Pharyngula

Oh, the Drama.

Matt Nisbet is railing against PZ and the image of the Angry Atheist again. In fairness, PZ would probably choose to comment on this on Matt’s turf, rather than linking to it from Pharyngula. But PZ’s on vacation, and I’m not inclined to be so noble, especially given the exceedingly smarmy tone of Nisbet’s post:

For sure, atheists for a long time have been unfairly stereotyped in the mainstream media and in popular culture. But we also have a lot of lousy self-proclaimed spokespeople who do damage to our public image. They’re usually angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners with a passion for attacking and ridiculing religious believers. Any fellow atheist who disagrees with their Don Imus rhetoric, they label as appeasers.

Wow. Just…wow. The victim-blaming never gets old, does it?

posted by Danio

Comments

  1. #1 Kel
    August 8, 2008

    They’re usually angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners with a passion for attacking and ridiculing religious believers.

    Shit, they’ve figured us out! :P

  2. #2 Owlmirror
    August 8, 2008

    Unclosed bold tags make everything more !dramatic!….

    Dah Dah… Dun!

  3. #3 Wowbagger
    August 8, 2008

    Fortunately, atheism isn’t a country club. You can’t choose not to ‘join’; the second you stop believing in god/s then you’re one of us.

    I have serious doubts that someone who’s reached a point where they’ve realised religion isn’t valid is going to hear about PZ and think, ‘wow, that atheist isn’t very nice – there must be a god. I’m going back to church!’

    The only problem I see with a negative attitude toward atheism is that people who are atheists might choose not to reveal the fact out of fear of reprisals (not necessarily violent, but I’m sure that’s a definite possibility) from the sort of theists PZ’s stunt showed us are out there.

  4. #4 BriansAWildDowner
    August 8, 2008

    I disagree with Nisbet, but i’m not seeing how it’s blaming a victim.

  5. #5 Benjamin Franklin
    August 8, 2008

    I read Nisbets screed earlier today, and I’m amazed, that just like Donohue, he didn’t even indicate the reason why PZ originally posted about the incident.

    That defiling a cracker, even if it pisses off the Catlicks, is nothing compared to the disregard for human life. That there are, indeed, many things more “vile” than the desecration of a bread product.

    New Nisbet CHRISTOCRACKERS – Suitable for “Framing”.

    ..
    .

  6. #6 Matt7895
    August 8, 2008

    Hilarious how someone can call PZ a ‘loner’. Yeah, a married man with a daughter and a job that involves lecturing at a university. That’s really the lifestyle of a recluse. Uncharismatic? Hmm, that must be why his blog is one of the most popular blogs on the net.

  7. #7 windy, OM
    August 8, 2008

    There’s nothing serious to be said about that, so here’s my shamelessly quotemining contribution to the “Matt Nisbet is the [X] of ScienceBlogs” meme:

    There’s a reason that when people ask me what I believe I have to say with a smile: “I’m an atheist…but a friendly atheist.

    Daphne: [placing food on table] Well, in our family, we certainly knew the meaning of conscience. That’s what my dad called his wooden paddle.

    Niles: [grimacing, horrified] Oh, how awful for you!

    Daphne: [matter-of-factly, smiling] Oh, for my brothers, yes. But I knew he’d never use it on me, as long as I was always good. [smile fades] As long as I was always polite. [looks disturbed] As long as I always had a smile on my face no matter how I felt inside! [slams down the silverware in front of them] As long as I was always ready to wait on all the men, hand and foot, day and night, year in, year out!

    Daphne: [brightly] More coffee frames, anyone?

  8. #8 MikeM
    August 8, 2008

    It NEVER gets old for these loonies.

    Additional case in point: McCain’s new ad that implies Obama is the Anti-Christ.

    Just dumb. We’re supposed to reject a candidate because someone has built a silly story on top of a gigantic fable.

    http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1830590,00.html

    So now we’re supposed to consult Left Behind as our voter guide? But… I thought Christians WANTED the end-times to arrive. D’oh, I’m SORE CONFUSED!

  9. #9 student_b
    August 8, 2008

    I only want to say one thing about this:

    Posting an attack on PZ Myers while he’s away and can’t reply? Loser.

    Oh, and somebody should shoot that runaway bold tag.

  10. #10 John Morales
    August 8, 2008

    Wow. That guy sure is subtle at framing.

    PS Has anyone come up with a pithy term for the claim that anyone disputing someone’s points about PZ is a minion? I’ve been seeing it pretty regularly.

    “Readership envy” doesn’t have that pizzazz.

  11. #11 Bride of Shrek OM
    August 8, 2008

    “But we also have a lot of lousy self-proclaimed spokespeople who do damage to our public image. They’re usually angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners”

    Well that lets all us chicky babes off the hook then as its the bloke atheists that are causing problems.

    I will concede the grumpy bit though, I can be a right bitch when its appropriate. Oh, and angry, yeah, I can get right friggin angry when people make stupid sweeping statements that mean jackshit Mr Nisbet.

  12. #12 garth
    August 8, 2008

    ad hominem garbage. why is this guy worth responding to? what a knob.

  13. #13 Tyler DiPietro
    August 8, 2008

    I like how the “uncharismatic” guy gets over 9000 times the blog-traffic as Nisbet.

  14. #14 Benjamin Franklin
    August 8, 2008

    One thing that the picture of PZ on Nisbet’s blog does clearly refute is that PZ is not the “dark underbelly” of atheism. If anything it shows he is the Gene Simmons wannabe overbelly of atheism. Not that I am one who should cast stones – where’s that damn diet tofu?

  15. #15 JoJo
    August 8, 2008

    Nisbet can be as friendly an atheist as he likes. That doesn’t mean the rest of us have to play along with him.

