Pharyngula

John Freshwater, the Ohio science teacher who uses his classroom to proselytize and promote creationism, is following a familiar tactic: LIE.

Supporters of a middle school science teacher facing firing for burning crosses into students’ arms were in the majority at a central Ohio school board meeting.

They gave John Freshwater a standing ovation when he rose to speak Monday night during the two-hour Mount Vernon school board meeting. He attended the meeting to say he has never branded or burned anyone.

This reminded me of chapter 5, “Never said it”, in Lauri Lebo’s excellent book on the Dover trial, The Devil in Dover(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). This is the part of the book where the lawyers for the prosecution are trying to get an injunction to prevent the school board from going through with their attempts to promote ID in the classroom, and they bring in the defendants, Buckingham, Bonsell, and others, to corroborate the arguments documented in the press that they were looking for textbooks that blended evolution and creationism. And to the obvious consternation of the lawyers, they all simply lied and claimed that they’d never said it and the reporters had all made everything up. It was patently dishonest, but it essentially blocked the injunction and let them go ahead with their scheme.

Don’t worry, the chapter ends on a good note: Lebo gets footage from a local television that shows they lied, which will later come to good use in the actual trial.

It’s always disturbing to see how readily these creationists will lie for their own ends, and how happily their supporters will cheer for the lie.

Comments

  1. #1 J
    August 5, 2008

    It’s always disturbing to see how readily these creationists will lie for their own ends, and how happily their supporters will cheer for the lie.

    Disturbing? No, not anymore. It’s boringly predictable now. It’s gotten to the point where rolling my eyes is ITSELF getting cliched.

  2. #2 Patricia
    August 5, 2008

    After the OJ case I’m a complete cynic. He can probably get away with it with enough fanfare and lies.

  3. #3 Sastra
    August 5, 2008

    Never burned anyone? I can see him trying to explain that his “science experiment” wasn’t an intentional act of branding, but of course it made a burn if it made an image. Or is he going to argue that dye forms by electricity?

    I think religious people get very comfortable with a kind of doublethink that allows you — encourages you — to believe two opposing things at once, and feel comfortable with that. The story they want to believe becomes true the more faith they have in it. Facts come after faith. That’s a very dangerous inversion.

  4. #4 Glen Davidson
    August 5, 2008

    It’s always disturbing to see how readily these creationists will lie for their own ends, and how happily their supporters will cheer for the lie.

    Their “integrity” is bound up in a “larger Truth,” and it is the latter that must prevail when a conflict exists regarding “honesty”.

    If an additional “reason” needs to be provided, it’s that the “children are being lied to” by the evolutionists.

    Most really don’t know how to check their behavior except against their (dishonest) religion. It is their standard for judging the world that they’re defending, so from the organism’s standpoint it makes absolutely no sense to allow the “standard of Truth” to suffer just for the sake of telling not telling “white lies” to their evil adversaries.

    That it’s a problem to tell lies for the “Truth” they do know, but their own sense of being is threatened when they do not. Hence, they lie.

    And all of the truth-telling by the other side can be considered to be an “exception”–and it is.

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

  5. #5 black wolf
    August 5, 2008

    Christian taqqyia?
    Where is that in the Bible?

  6. #6 SC
    August 5, 2008

    The other side is arguing in good faith, which is the problem. :)

  7. #7 Barklikeadog
    August 5, 2008

    Yeah but he’s still getting fired, right?

  8. #8 scooter
    August 5, 2008

    cheering for a lie is the foundation of their commonality

  9. #9 BlueIndependent
    August 5, 2008

    So much for all that 10 Commandments garbage. Although when one sees the world as if it is already doomed and everyone else but you is destined for eternal fire, lying is somehow warranted, because really, who’s it going to hurt? Can’t commit a sin if you’re lying against the devil right?

    Shameless, pathetic liars.

  10. #10 Les Lane
    August 5, 2008

    The actual Buckingham video for those who haven’t seen it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6X9ALB448E

  11. #11 David Wiener
    August 5, 2008

    I often argue with moderately religious people that if they don’t follow all of the precepts of the Bible then they are disobeying God’s word. From this I receive back an unending list of rationalizations – but they never face up to actual question being asked. It is as if there is a gigantic mental blind spot in the minds of the faithful.

    Anything that causes dissonance becomes, apparently, invisible to their mental processes. I really think they do not know they are lying, which is why they seem so damn earnest: They think they’re telling the truth.

    Oh well, you cannot reason rationally with the irrational. I think perhaps a real dialog is impossible.

    Regards,

    David

  12. #12 Matt Penfold
    August 5, 2008

    After the OJ case I’m a complete cynic. He can probably get away with it with enough fanfare and lies.

    When I the OJ case was in trial there was a lot of coverage of it here in the UK.

    I have to say that informed opinion did not think much of the way the police handled the investigation. More than one police officer, or retired police officer, thought that had an investigation been as badly handled here in the UK the case would never have been allowed to go to court.

  13. #13 scooter
    August 5, 2008

    Patricia

    OJ case I’m a complete cynic. He can probably get away with it with enough fanfare and lies.

    Oj and every other millionaire ever accused of offing their wife. Extremely common, nothing about the OJ case was the slightest bit unusual.

    OJ and Blake just happened to have been on TV before, so the general population of mindless zombies recognized them.

    “Look, honey, it’s what’s name.”

  14. #14 Apsaras
    August 5, 2008

    I suppose when your intellectual forbearers were willing to kill people in defense of their god, fibbing must not seem like that big of a deal.

  15. #15 Will E.
    August 5, 2008

    Are we really surprised at what these people do anymore? Jesus comes before anything with folks like this. Reminds me of some relatives when I was a kid, the things they said. Everything was for Jesus–you had to be thinking about him all the time in whatever you did. I mean, what if he came back and you were doing something he didn’t approve of, like going to a movie, or watching MTV, or telling a dirty joke? What if you were thinking about something else besides him? He’d know, too. These people tell lies but they’re thinking of Jesus, which is like making a promise or a bet while you’re crossing your fingers: it doesn’t count!

  16. #16 GirBoBytons
    August 5, 2008

    Is that exagerrated or did he really burn crosses into student’s arms? I would want more than a firing. I am not a parent but I know for sure if my child came home with a cross burned into their arm, I would totally lose my shit. If he has children of his own I feel sorry for them. I find it interesting that you, PZ, teach college students(adults), do not talk about your particular beliefs in the classroom but express them on your free and personal time and they wanted you fired but a man who teaches children(and young teens), tries to force his views on their impressionable minds and obviously their bodies and he gets a standing ovation? The world we live in saddens me sometimes. ::sighs::

  17. #17 Jimbob
    August 5, 2008

    We should keep asking these folks why they keep ignoring #9!

    My guess is that quite a few won’t know what that means!
    ;-)

  18. #18 Matthew
    August 5, 2008

    Anyone reminded of the Godfather II by this whole scenario? Just as Pentageli is about to testify against Michael he sees Tom Hagen walking into the courtroom with Pentangeli’s brother by his side. After seeing this, Pentangeli suddenly can’t remember ANY illegal shenanigans! Michael Corleone? A criminal? Nope. Never said it! I’m not aware of ANY illegal behavior on Michael Corleone’s part!

  19. #19 BobC
    August 5, 2008

    Of course “he has never branded or burned anyone” is lying. I never saw a more obvious lie. I read about this lying yesterday on two news websites and it was not possible to leave a comment to point out how dishonest this wacko is. There was nothing in the news websites about the photograph of a cross burned into a student’s arm.

    I noticed most Christians are lying pigs. Also, I noticed the more religious a Christian is, the more likely he’s a stupid asshole.

  20. #20 Bob L
    August 5, 2008

    Doubtless Freshwater turned his life over to Jesus and Jesus wanted Frehwater to lie. Nothing better than an invisible superman to justify acting like a low life.

  21. #21 raven
    August 5, 2008

    Some friends of mine, a couple, professionals with high paying jobs, used to live in the area.

    They moved to SoCal without much in the way of explanation.

    It is understandable now.

    It is easy to understand Freshwater. Just another christofascist moron with the morality of a slime mold. It isn’t easy to understand why a significant fraction of the community support him. Hate, lies, and terrorism, it isn’t just for Al-Qaeda anymore.

  22. #22 Josh
    August 5, 2008

    A little OT in this thread, but those of you who are unfamiliar with Lebo’s book might want to check it out. I thought it was terrific.

  23. #23 SEF
    August 5, 2008

    had an investigation been as badly handled here in the UK the case would never have been allowed to go to court

    Unfortunately, that does happen.

  24. #24 Tyro
    August 5, 2008

    IANAL, but from what I understand lying like this is very damaging, isn’t it? Case in point, Martha Stewart wasn’t convicted of fraud, she was convicted of lying to federal investigators. If this guy lies to the wrong person it can sink his legal case.

  25. #25 Andrés Diplotti
    August 5, 2008

    Well, there’s a reason they’re called godbots:

    “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour, except where it would conflict with the previous commandments.”

  26. #26 SEF
    August 5, 2008

    Hate, lies, and terrorism, it isn’t just for Al-Qaeda anymore.

    It never was. The Christians were at it in their own way before the Muslims even had their extra prophet. And of course there were other groups before that!

  27. #27 JJR
    August 5, 2008

    So they’ve graduated from Liars for Jesus ™ to Perjurers for Jesus? Wow.

  28. #28 Kobra
    August 5, 2008

    He branded their fucking arms?! Doesn’t that cause permanent damage and risk infection? Also, couldn’t he be tried in court for torture?

  29. #29 raven
    August 5, 2008

    Case in point, Martha Stewart wasn’t convicted of fraud, she was convicted of lying to federal investigators.

    True. Scooter Libby was also convicted of obstruction of justice or perjury rather than an actual crime.

    It’s been known for decades that it isn’t the crime that nails these clowns, it is the coverup.

    Some things never change. First rule of screwups, “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

  30. #30 barklikeadog
    August 5, 2008

    So they’ve graduated from Liars for Jesus ™ to Perjurers for Jesus? Wow.

    It’s only perjury if done in court right?

  31. #31 SEF
    August 5, 2008

    If this guy lies to the wrong person it can sink his legal case.

    They do still have to catch him at it though, ie with evidence which even the local lie-lovers running the case can’t ignore.

  32. #32 Qwerty
    August 5, 2008

    They have to lie so then can have their “biblical truth.”

  33. #33 Gingerbaker
    August 5, 2008

    Sastra said:

    “I think religious people get very comfortable with a kind of doublethink that allows you — encourages you — to believe two opposing things at once, and feel comfortable with that. The story they want to believe becomes true the more faith they have in it. Facts come after faith. That’s a very dangerous inversion.”

    I think you are right on the money, Sastra. I am fascinated by this whole concept of religious “faith”, and its consequences.

    I think that there is a decisive moment of religious inculcation when the initiate receives his “faith” lecture, and is asked to affirm his belief in God/ Jesus/ Mohammed. A moment when he realizes he is being asked to step over a precipice and forever relinquish his faculties of reason, and subsume his self to the gravimetric field of the cult.

    And when they take that step, they not only believe their beliefs without evidence, they believe their beliefs despite the evidence to the contrary. This is an active self deception.

    And, as you say, all that is required to maintain their worldview, and to dissolve any spiritual or logical doubts is more belief, more “faith”. And so, the maintenance of individual and communal (cult) faith becomes a badge of honor, a symbol of their love of self, their god, and of their cult. The measure of their community value is how much of a spiritual warrior they can demonstrate by banishing doubt, banishing true introspection, banishing reason.

    I wonder if the cult of religion can be broken by eliciting recall of the moment when reason was joyfully surrendered.

  34. #34 JJ
    August 5, 2008

    # 16 – he really did burn crosses into the arms, the Tesla coil, or whatever he used did that. I guess he calls it something other than burning.

    OT, in Dover, because the school board members lied, Judge Jones decided not to issue an injunction and go forward with a trial. If they had been truthful, he would have issued an injunction, tehre would not have been a trial.

    I highly recommended Lebos’ book.

  35. #35 Alan Chapman
    August 5, 2008

    The proper way to deal with people like this is to completely and utterly ostracize them. This is also the best and most effective way to deal with racists. Do not do business with them, do not hire them, do not work for them, and do not help them. Tell them to get lost. They are low-life losers.

  36. #36 I am so wise
    August 5, 2008

    Christianity is, frankly, designed to allow and even prompt implicitly these things. Given that Mr. Freshwater only has to find his religious guru of choice, confess his sin, and all is forgiven.

    As for the Christian reaction and inaction regarding these lies, I think Dan Dennett says it best:

    Until priests and rabis and imams and their flicks explicitly condemn by name the dangerous individuals and congregations within their ranks, they are all complicit.

    Daniel C. Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, (New York: Penguin Books, 2006) 301

  37. #37 raven
    August 5, 2008

    Here on the WC there was a substitute teacher in Sisters, Oregon who did a 0.2 X 1Freshwater. He lasted about 2 weeks and the school district tossed him ASAP. Very few people were sorry to see him go.

    Sounds like there is something drastically cuckoo in central Ohio. Glad I don’t live there.

  38. #38 Carlie
    August 5, 2008

    He seems to be forgetting that there are pictures of a kid’s arm after he burned it. Unless, that is, he’s going to argue that the kid did it to himself in a bizarre conspiracy plot.

  39. #39 Barklikeadog
    August 5, 2008

    JJ tell me about Lebo’s Book. I’m in the ozone today and can’t get what you talking about. I’m interested. Maybe I missed sumthin.

  40. #40 ildi
    August 5, 2008

    Lying (by omission, at the very least) seems to be a fluid concept when souls are in danger; at least, that is my experience with my charismatic Catholic brother. He neglected to tell my mother that he was taking her to a healing mass (speaking in tongues included) even though she still pined for the good ole Latin mass for Christ’s sake!

