antisemitism as well of that of the Catholic church played no role? If so, sorry to disappoint.

    Right, so, it’s been explained to you that the commenters here (and in other venues) only bring up Hitler’s ostensible Christianity (and that of his followers and of the German people) when some theist comes in here raving about how atheism is eeeevil because Hitler was an atheist. So, your point about our “simple-minded, naive, blah blah” arguments is moot. You admit that even if Hitler was an atheist that that historical scapegoating of the Jewish people by the mainstream churches in Europe and the virulent anti-semitism that originated in such practices were an important factor in allowing the German people to do what they did. That their dedication to their church and their God and their country (blessed by God) were deciding factors in what happened in Nazi Germany so that it doesn’t matter what Hitler himself believed…it matters what the German people believed.

    So, what’s your point again?

  • #473 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    ??. ? ?????.

    Woooohh! An Authority!

    Oh, I think all the time.

    You’re approaching Waste of Paint status, there, Baba. Put up or shut up.

    LOL.

    Fuck off!

  • #474 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Where was I being stupid and irrational?

    Your posts.

  • #475 SEF
    July 31, 2008

    That’s one ugly zombie.

    It reminds me of the one in The Tomorrow People episode.

  • #476 StuV
    July 31, 2008

    Heddle: define “True Christian”(TM)(R)(C)

    Until you do, the best I can come up with and will operate under is “whoever says they are one”.

  • #477 Jubal
    July 31, 2008

    From the Salon article: (emphasis mine)

    “But I want to believe that, through the eyes of my faith, this is how God created the world and that God cares about that world. Does this belief, shared by so many of our species, make me dangerous?”

    Yes, it certainly does.
    Belief in a God who cares about the world and acts in it, is the basis for thousands of years of religious wars, religious torture, persecutions and pogroms. And how oh how the religious love to forget a guy named Osama.

    And let us add here that I don’t see atheists or agnostics bombing day-care centers (Mcvey), Mosques (Zarqawi), or cafes filled with teenagers (Hamas). Nor do I see them killing dctors performing legal medical procedures (Eric Rudolph).

    No, it takes religion to make people do that. And THAT is why your beliefs are dangerous. I don’t give a hoot if it makes you FEEL BETTER. Your precious FEELINGS are a great deal less important than the saftey of my community and my family, which are all in jeopardy from your fellow religionists.

    I find it hilarious that the religious feel Meyers went too far for making fun of a CRACKER, which according to Catholic Church Doctrine is ONLY REPRESENTATIONAL of the Body of Christ, while remaining mostly silent over the death threats from the “oh, I’m not dangerous” religionists.

    You’re entitled to your silly ideas. No one is trying to prevent you from practicing whatever silly superstition you cling to.

    But the sane people are just as entitled to ridicule you, insult your religion and otherwise hurt your precious little feelings. Welcome to free speech..Asshole.

  • #478 Brownian, OM
    July 31, 2008

    Where was I being stupid and irrational?

    Apparently by being convinced that the process of developing and testing hypotheses against evidence is a good way to understand the universe.

    For shame. As punishment, I sentence you to read the Mah?bh?rata which will as surely convince you of the truth of Hinduism as reading the bible will convince you of the truth of Christianity.

    Isn’t that how it works, my theist friends?

  • #479 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    Pimientita , #472

    So, what’s your point again?

    That’s not the question. The real question, if what you wrote:

    Right, so, it’s been explained to you that the commenters here (and in other venues) only bring up Hitler’s ostensible Christianity (and that of his followers and of the German people) when some theist comes in here raving about how atheism is eeeevil because Hitler was an atheist.

    is true, is this: why don’t you use your argument on someone who is actually making the “atheism is eeeevil because Hitler was an atheist” claim instead of on me. I was not making that argument. Not even close.

  • #480 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    And I suspect the only way you have to defend that claim, if any, is some “percentage” you dug up somewhere coupled with clip filled with “No True Scotsman” bullets should anyone suggest that its more complicated than that. – heddle

    I gave you the references in a previous comment. Now, find a source other than your own imagination that denies that the vast majority of Germans were Christians in the 1920s to 1945. Otherwise, admit you’re a liar.

  • #481 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Apparently by being convinced that the process of developing and testing hypotheses against evidence is a good way to understand the universe.

    Where did that occur? You sound pompous.

  • #482 Damian with an a
    July 31, 2008

    I’ve been reading those links that heddle provided. While they are certainly interesting, I couldn’t help but notice the disclaimer on the very first page:

    The document is still seriously lacking in evidence of probative value, and is consequently ill-suited to serve as a basis for any international discussion.”

    Also, I was under the impression — almost certainly of my own making, I’m sure — that these documents were the official documents outlining the National Socialist party’s plans to persecute the Churches. They are nothing of the sort [which heddle knows, of course]!

    In fact, most of it is a kind of thesis, and from the first document, at least, there is almost no evidence that backs up the claim, apart from, and I quote, “The best evidence now available as to the existence of an anti-church plan is to be found in the systematic nature of the persecution itself.”

    It also says, “Important leaders of the National Socialist party would have liked to meet this situation by a complete extirpation of Christianity and the substitution of a purely racial religion tailored to fit the needs of National Socialist policy.”

    and, “Persecution of the Christian churches in Germany proper gave rise to specific problems. Since Germany was destined to provide the central force for the coming wars of aggression, it was particularly necessary that the German people be withdrawn from all influences hostile to the National Socialist philosophy of aggression. This meant that the influence of the Christian churches would have to be minimized as thoroughly as possible.

    On the other hand, the predominantly conservative and patriotic influence exerted by the larger Christian churches was a factor of some positive value from the National Socialist standpoint, and insured those churches a substantial measure of support from conservative groups destined to play an important part in the National Socialist plans for aggression.”

    I’ll keep reading, of course, but so far this is no more authoritative, in terms of official documentation, than any of books that have developed a fairly clear link between Hitler, the Nazi party, and religion.

  • #483 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    StuV, #476

    Heddle: define “True Christian”(TM)(R)(C)

    Until you do, the best I can come up with and will operate under is “whoever says they are one”.

    Yes, and I’ll continue to operate under the wild-ass assumption that at least the leadership of those groups who have master plans for the persecution of the Christian church cast some small measure of doubt upon their claim to be Christian.

    But go ahead and stick to the simpleminded approach. Who can expect more? And it makes arguing so deliciously easy and tidy.

  • #484 allen
    July 31, 2008

    i read and rarely comment, but i’d like to publicly thank whoever wrote the Greasemonkey killfile script. byebye, baba.

  • #485 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    i read and rarely comment, but i’d like to publicly thank whoever wrote the Greasemonkey killfile script. byebye, baba.