  16. #16 E.V.
    August 8, 2008

    One of these days I’m going to care about what Matt Nesbitt thinks. That will probably later than sooner. Meh, Nesbitt is just a name caller in a bully pulpit. I want to see him squirm when those radical theists call him on his atheism/agnosticism, after all, all godless heathens are heretics in the eyes of believers, no matter how accommodating they are to other’s beliefs. (or am wrong to assume Nesbitt is a non-believer?)

  17. #17 True Bob
    August 8, 2008

    Well, here’s my tip-in, FWIW (currently being held for evilness-scanning):

    Oh, and the odious Oran wrote:

    PZ’s core audience is a bunch of adolescents and suspended adolescents, deeply Oedipal types who love atheism primarily because they think it upsets someone–they think it’s some kind of rebellion.

    Which is not the most derogatory of what he/she/it wrote, fellow ignorami.

    So my response:

    Oran, amazing how you can read minds. Please start giving lessons, I want to go on the psychic circuit. Really, I’m trying to make people angry? You have no idea what I am about or how I behave in debate with live humans (or even trolls, for that matter). /eyeroll

    Matt, nice job of framing, yourself. Was that the only available pic of PZ? You set up your own article as clearly biased, and if the text words aren’t enough, here’s a thousand ugly ones at once, first thing*.

    I think there is great value in being nice and friendly, or civilized human beings. That will not tie back to atheism. The True Believers will view “good behavior” as in spite of my atheism, so it’s exceptional. And I don’t think I’ve met any atheist who is nasty and assholy in person, they’re more like, oh, other humans. I agree with those who say change is not driven by well behaved people. Look at all the complaints from christers, all the time. Can’t say the name cheeses in City Council meeting opening prayer** = persecution. Hell, they dominate every aspect of our (US) society, and they whine about persecution. So how will your nice behavior even be observed? Go around doing good deeds, while wearing a big ole atheist scarlet “A”? Be kind, then always interject “I’m a friendly atheist”? Unfortunately,I have to live in this darned real world, where christers imagine they’re persecuted in America and atheists shouldn’t be citizens.

    I don’t think any amount of openly atheistic kindness will make a difference in religious depictions of atheists. The religious will frame us as the enemy, because we are the enemy. We represent a total independence from the mommy church and sky daddy, and any spreading of that message hits them in the bottom line. That counts.

    * Not that I’m commenting on PZ’s appearance
    **which shouldn’t even be happening

    So, whatever. It’s a vapid stance, and I’m disinclined to follow his pussy-footed lead.

  18. #18 Barklikeadog
    August 8, 2008

    Yeah I feel so bad about that, Nisbet. And we care why? It’s ok to say anything as long as you smile? Just don’t show you’re angry. Uh Uh, that weakens your position and opens you up to ridicule, insults and death threats. Better to bend over and be safe. Right?

  19. #19 Joe
    August 8, 2008

    “self-proclaimed spokespeople”? I can recall several times during the Expelled episode where PZ explicity said that his is not a spokesperson for anybody but himself. Nisbet’s credibility takes a hit when he doesn’t do any research, ignores facts, or spreads lies.

  20. #20 Wowbagger
    August 8, 2008

    They’re usually angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners

    Most of the time I’m not angry – responding to obtuse troll-postings notwithstanding – but, I am a grumpy, uncharismatic male loner. And proud of it.

    Why are my opinions any less valid than those of a cheerful, charming, female socialite? On atheism or anything else?

  21. #21 pough
    August 8, 2008

    Shorter Nisbet: NERDS!

  22. #22 Joe
    August 8, 2008

    he is not a spokesperson” Sheesh.

  23. #23 Zeno
    August 8, 2008

    Matt has to say stuff like that because he’s an appeaser. (There, that should make him happy.)

  24. #24 John Morales
    August 8, 2008

    True Bob, mine too. I’ll check tomorrow.

  25. #25 E.V.
    August 8, 2008

    Why do I think Uncle Tom’s Cabin every time I read Nesbitt?

  26. #26 negentropyeater
    August 8, 2008

    What gets me is the bickering.
    Shouldn’t it be obvious that stimulating a diversity of approaches will benefit atheists more than arguing endlessly that “my approach is best”. Atheists can benefit from the PZ approach, the Nisbett approach, the Dennett approach, the more the better.
    Just do what you think is best, but stop arguing that what you think is best, is the best.

  27. #27 True Bob
    August 8, 2008

    John M, you’re in, now.

  28. #28 Bj°rn ěstman
    August 8, 2008

    Oh well, Nisbet has to approve all posts to his blog, so I’ll post what i wrote here as well:

    Years from now, when the majority of people are atheists, it will be people who spoke out who will be remembered as having contributed to religion being a fringe phenomenon. People like Matt Nisbet will have contributed nothing whatsoever, just like the black guy who didn’t want to upset his white neighbors, or the queer who stayed at home when the others shouted “I’m here, I’m queer.” The day when an openly atheist politician can get elected in America is not nearer because of Camp Inquiry, or from the work of “friendly atheists” who didn’t want to offend their religious peers. We need to speak up and loud, and stop being afraid of saying what we think about religion, just because it might offend some people. I am offended every time Jehovas Witnesses come to my door to tell me they would love for me to read a pamphlet together with my kids, or when moderate Christians tell me I will go to hell, and they will pray for me. PZ, Dawkins, Harris, etc. are making it possible for many people to speak up against these religious people who have dominated society for way too long.

  29. #29 Wowbagger
    August 8, 2008

    I posted on Nisbet’s blog as well – and I’d like to again, to take up the issue of the ad hominem attack on angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners. What’s he like for denying posts? I’ve never tried to get one up there before.

    Thanks to Danio’s posting this here I suspect he’s got a lot of reading ahead of him. He should be happy; it might get him one week’s worth of the sort of numbers PZ gets in a couple of hours.

    Page-hit envy, maybe?

  30. #30 michel
    August 8, 2008

    hello danio,

    it looks as if you forgot to close a html tag at the end of your post. just put “” there, and the formatting of the comments should return to normal.