    “And quit trying to shake my hand during mass,” she’d grumble; “and what’s up with that hippie guitar music?” (All this in Hungarian, of course.) I accidentally spilt the beans, and I was the bad guy for “talking her out of it” when she didn’t want to go.

    I finally realized that pretty much everything he would try to get me involved in would have a religious context when he asked me if I wanted to go to a coffee shop to listen to some folk musicians, and it turns out it was one of the church socials at the local parish hall.

    Now, we hike.

  41. #41 Matthew
    August 5, 2008

    “It is as if there is a gigantic mental blind spot in the minds of the faithful.

    Anything that causes dissonance becomes, apparently, invisible to their mental processes. I really think they do not know they are lying, which is why they seem so damn earnest: They think they’re telling the truth.”

    Think of it this way: Survival of the fittest believer.

    In other words, the “believers” that allowed rational debate to sway them are in fact no longer believers any more. They’re ex-believers. By their very nature, the strongest and longest-serving believers MUST be able to justify their irrational views, and they MUST have processes on their brains that allow them to think the way they think, even in the face of such massive evidence to the contrary.

    Unlike science, you can’t be a fundamentalist christian and not believe in ALL the bible. It’s either all true, or none of it is true. And to them it cannot be false, it IS NOT FALSE and so it must all be true. It’s usually not dishonesty, just a function of the brain attempting to cling on to a belief system that sustains their existence and “explains” what they’re doing on this little blue ball we call Earth.

    To most believers, even regular non-fundamentalists, the thought or idea that we’re on this planet for no particular reason is just absurd.

  42. #42 Michelle
    August 5, 2008

    Predictable. They always lie.

  43. #43 SEF
    August 5, 2008

    NB The previous news accounts (note the huge red scabby cross on the arm in that picture) had claimed he was fired already but the latest ones say it was only a suspension pending a hearing to decide whether to really fire him. :-/

  44. #44 Emmet Caulfield
    August 5, 2008

    It’s only perjury if done in court right?

    Not necessarily. In Ireland we have “Commissioners for Oaths” in front of whom you can give sworn statements and depositions “under penalty of perjury”, so there are circumstances where perjury can be committed outside a courtroom. Given that our legal systems have a common root, I’m sure it must be similar in the US.

  45. #45 Blake Stacey
    August 5, 2008

    The device used to mark the student was a BD-10A High Frequency Generator. The late Jeff Medkeff described its effects as follows:

    I have used this device instructionally, and in a moment of carelessness, I once burned myself with one. My forearm made contact with the electrode of the device for about half or three-quarters of a second — this necessarily being an estimate. This experience wasn’t too painful at the time, on the order of getting a good strong static shock after shuffling your feet on the carpets. But it did leave one hell of a welt that got more and more painful over the course of the next three or four days. My recollection is that the small wound stayed painful for a week or so. Eventually the welt that was raised went down, scabbed over, and after about two weeks, the scab fell off. I had a red mark that persisted for about two or three months. It was by no means a pleasant experience.

    50 kilovolts will do that to you.

  46. #46 SEF
    August 5, 2008

    The late Jeff Medkeff

    ie the Blue Collar Scientist.

  47. #47 craig
    August 5, 2008

    They’re lying to themselves, why is it surprising that it’s a small step from that to lying to others?

    They aren’t lying despite their religion. Religion needs lying to survive. Lies are what religion is made of.

    OF COURSE the devoutly religious lie to others when their “faith” is threatened. It’s not an aberration, it’s a reflex. It’s why they’re religious in the first place.

  48. #48 El Herring
    August 5, 2008

    Andrés Diplotti #25 wins the thread!

    Maybe all the commandments could be rewritten Asimov-style. They all seem to have cop-outs of some sort or other.

  49. #49 Ryan F Stello
    August 5, 2008

    From the video that Les Lane linked (#10),

    [Sterotypical Homeschooler]: Of course, as a Christian, I would like if the whole country was teaching just creation.

    But of course: one thing flows from the other doesn’t it?

  50. #50 Yoo
    August 5, 2008

    Freshwater and his supporters are living proof that a god belief doesn’t instill morality; in fact, their god belief steered them into immorality.

  51. #51 Kristine
    August 5, 2008

    So…he now claims that he didn’t burn anyone, and his supporters cheered?

    *brainfart*

    So…his supporters now think that burning kids is wrong? And they want to believe that he didn’t do it? Or -

    His supporters know he’s lying, and are applauding his lies?

    *brainfart* (Just give it up, Kristine.)

  52. #52 Pygmy Loris
    August 5, 2008

    I was browsing through the minutes of the June 20 meeting where the Freshwater case was discussed.

    One specific offense was that he petitioned in 2003 to teach creationism and ID in the classroom. When his request was denied he went ahead and taught them anyway.

    Also, the manual for the generator he used to burn student specifically states that people should come “in contact with the high voltage output of this device.” Apparently disregarding the instruction manual for a device while using it to cause bodily injury to students is bad.

    Here’s a bit more about specific instances of teaching religion:

    (f) Mr. Freshwater taught religious beliefs in his classroom, including, but not limited to the following
    examples:
    (i) In 2008 discussing with students the meaning of Easter and Good Friday, including
    the Resurrection;
    (ii) In 2006 or 2007 Mr. Freshwater, in the presence of Mr. Jim Stockdale, taught his
    eighth grade students that “the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin and so anyone
    who is gay chooses to be gay and is therefore a sinner” which may have created
    a hostile environment for some students;
    (iii) In his eighth grade science class Mr. Freshwater has expressed his personal belief in
    the flood theory as it relates to Noah’s Ark;

    I especially love the logic that because homosexuality is a sin, homosexuals must have chosen to be that way.

    You can find the minutes for that meeting
    here

    It looks like he’s going to get fired. The resolution to initiate proceedings against him passed unanimously and there are four distinct violations that are each grounds for termination.

    If some teacher burned my (as yet nonexistent) child, I would file criminal charges.

  53. #53 El Herring
    August 5, 2008

    Thinking about this some more…

    Do the commandments have a heirarchy? What if you had to lie to save a person from certain death? Does “Thou shall not kill” trump “Thou shalt not bear false witness”? There must surely be countless situations where breaking a commandment is unavoidable.

    Also, there are apparently two sets of commandments. Whoa. I’ll stop there.

  54. #54 Dave
    August 5, 2008

    OT, in Dover, because the school board members lied, Judge Jones decided not to issue an injunction and go forward with a trial. If they had been truthful, he would have issued an injunction, tehre would not have been a trial.

    Im going to nitpick here a bit: The plaintiff’s attorneys did not request a preliminary injunction, so Judge Jones never had the opportunity to rule on one. The plaintiff’s attorneys decided not to because the school board members lied during depositions. Further, had the plaintiffs requested a preliminary injunction and Judge Jones granted it, a trial is still possible. While most sensible defendants, once faced with the Judge ruling that the plaintiffs are “likely to prevail on the merits” of the case, are motivated to settle, and even the non-sensible ones have this explained to them in small words by their attorneys, in this case, the record indicated that neither the defendants nor their attorneys were particularly sensible.

    On the topic at hand, I am trying to picture Freshwater’s mental gymnatics, the best I can come up with is something along the lines of, “I am a good teacher, I would never harm a student. I gave a harmless demonstration involving electricity, it is not my fault that the student subsequently developed stigmata in the shape of a cross. (Which just happens to be the shape I used in the demonstration.) Really, this just proves the existence of HAYSUS! Its a miracle! HalleyloooooYa! Pass the Ammo.

  55. #55 CJ
    August 5, 2008

    I seem to recall that Buckingham (sp?) from Dover case managed to squirm out of a perjury charge by saying he was on oxycontin when he either made original statement or when he lied, although not positive which. Judge also said something along the lines of “you are lucky I don’t have you charged with perjury” to one of liars.
    The Christians are certain that evolution is the evil root of secularism, which has been deemed their religious crusade “enemy.” Without an enemy, what fun is it? Didn’t you ever have a “club” or tree house?
    The evangelicals I have encountered have no problem rationalizing their main philosophy–yours are sins, mine are sacrifices for Jesus.

  56. #56 Holy Space Ghost
    August 5, 2008

    Liars for Jeebus(tm)

    Making Baby Jeebus cry since…oh…35CE.

  57. #57 Tim
    August 5, 2008

    Pity Anton LaVey’s not around, I’m sure he’d have a very interesting comment. Possible them IDers signed up to the wrong superstition?

  58. #58 Dave K
    August 5, 2008

    Carlie (#38): Actually, they’re claiming that the photo is doctored and the kid is lying:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/04/usa2

  59. #59 Pygmy Loris
    August 5, 2008

    Also, the manual for the generator he used to burn student specifically states that people should come “in contact…”

    That should be: that people should NOT come “in contact…”

    Proofreading. I need to do it more.

  60. #60 CJ
    August 5, 2008

    But I think the Mormons might win the prize for religious hypocrisy. The people that barely gave up polygamy not so long ago because of U.S. laws is waging a fierce campaign to get its members in California to vote for marriage to be “defined” as between one man and one woman only. Wow. Their anti-gay feelings run so deep they are willing to look like total nose-less fools. They righteously call it a “moral issue” with a straight face (haha no pun intended)! Even the most fiercest of anti-gay activists took a doubletake (what the f…?) and you could hear the media-version of crickets for a day or so. Hahaha!

  61. #61 Peter Mc
    August 5, 2008

    Why is anyone surprised? Christians have a long tradition of burning people they disagree with.

  62. #62 Pete Rooke
    August 5, 2008

    Those up in arms about this should ask themselves which is worse: to mark a cross onto a willing student’s arm, or to drive a nail through a stolen Eucharist in an act of deliberate desercration and then documenting the crime to maximise the offence and outrage caused (whilst simultaneously decrying the level of offence and outrage your action had caused).

    Both acts are reprehensible particularly because those involved are so called “educators” who have the minds of our children at their disposal.
    ____________________________________________________________
    Dies Irae, Ben Stein, Dawkins

  63. #63 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    Why is anyone surprised? Christians have a long tradition of burning people they disagree with.

    And apparently people they agree with .

  64. #64 SeanD.
    August 5, 2008

    Posted by: Pete Rooke | August 5, 2008 2:04 PM

    Tard…

  65. #65 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    Those up in arms about this should ask themselves which is worse: to mark a cross onto a willing student’s arm, or to drive a nail through a stolen Eucharist in an act of deliberate desercration and then documenting the crime to maximise the offence and outrage caused (whilst simultaneously decrying the level of offence and outrage your action had caused).

    Both acts are reprehensible particularly because those involved are so called “educators” who have the minds of our children at their disposal.

    Easy. Physically harming someone is worse.

    There you go!

  66. #66 Bureaucratus Minimis
    August 5, 2008

    It’s only perjury if done in court right?

    Generally yes, although there are some other notable circumstances, ie lying when presenting sworn testimony before Congress.

    Freshwater is testifying before a school board, so it probably doesn’t count as perjury (IANAL, and have no familiarity with Ohio law).

    He may win this round, and keep his job for the moment. Seems that he could well be charged with assaulting students, and could also be sued by the parents. The real question is whether, given his popularity in the community, the local prosecutors would take the political risk of bringing such charges, and whether the parents would risk ostracization and retaliation by bringing a civil suit.

    The feds are in a better position to charge him, since they aren’t as subject to local political pressure, and the jury would be drawn from a much wider area than just the county where he works. Will be interesting to see what, if anything, USDOJ does with this.

  67. #67 CJ
    August 5, 2008

    LOL! That was a good one, Peter Mc!

  68. #68 bastion
    August 5, 2008

    When I went to Catholic school, the nuns lied to us all the time, and I knew it. Which didn’t do anything to improve my respect for them.

    Example: When I was in the second grade or third grade, the nun who taught my class told us that if we pretended that our finger was a gun by pointing our index finger at someone, when we “shot” our finger gun, God would make our finger explode.

    As someone who adored the TV cowboy shows, regularly played cowboy, and often shot imaginary bad guys or my younger sister (to whom I always assigned the bad guy role) with my finger (often while riding my imaginary horse), I knew from vast personal experience that the nun was either lying, or “teaching” us about something she knew nothing herself about.

    The nuns kept presenting me with those same two options throughout my Catholic school career.

  69. #69 Delmania
    August 5, 2008

    Another aspect that I don’t think anyone has mentioned here is so-called Christian Persecution Complex. I am sure that anyone who has had exposure to Christian fundamentalists for a long period of time will see how many of them love to invent inane stories about how the World and/or demons are out “to get them” for being Christians. After, Jesus Himself predicted it would happen. However, as with many of His teachings, these people have taken it and twisted it to serve their own ends.

    I am positive that Freshwater and his supporters will see the investigation and (hopeful) termination as more evidence that the “World is trying silence Christianity”, which is ironic because I am positive Jesus would have an issue with this guy physically harming his student.

  70. #70 Pierce R. Butler
    August 5, 2008

    … the lawyers for the prosecution…

    Kitzmiller was a civil (not criminal) case. Those were lawyers for the plaintiffs, not prosecutors.

  71. #71 Bronze Dog
    August 5, 2008

    I’m having some old foamy thoughts again.

  72. #72 Michelle
    August 5, 2008

    Oh goddamnit, Pete’s back?

    Pete, let’s sit back and look over this bad logic of yours.

    Cracker… Not alive. Willing? Nah, a cracker has will.

    Kid… Alive. Willing? No. The kid was probably not willing, and I doubt the teacher said “Here, lemme burn a CROSS on your arm.”. Even if the kid WAS willing, HE BURNED THE ARM OF A FUCKING MINOR.

    So let’s ponder this through.

    Is it bad to stab wheat? No. Who cares what you do to wheat. Is it bad to burn a student, EVEN WILLING, whom is a minor, with a religious mark?

    FUCK YES. Jesus christ!

