Pharyngula

An organization of the Catholic leadership has now condemned my actions. This is sad news: it’s clear that at least this tier of the Catholic hierarchy is as deranged as the wackaloons flooding my mailbox.

We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional. His flagrant display of irreverence by profaning a consecrated Host from a Catholic church goes beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech.

Hmmm. Who is the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy to decide the limits of freedom? Flagrant irreverence towards a cracker ought to be fair game, I should think…and that’s all this action was: irreverence. You cannot demand that all members of a pluralist society be reverent towards any random humdrum article that a guy in a dress declares holy.

The same Bill of Rights which protect freedom of speech also protect freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion. In other words, our nation’s constitution protects the rights of ALL religions, not one and not just a few.

Man, that is a tired old argument — usually you see that fine-grained parsing of the words of the bill of rights from right-wing sources, trying to distort the meaning. Do they really think a bunch of high-minded Enlightenment dudes dedicated to the principle of liberty were thinking, “We need a clause here that could be used to compel people to be a member of a church—we’ll just give them the freedom to choose which church they’ll be forced to join”? That’s insane. I am free of religion. I am free to make that choice, just as everyone is free to choose to be Catholic.

And my personal choice not to believe in the silliness of religion is not an infringement on the rights of any religion.

The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

This is the funniest statement in the whole declaration.

Freedom of speech means I do have the right to malign and make fun of any religion I want. I can’t interfere with your right to practice your religion, but that hasn’t happened — all I’ve done is laugh at you.

That last clause, though…do they seriously believe that only Catholics are allowed to criticize Catholics, and that this restriction is enshrined in the constitution? That’s a fine catch, that catch-22. So only Catholics can malign the faith, but if they do, then they can be kicked out of the faith, which means they can’t criticize it anymore. That sounds like a ripe piece of theological logic to me.

The Chancellor of the University refused to reprimand or censure the teacher, who ironically is a Biology Professor. One fails to see the relevance of the desecration of a Catholic sacrament to the science of Biology. Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom. Yet, for a scientist to ridicule and show utter contempt for the most sacred and precious article of a major world religion, is inappropriate, unprofessional, unconstitutional and disingenuous.

Ummm, I don’t discuss religion in the classroom. I teach biology. My ‘desecration’ was performed at home, on my own time. There’s nothing ironic about the fact that I’m a biologist, nor did I claim my profession gave me special qualifications to see through the foolishness of faith. Go ahead, any of you can do it — you don’t need to be a theologian to see that it is just a cracker.

A biologist has no business ‘dissing’ any religion, rather, they should be busy teaching the scientific discipline they were hired to teach. Tolerating such behavior by university officials is equally repugnant as it lends credibility to the act of religious hatred. We also pray that Professor Myers contritely repent and apologize.

Wait, what? This is another attempt to shield a ridiculous religion, by declaring that members of certain professions are not allowed to criticize — that only Catholic theologians are permitted to rebuke the absurdities in their faith.

As for the idea that I’m supposed to be teaching biology 24-7…what, I can’t have a hobby? I can tell you that when I try to tell my wife late evening on Wednesday night that I can’t take out the trash because I’m too busy teaching biology, well, that excuse won’t fly very far.

I am not contrite, I will not repent, and I’m certainly not going to apologize for tossing a cracker in the garbage. All the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy will get from me is laughter.

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Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

    You do not have the right to not be offended.

    This is one of the dumber press releases I’ve ever read from anyone.

    I’m including Britney Spears and her ilk as well.

  2. #2 Alex
    July 30, 2008

    But… but we feel stupid when you laugh at us! :(

  3. #3 Chuck C
    July 30, 2008

    This is another attempt to shield a ridiculous religion, by declaring that members of certain professions are not allowed to criticize — that only Catholic theologians are permitted to rebuke the absurdities in their faith.

    And by logical extension, Catholic priests are not allowed to discuss the weather, because they’re not meteorologists.

  4. #4 Renee
    July 30, 2008

    When people demand apologies for something stupid, I like to respond ‘All right, I’m sorry that you’re an idiot.’

    What, that’s not what they meant?

  5. #5 Shaden Freud
    July 30, 2008

    A biologist has no business ‘dissing’ any religion….

    CCC up in this mothafucka!

  6. #6 Barklikeadog
    July 30, 2008

    Browbeating for dummies. Funny. I tell my students to get Human Anatomy & Physiology for Dummies before taking the entrance exam to my programs. Maybe we could have a Press Release for Dummies and have Amazon give the Catholics 25% off.

  7. #7 Rev. BigDUmbCHimp
    July 30, 2008

    PZ is Scienceblogs having server issues this morning?

  8. #8 Kel
    July 30, 2008

    You didn’t even need to provide them with a shovel. They are digging a hole with the hands faster than a burrowing wombat!

  9. #9 Woozle
    July 30, 2008

    Right. They’ve fired the opening shot; I propose that our response should be to make this an annual event, tentatively entitled International Dogma Rejection Day (or International Symbolism Repudiation Day, or…).

    On that day, all participants will perform some act which demonstrates their rejection of the value of some symbol, dogma, or article of faith — perhaps while affirming the importance of the thing it is supposed to represent (in some cases, you may have to stretch quite a bit to find something).

    Basic ground rules: nothing illegal or dangerous; common sense should be followed. The target is rules that are solely based on dogma, because they are obviously in desperate need of some smackdown.

    Using wafer destruction as the example (and it need not be religious; stomping on flags or the sacred images of our cephalopod overlords would be fine too — whatever sacred cows have ticked you off lately), the participant would then go and write a blog entry celebrating whatever it is that the wafers stand for, which would be… uhh…. well, they’re supposed to be Jesus’s body turned into bread, so… fast food? Cannibalism? Self-sacrifice? The fact that the answer to this question isn’t more obvious just shows how meaningless and pointless the symbolism is.

    By this act of senseless destruction plus writing, we would actually be making a contribution to understanding the meaning behind the symbol — much more of a contribution to understanding than mindless following of a ritual could ever be.

  10. #10 Lee Picton
    July 30, 2008

    Logic is not their strong suit, is it?

  11. #11 clinteas
    July 30, 2008

    “Confraternity of Catholic Clergy”

    Invokes images of juicy altarboys being fair game,that name does,not that I had ever heard of them before….

    But here’s the good stuff:

    //A biologist has no business ‘dissing’ any religion, rather, they should be busy teaching the scientific discipline they were hired to teach. Tolerating such behavior by university officials is equally repugnant as it lends credibility to the act of religious hatred. We also pray that Professor Myers contritely repent and apologize.//

    As in,a cricket player/novelist/teacher/plumber/waiter has no business dissing any religion?
    This so nicely shows their understanding of freedom of speech,doesnt it !

    Oh,PZ,dont ever delete any of the cracker threads,they are evidence for all eternity of catholic bigotry and dumbassness.

  12. #12 Jason Failes
    July 30, 2008

    Much like the creationist arguments we are all far more familiar with, the enraged Catholics are beginning to fall into the fine art of repeating refuted points, but louder:

    A biology professor shouldn’t do this! It’s unprofessional!
    It was on his personal blog on his personal time.
    A biology professor shouldn’t do this!!! It’s unprofessional!!!

    The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion!
    No, here are some links to what the founding fathers actually wrote. Freedom of religion is worthless without freedom from religion.
    The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion!!!

    The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition!
    No, it means we can’t physically interfere with your own religious choices. We can make fun all we want. Freedom of speech, beeyatches.
    The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition!!!

    And so on.

  13. #13 HumanisticJones
    July 30, 2008

    The tired rantings of Catholics aside (Rreally, can they still truly be going on about this?) I really want that picture on a shirt. I will buy it and wear it proudly.

    As for the rantings…

    It seems to have become common place in this country for the Christian conservative side of American politics to both wave the flag of free speech while at the same time shitting on it. They must have all the free speech they can get to keep from being persecuted for their beliefs, but the moment someone doesn’t agree, then there need to be limits. Of course these limits must be one sided, the religious can still cross them, just not the godless heathens.

  14. #14 Thethyme
    July 30, 2008

    I hope at some point the Vatican will comment on this BS. You certainly attracked the Catholic flea organizations… You’re really on to something here with all this hysteria of a bland ritz.

  15. #15 Robert
    July 30, 2008

    Ok, before this, I kinda thought the whole cracker desecration thing was just a bit too far. I thought that it was mean to intentionally desecrate something someone holds so sacred regardless of how utterly retarded those reasons were (well kinda, I guess I really just don’t like rilling people up). But declaring that freedom of religion means no one has the right ot attack them? Now I am fucking pissed. This makes me completly support everything you have done, and makes me want to stage some kind of desecration of my own.

    I am not beholden to their goddamn lunacy, and I certainly don’t have to respect and tolerate idiocy and stupidity.

  16. #16 another
    July 30, 2008

    What’s a Con Fraternity to do once people start seeing through the con?

  17. #17 cls
    July 30, 2008

    I needed a good giggle, I’ve been doing the graphic design for the annual financial report for a certain mega church all week.

    Don’t worry, they will stop praying for you soon, the new trailer for the next Harry Potter film just got released and they have bigger fish to fry.

  18. #18 Zeno
    July 30, 2008

    Well, at least they put “dissing” in quotes. I have to give them points for that.

    As for the rest … if biologists shouldn’t talk about religion, should priests be trying their hands at marriage counseling? They have no personal experience of the marital state, except in the rare cases where clerics are widowers who went into the priesthood after losing their spouses (e.g., England’s Cardinal Manning, who considered his wife’s death “God’s special mercy,” since it allowed him to become a priest).

  19. #19 mk
    July 30, 2008

    And just when you thought the thousand comments per thread days were over! Heh-heh. ;^}

  20. #20 MaryLupin
    July 30, 2008

    Citing the idea of freedom of religion notions of the American founding fathers was pretty funny since, in part, it was envisaged as freedom from the oppression of high Anglicans and Catholics.

  21. #21 daedalus2u
    July 30, 2008

    Boy, they sure have a lot of gall, criticizing an atheist when they are not atheists themselves.

    Another thing, that Koran you desecrated wasn’t a “real” Koran. Only a Koran that is written in Arabic is “real”. Everything else is just some translator’s interpretation.

  22. #22 Jason Failes
    July 30, 2008

    “Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore than would be perjury in a court or libel in a newspaper.”

    ohhhhhh, they do not want to go there.

    Both of their analogies depend upon truth-claims, and if the truth-claim of “this cracker is the transubstantiated flesh of out messiah” ever has to go head to head with “It’s just a fracking cracker”, say in a court of law, well, guess which truth-claim will come out looking like a fraud?

  23. #23 Hank Fox
    July 30, 2008

    PZ, their site calls for “reparation.” I’m guessing you’re expected either to send them a nickel for the cracker you desecrated, or else bring a tenth of an ounce of Jesus back to life.

    Speaking of reparations, I’d like the Catholic Church to pony up too. I want the Dark Ages fixed. Maybe they can also do something about Pat Robertson.

  24. #24 Ashley Moore
    July 30, 2008

    As a practising Hindu, I consider cows to be sacred.
    I hereby demand all Catholics stop killing and eating cattle.

    For you see, the establishment clause provided freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion…

  25. #25 Benjamin Geiger
    July 30, 2008

    Chuck @ #3:

    More to the point, doesn’t that mean that the spokespeople for the CCC aren’t allowed to comment on PZ’s teaching style, since they’re not educators?

  26. #26 Lago
    July 30, 2008

    This is all Canada’s fault

  27. #27 Interrobang
    July 30, 2008

    I thought that it was mean to intentionally desecrate something someone holds so sacred regardless of how utterly retarded those reasons were

    You mean, more mean than issuing death threats after PZ’s hyperbolic threat to do it? Keep in mind, Cook had also gotten death threats for (apparently) unintentionally desecrating a Communion wafer.

    I agree with PZ in this case. When bullies try to shut you up, the worst thing you can do is shut up; then they feel like they’ve won and they double and redouble their efforts to make your life miserable. When it comes to the sorts of bullies I’m used to dealing with, getting louder is the least powerful of the effective responses…

  28. #28 Platypus
    July 30, 2008

    Speaking of clergy…

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/07/29/brazil.flying.priest.ap/index.html

    Looks like Father Darwin called him home…

  29. #29 Greg
    July 30, 2008

    “We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional.”

    I don’t know, PZ. The Unconstitutional part, for me, was the funniest thing I read from the whole thing. Mainly because it set up what was idea a hilarious read.

  30. #30 C R Stamey
    July 30, 2008

    I have to agree with MaryLupin @ #20.

    The fact they used the “freedom of religion” argument while ignoring why it was implemented in the first place is priceless. My irony meter had a meltdown.

    Whatever reservations I had about Crackergate are gone. The point PZ has made is long overdue and the press release confirms that.

  31. #31 Armchair Dissident
    July 30, 2008

    We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional.

    Unconstitutional? I know what that word means. I don’t think it means what they think it means.

  32. #32 Sven DiMilo
    July 30, 2008

    The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

    ‘K, I ‘ve read that 5 times now, and it’s not only Stoo-oo-oopid, but it’s illiteate as well, no? Isn’t there a missing “to which” or “in which” or something?

    One wonders (does one not?) how much of this ridiculous over-reaction is traceable to the small, silent fear deep within their lizardbrains that the whole profitable, self-serving, silly shebang is on the cusp of crashing down around them if their “sheep” start to think about stuff a little bit.

  33. #33 Capital Dan
    July 30, 2008

    Umm… “dissing?”

    Yo! DJ PZ is gettin’ all up in thems Catlick grillz, and he be bustin’ it old-school like crazy Lutha with no need for their ills.

    Instead of nailin some rag to the Wittenberg door, DJ PZ spiked a wafer and shouted “no fucking more!”

  34. #34 watercat
    July 30, 2008

    If they want respect they can earn it. Until then they can STFU. This is my letter to the Catholic League:

    If I should come to possess a consecrated host, I swear to treat it in the most disrespectful, sacrilegious manner possible. It’s just a symbol, but what if Bill Donohue was right?

    If there really is a Jesus Christ, and he really does transform himself at the priest’s bidding, then he is there as an active participant in satisfying the priest’s desires during mass. He is also there as an active participant in satisfying the priest’s desires during what went on downstairs with that same priest. He was right there as an active participant in taking away my childhood and leaving me with nightmares for forty years. Instead of transforming those nightmares or preserving that child, his only interest was in transforming hosts for the child’s tormentor.

    And he demands my respect? No. He gets the contempt he has earned through his own actions. His accomplices and enablers in the church needn’t fear I will lower myself to his level by seeking out new victims to abuse, however if Jesus Christ is in some sense present in the host, and if I should ever come again find myself with one, the very least I could do is perform a cathartic healing and act of symbolic justice by utterly desecrating and destroying it.

  35. #35 Wodwose
    July 30, 2008

    In knitting one must learn to “cast off” so that scarves and such do not go on forever. Catholics should learn this technique for use in their pointless bitching and complaining.

    I am wondering tho’, if the National Committee on What You Can’t Talk About has placed an injunction against biologists talking about religion, is there something that we chemical engineers are forbidden to talk about? I missed the memo.

  36. #36 Michelle
    July 30, 2008

    I think the greatest part is the picture at the end of your post! Who made it? :)

  37. #37 Nuno
    July 30, 2008

    After reading all this BS and nonsense from this silly people that do not tolerate whoever thinks different from them, I really feel compeled by, all the catholics that I read here, to go to a mess and take the cracker home.

  38. #38 John C. Randolph
    July 30, 2008

    Sorry, I just can’t scrape together any sympathy for an organization with a history of protecting child molesters from prosecution.

    To any catholic priests who may be reading this: we’re not playing along with your pretentious nonsense. Grow up and get a real job. A cracker is a cracker, even if you hold your breath until you turn blue about it.

    -jcr

  39. #39 Andrew
    July 30, 2008

    PZ – your post was worth reading for this one sentence alone:

    “You cannot demand that all members of a pluralist society be reverent towards any random humdrum article that a guy in a dress declares holy.”

    A trifecta! Making a good point with adroit prose while executing a well-aimed kick in the balls.

    Keep it up.

  40. #40 Boosterz
    July 30, 2008

    Theists are always making the false claim that atheism is a form of religion. Does this press release mean that theists aren’t allowed to criticize atheism now since they aren’t atheists?

    They must not have though about the crap in that press release for more then 3 or 4 seconds before publishing it.

  41. #41 negentropyeater
    July 30, 2008

    One quick look at their website (geebus what a mess !), shows that this is yet another group of conservative fundamentalists :

    Furthermore, we pledge to explain and encourage our faithful to fully know, understand and comply with authentic Christian morality contained in this encyclical, especially on the intrinsic evils of abortion and contraception.

    We strongly urge the faithful to exercise their political power as tax paying voters to elect and influence governors and legislators so they will enact state amendments to prevent the alteration, expansion or redefinition of marriage.

    We resolve to support every bishop who courageously defends the sanctity and integrity of the Holy Eucharist by denying Communion to notorious and unrepentant politicians who are openly supportive of abortion and/or euthanasia.

    Their plea can gladly be ignored, anyway, what do they know about all these things, this bunch of old frustrated men completely detached from reality with all their delusions, what a joke !

    Do they realise that they really look like old perverts on those pictures ?

  42. #42 Robert in NYC
    July 30, 2008

    The Confraternity’s grasp of Constitutional law is poor. Almost all of the provisions of the Bill of Rights are binding on government, and not on individuals. (Slaveholding is an exception — individuals are not allowed to own slaves.) The First Amendment limits the goverment’s power to impose restrictions on the press and and speech and establish a state religion. But it imposes no restrictions on individuals. There must be “state action” for the Bill of Rights to be involved in most cirucmstances. State action is absent here. Other laws, of course, may apply.

  43. #43 kid bitzer
    July 30, 2008

    okay, they just flunked their con law exam.

    that is the *saddest* exposition of the establishment clause i have *ever* read.

    as well as being utterly illiterate, as sven in #32 notes.

    man, at least the calflicks i knew 50 years ago were well-educated–say what you like about jesuits, at least they knew how to write a grammatical sentence, and in several different languages.

    these guys are just stoopid.

  44. #44 Jams
    July 30, 2008

    I hear – as a first step toward this new understanding of freedom of religion and speech – Catholics are removing from their sermons and texts all references to non-Catholics as well as all comments on subjects other than Catholicism. Rumour has it that their new Bible makes for a refreshingly hate-free read, loaded with… oh wait, this just in… my apologies: The catholic church will continue to embrace unrestrained authority over all matters, reserving the additional right to vilify, slander, libel, mislead and condemn as they see fit.

  45. #45 NC Paul
    July 30, 2008

    Catholic priests using their divine connection to Jesus as a bully pulpit to tell people what to do with their life?

    Say it ain’t so!

    This is why you have separation of church and state. Given an inch, these whackaloons will be in your bedroom telling you what you can and can’t do, should and shouldn’t think. It’s what they did in Ireland till we got wise to the scam (and even still, we have a legacy of illiberal laws on the statue books and in our constitution from that time).

    Thank you Confraternity of Catholic Clergy for amply demonstrating that religion is the enemy of personal freedom.

  46. #46 Lee Salisbury
    July 30, 2008

    Experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.
    — James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, addressed to the Virginia General Assemby, June 20, 1785

  47. #47 John C. Welch
    July 30, 2008

    Wait, this has a bright side. If you can’t criticse Catholicism unless you’re a catholic…

    Then priests can’t criticize any sexual behaviors of any kind, they’re not having sex.

    The Catholic Clergy can’t criticize gay people, they’re not gay.

    The Catholic Clergy can’t criticize marriage in any form, they can’t get married.

    I mean, think about it, if they want to use THAT logic, then we have a shot to get them to STFU about anything that isn’t a direct part of Catholicism.

  48. #48 llewelly
    July 30, 2008

    The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy had their chance. They could have repudiated all of the death and violence threats emerging from Bill Donahue’s flying monkeys. But no.

  49. #49 Docwazoo
    July 30, 2008

    Re Woozle #9: I think we should write up a checklist of possible desecrations for all relevant religious symbols – I’m having trouble thinking up good Jewish desecrations to perform in Israel (granted, we don’t have the same kind of constitutional freedom you guys have).

  50. #50 Bodach
    July 30, 2008

    “The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion!”
    Well, okay then; they’ve convinced me with their blinding logic. From this day forward I will no longer be an atheist but will become a member of the null set religion. I don’t feel any different, still want to laugh at and berate those dress wearing pedophiles…

    And Dan @ 33? I feel you, aight?

  51. #51 Cheezits
    July 30, 2008

    And by logical extension, Catholic priests are not allowed to discuss the weather, because they’re not meteorologists.

    They’re not allowed to discuss birth control either.

  52. #52 Mumon
    July 30, 2008

    Keep up the good work!

    I would like those clowns to find where in the constitution it’s prohibited to abuse crackers…

  53. #53 Jason Failes
    July 30, 2008

    PZ, their own “logic”,

    Priests are humans.
    Humans are biological.
    You are a biologist.
    Therefore, you can critique them all you want.

    You are an atheist.
    Atheists are not Catholics.
    Priests are Catholics.
    Therefore, they can’t say anything about you at all.

  54. #54 qbsmd
    July 30, 2008

    So now no one can say that it’s just Bill Donahue, who isn’t part of the Catholic hierarchy.

    They must not have though about the crap in that press release for more then 3 or 4 seconds before publishing it.

    Posted by: Boosterz

    Their theology sounds like no one thought it over either, even though we know people have. I think it’s just the quality of the minds involved.

  55. #55 Wicked Lad
    July 30, 2008

    The Confraternity (“Confraternity”? Really?) of Catholic Clergy wrote:

    His flagrant display of irreverence by profaning a consecrated Host from a Catholic church goes beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech…. The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

    As Noam Chomsky has written, though:

    If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.

  56. #56 Umilik
    July 30, 2008

    Nearly 500 years after Galileo and Bruno the medieval hatemongering idiotic mindset seems alive and well.
    Well, it’s obviously off to the stake with you, my good man. Best invest in some asbestos underwear.

    Man, somebody get me off this planet….

  57. #57 wookerist
    July 30, 2008

    (+)

  58. #58 JHJEFFERY
    July 30, 2008

    PZ

    Greeting:

    As a lawyer of some 33 years, and a bit of an expert on the First Amendment, I have a suggestion for the Catholics who wrote this:

    “The same Bill of Rights which protect (sic) freedom of speech also protect(sic)freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion. In other words, our nation’s constitution protects the rights of ALL religions, not one and not just a few. Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore than would be perjury in a court or libel in a newspaper.”

    The suggestion is that they should actually READ the First Amendment before they opine on it, or call me and I will tell them what it means for an entirely reasonable fee. The Amendment reads, in pari materia: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . ”

    This does not, in any sense, prohibit you from descrating a cracker. However, I do not think that Congress could pass a law requiring that you do so. You may belittle and descrate all you want. You may also paint swasticas all over a church, subject to other penal code provisions–such actions are not unconstitutional. The clause following the above-quoted protects your right of free speech, including content-laden actions such as the desecration of a cracker. Maybe they were unaware of this little clause.

    I will drop them a nice note to the above effect.

    As to their comment about you not being a theologian (ironic from theologians giving legal opinions–without a license), I, like Prof. Dawkins, am not a fairiologist and take no position on the issue.

    Cheers,

    JHJEFFERY

  59. #59 No One of Consequence
    July 30, 2008
  60. * So as long as we form a religion that has a sacred tradition of mocking ridiculous beliefs, it’s all good?
  61. * Confraternity of Catholic Clergy – anyone else get a visual of a bunch of drunk priest sitting in a room watching porn and opening bottles of holy wine with various unusual parts of their anatomy?
  • #60 Mena
    July 30, 2008

    It needs to be said, this being an internet forum and all:

    “I’m in ur churches killin ur crackers.”

    Or something like that.

  • #61 DuckPhup
    July 30, 2008

    Irreverence is unconstitutional? OK… I’m screwed.

    (Dang… I must have been absent that day…)

  • #62 Thoracantha
    July 30, 2008

    So, by Confraternity of Catholic Clergy understandings, they can not criticize Wiccans, Muslims, Satanist, or even the most evil of evils atheist, because they don’t belong to that group?

    Wait,.. Wouldn’t one of the most important doctrines of the Catholic Church, that it, and it alone, is the one truth faith, and therefor all other religions are false, be considered criticism of these other religious view points? By their logic would Catholicism be unconstitutional? Therefor, criticism of Catholic would be constitutional because the view point espoused by Catholics is unconstitutional, and there can be no constitutional protection for unconstitutional action…. (Head explodes at this point.

  • #63 Kseniya
    July 30, 2008

    That press release is a fine example of why there should be (and is) a clearly-defined and constitutionally-guaranteed separation of church and state. The fact that the authors characterize PZ’s actions and words as “unconstitutional” demonstrates that those fools don’t know the meaning of the word. Let us keep as much political power out of their hands as possible.

  • #64 Allytude
    July 30, 2008

    Well considering that they are defining what people of certain disciplines should do, lets define their duties too..
    A religious person, who easily offends has no business reading a science blog or discussing a biology professor. Lets do that

  • #65 SEF
    July 30, 2008

    Of course these limits must be one sided, the religious can still cross them, just not the godless heathens.

    It makes me think of those road markings (in the UK anyway) with a solid line next to a dashed line along the centre to indicate that only one of the two flows of traffic is allowed to encroach upon the other’s territory. That, with no changeover for the return of the privilege, is what the dishonest religious people want “free” speech etc to be like.

  • #66 Sastra
    July 30, 2008

    “Lies and hate speech which incite contempt or violence are not protected under the law. Hence, inscribing Swastikas on Jewish synagogues or publicly burning copies of the Christian Bible or the Muslim Koran, especially by a faculty member of a public university, are just as heinous and just as unconstitutional.”

    Burning a Bible is against the law? Really? Where? Since when does inciting “contempt” become equivalent to inciting violence? Do these people have no brakes? Or do they just assume other people shouldn’t be expected to?

    I think PZ owes The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy a debt of gratitude. Their arguments are making the rationale for your actions explicit and clear. No, you did not desecrate the cracker to upset individual Catholics. You did so to make a larger point.

    Statements like “The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance” and “Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore than would be perjury in a court or libel in a newspaper” need to be refuted in the strongest terms possible.

    They’re making your case for you. When it comes down to it, it’s not really about the Catholics themselves. If a “Flag Desecration” Amendment criminalizing the “rude” treatment of the American flag were to pass through Congress, a lot of Americans who have no particular grievance against the government would burn flags in protest. We should not hold either symbols — or people’s sensitive “feelings” — sacred.

    And religion gets no pass on this. The real reason they want no criticism in this area is because “faith” arguments are weak, and can’t stand up to ridicule. They depend on everyone playing along, and agreeing that having faith is a wonderful characteristic requiring strength and depth. Thus, religion is a sanctuary where nobody is allowed to question or be rude.

    They can mandate that in their churches, among their followers. Only.

    By the way, I love the way they gratuitously threw in the Courtier’s Reply, just for the heck of it (“Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom.”) How ironic.

  • #67 Chem Geek
    July 30, 2008

    Re: #26

    “This is all Canada’s fault

    Posted by: Lago | July 30, 2008 9:47 AM

    Anyone know how to contact Trey Parker and Matt Stone? This WOULD make a great epidsode.

    Tonight on Southpark…

  • #68 43Alley
    July 30, 2008

    “The Chancellor of the University refused to reprimand or censure the teacher, who ironically is a Biology Professor.”

    That’s not irony. These Catholics are worse than play-by-play sportscasters.

  • #69 Steve_C
    July 30, 2008

    |===(+)===>

    Digital desecration if a host. I like it.

  • #70 Benjamin Franklin
    July 30, 2008

    New Revolutionary CHRISTOCRACKERS

    Freedom of crackers is not freedom from crackers

    ..
    .

  • #71 negentropyeater
    July 30, 2008

    So far so good, catholics have not dissapointed !

  • #72 Randy
    July 30, 2008

    “The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance”

    Man, get rid of that and homosexuality and they wouldn’t have anything to talk/screech about on Sunday.

  • #73 Lago
    July 30, 2008

    The Lutheran Church was founded on the criticism of the Catholic Church. Does the Lutheran Church have a Constitutional right to exist according to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy?

  • #74 Blake Stacey
    July 30, 2008

    Sastra (#66):

    If a “Flag Desecration” Amendment criminalizing the “rude” treatment of the American flag were to pass through Congress, a lot of Americans who have no particular grievance against the government would burn flags in protest.

    Hell, I’d pull a William Lloyd Garrison for good measure and burn copies of the Constitution, too.

    By the way, I love the way they gratuitously threw in the Courtier’s Reply

    Don’t you mean the Responsum Aucili? ;-)

    (By the way, do you have the photos from wandering around the last day of TAM 6?)

  • #75 alloy
    July 30, 2008

    By this logic, any and all attempts at evangelism should cease forthwith.

    Catholic priests should not (in theory at least) have any comment to make on fornication. (or marriage gay or otherwise)

    Babtist ministers should refrain from talking about booze, gambling and pornography.

    Etc Etc.

  • #76 Richard Eis
    July 30, 2008

    -For a scientist to ridicule and show utter contempt for the most sacred and precious article of a major world religion, is inappropriate, unprofessional, unconstitutional and disingenuous.-

    That implies that it is most sacred…considering only a tiny subset of people actually cared (and their sock puppets) and since that subset generally are following a different version of said religion than most christians I fail too see their point.

  • #77 Kseniya
    July 30, 2008

    Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore

    This typo neatly reveals their desire and agenda.

  • #78 LMR
    July 30, 2008

    I think they are correct on one point, people should stick to their discipline.

    Therefore, they should reject all religious teaching from a CARPENTER of all people. They can close their doors now.

  • #79 Vince
    July 30, 2008

    “And by logical extension, Catholic priests are not allowed to discuss the weather, because they’re not meteorologists.”

    Remembering when the American Council of Bishops urged Catholics to vote for “W”, lets take the logic one more step and say they’re not qualified to discuss politics either.

  • #80 Duvenoy
    July 30, 2008

    Being from an agnostic/atheist family, I have been religion-FREE for some 68 years, now. As nothing has come along to convince me that any sort of Big Juju has ever existed, I rather doubt that I will change my mind.

    The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is merely another group of blatherskites in funny cloths with a little authority over some portion of the world’s deluded, said authority granted them by those same deluded. The Klan might be seen as similar, but they haven’t done as many lynchings as the Church. Happily, the Klan is waining and, if what I’ve read is correct, the Church’s recruitment is down a bit. May the ascent into reason continue……

    doov

  • #81 Nick Gotts
    July 30, 2008

    Woozle@9,

    International Irreverence Day?

  • #82 JFK
    July 30, 2008

    Nice illustration!

    Thanks, my new favorite blog.

  • #83 SC
    July 30, 2008

    Wait, what?

    I just wanted to say that I’m enjoying the increased use (revival?) of this particular line, and loved this link that someone posted the other day:

    http://img133.imageshack.us/img133/6079/128320993454987500dudewdl1.jpg

    (I hope I haven’t killed it by pointing to it.)

    That’s all. Still tired from mixing it up over at Mixing Memory. Nothing more of substance to add since yesterday.

  • #84 PoxyHowzes
    July 30, 2008

    One of their popes declared in all seriousness that roman catholics should support freedom of religion anywhere that rc’s were in a minority and nowhere that rc’s were in a majority.

  • #85 PZ Myers
    July 30, 2008

    Blake, I don’t have the photos — somebody needs to pester Ben Goldacre to free the documentation!

  • #86 Evolving Squid
    July 30, 2008

    And by logical extension, Catholic priests are not allowed to discuss the weather, because they’re not meteorologists.

    On the flip side, they should be able to expound at length on the matter of proctology as it applies to young boys.

  • #87 shonny
    July 30, 2008

    Their plea can gladly be ignored, anyway, what do they know about all these things, this bunch of old frustrated men completely detached from reality with all their delusions, what a joke !

    Do they realise that they really look like old perverts on those pictures ?

    Posted by: negentropyeater | July 30, 2008 9:56 AM

    neg,
    They don’t just LOOK like old perverts, they ARE old perverts!
    (No doubt they themselves consider pedophilia ‘normal’, which I guess it is for the cat’lickin’ clergy)

  • #88 Chuck C
    July 30, 2008

    @Benjamin Geiger, #25:

    Well, the author could be both a priest and an educator, but I take your point. Meanwhile, I couldn’t help picking out this quote:

    Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom.

    Don’t these blithering idiots ever bother to think about what they’re writing before publishing it? What the hell does this brouhaha have to do with the classroom?

  • #89 Mr.Pendent
    July 30, 2008

    Slightly OT, but that image at the end of the post reminds me of the TV show Scrubs, and JD’s favorite game…”Hide the Saltine”

    Sorry.

  • #90 Kseniya
    July 30, 2008

    Spending time at Mixing Memory can be a frustrating experience.

  • #91 Scott
    July 30, 2008

    I can’t get over the fact that he’s claiming a right for a religion.

    Religions don’t have rights. Humans have rights. Hell, he’s even saying that religions have rights that humans do not. That’s the dumbest damn thing I’ve read this month.

    A person who belongs to a religion has rights, as does a person who does not belong to a religion. A religion can’t have rights because a religion is not a person. It is, at best, an abstract concept. It’s like saying an emotion has rights. Madness.

  • #92 Dunc
    July 30, 2008

    Hank Fox

    Speaking of reparations, I’d like the Catholic Church to pony up too. I want the Dark Ages fixed.

    Not this again. If you think the Catholic Church was responsible for the Dark Ages, you do not know what the term “Dark Ages” means (in modern technical usage, anyway). If anybody is responsible for the Dark Ages, it’s the Visigoths. Plus the Dark Ages were not nearly as bad as the Catholic Church subsequently made them out to be.

    What the hell do they teach in history class over there? Everything you think you know about the Dark Ages is wrong.

  • #93 Benjamin Franklin
    July 30, 2008

    Docwazoo@ #49

    I’m having trouble thinking up good Jewish desecrations to perform

    Pay over-retail price!
    or more simply, buy from SkyMall

  • #94 Lago
    July 30, 2008

    Anyone feel like eating some annelids right about now? I know I feel like switching to a Diet of Worms.

  • #95 DB
    July 30, 2008

    These people defending this cracker like it is their life are about as ignorant as they come. Move on losers…its a frackin’ cracker! If I was a religious person I would be embarrassed at the worship of a cracker.

  • #96 Stephen Wells
    July 30, 2008

    Wasn’t there one of the idiots in the cracker threads who spent all his time chortling about how the evidence the cracker was consecrated wouldn’t pass peer review, and therefore you were going to lose your job? He seemed to have a similar idea to this bunch; apparently once you’re a scientist then EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO must be research or teaching.

  • #97 Malocchio
    July 30, 2008

    So a congregation of professional crossdressers is having a hissy fit on your behalf? Feel honored. I know I would.

  • #98 Notkieran
    July 30, 2008

    Totally off topic to Duvenoy:

    I’ve not heard Blatherskite used since Ducktales and Gizmo Duck.

    Nostalgia is a wonderful thing.

  • #99 cbpooh
    July 30, 2008

    I don’t think they could have interpreted the First Amendment more shabbily if they had tried. Seriously, did they not consult an attorney before they used words like “unconstitutional” to describe the act of desecration? There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution that limits the actions of individual citizens in the United States. The purpose of the Constitution was to provide a framework for a federal government and then limit the GOVERNMENT’S powers. I’m really finding it difficult to believe that this is a serious organization. Whether you like what PZ did or not, this statement displays almost breathtaking ignorance. My 13 year old daughter was able to find the giant flaw. Time to rethink that curriculum in the Catholic schools if this is what it eventually produces.

  • #100 Jeff
    July 30, 2008

    “We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again.”

    Your actions are going to make for hungry Catholics everywhere. I’m impressed! :)

    Seriously though… That’s a really stupid press release. It would be nice if people would stop interpreting “Freedom of Religion” to mean “Freedom for me to impose MY Religion on whomever I chose”.

  • #101 Cheezits
    July 30, 2008

    According to my religious belief, not only are lying, covering up abuse, and promoting STUPID doctrines immoral, but failing to criticize the perpetrators and point out how STUPID their beliefs are is a sin.

  • #102 Jason
    July 30, 2008

    Your actions have offended the sensitivities of millions of people. Should you not put on your bigboy pants and apologise? You act like a preadolesant who is spoiled as hell.

  • #103 Paul Lundgren
    July 30, 2008

    As an ex-Catholic, I can say that Catholicism wouldn’t lend itself to criticism if it wasn’t so stupid and, at times, cruel. So they started it.

  • #104 Tophe
    July 30, 2008

    @ Woozle, #9

    The Discordians already have this covered in their Pentabarf:

    3. A Discordian is Required during his early Illumination to Go Off Alone & Partake Joyously of a Hot Dog on a Friday; this Devotive Ceremony to Remonstrate against the popular Paganisms of the Day: of Roman Catholic Christendom (no meat on Friday), of Judaism (no meat of Pork), of Hindic Peoples (no meat of Beef), of Buddhists (no meat of animal), and of Discordians (no Hot Dog Buns).

  • #105 Docwazoo
    July 30, 2008

    Ben Franklin #94:
    Ouch! If I were still Jewish I’d call you an antisemite!
    Seriously though, we already eat pork outdoors, defile the Sabbath, and sell leavened bread on passover. It still doesn’t piss off the orthodox enough!

  • #106 SC
    July 30, 2008

    Spending time at Mixing Memory can be a frustrating experience.

    But everyone here has already heard my rants! :)

  • #107 craig
    July 30, 2008

    The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

    By this logic, most of the sermons performed in the Catholic church are “unconstitutional.”

    Are they seriously trying to say that they never criticize non-Catholics in their sermons? They never say that atheists or others are immoral and bound for hell?

    Morons.

  • #108 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    Your actions have offended the sensitivities of millions of people. Should you not put on your bigboy pants and apologise? You act like a preadolesant who is spoiled as hell.

    Oh boo hooo Jason.

    You offended us. We’re going to cry.

    You do not have the right to not be offended Jason.

    Why don’t all of you put on your big boy pants and stop believing in fairy tales?

  • #109 raven
    July 30, 2008

    A biologist has no business ‘dissing’ any religion, rather, they should be busy teaching the scientific discipline they were hired to teach. Tolerating such behavior by university officials is equally repugnant as it lends credibility to the act of religious hatred. We also pray that Professor Myers contritely repent and apologize.

    What right do old celibate male virgins have to tell people how to run their sex life and how many children they should have?

    According to the RCC, they are supposedly the world experts and authorities on sex and children. According to their own members, none at all and they just ignore them.

    And why is it that religions (not usually the Catholics in this case) proud of their ignorance and stupidity feel qualified to tell most scientists that they are completely wrong about just about everything. Fundie mythology contradicts most of physics, biology, paleontology, geology, astronomy, archaeology, and history.

    The Catholic confraternity has not made a case for anything except that they are homesick for the Dark Ages. They’ve been over for centuries, DEAL WITH IT.

  • #110 negentropyeater
    July 30, 2008

    Maybe every time a group of priests comes up with a press release like this suggesting that you don’t have the right to do this and that, you should just go ahead and desecrate another cracker.
    After a while, maybe they’ll get the message and keep quiet.

  • #111 Richard Harris
    July 30, 2008

    “…Flagrant irreverence towards a cracker…”

    They’re crackers. And can’t their feckin’ god-thing fight its own battles? No, because feckin’ Jehova/Jesus/Ghost thing doesn’t exist.

  • #112 ryanb
    July 30, 2008

    I have to ask if:

    1. They claim atheism is a religion.
    2. They claim people who are not members of a religion cannot criticize it.

    Doesn’t that mean they shouldn’t be allowed to bad mouth atheism, or even question it?

    Even if you concede they believe this is how the system is supposed to work – doesn’t seem to me they even follow their own ideas of how the system works.

    aka – They are lying and they know it. They genuinely do not believe any of this, they just want to make some noise.

  • #114 CSBSH
    July 30, 2008

    Damn, that press release was almost dumber than those comming from Bill Donohue. What the writer has done is desecrating his own mind.

  • #115 Bureaucratus Minimis
    July 30, 2008

    LOLzer! Sounds like their press release was written by someone with the same grasp of law as Fr. J, Pharyngula’s favorite canon lawyer. Hey, J, did you write that?

    Not to worry, PZ, it’s just puffery to assuage their base.

  • #116 Matt
    July 30, 2008

    #48:
    The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy had their chance. They could have repudiated all of the death and violence threats emerging from Bill Donahue’s flying monkeys. But no.

    But the CCC did say: We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again. Isn’t that the same thing as saying ‘do nothing’?
    Just sayin’.
    – Matt

  • #117 Moggie
    July 30, 2008

    # 99:

    I’m really finding it difficult to believe that this is a serious organization.

    It’s only serious if people take it seriously. That, in a way, is what this whole saga has been about.

  • #118 Christopher Waldrop
    July 30, 2008

    You cannot demand that all members of a pluralist society be reverent towards any random humdrum article that a guy in a dress declares holy.
    I’m just repeating this again because it’s so brilliant I want to burn it into my memory.

  • #119 Nino
    July 30, 2008

    How can they expect anyone to take action against PZ?

    There is no proof !

    Even if they found the cracker in his bin. How can they proof that it is a cracker that was turned into Jesus by a priests magick ? Even if PZ believed that the cracker that was sent to him had been magicked. It might not have been. And then its just a nail in a cracker and can not be used for actions against him. Even if he admits to “killing” a cracker.

    And without proof that the cracker was indeed consecrated, there is no crime.

    So why do they continue with whitch hunt they cant win?
    I suppose its tradition with them….

    PS. If they can present scientific proof, if a random sample cracker is consecrated or not, I’ll become a catholic immediately.

  • #120 Todd
    July 30, 2008

    Yet, for a scientist to ridicule and show utter contempt for the most sacred and precious article of a major world religion, is inappropriate, unprofessional, unconstitutional and disingenuous.

    Disingenuous? Really? These people not only need to read the Constitution, but they probably could use a dictionary, too.

  • #121 Sastra
    July 30, 2008

    Jason #102 wrote:

    Your actions have offended the sensitivities of millions of people. Should you not put on your bigboy pants and apologise?

    No. I think the point here is that the people with the “offended sensitivities” need to put on their big boy pants and get over it.

  • #122 jonathan
    July 30, 2008

    This Confraternity is a group of 600 or so priests and deacons, not the Church itself, so take what they say with an appropriate grain of salt. The actual Church would never issue a statement that discussed America’s Constitution – and if it did, it would certainly get right the completely established meaning of the “free exercise clause” of the 1st Amendment, that it prevents the Government from entangling itself with religion and prevents the Government from restricting the free exercise of religion.

  • #123 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    Okay, two notes:

    My favorite example for the “it ain’t freedom FROM religion” canard is from the Good Ole Days (Roman Empire style). It’s a nice poke in the eye:

    In Roman days, some rulers insisted on being considered gods. You could still worship your own god, but you had to also worship Caesar as a god. Well, christers were KILLED for not worshipping El Jefe. Martyred, even. They had freedom OF religion, they just didn’t have freedom FROM religion. Oh SNAP!

    Second, I like the annual hollyday idea. My proposed name for it is “My Karma Runs Over Your Dogma Day”.

  • #124 Aaron
    July 30, 2008

    PZ — I HAVE A REQUEST

    ok, now that I have your attention —

    how do I got about acquiring a Eucharist? Your point about exercising first amendment rights is a good one, and I think it’s our responsibility to remind everyone (the Catholic League especially) what the 1st amendment allows us. Freedoms have an unfortunate “use em or lose em” property.

    I’m not intending to suggest that you are somehow the ringleader in this affair, cajoling us into mass desecrations of religious icons — but I am voluntarily wanting to make a statement of patriotism by exercising my free speech.

    I’ve looked on ebay and had no luck. Suggestions? Perhaps an equal alternative? I really don’t want to get into book-burning (there’s enough CO2 and wasted dead-trees as it is) — but I’m open to suggestions. A eucharist would be ideal since it’s culturally relevant right now (and would have a clear message).

  • #125 craig
    July 30, 2008

    It’s looking like this press release is so obviously stupid even the religious trolls don’t dare try to defend it.

  • #126 Andrés Diplotti
    July 30, 2008

    They’re an inspiration. Next we’ll have the mafia claiming that the freedom of assembly renders conspiracy charges unconstitutional.

  • #127 Jen
    July 30, 2008

    The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is a US institution with a mere 600 members or so. Their hobbies appear to include whinging about abortion and threatening to withhold their Jesus-crackers from any Catholic who doesn’t agree with them.

    Not exactly ‘the Catholic hierarchy’, really. I refuse to be impressed until you get a letter of condemnation from the Vatican, signed by one of those guys whose job it is to fake the Pope’s signature all the time so it looks like he cares.

    (I was baptised Catholic. It didn’t take, but I’m wondering if I could still be excommunicated? Would I get a certificate, or at least a cookie?)

  • #128 scooter
    July 30, 2008

    # 67

    This WOULD make a great epidsode.
    Tonight on Southpark…
    Posted by: Chem Geek | July 30, 2008 10:14 AM

    This already IS an episode of South Park. South Park is REAL, and we’re living in it.

    PZ has even killed Kenny a few times on Pharyngula.

  • #129 BlueIndependent
    July 30, 2008

    Hmmm. Methinks this group should keep putting out these insane statements claiming acts that don’t harm anybody are “unconstitutional”, and that freedom of religion does not and cannot mean freedom from it. Could they possibly sound any dumber while blatantly painting a scenario in which they can never be criticized by anyone for anything?

    This one is a rare gem that is so unmasked and uncoded in its ignorance and self-congratulatory logic.

