Call me…The Violator!

The gang at Bakersfield that ran one of the polls we contributed to has noticed, and they feel violated. Mildly. And with a little good humor. I guess we’ll have to do it again sometime!


  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    July 31, 2008

    Well they weren’t going to tell the truth, that they were pleased to get noticed like they were.

    Publicity is the only purpose for these silly internet polls anyhow.

    Glen D

  2. #2 Randomfactor
    July 31, 2008

    They got off lucky. PZ could’ve stuck a rusty nail through their poll.

  3. #3 SiMPel MYnd
    July 31, 2008

    How are we supposed to get a respectable atheist “religion” built up with only a few thousand followers??!!

    I think PZ needs to perform a few miracles to get his following up…

  4. #4 Lord Zero
    July 31, 2008

    They are saying than my opinion dont matter ?
    Or does it has no value compared to theirs ?
    Such bigotry… shame on them.

  5. #5 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Awww, now they hurt mah little girlie feelins’.

  6. #6 Anna
    July 31, 2008

    I think they are saying the “violated” bit tongue in cheek. Don’t know much about them, but the little article seems nice enough.

  7. #7 SweetKevin
    July 31, 2008

    Crashing polls is one of my favorites.

  8. #8 Lord Zero
    July 31, 2008

    “The Violator” … dont you mean that
    critter from Spawn ? … mmm… cachy.

  9. #9 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    Yeah I didn’t take it so bad. Almost like when you find out you’re the butt of a practical joke and give a little grin.

  10. #10 Thomas Langham
    July 31, 2008

    I would have thought they would have appreciated more people contributing to their opinion poll. The previous ones were a little pathetic. I mean, the number of people voting goes 263, 3, 252, 207, 189, 184, then we come along, and then its 4063!

  11. #11 Brownian, OM
    July 31, 2008

    Woah! I just had a David Mabus flashback as a result of the title of this post. (For those who don’t recall, Mabus had a strange fascination with Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence video, which somehow supported his assertion that Nostradamus “stopped the Randi-Dawkins-Myers Corp”, whatever that means.

  12. #12 KevinGreene
    July 31, 2008

    On the plus side there post unlike the original poll does provide a place for leaving comments.

    So I can finally say how insulting it was to see the poll question in the first place.

  13. #13 Dustin
    July 31, 2008

    Call me…The Violator!


    What I will do, however, is replace your wikipedia photo with the one where you’re cuddling a stuffed pink squid.

  14. #14 Artoo45
    July 31, 2008

    If inviolability was truly a concern (i.e. this here poll is for Bakersfield folk only), then perhaps it should’ve be circulated about their fine town on a sheet of paper, and then only to those who would’ve respond in a way you find favorable. This might have prevented that “violated by the world” feeling they spoke of. Crimony, I’d be thrilled if my blog received 400 visitors, let alone 4000.

  15. #15 Artoo45
    July 31, 2008

    . . . I’d also be thrilled if I proofread my posts for grammar. Sigh.

  16. #16 thegomezsymbol
    July 31, 2008
    we are starting to hack it via LJ

  17. #17 Randy
    July 31, 2008

    Perhaps “Do you feel violated by ‘poll boosting’?” should be a polled?

  18. #18 Buzz Buzz
    July 31, 2008

    Man… “The Violator”. That’s awesome!

    Why can’t I get a kickass nickname like that bequeathed upon me? You are a lucky bastard, Myers.

  19. #19 Azkyroth
    July 31, 2008

    On the plus side there post unlike the original poll does provide a place for leaving comments.

    So I can finally say how insulting it was to see the poll question in the first place.

    Except that they only accept comments from registered users. Fuckers.

  20. #20 John Yates
    July 31, 2008

    Bakersfield regular robinislost, who you can find in the comments section, had this to say:

    “I feel insulted by the poll boosts. It feels to me like the folks over there are chuckling and making fun of us.”

    You know, I think she might be on to something!