  73. #73 raven
    August 5, 2008

    Perjury is lying under oath. It doesn’t have to be in a courtroom. Just as often, it is lying under oath while being deposed. Deposition usually isn’t done in a courtroom.

    Freshwater has changed his story way too many times. An obvious sign of lying and any half competent lawyer would point this out.

    Hard to read too much into the packing of the school board meeting. Freshwater is a member of a christofascist church of demented haters and liars. I’m sure most of them showed up. What is the point of belonging to a cult if you aren’t doing something stupid and evil? Might as well join the Episcopalians or Unitarians otherwise.

  74. #74 Michelle
    August 5, 2008

    (Of course I meant that the cracker has no will. Goddamnit, Jesus! Did you see what you retard made me write? Get out of my head!)

  75. #75 CJ
    August 5, 2008

    RE. “persecution complex”: Actually that’s part of criminal psych 101: best defense is a good offense, but generally indicates guilt. Funny, but the main character on “Without a Trace” just stated that very thing to a child molester that threatened to sue police for “harassment/libel of an innocent man.”

  76. #76 Sili
    August 5, 2008

    Dies Irae, Ben Stein, Dawkins
    Posted by: Pete Rooke | August 5, 2008 2:04 PM

    Superior.

  77. #77 Rey Fox
    August 5, 2008

    Pete, you are an utterly despicable human being. Go brand yourself.

  78. #78 bastion
    August 5, 2008

    At #62, Pete Rooke wrote:
    Those up in arms about this should ask themselves which is worse: to mark a cross onto a willing student’s arm, or to drive a nail through a stolen Eucharist in an act of deliberate desercration and then documenting the crime to maximise the offence and outrage caused (whilst simultaneously decrying the level of offence and outrage your action had caused).

    [Boggle!] You truly live in a perverse world if you believe that burning the arm of a child is equivalent to putting a nail through a piece of bread and throwing it in the trash.

    Burning the arm of a child caused that child real pain and perhaps permanent scarring. Putting a nail through the host did not cause pain to the host. And while the host probably has a permanent hole, at least until it decays, for gosh sakes, holes in bread aren’t anything to get worked up over.

    And, unlike Freshwater, P.Z. owned up to what he’d done and even provided a photo to document his deed. Proving once again that an atheist is more moral than many a God believer.

  79. #79 Pete Rooke
    August 5, 2008

    @ Michelle

    In amongst that profane filled rant laced with numerous ellipsis, various errors of capitalization, and a prima facia example of “begging the question” I managed to discern why we have, as of now, been talking across purposes; you seem to view the Eucharist as little more the ingredients it is made from and in doing so you deny both its symbolic value as well as the process of transubstantiation that Catholics believe takes place. This is surely an error on your part.

    ____________________________________________________________
    Dies Irae, Ben Stein, Dawkins

  80. #80 Tophe
    August 5, 2008

    Audio of the Lying for Jebus Freshwater here.

  81. #81 Randy
    August 5, 2008

    Didn’t SkyDaddy® issue some sort of commandment about that?

  82. #82 Pierce R. Butler
    August 5, 2008

    raven @ # 21: … Freshwater. Just another christofascist moron with the morality of a slime mold.

    This is unfair, even slanderous.

    Individually or collectively, slime mold behavior is very reasonable and unobjectionable, and quite creative by microbial standards.

  83. #83 tsg
    August 5, 2008

    Those up in arms about this should ask themselves which is worse: to mark a cross onto a willing student’s arm, or to drive a nail through a stolen Eucharist in an act of deliberate desercration and then documenting the crime to maximise the offence and outrage caused (whilst simultaneously decrying the level of offence and outrage your action had caused).

    Both acts are reprehensible particularly because those involved are so called “educators” who have the minds of our children at their disposal.

    You’re an idiot. Physically harming a child whose care you’ve been entrusted with is in no way, shape or form, comparable to throwing away a freaking cracker. Get some perspective or shut the fuck up.

  84. #84 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    This is surely an error on your part.

    projection becomes you, Pete.

  85. #85 the strangest brew
    August 5, 2008

    Every fundamental Christian must lie to preserve their rose tinted world view…

    In fact they look to each other to reinforce their lying because that is the accepted norm in their cult..you have to twist the truth for the greater glory of god and jebus especially.
    Because if you don’t other delusions (religions)… or god forbid… atheists… will inherit the Earth.
    They are scared of atheists because they really do not understand why atheists do not ‘praise de lawd’..they can not comprehend…’those atheists must be sick, or perverts certainly devoid of morals for sure or probably scientists’, cos that is what they are told by their erstwhile leaders in delusion, and they believe them.
    The only way they can process Atheism is that it must be a religion…they can handle that pigeon hole…frame of reference you see.

    So they cannot tell the truth to each other let alone the rest of society.
    They dare not, if they did tell truth where would it all end. Ostracised by the rest of their barking cultists for one thing.
    Shunned for rationality scores no brownie points simply because fear of exclusion overrides all other considerations.

    Most communities are theist based…especially in the US…that is what they do, they think it adds gravitas to their ego…in business…education…even health, that act is bolstered approved of even encouraged by authority whether ostensibly secular or theist, not being a god botherer is an alien concept, it would hurt their standing in a society which they love being the pillar of.

    Besides everyone else does the same.
    They think it is what is expected of them, tis the minority that actually believe the crap they spiel, those are the real deluded and the psychotically crazy ones…Jim Jones and later the Waco debacle springs to mind (are these lessons never learnt), as opposed to the rest that just nod their heads in agreement cos not nodding the bonce means they are not of that community. Simple like so…it is all based on fear and cowardice, lying is just a natural extension of these traits and none do it better then jebus lovers!
    That is why you have the Jim Joneses and the David Koreshes…everyone is to in awe and to frightened to say ‘hold on a second that ain’t right…’
    The real wowser is that the gestapo that inevitably surround these paragons of enlightenment are themselves quite barking only more so…a look at the bishops surrounding the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Cardinals that ride shotgun for Benny baby are fine examples of the genre!
    More down market we are inflicted with the Dr Dino’s ,the Gishes, Behe’s, and McKay’s et al!
    Same thing really all surrounded by their own private wing of low iQ’d but high fervoured secret police, but done in a lower key so as not to spook the horses!
    The real sad thing is even now that nonsense is going on as we type and blog…so…

    They lie with a second nature…they know deep down their claims are bogus but dare not challenge them even within their selves…they probably know if they did that would be the end of the delusion and they will be all alone in a world that has moved on without them, because that is what has been drilled into them since childhood probably, ‘You will be alone and cursed for turning your back on jebus and if he don’t WE will make sure you are’…poor lambs, must be a terrible dilemma knowing that rationality will be their undoing, tis so much easier to lie then lie about lying then face that Armageddon of the spirit that honesty and integrity might confer!

    Forever locked in a lie, no wonder they tend to hysteria when confronted with logic, or an Atheist!

  86. #86 Andrés Diplotti
    August 5, 2008

    Sure enough, you libruls would be praising the guy if he had branded his student with an Islamic crescent, wouldn’t you?

    /poe

    (I think I start to understand the appeal of this kind of attitude. It frees the mind. Just throw a few stock phrases is your mind is free of the burden of having to think your arguments!)

  87. #87 Ryan F Stello
    August 5, 2008

    Pete Rooke (#79) sniveled,

    This is surely an error on your part.

    The error seems more in your insistence that non-insane people share your view.

    At least ‘tbc’ or whoever your partner was admitted several topics ago that human life is more important than ‘Eucharist-life’.

  88. #88 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    Pete, through all your misogyny laden posts filled with anti-homosexual rants, faith based ignorance and self defeating circular logic I have managed to discern that you seem to view yourself as more important than anyone else here on this blog. Your denial of reason and the progress made in the last 3 centuries for human rights is surely an error on your part. That or you are a troglodyte born hundreds of years too late.

  89. #89 skyotter
    August 5, 2008

    “… and in doing so you deny both its symbolic value as well as the process of transubstantiation that Catholics believe takes place.”

    yup. and?

    because even *if* they’re acknowledged as significant, a kid’s arm STILL trumps both “symbol” and “belief”

  90. #90 Twenty Nine
    August 5, 2008

    Those up in arms about this should ask themselves which is worse: to mark a cross onto a willing student’s arm, or to drive a nail through a stolen Eucharist in an act of deliberate desercration and then documenting the crime to maximise the offence and outrage caused (whilst simultaneously decrying the level of offence and outrage your action had caused).

    You are slime to compare hurting a child to puncturing a piece of bread.

    However that make kicking you in the nuts a commendable act.

  91. #91 Lance
    August 5, 2008

    Lying for Jeebus FTL.

  92. #92 Ryan F Stello
    August 5, 2008

    Follow-up to #87,

    I looked back and I see that it was you that was forced to acknowledge that consecrated crackers shouldn’t be treated as people: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/08/so_this_is_what_a_witchunt_loo.php#comment-1031274

    Why, oh why, then would you try to argue the opposite?
    Unless you’re an ass…

  93. #93 AJ Milne
    August 5, 2008

    Making Baby Jeebus cry since…oh…35CE.

    Much as this amuses me, to be annoyingly pedantic, if there really were a Jeebus, he was almost certainly pretty full of it himself.

    Re the larger subject of this thread, yes, lies sure are the stuff of what religions are made. It’s a social contract enforcing and defining group membership: support us in the lie, we support you in the same. We’ve all got somethin’ on each other that way. And you haven’t joined until you swear to do so, so say you believe. If it’s absurd enough that it isolates us sufficiently from anyone who doesn’t affirm the same, so much the better. It’s like a loyalty test, that way. Will you swear with us even something so risible? Well then, you’re done now.

    I also think it’s probably the single most damaging aspect of religion. The dynamic reinforces a cynical, de facto relativism. The real message is: lying is perfectly acceptable in many, many situations; the truth is whatever is socially convenient; indeed, if enough of us agree to tell the same lie, well, then, for rhetorical purposes, that’s the truth, now. Practical and political purposes may or may not diverge in certain contexts, however, so you frequently have to do this doublethink shuffle. Faith is good and can move mountains and your god is all powerful and will not let you come to harm, but you know perfectly well there’s no sense to expect said deity to stop traffic if you blurt out said request to it and dash on foot across a red light. You know perfectly well the rhetorical does not equal the practical. Here, the theology offers you a nice little out to cover this practicality: don’t go testing the guy. But you know how it works, and which rule matters where. Matters in which intervention occurs are unknowable or are demonstrated after the fact. If you ran across and somehow failed to get horribly maimed, then maybe your god listened… And yes, you know, actually, this is evidence for nothing, but this, too, is part of the rules. Reason, too, is subordinate to the social need. You are to twist it, too, to affirm the lie. By any means necessary.

    So even though many faiths talk a good game outside that reality about not telling lies, this holds little weight in practical terms. You’re tacitly told to lie all the time. When, indeed, a crucial point in your ‘spiritual development’ is to agree explicitly to affirm and/or promulgate the group lie, what standard of honesty would you expect from anyone involved? Cynically, you could almost wonder if that’s part of the point, even. Even among the sects that play footsie with doubt as being acceptable and human and part of growth, doubt usually still means some guilt. Someone died for you/came to you with this heavenly message/you are so unworthy, they are so great, and you doubt them? What’s wrong with you?

    But of course you doubt–or, in real terms–actively disbelieve, on some level–and of course you lie about it. Who wouldn’t? The best you can hope for is if you hang amongst those mouthing variations on the standard pieties and rationalizing them in their various tortured ways long enough it starts to disorient you, and you might get confused enough that you’re not quite sure you’re lying anymore. Or, at least, not quite sure about what…

    And this, we call achieving a deeper faith. Glory, brother.

  94. #94 Gilipollas Caraculo
    August 5, 2008

    Persons of faith cannot argue in good faith. It’s against their religion.

  95. #95 daenku32
    August 5, 2008

    Maybe they could make Lying for Jesus an Olympic sport. We could win some more medals for the US of A.

  96. #96 Pete Rooke
    August 5, 2008

    “Why, oh why, then would you try to argue the opposite?”

    You seem blinded by the circumstances. In what sense is someone being burnt alive equivalent to someone willingly agreeing to have a cross etched onto their shoulder?
    ____________________________________________________________
    Dies Irae, Ben Stein, Dawkins

  97. #97 craig
    August 5, 2008

    Since you all have handled Pete’s disgusting “crackers are worth more than ids” bullshit, I’ll just point out his lies about the Prof having done his cracker disposal in the role of a teacher (he didn’t) and his lie about the students being “children.”
    College students are not children with the exception of a few special cases, are all legal adults.

    Another liar for Jesus.

    Pete is a severely mentally ill person.

  98. #98 Ryan F Stello
    August 5, 2008

    You seem blinded by the circumstances

    You seem to invent circumstances to blind yourself.
    In what way is the Eucharist more like a person stupid enough to let a trusted teacher burn him/her than it is someone trapped in a fire.

    Take your time. I know you have trouble understanding analogies that don’t revolve around rape.

  99. #99 Ranger Jay
    August 5, 2008
  100. #100 Alexandra
    August 5, 2008

    Does “Thou shall not kill” trump “Thou shalt not bear false witness”? There must surely be countless situations where breaking a commandment is unavoidable.

    There have been a lot of comments here making reference to the commandment against false witness. That is not a commandment against lying, but rather against a very narrow and specific category of lying. The “9th commandment” only forbids “bearing false witness against your neighbour”. What is prohibited is making or supporting a false accusation about someone else when that someone is “your neighbour”. Not only does this not even attempt to prohibit general lying, the “your neighbour” loophole is often interpreted to grant permission to “bear false witness against” someone who is of The Other. (You know, like dark skinned folks or for’nurs or commies.)

  101. #101 Pierce R. Butler
    August 5, 2008

    El Herring @ # 53: … there are apparently two sets of commandments.