    Not the Cybergulag!!!!!

  • #486 Brownian, OM
    July 31, 2008

    You sound pompous.

    Really? So?

  • #487 Qwerty
    July 31, 2008

    Trying to turn science into a religion isn’t anything new. The creationists and IDiots are doing this when they equate evolution with dogmatic Darwinism. It’s just another of their feeble attempts to get religion back into public schools. And, as a ploy, it is so obvious as to be ludicrous.

    But PZ really should take advantage of all these followers of his and pass the collection plate like all good religions do. Then, he can pay off the morgage on the “ivory tower” that he lives in!

    He can call his church the Evangelical Athiests of America!

  • #488 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    I’ll continue to operate under the wild-ass assumption that at least the leadership of those groups who have master plans for the persecution of the Christian church cast some small measure of doubt upon their claim to be Christian. – heddle

    Why? Persecuting each other has been one of the favourite pastimes of Christians for the best part of two millennia, in what time they’ve had free from murdering non-Christians.

  • #489 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    I gave you the references in a previous comment. Now, find a source other than your own imagination that denies that the vast majority of Germans were Christians in the 1920s to 1945. Otherwise, admit you’re a liar.

    The Nazis hated the Church and all it stood for, and indoctrinated the SS accordingly. That’s an important point for you historically retarded fools because the general population of Germany did not run the camps.

  • #490 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    Damian with an a

    “The document is still seriously lacking in evidence of probative value, and is consequently ill-suited to serve as a basis for any international discussion.”

    I might be wrong but I think that means these documents were of no value in the Nuremberg trials.

    I’ll keep reading, of course, but so far this is no more authoritative, in terms of official documentation, than any of books that have developed a fairly clear link between Hitler, the Nazi party, and religion.

    That may be, I certainly am not qualified to judge. I only presented them to point out that “Hitler was a Christian” is not an open and shut case. (And there are other instances where Hitler blasted Christianity in writing.)

    And of course the researchers at Rutgers think them significant–and Rutgers ain’t no Bob Jones U, it’s as secular as you can get.

  • #491 StuV
    July 31, 2008

    heddle: it was a simple question that you (predictably) seem to be willing to go to great lengths to deflect.

    What is a “True Christian”, Heddle?

    Answer, or kindly STFU.

  • #492 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Really? So?

    Just being a good neighbour!

  • #493 StuV
    July 31, 2008

    The Nazis hated the Church and all it stood for, and indoctrinated the SS accordingly

    Authoritarianism hates competition, agreed. That does not make them atheists, exactly. Pulling the SS into this is EPIC FAIL. You do know what their belt buckles said, right?

    Right?

  • #494 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Brownian are you showing off that cute pompous of yours again? That’s a bit naughty this early in the day. ;)

  • #495 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Not the Cybergulag!!!!!

    Posted by: Baba

    Ah, Baba, my less than intelligent fiend. As much as you might fantasize that all of us big mean atheists are going to round you up, march you to a camp and do you in, a killfile is not a gulag. You are not being prevented from commenting. All it does is recognize a name and blocks the comment from showing up on a person’s screen. It is no more a gulag then is crossing a street when a raving mad man is approaching you. And Baba, you do a very good raving mad man.

  • #496 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    What is a “True Christian”, Heddle?

    Someone that’s really a Christian?? Duh!

  • #497 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    the general population of Germany did not run the camps. – Baba
    Who said they did? However, they supported Hitler and the Nazis in establishing their dictatorship, they fought for him (wearing their Gott mitt uns belt buckles), they knew their Jewish neighbours disappeared, in many cases they turned them in and/or took over their homes and possessions when they did so, and only a tiny fraction ever did anything to oppose Nazism or the holocaust.

  • #498 Brownian, OM
    July 31, 2008

    Someone that’s really a Christian?? Duh!

    So, are you one then Baba? What about Twaddle? What if you disagree? Who’s the Truer Christian? then?

  • #499 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Pulling the SS into this is EPIC FAIL.

    Retard.

    You do know what their belt buckles said, right?

    “Yo’ Mama”???

  • #500 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Brownian are you showing off that cute pompous of yours again?

    I know. He’s so annoying.

  • #501 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    StuV, “Gott Mit Uns” were on the belt buckles of the members of the Wehrmacht. The motto of the SS was Meine Ehre heißt Treue.(“My honor is loyalty”) So perhaps one could make the argument that honor and loyalty leads to genocide.

    I have to point out that my last statement was meant to be sarcastic.

  • #502 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Ah, Baba, my less than intelligent fiend. As much as you might fantasize that all of us big mean atheists are going to round you up, march you to a camp and do you in, a killfile is not a gulag. You are not being prevented from commenting. All it does is recognize a name and blocks the comment from showing up on a person’s screen. It is no more a gulag then is crossing a street when a raving mad man is approaching you. And Baba, you do a very good raving mad man.

    Yawn.

    You’re still stupid.

  • #503 Badger3k
    July 31, 2008

    StuV @ 491 – it’s simple. Anyone who says they are a Christian is a true christian, obviously. Since there is no other definition, then that has to be the default position. Now, if someone were to give a definition that is accepted by (who? theologians?) a majority, then we can begin to look at the evidence and come to a conclusion, which of course will need to be peer-reviewed. Maybe this can be Heddle’s PhD dissertation? Think about it…you can be the definer of an entire line of argumentation.

    Of course, he can continue to obfuscate and avoid the question, claiming that documents which are “still seriously lacking in evidence of probative value, and [are] consequently ill-suited to serve as a basis for any international discussion” (edited to maintain plural tone – original is singular, as above) are indicative of a plot to destroy or subvert Churches in Nazi Germany (is it all Churches, or just a particular sect?) and thus proves (or at least supports) his beliefs.

    Which will it be? Enquiring minds want to know.

  • #504 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Ah, Baba, my less than intelligent fiend. As much as you might fantasize that all of us big mean atheists are going to round you up, march you to a camp and do you in, a killfile is not a gulag. You are not being prevented from commenting. All it does is recognize a name and blocks the comment from showing up on a person’s screen. It is no more a gulag then is crossing a street when a raving mad man is approaching you. And Baba, you do a very good raving mad man.

    Yawn.

    You’re still stupid.

  • #505 Brownian, OM
    July 31, 2008

    I know. He’s so annoying.

    Well, if you’d move out of the fucking basement, your mom and I could have a moment of peace and you wouldn’t have to see me every morning.

    By the way, when she told you to take care of your own laundry, she didn’t mean for you to wear the same goddamn underwear every goddamn day.

  • #506 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    Nick Gotts, I would suggest that Baba read Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning but I am afraid he would use it as a doorstop.