  • #130 negentropyeater
    July 30, 2008

    Kseniya,

    Spending time at Mixing Memory can be a frustrating experience.

    Well, I read all the comments on that thread and Chris’s original post, and I almost forgot the big picture, but then there was this press release from the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and that rapidly brought me back to reality, and I said to myself, wooh hooo, these guys are nuts, why do we need to defend any of these cracker worshipping nuts ?

  • #131 Reginald Selkirk
    July 30, 2008

    We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional.

    Woo! Woo! Woo! These cannibal cult clergy have judge envy. It must be the black robes that appeal to them.

    Maybe they could sell you some indulgences.

  • #132 Chuck S.
    July 30, 2008

    @Sastra # 121: AMEN!

    Seriously, my Catholic friends, take it from an ex-Catholic. If your god is as great as you say he is, a nail through a cracker is not going to harm him in the slightest.

    If your god wants to mete out punishment over the desecration of a cracker, he’ll take care of it himself.

    Move on, please.

  • #133 Whateverman
    July 30, 2008

    Wow…

    I mostly supported PZ before reading this, although I expressed a bit of disappointment that he chose to poke Catholicism with a stick.

    Now, however, I am in full agreement. The CCC are reacting in a way that’s completely out of touch with reality. And despite being a cautious deist, I too am going to find myself a cracker and desecrate it. I wonder if I can gather enough to make a decent mock apple pie

    To all of the Catholics who stayed out of this little debate or weren’t taking part in the buffoonery, I apologize in advance.

  • #134 Nino
    July 30, 2008

    Jason #102
    “Your actions have offended the sensitivities of millions of people. Should you not put on your bigboy pants and apologise”

    Jason, This might com as a shock to you…. but most of us who read this blog are VERY offended by the actions of the University and Catholic Church in Florida who started this mess. They should be the one apologising to the student !! They were the ones who started trampeling on others religiopus feelings (or lack ther of)

  • #135 anon
    July 30, 2008

    Alloy (@75)

    Babtist ministers should refrain from talking about booze, gambling and pornography.

    Some of the most interesting porn I found in a previous professional life was on a Babtist minister’s computer.

  • #136 craig
    July 30, 2008

    I’m a more petty and vindictive person than PZ is.
    Because if it were me, I’d wait until they had their national “day of prayer and fasting so that it never happens again,” and then do it again.
    I’d post more pics and say “Oh gosh, your fasting and prayers didn’t work! Maybe you should pray and fast for a whole week next time!” and then do it AGAIN.

    Nice way to prove that prayer is bullshit.

  • #137 richard Eis
    July 30, 2008

    Your actions have offended the sensitivities of millions of people. Should you not put on your bigboy pants and apologise? You act like a preadolesant who is spoiled as hell.

    No, it didn’t. A few bigots got on their high horse about it so they could squeal persecution (their favourite word at the moment)

  • #138 SteveM
    July 30, 2008

    Aside from the ridiculous “unconstitutional” argument and all the rest, what the frak is the big deal? If Catholics see PZ’s act as a desecration, then it is his “sin” alone. At most they should be sad that someone has chosen to damn himself to hell. What is the outrage for? [rhetorical qustion]

    On a seperate note. Someone earlier said that by their logic only Catholics can criticize the Catholic church. This was actually a concept floating around back in the 80’s when lots of people were identifying as ex-Catholics but still offended by non-Catholics criticizing the church; “only ex’s can do that”. Anyway, as a baptized, communed and confirmed Catholic, I believe the church still considers me Catholic even though I don’t, I guess I can criticize the RCC all I want. And I just want to say that this “Confraternity” are fucking morons, the ignorance and intolerance displayed in that document is mind boggling.

  • #139 raven
    July 30, 2008

    Going to give the RCC an F for crackergate. They would have been far better off just ignoring this and taking the high road with the death threaters and Donohue the loon and disavowing them.

    Evreyone gets their 15 minutes of fame and these days it is more like 5 minutes and the world moves on. At the end of the day it was just a cracker.

    Not sure what is going on here but the Catholic leadership doesn’t seem very smart or media savvy. My guess, they haven’t been attracting the brightest bulbs on the tree ever since celibacy went out of fashion. And most priests are probably pretty old and showing signs of age.

  • #140 SC
    July 30, 2008
  • #141 jen
    July 30, 2008

    The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

    So, only a follower of David Koresh has the right to critique his interpretation of the Bible? Only a Muslim can argue that martyrdom isn’t a direct path to 72 virgins? Only an FLDS member in good standing can argue that isolating children from the world is a good way to make sure they never learn “extraneous” information like “sexual molestation of a child is against the law” and the legal age of consent?

  • #142 Scott
    July 30, 2008

    Aaron, you can get communion wafers online at just about any church supplies website. You may even be able to get them at christian bookstores in your hometown, though I don’t know if that’s actually possible.

    Of course, they have to be consecrated by a priest before they’re considered officially Holy. But frankly, I think you should be able to get the same effect by just saying some nice words over it…

  • #143 Felicia
    July 30, 2008

    They really missed the “nothing should be held sacred” part of your statement, didn’t they? I mean, if you want to get overly sensitive over the whole thing, it was an equal opportunity offending act. You even included atheists in the bunch.

    To be honest, the thing that I find the funniest, is that the Catholics, instead of the Muslims, are the ones having a collective childish temper tantrum over something so mundane. It’s actually quite funny, really, considering how sensitive they are about their faith. I was half expecting a fatw? or a dozen when BD tried to get them involved.

  • #144 Ric
    July 30, 2008

    Unconstitutional? Seriously? That’s about the dumbest thing I’ve heard since… well, since the last time I read Uncommon Descent.

  • #145 Benjamin Franklin
    July 30, 2008

    Jason @ #102

    Should you not put on your bigboy pants and apologise?

    I’m wearing shorts, because it is 93 degrees today, but anyway, here goes:

    I am very sorry that in the year 2008 you still think that a cracker can be magically, mysteriously, and divinely transubstantiated into the physical body of Jesus Christ, Saviour, Son of God.

    I will pray for you, my son.

  • #146 Nicole
    July 30, 2008

    You did a good job taking apart their press release. But go ahead and look at their website: http://www.catholic-clergy.org/

    They just had a meeting where some resolutions were passed. Here’s a sampling of my favorites:

    We resolve as priests and deacons of the Catholic Church to reaffirm our unequivocal and complete acceptance and support of the magisterial teachings contained in the papal encyclical ‘Humanae Vitae’…especially on the intrinsic evils of abortion and contraception.

    Reproductive freedom goes out the window along with your free speech. Condoms are bad! Every sperm is sacred!!

    We resolve as pastors and spiritual leaders to aggressively engage our people to defend and protect the sanctity of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

    You think you might have the freedom to marry the one you love? Only if you follow our bronze age morality.

    We resolve to support every bishop who courageously defends the sanctity and integrity of the Holy Eucharist by denying Communion to notorious and unrepentant politicians who are openly supportive of abortion and/or euthanasia.

    See, that one at least makes sense. “You can’t participate in our religious ceremonies because we don’t like your moral stance.” They can do that because they have freedom of religion!

    Other resolutions involve practices of worship, all which stays within the confines of their churches. Once you reach outside that, yes, we’re going to complain. Teach these things to your followers. Don’t try and enforce it by law on the rest of us. THIS is at the heart of the separation between church and state.

    Sorry, we don’t want to be in your club, so we don’t need to follow your rules.

    /rant

  • #147 Reginald Selkirk
    July 30, 2008

    The Conflagration of Cannibal Cult Clergy should heed the words of Thomas Jefferson:

    But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

    Cracker desecration neither picks their pockets* nor breaks their legs. They should buck up and take it like men in dresses.

    * Do they have pockets in those dresses?

  • #148 Aegis
    July 30, 2008

    Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, I was going to write a long missive about all the reasons your “article” was wrong. Then I just decided to say “fuck you all”.

  • #149 Reginald Selkirk
    July 30, 2008

    We resolve to support every bishop who courageously defends the sanctity and integrity of the Holy Eucharist by denying Communion to notorious and unrepentant politicians who are openly supportive of abortion and/or euthanasia.

    Odd that they don’t take the same stance against politicians who support the death penalty, which is also against current Catholic doctrine. I suppose that would remind too many people about the Inquisition.

  • #150 Nicole
    July 30, 2008

    Oh yeah, missed this part. The most blatant example of what I waas ratning about, in continuation of the part about “marriage between and man and a woman…”

    We strongly urge the faithful to exercise their political power as tax paying voters to elect and influence governors and legislators so they will enact state amendments to prevent the alteration, expansion or redefinition of marriage.

    GGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

  • #151 SC
    July 30, 2008

    Well, I read all the comments on that thread and Chris’s original post, and I almost forgot the big picture, but then there was this press release from the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

    Hey! I linked to it in a comment on that thread! Not a very close reading there, neg. ;)

  • #152 jagannath
    July 30, 2008

    I have a dream…

    of a flashmob gathering in front of a catholic church brandishing a cracker and chanting ‘cracker’ on top of their lungs then collecting them into a waste bin. Then the mob would recite ‘mumbo jumbo’ and then together yell ‘jesus’ while pointing at the waste bin. Then just scattering and repeating the process at different church at different day.

  • #153 george
    July 30, 2008

    One of the MANY, many, many questions I have about transubstantiation relates to physical limits. Ok, let’s assume that a communion wafer does, crazily, become the body of christ upon being blessed. All disgusting, cannibalistic thoughts aside, if that’s the case, where does it go once you’ve eaten it?

    I ask because I’m thinking mathematically, here. Let’s assume Jesus weighed 160 pounds. It could have been less, but let’s just give him that benefit of the doubt, ok? That’s 2560 ounces. Let’s assume, also, that a communion wafer is, what, .25 oz? That gives us, assuming we’re doing Native American thing and using his whole body (not just flesh), 10,240 jesus-flesh crackers. Where, then, does the flesh come from after the first 10,240 communions were completed? Are we in a loaves and fishes situation here?

  • #154 SC
    July 30, 2008

    Ah, but Glen D did post it here first. I need more sleep or something.

  • #155 Benjamin Franklin
    July 30, 2008

    Docwazoo @ # 105

    You want desecration? I got your desecration right here!

    Mayonaise on a corned beef sandwich!

  • #156 Emmet Caulfield
    July 30, 2008

    We ought to thank them for treating us to such a delicious smörgåsbord of irony, stupidity, and ignorance of history, law, logic, and grammar. Nothing feeds the appetite for rejecting religion so well as this written admission of turpitude, nescience, and hypocrisy by the Brotherhood of Befrocked Buffoons.

  • #157 Qwerty
    July 30, 2008

    I went to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy’s website to check them out. I found more amusement.

    It seems they are also bitch slapping some nuns who want some language changes in the mass.

    From the clergy’s website: “The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy respectfully asks the Bishops of the United States (USCCB) to disregard the recent letter from the National Coalition of American Nuns on Liturgical Translations.”

    From the nuns letter:

    “For example, why would the words ‘consubstantial to the Father’ be used in the Creed? What meaning do these words have for 21st century English speaking Catholics? Why use a medieval expression like, “We pray you bid” in the new Missal? This is not the way people speak today in the English-speaking world.”

    More from the letter:

    “The proposed text, ‘he who was born ineffably of the inviolate Virgin,’ is not easily understandable to Christian people, much less to the youth who are leaving the Church because of its irrelevancy.”

    I am sure these nuns are too “liberal” for the clergy. After all, they also want George W. Bush and Dick Chaney impeached for lying to the American public.

  • #158 NickG
    July 30, 2008

    “The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.”

    Um, except that the existence of certain faiths does exactly that for other faiths…. see Islam and the Baha’i or Satanism and Catholicism. Baha’i grossly offend Islam by its existence and Satanism grossly offends Catholicism by its existence.

    And if by their thinking a biologist does not possess the credentials to criticize theology, how do they possess the credentials to criticize a biologist?

  • #159 negentropyeater
    July 30, 2008

    The brains of the members of this CCC are so fuckingly eaten up by their idiotic delusions, their sexual frustrations, their failures at touching their own penises, that they are so detached from reality that whatever they come up as reaction only serves as purpose to drive people away from their pathetic little cult.
    They don’t even realise that, but this press release is probably the best thing they can do to help the the cause of freethinkers.
    Thank you morons.

  • #160 qbsmd
    July 30, 2008

    Are they seriously trying to say that they never criticize non-Catholics in their sermons? They never say that atheists or others are immoral and bound for hell?

    Morons.

    Posted by: craig

    I don’t think I ever heard a sermon like that, but I may have just not been paying attention. From what I remember, sermons were a discussion of whatever part of the gospel was read; what does Jesus want you to do kind of stuff.

    < \blockquote>Totally off topic to Duvenoy:

    I’ve not heard Blatherskite used since Ducktales and Gizmo Duck.

    Nostalgia is a wonderful thing.

    Posted by: Notkieran

    You are not alone.

  • #161 Kseniya
    July 30, 2008

    The evils of contraception? Holy Ritz Bitz, Batman! These people have not sense of proportion or responsibility.

    If only we could completely ignore these fools – but THEY WON’T SHUT UP.

    I mostly supported PZ before reading this, although I expressed a bit of disappointment that he chose to poke Catholicism with a stick.

    He didn’t exactly chose Catholicism. In a way, It chose him. Let’s not forget that PZ didn’t start all this. It was a response to the threats made against that college student who made off with a cracker. Gosh, what was his name again?

    :-)

  • #162 SteveM
    July 30, 2008

    The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

    By this logic, most of the sermons performed in the Catholic church are “unconstitutional.”

    Are they seriously trying to say that they never criticize non-Catholics in their sermons? They never say that atheists or others are immoral and bound for hell?

    No, don’t you see? They think that “freedom of religion” means that only religions should be free of any government restrictions. So if you don’t have a religion you don’t have a right to any freedom. So religion has a right to free speech, atheists do not.

    Morons

    Indeed!

  • #163 G
    July 30, 2008

    I must implore all of you to stop eating spaghetti. As a pastafarian of the Church of the FSM, the act of eating spaghetti comprises a sacrilegious act that pains me greatly — especially when cheap bottled sauce is dumped on my creator’s boiled physical manifestation.

    FSM’s noodly appendages are here to guide us, and to help us find our way to a higher state of being. If you cannot refrain from eating pasta at least confine your gastronomic selections to hollow tube pastas, such as penne, manicotti, etc., as these shapes are not filled with the wisdom of the FSM.

    If you must continue eating the boiled body of my creator, at least have the courtesy to put virgin olive oil on him before consummating your irreverent act.

    FSM Evangelical
    Weed, California

  • #164 craig
    July 30, 2008

    Also, don’t assume that they know PZ didn’t do this in class.

    That’s the one thing about the religious. They don’t ever bother to investigate matters themselves, they don’t look to see if what they’ve been told is true… so accounts of things “blasphemous” are like a game of telephone… these people likely were told and believe that PZ did this in a classroom as part of teaching. And being religious, they didn’t bother to confirm it.

    When “The Last Temptation of Christ” came out, the paper I worked at got paid to run ads from various churches telling people not to go see the film. The churches were saying it was blasphemous without ever having seen it. They just play their game of telephone.
    The funny part? The ads all called the movie “The Temptation of Jesus,” and we ran them uncorrected. Nice demonstration of them not having had a clue what the movie was that they were declaring scandalous.

  • #165 Joe Cracker
    July 30, 2008

    Hilarious!

    A clergyman has NO business in talking about:
    1) physics
    2) biology
    3) meteorology
    4) medicine

    An they made some reaaaaaaly wacky assertions in all of those domains. Assertions with real-life consequences!

    They are indeed digging their own hole.

  • #166 tsg
    July 30, 2008

    Their entire complaint can be summed up thusly: “We won’t tolerate your intolerance of our intolerance.” Whatever.

    The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion.

    *sigh* You can’t have freedom OF religion without freedom FROM religion. In order to be free to practice your religion, you have to be free from practicing mine. What part of that don’t you understand?

  • #167 richard Eis
    July 30, 2008

    -Then just scattering and repeating the process at different church at different day.-

    Yes, but you see, we have lives…and proper work to do. Sounds like fun though.

  • #168 raven
    July 30, 2008

    We resolve as priests and deacons of the Catholic Church to reaffirm our unequivocal and complete acceptance and support of the magisterial teachings contained in the papal encyclical ‘Humanae Vitae’…especially on the intrinsic evils of abortion and contraception.

    If they tossed out all their members who used contraception for family planning, 90% to 95% of them would be gone. The birth rate for Catholics in the USA is identical to the national average at 2+/family.

    No members, no money every week. A recipe for cult suicide.

    In practice it is don’t ask, don’t tell. And one of the problems of the RCC in Europe and the USA: because they have an old man celibate clergy, they have been diverging from their membership for many decades.

  • #169 AK47
    July 30, 2008

    PZ, on occasion in the past you have used profanity in situations where I thought it was gratuitous and really not necessary.

    But in this instance you really should have told the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy to go fuck themselves.

  • #170 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    Mayonaise on a corned beef sandwich!

    Alright Ben, that’s just pure evil!

  • #171 me
    July 30, 2008

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5P7QkHCfaI

    Maybe PZ should have nailed his cracker and pages to a nearby Catholic Church doors?

  • #172 ar
    July 30, 2008

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster should reveal to his/her/its devotees that all spaghetti is sacred, and all must say “ramen” before eating it. Any other use of spaghetti is a desecration.

  • #173 Jon
    July 30, 2008

    A biologist has no business ‘dissing’ any religion, rather, they should be busy teaching the scientific discipline they were hired to teach.

    If only the religious community would take their own advice in this matter…How quick they are to bring up the separation of religion and science when it applies to their argument.

  • #174 The Chemist
    July 30, 2008

    Am I the only one that sees an appallingly ironic double standard?

    How many Catholics not only advocated the desecration of the Koran, but went the extra step of actually sending PZ one?

    So let me get this straight… the limits to free speech (assuming that ‘fire’ in a crowded theater isn’t the only one) apply abundantly to their religion, but really if another religion gets bashed in the process, it somehow evens things out?

    It would appear to me that they really aren’t in a position to be sanctimonious about offending a religion since they’re perfectly willing to do it so long as it isn’t their own.

  • #175 John Robie
    July 30, 2008

    Ouch, their law is as weak as their philosophy. As a big city attorney, I would point out to the Catholic leaders the first clause of that amendment they’re parsing so closely: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” This is interpreted as Freedom of Religion. PZ is not the United States Congress so the amendment does not apply to him. The Bill of Rights does not place restrictions on the actions of individuals only on the power of the Federal government.

    Of course under the 14th amendment the incorporation doctrine extends the core rights of the Bill of Rights to state governments, meaning the State of Minnesota can not take action respecting the establishment of a state religion (despite the capital’s name).

    Thus the very closest one could get to the Bill of Rights applying to PZ is in his professional capacity. The University of Minnesota is, I believe, an organ of the state and so neither it nor PZ could, for instance, require a student to pray in class (or I think, desecrate a cracker in class). PZ can nevertheless do whatever he likes as a private citizen.

    Silly Catholics.

  • #176 Joel
    July 30, 2008

    I would be OK with a compromise — here, Catholics, how about this: I’ll go along with respecting your “right” to not to be offended, so long as you respect my “right” to be free from all consequences of Catholic beliefs penetrating the public sphere. So if you stop voting, I’ll stop offending you. Deal?

  • #177 SteveM
    July 30, 2008

    All disgusting, cannibalistic thoughts aside, if that’s the case, where does it go once you’ve eaten it?

    That was answered several thousand comments ago in one of the other 12 threads about cracker-gate. Once the wafer has been dissolved to the point of no longer being “bread”, i.e. dissolved to simple sugars and amino acids, it is no longer considered the “body of Christ”. So, when Christ said “take this bread it is my body”, he was not saying the bread becomes flesh, but instead that he was really bread.

  • #178 Snitzels
    July 30, 2008

    1. They claim atheism is a religion.
    2. They claim people who are not members of a religion cannot criticize it.

    Doesn’t that mean they shouldn’t be allowed to bad mouth atheism, or even question it?

    No no no, you see, this doesn’t apply to THEM, only everyone else. Silly…

  • #179 karen
    July 30, 2008

    Hey, at least they spelled Minnesota correctly!

    I’m with craig:

    I’d wait until they had their national “day of prayer and fasting so that it never happens again,” and then do it again.

    But then, I’m a bit of a vindictive bitch.

  • #180 Nerd of Redhead
    July 30, 2008

    By their logic, since they aren’t politicians, shouldn’t they stay out of politics?
    They couldn’t think their way out of a wet paper bag with a rip in it. I just couldn’t believe that press release, since the Catholic clergy is supposed to be well educated.

  • #181 megan
    July 30, 2008

    Re #127 – for further comparison, this group has about 600 members (priests AND deacons), and there are about 46,000 Catholic priests in the USA according to allaboutreligion.org , so we’re talking less than 1%.

  • #182 qbsmd
    July 30, 2008

    For anyone who hasn’t looked at http://www.catholic-clergy.org/ yet, it strikingly resembles the 100 page email PZ received a few months ago in terms of rainbow coloring, randoms size and font changes, and even has highlighting. It also has a total of 12 “donate” buttons in various colors and styles.

  • #183 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    Confraternity = Convicted fraternity?

  • #184 ngong
    July 30, 2008

    As a practising Hindu, I consider cows to be sacred.
    I hereby demand all Catholics stop killing and eating cattle.

    It gets worse. After all, don’t some Satanists make a practice of doing exactly the opposite of what Christianity dictates? Their “faith” demands precisely that they desecrate certain symbols.

  • #185 Bob L
    July 30, 2008

    So the Catholic Conservatives find PZ Meyers politically incorrect?

    Lines like “You don’t have freedom from religion” are about what you would expect from a organization that was one of the biggest supporters of the fascists dictators like Mussolini and Franco.

  • #186 Stephen Wells
    July 30, 2008

    @177: have you just defined Jesus as a bread golem?

  • #187 SplendidMonkey
    July 30, 2008

    Religions don’t have rights. Humans have rights. Hell, he’s even saying that religions have rights that humans do not. That’s the dumbest damn thing I’ve read this month.

    And the dude authored Catholicism For Dummies too…

    Here’s a funny picture for you.

  • #188 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    confraternity = against brotherhood

  • #189 craig
    July 30, 2008

    “Confraternity = Convicted fraternity?”

    Fraternity of con-men.

  • #190 scooter
    July 30, 2008

    # 124 Most of the Aarons I know are Jewish fellows. If you are of Jewish descent, this might not be a REAL good idea.

    a. Some of these people are actually crazy
    b. There’s a frightening history to consider
    c. PZ has the protection of being somewhat hi-profile
    d. You might get the ADL and JDL pissed off at you as well

    I’m sure there’s other reasons, but personal safety is a high consideration, especially with kids and all.

    If I’m mistaken about your ethnic backqground or the name Aaron, ignore this post.

  • #191 megan
    July 30, 2008

    Ack! Just OVER 1%. I know, I know. I haven’t had my coffee yet. I can haz slide rule?

    Also, a google search for the CCC has this blog come up #5, looks like you’ve gotten some unknowns some nice press here.

  • #192 Vic
    July 30, 2008

    Two bits of idiocy in the CCC statement that I noticed:

    1) They mention ‘academic freedom’ (as have many other detractors in this case). Since this was done on one’s own time and NOT as part of Dr. Myers’ job duties, how can ‘academic freedom’ even be an issue? This is PURELY a free speech issue – which is why I guess they don’t want to mention that, because, well, then they’d sound like the fascists they are.

    2) “Freedom of religion<>freedom from religion” – this is one of the most obviously ridiculous tropes out there. For one to be free to practice their own religion REQUIRES that one be free from the religious strictures of other faiths. Otherwise, christians must observe the sabbath on Saturday as well like jewish people, pray five times a day facing toward Mecca like muslims, eat babies like atheists (just kidding), etc….

    Like most religious-apologist pap, it’s designed to SOUND good to the point that the pretty appearance hides its complete lack of content.

  • #193 Qwerty
    July 30, 2008

    It is funny. It is such a poorly thought out and written piece of Catholic crap! (I was raised Catholic. So, I feel liberated to say “Catholic crap!”) This is a group of VERY orthodox old men who support a VERY orthodox old man in Rome.

    Anyhow, your “dissing” led to their “hissing.”

    If this is the best they can do, then their belief system seems to be nothing more than a house of cards.

  • #194 Richard Eis
    July 30, 2008

    So because of their tirade, your site is coming up if people look for them?

    Oh deary me…

    Can we get it above their own do you think?

  • #195 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    raven @ 168,

    The rest would have to leave because of the prohibitions on gayness and abortion (I’ve known 2 grown up catholic schoolgirls – both had abortions).

  • #196 Etha Williams, OM
    July 30, 2008

    Wow, the absurdity just never ends, does it?

    On the topic of Catholic lunacy…Robert Spencer would have us believe that the Crusades were entirely justified. The interview (hosted by mainstream catholic broadcasting network EWTN) concludes:

    In the face of this, Westerners should not be embarrassed by the Crusades. It’s time to say, “enough,” and teach our children to take pride in their own heritage.

    They should know that they have a culture and a history of which they can and should be grateful; that they are not the children and grandchildren of oppressors and villains; and that their homes and families are worth defending against those who want to take them away, and are willing to kill to do so.

  • #197 kermit
    July 30, 2008

    PZ, I am not as confrontational as you, and cringed when you first took action, altho I have been following subsequent events with interest. I just want to say that I have joined the many atheists who have come around to your way of thinking on this issue. The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy has convinced me that we have a moral obligation to confront people with the superstitious and savage beliefs they would impose on others, given a chance. It’s not enough that these pedophile hiders would “convert” us by force if possible, and that they value crackers over human lives and the reputation of their peers over the sanity and innocence of children, but their bizarre blindness even extends to the reading of a simple document and its interpretation over the history of the US. The devout loons are enemies of civilization, joy, morality, and knowledge, and I will call them out on it when I see it. The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy has produced another convert.

  • The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

    I was baptized a Catholic; I have not been excommunicated; Therefore: I am a Catholic and will exercise my right to attack (only verbally), malign AND grossly offend your faith tradition.

    Dear Confraternity of Catholic Clergy,
    Your tradition of faith is utterly, completely, and devastatingly bat-shit insane. I find your attempt to suppress dissent to be odious and beneath contempt. Grow up, ass-hats.

    There.

    P.S.: Your Pope dresses funny.

  • #199 SteveM
    July 30, 2008

    @177: have you just defined Jesus as a bread golem?

    Yes, I guess I did, (LOL) but more like a Matzoh Golem actually (since it was the Passover meal).

  • #200 The Chemist
    July 30, 2008

    @Daedalus2u,

    Just kind of an FYI: The fact that the Qur’an wasn’t in Arabic does not mean it was not a real Qur’an. Muslims, like Jews, dispose of sacred texts in a certain way. Muslims either burn or bury them, and will do this for transliterations, translations, and any other incarnation of the Qur’an. Arabic script has changed sufficiently that one could honestly say that the current Qur’ans are not written in “real” Arabic. They are all held in relatively equal regard as sacred texts.

    Actually, if you want to get really technical, the Qur’an can only exist in verbal form. The word Qur’an in its context means “that which is recited”, and so the physical book is just a recitation guide. That doesn’t stop it from being sacred to Muslims whatever form it happens to take.

  • #201 JStein
    July 30, 2008

    PZ, I’m pretty sure your safely within the first amendment on this one. I don’t think that it says: “You have the right to free speech, unless it makes religious people angry.”

    The Catholic Church, as always, are whining about not being seen favorably, but if they want some good press, maybe they should stop being complicit in the spread of AIDS in Africa and covering up the molestation of little boys.

  • #202 Blaise Pascal
    July 30, 2008

    I looked into the “Confraternity of Catholic Clergy”. Their web-site says they are an association of 600 Catholic Priests and Deacons in the US. As near as I can tell, they don’t claim endorsement of or official recognition from the Holy See, and don’t represent the official views of the Church any more than the Catholic League.

    I also looked into the number of Catholic clergy in the US. I got a figure of 46,000 priests, and about 14,000 deacons. So the CCC represents about 1% of the Catholic priesthood and deaconship.

    Based on the content of the web-site (basically a collection of press releases) it is probably the most conservative and orthodox of the clergy at that. At least one press release listed the Catholic League as other organizations working on the same issue as the press release, so there is some interaction between the two organizations.

  • #203 Pierce R. Butler
    July 30, 2008

    Prof. Myers, now all can see that you made a serious mistake in driving a rusty nail through that Christ Crispy? and dumping it out with the household trash.

    Obviously, you should have used a wooden stake, as is traditional.

    Now, the damn cookie has demonstrated the immortal truth of Catholic doctrine, proving that it is Jesus Christ by returning among us. It simply cannot be killed!

    Remember for the next time: use a wooden stake, and bury it at a crossroads, at midnight, with lots of garlic. If you insist on including supplemental materials, use the mil-spec versions: pages from an Arabic Qu’ran and The Origin of Species might work better at holding the beast down.

  • #204 Chip
    July 30, 2008

    PZ did the cracker return after three days or not? If it did then I think we could get Bush to declare another holiday – Good Thursday – I am all in favor of another day off from work. I know this has nothing to do with the post but I was curious and the lunatic ravings have been address so well by others. How about selling the trash can on e-bay…like the James ossuary only it’s THE “cracker trash can.”

  • #205 BMcP
    July 30, 2008

    Wow.. unconstitutional, that’s a new angle to attempt to play. To say desecrating religious symbols is unconstitutional is the same as saying an individual not believing in a religion is unconstitutional.

    Sorry, there is no freedom from being offended.

  • #206 CrypticLife
    July 30, 2008

    “Catholic Clergy Call for Reparation in Response to Communion Desecration”

    Well, it seems only fair since someone presumably breached the implied contract of eating the cracker. Crackers are worth what, 2 cents each? Give them a nickel and tell them to keep the change…

  • #207 Hoosier X
    July 30, 2008

    Anyone know how to contact Trey Parker and Matt Stone? This WOULD make a great epidsode.

    I doubt it.

    They would include their lame “caricatures” of Al Gore and Bono and ruin it.

    South Park jumped the shark long ago.

    (Although I did recently watch the episode where they decide Butters is bi-curious and send him off to anti-gay camp to cure his confusion. Hilarious.)

  • #208 Carl Caster
    July 30, 2008

    Prof. Myers, little did you realize I followed the trash truck that picked up your trash to the landfill and rummaged through its output until I FOUND THE BODY OF CHRIST!!! He he he…. I now have the little sucker all trussed up on a little Cracker Cross ? where it belongs and I will soon auction the little guy on eBay.

    If those barking mad wackos can believe their incredibly stupid religion, then they can believe this. Screw ‘em.

    Now that I think about it, I think I will toss the little Cracker Guy ? in the fireplace.

  • #209 Scrofulum
    July 30, 2008

    In the spirit of piss-taking solidarity, I’m hoping to kidnap a whole load of transubstantiated magic sky-genie flesh, but I don’t fancy them crackers. They look a tad bland.

    Anyone know if I can get a tube of Pringles blessed?

  • #210 Rosie Redfield
    July 30, 2008

    Bottom line: All religions are free to criticize (and ridicule) our science, but we’re not allowed to reciprocate.

  • #211 CrypticLife
    July 30, 2008

    They’re claiming unconstitutionality because Myers teaches at a public school. They fail to note that he did not do this in class, but outside of it. If they really want to hold to this kind of a standard, we’d have to fire plenty of public school teachers who advocate religion on their own time. One internet board I frequent for ps teachers even has a “prayer request forum” section.

    Ironic that these are the same people who will argue that a teacher can post the Ten Commandos on their wall and keep a Bible displayed on their desk at a high school.

  • #212 Jon W
    July 30, 2008

    Thanks for posting my silly cartoon, PZ. I was afraid the cracker theme was becoming too dated to warrant it… (thanks CCC?)

  • #213 SASnSA
    July 30, 2008

    The Constitution on Freedom of Religion:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    PZ, I didn’t realize you were in Congress! Why this just states that government can’t say what people have to believe in or can’t believe in. That seems to include believing in nothing.

    These fools really need to check their references before using them to support the condemnation of others.

  • #214 paul lurquin
    July 30, 2008

    On the other hand, PZ desecrates the Koran…. and the Muslim world yawns.

  • #215 Adrienne
    July 30, 2008

    I think PZ’s desecration was essentially a stunt designed to piss people off, and so I think it was a jerky thing for him to have done. BUT, having said that, at least it proved that all this “PZ would be fired for trashing a Koran” stuff false.

    But anyhoo, I wanted to comment mostly to note that I saw this press release yesterday. I noted that the man who wrote it is an Opus Dei priest. Veddy interesting I think he’s also one of the Catholic “Q & A” experts on EWTN’s website.

  • #216 HostHostage
    July 30, 2008

    I was the guy who provided PZ with the cracker that he used in the photo. I also made a video of the event at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHPZFsGrt-Y

    The video has received lots of comments but you’re only allowed 500 characters to make responses. I hope PZ won’t mind if I use this thread to outline my answer to the numerous objections I got from Catholics. Here goes:

    Many opinions have been expressed by Catholics and their sympathisers on the subject of ‘host desecration’ as an unacceptable form of protest against the activities of the Church. I would like to attempt to sort the wood from the trees and provide my justifications for my action.

    Firstly, let’s establish the irrelevance of the law to this question. It is a moral issue, not a legal one. Whether or not ‘host desecration’ should be made illegal in a particular legal jurisdiction is beyond my scope here. If you find yourself using the word ‘law’ in any response to me then your point probably belongs in a separate discussion.

    Let us also agree that there is little point in even having a discussion on this subject if one party expects the other to accord respect to a set of moral values handed to them on a plate from a third party. If you choose to do that, then I’d be best advised to have my discussion with that third party, not you. Specifically, if you choose to quote moral principles that derive from Scripture or the Church’s teaching, then be prepared to justify that morality using rational/secular arguments that have relevance to those who don’t share your religious belief.

    Let’s us also agree on the moral right of every citizen to protest in a ‘free country’. That surely is not a bone of contention between us. Our differences derive from our differing perspectives on what kind of protests are morally acceptable. In order to establish any worthwhile moral principles here, it may help if I pose an evolving, hypothetical scenario:

    Is it morally acceptable that I should take up a placard bearing some written criticism of the government, and walk down the street holding it aloft? Some people might say that it depends on the nature of the criticism. Let’s say the placard simply read “The governments position on infanticide is wrong”. I’m sure 99% of people would have no moral objection.

    Lets say I changed the wording to “The Prime Minister’s position on infanticide is wrong”. Again, despite the attack on on individual’s ideas, I suspect there’d be no moral problem for most people. What about “The Prime Minister’s ideas on infanticide are stupid”. It’s now a personal attack but if you draw the line here then I think we have little room for further discussion. At least if you do draw the line here then our standards of morality differ on a far deeper level than that of ‘desecration of the host.

    What about if my placard involved Bunga Bunga (a religion set up last week, with two members and a stray dog) and read “Bunga Bunga’s teaching on infanticide is stupid”. If you waited this long to draw the line then you accord religion a status for which I have difficulty seeing any moral justification. You need to ask yourself questions about the rights of religious organisations and/or what constitutes a religion. Surely, the logical conclusion of your position is that you make it possible to morally justify the proscription of any criticism of virtually any idea or icon, if proponents of that idea/icon declare themselves, and it, to be part of a religion. Mind you, you’re not alone. The Western press already started the rot on that score when they refused to publish the cartoons of Muhammad some time ago.

    For those of you who have yet to draw the moral line, let me now make clear that Bunga Bunga’s specific policy on infanticide is that the law of the land should be changed to make the killing of second-born girls mandatory and that in countries where it’s not mandatory, uneducated and simple-minded parents are encouraged to kill their second-born girls. Let us also say that Bunga Bunga has churches in which it carries out ceremonies that involve the worship of Bunglips (a tulip-like flower that they ‘consecrate’ using coal tar and turkey semen) which are then handed out to the congregation to be eaten on the spot in honour of their murdered children. What if my placard was having little effect outside on the street. What if I put it down and entered their church and accepted a Bunglip from the high priest, removed it from the church and then treated it with a level of disrespect that outraged the Bunga Bunga church into making a response? Let’s say that as a result of putting my video of the ‘desecration’ of the Bunglip on YouTube, more than 5000 people viewed it, members of Bunga Bunga said lots of Bunga Bunga prayers for me; others suggested that I would rot in Bunga Hell; but a small few understood my objections to infanticide. Did I do a good thing or an evil thing?

    If you don’t draw the moral line at this point then I fail to understand your moral outrage at the ‘desecration’ of crackers. If you do draw the line at this point then I find the nature of your morality depressing; and your willingness to put respect for inanimate objects above that of the lives of your fellow human beings, truly terrifying.

  • #217 Adrienne
    July 30, 2008

    I think PZ’s desecration was essentially a stunt designed to piss people off, and so I think it was a jerky thing for him to have done. BUT, having said that, at least it proved that all this “PZ would be fired for trashing a Koran” stuff false.

    But anyhoo, I wanted to comment mostly to note that I saw this press release yesterday. I noted that the man who wrote it is an Opus Dei priest: John Trigilio, Jr. Veddy interesting I think he’s also one of the Catholic “Q & A” experts on EWTN’s website.

  • #218 Docwazoo
    July 30, 2008

    Mayonaise on a corned beef sandwich!

    Ashamed to say I don’t get it, not being American.
    LOL, got any better ideas?

  • #219 AlanWCan
    July 30, 2008

    THis is actually pretty good. This means that, if biologists aren’t allowed to criticise religion because they’re not theologians, then fair turnabout all these ridiculous religious morons (and dentists and engineers) aren’t allowed to criticise biology, so can they please leave us alone about the theory of evolution.

    One fails to see the relevance of uninformed of criticism a major cornerstone of modern science to the wooly wonders of theology. Were a Professor of Biology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express scientific opinions in a classroom. Yet, for a religious nutbar to ridicule and show utter contempt for the theory underpinning a major scientific discipline, is inappropriate, unprofessional, unconstitutional and disingenuous.

    What do you think? Will they abide by their own rules?

    Nahh didn’t think so.

    I’d still love to see this level of outrage from the catholics over their priests’ transgressions against choirboys or their military arm in the goings on of Sinn Fein and the IRA wouldn’t you?

  • #220 arensb
    July 30, 2008

    Following some of the links from the press announcement led me to Church Security Solutions, LLC (whose logo looks like a mogen David stamped with a cross).

    I don’t see anything on their site about monitoring congregants to make sure they eat baby Jesus in a timely manner, though.

  • #221 SteveM
    July 30, 2008

    211:
    They’re claiming unconstitutionality because Myers teaches at a public school. They fail to note that he did not do this in class, but outside of it.

    Even if he did it in class, it would not be unconstitutional, possibly unlawful, but not unconstitutional. Only laws can be unconstitutional, not individual actions. The CCC is wrong on so many levels it approaches “fractal wrongness”

  • #222 BobC
    July 30, 2008

    We also pray that Professor Myers contritely repent and apologize.

    Repent means ‘ask god for forgiveness or else go to hell’.

    The most moderate Catholics in the world believe atheists go to hell and deserve to go there. Therefore there is no such thing as a moderate Catholic. They’re all assholes, every single one of them.

    Also, all Catholics (and other Christians) believe in the Resurrection, also known as the ‘Jebus was a zombie’ belief. Therefore all Catholics and Christians, no matter how moderate they think they are, are batshit crazy.

    Also, all religious people, no matter how moderate they think they are, brainwash their children with magic man woo-woo. This is the worst kind of child abuse. This kind of lying can permanently ruin a child’s life. There is nothing moderate about mentally abusing children. Therefore every single religious person in the world is an asshole.

    Religious people disgust me. A sky fairy hiding in the clouds? A person has to be insane to believe that. What disgusts me even more than the god nuts are the atheists who think religious insanity should be respected. To be religious is worse than being a racist. I will never respect any of it. I don’t care how pro-science they are. If they believe there’s an invisible man hiding in the clouds, they’re nuts and they need to be told they’re nuts.

  • #223 Rayven Alandria
    July 30, 2008

    It looks to me as though the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy hasn’t a clue about what actually transpired. They seem to think you did the deed while in class. I guess they didn’t bother to take five minutes to come read your blog. That right there tells me the issue really isn’t all that important to them.

    They are just blustering about and trying to use this as a way to manipulate people into going back to church. (Which means more money in their pockets) It’s nothing but a publicity stunt.

  • #224 mothwentbad
    July 30, 2008

    Religion is WAY TOTALLY THE REALM OF BIOLOGY. Psychology is just one link down the chain of interdependence from biology, and religion is a psychological phenomenon of homo sapiens. You could take one more link and say it’s largely and anthropology thing, but either way, it’s not that far.

    And they’re going to keep pretending that they can’t see this anyway.

  • #225 The 502
    July 30, 2008

    We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again.

    I found this funny. They would starve themselves because you threw away a cracker? That’s awesome! If you don’t change, do they refrain from eating for the rest of their (short) lives?

    But, I was disappointed when I looked up exactly what fasting meant to Catholics…

    For Roman Catholics, fasting is the reduction of one’s intake of food to one full meal (which may not contain meat during Fridays in Lent) and two small meals (known liturgically as collations, taken in the morning and the evening).

    Three meals a day! Shit, that’s more than I eat on any given day. That’s not fasting… it’s eating properly.

  • #226 Jason
    July 30, 2008

    Oh… my… goodness.
    I still get over how brutally pathetic they are for trying to get you fired. PROFACT: nothing says you are a bully more than trying to beat somebody up and take away their lunch money.

  • #227 386sx
    July 30, 2008

    The Chancellor of the University refused to reprimand or censure the teacher, who ironically is a Biology Professor.

    I don’t see the irony in that. Who wrote this article, some kind of an idiot or something?

    One fails to see the relevance of the desecration of a Catholic sacrament to the science of Biology. Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom.

    What kind of a lame committee wrote this article, and how long did it take them to write it? That’s freakin hilarious.

  • #228 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    but The 502 @ 225

    What about second breakfasts? Won’t someone please think of the hobbitses?

  • #229 Adrienne
    July 30, 2008

    One fails to see the relevance of the desecration of a Catholic sacrament to the science of Biology. Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom.

    Cue the Courtier’s Reply. Not to mention that PZ didn’t do the stunt in the classroom, but at home.

  • #230 Randomfactor
    July 30, 2008

    Hey, guys, if you can spare a moment for a local idiocy, here’s a poll for ya.

    http://www.bakersfield.com

    Should atheists be barred from public office?
    Yes. 59 29%

    No. 145 71%

    ————————————————

    Total 204

    (Background: local high school trustee (fundie) has been pushing all sorts of ID/”In Go D Wet Rust”/fascist nonsense, and is running for re-election, having stated that his higher obligations supercede his oath as a trustee, and atheists can’t uphold that oath anyway, so there.)

  • #231 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    Professor of Theology = Professor of Invisible Pink Unicornology

    At least a Professor of Pastafarianism can cook (else they’d be a student).

  • #232 arensb
    July 30, 2008

    Hank Fox @ #23:

    or else bring a tenth of an ounce of Jesus back to life.

    I can transubstantiate Jesus’ holy blood into urine. Does that count?

  • #233 Galapagos
    July 30, 2008

    Yo Ho!

  • #234 Randomfactor
    July 30, 2008

    Hey, guys, if you can spare a moment for a local idiocy, here’s a poll for ya.

    http://www.bakersfield.com

    Should atheists be barred from public office?
    Yes. 59 29%

    No. 145 71%

    ————————————————

    Total 204

    (Background: local high school trustee (fundie) has been pushing all sorts of ID/”In Go D Wet Rust”/fascist nonsense, and is running for re-election, having stated that his higher obligations supercede his oath as a trustee, and atheists can’t uphold that oath anyway, so there.)

  • #235 Hockey Bob
    July 30, 2008

    From the CCC website;


    CCC supports all bishops who ban Communion to Catholic politicians and voters who publicly and obstinately promote or support abortion. The CCC also supports legislation to protect and defend sanctity of human life (from conception to natural death), of traditional marriage (between a man & a woman), and of the family (mother & father who are also husband & wife, with their children)

    So, let me get this straight… they’re against abortion, euthanasia, and birth control, but state-sponsored murder (capital punishment) is okay? WTF?

    I think we’d all be better off with the FSM; hell, at least you could have a decent meal for communion – I’ll bring the garlic cheese bread, even.

    (Recovering Minnesotan catholic here, btw…)

  • #236 Rev. BigDumbCHimp
    July 30, 2008

    Wow that is one dumb poll. Why would they even entertain .. oh never mind. I know why.

    Me thinks they need to reference Article VI section 3 of that little thing we like to call the Constitution.

  • #237 scooter
    July 30, 2008

    Will Eucharist farts ignite?

    Supercalifragilistic-transubstantiation

  • #238 Ryan F Stello
    July 30, 2008

    @Randomfactor

    Thanks! I’ve been missing the daily stupid polls ’round here.

  • #239 Sarcastro
    July 30, 2008

    Man, if ‘clergy’ were only spelled with a leading K this organization would be the CoCK.

  • #240 Matt Heath
    July 30, 2008

    #222:

    The most moderate Catholics in the world believe atheists go to hell and deserve to go there

    This is just plain untrue. I mean to the extent where almost every Catholic I know is a counter-example. Even the church hierarchy has a concept of “natural goodness” amongst the non-believers. And at least in a Catholic majority country membership sticks with regardless of beliefs so there are plenty of atheist Catholics (cf Dara O’Brein’s bit about “Once a Catholic always a Catholic” – “I’m pretty sure I could join Al Queda and I’d only be considered a bad Catholic”)

  • #241 Caveat
    July 30, 2008

    Don’t they know you’re going to publish their prattle and give us all a good laugh about it?