    More than that: Exodus 20:1-17, Exodus 34:10-26, and Deuteronomy 5:6-21 (essentially a re-run of the Ex.20 series). Give or take a preposition or two, that might seem to constitute two sets – but then there are Jewish, Catholic/Orthodox, & Protestant versions of the first and last groups, the latter two/three modified by Yeshua bin Yusuf’s post-Galilean equations. Calculating the actual number, therefore, requires advanced degrees in trinitigonometry, and even then is subject to synodic uncertainty effects.

  102. #102 Epikt
    August 5, 2008

    Pete Rooke:

    Those up in arms about this should ask themselves which is worse: to mark a cross onto a willing student’s arm, or to drive a nail through a stolen Eucharist (long-winded woo deleted)

    Are you ever going to get over your cracker choler?

    The student was physically assaulted and injured by Freshwater. There are photographs.

    What evidence do you have that anything, besides your delicate sensibility, was injured during your case of the vapors?

    Your frantic attempt to ascribe a false equivalence to these very different situations smacks of desperation. What you wrote is so obviously silly that I have to imagine that even you are at least dimly aware of how ridiculous it is.

    If, on the other hand, you’re so morally bereft that you actually believe that “sacrilege” is as bad as physically injuring a minor, then you are contemptible. Go away.

  103. #103 ndt
    August 5, 2008

    I managed to discern why we have, as of now, been talking across purposes; you seem to view the Eucharist as little more the ingredients it is made from and in doing so you deny both its symbolic value as well as the process of transubstantiation that Catholics believe takes place.

    Posted by: Pete Rooke | August 5, 2008 2:31 PM

    Of course we do. We’re not Catholic. You just figured this out?

    While we’re on the subject, there’s one more difference between PZ and Freshwater. Freshwater burned a student during class in the classroom, on school property. PZ threw away the eucharist in his own home and wrote about it on his personal blog, both unaffiliated with the university he teaches at.

  104. #104 Lauri
    August 5, 2008

    Thanks PZ for the nice words.

    I don’t want to overdraw the comparisons, but in Dover, those professing to be on the side of God accused two hard-working reporters of being the liars.

    The fact that they slandered them (both of whom are devoutly Christian) and castigated their integrity was shameful.

    And as angry as that made me, I have to acknowledge that at least the reporters were adults and professionals trained to deal with these sorts of accusations.

    Now, who are those standing up for God calling the liar in the Freshwater story? Who are they spreading rumors about? Whose integrity are they castigating now?

    A 14-year-old boy.

  105. #105 Hap
    August 5, 2008

    Maybe I’mm naive or willfully blind, but I thought that there might have been a time when proving beyond a doubt that a set of people argued in bad faith would actually cause people to stop listening to them. If their status revolved around the goodness of their faith, then I would have thought that people might begin to question either whether they have any faith in what they claim to or that in which they have faith is evil.

    I guess intellectual honesty and the ability to face and deal with unpleasant facts are unnecessary skills here now. I hope someone takes away our toys before things fall apart.

  106. #106 MarkW
    August 5, 2008

    #62: Seriously? Which is worse, branding a student or ‘desecrating’ a cracker? You seriously need to ask?

    No way. You can’t mean that. You’re taking the piss.

  107. #107 heliobates
    August 5, 2008

    @62

    Those up in arms about this should ask themselves which is worse…

    Something in you is badly broken.

  108. #108 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    It really is amazing the way “people of faith” are willing to lie so readily. A big part of it clearly is the very fact that they embrace “faith” as a route to truth, and thereby avoid any commitment to evidence and reason.

    This ties in with Comfort’s disavowal of the banana argument. He says it was a parody — a joke; OK, let’s accept that. But then we (i.e., those who reject faith as a road to truth) can’t understand what possible argumentative/rhetorical role it could be playing. *We* might generate such an argument as a joke, but how could Comfort be presenting such a bad argument as a “parody”? What is he parodying?

    I think a clue here can be found in Comfort’s response to the moderator’s saying that he was open-minded on the evolution vs. ID question and that he just wanted to get to the truth. Comfort’s response? — accept Jesus into your heart.

    Reason and evidence are completely irrelevant (in Comfort’s view). All that matters is being “saved,” and that’s something quite independent from anything like evidence-based reasoning.

    People like Comfort and Cameron aren’t presenting arguments. I suspect they don’t even recognize arguments. They’re just trying to get people to *feel* a certain way, in the hope that they’ll latch onto that feeling and give up thinking. (Then they call that feeling and resignation “faith.”)

    The banana story isn’t supposed to be an argument; it’s just supposed to amuse you and make you feel happy that the sky fairy is looking out for you. Then when those nasty atheists go asking unpleasant questions, and threaten to take away your warm fuzzy feeling, you’re just supposed to shut them out, sing a hymn or two, and throw some money in the collection plate.

  109. #109 Efogoto
    August 5, 2008

    Found a link to a news site showing the student’s arm:

    http://www.kvue.com/news/top/stories/062008kvueteachercross-cb.2145b5cb.html

  110. #110 Senecasam
    August 5, 2008

    It won’t be long before “lying for the faith” will be a sacrament.

  111. #111 YetAnotherKevin
    August 5, 2008

    Well, there seems to be some disagreement over whether the student was willing or not. Or perhaps Pete is asking a hypothetical, similar to but not identical to the case at hand.

    Now, boys of that age are willing to do a lot of stupid and painful things. Off the top of my head I remember ‘mercy’ (two contestants trying to bend each other’s fingers backwards) and ‘war’ (taking turns flicking the back of the opponents hands)with the object being to endure and inflict pain. So, I wouldn’t be outraged by kids engraving each other with electrodes. Concerned about permanent scars, but not outraged. The idea that it was a _teacher_ doing it in a _classroom_ to a _minor_ is appalling, especially if it was punitive, which is the impression I’ve gotten of the case.

    With regard to the importance of symbols vs. people, if there was a kid with a bleeding arm and the only material at hand was Old Glory I wouldn’t think twice about tearing it up to use as a bandage.

  112. #112 cubefarmed
    August 5, 2008

    Assuming you believe that Jesus willingly went to be crucified so that he could die for the sins of humanity and be then taken to heaven….

    I’m still not seeing the parallel between the pierced eucharist wafer and a child’s arm. I mean, Jesus let himself get nailed the first time so I don’t see how a transubstantiated wafer is any worse in the grand scheme of things. If anything, Jesus should be happy to take another one for the team right??

    Meanwhile, a minor who isn’t considered mature enough yet to make any decisions about skin markings (don’t know about your state, but in mine you can’t even get a tattoo until you’re 18)… gets BRANDED. And, that’s somehow not as bad? That’s just sick.

  113. #113 SC
    August 5, 2008

    Is that Lauri Lebo @ #104? Cool! Good work in Dover, Lauri! I look forward to reading your book.

  114. #114 bastion
    August 5, 2008

    And what’s so bad about telling a little lie for Jesus anyway?

    After you lie, you tell god you’re really really really sorry, promise not to do it again (until the next time), do some penance, and you’re forgiven.

    So in the overall scheme of things, the consequences of not doing a bit of lying for Jesus (which might mean you’ve failed in a golden opportunity to save an unbeliever from eternal hellfire) is much worse than the consequences of lying for Jesus.

  115. #115 Billy C
    August 5, 2008

    In an earlier life I heard the following advice multiple times from the pulpit:

    If you forgive your sins then God will forgive your sins. He will cover your sins with Jesus’ blood and in his mercy will forget that you ever committed them. And if God himself has forgotten your sins, who are you to remember them?

    If somehow Freshwater became convinced that assaulting his students was a sin — it’s a stretch I know — and if he confessed his sin and asks for forgiveness, then it’s perfectly within the logic of evangelical Christianity for him to claim he never did it in the first place, photographs and witnesses be damned.

    Yes it’s a bit of mental gymnastics, but believe me when you’re immersed in this stuff, it’s easier to claim it never happened than it is to admit you were wrong in the first place.

  116. #116 BlueIndependent
    August 5, 2008

    “Both acts are reprehensible particularly because those involved are so called “educators” who have the minds of our children at their disposal.

    Right: Scalding a mark into a kid’s skin ,where it will likely remain permanent for the rest of his life, is equally as reprehensible as someone defacing a cracker.

    Listen to what you are saying. Do you find Darwin fishon the back of peoples’ cars reprehensible too? What about people who like the cross symbol and have one adorning the walls of their house, but are not Christian? Branding a student with a makeshift cross iron is pretty perverse IMO (especially when its an action taken on such striking individual fiat), and indicative of the kind of mindset Mr. Freshwater carries around with him. He thinks he’s a crusader for an unknown and unseen deity, and he’s going to flaunt whichever of “man’s laws” he feels he’s entitled to to push his crap.

    So if after being presented with these scenarios:

    A) PZ torturing an inanimate cracker and throwing it in the garbage

    and…

    B) Mr. Freshwater physically altering a child with a hot iron in his classroom

    …and you comne out equals on both, you have some self criticism you need to be doing. You also need to evaluate whether you’ve bought into the wrong perspective.

  117. #117 raven
    August 5, 2008

    Those up in arms about this should ask themselves which is worse…

    Something in you [Peter Rooke] is badly broken.

    Naw, Peter Rooke is just dead. It is all there, lurching around muttering about, “dead bodies, rape fantasies, and brainnsss. The guy is a Zombie. Or possibly a Ghoul.

  118. #118 DistendedPendulusFrenulum
    August 5, 2008

    Looks like he was also using the bizarre “conservation of energy disproves evolution” argument.

  119. #119 Pim van Riezen
    August 5, 2008

    I’m getting curious why people keep responding to Mr. Rooke’s comments. Anyone following his posting antics over the last couple of days should be able to tell that his every post is engineered to annoy and push buttons; a classic case of a troll. I could follow this from a comic relief perspective (it’s hard _not_ to love his twisted analogies), but seriously, this guy is now well past the sell-by date.

    Incidentally I’ve got this same feeling about Mr. Comfort. His Nightmare Banana Theorem was pretty hilarious to the point that you coudn’t help but hope for more humor from his side, unfortunately he’s more of a one day fly as well. He had his 15 minutes. The rest of his stuff is just mundane dishonest evangelizing. It’s not bananas all the way down.

  120. #120 El Herring
    August 5, 2008

    Alexandra #100: Interesting points regarding loopholes in the “false Witness” commandment. I can see how that can be exploited endlessly.

    However, what about “Thou shall not kill”? Not much wriggle room there is there? Does that mean we shouldn’t kill animals? Insects? Plants even? Bacteria? Hell, if you obeyed this commandment to the letter you’d quickly starve to death. Then you’d still be guilty as you’ve gone and killed yourself. So basically we’re all screwed by that one commandment alone.

    Of course I’m playing devil’s advocate here but I find it interesting that when you examine these things closely, they reveal the stark insanity that underlies all religion.

  121. #121 Cuttlefish, OM
    August 5, 2008

    What could be the harm in lying?
    What could be the harm?
    God is great, we show by frying
    Marks into an arm.
    After that, we start denying,
    Pouring on the charm.

    Far, far worse, to pierce a wafer
    With a rusty nail
    Branding students? Nothing’s safer,
    Though the bastards wail.
    Lies will make it all okay fer
    Staying out of jail.

    I don’t care how Fresh this water,
    I don’t want to drink.
    I don’t want my son or daughter
    Near him, I should think.
    Rather, I believe he oughter
    Wind up in the clink.

  122. #122 tsg
    August 5, 2008

    I’m getting curious why people keep responding to Mr. Rooke’s comments. Anyone following his posting antics over the last couple of days should be able to tell that his every post is engineered to annoy and push buttons; a classic case of a troll. I could follow this from a comic relief perspective (it’s hard _not_ to love his twisted analogies), but seriously, this guy is now well past the sell-by date.

    It’s an old, old rule of the internet: No Troll Shall Starve. It’s a corollary (or perhaps the cause of) Poe’s Law – it is impossible to invent a position so ridiculous that there isn’t someone who believes it in earnest.

  123. #123 2-D Man
    August 5, 2008

    It is as if there is a gigantic mental blind spot in the minds of the faithful.

    God is not a flying spaghetti monster. God is a Somebody Else’s Problem field generator.

  124. #124 Phentari
    August 5, 2008

    Pete @62:

    Asking myself now. Here’s what myself has to say:

    “What an unbelievably asinine question. Desecrating a symbol may be juvenile; causing harm to a minor is inexcusable.”

  125. #125 skyotter
    August 5, 2008

    “It’s an old, old rule of the internet: No Troll Shall Starve”

    close, but not quite. NTTS has been replaced by SIWOTI

  126. #126 E.V.
    August 5, 2008

    Cuttlefish! My day is better now.

  127. #127 Pim van Riezen
    August 5, 2008

    It’s an old, old rule of the internet: No Troll Shall Starve. It’s a corollary (or perhaps the cause of) Poe’s Law – it is impossible to invent a position so ridiculous that there isn’t someone who believes it in earnest.

    True. But a lot of the people responding to him probably know the guy is a troll. I was thinking they were engaging him to get more necronomicon analogies out of the deal, but I think it’s safe to assume we already witnessed his magnum opus, the rest of it is just mundane low level button pushing, really no longer worth the effort.

  128. #128 SteveM
    August 5, 2008

    from one of the news articles linked to previously:

    Freshwater told investigators he simply was trying to demonstrate the device on three to eight students and described the images an “X” not a cross. But pictures show the images depict a cross, the report said.

    Oh, that is so much better, it was an “x” not a “+”. I wouldn’t care if was a “smiley face” or even a “dot”, he still FUCKIN BURNED his students, deliberately and with malice aforethought! He should have been fired and arrested on the spot!

  129. #129 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    cracker choler

    another great phrase generated by crackergate.