  • #507 StuV
    July 31, 2008

    Ugh. Never rely on hearsay. Fine, the Wehrmacht then.

    Heddle, Baba, since the question seems to be too difficult, let me make it multiple-choice (multiple answers allowed):

    A “True Christian” is:
    a) Someone who calls him/herself Christian
    b) Someone who truly believes in God
    c) Someone who attends church regularly
    d) Someone who tithes
    e) Someone who follows the 10 commandments
    f) Someone who follows the Bible inerrantly
    g) Someone who believes in the Bible literally

    For bonus points:

    1. Which Christian denomination is the “true” one? They differ so greatly that they cannot all be “true”.

    2. If you include (b), please detail how anyone but this person could know it to be true.

    I wait with bated breath.

  • #508 Janine ID
    July 31, 2008

    You’re still stupid.

    Posted by: Baba

    You are not even trying now. Also, you have not pointed out where I was being stupid and irrational. You lying morally stupid fucktard. And I backed up my claims about you.

  • #509 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    So, are you one then Baba?

    Mind your own business.

    What about Twaddle?

    Your mama.

    What if you disagree?

    My dick’s bigger.

    Who’s the Truer Christian? then?

    Who’s the truer atheist, you or Stalin?

    I’m disappointed, pompous and dim.

  • #510 llewelly
    July 31, 2008

    Baba:

    [StuV, quoted by Baba:]

    Pulling the SS into this is EPIC FAIL.

    Retard.

    You do know what their belt buckles said , right?

    “Yo’ Mama”???

    [Links added by me.]
    Now that’s hilarious.
    Baba, you’re like kent . You’ve done the blog equivalent of standing next to the guy with the shirt that says: “I’m with stupid”.

  • #511 Pimientita
    July 31, 2008

    @heddle:

    That’s not the question.

    But it is my question to you. So why not answer it? What’s your point in all of this?

    The real question, if what you wrote is true, is this: why don’t you use your argument on someone who is actually making the “atheism is eeeevil because Hitler was an atheist” claim instead of on me. I was not making that argument. Not even close.

    Which argument? The one where I pointed out that Hitler didn’t need to be a Christian in order for his use of Christian imagery and historical scapegoating to succeed and that it succeeded because the vast majority of the German people were Christians. You brought up the “could it be that Hitler was using Christianity for political expediency” argument. I was answering that with my original post. I never said nor implied that you made the “”atheists are evil” argument so I don’t know what you were trying to prove with this statement.

    Moving on…

    Of course, now you seem to be arguing that we (meaning you) don’t know that the vast majority of the German people were really Christians.

    Let’s say that is true. What is your point?

    If your only point (and I doubt it) is that the issue is much more complicated than most people tend to let on in an internet blog comment post, then you win. That is correct. Most people don’t write dissertations in venues such as this. But given what we know about the history of the European Churches and their historical relationship with the Jews and also what we know of the ease with which this, coupled with other religious dogma, was used to whip people into a frenzy and also what we know of the official stances of the Catholic and Lutheran churches with regards to the Nazi regime and also what we can tell (but I suppose not “know””) of Hitler’s religious views from his own writings and dealings with the Church, I think it is more than fine to counter the “Hitler was an atheist” meme with “Nuh-uh and here’s why” without writing a research paper about it.

    But, again, I don’t think that’s your only point. So why not enlighten us?

  • #512 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Well hell, don’t y’ll fight for it at once. George W. Bush is a true christian.
    Granted, he has no more brains than a ring-tailed Bandersnatch, but by gawd he’s a true christian. So there.

  • #513 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Well, if you’d move out of the fucking basement, your mom and I could have a moment of peace and you wouldn’t have to see me every morning.

    Or I could just raise her prices.

    By the way, when she told you to take care of your own laundry, she didn’t mean for you to wear the same goddamn underwear every goddamn day.

    Oh! My bad! Change every other day?

  • #514 Brownian, OM
    July 31, 2008

    I’m disappointed

    As I noted above, your mom isn’t the least bit disappointed, and you really need to leave the house once in awhile. Y’know, maybe get a job, or a girlfriend, take all of those crumpled and stiff Kleenex out to the trash….

    Just being a good step-daddy.

  • #515 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    I’m disappointed, pompous and dim. – Baba

    Baba, you never spoke a truer word.

  • #516 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    You are not even trying now. Also, you have not pointed out where I was being stupid and irrational. You lying morally stupid fucktard. And I backed up my claims about you.

    Hello mate!

  • #517 Brownian, OM
    July 31, 2008

    Hey, kid: remember, when using blockquotes, you need to use the / if you wanna nest ‘em properly.

    Didn’t you learn anything at DeVry?

  • #518 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    There’s something big lurking in the water just behind BaBa.

  • #519 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Baba, you’re like kent . You’ve done the blog equivalent of standing next to the guy with the shirt that says: “I’m with stupid”.

    Thanks for the link – it helps to highlight your inability to comprehend simple language. Do you want me to help you to spell “SS”? Go back to school dimwit.

  • #520 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Baba, you never spoke a truer word.

    Rapier!

  • #521 Brownian, OM
    July 31, 2008

    Alright, I gotta get outta here.

    See you tomorrow morning, Baba? You need to be ready by 7:30 if you want a ride to school.

    By the way, a baggie fell out of your knapsack the other day, and I’m very disappointed in you. Mostly in the fact that at age 15 you still don’t know what oregano smells like.

  • #522 Steve_C
    July 31, 2008

    Greasemonkey+killfile+BABA=no baba to read.

  • #523 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    Just trying to be good step-daddy

    Step-child fondler!

  • #524 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Yep, me too. The smell of troll scat is just too much.

  • #525 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    StuV, #491

    heddle: it was a simple question that you (predictably) seem to be willing to go to great lengths to deflect.

    What is a “True Christian”, Heddle?

    No, I never deflect questions. That one was just too trivial. But OK,–a “true Christian” is one who has been regenerated and is presentable to a holy God not by his own righteousness but by the righteousness of Christ. I mean, gosh, that’s Christianity 101.

    My gut instinct is that you actually meant an entirely different question–probably along the lines of “how does one detect a true Christian?”

    Pimientita, #511

    But it is my question to you. So why not answer it? What’s your point in all of this?

    It’s fun to argue and debate. Isn’t that a common reason for getting into discussions on blogs?

    Of course, now you seem to be arguing that we (meaning you) don’t know that the vast majority of the German people were really Christians.

    Let’s say that is true. What is your point?

    Nothing beyond the fact that that which some are claiming is obviously true, isn’t.

    But, again, I don’t think that’s your only point. So why not enlighten us?

    No, that’s my only point.