  31. #31 Mike
    August 8, 2008

    As much as i like PZ, that is possibly the least flattering picture i’ve ever seen!

  32. #32 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    We should suck up to Christian assholes, and we should be very careful to not hurt their feelings. Then maybe they will stop attacking science education. Maybe they will stop threatening science teachers if we show them respect.

    We should also suck up to Muslim assholes. If we’re real nice to them, maybe they will stop flying airplanes into our buildings.

  33. #33 John C. Randolph
    August 8, 2008

    I reject out of hand the collectivist notion that PZ represents me, or any other atheist. Atheism is one thing that we have in common, and we differ on many other matters.

    As for how I treat believers, it depends on their behavior. If they’re polite, I’m polite. If they’re pushy, I push back.

    -jcr

  34. #34 True Bob
    August 8, 2008

    hit counter-envy
    or just being a WATB*

    *whiny-ass titty-baby

  35. #35 michel
    August 8, 2008

    of course it doesn’t show the html tag i tried to post…

    it should be: left angle bracket – slash – b – right angle bracket

  36. #36 John C. Randolph
    August 8, 2008

    If we’re real nice to them, maybe they will stop flying airplanes into our buildings.

    They have stopped. The 9/11 attack was a one-shot tactic, which will never succeed again now that people know that “do what the scary man says” is no longer a wining survival strategy.

    -jcr

  37. #37 Wowbagger
    August 8, 2008

    Considering Jesus himself (assuming he did, in fact, exist) didn’t exactly bow down at the feet of the religious authorities of his time, christians are being just a little hypocritical (shocking, I know) about this sort of agitprop behaviour.

  38. #38 Steve LaBonne
    August 8, 2008

    Oh well, Nisbet has to approve all posts to his blog

    Which is all you really need to know about him, especially since he feels so free to talk trash himself about PZ and many others. What a complete and utter tool.

  39. #39 DavidONE
    August 8, 2008

    …bold be gone

    You’d think ol’ Matt would keep quiet about framing after the drubbing he got (here and on his own blog) the last time he held forth on the subject. That must be one tenacious chip he has perched on his shoulder….

  40. #40 Rey Fox
    August 8, 2008

    “Additional case in point: McCain’s new ad that implies Obama is the Anti-Christ.”

    Gotta love how the main thing that the Republicans attack Obama with is the fact that people like him. “How dare that dashing young man fill those puny human voters with *spit* HOPE?” I hope it’s not just me that thinks the Republican party is really starting to show themselves as the hateful ogres that they are. (“I ought to club them and eat their bones!”)

  41. #41 True Bob
    August 8, 2008

    Holding posts for approval is one thing (spamophobia?), but censoring is another. Does anyone here know how Nisbett* handles that kind of stuff? Really, you pretty much have to be a super dickhead to get in PZ’s dungeon, and PZ respects habeas corpus, so you know the fate and the why of it.

    *Am I the only one flashing on Buzz Lightyear with this?

  42. #42 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    They have stopped. The 9/11 attack was a one-shot tactic, which will never succeed again now that people know that “do what the scary man says” is no longer a wining survival strategy.

    Of course you’re right Mr. Randolph. Passengers will never again allow another plane to be taken over. However the suicide bombings continue every single day. Muslim extremists are out of control, and the moderate Muslims don’t seem to care. I also noticed that most Christian moderates don’t care about Christian attacks against science education.

    There’s really no such thing as a moderate religious person. They all believe in heaven. They’re all terrified of reality. Every Christian and every Muslim is a coward.

  43. #43 John C. Randolph
    August 8, 2008

    There’s really no such thing as a moderate religious person.

    Oh, sure there are. I know hundreds of them.

    -jcr

  44. #44 ian
    August 8, 2008

    I wouldn’t describe PZ as uncharismatic.

    *cough*

  45. #45 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    Oh, sure there are. I know hundreds of them.

    My point was – what’s moderate about believing in heaven? That’s an insane idea, and only cowards believe in it. There’s nothing moderate about being a coward.

  46. #46 gillt
    August 8, 2008

    I’ve been debating these “librul” christians all week over on a religious website which spewed some bigotry on how atheists can’t have a morality. I’m concise; they call me intolerant; I’m plain-spoken, they call me rude; I’m assertive, they call me insensitive; I know more science than they do, they call me ignorant. I want to thank you Matt Nisbet from the bottom of my cold, black, heathen heart for giving the religious the impression that it is okay slander atheists because we’re all too timid to respond to blatant ignorance and hardened intolerance.

  47. #47 Danio
    August 8, 2008

    Sorry about the boldness, everyone. Everything looked ok on my screen. Is it gone now?

  48. #48 Azkyroth
    August 8, 2008

    I disagree with Nisbet, but i’m not seeing how it’s blaming a victim.

    Take a look at a few of JoJo’s comments on this thread, especially this:

    If, over thousands of years, every civilization you’ve lived within has eventually thrown you out or tried to exterminate you, shouldn’t you perhaps at least consider that it’s not a problem with “the other”? Could it just be a problem with your culture?

    Yes, he is talking about Jews.

    Yes, there is a difference of degree between what’s been done to atheists (recently, anyway) and the persecution Jews have suffered historically.

    Yes, the logic is still equivalent even though there’s a difference of degree involved in the scenarios in which it’s employed.

    Yes, you should feel embarrassed if you had to be told that.

  49. #49 John C. Randolph
    August 8, 2008

    Muslim extremists are out of control, and the moderate Muslims don’t seem to care.

    … except for all the Muslim police and counter-terrorist forces who risk their lives on a daily basis to fight them, you mean?

    That’s a very broad brush you’re waving around there.

    -jcr

  50. #50 Elf Eye
    August 8, 2008

    “They’re usually angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners with a passion for attacking and ridiculing religious believers.”

    What’s Nisbet trying to do: illustrate stereotyping? Hasn’t he noticed, for example, that atheists are routinely described as ‘angry’ regardless of their demeanor?