    And this:

    what, I can’t have a hobby?

    is why you Da Man.

  • #242 Adrienne
    July 30, 2008

    The official Catholic teaching is that nobody knows the state of anyone else’s soul (and thus can say for sure who’s going to hell/heaven/purgatory).

  • #243 Pierce R. Butler
    July 30, 2008

    Dunc @ # 92: If anybody is responsible for the Dark Ages, it’s the Visigoths.

    Didn’t the Goths in general adopt Christianism along with most of the other forms of the Empire they conquered but failed to maintain?

    You might want to read Charles Freeman’s The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason before you exculpate the library-burning, intellectual-persecuting crackerolaters entirely…

  • #244 Lynnai
    July 30, 2008

    You do not have the right to not be offended.

    I never read that as people intend me to.

    I DO have the right not to be offended, if I don’t want to be offended I have every right NOT to be offened! See if I don’t! Nobody can force me to be offended! So there!

    But I know that’s not what’s ment, I know it was ment as you do not have the right to protection from offence…. I just felt like being silly and getting that off my chest I feel better now, please carry on.

  • #245 Pablo
    July 30, 2008

    CCC supports all bishops who ban Communion to Catholic politicians and voters who publicly and obstinately promote or support abortion.

    I will tell you that even from a Catholic religion perspective, there is a problem with this stance.

    Even if we grant that promoting or supporting abortion is a mortal sin which makes a catholic unworthy of receiving communion, the bishop in question does not know that the politician has been to confession since the last time their position was made public, and has been absolved of the sin. Moreover, given the sanctity of the confessional, it’s not like the priest can call the bishop and say, “I just heard John Kerry’s confession – he’s ok.”

    In the end, the decision about who is worthy to receive communion has to be made by the recipient, who is the only one who knows whether he/she is in the sufficient state to receive it. The church can only provide the guidelines by which the recipient should evaluate themselves, but given their rules on confession and absolution, they can’t enforse it (unless they have witnessed the act occuring and can ensure that the person in question has not been in contact with a priest (as I said, no priest can comment confirm or deny that they heard a confession from anyone)

  • #246 Logicel
    July 30, 2008

    Mystery is the Catholic Church’s calling card; it is the aspect that draws and keeps believers mumbling, genuflecting, tithing away, confessing, etc. PZ calling attention to the fact that their mystery card is the joker’s card is not sitting well with these intellectually and emotionally stunted creeps who desperately need the Catholic Ponzi scheme to continue, at least in their lifetimes.

  • #247 me
    July 30, 2008

    I DO have the right not to be offended, if I don’t want to be offended I have every right NOT to be offened! See if I don’t! Nobody can force me to be offended! So there!

    Huh? Just because you don’t have the right to not be offended, doesn’t mean you are obliged to be.

  • #248 dubiquiabs
    July 30, 2008

    Maybe it’s just that Father John Trigilio has his cilice a bit too tight.

  • #249 Hockey Bob
    July 30, 2008

    @ #102 – Jason

    “…bigboy pants…”

    You know, even with all of the fancy dresses the clergy wears, you Catholics sure do have a strange attraction towards OTHER PEOPLES’ PANTS. Keep your hands to yourself, pal.

    By the way, did you ever work in Minneapolis? I might know you!

  • #250 Hap
    July 30, 2008

    1) I thought press releases were supposed to advance a cause, not hinder it. Putting your misunderstanding of the Constitution and law and your hypocrisy on parade wouldn’t exactly count as advancing your cause, unless that is your cause…

    2) As said before, if you have to compel respect from others, then you can’t earn it, and if the others are smart, you will not get it (at least until you can earn it). Attempting to do so only underlines the reasons why you are unworthy of respect, and makes it harder for you to obtain it by any method other than force. (Although that would explain why the CCC so misunderstands the 1st Amendment – they might like to go back to the days when they could enforce respect. Add history to the list of things they don’t know.)

    3) The right not to be offended is inconsistent with existence – people get sick, commit violence, etc., and the only way to avoid offensive and hurtful things is not to exist. I know in the past, people have decided that the right not to be offended gives them licence to end the lives of those offending them, but that doesn’t work out so well – after getting rid of the offensive others, fake piety won’t be an effective defense when other people decide to return the favor.

    Hey, CCC – the first rule of holes is stop digging. You might consider giving up now before you make your stupidity impossible for more people to ignore.

  • #251 Emmet Caulfield
    July 30, 2008

    I was baptized a Catholic; I have not been excommunicated;

    I’m prepared to bet that you have. Although it’s damn-near impossible to get a ferendæ sententiæ excommunication these days (formal sentence of an ecclesiastical court), it’s pretty hard not to do something that incurs a latæ sententiæ (automatic) excommunication under Canon Law, such as heresy or apostasy, unless you’re batshit insane.

  • #252 Adrienne
    July 30, 2008

    Aha, Fr. Trigilio is indeed an EWTN “expert”: http://www.ewtn.com/faith/QA/expertslist.htm

  • #253 Dahan
    July 30, 2008

    Well, MY religion “Dahanism” states that all Catholics have to give me all their money and can never have children, otherwise it’s an affront to the great god Dahan. (Hey! That’s me!) To do otherwise is to mock my religion and smacks of bigotry of the highest order! I’d rather be gunned down in the street than to watch such an ugly thing as them not giving me all their money. If any of them decide to not give me all their money and are currently working in any state or government position. I demand they be fired and jailed immediately for their hate crimes!

    BTW, if you join Dahanism today, you can et a cut of the profits. Those converting first will see the largest percentages.

  • #254 chancelikely
    July 30, 2008

    SteveM #199: If Jesus is a Matzo Golem, does that explain where Matzo Balls come from?

  • #255 Brownian, OM
    July 30, 2008

    BTW, if you join Dahanism today, you can et a cut of the profits. Those converting first will see the largest percentages.

    Ooh, ooh, count me in! Do I need to sell vitamins and shampoo, or is it one of those religions where I get to lounge around having sex with acolytes?

  • #256 Onkel Bob
    July 30, 2008

    Dunc #92 is wrong, Pierce #243 is correct, the Visigoths were indeed “Christians.” However, they subscribed to heresy – the Arian Christianity and so were not Roman Catholics.
    The Dark Ages existed because the vikings burned everything, and so removed from our vision the documents that would “enlighten” us as to the goings on of the time between 800 – 1000 CE. That is not to say the Vikings were without value. They redistributed wealth that was being locked up in these castle keeps.
    The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox church arguably retarded social progress for 500 plus years. BUt they are not solely to blame. The Romans weren’t going anywhere fast by 378 CE, the Sasanians weren’t doing much either, and of all people the Visigoths were making the strides in technology. (Did they invent the stirrup?) The RCC and EOC were more concerned with looming escathological debate then improving the here and now. It wasn’t until the Islamic traders reopened the trade routes east that any new ideas (zero anyone?) were introduced to the European continent, and those were confined to Spain.

  • #257 Lynnai
    July 30, 2008

    Huh? Just because you don’t have the right to not be offended, doesn’t mean you are obliged to be.

    Yeah it kinda does. We know that isn’t what is ment becuase common sense over rides but on a straight lingual logical level that sentance says I am obligated to be offended. Double negatives do create a positive but they also more often then not create a very specific set of peramiters.

    I do not have the right to kill people.
    I do not have the right to steal things.
    I do not have the right to rape, pillage or burn fedreal propery.
    I do not have the right not to be offended.

    It doesn’t quite follow does it? It doesn’t say that other people don’t have the right to offend me, it says I have the obligation be in a state of general offendedness becuase I do not have the right to NOT be in that state.

    But as I said I know what was actually ment, I just found the idea of forced offence amusing.

  • #258 386sx
    July 30, 2008

    Hey, CCC – the first rule of holes is stop digging. You might consider giving up now before you make your stupidity impossible for more people to ignore.

    They don’t have much choice if they really believe all that stuff. They think God will get mad at everybody if they don’t pray and speak out and hold ritual “cleansing” and “forgiveness” ceremonies and whatnot.

  • #259 Kate
    July 30, 2008

    You are a sad, sad soul! I will pray for you and for others like you who find it pleasing to make a mockery of a core belief of Catholic Christians. May God Bless you (despite your complete and dispicable irreverence for Him).

  • #260 DaveG
    July 30, 2008

    Is that the Mighty Lord Cthulhu coming down the stairs for you?

  • #261 Sean D.
    July 30, 2008

    “We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional.”

    Unconstitutional?

    Clearly these asshats are getting access to some really killer BC Buds(tm), when do the rest of us get some?

  • #262 Susannah
    July 30, 2008

    Re the cartoon: He’s got his foot on the Bible! The horror! Desecration! Disrespect!!eleven!!

    Should have been a LOLcat, though. Change the spelling and punctuation a bit: “YUR CRACKERS! R NOT SAFE”

    YUR stands in for both “Your” and “You’re” that way.

    :)

  • #263 386sx (='.'=)
    July 30, 2008

    See what I mean. QED.

  • #264 megan
    July 30, 2008

    @ BF 105: For lunch I’m eating Corned Beef and Swiss with Basil Sauce on Asiago Bread. It’s Michigan, unless you’re at Zingerman’s they don’t know any better (but it IS delicious sacrelige)

  • #265 Jay
    July 30, 2008

    PZ, I demand you make available t-shirts with that image!

  • #266 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional.

    AFAIK, in christerology, there is only one thing that is actually inexcusable, and that it is to “blaspheme” the “Holy Spirit”. May the STDs of every afflicted resident on Africa take up residence in his filthy Satan-inviting bunghole.

  • #267 Adrienne
    July 30, 2008

    Hmm, interesting. Father Trigilio saw this post on Pharyngula and commented on it on what is apparently his own blog: http://blackbiretta.blogspot.com/2008/07/biologist-will-not-balk.html.

    Not much interesting reading there, though. To wit:

    No one is laughing. Many of us are in tears that our beloved Savior would be subjected to such vile treatment AGAIN. Was it not enough that Jesus was scourged at the pillar, crowned with thorns, and then nailed to a cross for three hours until He died? Like Our Lady of Sorrows, we must weep at the foot of Calvary once more as the Body of Christ is treated with the same disdain and dishonor. PRAY FOR PROFESSOR MYERS. We wish him no harm, rather, we pray for his soul that he abandon his pursuit of offending Catholic Christians. He may never come to believe what we believe, but he can at least respect our right to believe and profess what we believe without resorting to beligerant ridicule and attack.

    So I wonder, did the guy actually *weep* at what PZ did?

  • #268 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    You are a sad, sad soul! I will pray for you and for others like you who find it pleasing to make a mockery of a core belief of Catholic Christians. May God Bless you (despite your complete and dispicable irreverence for Him).

    Yes please pray for us all. As much as you can. Every day, all day.

    The more time you spend praying and wasting your time the less time you’ll be bothering us and wasting ours.

  • #269 DaveG
    July 30, 2008

    Ask the Squealots to post their evidence for transubstatiation on Arxiv… Is the cracker the body of Jesus the Man or Jesus the God? I’m curious how Divinity can be described in material terms. If something is Supernatural, how can its presence be verified in the Natural realm? My head’s getting light…

  • #270 Adrienne
    July 30, 2008

    Oh sorry, messed up the URL for Trigilio’s response in my earlier comment. It’s this: http://blackbiretta.blogspot.com/2008/07/biologist-will-not-balk.html

  • #271 SteveM
    July 30, 2008

    I will pray for you and for others like you who find it pleasing to make a mockery of a core belief of Catholic Christians.

    I’d rather you knit yourself a pair of socks or something, you know, actually do something productive rather than muttering to yourself while fingering a set beads.

  • #272 Lee Picton
    July 30, 2008

    I googled Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and PZ, your blog entry was on the same page. Now if a whole lot of people did the same, your blog entry could be bumped up closer to the top. Clickety-click anyone?

  • #273 Jing-reed
    July 30, 2008

    Somewhat related.
    PBS will air ‘The Bible’s Buried Secrets’ on Nov. 18. A two hour special based on archaeological and historical research which debunks the Old Testament. Shows that most of its stories were lifted from surrounding cultures or just invented and did not represent real historical events. Evidently even mentions Yahweh’s wife Asherah – a goddess borrowed from Mesopotamia, but was rubbed out somewhere along the way. Martial problems perhaps, and that might explain why he was always so pissed off.

    Producer Paula Apsell said: “…It’s designed for intelligent people who are willing to change their mind.
    The Catholics, and naturally the Fundies, are already clogging the internet forums raising hell about PBS and in some cases demanding that it not be aired.

  • #274 me
    July 30, 2008

    Yeah it kinda does. We know that isn’t what is ment becuase common sense over rides but on a straight lingual logical level that sentance says I am obligated to be offended. Double negatives do create a positive but they also more often then not create a very specific set of peramiters.

    I’m no linguist, but I think this is misuse of the word “right”. Try this, “You don’t have the right to beat the shit out of someone.” This is true, but if you are boxer in a boxing ring, you have that privilege. In other words, just because you don’t have the right to do something doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

  • #275 FollowTheGourd
    July 30, 2008

    @272

    I googled “Confraternity of Catholic Clergy” and hit 6 might well reveal the identity of one of everybody’s favourite crackerphiles!

  • #276 Cheezits
    July 30, 2008

    PRAY FOR PROFESSOR MYERS

    He ought to be praying for forgiveness for idolatry. And calling a cracker Jesus should be condemned as blasphemy.

  • #277 Emmet Caulfield
    July 30, 2008

    You are a sad, sad soul!

    If you believe in souls, you’re a moron.

    I will pray for you and for others like you who find it pleasing to make a mockery of a core belief of Catholic Christians.

    If you don’t like your beliefs being ridiculed, you should avoid believing ridiculous things.

    May God Bless you (despite your complete and dispicable irreverence for Him).

    No thanks. Your petty, evil, genocidal, homophobic, misogynist God can stuff his blessings up his supernatural cornhole; the Pope and all of the other child-rape enablers who claim to be his servants can kiss my shiny white ass.

  • #278 Sastra
    July 30, 2008

    tsg #166 wrote:

    Their entire complaint can be summed up thusly: “We won’t tolerate your intolerance of our intolerance.” Whatever.

    Not bad. A good part of this entire debate hinges on what it means to be “intolerant.”

    It’s not just the Catholics. The followers of religion in general have tried to carve out a special niche where criticism, dissent, mockery, and rudeness towards specific faith beliefs is automatically classified as “intolerant.” If you say that the Catholics (or the Muslims or the Wiccans) are wrong, then you’re being intolerant. You’re attacking people in their private sanctuary and trampling on their “right to believe whatever they want.”

    In other words, those who dissent are BULLIES, attacking the weak. They violate the necessary civility of a civil society, and break the harmony. Civil = polite. Respecting others means no arguing with them. No trying to persuade them to change. Accept and honor them as is.

    We, of course, see “harmony” as another word for “consensus,” and all forms of dissent as necessary to a civil society. Civil = befitting a citizen in a free and open society. Respecting others means considering them as equals, as the precursor to argument. You cannot bully your equals.

    And there is no genuine “respect” in separating the religious from the common ground of reason by patting them on the head and putting them in a little glass box marked “sacred.”

    It sometimes seems like we’re using different dictionaries.

  • #279 Lee Picton
    July 30, 2008

    I went over to Fr. What-is-name’s blog and noticed that not a single comment has been printed. I left him a message, and don’t see it, either. Why is that, do you suppose?

  • #280 megan
    July 30, 2008

    @ Adrianne – tee hee, if you look at the Father’s blogger identity, he includes his horoscope sign. ! oh giggle i do.

  • #281 VWXYNot?
    July 30, 2008

    OT, but what do vegetarian and vegan Catholics make of the whole transubstantiation thing?

  • #282 Kevin Klein
    July 30, 2008

    People who don’t want their beliefs to be laughed at shouldn’t have such funny beliefs.

  • #283 Alex Ess
    July 30, 2008

    Well, that press release convinced me

    …to start using communion wafers instead of toilet paper, that is.

  • #284 robotaholic
    July 30, 2008

    Thats it! – I’m going out of my way to be offensive to religious people like this! Fuck catholacism, fuck Donahue, fuck the pope, fuck baptists, fuck jehovah’s witnesses, fuck all religions, fuck fortune tellers, fuck astrology, fuck islam, fuck terrorists, fuck suicide bombers, fuck every stupid big fat dress wearing preaching molesting priest and fuck people who think it’s ok to worship something that is supposed to send me or anyone i know or anyone at all to buring hell fire torture, fuck brain washing zombie religious nuts ruining the peace and scientific progress of the human race- fuck black screaming psychopathic preachers who spout racisim, fuck McDonald’s boycotting right wing homosexual hating biggots!

    /rant

  • #285 Eric Saveau
    July 30, 2008

    You are a sad, sad soul! I will pray for you and for others like you who find it pleasing to make a mockery of a core belief of Catholic Christians. May God Bless you (despite your complete and dispicable irreverence for Him).

    Everyone, I should chime in with some support for Kate @ 259 here – her pitiful comment and bad spelling are at least partly my fault. You see, we used to be sexually involved a few years ago (like many Catholic girls, she’s uptight in public but a rabid pagan slut in bed) and I broke up with her because I got tired of having her condemn me for being an atheist – especially right after she swallowed my load (and did so ironically, I might add!). She didn’t take well, and become a lonely bitter young woman locked in her room at her computer, scouring the intertoobs looking for semi-random targets for badly-written religiously motivated scorn.

    Kate, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for you to turn out this way.

    By the way, do you still swallow?

  • #286 megan
    July 30, 2008

    holy crap someone needs to write a piece on the Padre. He wrote all these books like ‘John Paul II for Dummies’ and has links to them on his website, what a money grubber. AND he has cartoons and commentary that make fun of liberal catholics and nuns who don’t wear a habit ‘he calls them ‘LPNs – Likes to Play Nun’. I guess he’s ‘allowed’ to do that, according to the CCC since he’s Catholic, but what a judgemental prick.

  • #287 Rev. Jihad Frenzy
    July 30, 2008

    Scrofulum, as a fully paid up and ordained minister in the Church of The SubGenius, I hereby declare that from this point on, any can of Pringles you choose is hereby consecrated in the faith of (Religion Name Here) as the (fill in the blank) of (fill in the blank) for any purpose whatsoever the owner of said can of Pringles deems fit and proper!

    According to Church doctrine, ANYTHING a SubGenius says is automatically scripturally correct Church doctrine, ergo, the next can of Pringles you buy is therefore actually a can full of tasty Catholic hosts.

  • #288 me
    July 30, 2008

    @284
    “They told me nothing
    Nothing but lies!
    Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
    Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
    Fuck me! Fuck me!
    Fuck you! Fuck you!
    Fuck everyone! Fuck the church!
    Fuck Jesus! Fuck Mary!
    Fuck the Jews! Fuck the Bhuddists!
    Fuck the Hindus! Fuck George Bush!
    Fuck his ugly wife! Fuck Tipper Gore!
    Fuck everyone! Fuck Gorbachev!
    Fuck Noriega! Fuck all these assholes!
    Fuck you! Fuck me! Fuck all of you!
    Stigmata! Stigmata! Stigmata! Stigmata!
    They told me nothing but lies!
    Lies! Lies! Lies! Lies! ”

    Ministry – Stigmata

  • #289 Dahan
    July 30, 2008

    Brownian @ 255,

    “Ooh, ooh, count me in! Do I need to sell vitamins and shampoo, or is it one of those religions where I get to lounge around having sex with acolytes?”

    Well, it’s kinda complicated, but I think we’re going for the “sex with acolytes who sell vitamins and shampoo for us”” theme in general.

  • #290 robotaholic
    July 30, 2008

    I totally have the entire ministry discography lol – i like thier 80’s industrial music the best lol

  • #291 arensb
    July 30, 2008

    After following a few more links, I stumbled upon this letter, in which the Catholic Confraternity denounces a proposal to make priests’ celibacy optional.

    The fact that some celibate clergy (bishops, priests and deacons) have sexually abused children and adolescents, however, warrants realistic remedies which conform to traditional discipline and defined doctrine.

    Please note the word “realistic”, and switch off all irony-sensitive devices before proceeding to the next few paragraphs.

    Optional celibacy is not the answer, nor is it the panacea; it is a placebo. It will do nothing. […] Heterodoxy as taught by dissident theologians in seminaries and Catholic colleges, supported by liturgical abuses and an iconoclastic crusade to remove reverence from public worship, will inevitably produce immoral behavior.

    We ask you and the entire Conference of Bishops to thoroughly, completely and systematically investigate and eliminate all vestiges of heterodoxy, homosexuality and liturgical abuse from all seminaries

    You may now point and laugh, and thank you for flying What The Hell Are They Smoking Airlines.

  • #292 Benjamin Franklin
    July 30, 2008

    Megan @ # 264

    That sounds pretty sacredelicious. But as I posted yesterday in the pork v beef bbq debate, I’m an ‘eat and let eat’ kinda guy.

  • #293 James
    July 30, 2008

    #273 Nothing new, that is what they teach in Catholic Biblical Studies for over a 100 years. Hence why the Catholic Church does not follow Sola Scripture (Bible alone theology) nor does it supports Creationism. For Catholics, scripture is meant to be read prayerfully (called Lectio Divina) and not as a science book (this was a major arguement by members of the Magesterium during Galileo–they were right!). Yes, for Catholics Scripture is the word of God, written by man but Tradition does not allow literally meanings, it goes by the original intent of the author, to the audience of the time, and by the original language it was written (Greek and Hebrew). The few that is taken literally is just the portions where the Hebrew or Greek syntax requires it. So, in short, the PBS special will probably drive the fundies crazy (which is fun). Those claiming to be Catholic need to realize the the P.B.C. contributed, probably the charsmatic catholic groups, they hate tradition, historical critical, and non-literal interpretation.

  • #294 Gary Bohn
    July 30, 2008

    Sounds to me like the Catholic church is trying to incite hatred against atheistic, cephalopod loving biologists.

  • #295 Benjamin Franklin
    July 30, 2008

    Adrienne @ #267

    did the guy actually *weep* at what PZ did?

    Only crocodile tears, which gives him only 20% binocularity, better for on-line ambushing. See what you learn from the History Channel?

  • #296 Jon W
    July 30, 2008

    RE #285

    That’s disgusting. Don’t be a scumbag.

  • #297 Adrienne
    July 30, 2008

    Hey, I’m going to do a minor threadjack here to do a public service announcement. For those of you who want to oppose and even royally piss off Catholics/Fundies *while supporting a very good cause*, forget the Eucharistic desecrations and try volunteering some time at your local women’s clinic that does abortions instead. I do this every fourth or fifth Saturday morning, helping to escort scared patients past a small but ridiculously vocal group of screaming meemies (mostly Catholics, of course) who try to deceive or intimidate patients into going to the local Catholic-run “crisis pregnancy center” instead.

  • #298 Hockey Bob
    July 30, 2008

    @ 198


    P.S.: Your Pope dresses funny.

    I put on my robe and wizard hat.

    ;-)

  • #299 Eric Saveau
    July 30, 2008

    Jon W @296

    That’s disgusting. Don’t be a scumbag.

    Faux outrage from a concern troll. How original.

  • #300 megan
    July 30, 2008

    @ BF #292: Wow, SacreDElicious is my new favorite word. Sold!

  • #301 Matt Heath
    July 30, 2008

    #296
    +1

    Just say no scumbagary.

  • #302 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    #296,

    See definition 2.

    Now who’s disgusting?

  • #303 PZ Myers
    July 30, 2008

    Supporting a local women’s medical clinic is an excellent idea! One problem: there is no local clinic that does abortions. There is apparently only one place in all of Minnesota where you can get them done; one of the doctors in Minneapolis flies in to South Dakota regularly to do them, and otherwise, South Dakota would be completely lacking in that service.

    People have no idea of the magnitude of the suppression of basic health services around here, all caused by religious nuts.

  • #304 mikeg
    July 30, 2008

    huh? (+)… is this the transubstantiated butthole of jesus… really? no, really?

  • #305 oriole
    July 30, 2008

    Hey, outraged Catholics, maybe you could work out a deal with PZ. If you could get your priests to stop sexually abusing their altar boys, you could probably get PZ to stop abusing your stupid crackers.

    Great priorities you’ve got there on your outrage meters, Catholics.

  • #306 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    @ 285

    WTF, really? WTF?

  • #307 CaryT
    July 30, 2008

    Unconstitutional? wtf? It’s been awhile since my constitutional history coursework but I seem to remember the purpose of the bill of rights being to protect the people from the government. Individual citizens can be very prejudiced for or against any religion at any time. The First Amendment prohibits government from doing this.

    If the Cathtards are arguing that PZ is a public employee then sure, he’s a public employee when in a classroom or speaking for the university. What he does on his own time, be it cracker malediction, biological ejaculations, or octopus molestation, that’s his own business and not relevant to the U.S. Constitution or any of its amendments.

  • #308 cicely
    July 30, 2008

    Emmet @ 156, I am indebted to you for introducing me to a fun new word…nescience. I like it!

    And, everybody…Etha’s back!

  • #309 fireant451
    July 30, 2008

    That’s a fine catch, that catch-22.

    It’s the best there is.

  • #310 Eric Saveau
    July 30, 2008

    WTF, really? WTF?

    A bit over the top?

  • #311 Raiko
    July 30, 2008

    I see the point. Really.

    In my religion, we habitually take little round crackers, dip them in blood (well, ketchup), walk across them with dirty sneakers and then rub them against an old banana peel. According to my religion, these crackers are the embodiment of Ghangjlick’s soul, the master of evil who beheaded our prophet, Lord Inklunx. We perform this ritual regularly every Wednesday to ensure our safety from Ghangjlick and Those He Poisoned through the power of Lord Inklunx’ (intelligently designed) banana, the symbol of his natural purity and endless power.

    I feel greatly offended that some cult out there would ridicule our ritual by EATING the cracker and thus smearing themselves with the evil of Ghangjlick and the blood of our Lord Inklunx the Great! These heathens don’t know what they’re doing!

    But alas. Freedom of religion means I have to let them — ew —- eat Ghangjilick’s incarnation.

    May Inklunx have mercy on them. I pray for them.

  • #312 raven
    July 30, 2008

    Father Trigilio:

    No one is laughing. Many of us are in tears that our beloved Savior would be subjected to such vile treatment AGAIN.

    Huh!!! What!!! This makes no sense.

    The Jesus in the cracker is the all powerful, omniscient creator of the universe. The last time he and his father who are the same being got irritated with humans, they flooded the earth with 10 miles of water and killed all but 8 people.

    Seems to me that such a powerful entity could get out of a cracker before it hits the trash can. And turn PZ into a frog without breathing hard.

    The priests have some explaining to do. Why is god/Jesus so feeble these days that he can’t even call 911? Everyone has a cell phone.

  • #313 Adrienne
    July 30, 2008

    Oh hey, there is a critical comment showing up at Trigilio’s blog. Let’s see how long it stays there….

  • #314 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    WTF, really? WTF?

    A bit over the top?

    A bit.

    I’m all for poking fun at the religious whiners that show up here but I try to stick to things we know about them. Like their religion and all the dumb things that surround it.

  • #315 mathyoo
    July 30, 2008

    His flagrant display of irreverence by profaning a consecrated Host from a Catholic church goes beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech.

    If you put limits on academic freedom and free speech, they aren’t free any more. Moron.

  • #316 Maxime
    July 30, 2008

    Yeh, mister jew, the french catholics doesn’t like you too!

  • #317 akshelby
    July 30, 2008

    Rev.BigDumbChimp @314 regarding #285

    Thank you. I’ve been following Crackergate quite closely and I’m all for knocking the godbots and trolls around based on the things they say and believe. But #285 was knocking her about based on her being a woman and sexually denigrating her. Totally uncalled for.

  • #318 Eric Saveau
    July 30, 2008

    A bit.

    I’m all for poking fun at the religious whiners that show up here but I try to stick to things we know about them. Like their religion and all the dumb things that surround it.

    Respectfully noted. And thank you.

    For what it’s worth, I was having a snarky moment and felt like plucking one of the random drive-by troll grenades out of the air and just casually chucking it right back in the the thrower’s lap so that hilarity might ensue. And I hope everyone realizes that I truly have no idea who this Kate person is, nor do I have any reason to think that she even stuck around after lifting her nose and clicking the “post” button.

  • #319 Austin
    July 30, 2008

    Since their sacrament claims that their magical spell turns the cracker into the literal–and therefore BIOLOGICAL–flesh of Jesus, then who better than a biologist to point out that, actually, it’s still a frakkin’ cracker?

    …well, okay, the FDA, maybe. The crackers might be okay, but I bet Jesus is WAY past his ‘Sell By’ date.

  • #320 ThirtyFiveUp
    July 30, 2008

    #212 jon w Cartoon

    Thanks.

  • #321 Eric Saveau
    July 30, 2008

    With regard to my “for what it’s worth” comment, let me be the first to flatly say that it ain’t worth squat. Everyone who jumped on my ass about it was right, I was wrong, I apologize, and I will not go that sort of off-color route again.

  • #322 Jon W
    July 30, 2008

    RE #299

    I may be a part-time “concern troll,” but I contribute other stuff too (the cartoon in PZ’s post, for example).

  • #323 Sean D.
    July 30, 2008

    #321

    I thought it was funny Eric, but then I’ve been accused of being a dirty bastard.

  • #324 Rey Fox
    July 30, 2008

    So, over 300 comments and only two trolls? So much for the whole “the storm is just beginning” thing.

    Although, to be honest, one of the reasons the cracker threads were so crazy is that PZ was busy jetting around the country at the time, and didn’t have time to do his usual half-dozen posts per day, thus everything got concentrated on the one big topic of the moment.

    Meanwhile, I am TOTALLY in favor of the idea of PZ paying a “reparation” by sending the CCC a nickel in an envelope. It would serve to more fully illustrate how crazy they are, and the difference between host desecration and the acts of actual vandalism that populate all the BS “analogies” made by the bed-wetting set.

    This already IS an episode of South Park. South Park is REAL, and we’re living in it.

    PZ has even killed Kenny a few times on Pharyngula.

    And if PZ had ever inflicted widespread disemvowelment on Kenny, then the analogy would be perfect.

    “Y cn’t gnr NDs. Mllns f ppl hv ywtnss tstmny f grt lght nd flng f vrwhlmng lv.”

    “Ha ha ha ha! Kenny, you’re so dirty!”

    Wow, SacreDElicious is my new favorite word. Sold!

    No no no no no. It’s sacreLICious.

    Do I need to sell vitamins and shampoo, or is it one of those religions where I get to lounge around having sex with acolytes?

    No, only the high priests get to do that. As a regular religious peon, you get to toil in the fields all day in the hopes of being rewarded in the afterlife. Don’t you know how these things work?

  • #325 Eric Saveau
    July 30, 2008

    I may be a part-time “concern troll,” but I contribute other stuff too (the cartoon in PZ’s post, for example).

    Jon W, please let me follow up my #321 by apologizing in particular to you. I so totally deserved to get metaphorically smacked upside the head, as you were quick to do.

  • #326 DjtHeutii
    July 30, 2008

    The “unconstitutional” part is hilarious. Is PZ now the government or something? These guys have no idea how that “Constitution” thing works at all do they?

  • #327 Eupraxsopher
    July 30, 2008

    It’s amazing that presumably high-echelon religious organizations use logic and fallacy that an average nine year-old could spot.

  • #328 les
    July 30, 2008

    “The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.”

    I assume this means we can continue to tastefully offend their faith tradition, as we are all wont to do.

  • #329 IceFarmer
    July 30, 2008

    PZ,

    You should ask for them for another Eucharist directly from these guys. Since it was Jebus himself that was wounded directly, you wish to discuss the afore mentioned actions, apologies and terms of reparations that Jebus wants. If you come to a mutual understanding with the cracker… Jebus… then you will consider apologizing to the cracker and the cracker alone. All the other Catholics can go F themselves accordingly. If you & Jebus disagree, or worse ye, the discussion doesn’t go anywhere, then you’ll the Eucharist to piss off and send him back via ground mail from whence he/it came.

  • #330 Emmet Caulfield
    July 30, 2008

    #321,

    For your penance, say three Hail Marys.

    :o)

  • #331 JeffreyD
    July 30, 2008

    So much to read from charming and intelligent people, so much stupidity still to experience from the credulous. Alas, time has passed and I wave goodbye to all. Have enjoyed most of my time here, especially now that I installed killfile (smile).

    I suggest SC, of the sexy mind, and Wowbagger for the next Molly awards as both had insightful comments during crackerpazoola.

    PZ, thank you for this blog, it has been a source of both education and joy.

    Ciao all.

  • #332 Lynnai
    July 30, 2008

    I’m no linguist, but I think this is misuse of the word “right”. Try this, “You don’t have the right to beat the shit out of someone.” This is true, but if you are boxer in a boxing ring, you have that privilege. In other words, just because you don’t have the right to do something doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

    either you are letting your common sense take over and are going back to what was clearly implied in context (which I did say I understood and that I was just being silly pointing out what was actually logically read into the statement); or you are missing the point. It is actually a very fine and sticky piece of logic which results in some very silly thoughts.

    It isn’t about talking about rights in negatives, it is about talking about rights in double negatives.

    example: You have the right to free speach. This means you can speak and express your self freely.

    Step two: You do not have the right to free speach. This means you don’t get to say what you want all the time and some of your actions might be cutrailed.

    Step three: You do not have the right not to free speach. Which means you must speak freely…. how much of the day and to how to judge whether or not you are speaking freely is of course impossible to judge and creates a totaly conundrum as maybe not speaking is your choice of expression = total silliness. Please note, although in the end the practical result is the right to free speach it does so by setting up an obligation to speak freely.

    Not having the right not to be offended of course leaves me still with the ability to not be offended, just not the constitutional right to do so. That boxer has set themselves up an exception to not having the right to beat the shit out of someone but he still has the right to not beat the shit out of them, it’s not unconstitutional to be a bad boxer. But if it was set up that boxers did not have the right not to beat the shit out of someone, then they would constitutionally HAVE to beat the shit out of someone. Although it doesn’t stipulate when or how much. This is my point, you can not speak of rights in double negatives wihtout getting silly.

    How about a non constitutional example, here’s a sextuple negative for you: “I don’t not know nobody who doesn’t not want no nine inch nails” = everybody I know wants nine inch nails, not just some people but everybody. (It’s not true, some people I know never do heavy carpentry and think Trent Resnor is a wanker.)

    Remember I’m primarilly talking about the logical form of the sentance.

  • #333 Kseniya
    July 30, 2008

    *blinks*

    I thot I thaw an Etha!

    Ethaethaethaethaetha!!!

    :-)

  • #334 Jon W
    July 30, 2008

    RE #321 and #325

    Whoops, I should read ahead before I comment. No apology necessary (to me, anyway).

  • #335 Kseniya
    July 30, 2008

    JeffreyD: Stop in when you get a chance. Til then, be well, and stay safe. xo

  • #336 Gridman
    July 30, 2008

    Maybe we should write to the pope and ask his opinion on all this?

    We’ve got all these speaking supposedly on behalf of the Catholics, perhaps Benny could deign to weigh in on this?

  • #337 John Hamilton
    July 30, 2008

    Could this press release just be a Confraternity prank?

  • #338 Patricia
    July 30, 2008

    Goodbye JefferyD!!! Have fun, but please come back. I send you a big *SMOOCH* Don’t forget to twirl! ;)

  • #339 hf
    July 30, 2008

    I was surprised to see the CCC calling itself a national (American) group. But maybe their right-wing views could explain their ignorance of the Constitution and/or the facts of this case.

  • #340 raven
    July 30, 2008

    It’s amazing that presumably high-echelon religious organizations use logic and fallacy that an average nine year-old could spot.

    That was my thought. There is a huge gap in priest recruitment and they must be getting old.

    They need to drop the celibate priest thing and quickly. There is no scriptural basis for it anyway. Otherwise they will end up with a very small group of very old men running the church and most of them will have alzheimers.

  • #341 Blondin
    July 30, 2008

    “A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.”

    — Carl Sagan

  • #342 Emmet Caulfield
    July 30, 2008

    Reading the CCC site, they really are completely divorced from reality. Total nutters. There also appears to be an error on their logo: the ribbon should read “ani puerorum in aeternum” not “tu es sacerdos in aeternum”.

  • #343 crossbuck
    July 30, 2008

    When the Catholic crazies came out of the woodwork when the first of these posts went up, one thing came into my mind. All of them, clergy and laity alike reminded me of an episode of Married With Children, where they were all threatened by a fortune teller. Kelly (the dumb blonde) was sitting on the couch, rubbing a box of Lucky Charms and chanting, “They’re magically delicious” over and over. She seemed no sillier than the cracker-worshipers.

  • #344 mk
    July 30, 2008

    Darn! Doesn’t look like this one’s going to make it a thousand!

    C’mon you jesus freaks! Lost your will to annoy or something?

  • #345 Geoff Schroeder
    July 30, 2008

    The declaration, incredibly, is phrased very similarly to the sentence passed by the Inquisition upon Galileo. The full test can be found in Bertrand Russell’s The Scientific Outlook. The cadence and lofty language thus:
    Invoking then the Most Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and of His most glorious Mother Mary, ever Virgin, for this Our definite sentence, the which sitting pro tribunali, by the counsel and opinion of the Reverent Masters of theology and doctors of both laws, Our Counsellors, we present in these writings, in the cause and causes currently before Us, between the magnificent Carlo Sinceri, doctor of both laws, procurator fiscal of this Holy Office on the one part, and thou Galileo Galilei, guilty, here present, confessed and judged, on the other part:

    “We say, pronounce, sentence, and declare, that thou, the said Galileo, by the things deduced during this trial, and by thee confessed as above, hast rendered thyself vehemently suspected of heresy by this Holy Office, that is, of having believed and held a doctrine which is false, and contrary to the Holy Scriptures, to wit: that the Sun is the centre of the universe, and that it does not move from east to west, and that the Earth moves and is not the centre of the universe: and that an opinion may be held and defended as probable after having been declared and defined as contrary to Holy Scripture; and in consequence thou hast incurred all the censures and penalties of the Sacred Canons, and other Decrees both general and particular, against such offenders imposed and promulgated. From the which We are content that thou shouldst be absolved, if, first of all, with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, thou dost before Us abjure, curse, and detest the above-mentioned errors and heresies and any other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church, after the manner that We shall require of thee.

    “And to the end that this thy grave error and transgression remain not entirely unpunished, and that thou mayst be more cautious in the future, and an example to others to abstain from and avoid similar offences,

  • #346 Hockey Bob
    July 30, 2008

    Totally off-topic, but check out what happens when you do wheelies in church…

    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=39589604

    Oops! That would even hurt a fracken’ cracker!

  • #347 Blondin
    July 30, 2008

    #345

    Still, it moves.

  • #348 Christophe Thill
    July 30, 2008

    The idea that the University should scrutinize the private life of its professors and fire them when they say something inappropriate outside of their working time is a repulsive and totalitarian one.

    “The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.”

    OK guys! From now on, you’ll treat other religions with due respect. No more mocking the human sacrifices to Quetzalcoatl, the Egyptian gods with animal heads, the silly adultery stories of the Olympian gods. No more bad words about the Wiccans, the worshippers of Odin or the various heretics of the past. Of course, no more caricatures of Muhammad. And please, treat with respect the various mutilations (genital or otherwise) performed in the name of a religious tradition. Understood?

  • #349 Lois Carneiro
    July 30, 2008

    You know, if you hadn’t thrown out that cracker, you could have sprayed some Cheez Whiz on it and had a delicious snack.

    In my youth I was forced to partake of many a communion wafer. The Nuns told us that we weren’t allowed to chew it. Indeed, if our teeth even touched it, it would be a sin. It seems you’re not supposed to bite the body of Christ, you’re supposed to let him melt in your mouth like M&Ms. Sadly they were made of some sticky, styrofoam-like substance that simply wouldn’t dissolve. You don’t know how many times I had to pry the body of Christ off the roof of my mouth with my finger!

    – Maggie

  • #350 JHJEFFERY
    July 30, 2008

    OK, Here’s the letter I wrote to Father Trigilio’s organization. The best defense is a good offense. Let’s see if we can get the asshole fired.

    Just in case he does not share my response with you, I provide you with a summary of my letter to Father Trigilio.

    First, I was perturbed to find two grammatical and one spelling error in a post from the editor of your newsletter.

    More importantly, Father Trigilio may or may not know scripture, but his understanding of the U.S. Constitution is at a grade school level, if that. I am, humbly, an expert on the First Amendment, particularly on the first clause thereof and I have practiced law for thirty-three years. Freedom of religion does not resemble the concept of your priest. Instead, it means that each of us has the right to practice his or her own religion in the manner in which we see fit. No one can be compelled to practice, or respect, any other religion. The idea that Father Trigilio wants to silence someone who has contempt for his particular religion might be treated with nothing but derision if it did not come from a platform such as your organization. But it did. It is blatantly unAmerican, subversive of the principles upon which this country was founded, and generally authoritarian and reprehensible. I suggest that Father Trigilio be required to memorize the First Amendment (or at least read it) before opining again.

    Oddly enough, Father Trigilio then proceeds to say that Professor Myers cannot have an opinion on theological matters. This is in the paragraph after the good Father has given us his legal opinion.

    In short, I am outraged by the fascist and tyrannical rant of Father Trigilio. Please let me know if you have in place any type of disciplinary board or procedure of which I might have access in order to seek the dismissal, or at least the discipline of this most unAmerican person.

    I will await your response.

    Jerry H. Jeffery
    (telephone number here)

  • #351 386sx
    July 30, 2008

    …that is, of having believed and held a doctrine which is false, and contrary to the Holy Scriptures, to wit: that the Sun is the centre of the universe, blah blah blah…

    So let me see if I have this right: They were the bleepin apostolic successors ordainerd by the one and only Jesus Frakin H. Christ His Holy Bleepin Self, and they got the scriptures completely bassed baskwards. Correct me if I’m wrong!

  • #352 Tom Coward
    July 30, 2008

    My apologies if this point has been made before (this is a long thread that I have not had a chance to read entirely):

    The constitutional thesis put out by these Catholics is so bad it is “not even wrong.” The Constitution protects the peolple from the Government, not from each other. The First Amendment restrains the Government from establishing a religion, prohibiting the free excersise of a religion, abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, and so on. The Constitution doesn’t stop a private person from doing anything. The First Amenedment is what keeps the Catholics (for example) from getting the Government to stop PZ from desecrating their biscuit. The First Amendment in fact is what gurantees PZ’s right to do this, and to insult their religion in any other way he wants.

  • #353 Christophe Thill
    July 30, 2008

    Oh, and this :

    “Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom.”

    So, that’s what it is? Theology is just “expressing religious opinions”? An opinion is merely “that’s what I think, and I stick to it”. I don’t see how it could form the base of anything ending in -logy. Politology is not just a professor stating in front of his students: “I’ll vote for X, whether you like it or not”. Oenology is not just saying: “I really, really like this wine here”. Why would theology be any different?

    (Except, of course, that politicians and wines do exist)

  • #354 Cerebelle
    July 30, 2008

    Eric Saveau, thanks for the apology in regards to your snark about Kate. You demonstrated what the hardcore catholics hounding PZ haven’t: understanding criticism, realizing you went too far, and then apologizing for it. So many fundies and conservatives believe “staying the course” and not “flip-flopping” is better than admitting their own mistakes.

    That said, the stupid from this press release hurts my brain. I just bought a brand-new irony meter after the whole crackergate deal, too–and now I have to shop around for another one.

  • #355 SEF
    July 30, 2008

    @ #330

    say three Hail Marys

    Because that’s definitely how you summon evil aliens to incarnate themselves.

  • #356 Ian
    July 30, 2008

    PZ – Here’s something to blog about: if the cracker evolves into Jesus, then why are there still crackers?

  • #357 VoteNader2008
    July 30, 2008

    I can’t get over the fact that he’s claiming a right for a religion.

    Religions don’t have rights. Humans have rights. Hell, he’s even saying that religions have rights that humans do not. That’s the dumbest damn thing I’ve read this month.

    A person who belongs to a religion has rights, as does a person who does not belong to a religion. A religion can’t have rights because a religion is not a person. It is, at best, an abstract concept. It’s like saying an emotion has rights. Madness.

    …. but noooooobody has a problem with corporations having human rights…. and would rather vote for a corporate candidate then someone that would stand up for the American “people”, like Ralph Nader.

  • #358 Cubist
    July 30, 2008

    sez raven @ 340: “[Catholics] need to drop the celibate priest thing and quickly. There is no scriptural basis for it anyway. Otherwise they will end up with a very small group of very old men running the church and most of them will have alzheimers.”
    Hmmm. “will end up with”? Are you sure that’s the right tense for that sentence..?

  • #359 Nick Gotts
    July 30, 2008

    They need to drop the celibate priest thing and quickly. There is no scriptural basis for it anyway. Otherwise they will end up with a very small group of very old men running the church and most of them will have alzheimers. – raven

    Cloning?

  • #360 Sastra
    July 30, 2008

    Tom Coward #352 wrote:

    The Constitution protects the people from the Government, not from each other.

    As much as they disparage the idea of “Big Brother,” a lot of Americans seem to want the government to turn into “Big Mommy.” It’s as if our society is a great big birthday party, and it’s Big Mommy’s job to make sure all the little tykes feel good about themselves, and there are no fights or hurt feelings.

    Harmony above all. This is the United States, and religious belief is supposed to be a HAPPY occasion. Let’s not have all this bickering and arguing.