  • #526 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    See you tomorrow morning, Baba? You need to be ready by 7:30 if you want a ride to school.

    By the way, a baggie fell out of your knapsack the other day, and I’m very disappointed in you. Mostly in the fact that at age 15 you still don’t know what oregano smells like

    See ya! Thanks for the BJ step-daddy!!

    BTW who is the truer atheist, you or Stalin?

  • #527 Bader3k
    July 31, 2008

    Okay, Heddle, now try it again in plain English – you know, like the rest of us here. Why not, on a whim, explain exactly what “one who has been regenerated and is presentable to a holy God not by his own righteousness but by the righteousness of Christ” means, and how we are able to determine that. If it’s so basic that it is Christianity 101, then obviously everyone agrees with this, and it should be a simple matter to determine if anyone is such, right?

    Please, go ahead. We’re all waiting.

  • #528 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    one who has been regenerated and is presentable to a holy God not by his own righteousness but by the righteousness of Christ – heddle, defining a “True Christian”

    English translation: heddle gets to decide who is a “True Christian”, and will make whatever decision happens to suit his purpose at any given time.

  • #529 Bader3k
    July 31, 2008

    Funny thing, I always thought that a Christian was one who accepted the divinity of Christ and accepted him as our savior, but then, I was brought up among those upstart newcomers, the non-Christian Roman Catholic Church, so who am I to say.

  • #530 Steve_C
    July 31, 2008

    Comment by Baba blocked.

    Makes me smile every time.

  • #531 Baba
    July 31, 2008

    English translation: heddle gets to decide who is a “True Christian”, and will make whatever decision happens to suit his purpose at any given time.

    Sounds like an atheist talking about morality.

  • #532 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    Ah! No more Baba. Sweet.

  • #533 StuV
    July 31, 2008

    But OK,–a “true Christian” is one who has been regenerated and is presentable to a holy God not by his own righteousness but by the righteousness of Christ.

    See? I knew it was too complicated for you. Could you try the multiple choice version?

    Anyway, heddle, let me try another tack: by your above “definition”, how can anyone tell a True Christian other than the person him/herself?

  • #534 Bader3k
    July 31, 2008

    StuV – you need “Heddlevision” – it’s a gift of the Holy Spirit, available at our toll-free 900 number ( ;) )for the low, low price of $39.95. Order now and we’ll throw in the Gift of Tongues!

  • #535 CJO
    July 31, 2008

    In Calvinist theology, I believe only God is able to make these kinds of determinations. (i.e. I don’t think heddle is claiming to be able to tell, himself [not that that makes any of it less incomprhensible, but whatev])

  • #536 Brownian, OM
    July 31, 2008

    See ya! Thanks for the BJ step-daddy!!

    Wrong, stupid. That was the priest. Why, whatever did you learn from that ICS course we paid for you to take?

    BTW who is the truer atheist, you or Stalin?

    Whichever one of us is really an atheist. Duh.

  • #537 heddle
    July 31, 2008

    StuV, #533

    Anyway, heddle, let me try another tack: by your above “definition”, how can anyone tell a True Christian other than the person him/herself?

    But I did answer the one you asked.

    Like I suspected, this was the question you intended. That’s always the question that unbelievers think is a “gotcha.”

    This question, is much more complicated and PZ will yell if I go into too much theology. I’ll just point out that the New Testament establishes the practice of excommunication, and the basis for the judgment is that Christians will be known by their fruits. So the short answer is: there is no definitive way to judge whether a person is a true Christian–but it is most definitely not on, or at least not solely on, the basis of their profession or sincerity. Examples in the New Testament of people who claim to be a Christian but are not are easy to find. So we are, as a church, to judge their actions. If, for example, like the man in the Corinthian church, a man insists on sleeping with his step mother, we are are to treat him as if he is not true Christian. We recognize that it is a flawed approach, but one that is mandated, and one that is subject to false positives and false negatives, and that the actual determination is up to God.

  • #538 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    StuV #533 wrote:

    Anyway, heddle, let me try another tack: by your above “definition”, how can anyone tell a True Christian other than the person him/herself?

    Perhaps not even that. Technically speaking, I suspect that heddle can with perfect honesty answer your question with “only God knows!”

    Of course, there are all sorts of secular means of distinguishing a Christian from non-Christian (or Mormon from non-Mormon or neo-pagan from non-neo-pagan.) It can’t really just come down to “whoever sincerely thinks they’re a Christian IS a Christian,” because there are some awfully muddled definitions out there, based on muddled understandings.

    For example, what do we do about the nice ecumenical folks who claim to be Christian — AND Hindu AND Muslim AND Aztec Sun God Worshipper AND all the lovely, lovely religions rolled into ONE because they’re all the SAME and it’s LOVE!!

    And, where, exactly, do we place the good Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, who loves God, writes passionate apologetics, and considers himself to be “rescuing” Christianity from Fundamentalism, by throwing out irrelevant aspects like Biblical Inerrancy and Creationism — and Hell — and the Trinity and the Virgin Birth — and the miracles and the resurrection and the atonement and original sin, as well as the existence of the theistic form of God.

    I have some sympathy for Christians who complain he’s pushed the envelope a little far on that one.

    But we have to divide lines somewhere, as a practical matter, and decide what the criteria is going to be for human beings – given that God is apparently keeping it under wraps for the Final Reveal.

    I don’t know. It may depend in part on what the purpose is. I don’t like that much, since it allows people to push statistics according to personal agendas, but I don’t see how it could be avoided completely.

  • #539 NanuNanu
    July 31, 2008

    guys responding to baba:

    stoooooooooooooop.

    She is (I assume baba is a girl’s name) a troll. Not “lying, combative jackass trying to get our blood pressure rising but really believes their cause” troll but “internet forum dedicated to gaming and 4chan filled with 14 year old kids” troll. If we could use images she’d be posting goatse and pain series.

    here I’ll put directions for installing the killfile for those like me that are unfamiliar with scripts:

    Greasemonkey:
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748

    Go here and dl/install. It requires you to restart your browser.

    Killfile:
    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/4107

    After installing greasemonkey go to that killfile page and click install script. After that restart firefox and go to tools–greasemonkey–manage user scripts and add the main pharyngula page to the killfile. After reloading the page if you’re still on Pharyngula you should get an option right after the blue posted by text that says [kill] [hide comment]. Click kill to not read the troll.

  • #540 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    Christians will be known by their fruits… So we are, as a church, to judge their actions. – heddle

    So who is this “we”? There isn’t a church, there are, literally, thousands, often refusing to recognise each other as Christians. Of course, heddle “knows” his is the one true church – but so do the Catholics, the Lutherans, the Baptists… The alleged criterion is not “imperfect”; it’s completely useless.