  21. #21 Randomfactor
    July 31, 2008

    Guys, Robin is a teenager with a very good heart. Play nice, please.

  22. #22 John Yates
    July 31, 2008


    But not a very good brain by the sounds of things! 😉

  23. #23 Sili
    July 31, 2008

    *wikipeeks at PZ Meyers*

    Dustin, you’re a filthy liar.

  24. #24 Randomfactor
    July 31, 2008

    Actually quite young and quite bright. Wants to be a copy editor–how many teenagers set their sights on maintaining accuracy in the media.

  25. #25 Jparenti
    July 31, 2008

    Well, I think they’re actually amused, so it all works out. Maybe this will at least change a couple attitudes when it comes to atheists in public office. Despite the “no religious test” clause, a majority of Americans wouldn’t vote an atheist into office.
    And think of the tax breaks we’d give! We’d just start taking away tax-exempt status for the religious organizations, and the citizens wouldn’t need to pay a penny more for universal health care (or whatever crazy thing they want to start up). Pay up, Bob Jones University! 🙂

  26. #26 Randomfactor
    July 31, 2008

    For what it’s worth, there’s a fairly active core group of atheists who frequent the blogs, doing battle with the Forces of Darkness in Bakersfield. One of ’em is Possummomma, the fabled Atheist In A Minivan. Another is Chaos’ Humble Servant, yours truly.

  27. #27 Sili
    July 31, 2008

    Bugger. There is a strikethrough on the “e”, but it’s hard to see.

    And just to be on topic, I think the Bakosphere sounds like a remarkably good sport, and people dissing them for question are being overly sensitive. The context was descriped early in the original text, and on that basis it was a relevant thing to ask. And please do remember that it was pretty much skewed before PeeZed posted.

  28. #28 firemancarl
    July 31, 2008

    How is that? We are so totally PZs minions! Woot!

  29. #29 DCN
    July 31, 2008

    The reader comments over there are great. If they’re in any way representative of Bakersfield, color me impressed.

  30. #30 John Yates
    July 31, 2008

    Well Random, I suppose you’re in a better position to judge than we are. If she’s still young, perhaps there’s hope for her yet… although something tells me that’s unlikely.

  31. #31 Robin
    July 31, 2008

    Thank you, Random. I always appreciate the fact that you’re there to defend me.

    And thanks a lot, John Yates. I appreciate the insult. You seemed to notice that I was a regular, but you didn’t really read my profile, now, did you? Because if you had, you would have realized that I am young, as mentioned by Randomfactor.

    When I commented about the chuckling and laughing, I meant that I felt you were laughing at the whole city of Bakersfield, not just the blog itself.

    And just for the record, dear enemy, I hate Chad Vegas just as much as you do. I actually went to church with him, and believe me — it wasn’t fun.

  32. #32 Pimientita
    July 31, 2008

    For those who don’t recall, Mabus had a strange fascination with Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence video

    How dare he defile the name of Depeche Mode by associating them with his lunatic ravings!

    Wait…I just had a creepy thought. I too had a fascination with that video as an adolescent. Does that mean I’m gonna go beyond batshit crazy like Mabus?


  33. #33 Itzac
    July 31, 2008

    Apparently the poll was in response to this article:

    I found it after soundly defeating their impenetrable UI. To be fair, we probably should be sure to read the associated articles before crashing their polls.

    This Chad Vegas fellow sounds mighty unpleasant, not to mention criminally ignorant of the constitution.

  34. #34 mikeg
    July 31, 2008

    yikes! TGP… inane in the extreme (+)

  35. #35 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    Aaaaww! The air is MUCH better over here. I didn’t think I was ever gotta get that troll yeck off my shoes. 🙁

  36. #36 mothra
    July 31, 2008

    @#3 PZ had trouble getting his following up? I thought his webzite did that. :]

  37. #37 Robin
    July 31, 2008

    Itzac, thank you for posting that link for everyone, because that’s what I was wanting everyone to understand on the Bakosphere blog. The poll question was only created because of what Chad Vegas had said; it wasn’t a random question that came out of nowhere.