  • #361 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    VoteNader, I have a huge problem with corporations having human rights (and benefiting from the BoR). I also have a huge problem with declaring war on pastimes (drugs), economic conditions (poverty and more secretively, anyone not quite upper class), and a tactic (terrrrrrrrrrrrsm).

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Ralphy is really in a place to make a difference in any of that, and his timing is oh so suspect (where was he in 2004?). I DO think almost everyone at a national political level has been compromised. Not that any of that helps me sleep at night.

  • #362 Stark
    July 30, 2008

    Does anybody have contact info for JeffreyD?

    I don’t know the man personally but I am worried for him. I have been occasionally reading his blog (as I do for most of those I see posted here – just to get a sense of who people are) and he has been dealing with some rough stuff. Suicide of a loved one, declining health, etc…

    The wording of that last post is somewhat disturbing to somebody who has seen too many last notes from suicide victims.

    It could just be that his health issues are precluding him from spending much time on the PC…but please, if anybody has contact info give him a ring and see if he’s OK.

  • #363 SC
    July 30, 2008

    Cloning?

    The Goys from Brazil?

  • #364 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    I’m no linguist, but I think this is misuse of the word “right”.

    Au contraire, I find you to be quite the cunning linguist.

  • #365 True Bob
    July 30, 2008

    Hey CCC,

    I hope you respect this.

  • #366 The Chemist
    July 30, 2008

    @ Pierce R. Butler #243

    The book you recommended is trash.

    There is so much bollocks flying around regarding the Dark Ages and who caused them.

    First of all, there is no “dark ages”. There was a medieval period certainly, but there is no clear dividing line: Here be dark ages, there be wisdom, and the people/things responsible are x,y, and z.

    You could blame anyone and anything you want for it precisely because it is a nebulous concept describing a fairly short period of time.

    Indian Ocean trade continued long after the rise of the Roman successor states and the Romans weren’t super amazing scientists and rationalists in the first place. That’s not to say they didn’t contribute, but much of what they had they took from the Greeks and Egyptians along the Nile, the Ionian colonies, and Athens. Other things they picked up through Silk Road trade. This idea that Europe (if there is such a thing) was plunged into a clearly defined age of particular hardship and cruelty because of clearly a few defined causes is utter bullshit.

    You want uncivilized hardship and persecution? Look up the Assyrians.

  • #367 Benji
    July 30, 2008

    Long live the iconoclast.

    Well reasoned response, too.

  • #368 John Marshall
    July 30, 2008

    So they’re praying and fasting that this won’t happen again. Guess that means if PZ doesn’t repeat his stunt their praying works… Tricky Cathylicks.

  • #369 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    Stark he’s here in Charleston but I don’t have his contact info. I haven’t been to his blog in the last week I may have to check in.

  • #370 NanuNanu
    July 30, 2008

    Anyone voting for Nader deserves to be ridiculed just as much as these Catholic Priests.

    That is all.

  • #371 Sven DiMilo
    July 30, 2008

    Nice analysis there, Nanu. There are actually excellent rational reasons one might choose to cast a vote for Ralph Nader. Why the ridicule? Because Nader might siphon votes from your preferred Korporate Kandidate?
    That said, I now live in a potential swing state, so I don’t plan to vote for him either. This time.

  • #372 Stark
    July 30, 2008

    Rev. BDC – No new posts over there since the 11th and the last one seemed reasonably up-tempo (for posts there anyhow) but that wording in his last post here has me concerened. Nothing much I can do about it though- too many Jeff* D’s in Charleston and I’m on the wrong coast anyhow.

  • #373 SC
    July 30, 2008

    NO!!! How did I miss JeffreyD?! Why is he leaving?

    Well, JeffreyD, if by chance you’re still reading: Thank you for the nomination – I couldn’t be more flattered and touched. You’re by far one of my favorite people here, and I always look forward to your comments (still laughing about the “in his cracker form” post from the “FYI” thread). I hope you stay well and safe. I’ll continue to check your blog, and perhaps even leave a comment someday… Please take good care, and I wish you all the best. In blog-friendship,

    SC

  • #374 rebelest
    July 30, 2008

    I find the common and familiar practice of a large majority of Christians who find offence in criticism and ridicule of their faith and beliefs to be the pinnacle of hypocrisy while their “holy book” condemns atheists as fools who are corrupt and do NO good.

    Psalm 14:1 KJV

    The fool has said in his heart,”There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.

    So let us reserve the right and obligation to criticize, mock and laugh at their religion, faith and beliefs, until they cease to have any power over the credulous.

  • #375 NanuNanu
    July 30, 2008

    I didn’t mean to be a dick but It just seems to me that the type of people that vote for Nader are typically more liberal minded and would otherwise vote for Obama more than Mccain. Considering that a Mccain presidency would be disastrous I don’t think we can AFFORD to have a “conscience vote”. Public support for a third party candidate is not enough and realistically in this election we cant go voting for which ever candidate we think supports all our views but rather the one that is most close to our views while having a chance of winning. And though there is an argument that if everyone voted for who they wanted the most we could shunt off the 2 party system I think that it is most likely not that there are millions of people who WOULD vote for Nader but don’t, but rather that the moderate base of people who vote within their party bounds far outweighs those that would embrace a independent candidate. It’s just that, in this political climate, in this election with these stakes voting for Nader or someone else who won’t win is siphoning off votes that could be putting a large lead in front of Mccain.

    I’m sorry if that came off as incoherent.

  • #376 Neil B.
    July 30, 2008

    There’s a bit of irony here – liberal factions have promoted and passed “hate speech” laws or similar, in which one can be punished for distressing someone over their race, etc. Wikipedia FWIW has the following elaborate definition:

    Hate speech is a term for speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against a person or group of people based on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, language ability, moral or political views, socioeconomic class, occupation or appearance (such as height, weight, and hair color), mental capacity and any other distinction-liability. The term covers written as well as oral communication and some forms of behaviors in a public setting. It is also sometimes called antilocution and is the first point on Allport’s scale which measures prejudice in a society.

    Note that religion is included. Well, if you can accept that psychological distress is a valid “tort” then the concept of the hate speech (or “expression” by extension) should be valid and remediable by law, at least the civil kind. In any case it certainly would also be a basis for condemnation (and our system actually already did accept mental distress before hate-speech/crime laws entered the more modern phase, which I admit I don’t know much about since I’m making a general point. But certainly “physical harm” was not a necessary threshold – sadly it isn’t a sufficient one to the current administration …)

    Hence, can those of you who accept the other kinds and enforcement of “hate speech” and hate crimes (in principle, not about matter of degree) explain why the “crackergate” episode just shouldn’t count as a matter of principle? Perhaps it’s a matter of “whose ox is being gored,” as Hentoff has explained in ref. below. Of course, in the vein Hentoff describes, conservatives could be asked the same question in reverse: if you think crackergate was horrible, then you shouldn’t be so hard on liberal versions of “hate crime” complaints, etc.

    Now, maybe someone can actually come up with good answers here, it’s just a Socratic challenge with no insinuation that you can’t succeed.

    (BTW I count in net as liberal from liking the environment, the working class, politically wary of religion and independent in thinking about it, usually voting Democratic and being a Unitarian Universalist, visceral revulsion to the right-wing “culture”, having a rational basis for ethics etc.)

    Nat Hentoff:
    Free Speech for Me — But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other (1993)
    ISBN 0-06-099510-6

  • #377 NanuNanu
    July 30, 2008

    I don’t think many here are pro-hate speech laws. Also, in order for something to be a hate crime a crime has to be committed in the first place.
    Just my 2 cents, I know I’m likely not part of the targeted group for the challenge.

  • #378 Sastra
    July 30, 2008

    Neil B #376 wrote:

    There’s a bit of irony here – liberal factions have promoted and passed “hate speech” laws or similar, in which one can be punished for distressing someone over their race, etc.

    I agree — you would think it wouldn’t be considered “liberal” to quash dissent.

    At any rate, your question isn’t aimed at me either, because I’m firmly against “hate speech” laws, and a fan of Hentoff’s argument here (which he also made in the Council for Secular Humanism’s magazine Free Inquiry.) I suspect PZ and Ed Brayton both agree on this one.

  • #379 Patricia
    July 30, 2008

    Just for fun – deaths in the bible due to gawd from floods, fiery serpents, famines, war, etc – 2,270,365. Deaths due to Satan – 10. Thanks to Richard Dawkins web site.
    Yep, boys and girls, gawd is love.

  • #380 Fernando Magyar
    July 30, 2008

    Here kitty kitty, here kitty kitty.
    I’d like to find out how many ways there are to skin this little kitten so I could sell it’s holy pelt on ebay.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/offbeat/2008/07/30/stang.holy.cat.wndu

    Holy LOL cats anyone?

  • #381 Rich Hudson
    July 30, 2008

    It’s time to turn the tables on the Christofascists and ask, “Why are you so sensitive about any statement that could even be construed as hinting that your god doesn’t exist?” I mean, in many cultures, saying “Your mother’s a whore!” is a surefire way to make someone angry, but “Your mother doesn’t exist!” would be greeted with quizzical looks. If these religious folks are so secure in their god’s existence, then they should simply shrug their shoulders and shake their heads at we poor nonbelievers. That’s how emotionally secure people react to those who deny the obvious.

  • #382 George G. (also known as Cafeeine)
    July 30, 2008

    I just posted this in Trigilio’s blog

    While I am not PZ Myers, I agree with his actions, and will offer my position in their defense (which is my own and he may or may not agree with), and I will repost this in his Pharyngula blog.

    With respect, you are still making the same mistake most Catholics whose comments I have read on this issue are making.

    Your position of faith is that the consecrated Host is the Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity of Christ. You have the undeniable right to hold that faith.

    I have the undeniable right to think this is untrue, that it is a mass delusion I also have the right to hold the position that the wafer you use in your ceremony remains unchanged, and that it is possible to corroborate my position through scientific examination of such a wafer.

    You ask that I not call your ceremonial wafer a ‘cracker’, to give it a worth I do not personally think it deserves, which means that you are asking me to either accept your own belief as valid (in essence take it on faith) or to refrain from making comments as a sign of respect to fellow human beings.

    As I do not accept your belief as valid, I cannot adhere to the first option. I do adhere to the second one. This is not meant to imply tacit acceptance of your doctrine as valid, just a position of ‘be and let be’.

    This type of moratorium, from my point of view is not irrevocable, but subject to your own religion’s actions. When the members of your church in Florida displayed some egregious behavior against Webster Cook, and it deserved no respect, either from your church nor from me. I notice, after a cursory inspection that you failed to make mention of the initial incident anywhere in your blog. I’ll grant that it may have been considered a local issue at the time, yet even after the event exploded, I found nothing.

    So Myers made his initial comment. At the time, he had dome nothing but express his views on the Eucharist and his coming intentions as a clear response to that particular issue. Yet scores of Catholic responders, like the fool who was being shown the Moon and who instead stared at the pointing finger, ignored for the most part the initial incident and expressed the worst kind of catholic love for Myers, including, to my own knowledge threats of violence and at least one death threat. Still, the initial goal of Myers’ action, to give the initial incident publicity was a resounding success. People from all around the world took notice.

    When your own members show such wanton disregard for their fellow human and their own religion’s doctrines of love, don’t you think this deserves more then an off-hand comment about disavowing threats of violence?

    Myers, like me, held no particular reverence to that wafer. In asking him to act as if he did, you are demanding deference to your beliefs.

    You claim that Myers (and those who agree with him in this, I say) should “at least respect [your] right to believe and profess what [you] believe without resorting to beligerant ridicule and attack.”

    Personally I believe that the world is operated by natural laws that have a basis in logic. Every time any religion talks about the supernatural, about things that ‘defy logic or nature’ that there is a Divine Being whom we can only perceive through faith and divine revelation, I consider that belligerent ridicule of my own beliefs. Every time a Christian tells me I believe in nothing I consider that belligerent ridicule of my own beliefs. Every time a religion forces children in a public school to either pray or pretend to pray in deference to their interpretation of a Divine Being, I view that as an attack.Every time a religion causes its members to attack & bully others over these illogical claims, to use fear to indoctrinate people into their own worldview, I view that as an attack. I do not however start writing letters to get professors expelled, nor do I send death threats, nor do I demand not to be offended..

    My belief that your religion is illogical is not meant to be offensive to you, just as your beliefs in transcendent beings and an afterlife are not meant to be offensive to me. Yet they both are. And we both must learn to live with it. Trying to force acquiescence through force of numbers while downplaying the original issue only makes your argument weaker. And how can you claim to want rational discussion, when you propose irrational precepts, like that the Eucharist is the actual Body of Christ?

  • I’m getting sick and tired of these constant accusations of priests raping altarboys. A lot of girls have been raped by those motherfuckers, too.

  • #384 Angie
    July 30, 2008

    They can evoke the Founding Fathers as much as they like though it’s pointless because this issue is a Catholic one, therefore it’s international. Outside of the U.S. the Constitution, Bill of Rights, [any U.S. document] is irrelevant. The sentiments and ideas may be universal and reasonable (when interpreted correctly) but they need a better argument to back up their warped views. It won’t wash elsewhere. What do I care what the FF intended? Here in Australia I’ve just put up with World Youth Day bullshit and attempted censorship of any protests. How would they try to stop me calling their rituals ridiculous without using the Bill of Rights argument? Call me a big meanie??

    I know that in this case they are talking about a U.S. citizen in America, but their arguments should have enough depth to apply to anyone who attacks their (worldwide) faith. This doesn’t.

  • #385 Sven DiMilo
    July 30, 2008

    I’m firmly opposed to hate-speech laws. However, I favor a variety of other speech-restriction laws, such as mildly-offensive-to-Swedish/Italian-people-of-a-certain-age-speech laws, door-to-door-proselytization-in-my-neighboorhood-speech laws, and yet-another-mention-of-Cheez-Whiz-in-Ineffable-Magical-Baked-Goods-related-blog-comment-
    thread-speech laws. To name just a few.

  • #386 Steve_C
    July 30, 2008

    Ralph Nader has no chance of winning, ever. Protest votes are a waste.

  • #387 LisaJ
    July 30, 2008

    Wow, that was some fantastic dinner time comedy. Frigging hilarious, and also very disturbing.

  • #388 Sven DiMilo
    July 30, 2008

    Ralph Nader has no chance of winning, ever. Protest votes are a waste.

    ? But, of course, protest votes have little or nothing to do with trying to help determine the winner. Protest voters are playing a different game, and in their game it’s not a waste. I voted for Nader twice, but it’s because I lived in Oklahoma at the time and I knew damn well that a vote for Gore or Kerry would be a “waste.” So I thought I’d send a message to anybody looking at the detailed results. That message being, I guess, that there were a few people in Oklahoma that agreed with Nader’s basic message. I still agree with it–I hope to be proven wrong, but I fear that Obama is already too Establishment-bound to effect any truly meaningful “change”–but I now live in a state where my vote might mean something, and in this new circumstance I pl,an to cast a cautiously optimnistic vote for O.

  • #389 VoteNader2008
    July 30, 2008

    VoteNader, I have a huge problem with corporations having human rights (and benefiting from the BoR). I also have a huge problem with declaring war on pastimes (drugs), economic conditions (poverty and more secretively, anyone not quite upper class), and a tactic (terrrrrrrrrrrrsm).

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Ralphy is really in a place to make a difference in any of that, and his timing is oh so suspect (where was he in 2004?). I DO think almost everyone at a national political level has been compromised. Not that any of that helps me sleep at night.

    Oh, he was there running for president, but you wouldnt have noticed then, like in 2000 or now because of the black out from the MSM AND because of Bonusgate, thats right the democratic party used our tax dollars to keep Nader off the ballot. Where was he? You know how hard it is for an independent candidate to get on all the ballots? Its an obstacle course devised to keep it a two party system. Even if he wasnt on the ballot in my state(he will be) I’d write in his name and Matt Gonzalezs’.

  • #390 fatherdaddy
    July 30, 2008

    I am imagining a milk carton with a picture of a cracker, “Have you seen me?”

    Now, someone with a picture of a cracker, a picture of a milk carton, and Photoshop needs to get to work.

  • #391 valor
    July 30, 2008

    Slightly off topic, but I am reminded of an old George Carlin (sob) saying “I have just as much authority as the Pope, it’s just that fewer people believe it”.

    As much as I dislike this clusterf*ck that all started, essentially, with a kid actually trying to educate a friend about his religion, I must speak in defense of some Catholics. Jesuits are still pretty smart; I’m sure they had nothing to do with this poorly written and poorly thought out press release.

    I find it a bit silly that they keep bringing up PZ’s position at a state run university as an excuse to consider his actions unconstitutional. Personal time, people, personal time. I know you’re priests all the time, but PZ wears many hats.

  • #392 DLC
    July 30, 2008

    I’d like to think that no group of catholic priests is that ignorant. Yet they offer proof with press releases like that.
    Perhaps I should fee comforted that the witch-doctors are that clueless.

  • #393 Moggie
    July 30, 2008

    Kate @ #259:

    You are a sad, sad soul! I will pray for you and for others like you who find it pleasing to make a mockery of a core belief of Catholic Christians.

    I notice you don’t say you’ll fast, despite the CCC’s recommendation that Catholics pray and fast over this matter. What, don’t you care enough? But this is a really tough case: Catholics have been praying over Crackergate for some time now, without noticeable effect, so clearly just skimping on breakfast won’t cut it. I suggest going without food entirely for a couple of days (but check with your doctor first). Do you care enough to do that to defend one of your “core beliefs”?

  • #394 frog
    July 30, 2008

    NeilB: Hate speech is a term for speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action

    Hence, can those of you who accept the other kinds and enforcement of “hate speech” and hate crimes (in principle, not about matter of degree) explain why the “crackergate” episode just shouldn’t count as a matter of principle? Perhaps it’s a matter of “whose ox is being gored,” as Hentoff has explained in ref. below. Of course, in the vein Hentoff describes, conservatives could be asked the same question in reverse: if you think crackergate was horrible, then you shouldn’t be so hard on liberal versions of “hate crime” complaints, etc.

    Why does this simple-minded argument come up over and over again? Inciting violence is clearly a crime; intimidation is often a crime, completely independently of any “hate speech” legislation. Finally, degradation may mean an attempt to exclude from the public space a member of a group.

    What the hell would be the problem with any of those, you boob? If at my work place, I harangued my employees with statements that Catholics were all bastards who should lose their civil rights, isn’t it obvious that The State — aka, the rest of us — should step in and put a stop to that? Or if I told ‘em I was going to follow them home and shoot them? Or if I told my other employees that they’d get a bonus if they punched a Catholic employee?

    That’s no limitation on Free Speech in general. The question is venue and threat. It’s not at all about whose ox is being gored — but about allowing people to be free from violence and intimidation.

    Of course, it can be overly broadly interpreted by whiners and totalitarians. But that’s the case for any law — this standing on some abstract principle regardless of reality is just using your proctological apparatus to think with. There are dangers in laws that limit threatening expression – but only a cretin would throw out the baby with the bathwater, or fail to recognize the distinction between expression of ideas per se, and the real implications of specific expressions at specific venues.

    Slippery slope arguments are the most imbecilic class of arguments — worse than from authority. Always make you sound like a college freshman who just discovered the idea of logical consistency, but hasn’t yet discovered that logical systems have bounds.

    Crackergate was about the freedom to make symbols. There was no implicit threat against Catholics, either violent or economically. There was no exclusion from the public sphere. There was nothing threatening in any way, shape or form — it was purely a political and theological discussion.

    But I guess subtle distinctions go over the heads of folks who want to simplify life to one law, one rule, one system. Buncha brain-damaged freaking crypto-totalitarians. “In principle, not matter of degree” — what a more thorough illustration of stupidity? Degree always matters.

  • #395 Faid
    July 30, 2008

    This has probably beel mentioned a dozen times already, but…

    “The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance”

    …If that’s the case, why are Catholics eating beef? haven’t they heard that cows are sacred to members of a certain religion, those desecrating bastards?

    This is beyond silly.

  • #396 Steve_C
    July 30, 2008

    Nader is a putz and a spoiler. He unelectable because he’s a horrible campaigner. Not because of the media. If you hadn’t noticed the public doesn’t vote for the smartest guy, or the most qualified, unfortunately it’s for the guy they like the best and who most closely matches the voter’s own beliefs.

    Nader isn’t likeable, he’s not smarter than Obama (arguably) and he certainly doesn’t have much in common with 96% of the american public.

    If you want a 3rd party… form one with platform and a candidate that’s appealing. Nader has neither. He’s no better than Lyndon LaRouche or every other unelectable solo party of me candidate.

    Dennis Kucinich is just as progressive and he had the balls to run within the party. He actually wanted to get elected.

  • #397 Sastra
    July 30, 2008

    Sven DiMilo #385 wrote:

    However, I favor a variety of other speech-restriction laws, such as mildly-offensive-to-Swedish/Italian-people-of-a-certain-age-speech laws, door-to-door-proselytization-in-my-neighboorhood-speech laws, and yet-another-mention-of-Cheez-Whiz-in-Ineffable-Magical-Baked-Goods-related-blog-comment-
    thread-speech laws.

    Good thing you’re “used to occasional disappointment.” ;)

  • #398 Sven DiMilo
    July 30, 2008

    I agree with you, Steve_C. Nader’s no politician.
    And I like Kucinich. Doubt he’ll ever be “electable” either, though.

  • #399 Faid
    July 30, 2008

    Actually, now that I think about it, *nobody* has the right to eat beef, unless they’re Hindu.

    Now that makes sense.

  • #400 JoJo
    July 30, 2008

    During the 2000 election Nader insisted there was no difference between the two major political parties. Bush or Gore, he said, would be just the same. It didn’t matter which of the two became President. Obama nailed it when he said of Nader, “He thought that there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush and eight years later I think people realize that Ralph did not know what he was talking about.”

  • #401 Catholism is nuts
    July 30, 2008

    “The tired rantings of Catholics aside (Rreally, can they still truly be going on about this?) I really want that picture on a shirt. I will buy it and wear it proudly.”

    OMG I’m going to make one of these this weekend. You can buy iron on printer paper and a white T-Shirt then print, iron on and blaspheme away!

  • #402 Neil B. ? ? ?
    July 30, 2008

    frog, you should realize that I was challenging people here to see if they could get around a certain line of consistency criticism and even accepted maybe it could be done, not really presenting the hate-crimes argument as from myself or intractable. But even aside from that, you miss one of the key aspects of hate speech which is in fact the psychological distress it causes. It doesn’t have to be the other rights pressures you refer to (making feel intimidated, etc.) You say, “Finally, degradation may mean an attempt to exclude from the public space a member of a group.” Yeah, and it may mean just plain “degradation” (and that’s from a consensus definition of hate speech as presumed in the article, not just my own prejudices.) Hence, a person who vilifies Jews or blacks per se is considered hateful, so poor old Don Imus gets the axe for making fun of black girls in a basketball team – he wasn’t interfering with them at all in the ways you describe. If a person tramples on a Menorah or Star of David in public most would consider it hate speech (as expression.) OTOH, many think we have the right to burn the American flag as a form of expression – maybe the difference is, the acts which denigrate a segment of society and not the whole nation are considered wrong, as “separating” acts. That’s just one theory.

    But I’m not even sure myself what’s for the best, just challenging others for some consistency and to tease out their justifications. Nothing for an honest, secure respondent to misinterpret or bitch about there. And yes degree matters, I just wanted something pertaining to the principle which matters too, silly.

    PS – make sure you’re more on the ball before throwing around bullshit about someone being a “boob.”

  • #403 tangent_woman
    July 30, 2008

    I have to wonder; Where is the line between insanity and religion? Is it only okay to act on beliefs in intangible irrational things if your belief is shared by a large number of people?

    If I were to go quite mad and declare that I was a prophet of the Great Creator Zog, and stood on street corners declaiming that we must all strip naked, paint ourselves purple and hold carrots to be sacred, would the stance of the Catholic church (as outlined in the article being discussed) mean that all people who eat carrots are desecrating a sacred object?

    Furthermore; Would a person trying to get me some psychiatric care be interfering with my right to freedom of religion?

  • #404 Neil B. ?
    July 30, 2008

    What JoJo said! That self-righteous dork Nader, he didn’t have to actually run (knowing he couldn’t win) to make a point, and look what happened. Is he really going to try his scheme again and maybe pull it out for McCain? (But it’s sad to pick on him since otherwise, I think he cares about the nation and does really cut through the crap of traditional politics. Sorry, it’s just a paradox that I can’t resolve.)

  • #405 R Hampton
    July 30, 2008

    Thomas Jefferson – you know, that godless communist from Virginia – believed Reason was the best medicine for Religion:

    “Religion” –
    Notes on the State of Virginia

    …Reason and experiment have been indulged, and error has fled before them. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desireable? No more than of face and stature. Introduce the bed of Procrustes then, and as there is danger that the large men may beat the small, make us all of a size, by lopping the former and stretching the latter.

    Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    Let us reflect that it is inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand. That if there be but one right, and ours that one, we should wish to see the 999 wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free enquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves.

  • #406 ndt
    July 30, 2008

    Nader is a putz, but the Democrats could have (and still could) neutralize him in an instant if they acknowledged that he’s right on the issues. Instead of dissing him, Obama’s people could say “I understand his frustration. Most of Congress is at the beck and call of corporations who are looking to enrich themselves at the expense of American health, safety, and national security.”

  • #407 Meschlum
    July 30, 2008

    Pish. All these comments about offending hindus by eating meat? Far too limited.

    Try the Jain. Killing animals is now out – and it has the furhter benefit of being an established religion, avoiding any outraged claims about loopholes.

  • #408 Neil B. ? ? ?
    July 30, 2008

    ndt: You’ve got me convinced.
    BTW, the notion that corporations are “legal people” is based on a fraudulent excerpting of the actual SCOTUS opinion, see:

    http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/664

  • #409 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 30, 2008

    “We also pray that Professor Myers contritely repent and apologize.”

    What the hell do they want? For centuries they have urged people to “repent”. A constant drumbeat of it.

    Ya know? Every atheist I know who was previously religious has repented. You can leave ‘em alone now. It worked. They’re free of religious bullshit.

    Now they “pray” that PZ repents…contritely.

    If contrition is worth anything, it is based on honest personal introspection and initiative. How can that possibly be induced in other people through prayer?

    What “prayer” of this ilk essentially amounts to is as banal as schoolyard intimidation. A whining exhibition of snitching on one’s fellow brothers and sisters. (“MOMMEEE!!!DADDEEE!!! PZ did a nasty no-no again!!! This time he nailed a cracker!!!”).

    Like whenever these bozos “pray” for God to have mercy on some deathrow soul just before executing them. Just how disingenuous can anybody possibly get? It’s all for show, to supply the appearance of probity (just in case). Let’s be honest for a change: the actual thoughts are something more along the lines of, “I hope that scum-sucker cooks in boiling tomato sauce hell forever and ever. Amen.”

    Every time I read through crap like this lofty pronouncement by the esteemed “Confraternity of Catholic Clergy” my astonishment is renewed. It’s breathtaking how completely their ability to think rationally has been subsumed by that insufferable catachemismic lingo. They don’t make sense, and they don’t know or care that they make no sense.

    Catholics, both the elite ordained clergy as well as their lay flock, are literally trained (“brainwashed”) from the earliest age to repeat proscribed responses during mass. And if you’re a good little parrot, Polly gets the cracker.

    Heck, you might even get to sit on a priest’s lap.

  • #410 megan
    July 30, 2008

    So, I think I just discovered that this guy, Fr. Trigilio, got his PhD from a dissertation mill. info’s over on my blog. How’s THAT for an ethical issue?

    http://jerseydevil77.livejournal.com/27992.html

  • #411 Wowbagger
    July 30, 2008

    Re Neil B, #402:

    I think it would have been different if PZ had gone to a church to nail the cracker in front of a congregation, or even done it in a public place to create a spectacle.

    Heck, he was called a bigot simply for suggesting that he was going to do it, without having done anything at all. In a way I’d have been happier if he hadn’t ever done anything other than threaten, since that made the squawking all that more ludicrous since it was about something that hadn’t even happened.

    It’s about hurt feelings. Eating meat hurts vegetarians’ feelings; eating cheese hurts vegans’ feelings – but those of us who like cheeseburgers aren’t deferring to them, and no-one’s going to call choosing to eat one in the window of a burger chain in full view of the PETA protester outside an act of hate.

    I don’t like offending people, but I do agree we have to accept that some of the things we believe aren’t shared by everyone and that we don’t have the right not to be offended if other people don’t revere what we revere.

  • #412 Coragyps
    July 30, 2008

    Duvenoy!!!!

    You’re still around! HOORAY!

    Go register at TalkRational! Now!

  • #413 Neil B. ? ? ?
    July 30, 2008

    Ultimately, Wowbagger, I think you are basically right. It’s a hard and sloppy judgment call about what’s just too confrontational and demeaning to tolerate, and society has made some such choices based on things like historical injustice and lingering sensitivity of noticeable affected groups (which more befit blacks and Jews in this country than Catholics, albeit the KKK didn’t like the latter either as I learned from my Catholic boyhood friend.) We should err on the side of free expression. (BTW, what do you or others here think of what happened to Imus?)

    My main point was to take a hard look at *consistency* issues, since you would admit some liberal types (maybe not even anyone right here) do make a big whoop about other things approximately as “bad” as PZM’s handling of the cracker situation. That’s where I think the “whose ox” comes in. So, what’s their excuse? Can they be considered consistent somehow?

  • #414 Monado
    July 30, 2008

    Eating cows is sacrilege to Hindus, and it doesn’t matter whose kine they are: all cattle are holy. In fact, kind of like those tasteless crackers, they represent Godhood–or Goddesshood to be precise–and the divine bounty of the universe. So anyone who thinks PZ is wrong to diss their cracker had better be ready to swear off beef, leather, and cheese made with rennet so as not to insult others’ religions. After all, it’s worse than kidnapping. Right????

  • #415 Shannon
    July 30, 2008

    I almost did a spit-take when I read the phrase “flagrant display of irreverence.” It sounds like something a stuffy old lady in a movie would say about dancing, before feigning fainting.

  • #416 Sven DiMilo
    July 30, 2008

    During the 2000 election Nader insisted there was no difference between the two major political parties. Bush or Gore, he said, would be just the same. It didn’t matter which of the two became President. Obama nailed it when he said of Nader, “He thought that there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush and eight years later I think people realize that Ralph did not know what he was talking about.”

    Oh, yeah, Obama nailed it with his special powers of 20/20 hindsight.

    At the time, Bush’s entire campaign was all about “reaching across the aisle,” “bringing Democrats and Republicnas together,” etc., all moderate all the time. Nobody knew what an evil disaster his presidency could be (except maybe Cheney). On the other hand, Gore, far from the pro-environment crusader he is now viewed as, was going way out of his way to appear as bland and cookie-cutter a moderate politician as he possibly could, and his campaign was benefitting from all the same corporations that hit the jackpot with Bush’s faux-win. Nader was closer to right than wrong as far as anybody could have known at the time.

  • #417 Shimmy
    July 30, 2008

    “There is no pope.”
    (Gertrude Stein)

  • #418 Keanus
    July 30, 2008

    I’m with Adrienne (in #297) on the question of abortion. I also volunteer one weekday morning, about five hours typically, escorting the same scared young women through the verbally abusive protesters. Some are Catholic but just as many are Protestant fundies. With a couple of exceptions, all are nasty, rude and insulting, and ignorant to boot. I strongly urge anyone who lives within proximity to a clinic that offers abortions to volunteer their time, if they have it. But before doing so, just remember that escorts must have thick skins and be able to resist the urge to scream back, or even offer a counter argument, given that protesters are certifiable nuts and incapable of rational discussions.

    Back on topic, I find it amusing for the conflagration (or whatever) of Catholic priests to argue that only Catholics can criticize or deride Catholic practices. Following that logic, they surely agree that Catholic priests, who are versed only in Catholic theology, are unqualified to speak on either marriage or abortion.

  • #419 Samantha Vimes
    July 30, 2008

    Constitutional Scholarship Epic Fail by the priests.

    I don’t know why I’m even mildly surprised, though.

  • #420 Wowbagger
    July 30, 2008

    Neil B,

    It is a complicated issue and for me part of it is the inability to understand where the religious are coming from.

    I struggled hard to think of an object or symbol that might engender similar outrage in me – but there isn’t one. There are writers and musicians whose works provide me immense joy but to see an image of a book burned or cd scratched wouldn’t affect me at all beyond a head-shake at the stupidity.

    Since I’m not in the US I can’t comment too much on the Imus thing – though I did hear about it – because I struggle to understand what it’s like there. I do agree that it’s stupid to make the sort of remarks he made, but perhaps there were better ways of dealing with him than calling for his firing.

    The problem with calling something ‘hate’ – whether it be in a choice of language or the threat of desecration – is that there’s the implication of an intent that may very well not be present. And that’s getting awfully close to a thought-crime in my opinion.

  • #421 Bob Bekker
    July 30, 2008

    I don’t understand. I don’t think you will be the last to criticize Catholics but why would you go into someone’s house a take something that is precious to them under false pretences? Rationalize it anyway you like, it was wrong.

  • #422 Jasso
    July 30, 2008

    All this reminds me of a quote I’ve seen floating around:

    “Freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.”

    (Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson in the 1943 case West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette.)

  • #423 llewelly
    July 30, 2008

    Nader was closer to right than wrong as far as anybody could have known at the time.

    The stupid irony of the situation, is that if Gore’s 2000 campaign had championed the issues he had fucking argued for on the fucking senate floor between about 1984 and 1992, the vast difference between the candidates would have been obvious. But no, Gore felt the need to run a centrist campaign. A strategy that has always a huge disadvantage for democrats, except when the right splits, and a Ross Perot bleeds off a fat lot of the Republican candidate’s votes. And again, in this election Obama’s greatest risk for failure is to run a centrist campaign. And we can see with his fisa vote, that’s what he’s swerving toward.

  • #424 Wowbagger
    July 30, 2008

    Bob Bekker, #421, wrote:

    but why would you go into someone’s house a take something that is precious to them under false pretences?

    Two problems with this, Bob.

    The first is he didn’t go into someone’s house. The cracker he used was given to him by a catholic who’d kept it – something that we’ve been informed is quite common.

    Secondly, there’s a problem with your use of the term
    ‘precious’. The cracker is intended to be destroyed in the process, with nothing of it remaining for any use whatsoever (unlike a body about to be cremated, for example) – if he suggested that people take bibles or other objects that aren’t intended for destruction then you might have a point. But he didn’t.

    To consider the cracker precious in this situation means you imbue it with a significance exclusive to a subset of people (because even other catholics have posted about not being bothered by what PZ did) within your religion.

    You’re free to believe whatever you want – but you don’t have the right to not be offended if someone doesn’t share those beliefs.

  • #425 Phrenolepsy
    July 30, 2008

    MAH TWO CENTS:

    Look, I’m a lapsed Catholic and I’ve got issues with the Church from here to the Moon, but I’ve got to say that what you did went ten steps passed irreverence. It was just a petty, assholish thing to do to anti-up the Church’s overblown reaction to a violation of Catholic protocol by a guy’s ignorant curiosity. Not that anyone cares what I think, but I think both sides need to apologize to each other and knock off this stupidity. Death threats and religious desecration are NOT COOL.

  • #426 JoJo
    July 30, 2008

    At the time, Bush’s entire campaign was all about “reaching across the aisle,” “bringing Democrats and Republicnas together,” etc., all moderate all the time. Nobody knew what an evil disaster his presidency could be (except maybe Cheney).

    Oh bull. You may have been fooled by Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” but those of us who paying attention to his antics as Texas governor knew better. He made no secret of his love of supply-side economics, the same thing his father called “voodoo economics.” Bush and Cheney spoke loud and long about abortion, gays and lesbians, and secularism.

    If you thought there was no difference between Bush and Gore based on their campaigns, that can only be because you weren’t paying attention. You apparently were impressed by a man who claimed to be anti-corporate but owned more than $3 million in stocks and money market funds. Nader may not have owned a car, and wore the same suit for a week at a time, but it was not because he had to live that lifestyle.

    When Nader ran for President in 2000, he got more or less a free pass from his opponents. Gore didn’t want to alienate Nader voters and Bush knew that none of the Nader votes were coming from his column. And please, don’t tell me that Nader’s 90K votes in Florida came from people who would have voted for Bush or not voted at all.

    Sorry, but I don’t the last eight years of chaos and disaster are worth that Nader’s ego.

  • #427 John Morales
    July 30, 2008

    Phrenolepsy:

    Not that anyone cares what I think

    Some of us care, PZ cares, so he’s kindly showing you just how COOL the Catholics are.

    It’s called consciousness-raising.

  • #428 Ricardo Sandoval
    July 30, 2008

    I have mixed felling about all this.

    On the negative side:
    Some beliefs of the catholic church may be ridiculous
    but at least they are not against the theory of evolution,
    as many other christians are. They conveniently separated truths of physical sciences from religion matters some time ago, wisely I guess.

    But on the positive side:
    As someone that was converted to catholicism when young (now I am an atheist) I can say that they don’t start preaching by saying stuff such as eucharist(cracker) but when they do, you are already into most aspects of their religion.

    This kind of action may (I hope) increase the public awareness of such aspects of their faith forcing them to sell the whole package of beliefs at once, a more honest thing to do.

  • #429 Patricia
    July 30, 2008

    This whole episode has shown the catholics their worst fear, on center stage.
    Gawd is no longer relevant.

  • #430 stogoe
    July 30, 2008

    I don’t understand. I don’t think you will be the last to criticize Catholics but why would you go into someone’s house a take something that is precious to them under false pretences? Rationalize it anyway you like, it was wrong.

    If I came to your house, and we cooked a meal together, and then you packed up some leftovers, you would be batshit insane and a criminal to then try to tackle me and physically stop me from taking leftovers home, and you would be doubly batshit insane and a criminal to threaten to kill me for taking those leftovers.

    It’s a cracker(flag/book/idol/etc). It has no power but what you give it. And you have given it far too much.

  • #431 John C. Randolph
    July 30, 2008

    If anybody is responsible for the Dark Ages, it’s the Visigoths.

    Nah.. The visigoths helped to topple the Roman Empire, but for the most part it collapsed because it wasn’t economically sustainable once the emperors started bribing the mob with bread and circuses.

    The church certainly extended the dark ages by stifling thought for a couple of centuries, though.

    -jcr

  • #432 Ichthyic
    July 30, 2008

    I don’t like offending people, but I do agree we have to accept that some of the things we believe aren’t shared by everyone and that we don’t have the right not to be offended if other people don’t revere what we revere.

    I keep thinking people quickly forget how far we HAVE come by denigrating and rejecting the beliefs of the faithful.

    If not, I suppose we’d still be studying geocentrism, for one thing.

    basically, we would have stayed in the dark ages for quite a bit longer, if religious authority never was challenged.

  • #433 ChrisKG
    July 30, 2008

    Megan jerseydevil77 #410

    I Love you.

    That was the best post yet. Everyone should read her blog on this “so called” Dr.

    Chris

  • #434 John C. Randolph
    July 30, 2008

    Jojo,

    Nader is a hypocrite, but blaming him for Gore’s loss is asinine. He had every right to run for office, just as you had every right to vote for someone else.

    BTW, if you think Gore would have handled Iraq any differently, I suggest you have a look at what he had to say on the matter here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JE48XHKG64

    He praises the war that Bush senior ran, and then lambastes him for not cracking down on Saddam.

    -jcr

  • #435 decrepitoldfool
    July 30, 2008

    #425 Prenolepsy: ” Not that anyone cares what I think, but I think both sides need to apologize to each other and knock off this stupidity. Death threats and religious desecration are NOT COOL.

    Wait… what? Throwing a cracker in the trash and threatening to kill someone or have them thrown from their job are somehow equivalent?

    Thanks for that moment of clarity, man.

  • #436 Arnosium Upinarum
    July 30, 2008

    Just to add to the blah-blah:

    If you keep it up PZ, watch out – next thing you know they’ll threaten you with Excommunication. (SHUDDER…now performing the ritual symbolic cricifix by touching out forehead, sternum, and both armpits…followed by a quick smooch to an imaginary Rosary delivered to one’s thumb…Latin-style. There. That should protect me from the hideous atheist vamps).

    Excommunication. Big Baaaad. Major. CATASTROPHIC even. You would henceforth be barred from enjoying the many perqs the Church bestows on it’s flock. Like……um, like…uh, lessee…wait, it’ll come to me…hmmm…hold on a second…damn, it’s on the tip of my tongue…no, wait, really, I got it…hold on, I think……ah, right, bugger me, I got it now:

    Like SALVATION in the form of an an EVERLASTING AFTERLIFE in HEAVEN.

    Whoa, I gotta bone up on my homeopathic memory aids. How can I ever have missed it?

    Fair enough reward for all those parishisoners dutifully keeping to their end of the bargain by regularly observing an ages-long sacrificial custom that preceeded theirs and filling those usher-wielded baskets with their hard-earned bucks.

    I mean, come on, let’s face it. How else could all those Good Men of God ever make a living in order to help relieve people of some of their burden of income? They get an eternity in paradise in exchange. Perfect insurance! Excellent deal!

    I wonder how the stock is running right now on the Vartican. What? Oh. Right. Of course. Catholics stockholders are already guaranteed the most divine of all dividends.

    Whadyaknow? It DOES make sense! I wonder how that eluded me for so long.

  • #437 ndt
    July 30, 2008

    I don’t understand. I don’t think you will be the last to criticize Catholics but why would you go into someone’s house a take something that is precious to them under false pretences?

    Posted by: Bob Bekker | July 30, 2008 9:39 PM

    That’s the whole point. If a mass-produced piece of bread is precious to you, then you are messed up in the head.

  • #438 ndt
    July 30, 2008

    At the time, Bush’s entire campaign was all about “reaching across the aisle,” “bringing Democrats and Republicnas together,” etc., all moderate all the time. Nobody knew what an evil disaster his presidency could be (except maybe Cheney).

    Posted by: Sven DiMilo | July 30, 2008 9:14 PM

    Speak for yourself. Some of us were paying attention.

    On the other hand, Gore, far from the pro-environment crusader he is now viewed as, was going way out of his way to appear as bland and cookie-cutter a moderate politician as he possibly could, and his campaign was benefitting from all the same corporations that hit the jackpot with Bush’s faux-win.

    Posted by: Sven DiMilo | July 30, 2008 9:14 PM

    On that you are 100% correct. Kerry did the same thing in 2004, and I fear Obama is going to do the same thing now. Some people never learn.

  • #439 Wowbagger
    July 30, 2008

    I suspect the difference between what Gore would have done post 9/11 would depend more on whether those who have since profited from the unreasonably prolonged conflict chose to make the same phone calls to him as they did to Bush.

  • #440 ndt
    July 30, 2008

    I suspect the difference between what Gore would have done post 9/11 would depend more on whether those who have since profited from the unreasonably prolonged conflict chose to make the same phone calls to him as they did to Bush.

    Posted by: Wowbagger | July 30, 2008 10:53 PM

    Very true. But I’m confident Gore would have at least knew the difference between a Shia and Sunni Muslim. I also suspect that, if Gore had been handed an intelligence briefing entitled “Al Qaeda Determined to Attack Within the US”, he would have bothered to read it.

  • #441 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    Death threats and religious desecration are NOT COOL.

    Did you just put those two things on the same level?

    Your two cents suck.

  • #442 Pierce R. Butler
    July 30, 2008

    The Chemist @ # 366: If the book I recommended is trash, the review you link to is no better, implying as it does that the early christians could do no wrong and the pagans could do nothing else. To pick just one of the reviewer’s logical fallacies: whether the Greek temples were packed in times of disaster tells us as little about the worth of contemporary philosophers as the popularity of British reality tv does about the validity of Stephen Hawkings’s cosmology.

    Sorry: while “good guys” were few and far between back then, the fanaticism and anti-/pseudo-intellectualism of the Church in its Imperial phase were unquestionably destructive to the best of that era’s cultural traditions (particularly in Alexandria and Rome itself). Had Julian the Apostate succeeded in removing the bishops’ exclusive privileges and restoring freedom of thought, the following millennium would have been much less brutal and stupid, even with those blond blue-eyed northern barbarians sacking & burning as heartily as ever.

    As for the “Dark Ages”, I agree with you and Dunc that the name has led to all sorts of counterfactual connotations and is much too often confused with the (ecclesiastical) nastiness that stifled European culture through most of the Medieval period.

    It’s funny you should mention the Assyrians. I just finished reading Michael White’s The Pope and the Heretic, and was reminded of their cruelties to war captives by the particulars of the bloody way the Roman Inquisition silenced Giordano Bruno when he attempted to address the crowds on his way to being burned at the stake.

  • #443 Patricia
    July 30, 2008

    #425 – Phrenolepsy – What kind of idiot are you?! Both sides need to apologize. HAAA! What PZ did is assholish and petty. How the hell does that compare to genocide, torture, misogyny, killing of homosexuals, child molesting, enslavement of native peoples – just to name a few of the church’s crimes?
    In my family alone the damned church has killed women for no reason. Check out Mary Ayer Parker, and the Hewitts, Nutters and Dixons of the Pendle Forrest.
    Gawd is love – bullshit, gawd is death. I for one will never apologize for any blasphemy I can commit against the church.

  • #444 Wowbagger
    July 30, 2008

    ndt wrote:

    I also suspect that, if Gore had been handed an intelligence briefing entitled “Al Qaeda Determined to Attack Within the US”, he would have bothered to read it.

    Yep. Bowing to war profiteers because you’re dependant on them for the ridiculous amounts of money required to operate a political party is one thing; being so incompetent that you allow a preventable attack of such magnitude to happen is another.

    That the US mainstream became so anti-intellectual that someone like Bush was even considered as a candidate is a serious problem.