  130. #130 Pim van Riezen
    August 5, 2008

    close, but not quite. NTTS has been replaced by SIWOTI

    For the meme-impaired: see here.

  131. #131 Alexandra
    August 5, 2008

    El Herring: (#120)

    However, what about “Thou shall not kill”? Not much wriggle room there is there?

    Actually, yes there is. Thou shalt not kill is not really a very accurate translation of the original text. A much closer rendition would be “Thou shalt not murder”. (See 1 Kings 21:19 for an example of the same word “rasah” clearly indicating “murder”.) This (“shall not murder”) is how it is commonly translated in the newer editions like the NIV or the NASB.

    So, much as “false witness” only covers some types of lies, “shall not kill” only covers some types of killing. (Convenient, eh?)

  132. #132 tsg
    August 5, 2008

    True. But a lot of the people responding to him probably know the guy is a troll.

    I’m sure they do. The serious answer is that if there are people who really believe what he is pretending to, it’s good to get it refuted. The more realistic answer is sometimes the stupid is so bad you can’t refrain from ridiculing it, even if it isn’t real.

  133. #133 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    I have to say that informed opinion did not think much of the way the police handled the investigation. More than one police officer, or retired police officer, thought that had an investigation been as badly handled here in the UK the case would never have been allowed to go to court.

    The LAPD framed a guilty man.

  134. #134 RBH
    August 5, 2008

    Carlie wrote

    He seems to be forgetting that there are pictures of a kid’s arm after he burned it. Unless, that is, he’s going to argue that the kid did it to himself in a bizarre conspiracy plot.

    That’s been suggested by a few Freshwater supporters.

    The story PZ linked to neglected to mention that a physician, the local pastor of a largish church, an IT executive (who described himself as “a committed Christian from a fundamentalist tradition”), a biology professor, and several parents all spoke in support of the Board’s action, to moans and groans from the mostly Xian audience.

    Also, from a walk through the parking lot it was evident that a substantial proportion of the crowd was from outside of the local school district, summoned by emails to churches in central Ohio from Don Matolyak, Freshwater’s Assemblies of God pastor. There were lots of ‘foreign’ license tags out there, including a few out-of-state licenses. (Ohio codes license tags by county of issue.) In addition, there were a fair number of Dave Daubenmire’s Minutemen United there (though Daubenmire himself wasn’t, having recently been pushed out of Freshwater’s inner circle of advisers), a few in leather vests and t-shirts and dirty jeans. Made for an interesting scene at the parking lot prayer meeting before the BOE meeting, with the blend of those guys and the old folks from the various churches.

  135. #135 Carlie
    August 5, 2008

    Freshwater told investigators he simply was trying to demonstrate the device on three to eight students and described the images an “X” not a cross.

    Yeah, it was an “x”. Only it was sideways. And one arm of it was a lot longer than the others. And the longer arm just happened to be the one pointing down. All of which variation just happened to accidentally be the same features of a cross.

  136. #136 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    Oh good. Pete’s back and adding more torture fantasies to his rape fetishism.

  137. #137 E.V.
    August 5, 2008

    It won’t be long before “lying for the faith” will be a sacrament.

    Who are you kidding? All supernatural belief systems have always required followers to propagandize lie for their faith. It’s called witnessing.

  138. #138 Pim van Riezen
    August 5, 2008

    The more realistic answer is sometimes the stupid is so bad you can’t refrain from ridiculing it, even if it isn’t real.

    Behold, the atheist’s Shave-and-a-haircut.

  139. #139 raven
    August 5, 2008

    Also, from a walk through the parking lot it was evident that a substantial proportion of the crowd was from outside of the local school district, summoned by emails to churches in central Ohio from Don Matolyak, Freshwater’s Assemblies of God pastor.

    Told you so. They packed the school board meeting with ringers. The fact that they had to bring in outsiders says volumes about their morality and ethics and shouldn’t go over too well with the locals.

    Christofascist lunatic fringers. Maybe they could get another Ohio pastor, Rod Parsley to talk about how they should kill 1.4 billion Moslems.

  140. #140 CJ
    August 5, 2008

    Maybe I missed it somewhere in this stream but did anyone note the similarities between Pete’s sacrilege issue and the Muslim’s fatwahs against anyone who creates a picture of Muhammed? So Pete, I suppose you feel death for those who commit such a sacrilege is fair?

  141. #141 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    @#134:

    Richard, haven’t you at this point finally come to the conclusion that you are like a cork floating in a sea of stupid?

    putting aside the notable efforts you have made to stem the tide of stupid there, Why do you stay?

  142. #142 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    “What to do when the other side doesn’t argue in good faith?”

    As a gay activist, I’ve been dealing with this shit for years. Right-wing religionists are without value(s). Willing to lie at the drop of a hat, they can’t be engaged. They simply have to be called out often.

    For example, the anti-gay hate group known as the catholic church is always going on and on and on about mixed-sex couples being the optimal–indeed the only acceptable–situation in which children should be placed. Data shows this to be complete and utter bullshit (Stacey and Biblarz 2002 piece in ASR is a good meta-study of gay parenting issues).

    The problem is that, because of the privileging of religious belief, calling them the liars they are doesn’t get you anywhere in public debate. (it’s not just the religion thing–calling someone a liar, even when they obviously are, is considered “rude” and therefore off limits.)

    In situations like this school board meeting, when they bus in loads of mindless drones, you’re pretty much screwed. Even more so since the idiots have taken over one of our major parties and have been engaging in attempts to take over school boards for a couple decades now.

    Damn these fuckwits piss me off. Rotten human beings, they are.

  143. #143 tsg
    August 5, 2008

    Behold, the atheist’s Shave-and-a-haircut.

    Nice! I don’t know that it’s limited to atheists, though. I think you can expect the same reaction from, say, posting about how great Windows is on a Mac forum, Emacs vs. vi, or the proper way to sharpen a chisel[1]. In any group with a common interest, there are just certain topics that will always start an argument.

    [1] The woodworking joke is, if you are ever lost in the woods, all you need do is proclaim, in a loud voice, “I will now demonstrate the proper way to sharpen a chisel” and there will be dozens of people coming out of the trees to tell you why you’re wrong.

  144. #144 SC
    August 5, 2008

    Rooke:

    In amongst [awk] that profane-filled rant laced with numerous ellipses, various errors of capitalization, and a prima facie example of “begging the question,” I managed to discern why we have, as of now, been talking at cross-purposes; you seem to view the Eucharist as little more than the ingredients it is made from, and in doing so you deny both its symbolic value as well as the process of transubstantiation that Catholics believe takes place. This is surely an error on your part.

  145. #145 IceFarmer
    August 5, 2008

    As a former educator the lying is the least disturbing and suprising thing for me. The fact that this jackass became physical with students in the fashion he did irks me to no F’ing end. If I were to lay a hand on any one of my students, except in case of self defense or a hand shake of some sort (even that can be questionable in the Nanny state) I would have been arrested instantly. I don’t think I’d have many backers at all.

    If my child came home with a burn that the teacher gave him/her, the POS would have to go into hiding so as to avoid wearing my anger all over his face. For this douche bag to have so many supporters drives me nuts. Teachers enter into a special bond with their students that fosters learning with an air of responsibility and professionalism. This is a great abuse of not only the students but the social contract between student and teacher.

    But perhaps many fundies are all for abuse as long as it is in the name of God. I could never follow a God that would want me to be blind, hypocritical and stupid. What a load of BS. There is little hope for these people.

  146. #146 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    But perhaps many fundies are all for abuse as long as it is in the name of God

    Well, their god IS an abuser…

  147. #147 craig
    August 5, 2008

    For those that missed it last night,
    Pastor Pete Rooke on communion:
    http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/stchadsomegachurch/

  148. #148 Michelle
    August 5, 2008

    @Pete Rooke

    In amongst that profane filled rant laced with numerous ellipsis, various errors of capitalization, and a prima facia example of “begging the question” I managed to discern why we have, as of now, been talking across purposes; you seem to view the Eucharist as little more the ingredients it is made from and in doing so you deny both its symbolic value as well as the process of transubstantiation that Catholics believe takes place. This is surely an error on your part.

    I’m sorry, I’m not a very good communicator. I’m also french canadian and my english is not the best in the world due to a lack of decent english tutoring in this lousy province. So excuse me for not having writing skills as superior as the ones you get from your god.

    But let me just say that:

    Are you putting a cracker before harm on a child? Seriously. You know, you can say we atheists lack morals, but do you realize what you just said?! You can believe you’re chewing on your savior all you want, but telling me that it’s an error on my part… When YOU’RE the one that compared a CHILD GETTING BURNED (Even so lightly) to the STABBING OF A SUPPOSED JESUS BODYPART? Are you nuts?! And Donohue said it too…

    He can’t think of something more awful than desecrating the host. I can think of so many… You guys have FAILING PRIORITIES.

    You can’t be serious.

  149. #149 Baba
    August 5, 2008

    It’s always disturbing to see how readily these creationists will lie for their own ends, and how happily their supporters will cheer for the lie.

    Where’s the proof that he’s lying? None of the linked articles say that he was found to be guilty, the only “evidence” that you’ve presented is the actions of a group of people that have nothing to do with this case, that you have(in true Stalinist fashion)decided are guilty no matter what the courts say.

    Another example of your irrationality stifling your ability to think critically.

  150. #150 tsg
    August 5, 2008

    Where’s the proof that he’s lying?

    I think it was the part where he said, “I didn’t do it, nobody saw me do it, it wasn’t my fault, and I’d do it again.”

  151. #151 craig
    August 5, 2008

    “Where’s the proof that he’s lying?”

    The fact that he’s previously admitted it?

  152. #152 tsg
    August 5, 2008

    This reminds me of something I heard Al Franken say:

    A man borrows a neighbors plate and returns it to him broken. When questioned about it, the man says “I didn’t borrow your plate, it was broken when you gave it to me, and it wasn’t broken when I returned it.”

  153. #153 Baba
    August 5, 2008

    I think it was the part where he said, “I didn’t do it, nobody saw me do it, it wasn’t my fault, and I’d do it again.”

    I asked for proof that he was lying, not proof that you are a moron.

  154. #154 Rilke's Granddaughter
    August 5, 2008

    baba the baboon: “I asked for proof that he was lying, not proof that you are a moron.”
    As pointed out, he already admitted it.

    You’re really quite funny for a troll. Not very imaginative, but then trolls never are. Not very creative or intellectual, but then trolls never are. Fortunately, no one takes you seriously.

  155. #155 Baba
    August 5, 2008

    The fact that he’s previously admitted it?

    After the articles were written.

  156. #156 tsg
    August 5, 2008

    I asked for proof that he was lying, not proof that you are a moron.

    Oh, skewered by your rapier wit! Whatever shall I do?

    Let’s see, this is going back a ways, but I think I might be able to remember…..

    The proper comeback, I believe, is: “takes one to know one!”

    No, wait, that’s not it. How about: “so’s your old man!”

    No. Damn! It’s right on the tip of my tongue….

    “Yo mama wears combat boots!”
    “If brains were dynamite you couldn’t blow your nose!”

    None of these are working….

    That’s it! I’ve got it!

    “Oh yeah?”

  157. #157 Baba
    August 5, 2008

    You’re really quite funny for a troll. Not very imaginative, but then trolls never are. Not very creative or intellectual, but then trolls never are.
    Fortunately, no one takes you seriously.

    The Troll Nazi.

  158. #158 Baba
    August 5, 2008

    Oh, skewered by your rapier wit!

    I’m a natural!

  159. #159 Alexandra
    August 5, 2008

    the only “evidence” that you’ve presented is the actions of a group of people that have nothing to do with this case

    That’s not exactly the truth now is it? The evidence in question includes photographs of the crosses burned into the skin of the children involved and the previous admission of the teacher that he inflicted them. Did you somehow miss all of that or are you trying to suggest that the the victims and the defendant are people who “have nothing to do with this case”?

  160. #160 Barklikeadog
    August 5, 2008

    For those that missed it last night,
    Pastor Pete Rooke on communion:
    http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/stchadsomegachurch/

    Posted by: craig | August 5, 2008 4:53 PM

    I noticed he has a place for communion. Exactly how do you do communion in an internet church? Stupid is as stupid does.

  161. #161 tsg
    August 5, 2008

    I’m au naturál!

    Geez, I didn’t need that mental image.

    Now I have to go boil my brain….

  162. #162 craig
    August 5, 2008

    “After the articles were written.”

    WTF is this even supposed to mean?

  163. #163 Rilke's Granddaughter
    August 5, 2008

    baba the baboon: “After the articles were written.”
    Still proof. You’ve been pwned, laddie.

  164. #164 Rilke's Granddaughter
    August 5, 2008

    baba the baboon: “I’m a natural!

    Posted by: Baba | August 5, 2008 5:30 PM”
    Natural what? Idiot? Troll?

    Your problem, my child, is the common one to trolls: they are easy to identify, trivial to refute, and funny to watch.

    Does anyone ACTUALLY pay any attention to them? Nope.

    Oh, bye the bye, baby-cakes: you’ve also been Godwined.

    Not real bright, are ya?

  165. #165 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    hey, RG!

    how is post-doc life treating you these days?

  166. #166 craig
    August 5, 2008

    Oh well, Baba the chickenshit realizes he fucked up and so he ran off with his tail between his legs. He’ll return to troll again just as soon as he thinks we may have forgotten what a dumbass he is.

  167. #167 Baba
    August 5, 2008

    I like to touch children.

  168. #168 Kel
    August 5, 2008

    Lying for Jesus?

    Why did Christianity have to make the only qualifier for salvation faith? Getting forgiveness for sin just allows them to sin over and over with the comfort of knowing they’ll be forgiven. Meanwhile back here in reality, it’s actually important to tell the truth.

  169. #169 Rilke's Granddaughter
    August 5, 2008

    Icythic: “hey, RG!

    how is post-doc life treating you these days?”
    Well enough. I’m working at a clinic in Micronesia right now, and just applied for a teaching post at Stanford.