  • #541 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    heddle #537 wrote:

    This question, is much more complicated and PZ will yell if I go into too much theology.

    Okay, this made me laugh, given the sort of gibbering garbage that’s been thrown around at the tail end of this long and soon to be obsolete thread. Poor babe. Unless you’re going to post long blocks of cut ‘n paste, though, I doubt much that PZ will care.

    It will probably be dull to you, though, as you’ve been through this before, and I think your theology is that the unregenerate won’t understand. Pearls, and swine, etc.

    Bottom line, there is no such thing as “Christianity.” There are ChristianiTIES. The Calvinist answer will be different from that of other sects — not wildly different, maybe, but different enough from some of them. And, of course, there are forms of Christianity (less radical than Spong’s) which have picked up on the fact that of course the “true message of Jesus” is humanistic, and they WILL reference good heart and good deeds as more important than accepting the atonement.

    I’ve been told I’m a “better Christian” than many who call themselves so. Several times. And I’m not particularly nice. I think the idea has a charm to many. Perhaps we’re getting into that idea of the renegade and dissenter, the stone that was rejected, and so on.

    Like you, they get to appeal to God as arbiter. Which ends up a stalemate for all practical purposes, regardless of whether any of you are right.

  • #542 reuben
    July 31, 2008

    Does sastra have and OM yet?

  • #543 reuben
    July 31, 2008

    Sorry, that should of course be “an OM”

  • #544 Sastra, OM
    July 31, 2008

    Yes.

  • #545 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    Wait, what? Baba came back?

    I loooooove the Killfile.

    I do kind of agree that the tennis match style debate of what Hitler’s belief system was is kind of a lost cause – and, in and of itself, makes little difference to my lack of belief in god.

    Ditto Stalin.

    So, Hitler killed lots of people – including Jews and Christians. Stalin killed lots of people, including Jews and Christians.

    Can one or more of the theists here explain to me how exactly the wanton killing, on numerous occasions, of vast numbers of the members of two distinct groups of people who consider themselves to have a special relationship with an all-powerful being in any way supports the existence of such a being?

    If he does exist he doesn’t seem to like ‘his’ people all that much, does he?

  • #546 reuben
    July 31, 2008

    Ah, that makes sense

  • #547 Phineas
    July 31, 2008

    @ NanuNanu #539: It works! That is fantastic, thank you very much.

  • #548 NanuNanu
    July 31, 2008

    @Phineas #547

    You’re welcome!

    It took me forever to figger it out though, Ive never used scripts and kept getting linked to the script itself (which I had no idea what to do with) instead of the page that had the install button.

    sad face
    :[

  • #549 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Did somebody wipe up after Baba? Yeck.
    I’ve been at Heddles website. Interesting. Heddle is using PZ’s site for fodder like some of the other ‘true christians’. How cute.
    You don’t get a pass from me Heddle. You’re just another one of the ‘flock’. Trying to roll yourself in glitter doesn’t hide it.

  • #550 spurge
    July 31, 2008

    “Trying to roll yourself in glitter doesn’t hide it.”

    Funny, I thought it was something else he was rolling in.

  • #551 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    Patricia@549,
    I went and had a look at heddle too. Gosh, he’s a self-important little squit, isn’t he?

  • #552 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Heddle has been a sometimes infrequent fixture here for a long time.

  • #553 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Yep, Heddle is a real cutie. ;)
    Gotta go gents, I have lavender & honey cornbread in the oven and it smells *like heaven*. Grin.
    Good night sweethearts!
    Piss off Heddle.

  • #554 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    Good night Patricia! I must get to bed. Night all.

  • #555 Nerd of Redhead
    July 31, 2008

    I’ve been wading my way through the archives, Rev. BDC @552, I think you got it right.

  • #556 John Marley
    July 31, 2008

    A question for the theists:

    “How can ace be one -and- eleven? What kind of god would allow that?”

  • #557 Norman Doering
    July 31, 2008

    Some of you guys might want to email Andrew Sullivan about this post on PZ:
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/07/the-rev-pz-myer.html

    He’d be more likely to publish dissenting opinions if he gets enough of them.

  • #558 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    John Marley, #556:

    There’s nothing like the Simpsons for quotes to mock belief. I always like the one from Homerpalooza where Bart asks Homer which religion he is and he responds:

    You know, the one with all the well-meaning rules that don’t work in real life…uh, Christianity

    There is at least one version of that episode where that segment is cut, which is a bit annoying.

  • #559 WillG
    July 31, 2008

    PZ’s recent spectacles do little to achieve his alleged goals. His actions have simultaneously distracted attention from the more serious issues surrounding the “faith” debate and instead focused it on himself. The ‘desecration’ was more cringe-worthy than horrifying. The culmination of PZ’s ressentiment is not an influential tome introducing new ideas, but rather an act I would expect from a junior high student who has spent way too much time playing D&D. It is certainly not the behavior of an academic. It is the behavior of a person desperately seeking celebrity. A proponent of a world view whose ideas have run so thin, that a stunt like this is required to gain recognition has jumped the shark.

  • #560 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    WillG, #559, wrote:

    PZ’s recent spectacles do little to achieve his alleged goals.

    Care to explain what you think PZ’s goals were, and how exactly this ‘spectacle’ failed to achieve them? What you’ve written makes me doubt you know what his goals were.

  • #561 SoMG
    July 31, 2008

    If “Bach’s music is proof of the existence of God”, then Mozart’s DIE ZAUBERFLOTE is surely proof that Freemasonry is the correct belief-system.

    (There’s a great recording of a live performance from Salzburg 1949 conducted by Furtwangler that way outclasses all the others I’ve heard, which is a lot. The entire cast, including the most minor characters, are current or future legends of Classical German singing-acting and/or athletic vocal technique. One of the Two Men in Armor who sing in unison for about twenty seconds and then open the doors into the chambers of trial by fire and water and that’s all they do in the whole work is played by the great Hermann Uhde who later became very famous in the title role of THE FLYING DUTCHMAN. One of the Three Ladies is Gertrude Grob-Prandl who is still generally acknowledged to be the loudest Brunhilde in recorded history.)

    I’m not sure what proposition THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG proves. Some precursor form of Murphy’s Law maybe? Any plan you make will go wrong?

    A cure for insomnia: try to list all the different plans and schemes that go wrong in THE RING.