  38. #38 echidna
    July 31, 2008

    Oh, hi Robin! Welcome to Pharyngula.
    I hope you hang around. PZ’s biology posts are really something, and the defense of science from arm-waving religionists can be a lot of fun too.

    While moderation is not really a key attribute of the posters here, attacks aren’t meant to be personal, they are more attacks on baseless ideas. The poll question was about as baseless as it gets, being unlawful and all that, and while some know the context regarding Chad Vegas, not all of us do (including me).

  39. #39 KevinGreene
    July 31, 2008

    I read the story and still don’t see the reasoning that lead from it to the poll question.

  40. #40 Itzac
    July 31, 2008

    No prob, Robin. I don’t really understand the justification behind ridiculing an entire town for what a few ignorant people in it say. I am, however, all for ridiculing the ignorant people and what they say. From there it’s pretty easy to cross a line in the zeal of the moment.

    From the article: “Now, the fascist agenda of liberals becomes clear,” he wrote. “Give up your first amendments rights or lose your job!”

    The Kern High School District trustee wrote that he swore to uphold the Constitution, not “every ridiculous law that comes down from liberal activist judges or the California Legislature.”

    If that disqualifies him or Barnett from office, he wrote, “then I suppose no abolitionist or civil rights activist ever qualified for office in these United States.”

    Just reading that made me die a little inside.

  41. #41 DarwinRules
    July 31, 2008

    PZ is so cool!

  42. #42 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    It must be some kind of quirky regional thing, cause I don’t see how the poll ties to the story either.

  43. #43 Randomfactor
    July 31, 2008

    To be clear, what Vegas is advocating is that the County Board of Supervisors pass a law specifically to ban same-sex marriages in the county, regardless of whether or not it’s constitutional. He threatened their jobs if they didn’t.

    He’s also one of the two ringleaders of (alas) a successful effort to place “In God We Trust” posters in high school classrooms. The posters were modified greatly from the original design as people raised objections, but they still went up.

    He’s also an ID crazy. He’s up for re-election after his first term, this year.

  44. #44 Patricia
    July 31, 2008

    So has he made remarks about not letting atheists run for office?

  45. #45 King of Ferrets
    July 31, 2008

    I won’t feel violated if you crash my polls! (I’ll post this on every poll till you do so! =P)

  46. #46 possummomma
    July 31, 2008

    I’m ashamed to be a resident of this town right now. Of course, anyone reading those blogs (at the Californian site) may figure out why our family gets all the crazy fundies coming around.

  47. #47 Artoo45
    July 31, 2008

    Man, I’m totally changing my porn name. Goodbye Larry LeMans, hello Chad Vegas.

  48. #48 LisaJ
    July 31, 2008

    Oh, I think overall they kinda liked it. Cute!

  49. #49 Dolly
    July 31, 2008

    “Oh, Sweet Jesus, if You’re listen’g keep me ever close to You as I’m travelin, travelin, travelin, travelin, travelin, thru. Ooooooh oooooh ooooooh travelin thru.”

    The bastards here have nothing worthwhile listening to, sad to say. PZ Myers is a freak of “ad hominem” attacks; so irrational and illogical! Keep the faith brothers and sisters and Jesus will reward you!


  50. #50 decrepitoldfool
    July 31, 2008

    Pollmaster stands beside the meter, watching an occasional response trickle in. He raises the binoculars to his eyes.

    “What is that?”
    “What is what, sir?”
    “That smudge on the horizon. What is it?”
    Sidekick looks through the binoculars. “It is getting bigger, sir. I think it is coming closer.”
    Vibrations begin to form concentric circles on a glass of water on the instrument panel. An ominous rumbling becomes just barely audible. Sidekick hands the binoculars back to Pollmaster, who looks again. The poll-response meter begins to spin wildly.
    “My God!,” he says; “It’s the ILK! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!”