    But most likely I need another degree; there are things I don’t yet know and it’s frustratin’ beyond measure.

  170. #170 E.V.
    August 5, 2008

    …you seem to view the Eucharist as little more the ingredients it is made from and in doing so you deny both its symbolic value as well as the process of transubstantiation that Catholics believe takes place. This is surely an error on your part.

    First, aknowledging that the is a wheat product doesn’t deny the symbolic value any more than a US flag made of nylon instead of cotton denies its symbolism.
    The unprovable transubstantiation is the rub since the sophistry for that argument is that old accident/essence explanation. It’s a simple claim: blessed wafer becomes Jesus; rather than: blessed wafer is symbolically Jesu. This defies testability even when priests have averred that transubstantiated eucharists bled.
    The Catholics have boxed themselves into a corner for perpetuating the myth of the literal transfiguration in an age of forensic technology. It is purely symbolic and only has power within the ceremony and ritual. There is no sanctitiy of the wafer beyond that.

  171. #171 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    I’m working at a clinic in Micronesia right now, and just applied for a teaching post at Stanford.

    good luck! that would be a fantastic position if tenure track.

    But most likely I need another degree

    *look of shock and horror*

    *makes sign of cross*

    well, on the bright side, doing it ASAP would only make it easier.

    really, I kid. I’ve been thinking about going back for another degree myself of late.

  172. #172 E.V.
    August 5, 2008

    You are no longer the King of Typos, Rev.
    (dammit)

  173. #173 Feynmaniac
    August 5, 2008

    AP,
    “Freshwater told investigators he simply was trying to demonstrate the device on three to eight students and described the images an “X” not a cross. But pictures show the images depict a cross, the report said.”

    His latest blatant lie contradicts his previous blatant lie!

  174. #174 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    good luck! that would be a fantastic position if tenure track.

    Don’t even talk about that shit.

    Spent the weekend at our national conference–and doing the for job app shit right now.

    Ready to slash my wrists. (and toss anthrax in the seminar room this weekend with all the other folks on the market)

  175. #175 wrpd
    August 5, 2008

    What John Stinkwater did to the students was not torture, it was inhanced indoctrination.

  176. #176 John Morales
    August 5, 2008

    Sastra @3: my very thoughts.

  177. #177 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    and toss anthrax in the seminar room this weekend with all the other folks on the market

    hey now…

    that’s a great idea!

    got any extra?

    OTOH, I think I’ve already decided that the real solution is to switch markets.

  178. #178 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    OTOH, I think I’ve already decided that the real solution is to switch markets.

    Got a friend in political consulting putting out feelers for me :)

  179. #179 Michael Nguyen
    August 5, 2008

    I’m not even surprised anymore at these creationists… they have shown time and time again that they will use deceit and indoctrination to prove their so-called “theory” when it can not and never will stand up to the scrutiny of the scientific method.

  180. #180 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    You are no longer the King of Typos, Rev.
    (dammit)

    I will not relinquish my throne so easy

  181. #181 Graculus
    August 5, 2008

    I will not relinquish my throne so easy

    As a charter member of the Save the Adverb Foundation, I’m willing to “crown” you…..

  182. #182 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    Got a friend in political consulting putting out feelers for me :)

    oh, don’t get me wrong…

    it’s the location of the market that will change for me, not the subject.

    I’m looking for a smaller (MUCH) market.

    In fact, I think I’ve already found it.

  183. #183 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    I will not relinquish my throne so easy

    As a charter member of the Save the Adverb Foundation, I’m willing to “crown” you..

    Yes. Bow before the king.

  184. #184 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    … btw, I think you would be fantastic in that particular field (political consulting) Jeff.

    One word of warning:

    don’t let yourself burn out on the fact that 99.99% of the time, the effort you put into communication won’t be appreciated at anything but a superficial level.

    I tried it for about 3 years…

    Decided to go back into research instead.
    :)

  185. #185 craig
    August 5, 2008

    Something’s wrong.

    I feel weird. Disoriented. Something’s WRONG.

    oh wait. just figured it out. everybody in the thread is suddenly getting along.

    knock it off you’re freaking me out!

  186. #186 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    it’s the location of the market that will change for me, not the subject.
    I’m looking for a smaller (MUCH) market.

    I just want a lower cost of living.

    In fact, I think I’ve already found it.

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  187. #187 Lee Picton
    August 5, 2008

    Yes, I managed to download Firefox to get my Pharyngula fix when IE is on the fritz, but I am not PC literate enough to use the greasemonkey thingie. I have brought this up before, but might it not be possible to put the “posted by:” tag line at the top of the post instead of at the bottom? That way one (well I, at least) can just blow by the posts of trolls. I mention this again when I can’t figure out it it’s Pete the Troll (or Baba) until I have actually read several lines. They are beyond the pale, and I prefer to waste the remaining seconds of my life voluntarily, rather than be suckered in by such vomitous excresences.

  188. #188 jimmiraybob
    August 5, 2008

    Got a friend in political consulting putting out feelers for me :)

    Ahhhhh, the most exiting part of the dance of amore. The tingly thrill of anticipation.

    Sorry the long hot day’s broken down my ability to exercise restraint.

  189. #189 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If all goes well, I’ll be there in December.

    so far, everything looks good:

    Immigration tells me I’m qualified and have enough cash (still have to file the final paperwork and get it approved).

    I have no remaining ties here (well, some financial loose ends to tie up in the next month, but other than that).

    been getting good welcomes from all over.

    …ah, starting all over again for the 4rth time.

    life’s such an adventure.

  190. #190 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    but might it not be possible to put the “posted by:” tag line at the top of the post instead of at the bottom?

    unfortunately, many of them have the nasty habit (like the Kenny) of rapidly using different names.

    It wouldn’t help you much.

  191. #191 craig
    August 5, 2008

    :(
    I want to move to a different country.

    But nobody is taking middle-aged unemployable disabled people. :(

  192. #192 Patricia
    August 5, 2008

    MAJeff, you should make a first rate political consultant, you’ve got the blah blah blah perfected. ;)

  193. #193 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    MAJeff, you should make a first rate political consultant, you’ve got the blah blah blah perfected. ;)

    and I can yell it really loud, too—ready for CNN!

    I just hope I wouldn’t need to lose the earrings.

  194. #194 Azkyroth
    August 5, 2008

    you seem to view the Eucharist as little more the ingredients it is made from and in doing so you deny both its symbolic value as well as the process of transubstantiation that Catholics believe takes place. This is surely an error on your part.

    Prove it takes place.

    *crickets*

  195. #195 Azkyroth
    August 5, 2008

    You seem blinded by the circumstances. In what sense is someone being burnt alive equivalent to someone willingly agreeing to have a cross etched onto their shoulder?

    Um, can you actually produce any evidence that the kid in question agreed to having a cross burnt into his arm? Because if so, that’s the first I’ve heard of it.

  196. #196 Patricia
    August 5, 2008

    Craig – Yep, not much of a need for us middle-aged folk.
    Would sending an intertubzes *SMOOCH* help? ;)

  197. #197 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    Um, can you actually produce any evidence that the kid in question agreed to having a cross burnt into his arm

    actually, it doesn’t matter even if he did.

    Minor, remember?

  198. #198 PZ Myers
    August 5, 2008

    It would be pretty easy for me to put the “Posted by:” on top, but I’d want to be sure it wouldn’t break the greasemonkey killfile script if I rearranged the layout.

  199. #199 El Herring
    August 5, 2008

    Lee Picton #187: I agree. Names at the top of posts would make it easier to do a troll-scroll, especially for the long-winded ones.

    Whenever I come to a long post I tend to scroll to the bottom to find the poster’s name. It usually gives a reliable clue as to whether the post is worth reading or not.

  200. #200 Patricia
    August 5, 2008

    Third for names on top. :)

  201. #201 E.V.
    August 5, 2008

    Um, PZ? Non-sequitur alert*

    I’m lost and I need a reference.

    *Brought to you out of thin air.

  202. #202 Patricia
    August 5, 2008

    Might as well be *brazen*.
    Could you also change those hideous wasp & chimp photos? They both creep me out.
    *brazen off*

  203. #203 Azkyroth
    August 5, 2008

    The problem is that, because of the privileging of religious belief, calling them the liars they are doesn’t get you anywhere in public debate. (it’s not just the religion thing–calling someone a liar, even when they obviously are, is considered “rude” and therefore off limits.)

    Judging by the bullshit my relatives and school officials tried to feed me growing up, and the bullshit people still try to feed me occasionally, being assertive, ever, to any degree, for any reason, is “rude.” I’ve just stopped paying attention to whining about rudeness, for the most part, and encourage anyone else who doesn’t enjoy being a victim to do the same.

  204. #204 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    I often scroll to the bottom of long posts before reading — less to see if it’s a troll, more to see if it’s someone who is likely to be worth reading.

    Make mine one more vote for names on top.

  205. #205 spurge
    August 5, 2008

    Name at the top please.

  206. #206 Carlie
    August 5, 2008

    Wait, if his word that it was an “x” and not a cross burned on the kid’s arm was accepted, then wouldn’t that invalidate his claim of religious persecution? He can’t be harmed for showing his beliefs if he’s not showing them. What he’s just done is the equivalent of Peter denying Jesus before the cock crowed. Sorry, Mr. Freshwater, no defense for you!

  207. #207 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    Wow! He’s fast!

    That PZ dude’s got god-like powers. He says the word, and *bammo* the page changes!

  208. #208 Wowbagger
    August 5, 2008

    Another for the ‘posted by:’ on top since I feel for those unfortunate enough not to have the Killfile option when scumbags like Baba show up.

    But yes, probably best to test whether it honks the Greasemonkey.

  209. #209 SC
    August 5, 2008

    Bam!

  210. #210 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    A little disorienting at first, but I think I like the new look!

  211. #211 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    Not so sure about the pink though . . .

  212. #212 Carlie
    August 5, 2008

    The names, they are on the top! The comments, they are on the bottom! The world has gone topsy-turvy!

    Um, pink? Physicalist, I think I’ll have one of whatever you’re drinking.

  213. #213 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    Acid flashback. Awesome.

  214. #214 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    The instant rearrangements do give one a sense of the sort of things that would make good evidence for a god though.

    “Hey God! How about some pink clouds?”

    “Sure, why not? Here, you like that?”

    “Nah! I guess the white was better. Thanks for giving it a try, though!”

    Would make a believer out of me.

  215. #215 Emmet Caulfield
    August 5, 2008

    Greasemonkey/killfile works fine with the name at the top. I don’t think it’s aesthetically as nice, but it’s well worth it for the ability to hide/kill Bible/tract floods.

  216. #216 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH COLORS

    Definitely acid flashback.

    Thank you jerry.

  217. #217 SC
    August 5, 2008

    This is fun. I never know how my comments are going to appear.

    CAN I HAS VEN DIAGARMZ?

  218. #218 Wowbagger
    August 5, 2008

    Ask and ye shall receive – PZ must be a god of teh internetz!

  219. #219 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    YIKES NAMES TOO BIG.

  220. #220 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    The blue’s Ok. (I realize that you’re breathlessly waiting for my opinion.) I think the uncolored was fine too — but maybe this does make it clearer who’s who.

    @ Carlie & Rev: I’m communicating with the creator of the universe here. I make petitions and HE hears me — and answers my pleas. The Great Cephalopod has designed this world especially for us.

    (Who needs acid?)

  221. #221 PZ Myers
    August 5, 2008

    OK? It does give more prominence to the comment author’s name.

  222. #222 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    I can adjust.

    As soon as the bats stop attacking me

  223. #223 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    Yeah, name size too large.

  224. #224 PZ Myers
    August 5, 2008

    Bats? You want bats? I suppose I could add little bat icons to the background of everyone’s comment…

  225. #225 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    Actually PZ, the blue background and the blue hyperlinks to people’s names and the date kind of get washed out together.

  226. #226 Carlie
    August 5, 2008

    Where are these colors? Why don’t I see colors? Were the names pink for a few minutes and I missed it?

  227. #227 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    Highly functional. Certainly makes it easy to see who’s who.

    I say Pangloss may be right: perhaps it’s the best of all possible worlds.

  228. #228 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    As soon as the bats stop attacking me

    move over, I’ll drive.

    …are we leaving Las Vegas yet?

  229. #229 hubris hurts
    August 5, 2008

    I actually live about 15 miles south of Mt. Vernon, Ohio and work in Columbus (another 25 miles to the south of my home). Just so you know, not all Ohioans are like the idiots supporting this “teacher.” I work in a professional office environment, and even though most of my coworkers are Christians (go to church every Sunday, pray regularly, etc.), they all easily accepted the fact that I’m an athiest. In fact, I’m very fortunate in that many of my coworkers are also good friends. We even discuss religios beliefs and nonbeliefs on occasion. Very amicably, at that.
    As for the incident in question, everyone that I know is shocked that this man was allowed to continue teaching for so long. I’ve been following this story all along in our local news, and one of the first stories about this stated that complaints about this teacher go back years.
    As for whether or not the student volunteered for this, he stated in an early interview that he did volunteer when the teacher asked for someone to help with a demonstration. He did not know ahead of time that he was to be branded.
    While I believe that this teacher is clearly a religious nut of the first order, to me that is secondary to the fact that he deliberately hurt students in his class. (The boy in this story was not the first.) I don’t care if the brand was a cross, star of david, or lol cat – he should be booted out immediately.

  230. #230 Sastra
    August 5, 2008

    AhHA! So here’s where the decision was made. Those of us on other threads were taken UNAWARE! It just …happened … with no warning. The format changed, and our names were… in a different place.

    That’s okay. We will be all right. Don’t worry about those of us in the Other threads. Go right ahead without consulting us across the board. We don’t mind.