    Nisbet quotes a lot of pejoratives that angry Catholics applied to PZ as if ipso facto PZ exemplifies all those words and phrases. But isn’t the distinction between reality and perception an important one? Apparently not when it comes to Nisbet’s version of ‘framing’.

  51. #51 John Morales
    August 8, 2008

    To be fair, my comment made it; so the vetting doesn’t prima facie exclude all criticism.

  52. #52 Jason
    August 8, 2008

    Nisbet hasn’t let my comment through, so I’ll ask here if anyone things that the choice of photos is interesting. PZ is shown on vacation (or relaxing at least) and is out of focus. The other guy is in a suit, with a sharp photo, and is clearly lecturing a bunch of young girls.

  53. #53 JWright
    August 8, 2008
    “I’ve been debating these “librul” christians all week over on a religious website which spewed some bigotry on how atheists can’t have a morality. I’m concise; they call me intolerant; I’m plain-spoken, they call me rude; I’m assertive, they call me insensitive; I know more science than they do, they call me ignorant. I want to thank you Matt Nisbet from the bottom of my cold, black, heathen heart for giving the religious the impression that it is okay slander atheists because we’re all too timid to respond to blatant ignorance and hardened intolerance.”

    Oh I had the same problem today on Facebook. A friend of a friend posted a note about how “all atheists are hypocrites” and then proceeded to present weak, flawed arguments that he must have encountered from a weak atheist (or just made up himself), ie, “If there’s a god he should show us miracles, but he doesn’t so he doesn’t exist.”

    Terrible argument.

    So I came in a blew the discussion out of the water with several different, coherent arguments, in a completely polite, civilized manner, and they call me intolerant, bigoted, and ignorant. Projection much? It finally came down to them saying I believed in electrons even though I had never seen one, so I linked them to This Article, and then they deleted all of my comments and pretended it never happened.

    And WE’RE the hypocrites?

  54. #54 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    That’s a very broad brush you’re waving around there.

    OK, many Muslims don’t seem to care about terrorism.

    Actually, if any Muslims really did care about terrorism, they wouldn’t be Muslims anymore. Apparently they think their idiotic religion is more important than victims of terrorism.

    I could say the same for Christians. If they we’re really against Christian attacks against science education, they would throw out their medieval death cult.

    Imagine being part of a group that was responsible for terrorism or attacks against education. Any reasonable person would get out that group immediately. The Christians and Muslims, no matter how moderate they think they are, have no problem with sharing a religion with dangerous assholes.

  55. #55 Pierce R. Butler
    August 8, 2008

    Since the Mighty Nisbet seems to have decided my response to one of his admiring commenters was too poorly framed to be worthy of clearance for posting, please allow me to reproduce it here (with a typo fixed):

    Oran Kelley: PZ’s core audience is a bunch of adolescents and suspended adolescents, deeply Oedipal types who love atheism primarily because they think it upsets someone–they think it’s some kind of rebellion. … nearly all intellectual mediocrities who don’t read well and can rarely make anything but the grossest kind of distinction.

    Yehboy, and they smell funny – but they sure can dance!

    Yes, Danio, your boldness is now just your customary audacity.

  56. #56 Azkyroth
    August 8, 2008

    There’s really no such thing as a moderate religious person.

    There is such a thing as a “moderate” or “reasonable” religious person but the overwhelming majority of the people who consider themselves “moderate” are actually “passive supporters of insanity,” as opposed to the fundies, who are much more likely to be “active supporters of insanity.”

  57. #57 Vic
    August 8, 2008

    Nisbet, ‘friendly’? My ass…

    They’re usually angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners

    with ‘friendlies’ like that, who needs assholes? Fuck Nisbet.

  58. #58 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    Nisbet hasn’t let my comment through

    So Nisbet, who thinks atheists should suck up to Christian assholes, is an asshole himself. I’m not surprised.

  59. #59 John C. Randolph
    August 8, 2008

    Apparently they think their idiotic religion is more important than victims of terrorism.

    Doesn’t sound like you actually know any Muslims. I do, and the Muslims I know say that their religion prohibits attacking non-combatants. They don’t get much press, though.

    -jcr

  60. #60 John C. Randolph
    August 8, 2008

    The Christians and Muslims, no matter how moderate they think they are, have no problem with sharing a religion with dangerous assholes.

    Newsflash; Christianity and Islam aren’t monolithic, any more than agnosticism or atheism is.

    -jcr

  61. #61 JoJo
    August 8, 2008

    Azkyroth | August 8, 2008 8:31 PM #48

    Take a look at a few of JoJo’s comments on this thread, especially this:

    If, over thousands of years, every civilization you’ve lived within has eventually thrown you out or tried to exterminate you, shouldn’t you perhaps at least consider that it’s not a problem with “the other”? Could it just be a problem with your culture?

    Yes, he is talking about Jews.

    That wasn’t me who made those comments.

  62. #62 Azkyroth
    August 8, 2008

    Muslim extremists are out of control, and the moderate Muslims don’t seem to care.

    … except for all the Muslim police and counter-terrorist forces who risk their lives on a daily basis to fight them, you mean?

    That’s a very broad brush you’re waving around there.

    This is true, but I do hope you’ll agree that the Muslim world, as a whole, has been suboptimally vigilant and enthusiastic in opposing violent Islamic extremism.

  63. #63 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    There is such a thing as a “moderate” or “reasonable” religious person but the overwhelming majority of the people who consider themselves “moderate” are actually “passive supporters of insanity,” as opposed to the fundies, who are much more likely to be “active supporters of insanity.”

    The fundies are so completely out of their minds, they make the other Christians look normal.

    But I think there’s no such thing as a normal Christian or normal theist. Imagine a magical being hiding in the clouds watching over the human apes on this insignificant planet.