    Re Bach: having sung several of his big masses and passions, my favorite of his things is the Christmas Oratorio. It has some of the most satisfying music and it’s less pretentious than the masses and passions. Some of it is actually (*gasp*) funny. There’s a trio for Soprano, Mezzo, and Tenor soloists (that’s just unbelievably beautiful) in which the tenor and soprano sing with long flowery melismas, “When will the Savior come?” and the mezzo keeps interrupting to say “Be quiet–He’s really already here!”. The recording to get is conducted by Karl Richter, with soloists Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Franz Crass, and Fritz Wunderlich.

    My favorite of all religious pieces is Mozart’s Coronation Mass. Under pressure from his employing church officer he condensed his casual vocal-dramatic genius into twenty minutes. It’s the most fun and easy to sing and also heartbreaking.

    A wonderful, underperformed (because it’s too demanding), piece of religious music is Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Also Haydn’s CREATION. Both actually manage to make religious concepts seem appealing. In the case of the Stabat Mater, that’s a considerable accomplishment when you consider that the text includes prayers for increased personal suffering in order to better identify with the Virgin Mary. If you can make that seem appealing you can make anything seem appealing.

  • #562 WillG
    August 1, 2008

    Wowbagger you are correct. I have not read PZ regularly in perhaps 6 months. I am not sure YOU or me has a special understanding of his true intent for his “project”. Whatever the case, I may be ignorant of his specific intent in piercing various objects with a nail. HOWEVER, I inferred his general goal as revealing religious beliefs as incompatible with a modern secular society. And perhaps a threat to a modern liberal democracy. His methods ranged from the scholarly, satirical, polemical, vegetable, and mineral. I prefer discussions on this topic to be serious (which PZ used to do more of before he became an internet celeb). To act so childishly demeans his cause.

    In short (his small) fame has led him to shift from a provocateur to a an attention seeker.

  • #563 Kseniya
    August 1, 2008

    Baba expounded:

    Fuck off!

    And that, folks, is the best Baba has to offer.

  • #564 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    I inferred his general goal as revealing religious beliefs as incompatible with a modern secular society.

    Well this incident was in response to the actions of Catholic church members and parishioners to a college kid who took a Eucharist wafer back to his pew to show a friend and then was physically assaulted. When he left the church with the wafer his life was subsequently threatened and he is now being threatened with other “punishments” from his school at the urging of the Catholics involved and others. PZ’s threat to a cracker was more to show the over reaction and the out of balance response of the Catholics. Follwing that the whole thing was blown way out of proportion by the Church and especially Bill Donohue.

    I suggest reading here to get the gist or at least the start of it.

  • #565 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    WillG,

    I wasn’t familiar with your name – I wasn’t sure if you were one of the new breed of papist troll that we’ve been infested with ever since PZ chose to wage war on magical baked goods.

    You wrote revealing religious beliefs as incompatible with a modern secular society – and that’s pretty much it in my opinion; however, it was a bit more specific in scope.

    To me, what he wanted to do was show there was a lunatic fringe amongst the catholics – and if you read through all the posts on the topic (there are many thousands, btw) you’ll see that he succeeded in that goal; we were told that threats to the cracker were as bad as (if not worse than) being shot in the head or having your family kidnapped, raped and murdered (not necessarily in that order).

    Since there were catholics who expressed scorn for the overreacting of their radical co-religionists, as well as other christians who felt it was ridiculous to believe the cracker becomes the body of christ, or to treat it as if it did, PZ did indeed show the existence of such a demented minority within one sect.

    Is he an attention seeker? Maybe. I don’t have a problem with that.

    And, as far as I’m concerned, if he manages to push one fence-sitter into questioning their beliefs and, by doing so, gets them to take one step closer to freeing themselves from religion, it’s a small price to pay.

  • #566 Craig Holman
    August 1, 2008

    To #243:

    Bach’s music is sublime. William F. Buckley should be ashamed of himself for trying to credit anyone other than Bach with its creation.

    Leave ‘god’ in the dustbin of history where it belongs.

    I regard Bach as the best composer by far.

    Bach’s Chaconne is the most beautiful, passionate, and moving piece of music ever written.

    I listen to Bach daily.

    Can I comprehend Bach’s music? In part. I immerse myself in it. I’d never be foolish enough to believe that I’ve gotten everything from it that it has to offer.

    Bach boring? Don’t be an idiot.

  • #567 Epikt
    August 1, 2008

    SoMG:

    One of the Three Ladies is Gertrude Grob-Prandl who is still generally acknowledged to be the loudest Brunhilde in recorded history.

    A bit of a backhanded compliment, no? If loud were a primary virtue, Fox News would be considered a bastion of high culture.

  • #568 Citizen Z
    August 1, 2008

    It’s funny to hear the cracker incident described variously as PZ’s “project”, as a “spectacle” with “goals”. Part of his “plan”. He made an offhand joke that turned into the massive undertaking of: receiving a cracker in the mail and throwing it in the trash. Maybe he had secret documents outlining the steps to Operation: Eucharist, but I doubt it.

  • #569 Nick Gotts
    August 1, 2008

    Maybe he had secret documents outlining the steps to Operation: Eucharist, but I doubt it. – Citizen Z

    On the contrary, a strange document, apparently written in bluish blood, covered in cabalistic symbols, and smelling faintly of ammonia and brimstone, has come into my possession, giving a detailed plan and timetaAAAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHH!!!!

  • #570 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    August 1, 2008

    Bleah. These days, the only parts of Salon worth reading are Glenn Greenwald and usually War Room, and some of the cartoonists.

  • #571 Kseniya
    August 1, 2008

    Kseniya, do you really believe that Tolkein was incapable of thinking in non-theistic terms? ~ Posted by: responsetokseniya

    Sorry, I missed this comment yesterday.

    No, I do not, though the unqualified, sweeping generalization I posted yesterday does imply it. My bad.

    What I do believe is that the person who posted the comment about Sauron is incapable (or disinclined) to think in non-theistic terms. We see this incapacity (or disinclination) over and over in the attitudes and writings of many theists. They can’t imagine how a god-shaped hole could possibly be filled by anything not god-shaped.

    However, I was wrong to imply that all theists think the same way or have the same limitations.

  • #572 kermit
    August 1, 2008

    Mary @ 452: “If this website is strictly about science, then why is there an argument here about the existence of God?”

    Who said it was strictly about science? It’s PZ’s personal blog; it naturally is about the stuff that interests him. He is interested in science, especially biology, especially cephalopods, but also religiously-grounded anti-science activists and other religious silliness.

    “Atheists claim there is no God. Why then are they consumed with proving they’re right? Atheists should be indifferent to God, if they’re sure he’s not there.”

    More accurately, atheists lack belief in gods. Typically we argue that a god who should leave footprints but doesn’t is refuted, but not necessarily those that wouldn’t (i.e. the Deist god, whatever that is). Mostly when we are arguing there are no gods, we’re explaining to various posters (or the lurkers) why there’s no good reason to believe.