  231. #231 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    @ Carlie: yeah, it was pink for a little bit as PZ fiddled with things.

    @ PZ: one thing to think about is that before your comments stood out quite strongly, while now they tend to look like the name headers — so it’s a bit less obvious when we’re being spoken to from on high. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad, but I thought I’d mention.

  232. #232 craig
    August 5, 2008

    Patricia, well it can’t hurt!

    Well, maybe it could hurt, but that’s ok, I’ll try anything once.

  233. #233 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    move over, I’ll drive.

    …are we leaving Las Vegas yet?

    Now where did I put that ether?

  234. #234 El Herring
    August 5, 2008

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Thanks PZ – I like it.

  235. #235 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    Now where did I put that ether?

    *sigh*

    HST, RIP

  236. #236 Sastra
    August 5, 2008

    I’ve no idea what people are talking about with bats and colors. PZ’s posts are in darker gray, and easy to pick out. The date is in blue, and only those names with links are also in blue. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed except the position of the commenter’s name.

  237. #237 craig
    August 5, 2008

    whoa… hit refresh and now I’m seeing like colors and shit. Eyes gone all woogly.

  238. #238 El Herring
    August 5, 2008

    Physicalist: that feature is rumoured to be available in the forthcoming “Universe 2.0″ due out any time now… probably after the rupture rapture, or whatever. It will also have an “undo” feature which could prove invaluable.

    Well, let’s face it, god must be a programmer. So many bugs…

  239. #239 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    Now where did I put that ether
    HST, RIP

    Loved the book, but never did see the movie. Was it any good?

  240. #240 craig
    August 5, 2008

    OK, yes. I like this. Wasn’t sure I liked names on top before, but names on top and BIGGER is good.

  241. #241 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    Loved the book, but never did see the movie. Was it any good?

    Johnny Depp played the HST character, and Guillermo Del Toro his lawyer buddy.

    yeah, I liked it. I think the gags kinda overwrote the message a bit, but it still came through.

    you can judge for yourself.

  242. #242 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    So many bugs…

    Yeah, a hell of a lot of bugs (those dang invertebrates!). Glad to hear about v. 2.0, I’ll try to get my hands on (in?) a copy.

    @Sastra: You had to be refreshing when things were changing to really appreciate the trip.

  243. #243 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    As usual, the book was WAY better. But honestly the movie did ok. Not great but very entertaining and mostly true to the book.

    I always liked where the Buffalo Roam as a bastardized version of the book. Billy Murray does a great Hunter.

    but nothing can match his books. I’ve read all but teh most recent ones that were just collections of letters.

  244. #244 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    oops, sorry, wrong link.

    here

    …and it was Benicio Del Toro, not Guillermo.

    bad memory.

    It was one of Terry Gilliam’s movies, btw.

  245. #245 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    you can judge for yourself.

    Hey, thanks! Next time I’ve got a little free time (and feel like tripping out) I will. I always thought that reading the book was the closest you could get to being stoned w/o touching chemicals.

    By the way, Ichthyic, where is it that you’re moving to?

  246. #246 deang
    August 5, 2008

    As someone who was raised by right-wingers, I can tell you that the old expression, “they lie as easily as they breathe,” is appropriate. And since the religious ones in particular think that everything’s just a belief or a point of view or an opinion and that facts are negotiable, lying means nothing to them.

  247. #247 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    BRING BACK THE PINK!!!!

  248. #248 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    but nothing can match his books.

    yeah, i think it’s about time I re-read some of those.
    it’s been about 15 years or so.

    frankly, I think this country really could use a lot more HST about now.

  249. #249 Patricia
    August 5, 2008

    Whoo-Hoo! Cool PZ!

  250. #250 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    By the way, Ichthyic, where is it that you’re moving to?

    what? you’d think I’d let all the nutty lurkers here know?
    ;)

    new zealand

    I’ve just got to find out how they managed to get rid of Ray Comfort.

  251. #251 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    @ MAJeff: Don’t make me laugh; my kid’s asleep! (I was guessing that PZ had you in mind when flashing that up.)

  252. #252 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    new zealand

    Are you there yet? I remember you talking about it, and then disappearing for a month and then coming back at (what seemed to me) odd hours.

  253. #253 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    BRING BACK THE PINK!!!!

    is the Floyd thinking about doing a reunion tour?

    which one IS Pink, anyway?

  254. #254 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    new zealand

    Cool. I’ve got a friend who’s moving there next month (not sure offhand where), and a couple from NZ just moved in down the street. Hope it all goes smoothly for you.

    (Oh, and don’t forget Comfort’s comforting insight that only an intelligent designer could have arranged things such that people would walk upside down on the southern hemisphere, and that our winter will be your summer, etc.)

  255. #255 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    @ MAJeff: Don’t make me laugh; my kid’s asleep! (I was guessing that PZ had you in mind when flashing that up.)

    I was on the phone when all the changes were being experimented with.

    which one IS Pink, anyway?

    Um.

  256. #256 bastion
    August 5, 2008

    Bear witness to a miracle.

    Lo, a prayer to change the placement of the posters’ names went out to the not-god P.Z. This prayer was followed by others.

    And, not-god P.Z., hearing the prayers of his spittle-flecked minions, did not put the matter in the “to do, maybe, someday” box like other gods, but benevolently and quickly granted the prayers.

    So it came to pass that the posters’ names were moved to the tops of their posts. And, then P.Z., showing the mightiness of his not-godliness, highlighted the names in heavenly blue.

    Praise him!

  257. #257 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    @ MAJeff: How was the Daily Catch? Someday I’m going to get myself back to the North End . . .

  258. #258 bastion
    August 5, 2008

    At #206 Carlie wrote:
    Wait, if his word that it was an “x” and not a cross burned on the kid’s arm was accepted, then wouldn’t that invalidate his claim of religious persecution?

    Because he is a Xtian?

  259. #259 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    @ MAJeff: How was the Daily Catch? Someday I’m going to get myself back to the North End . . .

    Oh. My. Gawd.

    They do the best fried calamari in the city. Amazing. I always order the black ink pasta putansca, but a friend had the monkfish marsala (divine) and the aglio e olio with scallops may have been better than the putanesca.

    It’s a bit expensive for me, so I don’t go very often, but I’ve never had a bad meal. Indeed, I’ve only had excellent meals–and the friends I take there are also always blown away. It’s my fave place in the North End.

  260. #260 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    which one IS Pink, anyway?

    Is that the one that all the young women are wearing around on the back of their shorts these days?

  261. #261 jimmiraybob
    August 5, 2008

    Posted by: Pete Rooke | August 5, 2008 2:31 PM

    @ Michelle

    In amongst that profane filled rant laced with numerous ellipsis, various errors of capitalization…blah, blah blah….

    Surely my god is the superior, for he hast given to his peoples the power of the plural ellipsis. Behold, the ellipses! [gasp followed by reverent hush]

  262. #262 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    Are you there yet?

    not yet… I will most assuredly be there in December though (finally).

    I remember you talking about it, and then disappearing for a month and then coming back at (what seemed to me) odd hours.

    Yeah, sometimes I was taking care of my pop (which, sadly, is recently no longer the case), and sometimes I was just busy with work, or trying to catch up on journal articles, or work on a course curriculum (evolutionary biology, of all things).

    all my ties here are pretty much wrapped up at this point, so I’m finally free to take the actual plunge.

    I’m 43 and have had 3 different professional careers, but when I think about it, sometimes it feels like I’m 18 again, just going off to college for the first time.

  263. #263 Patricia
    August 5, 2008

    New Zealand?!
    Oh right. That pile of dumbass dung Ray Comfort gets dumped on our shores, so you go there.
    I smell a cunning plan.
    *shakes fist at New Zealand*

  264. #264 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    Yeah, sometimes I was taking care of my pop (which, sadly, is recently no longer the case)

    I’m sorry to hear that.

  265. #265 craig
    August 5, 2008

    I’d like to move to the UK. I’m putting myself up for adoption.

    Sure, I’m 42 and that’s a little old for adoption, but fortunately I’m very immature.

  266. #266 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    It’s my fave place in the North End.

    Yeah. I used to live on Hanover, but now it’s rare that I head over there. Maybe I’ll try to hit a feast before summer’s over though.

  267. #267 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    people would walk upside down on the southern hemisphere

    looking forward to it. I’ll have to get new straps for all of my hats so they don’t fall off my head.

    oh, and I don’t want to forget about the toilets going in reverse!
    that’s really going to take some getting used to.
    ;)

  268. #268 SC
    August 5, 2008

    Yeah, sometimes I was taking care of my pop (which, sadly, is recently no longer the case),

    I tried to send you an email a few days ago, by the way, but it bounced back. It was just a little note – nothing major. Hope you’re doing OK.

  269. #269 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    I’m sorry to hear that.

    thanks, it was very fast, and really a complete shock.

    I’m gonna miss him; he taught me all about fishing, and I doubt I would have gone into biology if it weren’t for him sharing my interests in tidepools and whatnot when I was a kid.

  270. #270 Wowbagger
    August 5, 2008

    Ichthyic,

    Am I correct in saying you’re moving to Australia? Or NZ?

  271. #271 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    don’t forget about the toilets going in reverse!

    Oh, totally dude! That’ll be one to post on youtube!

    Sorry about your dad. I believe you, I, and MAJeff are all roughly the same age — which I suppose is about the age that parents start to go. I lost an in-law last year, and it wasn’t easy.

  272. #272 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    I tried to send you an email a few days ago, by the way, but it bounced back

    strange.
    I’ll try sending you one.

    Hope you’re doing OK.

    oh yeah, muddling through. I was offline for a few days because a couple days after he went, my computer died (problem with the motherboard). I built another one, then my internet connection died.

    finally, monday morning the cable guy came out and replaced all the lines.

    *shakes head*

    if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.

    /rosanne rosannadanna

  273. #273 SC
    August 5, 2008

    I’ll try sending you one.

    Do. (Please.)

    /rosanne rosannadanna
    :)

  274. #274 MAJeff, OM
    August 5, 2008

    I believe you, I, and MAJeff are all roughly the same age — which I suppose is about the age that parents start to go

    That’s one of the reasons I’m hoping to find a job in the Midwest–would like to be closer to the Ps.

    I lost an in-law last year, and it wasn’t easy.

    My condolences.

    My last grandparent died last year. I don’t know if it was the or dealing with the family due to it (well, dealing with the relatives and the family’s reaction to that–there’s a difference between family and relatives), but it threw me into a downward spiral for several months.

  275. #275 bastion
    August 5, 2008

    At #181, Graculus wrote:
    As a charter member of the Save the Adverb Foundation, I’m willing to “crown” you…..

    OMg, I thought I was the only one concerned about the endangered adverb.

    Whatever happened to the “ly” that is supposed to be appended to most English words that modify a verb?

    It used to be that you’d hear sentences like:
    “You have to turn the wheel quick.”
    “I want things to run real smooth.”
    “Tomorrow, it will rain heavy.”
    “Oh, I can beat that easy.”
    “She sure screams loud.”

    from speakers or writers who made other grammatical errors too. But I now hear this substitution of adjectives for adverbs from speakers who know, or should know, better. It just grates on my ears.

    I now read those same types in errors in newspapers and magazines on a regular basis too.

    But it’s been a while since I learned English grammar, and I know language changes, so…

    Is it now OK to modify verbs with adjectives? Or is adding an -ly into a descriptive word to form an adverb now passé?

  276. #276 Physicalist
    August 5, 2008

    Yeah, I guess my last grandparent went last year too. So it goes.

    Well, good luck with your job search. I’ve been there and it’s no fun. (In fact, I think that this past year might be the first year I wasn’t actively on the market in about a decade.) It can have a happy ending though . . .

    Better call it quits. Nighty night all.

  277. #277 SC
    August 5, 2008

    my computer died (problem with the motherboard). I built another one

    If you read the recent “Am I still crashing IE?” thread, you’d know how impressed I am by this. :)

    ‘Night, Physicalist.

  278. #278 Zarquon
    August 5, 2008

    So with the commenter’s name at the top now, does that mean PZ is moving to NZ? Or perhaps that hell-hole country of Queensland where the Wilkins lurks?

  279. #279 Ray Mills
    August 5, 2008

    Patricia, #263 Hey as a NZer, I can tell you we are glad to be rid of him, personally I would rather he change his first name as well. Banaman Comfort has a certain ring to it. I do apologise for dumping him on the US, perhaps Green Peace or the EPA could remove him somewhere for you. Baker Island in Alaska might do.

  280. #280 Epikt
    August 5, 2008

    Ichthyic:

    move over, I’ll drive.

    …are we leaving Las Vegas yet?

    During a road trip across the country, ca. 1989, to Canyonlands in Utah, I read all of Fear and Loathing to my new bride. She found it disturbingly romantic.

  281. #281 thalarctos
    August 5, 2008

    hey, Ichthyic–sorry to hear about your dad :( . Wish I had something to say that would be helpful or anything. I kind of thought you were around less for a while, but wasn’t sure because was unable to keep up the last few weeks.

    One of the reasons I’ve been so scarce lately is I’ve been working on a methods paper for the bear reproduction project. Thanks to all your help and advice, the microphotographs we’re using in the paper are worlds better than they were when I was just naively crossing my fingers shooting them and hoping for the best. The PI and I both owe you big for that one–I’ll send you a copy when it’s done.

  282. #282 Ichthyic
    August 5, 2008

    The PI and I both owe you big for that one–I’ll send you a copy when it’s done.

    ah, so glad I was able to be of assistance.

    I look forward to it!

  283. #283 Monado
    August 5, 2008

    Ichthyic, sorry to hear about your dad. No tidepools where I grew up but we had walks in the woods.

    I hope you love New Zealand.

  284. #284 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    During a road trip across the country, ca. 1989, to Canyonlands in Utah, I read all of Fear and Loathing to my new bride. She found it disturbingly romantic.