    I know billions believe this nonsense, but that doesn’t make the Mr. God belief any less insane and childish. I say all theists are batshit crazy. The Christian infested USA is not a country, it’s an insane asylum.

  64. #64 Azkyroth
    August 8, 2008

    That wasn’t me who made those comments.

    Sorry. “The comments on that page which illustrate my point are signed ‘JoJo’ or a variant, which should suffice to distinguish the ones I mean.”

    Better?

  65. #65 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    Newsflash; Christianity and Islam aren’t monolithic, any more than agnosticism or atheism is.

    Every religion has many things in common, especially the god belief and almost always the heaven belief. These beliefs are insane. Some theists are more insane than others, but they’re all nuts.

  66. #66 John C. Randolph
    August 8, 2008

    But I think there’s no such thing as a normal Christian or normal theist.

    How do you define normal? They do outnumber us, you realize?

    -jcr

  67. #67 Jack
    August 8, 2008

    Nisbet’s stats must be down. Every time he posts about PZ, he gets swarmed. Now, however, he reads every comment for “spam” before he puts it up.

  68. #68 The MadPanda
    August 8, 2008

    Who the fuck is this Nisbet or Nizbat or whoever he is, and why does he think he can speak with authority on anyone else’s behalf? Man sounds like a sodding D’Orc and Barking Troll enabler to me.

    (shakes head)

    Is Whizzblart sure he’s a ‘true atheist’? He sounds like a closet trustee to me…kissing the warden’s arse to earn another twenty lashes.

    Leave us designate him another Barking Troll, chalk up the 845 XP, and move on to the next room in the dungeon.

    I must agree with Ser Randolph on one point–Islam is not monolithic. (The Sufi, for example, are pretty laid back folks. They don’t do the banner-waving, teeth-gnashing burning of Salman Rushdie in effigy things.) Treating them all as monolithic is the sort of dumbth associated with Beloved Leader and his pocket junta. It also makes it that much more difficult for the moderate voices to make themselves heard–they are here, and they ARE denouncing the violence, but nobody seems to pay much attention.

    The MadPanda, FCD

  69. #69 JoJo
    August 8, 2008

    Azkyroth,

    No need to apologize. I didn’t want people to think I’d made the comments that the other JoJo made in the other blog.

  70. #70 hje
    August 8, 2008

    What about apatheism as a stance?

  71. #71 Spinoza
    August 8, 2008

    Interestingly, I’ve always found it the opposite, and not particularly liked it…

    The current loud voices for atheism are quite charismatic, and social people… lots of talks and debates and radio-call ins… the OPPOSITE of the typical academic atheist (cf. A.J. Ayer, or J.L. Mackie…)

    The intellectual atheists of the 21st century are making themselves VASTLY more accessible than ever before, and perhaps THAT’s the reason why they’re being castigated.

    Whereas before atheists in academia could heap scorn from the comfort of their ivory towers, the new litter of godless pups has climbed down and is heaping scorn amongst the stymied masses…

    And we get it. They don’t like it.

    Tough.

  72. #72 John Morales
    August 8, 2008

    Jack @67, woudln’t that be like poking a sore tooth?
    I think he thinks he has a point.

    TrueBob @27, I was lazy and didn’t refresh before posting.

    Honorary mention to Windy @7 for a good one.

    <refresh>

    MadPanda @68, I guess it’s not who he is, but what others may be made to think he is. By effective framing, of course. :)

  73. #73 craig
    August 8, 2008

    How the hell do you “love atheism?”

    Yeah. NOT being a Mormon gives me wood. I throw weekly “hurray, I’m not a Hindu!” celebrations. I wear a “Kiss me, I’m a heathen” button.
    WTF?

  74. #74 Pierce R. Butler
    August 8, 2008

    Azkyroth @ # 62: … the Muslim world, as a whole, has been suboptimally vigilant and enthusiastic in opposing violent Islamic extremism.

    There was one leader of a Muslim nation who worked steadily and quite effectively at that. His name was Saddam Something – whatever happened to him?

    He wasn’t the only one, of course – read up on the Indonesian reaction to the Bali bombing, or the Saudis’ feedback on the attempted takeover of the Kaaba, or the continuing unpleasantness in Algeria, or the Egyptian backlash against the Muslim Brotherhood, or that student in the US who got deported for telling the FBI of an attempt by extremists to recruit him, or …

  75. #75 Sastra
    August 8, 2008

    But PZ is holding a teddy bear. And it looks like Dr. Steve Steve, too!

    What could be a better frame than a teddy bear?

  76. #76 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    How do you define normal? They do outnumber us, you realize?

    It’s easier to describe “not normal”. It’s not normal to believe there’s a magic man hiding in the clouds watching over human apes. It’s not normal to believe people have an invisible soul that flies up to heaven when a person drops dead. It’s not normal to believe in a heaven.

    The vast majority of Americans have these beliefs. Is it possible that many people are batshit crazy, not to mention gullible morons? The answer is YES. Most definitely there’s something horribly wrong with these people. I know there’s hundreds of millions of them, but that doesn’t make their childish beliefs any less insane.

  77. #77 True Bob
    August 8, 2008

    In fairness to Nibett, he posted the comments I’m aware of, including mine well before I noticed it. That last one Pierce may be a victim of him not babysitting the thread.

    jcr wrote

    Newsflash; Christianity and Islam aren’t monolithic, any more than agnosticism or atheism is.

    Why would anyone even consider agnostocism and not collecting stamps as apparent examples of “things that are at times thought to be monolithic but aren’t”? WTFO?

  78. #78 The MadPanda
    August 8, 2008

    John Morales (#72)

    A framing? We can do a framing! Find me an unsolved case we can pin on the Wingbort!

    (listens to frantic whispering from own faceless minion)

    What? Not that sort of framing? Blast!

    Seriously, though, I have to echo gillt’s sentiments (#46) in full. When we keep our mouths shut, we are ignored and slandered. When we open them, we are called hostile, angry, and rude. Does Mister Nesbit intend that we should sip tea and nibble petits-fours while we are treated thusly?