    “Why launch an attack against someone who is not there?

    Ummm… we’re not attacking any god. At least, *I never have. We’re showing some folks that their claims are vacuous.

    “It seems from the vulgar language being used by Herr Myers and his fans that there is great rage and frustration beneath their suits and ties.”

    Yes. Religious attacks on free speech, on science education, on solving various social problems (like teen pregnancy), and starting wars, often leave me frustrated and irritable.

    Plus, believe it or not, some folks are annoyed by mere displays of arrogance and stupidity.

    “Myers’ desperate need to desecrate what he thinks is just a cracker looks frantic, backwards, ignorant and foolish.”

    But not nearly as foolish as though who are upset about it. How did you feel about the Muslims who threatened the schoolteacher because she allowed her students to name the class teddy bear “Muhammad”?

    “Plus, insane. Why go to such lengths if it’s just a cracker?”

    He’s a teacher.

    “Blaming the victim for one’s own crime is a very old but slick ruse.”

    I don’t recall Dr. Myers blaming the cracker, but it’s been a number of long threads, and maybe I missed it.

    “It’s still your own fault, and you, we all, are accountable, to the last penny, in this life and the next.”

    I am absolutely accountable in this life, and if I wrong somebody it is that person I have to make up to, not an invisible friend.

    “If you gamble on your eternity and end up on the wrong side of the fence,there is no chicken exit.”

    Perhaps I am more worried about living my only life wallowing in self-deception than I am about annoying one of the thousands of invisible, undetectable deities we humans have imagined over the millennia.

  • #573 Sven DiMilo
    August 1, 2008

    K (#571), I had your back.

  • #574 Sastra
    August 1, 2008

    “If this website is strictly about science, then why is there an argument here about the existence of God?”

    It’s not “strictly about science” — but who decided that the question “does God exist?” is NOT a science question?

    Did the Big Bang happen? Did modern species evolve from earlier forms? Is mind what the brain does? Can people predict the future? Do humans experience emotions? Does God exist?

    It’s an assertion of objective fact. So why is the question of God’s existence included with unscientific questions like “does chocolate taste better than vanilla?” or “should you love your mother?” or “how do you feel?”

    Many of our recent religious visitors seem to be bewildered by their discovery that faith is not universally asssumed to be a valuable and desirable habit of mind. Because the miracle of the eucharist cannot be proven scientifically, this is supposed to mean that believing in it anyway is a very hard task requiring strength, commitment, depth of character, and sensitivity. Even if we don’t believe in the particular miracle, we should at least acknowledge and respect the tough moral work those who believe put into it, and not try to shake it.

    On the contrary. That’s not hard and noble work, that’s a sloppy abdication of epistemic responsibility. And if it’s brought into the public square, then that WILL be pointed out.

    Of course, it also appears that a lot of people haven’t read the original posts, and so they don’t understand the actual issue, and the fact that it WAS brought out into the public square, through an unwarranted demand that all and sundry treat violations of the “sacred” as a secular crime. They apparently think a college teacher one day said “you know, Catholic beliefs are stupid — I’m going to show my students HOW stupid they are, and knock some sense into the Catholics.”

    That wasn’t how it happened. If that’s what you’re picturing, then you have no complaint.

  • #575 genesgalore
    August 1, 2008

    Holy Crackers, Batman, The Joker is on the loose again.

  • #576 Kseniya
    August 1, 2008

    Sven: Ah, I see. Thanks. :-)

    I have one small thing to add to Kermit and Sastra’s fine responses to Mary, which is this: It’s difficult to avoid talking about religion when it’s being shoved in your face in virtually all aspects of American life, day-in, day-out; when its mythologies attempt to encroach upon the teaching of science, when its demands are inappropriately placed upon the words, actions, policies and character of our elected and appointed public officials, particularly those who aspire to the highest office in this secular government of ours here in the good old USA.

  • #577 WRMartin
    August 1, 2008

    Kseniya @571:
    God-shaped holes can be filled with snake liver shoes and goat brains! Mmmm, brains.
    Oh, and dancing naked at midnight in parking lot of Papa John’s Pizza. Not that I have anything for or against Papa John’s – I used to live across the street from one and it was a convenient place to dance. The asphalt was hell on the shoes though.

    Another tactic might be to use your best faux mobster voice for one from this lovely pair:
    I got your god-shaped hole right here [grab crotch].
    Hey, god-shaped hole this [grab crotch].

    Yes, it’s late on Friday and I’m tired and that makes me more silly than usual.

    POETS!

  • #578 Kseniya
    August 1, 2008

    WR, one shouldn’t dance on asphalt while wearing ones snake-liver shoes.

  • #579 WillG
    August 1, 2008

    Wowbagger,

    Thank you for summarizing the recent activities of PZ. I see you have been nominated (by many posters) for a Molly, so you must be up to date on the pharyngulaverse. I agree that that the cracker piercing succeed in offending Catholics in particular and people of faith in general. But is revealing the existence of extremists in a group with purportedly 1 billion members that impressive? Bill Donahue did not need PZ to look like a buffoon. I prefer to ignore these extremists and not give them a platform.

    Finally, I take a more utilitarian approach to “conversion”. Making a single person doubt his beliefs with these antics is well and good, but what about the other possibility? What if a person reads about this prank and says wow, “atheists” are assholes? To put it simply is alienating 5, 10 people worth gaining 1?

    Why not due something scientific and analyze the structure of the cracker and see if it has human cellular structure? I doubt it does. It may seem ridiculous and maybe redundant, but that would be more appealing to me.

    Thank you for your cordial discourse.

    Citizen Z,
    I was either unclear or you misunderstood my point. I was not calling the cracker piercing activities a ‘project’. I used ‘project’ as a term to encompass all of PZ’s activities. For example, the blog, interviews, teaching, etc. If you had read more carefully you would realize that I criticized the cracker piercing because I found it TOO easy. An easy spectacle more worthy of a Bill Donahues than empiricists.

  • #580 John Morales
    August 1, 2008

    WillG:

    But is revealing the existence of extremists in a group with purportedly 1 billion members that impressive?

    Way to miss the point.

  • #581 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    How is PZ posting his desecration on his own blog attention seeking?
    It’s not like he’s sending out press releases, posting a youtube video and performing his desecration on the steps of city hall.

    It’s laughable that these dolts think PZ is doing it for attention.

  • #582 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    WillG wrote:

    Finally, I take a more utilitarian approach to “conversion”. Making a single person doubt his beliefs with these antics is well and good, but what about the other possibility? What if a person reads about this prank and says wow, “atheists” are assholes?