  51. #51 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 31, 2008

    The bastards here have nothing worthwhile listening to, sad to say. PZ Myers is a freak of “ad hominem” attacks; so irrational and illogical! Keep the faith brothers and sisters and Jesus will reward you!


    WOOT! Points for Dolly in the Irony Meter Shootout game!

  52. #52 Adrienne
    July 31, 2008

    PZ Myers: Desecrator…Violator….ok, what’s the next -or?

  53. #53 Freakin' Nerd
    July 31, 2008

    #52 – Adrienne, Actually it’s “Violator! Desacrator! Turn around and meet the Hater!” (Superbeast by Rob Zombie)

  54. #54 catta
    July 31, 2008

    decrepitoldfool, you just made me laugh out loud. Thanks for that. 🙂

  55. #55 shonny
    July 31, 2008

    When are you getting the payment from Bakersfield Tourist Commission, PZ?

    After all, you put the place on the map!
    Maybe not in a manner they really wanted, but all publicity and so on . . .

  56. #56 shonny
    July 31, 2008

    Keep the faith brothers and sisters and Jesus will reward you!

    Dolly (the cloned sheep???)

  57. #57 BobbyEarle
    July 31, 2008


    I don’t think you can be a righteous Violator unless you have a flaming sword.

    Maybe Vox “the Pox” Day will let you borrow his…?

  58. #58 Dreadneck
    July 31, 2008

    I responded to Chad Vegas’ blog post How would you react if someone boosted your poll? with the following:

    Why would you feel violated? Your poll was open to all comers. No restrictions on who could vote were posted. Do you feel violated because my fellow godless heathens and I had the temerity to bomb a undeniably bigoted poll? Remove the word ‘atheists’ from the poll question and insert any oppressed minority and you’ll quickly see what I’m talking about. Furthermore, Article VI of the Constitution of the United States of America, the supreme law of the land, clearly and unequivocally states:

    “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    So, even if you ignore the inherent bigotry expressed by the poll in question, you cannot ignore the fact that any religious test for office is unconstitutional and illegal. Theocrats of all stripes in America need to have a coke and a smile and stfu.

    “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” — Thomas Jefferson

    This guy is just another fundamentalist evangelical tool who has managed to infiltrate his local school board for the purpose of shoving his religious dogma down everyone’s throat.

  59. #59 Wicked Lad
    July 31, 2008

    I like the comments there. Overall, quite sane and civil, with a good sense of perspective. I appreciate that.

    Most of the time, though, I think it makes a better prank if the “victim” doesn’t know who crashed them. That’s why I copy the poll’s URL into my address bar rather than click on PZ’s link. That way it’s not clear that my vote came from a Pharyngula reader.

  60. #60 DCB
    July 31, 2008

    Longtime reader, first-time poster…while sympathetic to the thrust of the cracker issue, scientifically, you could do better.

    First, in terms of hypothesis testing, your null should have been that nothing will happen to you if you desecrate the cracker (especially since there is no historical evidence that (a) god has ever killed someone for blasphemy). That you were not struck down does not reject the null, it merely fails to reject the null, a result that is statistically uninteresting.

    Second, if you really want to prove that it’s a cracker, perform a DNA test on one of the blessed things. The Nicene creed says that “he came down from heaven and became man.” If this is true, then Jesus had DNA. If the cracker is really Jesus after the blessing, it should have DNA. It would even be better to get a priest (or better yet, the Pope) to wager their faith on the result. PZ will become Catholic if a blessed cracker has human DNA; the Pope will renounce the Church and close it down if it does not.

  61. #61 aleph1=c
    July 31, 2008

    I just read an article in a recent issue of Scientific American Mind about ad hominem attacks.