    (Bugs Bunny)
    What a maroon.
    (/Bugs Bunny)

    The MadPanda, FCD

  79. #79 ERV
    August 8, 2008

    The Uncommon Descent of SciBlogs, Nice-Hair-Nisbet, moderates his comments, so heres what I posted:

    I have boobs. I like PZ.
    What makes you think those young ladies at Camp Inquiry dont support PZ/Dawkins/MILLITANTATHIEZT?

  80. #80 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 8, 2008

    They’re usually angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners

    *looks around nervously

  81. #81 The MadPanda
    August 8, 2008

    You tell ‘im, Ms. erv!

    Also Patricia, and Bride of Shrek, and the Naked Bunny with a Whip, and…

    Mrs. MadPanda would argue with anyone daring to classify me as angry, grumpy, or uncharismatic, but then she’s prejudiced.

    The MadPanda, FCD

  82. #82 CJO
    August 8, 2008

    I didn’t want people to think I’d made the comments that the other JoJo made in the other blog.

    Glad you saw that and weighed in, because I was, erm, confused.

  83. #83 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 8, 2008

    Mrs. MadPanda would argue with anyone daring to classify me as angry, grumpy, or uncharismatic, but then she’s prejudiced.

    Interesting because that is exactly as Mrs. BigDumbChimp would describe me… Well maybe not uncharismatic it’s just that my charisma is well, an acquired taste.

  84. #84 Jeremy
    August 8, 2008

    “But we also have a lot of lousy self-proclaimed spokespeople who do damage to our public image.”

    Maybe I’m biased, but people like PZ, Dawkins, Dennett, etc. don’t strike me as being offensive. They’re pretty soft-spoken, rational, and calm people. PZ’s writings are quite a bit more direct, though. And Hitchens definitely pulls no punches, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Generally, though, I don’t think they’re doing damage. It’s funny how any time someone speaks up a little, they’re suddenly a bigoted asshole with no respect for others’ rights.

    “They’re usually angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners”

    Angry? Grumpy? I don’t really see it. Firm, insistent, maybe. Uncharismatic? I find the “spokespeople” to be pretty convincing. If they’re talking about looks, then that’s just insulting. “Male loners” is nonsense as well.

    Personally, I don’t think I’m angry or grumpy about it, I think it’s hysterically funny to point out how retarded religion is and how silly believers are. What tempers that humor, though, is the knowledge that these people make laws, run businesses, teach kids, and spend their lives repeating the same idiotic fairy tale to fresh young minds who don’t know it’s make-believe.

    Would these “moderate” atheists have us all sit at home, silent, while the fundamentalists ride roughshod all over our rights?

  85. #85 craig
    August 8, 2008

    If Nisbet wants to frame himself as the “nice” atheist (which is my opinion is useless) aren’t we HELPING him?
    There needs to be “rude” atheists for him to be able to be the “nice” atheist, because if his is the only way of being an atheist, then he’ll be the rude, intolerant atheist.

    Nisbet doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get the religious mindset. He doesn’t understand that in the minds of the religious – or at least enough of them to matter, “You’re religious? How wonderful! What a nice tradition, what a nice moral guide, and inspiration for wonderful art and music… I’m don’t happen to believe in that myself, but how wonderful for you that you do” is enough, has been enough to get yourself labeled as immoral and worthy of death.
    Not death here in the US currently, but still in other places… and here in the US his “niceness” is enough to limit his rights, his participation in society.

    No matter HOW much ass he kisses, he’ll never be able to run for President or Senator or Governor, and his way will NEVER get us there without someone else to be compared to, without the mildly religious being able to look at the meek and “nice” ones and say “well, he’s not as extreme as those others.”

    Framing? The guy doesn’t even understand what he espouses.

  86. #86 Pony
    August 8, 2008

    BobC, do you think perhaps you could try to make your arguments without name-calling and expletive filled hyperbole?

    Points are usually more persuasive if they are cultured and articulate. For example those made by Prof. Dawkins. Your posts just serve to make me weary, and to alienate the fence sitters who might otherwise be convinced.

    You don’t have to be insincerely respectful, just coherent, and less abrasive.

  87. #87 Badger3k
    August 8, 2008

    I guess Sizzle isn’t doing so hot, and they need anything to drive up traffic. I did get it from my newsreader, which doesn’t set off traffic, and saw his oh-so-unbiased source – The Catholic Register (IIRC). Hmm, definitely a run-of-the-mill everyday news source. I see it at every 7-11 (not!) I guess when Nisbet wants to study what liberals think, he goes to Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. Kinda like going to Answers in Genesis to get the latest unbiased info on evolutionary biology.

    Here’s a hint, Nisbett – the only good atheist to those morons is the quiet one who knows his place. I guess you want to make sure you get your place at the table.

  88. #88 negentropyeater
    August 8, 2008

    Another comment I tried to post on Nisbett’s blog :

    The lessons learned by Blacks and Gays should not be lost on Atheists. Being nice does not get you acceptance. Only a fool ignores history.

    Agree with first and third propositions.
    But the lessons learned from both cases is not that “Being nice does not get you acceptance”. But “Being nice ONLY does not get you acceptance. Neither being angry ONLY. Actually the lessons learned are that a diversity of approaches, a nice one, a less nice one, and an angry one, is what gets you acceptance. And full acceptance is not yet achieved. Stimulating diversity of approaches is the real key to success.”

    Only a fool ignores history.

  89. #89 Barklikeadog
    August 8, 2008

    I, for one, am not angry. maybe grumpy at times but definitely not uncharismatic. My students think I’m a little over the top sometimes. Ass kissers can, well kiss mine too.

  90. #90 MAJeff, OM
    August 8, 2008

    Radical Flank Effect. Nisbet should be grateful. But then, I’m a drunk social movements scholar…

    Framing? The guy doesn’t even understand what he espouses.