    The needles? Maze?

    I spent a week in the Canyonlands backcountry in the middle of july in 1991. Really want to get back there now that I’m a photographer. Love that place.

  285. #285 BobbyEarle
    August 5, 2008

    PZ…

    As long as you’re taking orders, I would like a New York medium rare, with pilaf, and a Sam Addams.

    And make it snappy.

  286. #286 BobbyEarle
    August 5, 2008

    Well, I hit refresh, and my steak didn’t appear.

    Rats.

  287. #287 John Freshwater
    August 5, 2008

    For my next “science” trick, I’d like to show you how this melon-baller, which I’ve hammered into the shape of a communion wafer, demonstrates transubstantiation. I need a volunteer from the audience!

  288. #288 Kseniya
    August 5, 2008

    The black-ink pasta (topped with calamari) is good. I’m not a big calamari fan, though. Kinda rubbery for me.

  289. #289 RBH
    August 5, 2008

    My favorite Granddaughter (of someone else) wrote

    But most likely I need another degree; there are things I don’t yet know and it’s frustratin’ beyond measure.

    That’s a chronic condition, dear. Get used to the notion of a lifetime of having that feeling. It’s what keeps one alive, rather than merely walking around breathing at regular intervals.

  290. #290 Rilke's Granddaughter
    August 5, 2008

    RBH said, “My favorite Granddaughter (of someone else) wrote

    But most likely I need another degree; there are things I don’t yet know and it’s frustratin’ beyond measure.

    That’s a chronic condition, dear. Get used to the notion of a lifetime of having that feeling. It’s what keeps one alive, rather than merely walking around breathing at regular intervals.” You mean this itch is chronic? Oh, boy. I better marry somebody really rich at this rate. Though if I never actually LEAVE school, I never have to pay any of these loans back. Ha!

  291. #291 J Myers
    August 5, 2008

    Namesontop rocks. I can now skip the tiresome posts by the likes of Sastra, Brownian, and Ichthyic, and get right to the good stuff. JAD, Baba, Fr J… they bring meaning to my life. Oh, that other guy with my surname is a tad irksome at times as well, but he has always shown up as a different color, so I’ve been avoiding him for a while now.

  292. #292 Epikt
    August 5, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp:

    The needles? Maze?
    I spent a week in the Canyonlands backcountry in the middle of july in 1991. Really want to get back there now that I’m a photographer. Love that place.

    The Needles, the Maze, Island in the Sky, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion, along with some of the state parks.

    Have you been to the Maze? I absolutely love the isolation, but getting there is a chore. And if you sit on a rattlesnake, you’re kind of far from help. Ask me how I know.

    I don’t know what it is about that area, but it really draws you in. I’m heading out there next week to do some mountain biking, though I’m wondering about the sanity of doing big climbs in 105 degree heat.

    Ah, well. Who wants to live forever?

  293. #293 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    Yeah spent a lot of time in the maze and the Needles. I’ve also spent a TON of time in Zion. I think I spent a month and a half three years in a row camping and climbing there int he spring in the mid-late 90′s. Luckily we had temps in the 80′s when we were climbing.

  294. #294 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 5, 2008

    though I’m wondering about the sanity of doing big climbs in 105 degree heat.

    That’s going to be a lot of water in the pig.

  295. #295 wonderin
    August 5, 2008

    I, for one, am glad that we have our “smart cork” still here.

  296. #296 Azkyroth
    August 6, 2008

    Is it now OK to modify verbs with adjectives? Or is adding an -ly into a descriptive word to form an adverb now passé?

    Languages evolve. Except when it’s actually impeding the understanding of what is being expressed, simplification of obligatory grammar is not cause for concern, despite the whining of the memetic descendents of ancient relics who sat around lamenting the decline of stone-tool-making skills in the younger generation.

  297. #297 Malcolm
    August 6, 2008

    Ichthyic,
    Where in New Zealand?
    If you are arriving in December, I recommend doing some penguin spotting around Otago and Southland. January is also the right time to see the Royal Albatross in Dunedin.

  298. #298 Wowbagger
    August 6, 2008

    Azkyroth, #296, wrote:

    Languages evolve.

    True – as much as some traditionalists find it irritating. I’m for it most of the time, but there are some recent noun-to-verb adaptations which I dislike; possibly the most grating is one I’m no doubt going to hear far too often during the Olympics – medal – and its past-tense offspring, medalled.

  299. #299 Ichthyic
    August 6, 2008

    If you are arriving in December, I recommend doing some penguin spotting around Otago and Southland. January is also the right time to see the Royal Albatross in Dunedin.

    I’m going to start off in Wellington, get my bearings (make that “home base” for the first few months probably), and launch a quick whirlwind tour to start.

    but, yeah, it sure sounds like the south island is the right place to start the tour for the time period.

  300. #300 Ichthyic
    August 6, 2008

    And if you sit on a rattlesnake, you’re kind of far from help. Ask me how I know.

    I’ll bite.
    :)

    tell us a story!

  301. #301 S.Scott
    August 6, 2008

    The Panda’s Thumb has just put an audio link up of Freshwater making his statement. The crowd is cheering so loudly for him it makes me ill.
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/08/freshwater-i-ha.html

  302. #302 Ray Mills
    August 6, 2008

    Ichthyic, Hope you enjoy Welly, its where I am.

  303. #303 Autumn
    August 6, 2008

    @ Epikt,
    I spent three months with two friends travelling the backroads of America in an old VW van, camping wherever it was legal (and once where it was not), and we would take turns reading On The Road to each other before going to bed.
    It is amazing how simply hearing a past voice intersect with a physical location can cancel the differences in time. We traveled many of the same roads, and ended up in the same crappy area of San Francisco as Kerouac. I was nearly as drunk as he was, and just awed by doing what was so much better described by Jack.

    P.S., Whenever folks asked if we were “hippies”, we always said “no, we’re beatniks. We’re like hippies, but we can read”

    Wow, most off topic post of my short and nerdy life.

  304. #304 Katrina
    August 6, 2008

    Ichthyic,

    My condolences, as well. I lost my father this past May after a (very) brief fight with cancer. He/we only found out he had it about 6 weeks before his passing.

    To make it worse, he was in Idaho while I am in Italy. We were unable to get back for either the illness or the funeral. I’m trying to talk my mother into flying out here soon.

    And I fit the “age group” description, as well.

    Good luck on your New Zealand adventures.

  305. #305 Ichthyic
    August 6, 2008

    Ichthyic, Hope you enjoy Welly, its where I am.

    looking forward to it; a buddy already offered to trade windsurfing lessons for scuba lessons.

    feel free to shoot me your email, and we can swap stories over pints when I get there.

    fisheyephotosAThotmailDOTcom

  306. #306 Ichthyic
    August 6, 2008

    He/we only found out he had it about 6 weeks before his passing.

    yeah, the only good thing about that is that at least it’s quick.

    my pop had undiagnosed congestive heart failure, and it took less than a week in the hospital before he went (complications from pneumonia).

    total shocker. I had just taken him to the movies the weekend before to see the new Batman flick, and he seemed fine.

    which brings up a related point:

    for those with elderly parents, make SURE you visit their general practitioner some time when your parents have an appointment with them to see if the GP has good diagnostic skills.

    my dad really liked his GP, but that guy had piss poor diagnostic skills.

    Of course, the second problem is getting your relatives to shift to a new GP. No advice there.

  307. #307 mandrake
    August 6, 2008

    Re: Fear & Loathing –
    Several years ago a friend of mine was getting off speed (hate that drug), so we rented a bunch of movies and didn’t let him out of the apartment for a few days. One of the movies he brought to watch was “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.” He hadn’t read the book & had no clue. We thought it was hysterical. Luckily he did too.

  308. #308 Iain Walker
    August 6, 2008

    E.V. (Comment #170):

    The unprovable transubstantiation is the rub since the sophistry for that argument is that old accident/essence explanation. It’s a simple claim: blessed wafer becomes Jesus; rather than: blessed wafer is symbolically Jesu. This defies testability even when priests have averred that transubstantiated eucharists bled.

    It’s worse than that. The real problem with transubstantiation isn’t so much its untestability, as the fact that the underlying metaphysical assumptions entail that there is no logical connection between essentially being something (cracker or flesh, wine or blood) and possessing any discernible properties or set of properties. Which, if you think about it, makes the world completely unintelligible – you could never identify, distinguish or categorise anything in the world, because anything could have any set of discernible properties. Transubstantiation is certainly empirical bullshit, but it’s even worse conceptual/philosophical bullshit.

  309. #309 Epikt
    August 6, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT:

    Yeah spent a lot of time in the maze and the Needles. I’ve also spent a TON of time in Zion. I think I spent a month and a half three years in a row camping and climbing there int he spring in the mid-late 90′s. Luckily we had temps in the 80′s when we were climbing.

    You were one of those way-beyond-crazy people hanging on those 1500-foot cliffs in Zion?! Mmmm. Respect.

  310. #310 Epikt
    August 6, 2008

    Ichthyic:

    I’ll bite. :)
    tell us a story!

    Fangs for your interest.

    A little hype, I have to admit. No bodily fluids were actually exchanged with the snake.

    My wife and I were backpacking into Chesler Park in Canyonlands/Needles District, which is pretty isolated. ( I misremembered this happening in the Maze; there was another rattler there, but we avoided each other). When we arrived at the campsite, I sat down on a horizontal tree trunk to rest and wait for my wife. She came into camp a minute later. Her eyes got very big, and she said “Stand up. Slowly.” I had no idea what she was talking about until I turned around to see a faded midget rattlesnake where I had been sitting. When my heart rate got back below 200, I took a good look at it. There was a distinct lump in the middle, so apparently it had eaten recently. I’m told that snakes are much less aggressive when recently fed, and this one seemed almost torpid. Which I guess is why I’m still alive; that species has potent venom.

    My wife offered sympathy: “If you get bit in the butt, I hope you don’t think I’m going to suck out the poison.”

  311. #311 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 6, 2008

    You were one of those way-beyond-crazy people hanging on those 1500-foot cliffs in Zion?! Mmmm. Respect.

    Yeah, I was one of those. It’s been a while though. And judging from how shit scared I was the first couple times I spent a few nights in a portaledge hanging from bolts in sandstone, I’m not sure my 37 year old ass could do it again.

    Though I get the urge to try every once in a while..

    I am going to Yosemite next year. I wonder if I can talk Mrs. BDC into a wall climb?

    Nah. I’ll stick to being mr. snappy photo.

  312. #312 Epikt
    August 6, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT:

    Yeah, I was one of those. It’s been a while though. And judging from how shit scared I was the first couple times I spent a few nights in a portaledge hanging from bolts in sandstone, I’m not sure my 37 year old ass could do it again.

    I think you really need to do this when you’re 25, while you’re still certain that you’re immortal.

  313. #313 ben
    August 6, 2008

    Hm, let’s see. Sun rose in the east again this morning, check. Sky is still blue, check. Dropped objects still fall toward earth, check. Creationists still baldly lying to support their nutty superstitions, check.

    Same shit, different day.

  314. #314 Ichthyic
    August 6, 2008

    I’m told that snakes are much less aggressive when recently fed, and this one seemed almost torpid.

    Yes, that’s been my experience as well; recently fed snakes do tend to try and stay in one spot while they digest.

    I once ran across a large Southern Pacific Rattlesnake while hiking in the mountains near Santa Barbara that had managed to grab itself a decent-sized cottontail not long before I ran into it. The rabbit was only about 1/3 swallowed at that point.

    while normally, all snakes I have run into would simply move away when approached, this guy stayed stiff as a board, splayed out on the trail, trying to let his natural camouflage hide his presence from me.

    In fact, I damn near stepped right over him even though he was over 4 ft. long.

    We even bent down to take closeup pictures of the head before he finally decided enough was enough and started backing his fangs out of the rabbit to beat a retreat.

    watching a rattler back his fangs out of a rabbit might be the strangest snake image I have in my mind to date.

    btw, it never rattled, not while it was still, nor when it decided to dump the rabbit and leave.

    If you’re ever curious about the behavior and evolution of rattlesnakes, Harry Greene knows more about them than anyone I can think of:

    http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/greene/greene.html

    really a nice guy, too.

  315. #315 SC
    August 6, 2008

    Fangs for your interest.

    I love this fucking blog.

  316. #316 Kevin Conway
    August 11, 2008

    Let us assume that God is merely wish fulfillment, and all the matter and energy in the Universe needs no excuse for coming in to being. Intelligent life, nevertheless, seems to thrive better when certain behaviors are discouraged; murder comes to mind. People who profess a belief in God murder almost as often as those who don’t, but few of them feel they were doing the right thing on reflection later, unless they are warped fanatics. On balance, life is better for most persons when they reflect on their proper place in the context of the universe, and don’t put themselves in the center of it. If I am not the center of the universe, I like to think something bigger and more enduring is. Most people, no matter what, glom on to something to give meaning to their lives. If it isn’t God, it is some far more ridiculous idea, like a political cause or a person like Barack Obama. Earth First members, who spike timber so that loggers cut their faces with chain saws show a great alternative to faith in God — or maybe not. You can’t stop some people from believing in God; you can only get most of them to believe in something even more stupid; perhaps just 1% of the population will be better for it, but that 1% thrives in any milieu, so what good have you done? Nothing.

  317. #317 SEF
    August 11, 2008

    People who profess a belief in God murder almost as often as those who don’t

    You’ve got that the wrong way round. Religious people murder (and commit other crimes) more than the non- (or less) religious. And the religious have all those ready made excuses and methods for feeling better about being criminals, eg via fake confession and fake forgiveness.

    On balance, life is better for most persons when they reflect on their proper place in the context of the universe, and don’t put themselves in the center of it.

    Which means religious people should stop pretending there’s a god and drop their associated demands to be special.