  • #445 crossbuck
    July 30, 2008

    For whoever brings up Imus, be mindful he didn’t get arrested or face any criminal or civil complaints for his speech. His free speech was not infringed upon by the government. He just got fired. BIIIIG difference. If I were to hear a TV or radio personality offend me (and it would take much to do so, I’m not easily offended), I would consider it my right to complain to the station, any sponsors of the show and the FCC. While everyone has a right to free speech, broadcasting is another matter entirely, unless you’re such an free-speech absolutist that you see nothing wrong with Radio Rwanda.

  • #446 Rick
    July 30, 2008

    Since my comments on Trigilio’s blog won’t likely ever see the light of day, I’ll post them here for reference.

    “A biologist has no business ‘dissing’ any religion, rather, they should be busy teaching the scientific discipline they were hired to teach.”

    By this logic, you should not be commenting on legal or constitutional matters, as you are clearly not a lawyer.

    “Mocking religion is not pleasing to God.”
    Nothing would would make converts of atheists more quickly than if God actually demonstrated his displeasure. However, to date, only humans are demonstrating that displeasure.

    “We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again.”
    Please let the world know when this day of prayer and fasting happens. Many of us will be very interested to see the results.

  • #447 Son of Trypho
    July 30, 2008

    As a non-Christian I have followed this matter with some interest and would like to explore it further with others on this site – I couldn’t get any answers from Catholics.

    Lets grant that the “cracker” is literally that and nothing more. It would then be reasonable to suggest that belief in anything more than that would be deeply irrational and/or delusional – would you agree?

    And then let us consider that the reaction to Dr Myers’ actions have been emotional/irrational/extremist as a result of the fact that the “cracker” is literally that – would you agree with that characterisation?

    Would you also agree that Dr Myers knew, with certainty, that the “cracker” was merely itself and not something more?

    Do you then think it was rational for Dr Myers’ to proceed with his actions, if he knew the “cracker” was merely itself and he had received death threats from clearly irrational and/or delusional people who had demonstrated that they were prepared to use force?

    Do you also think it is rational to proceed with actions based on principles with little and/or no value to be achieved from those actions? Or by undertaking actions based on feeling forced to react to confrontation?

    Do you think that Dr Myers’ motivation in this matter was to express solidarity with the student? If so, do you think this action has actually benefitted the student more than say, assisting the student with legal advice?

    Similarly, do you consider that Catholic beliefs are hateful and/or delusional/foolish and/or dangerous to individuals and/or society? If so, how then, rationally, do you argue that these beliefs should be permitted in society or that these beliefs should be permitted to be taught at all?

  • #448 c
    July 30, 2008

    TO THE MYERS-IAN ATHEISTS:

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

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

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

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

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

    People today aren’t even aware of this fact!

    Here are some examples of scientists who were Catholic clergy:

    1. Mendel, a monk, first established the laws of heredity, which gave the final blow to the theory of natural selection.
    2. Copernicus, a priest, expounded the Copernican system.
    3. Steensen, a Bishop, was the father of geology.
    4. Regiomontanus, a Bishop and Papal astronomer; was the father of modern astronomy.
    5. Theodoric, a Bishop, discovered anesthesia in the 13th century.
    6. Kircher, a priest, made the first definite statement of the germ theory of disease.
    7. Cassiodorus, a priest, invented the watch.
    8. Picard, a priest, was the first to measure accurately a degree of the meridian.

    The conflict between evolutionary science and creationism in the United States comes from the Protestant tradition, not the Catholic one.

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

    LIST OF CATHOLIC SCIENTISTS

    Algue, a priest, invented the barocyclonometer, to detect approach of cyclones.

    Ampere was founder of the science of electrodynamics, and investigator of the laws of electro-magnetism.

    Becquerel, Antoine Cesar, was the founder of electro-chemistry.

    Becquerel, Antoine Henri, was the discoverer of radio-activity.

    Binet, mathematician and astronomer, set forth the principle, “Binet’s Theorem.”

    Braille invented the Braille system for the blind.

    Buffon wrote the first work on natural history.

    Carrell, Nobel prize winner in medicine and physiology, is renowned for his work in surgical technique.

    Caesalpinus, a Papal physician, was the first to construct a system of botany.

    Cassiodorus, a priest, invented the watch.

    Columbo discovered the pulmonary circulation of the blood.

    Copernicus, a priest, expounded the Copernican system.

    Coulomb established the fundamental laws of static electricity.

    De Chauliac, a Papal physician, was the father of modern surgery and hospitals.

    De Vico, a priest, discovered six comets. Descartes founded analytical geometry.

    Dumas invented a method of ascertaining vapor densities.

    Endlicher, botanist and historian, established a new system of classifying plants.

    Eustachius, for whom the Eustachian tube was named, was one of the founders of modern anatomy.

    Fabricius discovered the valvular system of the veins.

    Fallopius, for whom the Fallopian tube was named, was an eminent physiologist.

    Fizeau was the first to determine experimentally the velocity of light.

    Foucault invented the first practical electric arc lamp; he refuted the corpuscular theory of light; he invented the gyroscope.

    Fraunhofer was initiator of spectrum analysis; he established laws of diffraction.

    Fresnel contributed more to the science of optics than any other man.

    Galilei, a great astronomer, is the father of experimental science.

    Galvani, one of the pioneers of electricity, was also an anatomist and physiologist.

    Gioja, father of scientific navigation, invented the mariner’s compass.

    Gramme invented the Gramme dynamo.

    Guttenberg invented printing.

    Herzog discovered a cure for infantile paralysis.

    Holland invented the first practical sub marine.

    Kircher, a priest, made the first definite statement of the germ theory of disease.

    Laennec invented the stethoscope.

    Lancist, a Papal physician, was the father of clinical medicine.

    Latreille was pioneer in entomology.

    Lavoisier is called Father of Modern Chemistry.

    Leverrier discovered the planet Neptune.

    Lully is said to have been the first to employ chemical symbols.

    Malpighi, a Papal physician, was a botanist, and the father of comparative physiology.

    Marconi’s place in radio is unsurpassed. Mariotte discovered Mariotte’s law of gases.

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

    Morgagni, founder of modern pathology; made important studies in aneurisms.

    Muller was the greatest biologist of the 19th century, founder of modern physiology.

    Pashcal demonstrated practically that a column of air has weight.

    Pasteur, called the “Father of Bacteriology,” and inventor of bio-therapeutics, was the leading scientist of the 19th century.

    Picard, a priest, was the first to measure accurately a degree of the meridian.

    Regiomontanus, a Bishop and Papal astronomer; was the father of modern astronomy.

    Scheiner, a priest, invented the pantograph, and made a telescope that permitted the first systematic investigation of sun spots.

    Secchi invented the meteorograph. Steensen, a Bishop, was the father of geology.

    Theodoric, a Bishop, discovered anesthesia in the 13th century.

    Torricelli invented the barometer.

    Vesalius was the founder of modern anatomical science.

    Volta invented the first; complete galvanic battery; the “volt” is named after him.

    Other scientists: Agricola, Albertus Magnus, Bacon, Bartholomeus, Bayma, Beccaria, Behalm, Bernard, Biondo, Biot, Bolzano, Borrus, Boscovitch, Bosio, Bourgeois, Branly, Caldani, Cambou, Camel, Cardan, Carnoy, Cassini, Cauchy, Cavaliere, Caxton, Champollion, Chevreul, Clavius, De Rossi, Divisch, Dulong, Dwight, Eckhel, Epee, Fabre, Fabri, Faye, Ferrari, Gassendi, Gay-Lussac, Gordon, Grimaldi, Hauy, Heis, Helmont, Hengler, Heude, Hilgard, Jussieu, Kelly, Lamarck, Laplace, Linacre, Malus, Mersenne, Monge, Muller, Murphy, Murray, Nelston, Nieuwland, Nobili, Nollet, Ortelius, Ozaman, Pelouze, Piazzi, Pitra, Plumier, Pouget, Provancher, Regnault, Riccioli, Sahagun, Santorini, Schwann, Schwarz, Secchi, Semmelweis, Spallanzani, Takamine, Tieffentaller, Toscanelli, Tulasne, Valentine, Vernier, Vieta, Da Vinci, Waldseemuller, Wincklemann, Windle, and a host of others, too many to mention.

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

  • #449 Rick
    July 30, 2008

    Megan @ 410:

    Great research. What I find especially fascinating: his “diploma” was issued in 2002. All those books were published in 2005 or later. Sure does seem like he got the degree in order to give him some publisher cred.

  • #450 S.Scott
    July 30, 2008

    I hate to switch gears from Catholic to Southern Baptist,but … can anyone here point me to a source or 2 that show the connection between the SB’s and the KKK?

    Thanks,
    Stacy

  • #451 Steve_C
    July 30, 2008

    Trypho’s Son,

    Yes it’s delusional and irrational, all religions are.

    Should it be banned? Nope. Not anymore than beleif in ghosts and demons.

    It wasn’t a forced confrontation. It was just a cracker.

  • #452 Mims
    July 30, 2008

    No one is disputing the contributions of catholics to science. More than a few, I would think, were catholics in the same way many soviet scientists were members of the communist party, some probably true believers, but many were members because doing science would have been impossible otherwise. Interesting that Galileo Galilei is included in this list. A classic example of a catholic scientist and the troubles they could have with the church. Anyway, this has nothing to do with the question of whether catholic beliefs are protected by the Constitution against ridicule.

    I was glad for the link to the confraternity’s website. I emailed them to tell them how confused they are about what rights they have in this country according to our laws. I actually read some of the articles on their website. Truly frightening people.

  • #453 tomrad
    July 31, 2008

    Phew! First I thought you had pierced a silicon wafer, the mother of all blasphemies. After all, computers and electronics made our lives so much better. Just check the light effects of those fundamentalist mega-churches.
    Then I realized it was a Communion Wafer, which is no big deal to me. Funny how people worry about wafers while thousands get slaughtered monthly in the name of some religion. As for Kurt Whatshisname, I tried to finish reading his Salon article, but I couldn’t, as my tolerance for intellectual offal is not what it used to be. Basically science can not explain everything and this -somehow- implies that religion can. There is a meta-reality and is accessible to us by revelation only. Caveat: if you have the wrong revelation we may kill you. To the dude who has no better hobby than listing Catholic scientists: how about the great Indian, Greek, Chinese and Arab scientists. Was you catholic god drunk when it revealed mysteries to those folks?

  • #454 Son of Trypho
    July 31, 2008

    Steve_C (or anyone else)

    Thanks for the reply.

    Assuming that Dr Myers knew that it was merely a cracker, then what was his motivation for undertaking this course of action?

    Also – acknowledging that religion is delusional and irrational, and belief in them are the same, and by extension, these views are dangerous, how then is it rational for people who subscribe to these views to be permitted to say, teach them to others?

    As to the confrontation aspect – I read a comment from someone supporting Dr Myers’ actions, one of his students I think, asserting in their opinion, that Dr Myers felt compelled to act because he couldn’t back down publicly in the face of threats etc. This struck me as, to be frank, a little emotional and irrational, if it is true.

  • #455 Jasso
    July 31, 2008

    @ #448

    “Science itself was the result of CATHOLICS in the first place…”

    You mean with things like gunpowder? (oops, the Chinese did that one)
    How about algebra? (oops, that was the Arabians)
    How about astronomy? (oops, that was the Greek, Arabians and Chinese)
    Chemistry? (oops, that was based in alchemy, a no-no according to Catholics)
    Heliocentrism? (oops, mother church tried to hide that one for 400 years)
    And so on…

    The truth is that Science has prevailed not because of the church, but in fact, in SPITE of the church. Just ask friar Bacon, the guy they imprisoned because he showed how rainbows form.

    Those scientists did not invoke supernatural beliefs in order to explain the natural world. They used observation and experimentation.

    And I guess we have to believe in the Greek gods because they developed modern philosophy, or the ancient Chinese because they invented lighter than air travel…

    In other words, it’s irrelevant what someone’s beliefs are.

  • #456 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    Son of Trypho, all the answers to your questions are in the 15000+ comments in the various crackergate threads.

    Or, you could read the actual posts only, the answers are there too.

  • #457 Steve_C
    July 31, 2008

    PZ answers all your questions himself.

    You seem to be saying backing down from bullies like The Catholic League is the rational response. I disagree.

    PZ was using his freedom of speech. That’s all. His point being that nothing is sacred.

    If you hadn’t notice, all sorts of delusional ideas are taught all the time. Religion just being one of them.

  • #458 Rick
    July 31, 2008

    Son of Trypho:
    “acknowledging that religion is delusional and irrational, and belief in them are the same, and by extension, these views are dangerous”
    Your phrase “by extension” is the problem with your slippery slope fallacy. Belief in religion may be delusional and irrational, but that belief is not dangerous. Actions are dangerous. Belief in astrology isn’t dangerous any more than belief in religion is necessarily dangerous. A very small subset of people take dangerous actions based on their beliefs (in a great many things) but that doesn’t mean we should ban the beliefs outright.

  • #459 Nick barron
    July 31, 2008

    This has gone on too long.

    If you really want to shut them up, Dr. Myers should offer an apology on one condition.

    The Pope must make a decree that all Catholics are to give up milk and beef out of respect for the hindu believe in the sacredness of cows.

    Game over.

  • #460 dcb
    July 31, 2008

    I just skimmed this comment thread, I’ve already read enough thousands of crackergate comments. Please forgive redundancy (heh.)

    1. That picture is hilarious.

    2. The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy have a rather unique interpretation of the religion clause of the first amendment. Completely divorced from reality (whether legal, traditional, historical, logical.) They should stick to their make-believe theology stuff and let the grownups get on with running the country.

    3. Did I also see a Courtier’s reply in there?

    One fails to see the relevance of the desecration of a Catholic sacrament to the science of Biology. Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom.

    I mean, leaving aside their assertion that PZ is dissing religion in class, they’re dismissing his criticism because he’s a biologist, not a theologan. If Myers had worked in the imaginary clothing industry he would surely be aware that… Maybe they snuck it in there to see if he would catch it.

    Crackergate is getting fun.

  • #461 Son of Trypho
    July 31, 2008

    John Morales

    – thanks, I’ll desist from an attempt at sensible dialogue and leave it to those like #448, 436, 409 etc.

    (I’m sure you’ve noticed that of the 15,000+ comments etc that the vast majority of them have been, arguably, devoid of any value on this matter.)

  • #462 Kseniya
    July 31, 2008

    It’s true that many of the early European scientists were Catholic. Everybody was Catholic back then – well, everybody who hadn’t been burned at the stake, hung as a witch, or whose hands hadn’t been cut off.

    It is true that the Church lightened up a bit in the Middle Ages, and in some areas did provide an environment in which inquiries into the natural would could flourish, but there’s quite a bit of “in spite of” in that history, as well. The Church wasn’t above suppressing conclusions that contradicted Scripture. Need I mention Galileo?

    Part of the problem here, “c”, is that some of those attitudes still prevail today. Scientific conclusions are ok as long as they Leave Room For God – regardless of the facts. See anything wrong with that? Anything?

  • #463 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    When was the last time you stupid gawd fearing fucks actually DID obey the word of gawd?

  • #464 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    No worries, Son. I do get tired of repeating the same thing to those too lazy to read.

    And, to quibble with PZ:

    […] it’s clear that at least this tier of the Catholic hierarchy is as deranged as the wackaloons flooding my mailbox.

    The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy aren’t part of the hierarchy.

  • #465 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Kseniya – Good point.
    These dumb asses seem to forget that the Church was the only thing going in half of the world until Luther and Henry the VIII.
    Isn’t it amusing that atheists are better bible scholars than these ‘believers’! You’d think their invisible friend would bless them with divine knowledge greater than ours.

  • #466 Son of Trypho
    July 31, 2008

    I don’t like to leave if there are open responses so I decided to reply; :)

    Rick (and to a certain sense Steve_C)
    -I’ve considered what you have said and, to be fair, have to agree that it might be leading towards a slippery slope fallacy.
    Upon reflection I have leaned in that direction because (i) death threats were involved and, (ii) physical force was used by Catholics in the original incident IIRC. To me, those factors combined, can be reasonably considered dangerous. Would you agree?

    Similarly, based on previous acts of violence by people who identify as religious and claimed that their motivation for violence was their religion, I cannot see how you can justify allowing the potential risk of these beliefs to be propagated, especially if their harm to humanity has been as widespread as discussed in these threads?

  • #467 Rick
    July 31, 2008

    Son of Trypho @466
    “Upon reflection I have leaned in that direction because (i) death threats were involved and, (ii) physical force was used by Catholics in the original incident IIRC. To me, those factors combined, can be reasonably considered dangerous.”
    Now we move on to the hasty generalization fallacy. I’ll repeat what I said in post 458:
    A very small subset of people take dangerous actions based on their beliefs (in a great many things) but that doesn’t mean we should ban the beliefs outright.

    Sorry, you are not going to bait me (or many others hopefully) into your trap. Humanity’s harm to humanity has been widespread. Shall we do away with it all? Or should we work to remove irrational beliefs in a peaceful manner until we can no longer make hasty generalizations?

  • #468 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    Son of Trypho wrote:

    I cannot see how you can justify allowing the potential risk of these beliefs to be propagated, especially if their harm to humanity has been as widespread as discussed in these threads?

    You’re fishing for something here but I’m not sure what – so I’ll bite.

    I’ll say we can ‘justfiy allowing the beliefs’ because the harm they do can be minimised – if not removed completely – without removing the beliefs themselves.

    There’s never going to be a society where people don’t do stupid, counterproductive things. I drink more than I should and get hungover; legally, I’m doing the wrong thing if I drink and drive, because I’m a danger to myself and others. But is banning alcohol the best solution for that? No. I just have to learn when to stop – and not to get behind the wheel of a car when I’ve had a few.

  • #469 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    Son:

    Similarly, based on previous acts of violence by people who identify as religious and claimed that their motivation for violence was their religion, I cannot see how you can justify allowing the potential risk of these beliefs to be propagated, especially if their harm to humanity has been as widespread as discussed in these threads?

    My troll sniffer is twitching, but I’m feeling charitable.

    What, we should spend out entire lives righting wrongs?

    And, BTW, you’ve just answered your own earlier question – remember this?

    Assuming that Dr Myers knew that it was merely a cracker, then what was his motivation for undertaking this course of action?

  • #470 Melissa
    July 31, 2008

    You know, it’s really a wafer not a cracker. Crackers don’t taste like styrofoam. They also don’t lodge themselves in the roof of your mouth right after you eat them.

  • #471 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Wowbagger – I’m with you here…maybe it’s the heavily limed sangria – but I can’t figure out WTF this Son guy is on about. He makes no damned sense whatsoever, and I’m all for abstract points.

  • #472 scooter
    July 31, 2008

    Melissa #470

    It’s Jesus’ way of protecting you from Pizza that is too hot.

    It’s a miracle, ya know.

  • #473 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Interesting – Trypho is a self proclaimed circumcised Hebrew… and that has what to do with a catholic cracker?

  • #474 scooter
    July 31, 2008

    self circumsized. The man has chutzpah, good drugs, or both.
    It’s like chutzpah sensi

  • #475 Son of Trypho
    July 31, 2008

    Rick/Wowbagger/John Morales
    -to be honest, I’m not trying to set any snares/traps and I’m not trolling – I think perhaps the controversy with some of the more “extreme” posters may have made you a little suspicious of an attempt at genuine dialogue. :)

    my preference would be to work towards (peacefully) a state where humanity uses reason to guide its actions rather than faith.
    my concern is that, rationally, religious faith (I’ll generalise about the 3 monotheisms) cannot simply be left to its own devices whilst it provides inspiration for actual discrimination (against homosexuality, reproductive rights etc) in society. the question, for me to consider, is how best to handle/react to this fact?

    incidentally, it would be interesting to read your views on hate speech legislation? should it be banned because of its content and nature in and of itself, or merely when it incites violence? (IMO I think this is an example which can bear some scrutiny when compared to the 3 monotheisms)

    I acknowledge that Dr Myers’ actions have provoked a demonstration of the delusional/irrational beliefs of religious faith. This can be considered valuable as it exposes extremism to scrutiny and examination.

    However, what fundamental value was obtained by the actions in their original sense?

    Was he experimenting to see if the cracker would spurt blood? or that something would happen caused by a divine force? or some other scientific benefit? (I suspect no to these)

    was he expressing solidarity with the student? wouldn’t this be better done through legal/lobbying assistance?

    was he hoping that his actions would change the views of religious people? (If so, I’m not sure how?)

    against this, he has exposed himself, and his family, to personal risk from people who are clearly delusional/irrational and (I consider) dangerous. Is this, rationally speaking, sensible?

  • #476 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    [belated meta]

    I gotta say, Eric Saveau, that was well done after the initial faux pas.

  • #477 scooter
    July 31, 2008

    ‘Hate speech’ is just another bullshit distraction. It will be applied to jail punks who paint an anarchy sign on a church or Exxon building, while elitists and political pimps use airwaves to call for the destruction of entire nations and peoples all day long.

  • #478 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    #474 – Scooter – Trypho is going to be so full of wind that he could suck start a shovelhead.

  • #479 scooter
    July 31, 2008

    and fart out the backfires

  • #480 scooter
    July 31, 2008

    Hey Patricia, ever check out Suzie the Floozie?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKv_eexjT6Q

  • #481 Steven Carr
    July 31, 2008

    1 Kings 18:27

    When it was noon, Elijah taunted them: “Call louder, for he is a god and may be meditating, or may have retired, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”

    At last , some hate speech and mockery against other religions other than Catholicism.

    Nothing wrong with mockery of religions. The Bible teaches us that it is right to mock religions, if we believe they are false.

    Hopefully, we can get some emails started to get this ‘Bible’ withdrawn from places where impressionable young minds can learn that it is right to mock religious people.

  • #482 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    Son of Trypho,
    First, each commenter here speaks for themselves.
    Second, genuine dialogue is certainly to be had here. Please note many commenters respond to the tone, manner and subtext of posts as much as the ostensible content.
    Third, I may be jaded, but my understanding of human nature indicates that “a state where humanity uses reason to guide its actions rather than faith” is not a realistic goal.
    Fourth, regarding your concern about the discrimination implicit is most religious faith, I think consciousness-raising is an important first step. See also the “Overton window”.
    Fifth, regarding hate speech legislation, my personal view is I don’t like it. I’m for freedom of expression, and existing laws cover libel etc.
    Sixth, regarding “what fundamental value was obtained”, I’m not sure how to interpret your question.
    Seventh

    Was he experimenting to see if the cracker would spurt blood? or that something would happen caused by a divine force? or some other scientific benefit? (I suspect no to these)

    No. He was pointing out that it’s only a cracker, and that the artificial and arbitrary respect demanded of believers is unjustified.
    He also showed how these hypocrites “turn the other cheek”.
    Eighth, I very much doubt he was hoping that his actions would change the views of religious people. Refer to the fourth point.
    Ninth, PZ is smart and worldly enough to have considered the likely risk, and decided to proceed anyway. Probably because he’s not cowardly that way.
    Tenth, Whether it’s, rationally speaking, sensible is a judgement call. I think so, many don’t.

  • #483 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    I don’t think you have to make everything in your life rational in order to be a generally rational person.

    For example, there’s no rational reason why I like reading fiction other than the pleasure it gives me; if I were to be rational about it I’d be better of spending my time doing the much-needed renovations to my house.

    But I don’t. Most of the time I’d rather kick back with a decent book.

    Doing the occasional irrational thing isn’t the same as adhering to an irrational belief system whereupon you act in a certain way, like considering the misuse of a holy cracker to be worse than the kidnapping, rape and/or murder of your family members – something we were told was the equivalent of what PZ did to catholics.

  • #484 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Don’t keep the faith ye godless bastards!
    I bid ye a night filled with blasphemy, drunkenness, fornication, gluttony, sloth,… and er… something naughty.
    Good night sweethearts!

  • #485 articulett
    July 31, 2008

    Son of Trypho, this is why he did it.

    “By the way, I didn’t want to single out just the cracker, so I nailed it to a few ripped-out pages from the Qur’an and The God Delusion. They are just paper. Nothing must be held sacred. Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet. You are all human beings who must make your way through your life by thinking and learning, and you have the job of advancing humanity’s knowledge by winnowing out the errors of past generations and finding deeper understanding of reality. You will not find wisdom in rituals and sacraments and dogma, which build only self-satisfied ignorance, but you can find truth by looking at your world with fresh eyes and a questioning mind.”
    ________________________________________________
    No must be forced to defer to another’s dogma, superstition, or bigotry… though all religions and bigots would wish to dictate the morality and behavior of others. If we do not exercise our freedoms, there’s always someone claiming we never had them in the first place. Think of PZ as showing some folks, that it’s just a “man” behind the curtain– not the “MIGHTY OZ” or anything else to be afraid of.

    It’s silly that the Catholic church has been able to pull off the “sacred cracker” for so long and that it feels entitled to pull it’s weight with PZ’s employers. I thought the “transubstantiation” was weird when I was a Catholic kid; –I’m glad to have it demonstrated now that I’m a rational adult unencumbered by any religious dogma. I’m embarrassed for those still beholden to a dogma.

    I imagine PZ’s act will gives more than a few kids the courage to let go of the fear and find out the facts. Don’t underestimate how many people are saved from the superstitions of their youth by former believers who speak out against the faith which once enslaved their minds– and acts like those of PZ. It’s good to “believe in” true things– and not to have faith in those who proffer lies that must never be questioned.

  • #486 John C. Randolph
    July 31, 2008

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

    I’m sure that will come as a tremendous surprise to the Chinese and the Greeks, to name two.

    -jcr

  • #487 John C. Randolph
    July 31, 2008

    How about algebra? (oops, that was the Arabians)

    The Indians, actually. Europeans thought the Arabs came up with it, because europe became aware of it through Arab texts.

    -jcr

  • #488 Son of Trypho
    July 31, 2008

    John Morales/wowbagger/articulett

    thanks for your time and thoughts (and courtesy) in your responses. I’ll think further on the points you have raised.

  • #489 sapphoq
    July 31, 2008

    P.Z., that cartoon is perfect– although I would have captioned it in the style of LOLcats:
    “All yer crakkers are belong to us.”

    If Jeebus would have just teleported out of the damned plastic baggie and then sent an e-mail assuring all of his followers that he was unharmed, the whole mediac mess could have been avoided.

    Galileo must be laughing heartily to find himself on #448’s list of Catholic scientists. Considering the Holy Roman Church’s reaction to an earth revolving around the sun. Well well well.

    P.Z. you punctured the cracker with a rusty nail. The old rumors about Jewish folks stabbing Catholic babies. I get that.
    You threw it in the garbage with pages of both a Koran and a Richard Dawkins book. The whole sacred cow thing. I get that.
    You threw in some coffee grounds. Considering that at one time, the Holy Roman Church thought coffee-drinking was bad, I get that.
    But a banana peel? Maybe the Confounded Catholic Clergy and the Catholic League were smoking them. Okay, I get that.

    And thanks P.Z. Because of you and all this press, I actually got a comment on my own blog. The commenter did not get that we can have satisfying lives without worshipping anything but no matter. A comment is a comment.

    spike

  • #490 Christophe Thill
    July 31, 2008

    Re #448

    I don’t really understand what’s this crazy list of “Catholic” scientists that gets cross-posted everywhere. It looks like another whack-a-mole game! Whack it here, and it pops up somewhere else. But it still deserves some serious whacking.

    1. Please show some taste, and don’t include Galilei.

    2. Pascal is not “Pashcal”. By the way, he was a Jansenist, so he was considered as some kind of heretic by the Catholic authorities.

    3. Mendel’s discoveries didn’t “give the final blow to the theory of natural selection”. They were seen as quite at odds with it in the beginning. Now, they’re one of the pillars of the modern synthetic theory of evolution, natural selection being another one.

    4. “Carrell” is Alexis Carrel. You might consider taking him out too, as he advocated the use of the gas chamber for the criminals, along with other unpleasant ideas. There used to be streets bearing his name, in France. You don’t find any now.

    5. Da Vinci? You mean, ol’ Leonardo? I know he wrote some stuff on geology, but calling him a scientist is definitely strange.

    6. Laplace! “-And where does God fit in your system? -Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis”. I know the story is apocryphal, Laplace didn’t really say that sentence… but he definitely would have!

    7. It’s Gutenberg, not Guttenberg. It’s not like he was some osbcure guy nobody has ever heard of…

    8. Lully was a composer. I don’t think he used chemical symbols. Those were introduced by Berzelius.

    Etc…

    My main grudge with that stupid list: all those “Catholics” are actually people who lived in a Catholic-dominated culture or political regime, no matter what their personal religious practices or beliefs actually were. It’s a bit like those people who talk about “Catholic children” when they should say “children of a Catholic family” (as Dawkins says).

    For those who were believers, or even priests, no proof is given that their beliefs inspired their science, for the simple reason that they didn’t. There was a remarkable number of Communist scientists in Europe after WWII: why not tally them up too, and pretend it shows that Communist ideas boost science?

    Another grudge is that the writer clearly has no idea of who most of those people were (cf. all the spelling mistakes). It’s just mindless name-dropping (very likely plundered from other people’s webpages) without any thought behind it.

    This is just sad…

  • #491 Lucretius
    July 31, 2008

    If you scroll down to near the bottom (no pun intended )of the Confraternity page linked to above you will see that they are, it appears, a branch of the Opus Dei cult ,a seriously deranged (even for Catholics) group of people .
    As I am still technically a Catholic, not having been excommunicated (yet), does that mean that I can say that this whole thing about the Eucharist and transsubstantiation is a whole pile of crap ?

  • #493 Jim
    July 31, 2008

    If being an atheist is so important to you, PZ, why would you waste even one second baiting believers and pulling juvenile stunts like this? You may be a very good biologist, I don’t know. You may be a fine professor, I don’t know. The only reason I know who you are is because you were looking for your fifteen minutes of fame by being a world class jerk. If you want to revel in it, be my guest. I just feel sorry that such a learned person could be so lacking in common sense and basic decency toward others with differing beliefs.

  • #494 spurge
    July 31, 2008

    Wow Jim.

    I guess it is too much trouble for you to actually read all the posts PZ wrote clearly explaining why he did what he did.

  • #495 Hamsterpoop
    July 31, 2008

    PZ should just tell everyone

    “I’m sorry. I can’t *insert chore*. I’m far too busy… being delicious…”

  • #496 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    Third, I may be jaded, but my understanding of human nature indicates that “a state where humanity uses reason to guide its actions rather than faith” is not a realistic goal.

    Not only not realistic, demonstrably* impossible. Humans make choices and take positions using processes unrelated to reason, then apply reason to justify the choice they already made.

    *Please don’t make me dig up the study, the results of which I summarized.

  • #497 Richard Eis
    July 31, 2008

    -If being an atheist is so important to you, PZ, why would you waste even one second baiting believers and pulling juvenile stunts like this?-

    Short answer, because if we didn’t, in 10 years religion would take over and being an atheist would be a capital offence, punishable by extra-painful death from the caring, turn-the-other-cheek christians. As it was in the past.

    It would appear that ridicule is to Jesus what kryptonite is to Superman. He can do nothing against it’s awesome power and must ask his minions to save him from the Lex Luthor evilutionists.

  • #498 Desnes Diev
    July 31, 2008

    “The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.”

    Once upon a time, in some societies, human sacrifice was considered a “faith tradition”. Should the only ones allowed to say something be those handling the knife?

    Desnes Diev

  • #499 John Morales
    July 31, 2008

    True Bob @496, I’m glad my understanding is in concordance with the study to which you allude ;)

  • #500 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    Me too, John. Of course, I believe I could rationally justify not digging it up ;)

  • #501 Anne Nonymous
    July 31, 2008

    If you keep it up PZ, watch out – next thing you know they’ll threaten you with Excommunication.

    As far as I understand things, PZ has never been Catholic. I don’t believe you can be ex-communicated (that is, excluded from the Catholic community/communion) if you’ve never been a member of it in the first place. So, first he’d have to convert and go through RCIA (the “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults”). Then he could be excommunicated.

    Iunno what they do to heathens. Probably they could put his blog on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, or whatever. Although technically the Index is no longer considered enforceable under canon law, just advisable to abide by, and since PZ’s writings contradict Catholic doctrine, they might well not even have bothered to put them on the Index anyway, but instead just have considered them ipso facto forbidden. So I guess I still don’t know what the usual thing to do would be. Publish angry, poorly reasoned, and semi-literate fulminations against him, apparently.

    Also, I learned today that if you were baptized Catholic and somehow manage to get yourself excommunicated, they still consider the mark of baptism to be indelible. In other words, you’re still Catholic, you’re just being shunned on account of how you’re a bad Catholic. I’d really like to know how to get that mark off. I keep scrubbing and scrubbing and…

  • #502 True Bob
    July 31, 2008

    Anne,

    When I was around 35, my mother had her marriage annulled (divorced like 18 years by then, she was considering marrying cheeses, as it were). I had to ask her if that would make me a bastard (well, more of a bastard).

  • #503 Ponder
    July 31, 2008

    Why did God cry?

    Because his son had been a wafer so long.

  • #505 jose jacobs
    July 31, 2008

    To mock GOD is absolute foolishness, one can never be so sure that at the moment of one’s death, one just might meet Jesus Christ! In fact, I know with certainty one will!

    What a rude awakening that will be!

    My suggestion to all you arrogant, prideful, and limited in intelligence atheists, is to get on your knees and bow to your GOD JESUS CHRIST begging forgiveness for your horrible abominations! May GOD convert you! He always has the last laugh!

  • #506 jose jacobs
    July 31, 2008

    Albert Einstein, the greatest mind of the last century was more amazed by the Created design of the Universe at the time of his death. Yet, you bozos somehow think it just occurred by chance. That’s no more intelligent then believing a computer created itself by chance. Wake up boys! There’s a designer behind every design.

    The study of science by men is merely the study of disassembling what GOD designed and created. That’s what most of you do for a living. Amazing what HE created!

    Finite minds can never understand an infinite GOD!

  • #507 black wolf
    July 31, 2008

    I know for certain that you will be reborn as an earthworm, jose. Troll.

  • #508 Ponder
    July 31, 2008

    @ #505.

    No, I’ll spit in his eye and call him a bastard son of a bitch. The prince of pain, the morbid offspring of a self-obsessed, sexually repressed, attention deficit, tyrannical and pathetic excuse of a deity.

    Except that I won’t. ‘Cos I’ll be dead and hence have no further interest in the proceedings. Your life is a process supported by the machinery of your body moron, once it stops, it stops. End of line.

    That’s the one regret I have about being an atheist, the sad realisation that jerks like you will never know they don’t do to heaven. You just die.

  • #509 Ponder
    July 31, 2008

    Oh, and Albert Einstein rejected any notion of a supernatural god. His “god” was an orderly universe. Which is the reason he didn’t like Quantum Mechanics at all.

    If there is a supernatural creator he’s a damn lousy workman.

  • #510 Janet
    July 31, 2008

    Paul Myers, the Minnesota professor who desecrated the Holy Eucharist with a rusty nail, is unknowingly an instrument of God. He has illustrated and confirmed what Catholic believe about the Holy Eucharist.

    At Mass the boundaries of space and time do not exist, we enter into the room of the Last Supper and into the moment of the crucifixion. The Desecration of the Holy Eucharist is a great tangible illustration of what occurs every time at Mass.

    Christ transforms a piece of bread into his body, blood, soul, and divinity during the Last Supper and at Mass. Judas betrays Christ, the person who gave the professor the sacred Eucharist also betrayed Christ. The professor could have desecrated the Holy Eucharist in many ways, but he used the same method as the Roman soldiers, a nail. Paul Myers entered into the crucifixion with his actions in the same supernatural way Catholic enter into the moment of Christ’s final days before the resurrection.

    At the crucifixion and at Mass many people are ignorant of the amazing events that unfold before their eyes. Throwing Christ into the trash is an excellent demonstration of the lack of reverence that occupies in many hearts.

    Paul Myers is an instrument of God in the same way Pontius Pilate is an instrument of God. He has shown how everyone at Mass enters into the Last Supper and into the crucifixion.

  • #511 scooter
    July 31, 2008

    Anne # 501

    As far as I understand things, PZ has never been Catholic

    Not only fallen Catlick, but former altar Boy as well.

    PZ interview:
    http://acksisofevil.org/audio/inner187.mp3

  • #512 Phoenix Woman
    July 31, 2008

    As far as I understand things, PZ has never been Catholic. I don’t believe you can be ex-communicated (that is, excluded from the Catholic community/communion) if you’ve never been a member of it in the first place.

    Funnily enough, Newt Gingrich’s latest trophy wife, Calista Bisek, is herself Catholic, so much so that she got a bishop to “annul” Newt’s first and second marriages — even though neither Newt nor his first two wives were Catholics when they got married and divorced — apparently so she could claim that she really wasn’t a little old homewrecking tart-o-matic: “See, see, see?!? I wasn’t a homewrecker, his marriage wasn’t REAL!!!”.

  • #513 spurge
    July 31, 2008

    It is just a cracker Janet.

  • #514 Steve_C
    July 31, 2008

    Erm. Whatever Janet. It’s all a part of gods plan… too funny.

  • #515 Liam
    July 31, 2008

    What kind of past experience or personalty disorder would make someone insult other peoples beliefs and, more extraordinarily, be surprised that people would be offended? Myers doesn’t have to believe in hell, what he is living right now is bad enough.

  • #516 Anne Nonymous
    July 31, 2008

    Scooter, I believe PZ was a Lutheran altar boy, not a Catholic one. That’s what it says on his wikipedia page too.

  • #517 scooter
    July 31, 2008

    # 510 Janet

    That’s pretty good.
    I assume that you mean that the moment of the last supper has been recreated ritualistically for centuries by the Catholics, which keeps that moment alive, so to speak, not that the Church is a literal time machine, and that PZ was not actually transmogrified into Pilot, and that the wafer is not REALLY transubstantiated into flesh.

    What you have written above is a well constructed, somewhat internally consistent metaphor.

    To many Catholics and ALL outsiders, that is what Mass is.

    But you can’t murder, kidnap or torture a metaphor, or specifically, a symbol from within a metaphor. Well actually you CAN but it is not a crime.

    If we are in agreement this far, then it follows that PZ’s act was an insulting attack on an idea, not an act of violence.

    As far as being insulted, that happens to me every time I turn on the TV, or when my kids come home from public schools and can quote all the major Bible Stories.

  • #518 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    What kind of past experience or personalty disorder would make someone insult other peoples beliefs and, more extraordinarily, be surprised that people would be offended? – Liam

    What kind of brainwashing would lead to this degree of stupidity? PZ was not in the least surprised, because he took the action he did in response to the ludicrous and intolerant reaction of some Catholics to a student failing to swallow a cracker he’d been given.

  • #519 scooter
    July 31, 2008

    I stand corrected.

    I didn’t even know Lutherans had altar boys.

    Do they Altar them the same way the Catholics do, I wonderz.

    I was forced into Baptist, then Presbyterian Churches where instead of recreating the Last Supper, they recreate Hell for 90 minutes

  • #520 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    The study of science by men is merely the study of disassembling what GOD designed and created. That’s what most of you do for a living. Amazing what HE created!

    Finite minds can never understand an infinite GOD!

    George Shollenberger, is that you?

  • #521 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Why did God cry?

    Because his son had been a wafer so long.

    I love a good cheap bad joke.

  • #522 OctoberMermaid
    July 31, 2008

    “PZ was not in the least surprised, because he took the action he did in response to the ludicrous and intolerant reaction of some Catholics to a student failing to swallow a cracker he’d been given.”

    He should’ve known. If you’re offered Jesus, you MUST eat him or you’ll offend the savages.

    Oh, and I have a question for any theist trolls lurking about: If I DO meet Jesus on my death bed, am I supposed to eat him then, too? Would it offend him if I didn’t? It’s hard to keep up with all these wacky, arbitrary rules.

  • #523 scooter
    July 31, 2008

    The study of science by men is merely the study of disassembling what GOD designed and created.

    So Science is an autopsy?

    Yall are forever morbid, I’ll give you that.

  • #524 scooter
    July 31, 2008

    If I DO meet Jesus on my death bed, am I supposed to eat him then, too?

    So when do we get to eat Mary? She looks pretty hot in those statues.

    And immaculate, too.

    Yummmm

  • #525 SEF
    July 31, 2008

    From the CCC:

    We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again.

    Spelling “offense” with an s is presumably a US thing. In the UK it would be “offence” (a noun) and the definition amusingly and revealingly includes (early on): “occasion of unbelief”! :-D

    They’d actually have something approaching a cunning plan there if what they achieved, by their otherwise wholly useless praying, was an understanding of how ridiculous their beliefs really are and hence resolved not to react so absurdly and disproportionately in the future. Then they might manage: (a) not to be offended by other people noticing any of their remaining stupid beliefs; (b) to ditch that belief altogether so that there can be no further individual occasions of unbelief connected with it; or (c) to become rational beings themselves and thus stop giving themselves cause to react over-emotionally about stupid trivia.

  • #526 SEF
    July 31, 2008

    @ Liam #515:

    Myers doesn’t have to believe in hell, what he is living right now is bad enough.

    I think that might make you a Cathar – ie honorary member of the splitter sect/cult accused of being Satanists for their belief that Hell was the real world which had been created by the bad god and that reaching Heaven required escape from both life and reincarnation via being declared perfect and getting a holy spirit ascension boost like Jesus.

  • #527 Emmet Caulfield
    July 31, 2008

    I love a good cheap bad joke.

    OK then, what does “PRIEST” stand for?

    Pædophile Resident In Every Small Town.

  • #528 Annushka
    July 31, 2008

    You may not be allowed to talk about religion, but pastors still seem to be allowed to talk about science. In this case spouting tired old climate skeptic statements that are unfounded, or misconstrued partial truths at best.

    http://www.virginiamn.com/articles/2008/07/26/your_views/doc488be86013bb2800583136.txt

  • #529 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.

  • #530 Jim
    July 31, 2008

    What cute, tiny little brains God has endowed you with…poor, poor, pitiful PZistas!

  • #531 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 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.

  • #532 Neil B. ? ? ?
    July 31, 2008

    Patricia at # 443:

    The Catholic Church, through then pope JP II, did apologize for improprieties during the Inquisition and I believe, the Crusades also. I’ll give them some credit for that, albeit rather belated in coming around. My big beef with them now is still about population control. Just think, the lower commodity prices, better environment, and better wages if ZPG had really taken off in the 70s. (And the plutocrats combine with the religious right because the former want a bigger labor supply to reduce wages, and they’re aided by a kooky cornucopian wing of the libertarians (e.g. Julian Simon) that I just don’t get.)

    PS: I think that, given the resurgence of global warming skepticism etc., you folks are wasting too much effort making fun of religious stuff and UFOs. You should be concentrating more fire on the politically motivated antiscience crowd.

  • #533 Britomart
    July 31, 2008

    For Spike at 489

    Re the Banana

    First go have a chuckle at a You Tube by Comfort and company called “the atheists worst nightmare”. They think that the design of the banana proves god.
    It’s an amazing piece, a real classic.

    Next ponder the old Polynesian Creation myth, Seems the gods created a woman first. Well, she was bored and lonesome. Until, the story goes, she found a magic banana. Soon she had a fine strapping son. A few more magic bananas and she had a whole family to keep her busy and populate the islands. I think we should teach this one right along Adam and Eve. Teach the controversy!

    After all, it’s just a theory, right?

    Thank you kindly

  • #534 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    PS: I think that, given the resurgence of global warming skepticism etc., you folks are wasting too much effort making fun of religious stuff and UFOs. You should be concentrating more fire on the politically motivated antiscience crowd.

    Hand in hand.

  • #535 Neil B. ? ? ?
    July 31, 2008

    Here’s an interesting presumption:

    That’s the one regret I have about being an atheist, the sad realisation that jerks like you will never know they don’t do to heaven. You just die.

    Posted by: Ponder | July 31, 2008 11:43 AM

    But what if platonic realism is true, and every possible program is run in the multiverse? Then wouldn’t your mind be recreated, since “which machine” is not important in AI?
    Hey, I don’t know, it’s just food for thought.

  • #536 Neil B. ?
    July 31, 2008

    Chimp, you’ve got a point but in this era the political types are killing us. They have their own venues and interest groups, and heavy fire needs to be directed right at them.

  • #537 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Chimp, you’ve got a point but in this era the political types are killing us. They have their own venues and interest groups, and heavy fire needs to be directed right at them.

    Oh I agree. Targeted fire for each specified threat is necessary. But every threat deserves it’s ration of artillery. How knows, maybe you kill two birds with one “shell”.

    Ok enough of my mangled sayings.

  • #538 llewelly
    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.

    This is nonsense. First, the shooter’s ex-wife was a member of the congregation he shot up. Therefor it’s likely that he would know that the congregation included many non-Christians, and probably some atheists. Second, there is no report of the shooter being an atheist. There is one report of him ‘hating Christians’, but it contradicts every other piece of information we have about the shooter, and even that report stops short of calling him an ‘atheist’.

  • #539 drgeox
    July 31, 2008

    SEK,

    That’s a good one — I didn’t know that.

    Is offence used in the UK only as a noun? In US English, it can be used in a number of ways, so for example I can say that my football team’s offense is not playing very well (I guess that would be a noun). I would also say that they are playing lousy offense (which would be a verb). I could further add that it’s an offense for the offense to play such lousy offense, where in this case the first offense is actually also a noun, I guess.

    Off topic post, but the little difference between the Englishes are interesting.

  • #540 llewelly
    July 31, 2008

    … a little old homewrecking tart-o-matic …

    Thank you Phoenix Woman. Now I will be laughing all day at the thought of Newt Gingrich trying to have sex with a machine that manufactures pop-tarts.