    He thinks he’s the only one capable of it, and that his preferred framing is the only acceptable one because his strategy is the only acceptable one and his goal the only reasonable ones.

  91. #91 Steve LaBonne
    August 8, 2008

    He thinks he’s the only one capable of it, and that his preferred framing is the only acceptable one because his strategy is the only acceptable one and his goal the only reasonable ones.

    Or in fewer words, he’s a narcissistic asshole.

  92. #92 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    Pony, is anyone forcing you to read my comments? Also, did you think you’re my boss?

    If I want to call Christians stupid assholes and batshit crazy, that’s what I’m going to do. If you don’t like that, you are welcome to go fuck yourself.

  93. #93 Barklikeadog
    August 8, 2008

    Pony, your fence sitting is not our responsibility.

  94. #94 MAJeff, OM
    August 8, 2008

    make that a slightly buzzed movements scholar.

  95. #95 The MadPanda
    August 8, 2008

    Rev (#83),

    I’m sure you’re actually a barrel of fun in person! You certainly write like it…and since you’re down there in the Bible Belt, a little crankiness at Teh Stoopids is to be expected.

    And come to think of it, of our four guest mods, I think MAJeff is the only guy. So that’s another poke in the eye for Fizzblot.

    (Bugs Bunny)
    What a nincowpoop. What an oxy-moron. What an imbecile.
    (/Bugs Bunny)

    The MadPanda, FCD

  96. #96 True Bob
    August 8, 2008

    Angry? Grumpy? I don’t really see it. Firm, insistent, maybe.

    Maybe even…dare I say it…assertive?

  97. #97 MAJeff, OM
    August 8, 2008

    I think MAJeff is the only guy

    yup. We gals are gonna have fun, though :-)

  98. #98 Joe
    August 8, 2008

    Nice timing by Nisbet. Wait ’til PZ goes away for a week and can’t respond. Classy!

  99. #99 mayhempix
    August 8, 2008

    Posted by: BriansAWildDowner | August 8, 2008 7:25 PM
    “I disagree with Nisbet, but i’m not seeing how it’s blaming a victim.”

    Nisbet is playing the victim blaming so called “militant angry atheists” as harming the more noble agenda of the “sensitive cultured atheists” like himself.

    Calling others “male loners” reeks of projection. The fact that he moderates his blog not just for trolls and repetitive religious nuts, but to weed out those who try and post cogent responses to his version of apologetics, only reinforces the perception that he is a prisoner of his own manufactured victimization.

  100. #100 Wowbagger
    August 8, 2008

    I am a grumpy, uncharismatic male loner; I wouldn’t say I’m angry very often – though I do have Rage Against the Machine blasting from my speakers as I write this.

    What will make me angry, though, is someone implying that my opinion is somehow less valid because I’m not cheerful , charming or sociable. Or that it’s in any way relevant (or could be considered antithetical) to atheism, mine or anyone else’s.

    If anything I pity religious believers for their credulity and dependency on a delusion. The only time religion makes me angry is when the people who adhere to it use it as an excuse for unfair treatment – either for themselves or against others.

    Those who don’t get angry when religion gets a free pass are the ones doing it wrong – ‘obsequious little forelock-tuggers’, as I wrote on Nesbit’s blog.

  101. #101 craig
    August 8, 2008

    Though I guess I have to admit Nesbit is right… look at the example of the right-wing in this country, for example.

    For at least a generation, the right wing has gone to extremes in behaviour and rhetoric, spewing hatred in books and on TV and all day on the radio. They’ve labeled anyone who disagrees with them as traitors, they’ve openly called for the death of public officials who they see as even the slightest bit to the left of them.

    The result, of course, was disastrous for them, causing them to become a tiny marginalized minority with no political power, and led directly to the hard swing to the left in the US and its subsequent rejection of militarism, imperialism and capitalism.

  102. #102 MAJeff, OM
    August 8, 2008

    “sensitive cultured atheists” = anti-critical folks unwilling to challenge (or acknowledge) the social privileging of religious belief.

  103. #103 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 8, 2008

    make that a slightly buzzed movements scholar.

    yeah just cracked a bottle of makers…. OOps.

  104. #104 JoJo
    August 8, 2008

    Here’s a hint, Nisbett – the only good atheist to those morons is the quiet one who knows his place.

    I don’t believe that’s true. For people like Donahue only good atheist is the non-existent kind. We’re immoral, unethical followers of Satan who are going straight to Hell as soon as we die. Here’s George H.W. Bush on the subject of atheists:

    Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

    No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

  105. #105 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    Nice timing by Nisbet. Wait ’til PZ goes away for a week and can’t respond. Classy!

    What a pathetic coward Nisbet is. People like Nisbet are worse than any fundy asshole.

  106. #106 craig
    August 8, 2008

    “I don’t believe that’s true. For people like Donahue only good atheist is the non-existent kind. We’re immoral, unethical followers of Satan who are going straight to Hell as soon as we die. Here’s George H.W. Bush on the subject of atheists:”

    That’s Nisbet’s strategy. His goal is to gently convince these people that SOME atheists may perhaps be allowed to exist as long as they shut up about it.

    He’s going for the “don’t ask, don’t tell” method.

  107. #107 mayhempix
    August 8, 2008

    Posted by: BriansAWildDowner | August 8, 2008 7:25 PM
    “I disagree with Nisbet, but i’m not seeing how it’s blaming a victim.”

    Nisbet is playing the victim blaming so called “militant angry atheists” as harming the more noble agenda of the “sensitive cultured atheists” like himself.

    Calling others “male loners” reeks of projection. The fact that he moderates his blog not just for trolls and repetitive religious nuts, but to weed out those who try and post cogent responses to his version of apologetics, only reinforces the perception that he is a prisoner of his own manufactured victimization.

  108. #109 MAJeff, OM
    August 8, 2008

    He’s going for the “don’t ask, don’t tell” method.