    What types of ad hominems might then be justified? [Douglas] Walton argues that an ad hominem is valid when the claims made about a person’s character or actions are relevant to the conclusions being drawn. Consider, for example, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who was caught on a wiretap arranging to hire a prostitute for $4,300. Because this behavior ran counter to Spitzer’s anticorruption platform, its unveiling would prevent Spitzer from governing successfully; thus, criticizing this aspect of his character was relevant and fair. In an earlier scandal, in 1987, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart was seen at a motel with a prostitute. Because his behavior undercut his preaching and status as a Christian role model, a character attack based on this incident would have been spot-on.

    Let’s not make a kneejerk reaction by discounting all ad hominem attacks as logically fallacies.

  62. #62 aleph1=c
    July 31, 2008

    logically fallacious!

  63. #63 Eilish
    July 31, 2008

    Where is the logic??

    Your anger was at another college’s administration — so instead of dealing with that appropriately you get all weird and lash out.

    Makes lots of sense — college administration does something/fails to do something so you go out of your way to offend members of a world wide church.

    There is logic here right? Cause and effect?

    Exactly how were you personally affect that you rationalize the reasons for what you have since done?

    You were not there and it was not your college.

    What was the logic?

  64. #64 mcow
    July 31, 2008

    The scary thing is that 3% said “yes”. 3% of 4063 is about 120 people. Assuming that none of those came from pharyngula, and that the total non-pharyngula turnout would have been about 180, that’s about 67% for banning atheists from public office. Come to think of it, that’s pretty close to the 62% Newsweek got from their 2007 survey ( ).

    What’s the point of crashing a poll if you’re just going to extract the “real” results after the fact? I have no idea.

  65. #65 epsilon
    August 1, 2008

    @63 by Eilish

    You don’t have a fucking clue what you’re talking about do you? Thanks for playing.

  66. #66 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    August 1, 2008

    Makes lots of sense — college administration does something/fails to do something so you go out of your way to offend members of a world wide church.

    There is logic here right? Cause and effect?

    You may want to read up on the whole incident, because your simplification is not just a simplification, it is way wrong.

  67. #67 Autumn
    August 1, 2008

    Unholy Crap!
    Is this going to become yet another one of those cracker threads? Can we get back on topic? I’ve spent way too much of my life perusing Catholic Cathechisms (awesome name for a band, fetish-clad nuns and what-not) and would like to be able to read comments without. . . What the Hell, c’mon Pharyngula, it’s only Crackergate.

  68. #68 Masks of Eris
    August 1, 2008

    At #3: Well, there are more followers of PZ than just a few thousand, but just about that many Minions; it was their turn to poll-vote today. The next time Acolytes vote, then the Ilk, then the Hand.

    As for Him Our Host The Biologist performing miracles: If this can be arranged, can I suggest making every cracker a portal into the Dungeon Dimensions?

    “Reverend, why is there a tentacle coming out of my wafer?”

    “Funny; I didn’t know Jesus had tentacles.”

    “That is no part of His body! Run for your lives!”

  69. #69 Kimpatsu
    August 1, 2008

    “The Violator” sounds like a contestant on the SciFi channel reality show, “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?”…

  70. #70 Masks of Eris
    August 1, 2008

    Hm, to me Violator sounds more like a wrestler. But who could he feud with?

  71. #71 Dr Doctor
    August 1, 2008

    Just make sure you never leave a shoe or a gourd hanging about PZ.

  72. #72 Moses
    August 1, 2008

    What I would have said if registering at was worth the effort.

  73. #73 Rolan le Gargac
    August 1, 2008

    Decreprit Old fool,

    Thank you for the wonderful image of the bald, tentacled, hairy horde of The Ilk pouring over the edge of the world ! Love it !

  74. #74 Logicel
    August 1, 2008

    decrepitoldfool #50, I chuckled, and then I chuckled a bit more. Good stuff. Especially liked: That smudge on the horizon.