  • #541 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Thank you Phoenix Woman. Now I will be laughing all day at the thought of Newt Gingrich trying to have sex with a machine that manufactures pop-tarts.

    It looks just like a telefunken U-47

    /Zappa

  • #542 Jack PIcknell
    July 31, 2008

    It’s not JUST The Catholic Confraternity of CAtholiuc Clergy that doesn’t like you.

    NO ONE likes you.

    That’s the result of your juvenile acting-out. Your overwhelming need to be noticed stemming from your feelings of inadequacy likely due to a feeling that you received less attention than a sibling. (Are you a 2nd born son?)

    NO ONE actually likes you. You do have “fans” pandering to your blog persona, but it’s your shared ideology that they have affection for, not you.

    By the way, NO ONE likes you.

  • #543 PZ Myers
    July 31, 2008

    Not even my mommy? Awwwww.

  • #544 Jack Picknell
    July 31, 2008

    Hold NOTHING Sacred.
    PZ Myers

    Did she teach you that, or did you come up with it on your own?

  • #545 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    NO ONE actually likes you. You do have “fans” pandering to your blog persona, but it’s your shared ideology that they have affection for, not you.

    By the way, NO ONE likes you.

    Is that what passes for an argument these days? Or even an insult?

  • #546 Jack Picknell
    July 31, 2008

    You are definitely Dumb BigChimp. It is neither an argument nor an insult. Look up what defines those things, and you might be able to discern that.

    It is a simple statement of fact. No more, no less.

  • #547 rmp
    July 31, 2008

    Oh this is rich! Jack’s understanding of a statement of fact goes a long way toward explaining the rationale of the religious that visit here.

  • #548 SEF
    July 31, 2008

    NO ONE likes you.

    Ooh, ooh, I know { waves hand in air furiously }, pick me, pick me!

    { meaningful pause }

    What, not even a god who allegedly loves everyone and so loved the world that … { blah blah blah }?

    ;-)

  • #549 The Warden
    July 31, 2008

    Well Mr Myers you have global attention…

    Even here in the Land Down Under your notoriety has spread like a virus.

    I find your perpective on your actions interesting and at the same time disturbing…

    You say… “Flagrant irreverence towards a cracker ought to be fair game, I should think…and that’s all this action was: irreverence. You cannot demand that all members of a pluralist society be reverent towards any random humdrum article that a guy in a dress declares holy.”

    This is all very true…

    But then you didn’t do this to just any ‘cracker’ now did you?

    1. You visited our Ccommunity of Faith
    2. Pretended to be one of the Faithful of that community in order to aquire something given to you in good faith
    3. Took that thing away and desecrated it
    4. Struggling with your ‘personal victory’ over the thing you don’t understand and I hazard fear (because thtas what we do when we dont understand something)
    5. Elected to blog about it in the hope that others might agree with your actions and thus salve your guilt not over the descration of the host or vicious attack on the beliefs of Catholics but rather your other crimes… deceit, betrayal etc etc.

    But lets face it Mr Myers… feel any better really???

    I pity you Mr Myers. It must be terrible being so public an atheist… it makes it very hard to admit when you are wrong or to seek answers when you fear the questions!

    I hope you never experience the pain you have put people through in this vicious attack on their fervant beliefs. As an atheist where would you be if somebody were to strike at the very heart of what you think you know to be true.

    You are a sad sad man!

  • #550 MAJeff, OM
    July 31, 2008

    I pity you Mr Myers. It must be terrible being so public an atheist… it makes it very hard to admit when you are wrong or to seek answers when you fear the questions!

    blah blah blah blah blah

    And in other news, the bigoted asswipes in Rome continue their war on gay people.

  • #551 SEF
    July 31, 2008

    1. You visited our Ccommunity of Faith

    No, he didn’t.

    2. Pretended to be one of the Faithful of that community in order to aquire something given to you in good faith

    Still no.

    See how religious retardation continually contributes to the inability of the faithful to actually seek out, read and comprehend the basic facts – which they would need as an absolute minimum before even attempting to construct a coherent argument. Instead they habitually pick the lazy route of believing whatever their fellow religious liars (last) told them. And that is why they fail.

  • #552 Karen LH
    July 31, 2008

    To be honest, the thing that I find the funniest, is that the Catholics, instead of the Muslims, are the ones having a collective childish temper tantrum over something so mundane.

    Actually, I think that the Muslims would have reacted a bit differently.

    Perhaps that is why the good professor desecrated a host, rather than a copy of the Koran?

  • #553 MAJeff, OM
    July 31, 2008

    Perhaps that is why the good professor desecrated a host, rather than a copy of the Koran?

    And yet another liar.

  • #554 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    Karen LH wrote:

    Perhaps that is why the good professor desecrated a host, rather than a copy of the Koran?

    Now you haven’t been following, have you? PZ desecrated a copy of the Koran also — ripped it up, threw coffee grounds on it, and tossed it in the trash. Along with the first few pages of The God Delusion.

    New people, please read the original posts, in order. They’re not hard to find, I think. It will help you understand, even if it doesn’t convince you. And your arguments would be more to the point.

  • #555 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Perhaps that is why the good professor desecrated a host, rather than a copy of the Koran?

    Not to quick on the uptake huh Karen LH?

  • #556 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    I hope you never experience the pain you have put people through in this vicious attack on their fervant beliefs. As an atheist where would you be if somebody were to strike at the very heart of what you think you know to be true.

    You are a sad sad man!

    Well it happens every day. You are doing it right now.

    And frankly. I feel pretty good.

  • #557 Jeremiah Lennox
    July 31, 2008

    “I can’t interfere with your right to practice your religion, but that hasn’t happened — all I’ve done is laugh at you.”

    Sir, but you have, in fact, interferred. Yes, you have the freedom of speech, but speaking against a sacramental article of faith is something quite different from physically abusing that same article. As a Catholic, I find your actions repulsive and crude, something which chills my blood, but at the same time I must respect your inherent right to verbally express your dissagreement. However, you transgress certain barriers.

    You asked that people provide you Hosts. With their compliance, they made this desecration possible, as such, they will hold that mortal sin on their consciences until the end. However, yours is the greater flaw as you initiated the interferrence. By taking that which is held most sacred by the world’s largest, unified faith, you cross a legal barrier. You are no longer practicing speech, but rather an unsanctioned action which is directly opposed to the Roman Catholic Church, and indirectly to all of Christendom.

    That is not your right. Feel free to poke fun at us, but donot physically assualt our Sacraments. That is something that infringed upon our religious freedom, something which we are legally protected against.

    Pax tecum,
    Jeremiah

  • #558 spurge
    July 31, 2008

    Jeremiah

    It is just a cracker. Get over it.

  • #559 MAJeff, OM
    July 31, 2008

    Teh stupid! It burns!

  • #560 rmp
    July 31, 2008

    Warden and Karen LH, do you understand why it is hard to take you seriously when you are so obviously ignorant about what happened? Well, do you?

  • #561 Karen LH
    July 31, 2008

    You might think, though, that a man who was old enough to be a grandfather, and who had the brains and discipline to have earned a doctorate in the hard sciences, could somehow muster a more intelligent and mature critique of religion than an act of mindless vandalism worthy of a twelve-year-old boy.

    You’d think.

  • #562 MAJeff, OM
    July 31, 2008

    OK, liar Karen, being caught in an untruth, just decides to lash out.

  • #563 MAJeff, OM
    July 31, 2008

    over a cracker.

  • #564 Karen LH
    July 31, 2008

    Now you haven’t been following, have you? PZ desecrated a copy of the Koran also — ripped it up, threw coffee grounds on it, and tossed it in the trash. Along with the first few pages of The God Delusion.

    I stand corrected. No, I haven’t been following.

  • #565 spurge
    July 31, 2008

    You might think Christians would think people are more important than a cracker.

    Strange world.

  • #566 Sastra
    July 31, 2008

    Jeremiah Lennox #559 wrote:

    By taking that which is held most sacred by the world’s largest, unified faith, you cross a legal barrier.

    There is a small, technical issue on whether the person who originally accepted the conditional gift of the cracker (and then gave it to PZ) is guilty of violating the terms of the condition, but I think that this is a moral question, not a legal one. It’s more along the line of being bad manners. And one can argue (and many have, passionately), that the importance of the larger point which PZ was making far outweighs any relatively small infraction involved.

    Everything else you say on “unsanctioned actions” and “violations of the sacred” is internal to your church. It’s not a crime outside your church. Which is, in fact, the larger point PZ was making.

    Now, if I were Catholic, I would certainly say that PZ is NOT allowed to take communion or become a member of the Catholic faith unless he repents. But I’d really need to stop there. So should you.

    I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave it to God. Which, I suspect you already know at some level, means nothing happens. Which is why you came here, to complain in case God doesn’t show up and do His part after all.

    O ye of little faith…

  • #567 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    You are definitely Dumb BigChimp. It is neither an argument nor an insult. Look up what defines those things, and you might be able to discern that.

    It is a simple statement of fact. No more, no less.

    Well first, it is not a statement of fact It is your misinformed opinion. Maybe you need to look that up.

    And secondly

    In logic, an argument is a set of one or more declarative sentences (or “propositions”) known as the premises

    It’s not JUST The Catholic Confraternity of CAtholiuc Clergy that doesn’t like you.

    NO ONE likes you.

    CHECK

    along with another declarative sentence (or “proposition”) known as the conclusion.

    That’s the result of your juvenile acting-out. Your overwhelming need to be noticed stemming from your feelings of inadequacy likely due to a feeling that you received less attention than a sibling. (Are you a 2nd born son?)

    NO ONE actually likes you. You do have “fans” pandering to your blog persona, but it’s your shared ideology that they have affection for, not you

    CHECK

    I’m sorry what was that?

  • #568 Karen LH
    July 31, 2008

    Guys… we don’t think that the consecrated host is “just a cracker”. That’s sort of a relevant point.

  • #569 MAJeff, OM
    July 31, 2008

    You might think Christians would think people are more important than a cracker.

    I would have thought so before this whole episode.

    What got me were folks actually saying, “I would rather take a bullet than watch the cracker get it.”

  • #570 MAJeff, OM
    July 31, 2008

    Guys… we don’t think that the consecrated host is “just a cracker”. That’s sort of a relevant point.

    whoooooooooooooosh!

  • #571 spurge
    July 31, 2008

    “we don’t think that the consecrated host is “just a cracker”.”

    I don’t care what you think.

    I do care that a cracker is apparently more important than just about anything.

    I believe anyone who truly believes that is dangerous and should be avoided.

  • #572 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Sir, but you have, in fact, interferred. Yes, you have the freedom of speech, but speaking against a sacramental article of faith is something quite different from physically abusing that same article.

    Exactly how?

    And what I still fail to grasp is why do you care? Why?

    It’s him risking the eternal damnation, not you. You can go on your merry little blissfully ignorant way praying as often as you feel the urge to grasp those beads and what difference to you does this make?

    Oh no you’re offended? Do you think the god I hear described so often as a caring god really cares? And if he does it’s not you.

    Ahh but the point is it’s not the following of the teachings that matter, its the ceremony.

  • #573 Nick Gotts
    July 31, 2008

    Guys… we don’t think that the consecrated host is “just a cracker”. That’s sort of a relevant point. – Proven liar Karen LH.

    It is indeed – in that it proves you’re completely irrational.

  • #574 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Guys… we don’t think that the consecrated host is “just a cracker”. That’s sort of a relevant point.

    Well what is more relevant is that it isn’t more than a cracker other than some irrational emotional tie you have to said cracker because someone has told you it is more than a cracker but can not show you.

    Still a cracker.

    What is your feeling about the death threats?

  • #575 spurge
    July 31, 2008

    It came as quite a surprise to me too.

    All the Catholics I know are quite sane.

    Who knew their was a significant contingent of absolute nutters?

  • #576 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    Karen LH,

    We don’t consider it more than a cracker, we don’t think you should consider it more than a cracker (plenty of other christians, catholics included don’t, for example) and we certainly don’t consider it worth making threats of physical violence or trying to ruin careers over.

    I can guarantee nearly everything you probably wish to say has been said – and responded to – before. In order to save everyone time and energy, please go back to the very beginning and read this post: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/its_a_goddamned_cracker.php

  • #577 Steve_C
    July 31, 2008

    Another bigot stereotyping muslims.

  • #578 Monado
    July 31, 2008

    So, if we should honour the rights of all religions…..

    “I would not kill a human being to protect a cow, as I will not kill a cow to save a human life, be it ever so precious. My religion teaches me that I should by personal conduct instill into the minds of those who might hold different views the conviction that cow-killing is a sin and that, therefore, it ought to be abandoned. My ambition is no less than to see the principle of cow protection established throughout the world. –Mahatma Gandhi

    … I wonder when we can see the Pro MooLife Campaign?

  • #579 NC Paul
    July 31, 2008

    Here’s an example of Catholic respect for others:

    Condemn homosexuality, Vatican official tells Lambeth conference

    Homosexuality is a disordered behaviour that must be condemned, a Vatican official said yesterday.

    Walter Cardinal Kasper made the remarks during an address at the Lambeth conference, the once-a-decade gathering of the world’s Anglican bishops in Canterbury.

    Kasper, who is president of the pontifical council for promoting christian unity, reminded delegates of the catechism of the Roman Catholic church on homosexuality: “This teaching is founded in the Old and New Testament and the fidelity to scripture and to Apostolic tradition is absolute.”

    Teh Gay is bad because the god of infinite love put in the Good Book.

    Note to Catholics: this IS bigotry, because sexual orientation is innate and not a belief.

  • #580 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    … I wonder when we can see the Pro MooLife Campaign?

    Well I haven’t had one answer the do you eat beef question and “get it” yet.

    As we know, it’s only a problem when it is their sacred cow.

    I mean cracker.

  • #581 rmp
    July 31, 2008

    Karen LH, you seem like a nice person. I have family that is Catholic and I’m sure they see this like you do. My question to you is this. Assuming you believe it is silly to think that cows are sacred, is it OK if I eat a hamburger? Please don’t conflate this with whether or not I owned the cow or whether someone gave me the hamburger. The point is, how would you respond to finding yourself harassed for eating a hamburger?

  • #582 JHJEFFERY
    July 31, 2008

    Karen! Your meds!

  • #583 Bubba Sixpack
    July 31, 2008

    I must have missed the part in the Constitution which says it is unconstitutional to malign a cracker.

  • #584 Bubba Sixpack
    July 31, 2008

    I knew the religious right were a bit, well, “funny in the head”, but for the wafer to be the “most sacred and precious article” of their religion is a bit further “out there”.

    And as for someone not respecting the wafer being disingenuous. Huh? Are they using the same English language the rest of us use?

  • #585 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    Apart from anything else, the cracker issue has shown that catholicism is a faith divided – we’ve seen that there are plenty of catholics who don’t believe in literal transubstiation, and couldn’t give a crap about what happened to the cracker because it’s meaningless to them.

    Then there are the frothing idiot fringe claiming it’s worse than having their children raped and murdered, or themselves shot in the head.

    Could be another schism in the making. Excuse me while I go and register Catholic Church of the Literal Eucharist™.com somewhere on teh internets.

  • #586 Ray
    July 31, 2008

    What has happened to this world? Hate, ridicule, derision, all carried out by the so-called “enlightened.” Not until this past generation would any of this have occurred….people might not have believed, but they at least showed a respect for those who did.
    Hope you all enjoy the fires of hell….repent while you still can.

  • #587 Ray
    July 31, 2008

    Wow, that Myers and his worshipers sure are a sick lot.

  • #588 Ray
    July 31, 2008

    Desecration of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself followed up with gleeful cheers from PZ’s mindless fan club…how enlightened.

  • #589 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Ray, what are your feelings on the DEATH THREATS made against the student who innocently carried the cracker back to his pew and to PZ for suggesting he might do something to a cracker?

    Humm?

  • #590 Ray
    July 31, 2008

    Hey PZ (and all his mindless worshipers)…you want to cause hurt and pain, then why don’t you go kick the dog or beat the wife; but try leaving my religion alone.

  • #591 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Ray, answer the question.

  • #592 Peter Michael
    July 31, 2008

    I met Madalyn O’Hair in 1972 in Austin, Texas. She founded the Society of Separationists. As an atheist, I saw her as a heroine in the fight for human reason over superstition and ignorance. I was surprised to find a woman who was filled with anger and hatred. Her arrogance and general contempt for other human beings in general caught me off guard. I spoke to other atheists in Austin and they shared the same experience. They found her to be painfully narcissistic; everything was about her; he could not hear others; she could not carry on a civil dialogue; she spoke in monologues, lectures, with sarcasm and ridicule, shaming anyone, who disagreed with her.

    When I read your posts, and read about your actions to provoke others whom you disagree, I wonder what gives with you? You sound like an angry self-centered adolescent. You want atheists to be taken seriously and then you act up like an out of control teenage…..

    Is this an example of the triumph of reason over primitive instincts?

    Michael Peter

  • #593 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Why should we leave your religion alone? Your religion doesn’t like to leave anyone else alone?

    And shouldn’t your religion be able to weather the storm? I mean it is the one true religion right?

  • #594 Anne Nonymous
    July 31, 2008

    Could be another schism in the making. Excuse me while I go and register Catholic Church of the Literal Eucharist?.com somewhere on teh internets.

    The unfortunate part here is that the literal Eucharist thing is the actual official position of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the Pope and suchlike. If there’s a schism, it’s gonna be the sane people who end up needing a new name, not the cracker-lovers.

  • #595 Wowbagger
    July 31, 2008

    Michael Peter wrote:

    When I read your posts, and read about your actions to provoke others whom you disagree, I wonder what gives with you?

    He wanted to show that the reaction was disproportionate to the action. In this he succeeded – probably far better than he had anticipated.

  • #596 Bubba Sixpack
    July 31, 2008

    A wafer is the most precious thing in these loons’ life. Not as a symbol, but the wafer itself.

    Kind of…twisted…isn’t it?

  • #597 rmp
    July 31, 2008

    Michael Peter. I’m not sure but I think when I looked up concern troll in the dictionary, I saw your picture.

  • #598 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Anne Nonymous, #594

    Fair enough; I’ll go for Catholic Church of the Symbolic Eucharist instead.

    Bloody splitters!

  • #599 Angela
    August 1, 2008

    Wow. I am really feeling horrible for what I see here. I guess I just find the hatred for Catholicism incomprehensible. As a Catholic (and yes, I revere the Blessed Sacrament), I am just seriously confused as to why Catholic religious beliefs are not at the VERY LEAST respected. You all seem to get that we revere the Eucharist — since we believe that it truly IS the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Our Lord. So, why bother to be up in a tizzy and seek to desecrate it? The ole Prof clearly knew what he was doing, I just wonder why. Because he could??? Because he really does believe that it is more than just a cracker?? Because he wanted to upset Catholics??? I just don’t understand the animosity. The Catholic Church does not limit in any way your desire to be atheist — so why lash out as such? Can someone explain this to me, because I am sincerely trying to understand the blatant disrespect, when no disrespect or lack of freedom is shown to you. I would sincerely like to discuss this issue in a spirit of rational dialogue.

  • #600 Damian with an a
    August 1, 2008

    Michael Peter:

    As you haven’t made an argument, there is very little to address in your post. However, I would advise you to listen to this: An evil atheist and a Catholic priest have a conversation…, before commenting any further.

    Your anecdote about Madalyn O’Hair is entirely irrelevant.

    When you have listened to the conversation between PZ and a Catholic Priest, do come back and provide some sort of argument against PZ’s actions. I would hate to think that you are simply projecting your own personality and values on to the situation. It’s terribly selfish and arrogant, in my opinion.

    Why on earth should your lack of comfort with a situation be a rational reason for somebody else not to act?

  • #601 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    So, why bother to be up in a tizzy and seek to desecrate it?

    Do you know the full story of the incident? it’s apparent that many come here to make comments without realizing that members of your church gave death threats to the kid that originally innocently took the cracker back to his pew to show a curious friend. After a physical assault by members of the church and the following death threats against the kid, PZ reacted by threatening he might do something to a Eucharist cracker. The point was to show that the reaction of the people who attacked the kid was insanity.

    Which is worse? Death threats or cracker threats?

  • #602 Pierce R. Butler
    August 1, 2008

    The Great Cracker Crisis had seemed to be behind us … until sometime this afternoon when an influx of Troo Believerz came zooming into this thread, giving every sign of not having read any of the background to this situation and tending to recite a similar (ahem) litany about stupid atheists in thrall to a hateful cult leader.

    It’s possible to imagine this represents a shock (& awe?) wave sent by the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (all 600 thereof), but that somehow doesn’t seem very probable. On the other tentacle, that this wave should have splashed on Pharyngula’s shore on a Thursday may have some connection to the observed habit of many of the highly devout of attending Wednesday night services.

    Or perhaps Bill Donohue or Andrew Sullivan or Judie Brown or Tom Euteneur or some other exalted online figure among the Roman legions has summoned fresh reserves with a digital communique to join the battle for the multiply-martyred wafer.

    Is there anyone among those charging this particular set of the Gates of Hell? willing to inform us unenlightened sinners on whose behalf you have come to share your loving message?

  • #603 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    Hey ummm Angela, It’s just a cracker.

    You have no right to not be offended.

    We’re atheists, in general, we don’t respect any religion.

    Talk to the student in Florida who the Catholic league is trying to expel… that might give you a hint why PZ threw out the cracker.

  • #604 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Angela, #599, wrote:

    I guess I just find the hatred for Catholicism incomprehensible.

    Angela, don’t make the mistake of assuming that mockery and lack of respect equals hatred. And there is a context here which you need to understand.

    Your best best is to start at the very start – you’ll find most of what you want to say has already been said by others who share you interpretation of your faith.

    Please read this post and the comments: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/its_a_goddamned_cracker.php

  • #605 rmp
    August 1, 2008

    Angela, I assume you never eat a hamburger in the vicinity of a Hindu. Or doesn’t that religion deserve your respect?

  • #606 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    Angela, I assume you never eat a hamburger in the vicinity of a Hindu. Or doesn’t that religion deserve your respect?

    No no. Only their sacred cows count.

  • #607 rmp
    August 1, 2008

    Rev, do they have a special brand on them?

  • #608 Angela
    August 1, 2008

    Hi Michael Peter,
    I am not sure you were replying to my post, though I assume that you were. I was not really trying to make an argument, I was just trying to understand as I said, since the lack of respect toward something that Catholics find so sacred is so obvious. No one doubts that a person can do such a thing, no one really even restrains another’s actions. I concede that anyone can freely choose to do as they wish. But I guess I just don’t see the ought. And I am also not sure of what you mean when you say that my lack of comfort with a situation is a rational reason for somebody else not to act. It strikes me as terribly selfish and arrogant.

    I am not sure about Madalyn O’Hair, or even who that is, so I don’t know what to say about that. I am sincerely not trying to be terribly selfish and arrogant, in anyone’s opinion.

    But I also think that your insistence that I should simply accept a person’s ability to be disrespectful toward my faith or ANYONE’S faith or lack thereof is merely a manifestation of you simply projecting your own personality and values on to the situation. Do you see a double standard at all? Or am I simply being illogical?

    I will be happy to listen to the debate, but only if you return the favor and enter into a legitimate dialogue. So, if you would take a look at this Apostolic Letter on the Eucharist: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20070222_sacramentum-caritatis_en.html
    And these papal encyclicals:
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20051225_deus-caritas-est_en.html
    http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0222/_INDEX.HTM
    I would just be delighted to listen to your mp3s and start up a dialogue with you!!

  • #609 Peter B
    August 1, 2008

    Ok, Dr. Myers, you got your 15 minutes of media attention. What else have you gained?

    You got a whole lot of people really pissed off at you! You probably riled up some really crazy types!

    Have you changed any minds?

    This silly adolescent act of destruction of a Catholic sacrament–makes no sense! A completely illogical act!

    So, it makes me wonder, what really motivates you? What do you get out of stirring up so much resentment, anger and rage? What motivate your irrational behavior?

    Who are you REALLY angry at, Dr. Myers?

    Your father? Your mother? A sibling?
    A bully that beat you up as a elementary school kid?

    Do you represent the ‘best’ atheists have to offer us?

    I can’t see how angry self-righteous bigots, albeit atheist bigots, are any improvement to the world scene.

    In case you haven’t noticed, Dr. Myers, I think we have enough people cranking up the intolerance and violence level already. The violence level is getting pretty high!

    Nah, I don’t think i’m interested in your brand of intolerance–“same ole same ole.”

  • #610 Damian with an a
    August 1, 2008

    Angela:

    Though it isn’t necessarily relevant in this particular situation, are you really suggesting that Catholics respect Homosexuals, Africans [or anyone else that is at risk of contracting AIDS], women, children, etc?

    Do you even have any idea how much suffering your church has caused, and continues to, in the world?

    Honestly, it’s as if most Catholics are completely oblivious to the real destruction that the church has wreaked throughout the world. And, yes, the Catholic church also does good, but you cannot lay claim to that, while attempting to disown the other. It doesn’t work like that.

    The current Pope, let me remind you, was at the forefront of the disgraceful attempt to cover up the priest rape scandal. And you wonder why people are hostile?

    As far as this situation is concerned, it is simply a matter of, (1) expressing solidarity with Webster Cook who faces ruin for behaving, at worst, disrespectfully, and (2) as a protest to the absurd reaction of many Catholics which include, but are not limited to, death threats, attempts to destroy careers, claims that the host is as important as human life, members of ones family, etc.

    Whether you believe that the host transforms in to the body of Jesus Christ or not, it is irrelevant. There is no evidence that it does, and to compare the desecration of the host to a hate crime, hostage taking, and physically harming a member of ones family, is abhorrent in the extreme and it devalues real suffering and harm in the world.

  • #611 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    You’re being illogical. If you don’t want to be offended, don’t read PZ’s blog or get the latest freak out from The Catholic League. No one is attacking you or your religion, other than calling it nonsense.

    As we’ve said time and time again, respect is earned, it’s not a right.

  • #612 Angela
    August 1, 2008

    Well, I think the latest posts after mine proved the point. And yes, I do think Hindus deserve respect, and actually, I do not disrespect their faith. You may be right that it is just a cracker, but what if it’s not? And how are we to know?

    You are right, mockery is not hatred — how do they call it, I think they say it is a form of envy. That’s interesting.

  • #613 rmp
    August 1, 2008

    peter B. What is your answer to the eat a hamburger in front of a Hindu dilemma? Would you be upset if PZ drew a cartoon that included the face of Mohamed(sp?). I suspect it is only the act of a self righteous bigot when Catholicism is the target.

    Lampooning ridiculous beliefs is an activity that we should all partake in.

  • #614 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    I do not disrespect their faith

    No beef?

  • #615 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    We can crack the cracker open and study it. Have you ever seen evidence that the wafer is anything but that? If we can’t know that it’s MORE than just a cracker what’s the friggin point? It’s all so goofy.

    So you don’t eat meat Angela?

    If you think we envy theists, you haven’t been paying attention.

  • #616 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B, #609,

    You’ll look like less of an ignorant idiot if you have the context.

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

    Read the posts. Maybe then you’ll understand what the hell’s going on, instead of coming across like a child who’s wandered in at the end of a movie and wants to know what’s going on.

  • #617 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    Sorry rmp, i was using sacred cow referring to the Catholics.

    As in

    sacred cow
    -noun
    an individual, organization, institution, etc., considered to be exempt from criticism or questioning.
    [Origin: 1905-10; in reference to the traditional inviolability of the cow among Hindus]

  • #618 Angela
    August 1, 2008

    No one is attacking you or your religion, other than calling it nonsense

    Not true. Someone directly attacked what I believe to be my Lord. That is a blatant attack on my religion. I don’t care if you think my religion is nonsense. That is your free choice, and I respect that. I read the blog to sincerely try to understand why someone would do that — not because I don’t want to be offended. I don’t get offended.

    The current Pope, let me remind you, was at the forefront of the disgraceful attempt to cover up the priest rape scandal. And you wonder why people are hostile?
    Not true. Please check out the latest news from World Youth Day in Sydney.

    And yes, I am really suggesting that Catholics respect Homosexuals, Africans [or anyone else that is at risk of contracting AIDS], women, children, etc? Please refer to this document:
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html

  • #619 Angela
    August 1, 2008

    No one is attacking you or your religion, other than calling it nonsense

    Not true. Someone directly attacked what I believe to be my Lord. That is a blatant attack on my religion. I don’t care if you think my religion is nonsense. That is your free choice, and I respect that. I read the blog to sincerely try to understand why someone would do that — not because I don’t want to be offended. I don’t get offended.

    The current Pope, let me remind you, was at the forefront of the disgraceful attempt to cover up the priest rape scandal. And you wonder why people are hostile?
    Not true. Please check out the latest news from World Youth Day in Sydney.

    And yes, I am really suggesting that Catholics respect Homosexuals, Africans [or anyone else that is at risk of contracting AIDS], women, children, etc? Please refer to this document:
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html

  • #620 rmp
    August 1, 2008

    Angela, you stop short of telling us if you eat hamburgers. Interesting. I’m sure it just slipped your mind.

  • #621 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    That is your free choice, and I respect that. I read the blog to sincerely try to understand why someone would do that — not because I don’t want to be offended. I don’t get offended.

    I don’t believe you because we’ve given you the context and you seem to be conveniently ignoring it.

    Do you think that actual physical assaults and death threats against a human are worse than threats against a Eucharist cracker?

  • #622 Angela
    August 1, 2008

    Hi Peter B! Thanks so much for your kind words!! So much appreciated. I did indeed try your link, but it looks like the link has expired! Just a heads up!

  • #623 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    Phhhhht. Hahaha. Seriously your “lord” manifests itself into the “host” so you can eat it and then poop it out?

    Why doesn’t the lord manifest itself into a kickass monster that can defend itself from a mild mannered professor with a nail?

    PZ says why he did it in a very concise and eloquent manner. Try reading it rather then posting links to the pope’s speeches.

  • #624 Damian with an a
    August 1, 2008

    Angela:

    That was my post at #600. It was a reply to Michael Peter.

    However, I will read the links that you have provided. Thank you.

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t support the desecration because I couldn’t think of an ethical way to get hold of a Eucharist. It is hardly the crime of the century, to be sure, but I do at least try to be consistent.

    As far as the actual desecration is concerned, as a protest against the death threats and attempts to ruin the careers of both PZ Myers and Webster Cook, it will be worth it if even a few Catholics have been encouraged to think about any number of issues concerning their faith.

    I am sorry that you have been hurt by this action. If it motivates you to work towards eliminating the real and tangible harm that the Catholic church causes throughout the world, we may finally be getting somewhere.

  • #625 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    Angela unless you answer our questions you are not here in good faith to find out why this whole thing went down.

    1. did you read up on the entire incident? Please do if you have not, it should give you some perspective.
    2. do you think physical assault and death threats are of less significance than threatening to do something to a Eucharist cracker
    3. Do you eat beef?

  • #626 rmp
    August 1, 2008

    Rev, I owe you a beer if Angela answers your questions.

  • #627 Damian with an a
    August 1, 2008

    Angela said:

    Not true. Please check out the latest news from World Youth Day in Sydney.

    And if you’d be so kind as to check out the secret document which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church:

    A secret document which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church is examined by Panorama.

    Crimen Sollicitationis was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became the Pope.

    It instructs bishops on how to deal with allegations of child abuse against priests and has been seen by few outsiders.

    Critics say the document has been used to evade prosecution for sex crimes.

    Crimen Sollicitationis was written in 1962 in Latin and given to Catholic bishops worldwide who are ordered to keep it locked away in the church safe.

    It instructs them how to deal with priests who solicit sex from the confessional. It also deals with “any obscene external act … with youths of either sex.”

    It imposes an oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation and any witnesses.

    Breaking that oath means excommunication from the Catholic Church.

    Reporting for Panorama, Colm O’Gorman finds seven priests with child abuse allegations made against them living in and around the Vatican City.

    One of the priests, Father Joseph Henn, has been indicted on 13 molestation charges brought by a grand jury in the United States.

    During filming for Sex Crimes and the Vatican, Colm finds Father Henn is fighting extradition orders from inside the headquarters of this religious order in the Vatican.

    The Vatican has not compelled him to return to America to face the charges against him.

    After filming, Father Henn lost his fight against extradition but fled the headquarters and is believed to be hiding in Italy while there is an international warrant for his arrest.

    Colm O’Gorman was raped by a Catholic priest in the diocese of Ferns in County Wexford in Ireland when he was 14 years old.

    Father Fortune was charged with 66 counts of sexual, indecent assault and another serious sexual offence relating to eight boys but he committed suicide on the eve of his trial.

    Colm started an investigation with the BBC in March 2002 which led to the resignation of Dr Brendan Comiskey, the bishop leading the Ferns Diocese.

    Colm then pushed for a government inquiry which led to the Ferns Report.

    It was published in October 2005 and found: “A culture of secrecy and fear of scandal that led bishops to place the interests of the Catholic Church ahead of the safety of children.”

    The Catholic Church has 50 million children in its worldwide congregation and no universal child protection policy although in the UK there is the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults.

    In some countries this means that the Crimen Sollicitationis is the only policy followed.

    And Angela, have you even read that link that you provided? It says:

    “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

    Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.”

    It’s disgusting, and I will not respect the Catholic Church [or any other, for that matter] until they stop talking about homosexuality as a sin, a moral evil, and accept it as biologically natural, which is something that science has shown to be true.

    Honestly, if you see that as caring about homosexuals, I have nothing else to say to you. I’m fed up of this nonsense, and I’m fed up of religious pseudo-morality based on nothing more than fantasy. These are real lives that you are playing with, you know?

  • #628 MAJeff, OM
    August 1, 2008

    I am really suggesting that Catholics respect Homosexuals

    Such grand respect, trying to make sure that we don’t have civil rights and saying that placing children in our homes is doing violence to them. The Roman Catholic Church is an anti-gay hate organization.

    And shove your cracker up your ass until I get equal civil rights.

  • #629 Damian with an a
    August 1, 2008

    Hey MAJeff, I’m so glad that the Catholic church only believes that you are engaging in an “intrinsic moral evil”, and not, well, I can’t really think of anything worse…

    I do hope that you recover from your “condition” and find a more “morally acceptable option.”

    Of course, the Catholic church loves you. Don’t ever forget that.

  • #630 rmp
    August 1, 2008

    MAJeff, I didn’t realize that your gay. I should read the comments more completely/religiously (too easy). Anyway, I guess that your opinion no longer matters to the ‘saved’.

  • #631 Peter B
    August 1, 2008

    Wowbagger-

    My point: Bigotry against Catholics is no better than bigotry against atheists. Bigotry is irrational and counterproductive. Mud fights are juvenile.

    I reviewed the story. Here is my understanding of what happened: A young man walks out of a Catholic church with a communion wafer in his hand. Whether he realized this or not, this act violated the faith practice of Catholics.

    My Catholics friends tell me that the practice for recieving communion is to immediately consume the communion wafer.

    To carry the communion wafer out or to pocket the communion is to treat the sacrament with disrespect.

    My Catholic friends tell me that individuals who hate the Catholic Church have walked out of a church with the expressed purpose of profaning the sacrament. (Indeed, Dr. Myers actions reinforce this concern.)

    Those who distribute communion at a Catholic church are aware that some might recieve the communion with the intention of profaning it, and will watch and see if the individual who recieves the wafer promptly consumes the wafer or not. If not, they will ask for the communion back. They will insist on this! It is sacred to them!

    This would explain the strong reaction to the young man. However, death threats and threats of physical violence towards the young man are reprehensible. My Catholic friends acknowledge that, and do not support this, but profaning the sacrament to them is a gross act of disrespect.

    Dr. Myers by his own act of publicly profaning a communion wafer has only added fuel to the fire of outrage by Catholics. It is viewed by them as an act of great disrespect.

    Whether you or the young man who walked out with the communion wafer view the communion wafer as sacred or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that such an act offends Catholics.

    Those who practice the Catholic faith do see the wafer as sacred and for them it is not just a ‘cracker’ (an expression used historically by anti-Catholics.)

    Those who do not understand that the significance of “walking out” of the Church with a communion wafer would not understand their outrage.

    Provoking others to outrage just because we can is senseless. As others have said here, it is irrational. It is illogical; it is juvenile, adolescent.

    I do not care who does it–atheist, religious, scientists, no matter–we do not need to provoke others in our world. Our world is violent enough in case no one has noticed.

  • #632 llewelly
    August 1, 2008

    I reviewed the story. Here is my understanding of what happened: A young man walks out of a Catholic church …

    You start out wrong. The mass in question took place in a public UCF building owned by Florida state taxpayers.

  • #633 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B,

    Thanks for taking the time to write a thoughtful post on your opinion.

    I, and most of the posters here, will (and have) argue that the mocking of the catholic belief in the eucharist is not bigotry per se – since bigotry does not attack beliefs; rather, it is an attack on an aspect of the person over which they have no control – e.g. race, gender or sexual orientation.

    The young man is (or was) a catholic – so he knew what was happening. That he did wrong according to the church is not in dispute; the problem started when he was assaulted by someone who disliked what he did.

    Perceived sacredness of one’s beliefs does not warrant physcial assault.

    News of the event hit the media and as a result, angry catholics called to have the young man punished by his college. The young man received threats of violence against his person.

    Perceived sacredness of one’s beliefs does not justify this kind of overreaction.

    This is why PZ did what he did. To highlight that there is a small subset of frenzied, extremist catholics who possess, by today’s supposedly enlightened standards, the irrational view that a cracker that represent jesus is, in fact, more valuable than the life and well-being of an actual human being.

    Further posts illustrated this even further. We were told the threats against the cracker were as bad as (if not worse than) vandalism, rape, murder, kidnapping, the Holocaust and the KKK – just to list a few.

    It will take a while, but if you read through all the posts on this topic you’ll find the arguments to support what PZ did – many of them far better than anything I can come up with at this time.

    And you’ll also see how the irrational belief in something allows people to completely lose perspective.

    I agree there is far too much violence in the world. But to defer to those whose can claim their religion justifies it (as is the case with many of the catholics who’ve come here) is not the answer.

    One thing you’ll notice, though – no atheist posted a threat of violence against a catholic on any of the many thousands of posts; stark contrast with the so-called adherents of a religion which claims to be the result of a man referred to as ‘The Prince of Peace’.

  • #634 SC
    August 1, 2008

    Is this an example of the triumph of reason over primitive instincts?

    Uh…yes, quite certainly. (Was that a trick question?)

  • #635 llewelly
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B, you can see here that the Catholic Campus Ministry says on its web page they hold their mass in the UCF student union building – not a church, a tax-payer owned public building – every Sunday. It was at a mass of this series that Webster Cook was given a consecrated communion wafer. This was not reported in all of the news accounts, but some did report it, and the fact that the mass did not take place in a church has been mentioned many times in these cracker threads. Most of the people who claim he went into a church do so out of ignorance – but given that the above facts have been widely reported, it is a statistical certainty some do so out of dishonesty.

  • #636 SC
    August 1, 2008

    You all seem to get that we revere the Eucharist — since we believe that it truly IS the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Our Lord.

    No, Angela, I still don’t get it. I mean, I have to believe you if you tell me that’s what you believe, but the belief itself, in the 21st century, is extraordinary. Every time I see it written out explicitly like that, my brow furrows as I struggle to comprehend how any otherwise intelligent person could believe such a thing in this day and age. Do you also believe that statues weep?

  • #637 Pope Snarky Goodfella of the undulating cable, JM, CK, POEE, KOTHASK, DSOCPL, EOTHIDIAUTP
    August 1, 2008

    Hail Eris!

    To #59, here is what you’re after:

    http://www.principiadiscordia.com

    Snarky
    P.S. #26, I have it on good authority that it is all Aratzio’s fault (see news:alt.usenet.kooks).
    P.P.S. To PZ: Come back, all is forgiven — as long as you bring your sense of humour…;-{P}

  • #638 SEF
    August 1, 2008

    It is viewed by them as an act of great disrespect.

    What have they done to merit respect rather than merely demand it undeservedly? Catholicism is one of the most vile religions, in words and deeds (both historically and in the present), ever to plague the planet. Any Catholic who is even a halfway decent person is that way despite their religion and not because of it.

    Religious people are mentally, educationally, morally and emotionally retarded – and they can just keep on demonstrating it. Catholics very much included.

    Eg #599 is either extraordinarily ignorant or outrageously dishonest of you:

    The Catholic Church does not limit in any way your desire to be atheist — so why lash out as such? Can someone explain this to me, because I am sincerely trying to understand the blatant disrespect, when no disrespect or lack of freedom is shown to you.

    Violent persecution by Catholics over history has very much limited “desire” and ability to admit to atheism. They still show official disrespect to women and homosexuals and everyone who isn’t Catholic. The Pope regularly makes speeches about it. Catholics are responsible for the deaths and suffering of many people even today, eg from HIV because of their lies about condoms.

  • #639 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    In case I missed it, I notice that Angela, who was all concerned with getting to the bottom of this so she can understand it decided to bolt when we really engaged her.

    typical.

  • #640 Lucretius
    August 1, 2008

    Just a couple of questions for the Catholics here
    Firstly how did you find this place ?
    What prompted you to post here without apparently having read the full story ?
    Most importantly if ,as you say ,you beleive that the eucharist is literally the body of Christ then how is it more sacreligious to pierce it with a nail and throw it away, than say eating the thing and excreting it later ?
    The communion wafer is a SYMBOL that’s all !!
    Transubtantiation is a myth even the church itself cannot adequately explain it,they eventually get to a point of saying that the “proof” of the miracle is that even when it is transformed into the literal living flesh of Christ it looks exactly as if it hasn’t changed at all.
    Ask your parish priest about this (if you dare ) and I doubt you will get a satisfactory answer.

    Lucretius (very much Ex -Catholic and almost Jesuit priest.)

  • #641 John Morales
    August 1, 2008

    Lucretius, I’d have thought that, normally, priests do provide satisfactory answers to their parishioners, else how do they maintain their status?

  • #642 Lucretius
    August 1, 2008

    I have a cousin who went on the be a priest and my best friend from primary school is a priest as well and neither of them can give a satisfactory answer on transubstantiation their answers, when pushed, boil down “It’s one of the mysteries of the Church”
    99% of Catholic priests don’t really know how to respond other than to say “Well it just is OK ?”
    Take away all the theological terms form the Church literature on the subject and it agian comes down to “Well it just is OK ?”

    Here’s a link to the Catholic Encyclopedia

    http://newadvent.org/cathen/05573a.htm#section3

    It is pure and unadulterated gibberish dressed up in quasi philosophical language that NO-ONE really understands

  • #643 John Morales
    August 1, 2008

    Lucretius, I’m not saying satisfactory to you or me, but to their parishioners.

  • #644 Pope Snarky Goodfella of the undulating cable, JM, CK, POEE, KOTHASK, DSOCPL, EOTHIDIAUTP
    August 1, 2008

    Hail Eris!

    Don Imus revealed himself to be, in public, a lame, stupid, ignorant, odious, unfunny, idiotic Neanderthal, and his bosses decided they didn’t want him speaking for them anymore, because he was making them look bad. He committed no “crime”, as such, at least not IMO, but making one’s bosses look bad in public has never been an advisable manner of career advancement, and he was spewing like a busted urinal. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    Snarky

  • #645 spurge
    August 1, 2008

    Some priests will go so far as to threaten hell just for asking such questions.

    That shuts people up pretty efficiently.

  • #646 spurge
    August 1, 2008

    fnord

  • #647 bwv
    August 1, 2008

    Actually the Confraternity was absolutely correct in stating that PZ’s actions were the equivalent of vandalizing a synagogue. Given that consecrated wafers are the wholly owned property of the One Holy Roman Catholic Church and PZ violated the terms of use for said property, he is fully liable for the full monetary value of said wafer

  • #648 Peter B.
    August 1, 2008

    I stand corrected:

    The young man left a public building at a Catholic Mass where communion wafers were distributed. He left the building with a communion wafer in hand. This action for Catholics is an act of disrespect. If the young man was Catholic, he should have known this, but it is possible he did not. If he was Catholic, he should have known that followers of his faith believe the communion wafer is sacred, but it is possible he did not. It is possible, he did not care. It is possible he simply wanted to provoke others, only the young man knows his motivation.

    Death threats and attacks against the person of this man are wrong, period. No excuses for that violence, period. Those who yell and scream at abortionists or those who escort women who are seeking abortion or who threaten with death those who insult the Catholic faith committ acts of violence. No excuses for those who in the name of a deity justify violence against this man or Dr. Meyers, period. That is wrong, period, exclamation point, no excuses, period.

    Defending the sacredness of the communion wafer does not justify evil means, period. Most Catholics understand that and would respect that–judging from my Catholic friends reactions.

    Dr. Myers (or someone at his bidding) went to a Catholic Mass and represented himself as a faithful Catholic and recieved a communion wafer with the express purpose of descrating it.

    This was an act of violence, too. Period.
    An act of violence done in the name of reason, in the name of exposing the hatred of others, or in the name of “fill in the blank,” remains an act of violence, period.

    American atheists do not make their arguments any stronger by denigrating the faith of other Americans or by mocking or by name calling in these posts. Violence like this is not new, it is an old established pattern of violence.

    Calling a communion wafer a ‘cracker’ and making ‘jokes’ about what is sacred to other Americans is an act of violence, period.

    Catholics who attack others and threaten others who desecrate their communion wafer are similarly committing acts of violence, period.

    Calling a communion wafer a ‘cracker’ is an act of verbal violence.

    Yes, it is free speech protected by the First Amendment by it is nevertheless, remains an act of violence.

    Threatening atheists who desecrate a communion wafer is an act of violence.