    I can’t see it working both ways. I’ll put it as a question: do you think that someone who’s almost all the way toward abandoning the belief in god is going to see some quasi -famous atheist desecrating a cracker and decide that that’s good evidence for the existence of god?

    What I have considered possible is that it might make people reluctant to admit their atheism if they’re surrounded by the sort of people the incident has revealed – those who are out there waiting for an excuse to harm someone for not treating their sacred beliefs as sacred.

    And that’s just another example of the problems irrational belief systems cause.

  • #583 Lucas
    August 2, 2008

    “Okay, Lucas, by blatant trolling, you’ve lost the debate by forfeit. Next time come with a coherent argument.

    Are there any non-troll theists who wish to have a real debate? Maybe it’s pointless to ask.”

    It seems you’re deeply offended. Why are you accusing me of desecrating Meyers’ holy, forgive me, Scientific Communion?

  • #584 SEF
    August 2, 2008

    @ WillG #579

    Why not due something scientific and analyze the structure of the cracker and see if it has human cellular structure?

    The Catholics already have a whole battery of excuses (prepared over centuries because this is hardly a novel test!) for why it will only turn out to be a cracker when analysed.

    So what you propose would largely be futile. While a few of the faithful may not yet know the official excuses, they would soon get told by their priest (or equivalent religious apologist) whichever subset of the feeble things they think will adequately con that particular member of the sheeple back into unthinking submission.

  • #585 SoMG
    August 2, 2008

    Epikt, for Wagner, loud=desirable.

  • #586 quasifratz
    August 2, 2008

    The first article that was in Salon, Was more about the condition of man -not the convictions of Dawkins

  • #587 genesgalore
    August 2, 2008

    john mccain is a cracker.

  • #588 genesgalore
    August 2, 2008

    i find it very revealing that a number of deans of schools of divinity are godless heathens. and, that some who can’t fight their way out of a paper bag believe “gods” are not nothing more than energy anthropomophized.

  • #589 WillG
    August 3, 2008

    Wowbagger,

    Sorry for the delay, but you make another interesting point. However I can’t see it NOT going both ways. Unfortunately, there is no data to support either hypothesis. I think your point may be valid if the reaction of people to PZ’s stunt trends along the same lines as negative campaign ads. By this I mean attacking an opponent seems to work better than praising your candidate. Think swift boat ads. I also do not think Catholics are: “are out there waiting for an excuse to harm someone for not treating their sacred beliefs as sacred.” Maybe they get pissed off and vent by making idle threats. Perhaps some fringe Muslims would do something more rash.

    This question basically boils down to what is the best way to convince someone that one of two opposing views (atheism/theism) should be adopted. I think you are incorrectly assuming that because PZ has exposed some seedier aspects of Catholicism, weak adherents will not only leave Catholicism BUT ALSO find Atheism appealing. What if these people leave Catholicism but remain Christian, spiritual, or god forbid new ageists? The stunt in it of itself has failed to offer a palpable reason to find atheism appealing. We already have Penn & Teller for these antics.

    My interpretation unfortunately fits with the critique that atheism offers nothing of substance to replace a religion or belief system with. So, I think in the scheme of things, this stunt is foolish if not selfish because it undermines the general trajectory of the movement. PZ was very successful in rallying the troops of atheism so to speak. I still doubt this stunt materially expanded the movement. Now if atheists prefer this “persecuted minority” status then this is a great strategy. Atheism will also remain a reactive movement.

    John Morales,

    I am sorry I have missed your point as well.

    Steve_C,

    I think you have willingly put your head in the sand if you believe Pharyngula (and most other blogs) is not a method of public dissemination of ideas. This whole uproar, PZ’s quasi-celebrity (I had never heard of him before the blog),and your ability to comment disprove your point. This act was more about the Image and the messenger than about the message itself. A pity.

    SEF,

    I figured as much. I hope I did not imply I came up with this idea in my earlier post. I would add that desecrating an important symbol (this is a problematic term because I think the host may be something more to Catholics) to a group of people is hardly original either.

  • #590 SEF
    August 4, 2008

    The thing which was more different about PZ’s act was that it was intended to highlight that Catholics were already behaving badly and ridiculously and disproportionately over an imagined slight of the same kind but lesser extent. He wasn’t “starting it” and he intentionally wasn’t making an original point. It was all about old points and important points of (US) law which the Catholics were trying to overturn by their whinging.

    Their proper course of action would have been to excommunicate Webster Cook if what he did was so unforgiveable (though this makes a mockery of the church themselves apparently also sending out consecrated crackers to parishioners who can’t attend). It was only an internal “crime” and therefore should have been dealt with internally. Though note that this is already a tacit admission from them that their god doesn’t exist (and that they secretly know he doesn’t exist) to do this sort of thing for himself.

    But they didn’t. They dishonestly whinged to outside authorities, making false accusations and pretending something was a real crime in the real world when it wasn’t. Equally disgusting is that the Catholics there seem to have been collectively lying about the actual assault on Webster Cook at the time by one of their own hasty and violent members; because the authorities failed to pursue the only real crime which took place (for lack of witnesses / evidence?).

  • #591 John Morales
    August 5, 2008

    I am sorry I have missed your point as well.

    I doubt that, both ways.

  • #592 JB
    August 10, 2008

    Differences between science and religon:
    Science is a method for systematically gaining understanding of the world. Religion is a set of dogmatic claims about the existence.
    Science is proved to work. No religion is proved.

    So the difference in believing in science and believing in religion is the difference between believing in a proved method and believing in unproved claims.

  • #593 SteveG
    August 13, 2008

    PZ, you wrote, “It also makes Salon look foolish, that they would put an article written by someone with a patent grudge front and center.” I just thought I’d mention that it could be (of course, this is only another guess) that the reason they put it on prominent display is because of the foolishness of what the article says.

  • #594 Peter irving
    August 29, 2008

    You have humiliated my state Mr. Myers by your action this is a state of tolerance not of bigotry. I will be writing a letter requesting you be investigate for misconduct in the classroom. Your bigoted stances show to me that you are definitely using your class room as a pulpit.

  • #595 Ermine!
    January 23, 2009

    Sheesh, the idiots are out in force this weekend!

    Peter Irving – what the hell are you talking about? Far be it from you to explain what you’re mad about, huh? What action? What bigoted stances? And what evidence do you have that he’s ‘using his classroom as a pulpit’? You’re not referring to something you’ve found here on his private, completely-separate-from-classroom blog, are you?

    Mega-FAIL!

  • #596 Jadehawk
    January 23, 2009

    eh. at this point, I bet the admin guys at the university are filtering out everything with the words “Myers” and “intolerance” in it :-p

  • The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.