  75. #75 Ferin
    August 1, 2008

    Most guys I know would be happy to get their poll boosted for free. Usually you gotta pay somebody for that. 🙂

  76. #76 Natasha Yar-Routh
    August 1, 2008

    Oh come on Robin even those of us living in the mountains to the south of Bakersfield laff, point and make rude comments about what a smog covered oven Bakersfield is. And we’re just meth cooking trailer trash. Pools like that do emphasize that Bakersfield really is ‘America’s City’.

  77. #77 Kat
    August 1, 2008

    You know, this is probably the most scientific thinking they’ve done all year. *tear* I’m so proud!

  78. #78 Robin L.
    August 1, 2008

    Hey Robin – Come and join us. Then we’ll be laughing with you.

  79. #79 CosmicTeapot
    August 1, 2008

    BobbyEarle @57 said

    “I don’t think you can be a righteous Violator unless you have a flaming sword.”

    He has a rusty nail, will that not do?

  80. #80 sublunary
    August 1, 2008

    aleph1=c @62 said “logically fallacious!”

    And by brain just had to read it to the tune of a lucky charms commercial.

    “They’re logic-ly fallacious!”

  81. #81 Qwerty
    August 1, 2008

    After crashing the poll yesterday, I am wondering how many politicians in our country are athiests? I suppose most of them are closeted athiests as it is probably easier to be a open homosexual in public office than an athiest. Even gays believe in the Bible.

  82. #82 tsg
    August 1, 2008

    Let’s not make a kneejerk reaction by discounting all ad hominem attacks as logically fallacies.

    An ad hominem doesn’t make the argument wrong. At best, you can only show that the person making it doesn’t actually believe it or may have ulterior motives for making it.

  83. #83 MS
    August 1, 2008

    Has anyone pointed out that polls with self-selecting responders have absolutely no statistical validity anyway?

  84. #84 Kseniya
    August 1, 2008

    Those internet polls aren’t scientific anyways – the results don’t mean much. So what it the “accurate” results showed that a hundred people out of a couple of hundred in the Bakersfield area cared enough to speak up for violating the CotUS?

    I did vote in the poll. I did not do it out of any desire to make fun of Bakersfield. Wasn’t Bakersfield once one of the best music towns in the country?

    I live in one of the most liberal areas of the country, and even here there’s a very wide range of ideologies and politics. That’s gonna be true for any town that’s more than a speck on the map, or so I reckon. It’s interesting to hear from some of the Bakersfield folks who’ve stopped in here to shed a little light on the bigger picture out there.

  85. #85 tsg
    August 1, 2008

    Has anyone pointed out that polls with self-selecting responders have absolutely no statistical validity anyway?

    That, I believe, is the whole point of crashing them.

  86. #86 Sven DiMilo
    August 1, 2008

    Wasn’t Bakersfield once one of the best music towns in the country?

    Only if you consider Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakum to have made some of the best music. I’ll say this for Bakersfield: it ain’t San Bernardino. “Oklahoma West” we used to call it, and having been to both places and lived in one of them, that still seems pretty accurate.

  87. #87 HennepinCountyLawyer
    August 1, 2008


    Under what I believe is the standard understanding of the term “ad hominem”, the argument about Eliot Spitzer is not and ad hominem attack, because the point of the argument is about ES himself, not about his ideas. An ad hominem attack would be an argument that since ES is such a sleazebag (not to mention astoundingly STUPID), his positions on, say, consumer protection, are wrong.

  88. #88 Reginald Selkirk
    August 1, 2008

    Chad Vegas? I had never heard of him, but this comes up in Google:
    Chad Vegas Discusses In God We Trust Proposal
    In which he says he doesn’t care if someone sues the local school district for violating separation of church and state due to his actions, because there are many organizations which would represent them in court for free. He should do a little research, maybe talk to the folks in Dover, PA. “the Sword and Shield for People of Faith” (aka Thomas More Law Center) represented their school district in court for free, but didn’t offer to pay damages and lawyer fees when they lost.

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