    Name calling is an act of violence.

    Cursing atheists is an act of violence.

    Yes, verbal violence is protected speech but it nevertheless remains violence.

    Such violence plagues our human relationships and communities; and the violence is escalating; it is getting scarier by the day; shootings at churchs, at schools, at shopping malls, at universities, at day nurseries, highways and public streets.

    Individuals in the name of ‘fill in the blank’ cause are justifying their brand of violence openly, publicly, and unapolegetically. Violence is praised as an act of courage, heroism and a victory for the cause, etc.

    Atheists in these posts purport to be against violence committed by Christians in the distant past, recent past or even in the present, yet I see them condone violence against others in name of freedom of expression. Not one atheist challenged the atheists here to stop using profanity against those whom disagreed with their posts.

    Is this what atheist have to offer us?

    Atheists in this forum are not showing Americans anything new.

    Violence is a big part of our culture already.

    Violence is violence no matter who does it!
    Human beings can always justify their acts of violence.

    In the end, those who post here are fellow human beings.

    I may disagree strongly with what others write here, but I do not have to use violence against them.

    Justifying violence in the name of a deity or in the name of reason or in the name of anything or anyone does not change our lives for the better.

    It just makes our world more violent and fearful.

  • #649 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    I killed a bagel this morning. Arrest me.

  • #650 John Morales
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B., I’d welcome you to the party… but it’s over.

    But congratulations for making exactly the same points that were made weeks ago and more than thoroughly discussed.

    Far be it for me to suggest you go to the original post and get all your argumentation from those who have already (clever people!) responded to each and every one of your contentions.

    But, if you did, you might actually come up with something, um, NEW.

    Sigh.

  • #651 Adrienne
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B. wrote:

    Those who yell and scream at abortionists or those who escort women who are seeking abortion…[and]…those who insult the Catholic faith committ acts of violence

    As a woman who has both had an abortion and who regularly volunteers by escorting other women past your screaming, abusive co-religionists, I have this to say to you, pal: FUCK YOU. YOUR side is doing the violence here. When not bombing clinics, they are verbally abusing women or trying to deny them their rights.

    Newsflash, asshole: Atheists here used nasty names and they insulted your religious beliefs. Nobody threatened violence to any Catholics, however. YOUR side is the side doing violence, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And again, FUCK YOU.

  • #652 rmp
    August 1, 2008

    “Calling a communion wafer a ‘cracker’ and making ‘jokes’ about what is sacred to other Americans is an act of violence, period.”

    Peter, are you saying what PZ did was illegal?

    I don’t think you’ll find many here who’ll say what he did wasn’t disrespectful but I think most will say that was the point.

  • #653 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B. Fuck you. Your religion is a joke and a waste of time. You are upset over a cracker. No one has been hurt or threatened by this, only offended. You’ll survive to bitch and moan another day. Ya big baby.

  • #654 SEF
    August 1, 2008

    He left the building with a communion wafer in hand.

    I think it might have been in his pocket by then – and he reportedly only left with it at all because the violent Catholics had already assaulted him over his attempt to merely take it back to his seat and quietly show his friend who was waiting there. In some services the host is consumed back in one’s place. So it was entirely understandable that he thought it would be OK.

    Calling a communion wafer a ‘cracker’ and making ‘jokes’ about what is sacred to other Americans is an act of violence

    Liar! You show gross disrespect for the real victims of violence by your dishonest misuse of the term. Religious people are so mentally, educationally, morally and emotionally retarded by their religion though that many of them see nothing wrong in doing what you just did. You are an excellent example of why religion is such an evil thing even in “moderate” or “mild” forms of the affliction.

  • #655 Jeff H
    August 1, 2008

    I wonder what Dr. Myers has taught his students with this stunt? After all, we are referring to Dr. Myers as that, Doctor. With this academic rank comes responsibility. The responsibility is to teach, instruct, and convince based on reason and facts as they are understood — then to objectively measure the performance of the students.

    To be insensitive to the faith traditions of Catholics for that sole purpose does not set a good example — and all parts of your life are fair game. Do you think that getting a DWI would sit well with the administration? Absolutley not. Why then are we to consider this whole episode as a private matter — it was posted in an open forum.

    As for the CCC, what did Dr. Myers expect? He is not the first, nor will be the last to seek attention by inflaming and insulting a group.

    I guess I’m embarrassed for him.

    JMH

  • #656 SEF
    August 1, 2008

    I wonder what Dr. Myers has taught his students with this stunt?

    He hasn’t. It wasn’t a class exercise. It was something he did on his own time.

    Meanwhile, it’s a lot better than being a science professor who teaches the students about reality in class time and then, sneaks off to practise ill-disguised magic in his spare time as religious fantasists do.

  • #657 SEF
    August 1, 2008

    Oops – stray comma remained after removing a clause.

  • #658 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    They sure aren’t getting any smarter, are they?

  • #659 NanuNanu
    August 1, 2008

    “Calling a communion wafer a ‘cracker’ and making ‘jokes’ about what is sacred to other Americans is an act of violence, period.”

    This is, perhaps, the most retarded thing I have heard all week considering I blocked baba and heddle.

  • #660 NanuNanu
    August 1, 2008

    heard=read.

    I don’t have a computer that reads these things to me. It would kill itself if I did.

  • #661 qbsmd
    August 1, 2008

    PeterB, #648
    Communication requires people to be using the same language. You must use words in ways other people can understand. I don’t know what you think “violence” means, but you need to learn to use a dictionary. If you want to be understood, you have to use words correctly.

  • #662 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    To be insensitive to the faith traditions of Catholics for that sole purpose

    Um no. You are wrong.

    I guess I’m embarrassed for him.

    JMH

    You should be embarrassed for yourself for not doing your homework before coming and commenting on a subject you so obviously don’t know anything about.

  • #663 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    Violence is violence no matter who does it!

    If they’re actually doing “violence”.

  • #664 Adrienne
    August 1, 2008

    OK, I know others have said this before on the neverending “Crackergate” threads, but if you really believe you are EATING Jesus’s body, blood, soul and divinit, then you have to truly believe you are doing violence to Jesus each time you eat his body/drink his blood. Maybe it’s violence that Jesus supposedly Himself sanctioned by his actions at the Last Supper, but it seems to me that if you’re going to define the term “violence” so loosely, you would have to count “Eating Jesus” as violence too.

  • #665 llewelly
    August 1, 2008

    Adrienne:

    … if you really believe you are EATING Jesus’s body, blood, soul and divinit, then you have to truly believe you are doing violence to Jesus each time you eat his body/drink his blood.

    In Christianity, the it is the suffering of Christ on the cross (or in the garden for Mormons) which enables the redemption of sins. Without violence there can be no forgiveness. That’s the founding principle of Christianity, and thus, doing violence to Jesus at every communion is consistent. It is not an accident that some of us (even you, I think) have called Christianity a death cult.

  • #666 Emmet Caulfield
    August 1, 2008

    Actually the Confraternity was absolutely correct in stating that PZ’s actions were the equivalent of vandalizing a synagogue.

    Actually, no they weren’t. As a building, a synagogue is unarguably real property (realty), whilst a cracker is personal property. Anti-vandalism statutes protect only real property. For your equivalence of cracker destruction to synagogue vandalism to hold, you have to convince a judge that a cracker should be legally regarded as realty.

    Good luck with that.

  • #667 Dreadneck
    August 1, 2008

    In the immortal words of Pastor Deacon Fred of Landover Baptist Church…

     

    “As True Christians?, we are called upon to marginalize other faiths, or people with no faith, and to scream persecution when they rudely return the favor.”

     

    Suck it, Fundies!

  • #668 Peter B.
    August 1, 2008

    Violence is found in words and action that strip the other person of their personhood as a human being. Violence de-humanizes other human beings. Once one goes down that road, violence tends to escalate.

    Violence objectifies “the other” into the ‘an enemy’. Once we have labeled another huma being as the “other” as the “enemy”, we can begin to justify anything.

    Human beings can take any ’cause’ and do this! Once the ‘other’ is labeled as ‘evil’ by whatever terms that group uses, then violence in some form or another becomes justified. We have to begin to view our opponent as some how less than us, inferior to us or even sub-human to justify our increasing levels of violence.

    If pro-choice is our cause, we will see “the other” (pro-life advocates) as the enemy of a woman’s choice to control her body, and see all pro-life demonstrators as ‘evil. This label justifies writing ‘fuck you’ over and over to those who espouse a Christian faith and disagree with abortion. True, it is not the same violence as threatenign harm to someone; certainly not the same as killing a healthcare workers by bombing abortion clinics, but is violence.

    If the pro-life is our cause we can see the “the other” (pro-choice individuals) as the “evil” or “murderers” then we can bomb clinics and shoot healthcare workers.

    We are addicted to violence in America.

    Many revel in it, but we all perpetuate it at all levels of our society. Other countries have far mor guns than we do per capita, but we have murder rates 100 times greater.

    Can you see that violence at any level of intensity, from verbal violence all the way to the extreme killing others can always be justified by making the other person sub-human, “concern trolls”? The only difference is the degree of violence. And violence at all levels only serves to create a climate and culture of violence that justifies more and more atrocious acts of violence.

    Ultimately, what begins to happen when we begin to de-humanize each other? What happens when we lock in the viewpoint that anyone who disagrees with our cherished cause is an implacable enemies?

    What I see is that we want to drive them from our midst; some who are less put together emotionally and psychologically, may see the dehumanization of our ‘enemies’ as justification for beating them, tortuing them, killing them.

    The Catholic Church had its Inquistion in the Middle Ages which in the name of an diety tortured and killed other human beings. The ends justified the means.

    The leaders of the French Revolution enshrined the “goddess of Reason” in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in place of the altar. They justified mass executions and kangaroo court trials as the necessary means to a nation state of liberty, equality and reason. Certainly, there were despicable nobles, but there were also many innocents. They even executed the servants of nobles. In the name of liberty and reason, they justified mass murder.

    We in America need to consider our increasing climate of violence. How are we adding fuel to fires of hatred and violence in the name of (fill in the blank cause)?

    What can we do to ratchet down the level of violence.

    Can we re-consider whether any “cause” we cherish is ever worth dehumanizing others–be it atheism or christianity, etc.

  • #669 Adrienne
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B wrote:

    Violence is found in words and action that strip the other person of their personhood as a human being.

    In other words, killing someone. How else do you “strip the other person of their [sic] personhood?

    By your own definition, then, what PZ did to define the Eucharistic wafer was not violence. Similarly, all of the insults hurled at you and other Catholics on here are not violence either.

  • #670 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    How about not attacking people physically who’ve offended you.
    Talk to the Cahtolic League. Fucking hypocrite.

  • #671 Adrienne
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B wrote:

    Can you see that violence at any level of intensity, from verbal violence all the way to the extreme killing others can always be justified by making the other person sub-human, “concern trolls”? The only difference is the degree of violence. And violence at all levels only serves to create a climate and culture of violence that justifies more and more atrocious acts of violence.

    This is what Carl Sagan called “The fallacy of the excluded middle”, otherwise known as the “slippery slope” logical fallacy. Calling Catholics cracker-worshippers and assholes on a blog leads to forming lynch mobs to drag Catholics out of their churches and hang them from trees. Sorry, Peter B, does not compute.

  • #672 llewelly
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B., #668:

    We in America need to consider our increasing climate of violence. How are we adding fuel to fires of hatred and violence in the name of (fill in the blank cause)?

    That’s explained here , here , and here .
    (Thanks to SEF, who provided those three links in a diffent thread.)

  • #673 Paul W.
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B.,

    Calling a communion wafer a ‘cracker’ is an act of verbal violence.

    Name calling is an act of violence.

    Then calling Hitler a lunatic is an act of violence?

    And pacifist Quakers “speaking truth to power” are violent?

    Dude, you’ve done some serious violence to the term “violence.”

    It’s simply not true that criticizing people’s cherished ideas, or calling them names, is violent. There’s a reason why verbal “violence” in speech is generally legal and actual physical violence is generally not.

    I’m going to commit an act of verbal violence against you… ready?

    Here goes:

    You’re a moron.

    BTW, I was one of the first and most persistent critics of PZ’s crackerjacking shtik. I think PZ did cross a line that arguably we ought not to cross.

    On the other hand, people like you—sorry for the dehumanizing “violence” of “people like you”—really make me wonder. You have some truly crazy ideas about where the lines are, and the pros and cons of crossing them.

    If this event gets people to come out and say such astonishingly stupid things, so that stupid ideas can be rightly criticized, there’s some serious benefit to it.

  • #674 SEF
    August 1, 2008

    Thanks to SEF, who provided those three links in a diffent thread.

    Wow, a correct attribution for once! I mostly get the impression I’m being ignored entirely (perhaps I’m on a generic killfile somewhere), or people get the TLA wrong (SEK is a bizarrely common mis-reading and improbable typo) or misattribute the content of my posts to completely different people in the thread. I’m used to having an SEP field in real life but it’s interesting how much it extends to the online situation.

  • #675 Paul W.
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B.,

    I object strenuously to your calling us violent bigots.

    If you persist in that sort of verbal violence, I will retaliate.

    By the way, a couple of friends of mine are progressive mainline Christian ministers. They criticize the more orthodox wings of their own denominations, calling them “fundamentalists” and (in some cases) “bigots,” and criticizing their cherished ideas of sacred objects and magical rituals.

    Does that make my progressive, inclusive, ecumenical, reformist, nonviolence-preaching Christian minister friends violent bigots? By your stated standards, I think it does.

    Hyeesh.

  • #676 SEF
    August 1, 2008

    Landover Baptist Church

    Just checking you all know that’s a parody website …

  • #677 Paul W.
    August 1, 2008
    Actually the Confraternity was absolutely correct in stating that PZ’s actions were the equivalent of vandalizing a synagogue.

    Actually, no they weren’t. As a building, a synagogue is unarguably real property (realty), whilst a cracker is personal property. Anti-vandalism statutes protect only real property. For your equivalence of cracker destruction to synagogue vandalism to hold, you have to convince a judge that a cracker should be legally regarded as realty.

    Let me play God’s advocate here a minute.

    You’re probably right that it’s not covered under the same law, but it might arguably be covered under a different hate crime law, like the bias clause of the Minnesota property crime statute. For the latter, it doesn’t have to be real property or religious property you’re damaging, and there’s no lower bound on the objective cost of the damage (except that presumably it must be greater than zero). It covers any property damaged “because of” the owner’s race, religion, etc.

    Which just goes to show that hate crime laws are often scarily vague and broad. (Hate speech laws are usually worse; it’s like somebody let Peter B. write legislation.)

  • #678 Nick Gotts
    August 1, 2008

    We in America need to consider our increasing climate of violence. – Peter B.

    US rates of violent crime have come down significantly since the early ’90s:
    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm. Still, why let mere facts get in the way of a good rant, eh?

  • #679 Paul W.
    August 1, 2008

    US rates of violent crime have come down significantly since the early ’90s

    Yes, and the main reason for the big drop at that particular time is very interesting and very, very loaded.

    It’s something the Roman Catholic Church is very much against.

  • #680 Kseniya
    August 1, 2008

    Arbitrarily redefining the word “violence” to suit ones transient rhetorical needs is an act of dictional violence.

  • #681 Peter B.
    August 1, 2008

    Paul W.

    Perhaps, this might help in understanding my point:

    Dr. Marshall Rosenberg wrote extensively on violence from the perspective of human psychology.

    In his recent book, (Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life) Dr. Rosenberg cites the work of a Professor O.J. Harvey (Conceptual Systems and Personality Organization).

    Professor Harvey conducted research at the University of Colorado on the roots of violence in societies. Dr. Harvey analyzed literature from around the world and found a high correlation between the frequency of the use of ‘words’ that ‘classify’ and ‘judge’ people and the incidence of violence.

    In other words, in cultures where humans think of others in terms of “good” and “bad” and believe that the ‘bad’ ones deserve to be punished, violence level is high.

    Dr. Rosenberg sees the roots of violence in the way we think of others. (Dr. Rosenberg defines violence as including verbal, psychological, or physical.)

    Thus, Dr. Rosenberg argues that ‘classifying and judging’ people promotes violence. He argues that when we do this, we see the ’cause of conflict’ to ‘wrongness’ in ‘our adversaries.’ With this emotionally charged negative attitude, we become unable to see our adversaries as human beings like ourselves, subject to the same struggles and conflicts of living like us. This justifies the use of violence against the ‘enemy.’

    By classfying and judging other human beings as the enemy, the source of conflict, we become unable to see them (and ourselves) as vulnerable human beings, struggling together with our own fears and vulnerabilities in the world.

    Thus, instead of acknowledging our common humanity and understanding our mutual fears of each other, we just label each other as the enemy. This he argues, promotes violence.
    Do you see his observation replicated here in these posts?

    Hitler is an extreme human example of what happens when we classify and judge other humans in conflict with us.

    Reading Hitler’s speeches about Churchill’s warlike intentions prior to the outbreak of World War II, one can see how Hitler projected all his fears on Churchill. It is amazing. He could state with complete conviction that Churchill was the cause of conflict in the world and Germany was the innocent victim that needed to protect itself.

    You are not doing this mind you. You are not Hitler. I use Hitler only as a way of illustrating Dr. Rosenberg’s insights. Sometimes, extreme examples make the point clearer.

    But, Paul W. you have read my post as calling you a bigot and have threatened retaliation.

    I have become ‘the enemy”.
    Paul, I do not see you as my “enemy”!

    Paul, I am simply arguing the insights of Dr. Rosenberg on roots of violence (defined to include all forms of violence). As I understood this whole forum was originally about a reaction to others violence in the name of a deity.

    I am simply arguing that the use of verbal violence to promote a cause no matter how noble is irrational and counterproductive. Its use is illogical. It destroys human dialogue and provokes and contributes to a culture of violence.

    Atheists in my view would want to promote understanding and genuine human dialogue based on the use of human reason and compassionate dialogue.

  • #682 Jon W
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B.

    Is there no room for comedy in dialogue? Shouldn’t Catholics be grownup enough to accept that some people find the idea of the transubstantiation silly? It seems to me that the folks who simply CAN’T have a sense of humor about certain things are the folks who most likely foster a culture of violence.

  • #683 Jack PIcknell
    August 1, 2008

    2 Corinthians 12:9-10
    but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.

    Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

  • #684 Paul W., FCD
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B.

    I really, really, don’t see you as my enemy. I do see you as being on the other side in a conflict, and I think that’s fine.

    My background is largely in cognitive science, including schema theory, categories, etc. I’m conversant in multilevel game theory, the evolution of conflict and cooperation, etc.

    I think what you’re saying about Rosenberg and the roots of violence is simplistic and (as you present it) absurd. I was pointing up the absurdity, which I think is a valuable move in a legitimate verbal conflict.

    Your simplistic analysis overlooks the underlying roots of conflict. The way you present Rosenberg, it sounds like you think the root problem is verbal, and that it’s usually fighting words that cause fights. It also sounds like you’re an uber-pacifist who think the appropriate response to verbal contentiousness is never verbal contentiousness.

    (I say “contentiousness” because your use of “violence” is incorrect and pejorative. “Aggressiveness” would be too strong, too, if used the way you use “violence.”)

    I think that you are sadly mistaken on several counts.

    Sometimes violence must be countered with violence.

    Sometimes verbal contentiousness must be countered with verbal contentiousness.

    Often verbal conflict—discussion of ideas—prevents actual physical violence. That’s largely what free speech is about. We privilege verbal conflict over physical conflict, in hopes that our ideas die in our stead, with no blood being shed.

    Sometimes name-calling is the right thing to do. It sends a signal that people doing the name-calling are passionate about their views, and likely willing to back them up. It sometimes forces an issue, and makes peope back up their views.

    For example, the word “bigot” is a useful one, despite evoking a negative stereotype in “hostile” way. It can also be abused.

    Name-calling should not be a substitute for argument that clarifies and justifies the name-calling. And sometimes a publicity stunt is a worthy way of drawing attention to a serious issue.

    In the present case, I think that maybe PZ did in fact cross a line he “shouldn’t” have crossed, tactically speaking. The blowback and retrenching may not be outweighed by the benefits of PZ publically airing his views of a bigoted institution.

    But that doesn’t make your analysis anywhere near right. If PZ is doing the wrong thing, it’s for vastly more subtle reasons than “name calling is violence,” which is simply false.

    You’re not doing yourself any favors with the Churchill/Hitler example. You’re essentially casting the Pope as Hitler and PZ Myers as Winston Churchill.

    On a superficial analysis, PZ wins hands down, no contest.

    On a less superficial analysis, I think PZ still wins bigtime.

    You seem to be implying that Churchill’s fighting words gave Hitler ammunition for his fighting words on the other side. So maybe Churchill contributed to the short-term success of Hitler and Naziism.

    I think that’s likely right, in a weak sense, but it doesn’t support your eventual point.

    Hitler was a charismatic antisemitic psychopath. Churchill did not make him one. If Churchill hadn’t handed him ammunition, he’d have found it elsewhere, or just made it up. Hitler was like that, and he was very, very good at it.

    Likewise, PZ is not making Bill Donohue or the Pope up. Bill Donohue really is a bigoted blowhard of an intellectual lightweight who projects bigoted blowhardism onto people with more brains and sense than him. The Pope really is a dangerous dogmatic leader of a corrupt international institution. (He was instrumental in the fostering and coverup of widespread child-fucking for a long time. Not, presumably, because he’s in favor of child-fucking, but because he’s a frighteningly commited “company man” who thinks the ends justify the means.)

    If PZ didn’t exist as a target of their paranoia, they’d likely find or invent somebody more or less like him. Not necessarily—PZ may in fact be giving them easier-than-usual ammunition for their paranoid ravings, and creating more heat than light. I do worry about that, as my postings over the last few weeks show.

    But your analysis is just superficial, shoddy, and wrong. It’s way, way more complicated than you make it out to be.

    You are shooting the messenger, and providing a bullshit rationale for doing so.

    I think that PZ may in fact be a bad messenger in this case, but you’re a worse one for grotesquely oversimplifying some very interesting and critically important dynamics.

  • #685 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    Wow Jack, you have no idea how silly you sound.

    Calling religion and your cracker silly is not any form of violence. Debate doesn’t have to be nice.

  • #686 StuV
    August 1, 2008

    Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

    All the more proof that Christianity is institutionalized masochism. Give up control, give up money, give up free thought…

    Maybe we ought to send some experienced Leather Daddies into churches?

  • #687 Adrienne
    August 1, 2008

    Peter B wrote:

    By classfying and judging other human beings as the enemy, the source of conflict, we become unable to see them (and ourselves) as vulnerable human beings, struggling together with our own fears and vulnerabilities in the world.

    Thus, instead of acknowledging our common humanity and understanding our mutual fears of each other, we just label each other as the enemy. This he argues, promotes violence.

    This concept is certainly nothing new. It’s called “othering” (or it was when I was in college).

    Again, I think you’re committing the “excluded middle” fallacy. “Othering” CAN promote violence, but it does not necessarily promote violence against the group being opposed/othered. I do view you as an enemy on certain things (I’m fairly certain we are on opposite sides of the voting spectrum on the abortion issue, for instance), but that doesn’t mean I want to physically harm you. I will argue with you, attempt to change your mind, maybe even insult your beliefs, and I will certainly do all I can minimize your political influence (assuming you live and vote in the US), but I have no personal wish to see you come to harm or ruin.

  • #688 Adrienne
    August 1, 2008

    “Therefore, I am content with crappy bosses, bad cable reception, a leaky roof, Web pages that take too long to load, a boring sex life, and chronic halitosis, for the sake of Bob the Rain God; for when I am mediocre and habitually unsatisfied, then I have my belief in an imaginary Someone Who Seriously Gives A Shit About My Crappy Life to make me feel better about all of it.”

  • #689 SC
    August 1, 2008

    Maybe we ought to send some experienced Leather Daddies into churches?

    I was thinking of recommending The Vault in New York to some of them last week, but I googled it and it’s closed.

  • #690 SC
    August 1, 2008

    Um, not that I went there when it was open. I just knew it by reputation.

  • #691 StuV
    August 1, 2008

    Um, not that I went there when it was open. I just knew it by reputation.

    Sure. Uh-huh :-)

  • #692 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    I haven’t seen a single person point out the irony inherent in PZ’s act. For all of the atheists reading this blog, Christ died on a cross after having nails hammered into his hands and feet. It makes me wonder if PZ intended this irony.

    Either way, I think his actions will not raise any converts to atheism–since after all he is preaching to the choir (sorry to use a religious metaphor…but I assume you all are competent enough to understand). To the contrary, I think it will do the exact opposite. PZ made Christ’s sacrifice a very present reality for Catholics. Actions, like PZ’s desecration of a “cracker,” will invigorate Catholics in the world to be more outspoken about their faith as it comes under physical attack.

    Let me clarify the point of view of Catholics to help you understand my point…To Catholics, the “cracker” is NOT just a symbol, as a few of you have incorrectly noted, but the actual presence of God coupled with the powerful notion that the greatest being was willing to endure the worst punishment, simply to save his loved creation…very powerful stuff for those who believe in the faith. I can understand how it may seem idiotic, backward, naive, etc. for us to hold such a view…but it doesn’t take away from the fact that we hold it to be as true as you hold your concepts of “proven science.” If someone were to tell you today that the earth is flat (a poor example given the church’s previous view, but nonetheless), you would vehemently argue that they were wrong. Catholics will do the same for what they believe in. Therefore, no Catholic is going to take such an action as PZ’s lightly.

    It’s funny…if you look throughout history, the Church thrived and endured when there were attacks against it. (Try coming up with a substantial list of institutions that survived the middle ages intact) If anything, you are fueling our fire and vigor as well as our love for God, not making us doubt. Religion gets most of its power and draw from dissension…if all the outspoken critics of religion in the world simply stopped attacking religion…well, you do the math. If anyone’s seen the newest Batman, I think you know where I’m going with this.

    My point is…actions like PZ’s are counterproductive- trying to unveil the stupidity of a religion only gives fuel to the believers.

  • #693 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    It makes me wonder if PZ intended this irony.

    Figured that out on your own did you?

    Either way, I think his actions will not raise any converts to atheism–since after all he is preaching to the choir (sorry to use a religious metaphor…but I assume you all are competent enough to understand). To the contrary, I think it will do the exact opposite. PZ made Christ’s sacrifice a very present reality for Catholics. Actions, like PZ’s desecration of a “cracker,” will invigorate Catholics in the world to be more outspoken about their faith as it comes under physical attack.

    Are you sufficiently familiar with the whole story behind this?

  • #694 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    would you care to explain the “whole story”? I’ve only read what the “child molesting group” put out and around 100 of the posts.

    if he did intend irony…it definitely backfired as I pointed out

  • #695 Britomart
    August 1, 2008

    Of course he hasn’t read the whole story Rev!
    Why would he wish to be informed before he gives us an opinion?

    My killfile is getting bigger and bigger, does anyone know if it will ever get too full ?

    Thank you to whomever suggested it, I am forever grateful.

  • #696 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    would you care to explain the “whole story”? I’ve only read what the “child molesting group” put out and around 100 of the posts.

    The posts here or just the mis-info from the Donohue?

    Do a search for cracker up top and read the posts. If you have then good. If not then it would be beneficial to know the whole story.

    I don’t see that it backfired. If anything it showed exactly how irrational a group of people can get over a cracker. Which was the point of PZs threat in teh first place. To show that the response to the kid who took the cracker first to his seat was not a measured response. Then once he was assaulted by members of the church and left the building, he was given death threats. Again not a equally measured response. The Catholics who responsed blew a gasket. PZ threw a cracker and nail in a trashcan along with a few other things.

    Now which is worse. Physical assault and death threats or desecration of a cracker?

  • #697 Britomart
    August 1, 2008

    What child molesting group is putting out information that we are the badguys?

    That makes no sense what so ever!

  • #698 Peter B.
    August 1, 2008

    I wish you all the best!

  • #699 Jon W
    August 1, 2008

    the catholic,

    Let me see if I have you right: You’re warning us that ridiculing your magic rituals will instigate a greater public conversation, and atheists should be afraid of this because the Catholic church has a blood-soaked history of preserving its power? What’s your warning exactly? That if the “mystery” of cracker magic comes under closer public scrutiny, the majority of fence-sitters are bound to see the logic behind it? Or that Catholics will be whipped up into such a frenzy that we should fear another crusade?

  • #700 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    “Of course he hasn’t read the whole story Rev!”

    You act like my comments don’t pertain in context of whatever story there might be beyond some professor sticking a nail in a consecrated host.

    If anything they are even more relevant, how many Catholics are really going to get the whole story before they get on their soapboxes in disgust…again reaffirming my point.

  • #701 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    If anything they are even more relevant, how many Catholics are really going to get the whole story before they get on their soapboxes in disgust…again reaffirming my point.

    Are you trying to make the argument that we shouldn’t ridicule your religion because the members of your religion ignore the facts and get upset anyway?

    And the point is, the context of the nail in the cracker is VERY important to the reason behind it. Ridicule was brought on by the actions of members of your religion. This was not unprovoked.

  • #702 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    Yeah. Read the post Catholic. It’s very well explained. Even though I’m sure you won’t like it, it wasn’t done for the reasons you assume.

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

  • #703 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    “Now which is worse. Physical assault and death threats or desecration of a cracker?”

    Thank you “Rev. BigDumbChimp” for explaining that there actually was a motivation. I had heard of that story before (not knowing it pertained) and it had saddened me–the death threats that is. It’s people like that who give Catholics such a bad name. Just like suicide bombers give Islam a bad rep.

    Any Catholic should know that they should not have given the death threats. One of Christ’s messages was to “let he who was without sin throw the first stone”. Clearly, you cannot say that this minority (the ones who gave the death threats) represents the majority of Catholic belief considering that retaliation is contradictory to what our faith actually says.

  • #704 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    Don’t ever ridicule beliefs, if the holders of the beliefs will be offended. Really? That’s your argument. It’s lame.

  • #705 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    “Don’t ever ridicule beliefs, if the holders of the beliefs will be offended. Really? That’s your argument. It’s lame.”

    No steve….my argument is that by ridiculing our faith, many actually will be strengthened in their belief in God. After all, our religion tells us that we should stand strong in the face of persecution because he have eternal happiness to gain.

    I am merely trying to illustrate the Catholic mindset. Telling us we are fools isn’t persuasive…I mean come on…I’ve had communion hundreds if not thousands of times…you actually think that I don’t realize it tastes like a “cracker”? You aren’t telling us anything we don’t already know…

  • #706 cicely
    August 1, 2008

    @679:

    US rates of violent crime have come down significantly since the early ’90s

    Yes, and the main reason for the big drop at that particular time is very interesting and very, very loaded.

    It’s something the Roman Catholic Church is very much against.

    Posted by: Paul W.

    At the risk of diverting attention away from the never-ending Crackergate saga (and goodness knows, none of us want that!)(/sarcasm, by the way), to what is this drop in violent crime attributed? And by whom?

  • #707 cicely
    August 1, 2008

    the catholic @#692:

    I haven’t seen a single person point out the irony inherent in PZ’s act.

    Then clearly you haven’t read the many, many threads, containing many, many posts, on this whole desecration issue. It’s there. Repeatedly.

    You might want to catch up with the required reading.

  • #708 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    Destroying a cracker isn’t persecution. Despite the mindset.

    You KNOW it’s a cracker and yet you get offended by someone saying it’s just a cracker.

  • #709 Prazzie
    August 1, 2008

    cicely – “to what is this drop in violent crime attributed? And by whom?”

    I assume the poster was referring to the Donohue-Levitt hypothesis. They attribute the drop in crime to Roe vs Wade – in other words, those who were likely to be criminals today were aborted back then.

  • #710 Paul W.
    August 1, 2008

    cicely,

    Yes, and the main reason for the big drop [in crime] at that particular time is very interesting and very, very loaded.

    […]to what is this drop in violent crime attributed? And by whom?

    Roe v. Wade legalized abortion on demand across the country. 15 to 25 years later, there was a big drop in the crime rate because many of the likely criminals were never born.

    The idea is most closely associated with the economist Steven Leavitt, author of Freakonomics. His chapter on the subject is pretty interesting.

    The basic idea is that abortion on demand disproportionately affected young, poor, single, uneducated and unwilling would(n’t)-be mothers. They are the demographic group most likely to have children who grow up to be criminals—or at least, people who are criminals when they’re in their late teens or early twenties.

    There are several lines of evidence that it was Roe v. Wade (in the 1970’s) that was mainly responsible for the big drop in the (previously-increasing) crime rate in the 1990’s.

    One is just the timing. Probably not just coincidence.

    Another is that the crime rate dropped sooner in the four states that legalized abortion on demand prior to Roe v. Wade. (Including New York, where the crime rate drop was popularly attributed to innovative policing strategies, but the same strategies applied in LA, later, by the same police chief failed to have much effect.)

    Another piece of evidence is that overall, the states with the highest proportion young/poor/uneducated women having abortions in the 1970’s also generally had the largest proportional crime rate drop in the 1990’s.

    The clincher, as I understand it, is that the 6 leading alternative theories just don’t cut it. For example, the general aging of the population and slow decline in the number of young people 15-25 wouldn’t cut explain the sudden substantial drop in the 1990’s… it’d have been a smaller effect and much more spread out.

    I’m not an economist or sociologist, though, so take the above with a grain of salt.

  • #711 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    the catholic, #705, wrote:

    my argument is that by ridiculing our faith, many actually will be strengthened in their belief in God.

    I believe some – perhaps even many – will have had their belief in god weakened by this; others, perhaps, will view the extremism in their co-religionists as a good reason to leave the catholic church, even if they don’t free themselves from religion altogether.

  • #712 Nick Gotts
    August 1, 2008

    to what is this drop in violent crime attributed? And by whom? – cicely

    I think what’s being referred to is the easier availability of abortion in the 80s – hence fewer children born into very bad circumstances, hence fewer screwed-up young men now. Dubner and Levitt’s Freakonomics suggests this I believe, but I don’t know whether there is solid research behind it. Anyone? I just happened to know that the statistics (and of course one must be cautious about them) suggest a significant drop, and it pisses me off when people make sweeping statements about social/demographic/political issues on the basis of complete ignorance of readily available and non-technical information.

  • #713 Angela
    August 1, 2008

    Some issues people wanted sorted out. I believe the question was posted as such: “Angela, I assume you never eat a hamburger in the vicinity of a Hindu.” Indeed, I have not or would not. Neither would I eat pork in the presence of a Jewish person, nor would I drink alcohol in front of a Muslim. But, as much as this may wound your apparent egalitarian sensibilities, the eating of the Blessed Sacrament is qualitatively different than abstaining from beef, pork, or alcohol. First of all, we actually eat the Eucharist, rather than abstain from a substance. And the reasons and significance are different. I said I would be interested in rational discourse — in a real exchange of ideas in an open and respectful nature. However, when I am slandered for my beliefs and called an idiot FOR NO GOOD REASON AT ALL, I have no desire to continue engaging. Your arguments are emotionally charged, personal rants, and I see no willingness to actually DISCUSS what the Church teaches. Rather, I see pulling quotes out of context, pointing a finger and yelling “SEE, the Catholic Church REALLY is evil.” Well that makes no sense. I am willing to engage in a discussion based on mutual respect, a willingness to listen, and willingness to respond with due dignity. If not, then I really have no desire to engage in an overly-emotional (and quite frankly ridiculous) rant. God bless.

  • #714 Angela
    August 1, 2008

    Some issues people wanted sorted out. I believe the question was posted as such: “Angela, I assume you never eat a hamburger in the vicinity of a Hindu.” Indeed, I have not or would not. Neither would I eat pork in the presence of a Jewish person, nor would I drink alcohol in front of a Muslim. But, as much as this may wound your apparent egalitarian sensibilities, the eating of the Blessed Sacrament is qualitatively different than abstaining from beef, pork, or alcohol. First of all, we actually eat the Eucharist, rather than abstain from a substance. And the reasons and significance are different. I said I would be interested in rational discourse — in a real exchange of ideas in an open and respectful nature. However, when I am slandered for my beliefs and called an idiot FOR NO GOOD REASON AT ALL, I have no desire to continue engaging. Your arguments are emotionally charged, personal rants, and I see no willingness to actually DISCUSS what the Church teaches. Rather, I see pulling quotes out of context, pointing a finger and yelling “SEE, the Catholic Church REALLY is evil.” Well that makes no sense. I am willing to engage in a discussion based on mutual respect, a willingness to listen, and willingness to respond with due dignity. If not, then I really have no desire to engage in an overly-emotional (and quite frankly ridiculous) rant. God bless.

  • #715 Angela
    August 1, 2008

    Some issues people wanted sorted out. I believe the question was posted as such: “Angela, I assume you never eat a hamburger in the vicinity of a Hindu.” Indeed, I have not or would not. Neither would I eat pork in the presence of a Jewish person, nor would I drink alcohol in front of a Muslim. But, as much as this may wound your apparent egalitarian sensibilities, the eating of the Blessed Sacrament is qualitatively different than abstaining from beef, pork, or alcohol. First of all, we actually eat the Eucharist, rather than abstain from a substance. And the reasons and significance are different. I said I would be interested in rational discourse — in a real exchange of ideas in an open and respectful nature. However, when I am slandered for my beliefs and called an idiot FOR NO GOOD REASON AT ALL, I have no desire to continue engaging. Your arguments are emotionally charged, personal rants, and I see no willingness to actually DISCUSS what the Church teaches. Rather, I see pulling quotes out of context, pointing a finger and yelling “SEE, the Catholic Church REALLY is evil.” Well that makes no sense. I am willing to engage in a discussion based on mutual respect, a willingness to listen, and willingness to respond with due dignity. If not, then I really have no desire to engage in an overly-emotional (and quite frankly ridiculous) rant. God bless.

  • #716 Kseniya
    August 1, 2008

    Adrienne (#688) FTW!

  • #717 CJO
    August 1, 2008

    called an idiot FOR NO GOOD REASON AT ALL

    You’re called an idiot because cracker worship is, at best, idiotic.

  • #718 Kseniya
    August 1, 2008

    Angela, posting a Holy Trinity of comment(s) isn’t really necessary. One will do.

  • #719 SC
    August 1, 2008

    One will do.

    They are One. Heretic!

  • #720 Paul W.
    August 1, 2008

    Nick,

    Leavitt and Dubner (in Freakonomics) go into a moderate amount of detail (for a popular book) supporting their explanation and debunking the major alternatives, with citations to peer-reviewed papers about both.

    That doesn’t make them right, of course, but tentatively I find it reasonably persuasive, and certainly interesting and plausible.

    One citation is Steven D. Leavitt “Understanding why Crime Fell in the 1990’s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not” Journal of Economic Perspectives 18, no. 1 (2004), pp. 163-90.

    There are a bunch of citations to papers quantifying the likely effects of particular alternative theories, are used to support that paper’s thesis. (Some are by Leavitt and/or John J. Donohue III et al., his sometime collaborator, et al.)

    I’m sure their conclusion is controversial, in the sense that it’s a hot potato. I don’t know how controversial it is in terms of the actual evidence & reasoning.

  • #721 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    Wowbagger…

    Were you ever religious? If not, how can you understand the mind of the religious?

    And, if you really think many will have their faith “weakened” by this…I’m sorry to inform you, but history is on my side of the argument. Think about all of the martyrs of the early church, for instance, (or did you not even know they existed?) who in the face of death by gruesome means refused to change their beliefs. If the threat of losing our lives didn’t cause the majority to reject our beliefs, you actually think telling Catholics that in all physical appearances the host is just a cracker is SOOO earth shattering that Catholics will leave the Church in swarms? I think you are sadly mistaken.

    By the way, you should read my earlier post (I addressed the extremism).

    Before attacking a set of beliefs that you do not fully comprehend, I merely suggest that you pick up a copy of the Catholic Catechism (you probably can even access it online–it is very organized so that if you want to see the Church’s view on an issue, it should be very easy to locate). If you want to pull direct quotes from that and criticize those…go ahead. But, please don’t assume that everything each Catholic person says and does is sanctioned by the Pope/the Church.

  • #722 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    You’re not slandered for your beliefs. You’re made fun of. There’s a difference. There’s no need to understand the Catholic ritual because at its core it starts with the belief that there is a personal god. Whatever dance, prayer, candle burning, sacrifice, offering, hand motions, genuflecting or singing you do, based on that belief, is irrelevant.

    It’s silly. Sorry. But it is.

  • #723 Anne Nonymous
    August 1, 2008

    “the catholic”, I used to be a Catholic once myself. And you know what weakened my faith? Simply the discovery that it was possible to be something other than religious. Hearing about the other religions never impressed me, because I “knew” Catholicism was the one true way, but one day I met a fellow student who was a confident, outspoken atheist. I’d never realized you could do that, but once I thought about it I realized that there really was no way to tell the difference between talking to the Catholic god and talking to myself. And once I discovered that, my sense of intellectual honesty just wouldn’t let me maintain my belief any more.

    So if you think outspoken atheism never converted anybody away from Catholicism, you’re just plain wrong. It wasn’t so much my friend’s arguments that made an impression, mind you, but just the possibility he introduced me to. A number of other people on this blog have mentioned being forced to reconsider their religious beliefs after hearing those beliefs ridiculed by friends. Sometimes it takes a bit of a kick in the seat of the pants to give people a new perspective.

    Granted some people have (through years of failing to exercise their minds) built up a fairly thick padding of rationalization and denial on their metaphorical buttocks, which makes it pretty hard to kick-start their brains that way, but that doesn’t mean a few of the more mentally fit among the religious might not be affected by it. And that’s a goal worth striving for.

  • #724 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    Steve..
    The Catholic Catechism has little to nothing to do with the rituals. It simply explains what we believe. You could even read things like: rape of children is the worst form of rape imaginable and use that as ammunition against the priests if you want. But, at least you know that what the priests did is in no way sanctioned by what we believe.

    I think its a good idea to understand fully the other sides position before jumping to conclusions. Hence, why I asked earlier for the context of the incident, so I could understand where the professor was coming from.

    Yes, we do have rituals, but that is not the core of the faith. It’s merely for consistency throughout the world. If you’ve ever been to different protestant services and then to multiple catholic services…you would understand why there is a desire to maintain some semblance of consistency. Think about how scientists all use Latin roots and the scientific method. Those are rituals too. Yet, I don’t call them problematic. It’s simply a way to keep things consistent.

    Like Angela said, I’m trying to show the utmost respect for your positions. All we ask in return is that you give us a little respect in your responses and not merely write off what we say as extremist babble (because despite what you might think…I’ve never bombed an abortion clinic, I never sent death threats, I never made a Jew wear different clothing, etc.)

  • #725 Nick Gotts
    August 1, 2008

    If the threat of losing our lives didn’t cause the majority to reject our beliefs, you actually think telling Catholics that in all physical appearances the host is just a cracker is SOOO earth shattering that Catholics will leave the Church in swarms?
    Well first, they already are leaving in swarms, at least in Europe and I suspect in the US (although immigration is keeping numbers up there) – hence the shortage of priests. Second, you are very naive about human psychology. Bravely holding to your convictions in the face of threats, torture and death may be easier than maintaining them in the face of mockery – particularly of a belief that, at some level, the mocked person themselves knows is absurd. (And you do. Oh, yes, you do!) The extreme reaction of many Catholics in the current case suggests that at some level, they know this psychological truth.

  • #726 Nick Gotts
    August 1, 2008

    Like Angela said, I’m trying to show the utmost respect for your positions. – the catholic

    Frankly, I’m not interested in your respect. The respect of an educated person who nonetheless believes utter absurdities, and belongs to an organisation that has a long history of persecuting others whenever it has the power to do so, and is currently responsible for suffering and avoidable premature death on an immense scale, is of no value to me.

  • #727 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    The Catholic,

    I’ve never been religious – which puts me in the minority amongst the regular posters here.

    But I’ve heard deconversion stories, and many of them feature anecdotes about how the mockery of the beliefs the person considered sacred played a part in getting them to think (often for the first time) about what it was they were choosing to believe in. Having done so they came to abandon those beliefs.

    It’s the 21st century. We know there’s no such thing as magic – yet you believe that Christ somehow enters the cracker because of a ritual? It’s the socially acceptable equivalent of doing a rain dance or reading the entrails of a dead animal to predict the future.

    There are catholics who don’t believe in literal transubstantiation; several of them posted on the earlier threads. These are the people to whom I referred in my post – the fence-sitters, the doubters; those who are only going to please their elderly grandmother or because it’s what their ethnic group does. Those who no more genuinely believe it than I.

    What makes you think I didn’t read your earlier post? Your call of No True Catholic? has zero value here – they identified as catholics, acting to defend catholics and catholicism.

    As for ‘fully comprehend’ – what do I need to comprehend? Do I need to know the name of every Hindu deity to know I don’t believe in them? Am I required to learn Old Norse so I may confidently ignore the Edda?

    All I need to know is this: you believe in a number of supernatural premises – each without evidence – and support a church whose teachings and practices are so flawed that the morally contemptible aspects far outweigh the good.

    Wading through acres of self-indulgent sophistry isn’t going to change that.

  • #728 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    By the way. I was confirmed a Catholic when I was 15. The process weakened my faith, luckily. Actually learning the dogma made me realize what nonsense it was. I held onto a belief in some sort of god for a few more years, then considered myself agnostic and finally matured, to atheism, like a fine Bordeaux.

  • #729 Anne Nonymous
    August 1, 2008

    “the catholic”, a further comment, if I may. People here have said a lot of casually dismissive stuff about the Catholic Church, some of which is probably rather hyperbolic and some of which shows a great deal of ignorance about the specific details of the tenets and rituals of Catholicism. But, honestly, nobody here really cares about the specific tenets and rituals of Catholicism, because as we see it, they’re all based on a belief in supernatural nonsense (the existence of this rather nebulous and unbelievable “God” character, the magical deeds of himself/his son “Jesus”, and so forth). And as far as we’re concerned, the fact that the basis of all this is nonsense means the specific details of how you celebrate your nonsense-based belief system are uninteresting and irrelevant.

    Seeing as how pretty much all the atheists here are in general opposed to nonsense-based beliefs (on the ground that evidence-based beliefs tend to provide more useful guidance in figuring out how to accomplish one’s goals and running a society and so forth), we don’t generally worry too much about the specific nonsense a particular group of nonsense-believers adhere to. Most of us also put our former nonsense-based beliefs behind us a long time ago (those who had such beliefs to begin with), and have long since become extremely frustrated with having to deal with the nasty consequences of other people’s nonsense-based beliefs for the world we live in. So if commenters here tend to become rather impatient with those who come spouting nonsense-based beliefs and to be more interested in disposing of them than in patiently coddling them out of their nonsense, this is why.

    In conclusion, all I’ve got to say is that if you intend to be a nonsense-peddler here, you better keep your asbestos longjohns handy. Whining about how the fireplace is hot will get you exactly nowhere if you’re the one who stepped into the damn thing in the first place.

  • #730 Nick Gotts
    August 1, 2008

    Paul W,
    I hadn’t seen your #710 when I wrote #712. The points you make look fairly convincing to me, although like you I’m not an expert in these areas, and I’d like to hear the opposition’s arguments, if they have any!

  • #731 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    I’ve been way more insulting to Scientologists. This is nothing.

  • #732 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    anne—i like the name, lol

    I understand your position. And, I most definitely am not naive enough to believe that NO ONE will change their mind. But, I think the the majority will not waver in their faith and that at least quite a few will be strengthened. Because if everyone did have “epiphanies” like you, we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now because the Catholic church would have dissipated to nonexistence by now.

    Interesting you bring up the point about how talking to yourself is no different than talking to God. I’ve had a few conversations with my Catholic friends about that. We tended to come to the same conclusion that it was somewhat indistinguishable but that it nonetheless was prayer. Just because you can’t prove for sure that it is, doesn’t mean it isn’t. (did i just tell you that you still prayed haha?…didn’t mean to insult you if you take insult to that)

    Just curious…why is it a goal to convince people that there is no God? I mean, have you ever heard of Pascal’s wager? He decided that he’d believe in God because either a) God existed and he’d have eternal happiness or b) God didn’t exist but at least he lived a life he could say he was proud of. Whats so wrong with allowing us to live in our “un-enlightened fantasy world in which there is a God” especially if it keeps most (i do stress most…because there are always exceptions to rules) of us decent human beings? A world without religion means that all morality would be governed by governments. I assume you live in the US. Do you really want OUR government to dictate morality? maybe you do…

  • #733 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    anne–

    I don’t know if you’ve read all my posts. I merely posted originally to say that despite what happened to you and what you think might happen to other Catholics, the Church is never going to disappear–in fact–I’m pretty sure it’s going to continue growing (and yes, I’ll put money on that bet). The Church has endured many scandals, made some mistakes, been persecuted, etc etc…and never wavered. It stands strong and will continue through the end of time.

    So, all I mean to say is that your complaining about the Church won’t win over enough hearts to make Her go away.

    Also, I forget if I said it before or not..but simply because you can’t prove an almighty being exists, does not mean that you can prove he does not exist.

  • #734 Steve_C
    August 1, 2008

    Our government does dictate morality to a certain extent. That’s what laws do. Also, societies determined their behavioral limitations and expectations of it’s members long before any formal religion existed. There’s evolutionary explanations for why humans have empathy and an altruistic tendency. They would remain if religion went extinct.

    No one is not allowing you to practice your religion. No one is advocating that.

    Also I would argue that, if you gave up your belief in a sky daddy it would have no real negative effect on your behavior. You may look at the world differently, and it could even have a positive effect on you in many ways. If you live for today, and enjoy everything the world has to offer, rather than worrying about a final judgement, you might even be a happier person.

    But maybe not.

  • #735 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    The Catholic,

    I think you’ll find the reasons why people remain affiliated with a church is far more complex than the beliefs involved; hence why something like this – which both challenges the beliefs and illustrates other issues (in this case extremism) – is far more likely to have an impact than if PZ had written a blog titled ‘I don’t believe it’s anything more than a cracker’.

    Which is reason Dawkins’ book is called The God Delusion and not The God Belief I Don’t Agree With.

    You shouldn’t conflate speaking to one’s self in a hopeful manner with praying, since it’s very different – but on the plus side at least the atheist doesn’t delude his or herself that anything’s going to come of it.

    There aren’t many atheists who are familiar with – and dismissive of – Pascal’s wager. Most of us believe he should have stuck to geometry.

    A world without religion would mean morality determined by people who are alive today – i.e. not one where antiquated notions of things like sexuality and contraception are allowed (even encouraged) to ruin the lives of many and end the prematurely end the lives of many more.

  • #736 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    sorry about the typos in my last post – the caffeine (it’s morning where i am) hasn’t kicked in yet.

  • #737 Anne Nonymous
    August 1, 2008

    the catholic, here’s the thing about your god, or anybody else’s god, for that matter — there’s just no damn evidence for any of them. Not a scrap of substantive argument in favor of them actually existing. There are plenty of begged questions and handwaving, there’s all kinds of “well, you can’t disprove it!”, there’s a substantial collection of varied and contradictory storytelling, but no evidence. And, I’m a scientist. I want to know how the universe actually works, so that I can interact with said universe in the most advantageous way possible (and also because learning stuff is fun!).

    Step one in figuring out how the universe actually works is to ruthlessly discard any beliefs that don’t have evidentiary support, or at best to be massively skeptical about them. If you go around believing things without evidence, it can get in the way of you being able to accept things that do have evidence (as witness the creationist nonsense). I’m trying to keep my basic beliefscape neat and clean here, and stuff like god belief without evidence would just clutter things up.

    You can Pascal’s wager me all you want, but even if Pascal’s wager weren’t nonsense (Which god do I pick? A lot of them say I’ll go to hell if I pick wrong! And, geez, would a decent god really want to be worshipped just because somebody thinks it’s the safe bet? As if I could change what I believe just by wanting it anyway!) I’d still say that the risk is worth taking just for the sake of being able to keep the god-shaped logs out of my eyes so that I can see the universe clearly.

    And of course the notion that one needs a God or a government to dictate morality is just plain silly. The only role the government needs to have is to provide basic services in a more effective fashion than the marketplace, and to keep people from interfering with each other’s autonomy too much. The government doesn’t so much enforce morality as provide a framework for us to interact reasonably sanely together as a social species, and to accomplish things together that we can’t easily accomplish as individuals.

    And, besides, it’s not exactly clear to me why you think a religious hierarchy is a better enforcer of morality than a government. In either case, it’s made of humans, who can be selfish or stupid or misguided or any other number of bad things which can mess everything up pretty good. The only saving grace is to have some kind of mechanism for the rest of us to stop them when they get out of hand, also known as democracy. A religious hierarchy (of the Catholic kind at least) doesn’t have anything like that, which is why the hierarchy these days is so out of sync with the majority of American and European Catholics. I’m not exactly a fan of much of what our government does these days, but bad as they are I’d sure rather have them in charge than the Pope or anybody else of that flavor. At least these assholes we may be able to get rid of this fall. The only way to be rid of a Pope would be violent insurrection. Which seems to me like a poor way to run things.

  • #738 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    The idea of a religious-based morality (for Christians) is pointless anyway, since a key aspect is the human preponderance to sin and the subsequent forgiveness of those sins.

    It’s like posting a speed limit of 20mph at the track where the Bugatti Veyron owner’s club meets and letting them off each time you pull them over.

  • #739 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    Well, I’m going to peace out.

    All I can say is that right now I am the most religious I’ve ever been in my life…and I couldn’t be happier. I haven’t limited my intellectual potential because of my beliefs. So, I can’t imagine a happier/more fruitful life for myself than what I’m living. If I am suffering from a “delusion,” so be it. At least I’m at peace and happy. I can’t argue with that.

    I wish you all well and I leave you with a loving heart,
    the catholic

  • #740 Anne Nonymous
    August 1, 2008

    I never really get this thing where people decide to prize peace of mind (however illusory) over clear thinking. “the catholic” is not the only person I’ve seen bow out of a discussion on such a note. I mean, accepting the universe as being most-probably god-free was one of the most wrenching events of my life, and it’s taken me years to do anything like fully working out the consequences of that acceptance, but it never once crossed my mind that I should give up my hard-won truth for a comforting fable. I spent a lot of time hoping to discover that that truth was false, and a lot more time trying to determine whether I could stomach and benefit from religious ritual without religious belief, but idea of abdicating knowledge horrifies me. I might as well put an icepick through my frontal lobes while I’m at it.

    If you’re still here “the catholic” what gives? How can you live with that?

  • #741 John Morales
    August 1, 2008

    Goodbye and good riddance, the catholic.

    It’s fitting that your final point was:

    Also, I forget if I said it before or not..but simply because you can’t prove an almighty being exists, does not mean that you can prove he does not exist.

    heh.

  • #742 truth machine, OM
    August 1, 2008

    I haven’t limited my intellectual potential because of my beliefs.

    More likely your limited intellect is implicated in your believing what you do.

  • #743 Anne Nonymous
    August 1, 2008

    You know, truth machine, I’ve struggled for a long time to come up with an alternate explanation for why people cling to religion, because I really don’t want to believe that so many people are so stupid. But I have yet to come up with something that’s a better fit than just basic failure to reason well about certain issues. It makes me very sad.

  • #744 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    All I can say is that right now I am the most religious I’ve ever been in my life…and I couldn’t be happier. I haven’t limited my intellectual potential because of my beliefs. So, I can’t imagine a happier/more fruitful life for myself than what I’m living. If I am suffering from a “delusion,” so be it. At least I’m at peace and happy. I can’t argue with that.

    That you can consider that you haven’t limited your intellectual potential because of your beliefs is very good evidence that you’ve done just that. Religion is intellectual limitation because it allows you to stop asking questions at the point where those beliefs tell you the answer is ‘god’. All you can do then is run around in circles as you ruminate on what god’s motivations might be.

    Plus you sound like a junkie who, while high, is trying to justify the substance abuse despite the crippling side-effects of the addiction.

  • #745 the catholic
    August 1, 2008

    Anne

    I guess I’ll make a brief encore, but I’ve said what I came to say and you made it obvious earlier that you were not interested in my opinion.

    I think you misunderstand my position. I am very intellectual, I enjoy studying philosophy, and I am open to all points of view. I have long contemplated whether or not I actually believe in God. Don’t think for one second that I blindly accepted the faith of my parents. I have pondered over the same issues you have problems with and then some. I take each part of Catholic belief, dissect it and determine if I agree with it. Believe me, no one on this post has said anything “new”…ie all of these thoughts have crossed my mind once if not many times (of my own accord-not because I was “enlightened” by an atheist).

    I just see all of the good in the world and humanity and the perfection of creation and I just can’t fathom that some randomness set all of this into motion. It makes more sense for me that an all-loving and knowing being existed from the beginning that put things into motion.

    I also know that I have prayed before and had my prayers answered–times when science couldn’t solve the problem.

    So, go ahead and think that I am naive or what have you. But, I am one of the most contemplative people you will ever encounter. So, please don’t just assume that since I’m religious that I can’t have a unique thought of my own.

  • #746 Sastra
    August 1, 2008

    Catholic #692 wrote:

    My point is…actions like PZ’s are counterproductive- trying to unveil the stupidity of a religion only gives fuel to the believers.

    I think PZ’s original point is getting lost. He did not desecrate the cracker in order to weaken the faith of Catholics. He desecrated the cracker in order to persuade them to keep their beliefs on desecration and blasphemy INSIDE their churches and religion.

    If they are going to demand that Cook’s act of taking the cracker home be treated by the university and secular society as if it was a genuine kidnapping or act of violence, then they should expect more such “desecrations” in protest. It is similar to the concept of burning an American flag to protest laws that “protect” the flag by criminalizing such actions. The idea of sacred symbols — of beliefs that must not be challenged, mocked, disparaged, or insulted — belongs within closed communities, not open societies.

    I think the arguments against the truth of the Eucharist — and the existence of God — which are now being made are just byproducts of the original point. PZ’s act was not intended to convert anyone to atheism. It was to keep religious believers from assuming their beliefs had a special right to be respected as true in the public square, or protected with reverence. There is no such obligation, any more than we both have an obligation to refrain from criticizing Islam — or than you have an obligation to refrain from telling atheists we are going to hell.

    “Hurt feelings” does not trump freedom.

  • #747 truth machine, OM
    August 1, 2008

    Mark Sutton wrote previously:

    I know you do not believe, but what if it truly is Jesus that you are attempting to hurt?

    Let me add:

    Leave Jesus alone! How fucking dare anyone make fun of Jesus! After all he’s been through! All you fucking people care about is readers, and making money off of him! He’s a human!

  • #748 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    The Catholic wrote:

    I take each part of Catholic belief, dissect it and determine if I agree with it

    The problem with what I perceive of your approach is that I suspect that when you find something in the dogma you disagree with, you are obliged to feel that it is you who are in the wrong – not it.

    Is there anything you’ve disagreed with? What did you do about it? How big a disagreement would it take for you to leave catholicism – even if it was for another christian faith?

  • #749 cynic
    August 1, 2008

    “I’ve struggled for a long time to come up with an alternate explanation for why people cling to religion”

    people cling to religion because:
    -it gives them hope
    -it’s something beyond themselves to live for: w/o religion everything would solely be about self-aggrandizements..some people can’t cope with that
    -helps them appease fear of death

    just to name a few

  • #750 truth machine, OM
    August 1, 2008

    me:
    More likely your limited intellect is implicated in your believing what you do.

    tC:
    I just can’t fathom

    Ayup.

  • #751 truth machine, OM
    August 1, 2008

    it’s something beyond themselves to live for: w/o religion everything would solely be about self-aggrandizements

    This is demonstrably not true.

  • #752 Rev. BigDUmbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    Angela, I assume you never eat a hamburger in the vicinity of a Hindu.” Indeed, I have not or would not. Neither would I eat pork in the presence of a Jewish person, nor would I drink alcohol in front of a Muslim. But, as much as this may wound your apparent egalitarian sensibilities, the eating of the Blessed Sacrament is qualitatively different than abstaining from beef, pork, or alcohol. First of all, we actually eat the Eucharist, rather than abstain from a substance. And the reasons and significance are different

    Angela if you eat beef at all you are desecrating a sacred thing for Hindus. Not eating pork or drinking alcohol are completely different as they are considered unclean or unholy. The cow is considered sacred. So the question is not whether or not you eat it in front of a Hindu its whether you eat it at all. Would it change anything if we were secretly driving nails through crackers and you didn’t know about it?

    So its obvious that only your sacred cows are really sacred.

    Hypocritical.

  • #753 truth machine, OM
    August 1, 2008

    I take each part of Catholic belief, dissect it and determine if I agree with it.

    Have you done the same thing with the tenets of every other religion, and treated them all to equal scrutiny?

    Here’s a couple of statements about you: you’re quite intellectually dishonest, and not particularly bright. Try taking those apart and determining whether you agree with them — honestly.

    So, go ahead and think that I am naive or what have you. But, I am one of the most contemplative people you will ever encounter. So, please don’t just assume that since I’m religious that I can’t have a unique thought of my own.

    This bundle of false dichotomies and strawmen is evidence of both intellectual dishonesty and dimwittedness.

  • #754 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Sastra, I beg (humbly; I’m always impressed by your posts) to differ – on the point of how PZ’s actions were intended to affect catholics.

    I believe any atheist making a public spectacle of any kind is, to some extent, aiming to diminish beliefs. This was something Dawkins made a point of in TGD – that he was letting people know that it’s okay to do without religion.

    As I said to The Catholic, I am not a deconvert, so I’m not that familiar with what it might take to inspire someone to free themselves from religion. But as several posters have reminded us – and other deconversion stories have attested – the revelation (for want of a better word) that atheists exist, that not everyone holds sacred beliefs to be sacred, and that god has not struck an atheist down (directly or indirectly) for his/her so-called blasphemy have all helped in the shedding process.

    I can’t imagine why PZ wouldn’t want to be considered someone actively working to convert people to atheism. I’ve written in many of the cracker-related posts that if he’s managed to drag even one fence-sitter away from their irrational belief system then his efforts have been worthwhile.

    Otherwise all he’s doing is providing a way for atheists to gather together and engage in self-congratulation. While I’m aware that that’s how it often is, I have to believe there’s more to it.

    I know there is for me.

  • #755 Sastra
    August 1, 2008

    Wowbagger #748 wrote:

    How big a disagreement would it take for you to leave catholicism – even if it was for another christian faith?

    I think this is a variation of a more basic question: if God does not exist — and never has existed — and the world came to be the way it is without any intention behind it: THEN what would cause you to realize this, and change your mind? Put more simply, what would have to happen for you to no longer believe in God?

    The answers I’ve heard from believers are revealing. Many duck the question — or grossly misinterpret it — but those who do respond usually talk about some life-shattering experience making them lose hope or joy. “I suppose I might lose faith if I was faced with a crisis like my children all dying in a fire.” “I would have to get very, very depressed.” Or, rather pointlessly, “if the universe came to an end.”

    A fair number proudly and unabashedly announce that NOTHING would cause them to stop believing there is a God — as if I will be impressed by their strength of character.

    It suggests to me that their belief is not a conclusion which has been based on a consideration and analysis of the evidence. It can’t change given a new finding — any new finding. It is instead a faith commitment to interpret the evidence in a particular way which shouldn’t be — can’t be — falsified. An objective claim that a certain fact is true about the way things are is given form and substance, and treated like a beloved friend towards whom one must be loyal.

    The methods of science were developed to force us to constantly ask ourselves “if we are wrong, HOW will we know we are wrong?” Religion — which purports to make one more humble — never makes the believer ask that question. It has the believer ask themselves other questions — and some of them are good questions (“how can I be a better person?”)– but not that question. The commitment to spin results has been itself spun into being a form of loyalty, optimism, and hope.

    They only hear us asking them to give up loyalty, optimism, and hope. Unless they start to dwell on the question they can’t answer.

  • #756 Sastra
    August 1, 2008

    Wowbagger #754 wrote:

    I can’t imagine why PZ wouldn’t want to be considered someone actively working to convert people to atheism.

    Oh, I agree that he was also hoping that people on the fence would see that atheism is a living option. As Mencken put it, “the liberation of the human mind … 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.” He was heaving a dead cat.

    My point was that this was not WHY he chose to heave the cat — to desecrate the cracker. That purpose is a byproduct — maybe a happy byproduct. But Catholic was I think asking why PZ would have chosen such an action, if he wanted to weaken the faith of the Catholics. That wasn’t his purpose.

    It wasn’t even about Catholics. It was to protest instituting a cultural (or legal) form of a “blasphemy law.”

  • #757 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Sastra,

    I added the ‘even if it was for another christian faith’ because he specified his analysis was of catholic belief – which, if he’d stuck around, I was intending to lead into a discussion on the churches condemnation of contraception and homosexuality.

    That there are christians is, to me, one kind of delusion; that there are christians who remain associated with the catholic church (after thinking about the impact of their beliefs on a modern society, or being faced with the truth about their egregious practices) is a whole other issue entirely.

    But as someone who can only speculate as to the deconversion process, i would imagine that for someone as indoctrinated as TC sounds it would more likely be a gradual process of moving from the hardcore to the middle-ground (whichever that describes – Episcopalians, perhaps?) to the very nebulous (UU?) before giving it away entirely.

    It’s also why I asked him what he did when/if he disagreed with dogma; I expected that he would reply that it would indicate a flaw in him or his understanding, rather than the dogma itself – illustrating the inbuilt protection mechanism.

    As you say, ‘how would you know if you were wrong?’ is an excellent question to ask believers.

  • #758 Anne Nonymous
    August 1, 2008

    “the catholic”, I don’t think you’re naive, I think you’re falling prey to confirmation bias. If you want enough things and pray for them all, yes, you will probably get some of those things, but to assume that this means your prayers are being “answered” is not especially justifiable. I’ve gotten many things that I very much wanted and hoped for and worked for and dreamed about, and, interestingly enough, pretty much none of them had anything to do with prayer. People get things they want sometimes when they pray to gods other than yours. Does that mean Vishnu answers the prayers of Hindus, and so forth? And what about the things that you prayed for that you didn’t get? Did you count those as evidence against the god hypothesis, or did you make excuses for your god instead? Do you have any evidence that people who pray to your god get what they want more than people who pray to other gods or who don’t pray? (So far, all reputable studies of the effectiveness of the prayer have shown no benefit.)

    I’m also not sure what you mean when you say that science couldn’t “solve” the problems in question. It almost makes me think you’re talking about so-called miraculous healings, or something similar, which would not speak very well of your capacity for skepticism. But perhaps you mean something else? Feel free to clarify.

    You say you’ve critically examined all the aspects of Catholic belief. So perhaps you can tell me why there’s any reason to believe any of it at all? Not just to think, “Well, it’s nice if people are nice to each other,” but to actually believe all the supernatural stuff which is supposed to justify being nice to each other, like how there’s a god and that he came to earth as his own son and did miraculous things and etc.?

    I can see all the good in the world and all the amazingness of the things we’ve discovered with science, and all the evil in the world and all the horribleness of the things we’ve discovered with science and I can’t fathom how you could see it as anything other than the result of glorious and terrible chaos. Everything that lives lives only because of a mixture of intertwined hackwork, a confusing tangle of bits borrowed from other bits and broken and remade into new shapes. The joy of the universe is discovering all the wonderful things that can come from randomness, and of looking forward to see what will happen next, knowing that there is no plan to things and that we have the power and the responsibility to shape our own futures.

    And, let me be clear about one other thing here, it’s not so much that I’m uninterested in your viewpoint as that I’m uninterested in the details of your religion’s theology. On the contrary, I’m still sort of fascinated by the mindset that leads people to remain religious and am trying my best to understand it. But I’ve already determined that whatever that mindset is, I can’t get at it by reading theology, only by picking at the individual viewpoints of individual religious people and seeing how you all respond to questioning of your views. So to the degree that you’re willing to discuss things from this angle, I’m happy to hear what you have to say. I’ll argue, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear it.

    But I guess you’re probably gone and this is pointless anyway. Oh well. *shrug*

  • #759 Anne Nonymous
    August 1, 2008

    Sastra, you’ve got it there in a nutshell. “How would you know if you were wrong?” is the exact right question here. It’s the one that got me out of that whole Catholicism mess in the first place. Thanks for stating it so clearly.

  • #760 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Sastra, #756

    I’m still in favour of it having played a slightly bigger part in his actions – though I will admit that, on reflection, my rationlisation for his actions being an active deconversion attempt might stem from my determination to counter the accusations that he’s an attention whore or an adolescent ass.

    Someone (Ichthyic, I believe) explained the Overton Window a few weeks back – i think maybe i liked the concept a little too much.

  • #761 outsider
    August 1, 2008

    I am saddened about how little thought is being put into these posts. Many of the comments here show that there is a lack of understanding of what Catholicism really is. It’s all about love.

    For the Catholics:
    Your faith is about love, show love to one another and to the non-Catholics. Understand that not everyone has the same point of view. Understand that even as a Catholic you do not have all the answers. As a Catholic, you know you are not perfect and you constantly be striving to be better.

    For the non-Catholics:
    If you are so concerned about what Catholics believe in, take some time to learn what is really behind the faith.
    If you are trying to understand what the Eucharist really is, read something from the philosopher Thomas Aquinas. Yes, you are right that Catholics are not perfect. Who is? Understand that no matter where you go, you will always find imperfection. That is a fact about the world we live in.

  • #762 truth machine, OM
    August 1, 2008

    I am saddened about how little thought is being put into these posts.

    Mote. Beam. Eye.

    Many of the comments here show that there is a lack of understanding of what Catholicism really is. It’s all about love.

    True Scotsmen are all about porridge.

  • #763 John Morales
    August 1, 2008

    outsider, I am gladdened that you’re saddened.

    Yes, you are right that Catholics are not perfect.

    Actually, the evidence shows that the overwhelming majority of Catholics posting here are hypocrites, so not even close to perfect.

    Pathetic comes closer.

  • #764 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Outsider,

    Please start from the start before posting things that aren’t any use to anyone. Trust me, there’s very little left about the Catholic faith that we haven’t heard in the last two weeks.

    To save you time here are links to just some of the posts you need to read to know what’s going on:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/its_a_goddamned_cracker.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/i_get_email_special_cracker_ed.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/an_evil_atheist_and_a_catholic.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/now_ive_got_bill_donohues_atte.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/rolls_eyes_its_a_cracker_peopl.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/fresh_crackers.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/stop_it_now_please.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/can_this_possibly_get_more_ins.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/the_great_desecration.php

    That’ll get you up to speed.

    I won’t even bother to try and explain to you that your statement that catholicism is about love is arguably the stupidest thing I’ve read in several weeks of reading very stupid things.

  • #765 CJO
    August 1, 2008

    Yes, you are right that Catholics are not perfect. Who is? Understand that no matter where you go, you will always find imperfection. That is a fact about the world we live in.

    Is “imperfection” what we’re calling an international conspiracy to protect child rapists now? We’re supposed to accept this as just “a fact about the world we live in”?

    It’s all about love.

    I can’t even think of a more despicably dishonest thing for you to say.

  • #766 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Apologies for the forthcoming duplication; I forgot the holdup on multiple url links.

    Outsider,

    Please start from the start before posting things that aren’t any use to anyone. Trust me, there’s very little left about the Catholic faith that we haven’t heard in the last two weeks.

    To save you time, here are links to two of the posts you need to read to know what’s going on; from that you should get the idea:

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

    That’ll get you up to speed. There are others – use the search function (type in ‘crackers’) in the top left corner to find the rest.

    Oh, I won’t even bother to try and explain to you that your statement that catholicism is ‘about love’ is arguably the stupidest thing I’ve read in several weeks of reading very stupid things.

  • #767 outsider
    August 1, 2008

    Yes, you are correct. Every single person in the world is imperfect. No more can be said on this matter.

    I understand all of the history behind these posts. As Prof. Myers says, question everything. It is good to question everything. We will never find truth if we do not question.

    I don’t see the problem with Catholicism being about love. Just because Catholics are imperfect does not mean that they cannot love or be loved. The same is true for all people.

    Yes, the Catholic Church has a bad image. Once again, it is made up of human beings. Human beings are not perfect.

    If you are really interested in thinking further on this matter, we should examine the entire premise behind your comments.

    You are definitely making some judgments as to what actions are good and bad (especially in regard to sexual abuse by clergy, you rightly say this is bad). Where do these judgments come from? Are they relative judgments? What is the standard you use to measure good and bad?

    I hope this doesn’t get too off topics, but it might be a good thought experiment.

  • #768 Sastra
    August 1, 2008

    Wowbagger #760:

    In the “Karl Giberson strikes back!” thread, PZ is pissed that Giberson

    “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.”

    The context matters. He didn’t just decide to pick on the Catholics because their beliefs are particularly stupid. Or because they are “weak.”

    On the contrary — he picked the Catholics because that’s who the incident in question happened to involve. Not even all Catholics, but the Catholics who had a hissy fit. I also suspect he was in a bit of a snit because he happened to be reading a book detailing some of the less happy parts of the Church’s history (I forget which book, but he’s blogged on it a few times) — and their over-exaggerated sense of outrage was therefore particularly grating.

    There’s one other reason, I think — and so far I don’t think anyone’s brought it up (not that I’ve read all the comments.) It’s funny that the Catholics kept saying “you wouldn’t dare do this to the Muslims, you wouldn’t go after Islam.” Actually, I think there is a religious group PZ would not have done this very public act of irreverence towards. Not the Muslims, he threw in the Koran — but the Southern Baptists. Or a similar Fundamentalist group.

    Why? To keep evolution out of it. Desecrating something specifically related to conservative Christians — or maybe even Christians in general — would immediately be hailed and misinterpreted as his view on how Evolutionists should respond to Creationism. Even though he sees attacking religion as part of the overall strategy against pseudoscientific thinking, THAT would be a mistake.

    But the Catholics, officially, accept evolution (I know, not all of them, but technically.) They couldn’t spin it. It wouldn’t automatically kick start that whole ghastly “framing” debate with other scientists.

    And the Catholics think it’s because they’re so meek and easy, or so holy and good. No. Reasonableness was the final nail that condemned them. Heh.

  • #769 John Morales
    August 1, 2008

    Oh great, outsider is all ready to bring up the claim atheists have no basis for morality.

    Sigh.

  • #770 outside
    August 1, 2008

    I have not considered making a claim yet. I am just interested in questioning everything in order to understand better. Yes, claims may come in the future, but what use are claims if they do not have solid logic behind them? Why make claims without solid backing?

  • #771 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    I don’t see the problem with Catholicism being about love. Just because Catholics are imperfect does not mean that they cannot love or be loved. The same is true for all people.

    Unless you are gay of course.

  • #772 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Sastra,

    Fair enough. I’ll concede that that was his main point; I certainly agree that that’s what occurred – and was surprising to me since I had no idea it would provoke such a frenzied, extremist response.

    We can just hope it’s had an effect on some of the waverers.

    It did occur to me that one reason he ran with this was because he spent most of his time dealing with the fundy creationists rather than other sects – and he felt it appropriate to remind people he’s about equal-opportunity irreverence.

  • #773 outsider
    August 1, 2008

    If homesexuality is being brought into this conversation, we should be careful to define the terms we use carefully and make sure we can have an intelligent, productive conversation.

    However, in response to the comment, I would still suggest that one who is gay can still love and be loved.

    Ultimately, every human has the capacity to love and be loved. Whether or not they choose to love and whether or not they choose to accept love is a different question. I would be inclined to think that only a person themself can know where they stand.

  • #774 MAJeff, OM
    August 1, 2008

    Just to repeat, the Roman Catholic Church is an anti-gay hate organization.

    Yes, the RCC is a hate group.

  • #775 Anne Nonymous
    August 1, 2008

    outsider, we already understand what the Eucharist is — it’s a symbol that apparently a lot of y’all have a lot of emotional investment in. Nothing more, nothing less. As for what’s behind the Catholic faith, we already know that too — a Bronze Age literary anthology mixed with some Greek philosophy, and held together these days by people’s misguided reverence for the past and desperate need to have a framework on which to hang their lives.

    Quite frankly, we are tired of this state of affairs where symbols are valued more highly than people’s lives and reverence for the past is more important than planning for our collective futures. The thing we’re concerned about is not so much what Catholics believe but what you don’t believe. You don’t seem to believe that the evidence of your senses is the final arbiter of what is and what isn’t; instead you trumpet the value of “faith”. You don’t seem to believe that taking care of real problems that exist in the real world is more important than dreaming of a perfect afterlife. You don’t seem to believe that other people’s freedom to live their lives is more important than their perfect adherence to your theologians’ fairy-castle vision of what a perfect family is. You don’t seem to believe that protecting existing, thinking humans is more important than protecting potential maybe future humans. In short, you don’t seem to believe in taking care of real things in the real world, you seem to believe only in taking care of dream things in a dream world. It’s time for that to change.

    I’ll quote you from your own Bible on this one:

    When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.

    It’s time to put away the dream world and come join the rest of us here in the real world. It’s terrifying, but it’s also amazing. There are a lot of tough times ahead in the world, and we need every thinking adult we can to help with that. And you won’t be able to help if all you do is sit in your room and play pretend with your toys.

  • #776 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    However, in response to the comment, I would still suggest that one who is gay can still love and be loved.

    Well thank you for being so charitable. I feel better now.

    However the RCC apparently doesn’t agree, unless of course you mean love on their terms.

  • #777 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Outsider wrote:

    If homesexuality is being brought into this conversation, we should be careful to define the terms we use carefully and make sure we can have an intelligent, productive conversation.

    Let me guess – you’re going to say it’s okay for two people of the same gender to feel attraction to each other as long as they don’t act on it?

    That tired old ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ dodge? Cram it in your jesus-hole. With crackers.

    Ultimately, every human has the capacity to love and be loved. Whether or not they choose to love and whether or not they choose to accept love is a different question. I would be inclined to think that only a person themself can know where they stand.

    And how is this relevant to your church’s history as an advocate for brutality, murder and religious persecution – or its ongoing protection of inconvertible child-rapists?

  • #778 Sastra
    August 1, 2008

    outsider #766 wrote:

    What is the standard you use to measure good and bad?

    The only kind of standard that has any claims to objectivity — intersubjective standards common to humanity.

    Religions make morality judgments too subjective, because equality is not a basic assumption, and the facts of the matter which frame judgments are based on untestable matters of faith. Religions often arrive at humanist standards anyway — but they don’t have to.

  • #779 Sastra
    August 1, 2008

    Wowbagger #771 wrote:

    It did occur to me that one reason he ran with this was because he spent most of his time dealing with the fundy creationists rather than other sects – and he felt it appropriate to remind people he’s about equal-opportunity irreverence.

    Heh. Good point.

  • #780 outsider
    August 1, 2008

    We are moving quickly here, but that is fine. Your argument presupposes that what is real can be determined by sense experience alone. If reality is determined only by sense experience you are quite correct. However, is it? Can we really know for sure? I myself am not sure and will have to continue thinking about it. Philosophers Rene Descartes and David Hume also asked many of these questions and came up with different views.

    Another presupposition that you made was that the Eucharist is a symbol. If you take it on sense experience alone, yes, all you see is bread. Then the bread is only a symbol. However, Catholicism does not say the Eucharist is a symbol.

    I would not say that Catholics “dream of a perfect afterlife” either. Yes, they believe there is an afterlife. That is why they should strive to live their lives on earth in a way that would prepare them for the afterlife.

    For those that think there is nothing after death, this is totally absurd.

  • #781 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    Ultimately, every human has the capacity to love and be loved. Whether or not they choose to love and whether or not they choose to accept love is a different question. I would be inclined to think that only a person themself can know where they stand.

    Now that is some loaded rhetoric right there.

    Whether or not “they choose” to love or to accept love.

    Translation. Whether the choose to be gay or to renounce their “gay lifestyle”.

  • #782 MAJeff, OM
    August 1, 2008

    For those that think there is nothing after death, this is totally absurd.

    Citation needed.

  • #783 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Outsider wrote:

    For those that think there is nothing after death, this is totally absurd.

    Er, why is it absurd? What evidence do you have that there is anything after death.

    It’s not an…NDE…is it?

  • #784 outsider
    August 1, 2008

    Unfortunately I must be going for the evening. However, I’d like to thank all of you for this conversation. I think it has been really valuable. Keep questioning.

    Peace!

  • #785 truth machine, OM
    August 1, 2008

    For those that think there is nothing after death, this is totally absurd.

    It’s always amusing when a dimwit declares that a tautology is “totally absurd”.

    If one turns off a fan, what happens to its whirring?

  • #786 MAJeff, OM
    August 1, 2008

    shorter outsider:

    blah blah blah blah blah

  • #787 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    I would not say that Catholics “dream of a perfect afterlife” either. Yes, they believe there is an afterlife. That is why they should strive to live their lives on earth in a way that would prepare them for the afterlife.

    For those that think there is nothing after death, this is totally absurd.

    Yes it is. That is why I live my life being good to people without some carrot dangled in front of me for an afterlife or a whip behind me threatening me with eternal damnation.

  • #788 truth machine, OM
    August 1, 2008

    Philosophers Rene Descartes and David Hume also asked many of these questions and came up with different views.

    You may be shocked to learn that the thoughts of those philosophers have been examined, critiqued, elaborated on, and surpassed in more recent centuries.

  • #789 Anne Nonymous
    August 1, 2008

    Unfortunately I must be going for the evening. However, I’d like to thank all of you for this conversation. I think it has been really valuable. Keep questioning.

    Peace!

    Trolls these days. No stamina at all. Back in my day, we had to walk 6 miles to Usenet uphill both ways barefoot in the snow and broken glass, carrying our bits in a leaky bucket. And we were grateful for it!

  • #790 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    He had me thinking he was our old friend Kenny for a second there.

    Nope, just another cut’n’run papist.

  • #791 Anne Nonymous
    August 1, 2008

    Booring! Send more trolls!

    *sigh* I guess I’ll just rip a few more chunks out of the corpse of this one:

    If reality is determined only by sense experience you are quite correct. However, is it? Can we really know for sure?

    If there is anything “real” that is completely inaccessible to our senses (even augmented by instrumentation), we’ll never know about it, so for our purposes it might as well not exist. All the reality that will ever matter to us is the reality we can, you know, actually detect. By measuring it. In what sense do you suggest that something could be meaningfully real if we can never measure it in any way with our senses? How could it possibly affect what we experience if we literally cannot experience it? What relevance would it have to our lives? Or, as Sastra asks, if you believed in such a thing, how could you tell if that belief was wrong? What method would you use to distinguish between A and not A?

    Gah, this is pointless. I should go do something useful instead.

  • #792 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    Unfortunately I must be going for the evening. However, I’d like to thank all of you for this conversation. I think it has been really valuable. Keep questioning.

    Peace!

    I’ll keep questioning how people continue to subscribe to such silly ideas and support such ghastly organizations like the RCC. Thanks!!

    Way to bow out without addressing any difficult points.

    Lame.

  • #793 Wowbagger
    August 1, 2008

    Anne Nonymous, #791:

    Send us trolls that give us some mental exercise rather than epic stupidity. I’ve been wading through the ‘Horrible Story’ thread and apparently that Baba moron has shown up again.

    God bless the Killfile.

    Anyway, the ‘keep questioning’ thing just reminded me of why I hate the christian explanation of ‘free will’.

    Apparently, god gives us free will – the ability to choose to do whatever we want. Except there are things he’d rather we didn’t do, so he’s told us that, if we do them, we’ll be punished for all eternity.

    That doesn’t translate to ‘free will’. It’s like putting you in a room with four doors, telling you you can go anywhere; however, three of the doors are locked – so you’re really only ‘free’ to go through one.

    Similarly the ‘question everything’ comment: question everything but keep in mind the answer can never be ‘there is no god’ – no matter what.

  • #794 Anne Nonymous
    August 2, 2008

    Ugh, Wowbagger, I’d managed to forget about the whole horrible story thing. I think it just sounded too much like a bad slasher flick to really sink into my consciousness. But I guess people really can be pretty damn hideous and crazy when they put their minds to it.

  • #795 rmp
    August 2, 2008

    OK, I need a review. What exactly is the problems that some people have with PZ’s action?

    Did he mock a religion? Yes. No one argues that.

    Did he break the law? A few have tried to put some far fetched arguments that he did but I don’t think anyone thinks they hold water.

    Is he going to hell? If the RCC is right, then yes. In fact if any of the mainstream religions are right then probably yes. Is PZ arguing that point? No.

    Oh my FSM! I’ve just figured this out. It’s not about any of the simple statements I’ve just made. IT’s ABOUT FRAMING!!!

  • #796 SEF
    August 2, 2008

    @ #740

    I never really get this thing where people decide to prize peace of mind (however illusory) over clear thinking. …. it never once crossed my mind that I should give up my hard-won truth for a comforting fable.

    They do it because it’s easy. It’s what attracts people to religion and keeps them there. Most humans are gullible, lazy and dishonest. So religions aren’t going to run out of sheeple any time soon.

    NB Laziness is actually a driving force for the whole universe – in physics (spherical stars and soap bubbles), chemistry and biology as well as at the level of human inventions (eg washing machines). But that’s another story.

    Meanwhile, religion has the colossal selective advantage among humans of causing, encouraging and maintaining mental, educational, moral and emotional retardation.

    ? Not having to think about things (or think about them properly, considering all the consequences) is very attractive and peaceful to many humans.

    ? Not having to take the trouble to genuinely know stuff and, crucially, know how and to what degree of accuracy you know it is also a boon to many who prefer to merely pretend to know or rely on their religion to “know” everything. Making up whatever you want to believe whenever you want and claiming it to be true (or just as true as anyone else’s “opinion”) is much easier than genuine learning.

    ? Not having to work through morality and personally own it internally, but instead having it pre-packaged in a self-contradictory form (which allows you or your religious leader to claim that whatever you wanted was right all along) is easier. Getting to be bad and get forgiven over and over again without ever making amends to the people you’ve actually wronged is much easier than being good or showing real contrition. Similarly religion’s fake respect is much easier than the real thing.

    ? Not having to grow up and gain control over your emotions to become a rational, self-restrained, civilised person is also easier.

    See how religion plays to the very worst traits of humanity. It is tailor-made (evolved over millennia) to make the majority of them want it, even if social pressure wasn’t also force-feeding them with it. Only a few people have the intellectual honesty to reject it. Even fewer have both that and a lack of gullibility at a young enough age to never get snared by it and thus avoid the difficulty others have of giving up the addiction once their whole sense of self-worth is invested in the religion.

  • #797 SEF
    August 2, 2008

    @ #745

    I am very intellectual, I enjoy studying philosophy

    Ha-ha. I’d say the latter admission contradicts the former claim. Philosophy is largely mental masturbation, indulging in fantasy without having to measure up to reality. Advanced sophistry for the intellectually dishonest. It’s the perfect sort of pretend thinking and pretend knowledge for the religious. See also:

    I am one of the most contemplative people you will ever encounter.

    :-D

  • #798 SEF
    August 2, 2008

    @ outsider #761

    read something from the philosopher Thomas Aquinas.

    You’re mistakenly assuming that we haven’t! On the contrary, his writings (and the way believers fall for them and recommend them and also those of C.S.Lewis etc etc) are one of the reasons we know for a fact that Catholics (and Christians and religionists in general) are intellectually dishonest. If you were capable of thinking straight you wouldn’t regard those writings as being convincing. :-D

  • #799 Janet
    August 2, 2008

    For those of you who need physical proof that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ and not a symbol read the documentation about the times God has allowed people to see the flesh and blood contained in the Eucharist. These miracles have been scientifically proven.

    Eucharistic Miracles – a list of miracles including the Eucharistic Miracle of 1998
    http://indefenseofthecross.com/Eucharistic_miracles.htm

    Eucharistic Miracle 2 – 1994 Hawaii
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_BOYgIoaTM

    Eucharistic Miracle 1 – 1995 Massachusetts
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6SH93arrIE&feature=related

    The Eucharist is not a cracker.

  • #800 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 2, 2008

    These miracles have been scientifically proven.

    You need to reassess what it means to be scientifically “proven”.

    Those are not. By any stretch of the definition.

  • #801 MAJeff, OM
    August 2, 2008

    For those of you who need physical proof that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ and not a symbol read the documentation about the times God has allowed people to see the flesh and blood contained in the Eucharist. These miracles have been scientifically prov

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!

    That’s some serious crazy.

  • #802 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 2, 2008

    SERIOUS crazy. You’d think someone who’d “proven” the Eucharist Miracle was real could afford a better web designer…

    /snark

  • #803 Britomart
    August 2, 2008

    The voice over on the Boston tape can’t even pronounce the name of the town right!!

    Let me give you a clue Janet, compare DNA of the crackers blood spots to the DNA of the people with access to the box its kept in.

    Then sell those pretty baubles and give the money to help the kids the priests abused here.

    Doesn’t the whole idea of eating the flesh and blood of another human being just make you sick? I used to go to friends churches and take the grape juice and what not out of politeness when offered, I haven’t been able to do that in years. Just turns my stomach, the whole idea. Whats wrong with people who think cannibalism is ok?

  • #804 rmp
    August 2, 2008

    IMHO, the reason that eating the flesh and blood is OK with catholics is because they don’t ‘really believe’ that it is the flesh and blood of Jesus. They just say it because they are supposed to. If I were to lay odds, 80% think of it as symbolism, 2% think it is the real flesh and blood and 18% don’t want to think about it.

  • #805 Anne Nonymous
    August 2, 2008

    SEF, I tend to agree that all those explanations you mention seem to be the most likely reasons people tend to stick with religion rather than escaping it. I guess what I mean when I say I don’t “get” it is, while I see the logic of the argument, it’s hard to believe that people are really like that, y’know? In part, I’m uncomfortable with an explanation that seems to set me up as being that much more perceptive/intellectually tough/whatever than the majority of the rest of the human race. It seems too satisfyingly flattering for me to trust my willingness to adhere to it. And the other part of the problem I see is that it doesn’t seem to provide guidance for how to fix the problem. If people are just plain too lazy and stupid to think about the problem it seems like there’s just nothing we can do to ever make things better.

    The thing I really want from this I guess is not so much to understand what their viewpoint is, but to be able to recast this situation in a light that provides guidance for overcoming the problem of religion, and the “lazy and stupid” theory just doesn’t seem to cut it in this regard. It “explains” things, but it’s not a productive explanation because it doesn’t help change things, in much the same way that saying, “God made the universe” serves as an “explanation” but doesn’t help us build a transistor radio. The only thing “lazy and stupid” seems to do is provide an excuse to sit around bitterly congratulating oneself on how awesome one is. Not that I am accusing you of doing this.

    I dunno. Maybe I’m missing the hidden potential in this theory, but at the moment I don’t find it very satisfactory, and I’d still like something better.

  • #806 SEF
    August 2, 2008

    If it isn’t really fixable without significant further (and competently directed) human evolution (and I don’t believably see anything as intrinsic as laziness being removed from the whole universe any time soon!) then your reluctance to face reality is just misplaced optimism – itself easily as unhelpful!

    Of course, with sufficient resources / people, it could be declared to be a premature judgment and some group or other could continue investigating for other excuses on the premise that the existing ones are false or inadequate rather than merely unpleasing. However, I think it’s a mistake to rule out the possibility of making creative use of the existing