    More like the, “I’m ok with fitting in and fucking over everyone else” method–the analogy would be the Uncle Marys in the Log Cabin Republicans (“Beat me harder, sir…and don’t bother keeping it in the bedroom or asking for a safe word!”)

  109. #110 True Bob
    August 8, 2008

    Oh. My. Gawd. Have I stumbled on P-Zed’s true nature? They walk among us!

  110. #111 Alan Kellogg
    August 8, 2008

    What PZ thinks of my beliefs means nothing to me because it really makes no difference in how he treats me. It’s possible he’s right about everything, but we don’t have the evidence necessary to prove that. On things he can prove he has proven himself to be reliable. I trust him.

    Nisbet? Doctrinaire explains him rather well.

    McCain’s add re Obama? Weak, inappropriate, not funny.

    Obama’s reaction to said ad? What you would expect from someone newly rich with an exaggerated sense of his own importance, and a defensive streak the width of the Amazon at its mouth. Barry’s problem is that he doesn’t know how to deal with insults, and so lends them a power they would not otherwise have. In short, Obama is the Nisbet of politics.

  111. #112 Carlie
    August 8, 2008

    Nisbet with Christians reminds me of women like Michelle Malkin (and Serena Joy, for fictional versions) who spend all of their time putting down other women to try and get into the boys’ club. You want to smack them and say Honey, no matter how much you play nice and agree that all those other people in your group are bad, but you’re different and you’re the good one, it won’t work. They will throw you out of the clubhouse the second they get bored with you and feel like it.
    Nisbet, the Christians don’t like you. They might enjoy picking on PZ more, but just because they’re ignoring you doesn’t mean the think you’re better. Trust me, they think a friendly atheist is going to hell and is just as much a threat to the fabric of society as an outspoken brash atheist.

  112. #113 Benjamin Franklin
    August 8, 2008

    All I can say is-

    Can’t somebody shut off those fucking bagpipes on the Olympic opening ceremonies?

  113. #114 True Bob
    August 8, 2008

    This sucks but a survivor claims a miracle in 3…2…

  114. #115 Pony
    August 8, 2008

    Whoa, hey now, calm down everyone.

    All I put forward was my opinion that frothing at the mouth and swearing at people is probably not the best way to convince people of your arguments. To which you promptly responded to by swearing at me, and calling me a fence sitter.

    I am an almost 100% certain-sure atheist. The only possible thing that would tip my view is documented and tested scientific evidence of a deity. (Unlikely to happen, I think you’ll agree?)

    Other people’s fence sitting may not be your problem. Their emotional response overriding their rational response due to something you said could be your responsibility. And then you lose any chance of reaching them with your argument.

    You are entirely correct BobC. I don’t have to read what you write. What happens though, when you have something important, meaningful and useful to add? What if people have stopped paying attention to you because all they see in your posts is “shit shit brainless childish inane asshole shit”.

    Am I mistaken?

  115. #116 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 8, 2008

    All I can say is-

    Can’t somebody shut off those fucking bagpipes on the Olympic opening ceremonies?

    Yeah I thought I’d have some desire to watch it but i found myself flipping the channel as it was going on.

  116. #117 craig
    August 8, 2008

    I’ve tried Nisbet’s strategy before. It doesn’t work.

    In a PUBLIC school, the subject of god came up, and I mentioned I didn’t believe in it. Within moments the classroom was in an uproar with other students standing up and loudly repeating with astonishment the fact that I didn’t believe in god.

    I politely explained that I just personally saw no evidence for it, that it didn’t make sense to me, and that I thought science had a better explanation.

    The response I got was to have a red-faced, angry SCIENCE TEACHER berate me and call me a foolish idiot in front of the class.

    Yeah, Nisbet’s tactic sure worked well there.

  117. #118 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 8, 2008

    Uncle Marys in the Log Cabin Republicans

    Setting aside the significance of someone being one, that is funniest thing I’ve read all day.

  118. #119 ngong
    August 8, 2008

    This angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loner also tried to post on Nisbet’s blog, and repeatedly, neurotically clicks to see if there’s a response. This, apparently, is how Nisbet reaches the vaunted position of “14th most popular science blog”.

    Seriously, how can anyone buy anything he says? His life’s focus is on “techniques” for manipulating masses of people. Judging from the photo of PZ he chose, he certainly doesn’t exempt SBers from these attempts at manipulation.

  119. #120 Carlie
    August 8, 2008

    Oh, thank you. I’m going nuts at the bagpipes, too.

    Did anyone else think the opening performances, although visually spectacular, seemed more like a glaring example of China’s willingness to throw thousands of people into manual labor to show off? The part with the boxes was kind of scary, really, once you realized those were people in there. On one hand it was like “Wow, people did that!” and on the other it was “Whoa, they made people do that?”

  120. #121 MAJeff, OM
    August 8, 2008

    To hell with the bagpipes, the Latvian flag carrier is HAWT…as is the Brit.

  121. #122 scooter
    August 8, 2008

    “I’m an atheist…but a friendly atheist.”

    With a moderated blog.
    Got to keep it all nicey nicey like North Korea
    ————————————

    New Atheists for Dummies pt8 Ray Comfort,Christopher Hitchens
    KPFT Houston

  122. #123 Danio
    August 8, 2008

    The Catholic Register (IIRC). Hmm, definitely a run-of-the-mill everyday news source. I see it at every 7-11 (not!)

    Exactly. Moreover, the article was written by Jeff Gardner, that paragon of journalistic integrity who moderated PZ’s conversation with the Catholic priest following the Great Desecration of ‘ought-eight.

    Most ridiculous of all, Matt’s post contrasts the NCR article about PZ with the *NPR* coverage of Camp Inquiry. That frame job seems mighty crooked to me.

    I wonder how Matt imagines the regular readers of the NCR would react to an article about a children’s camp for atheists/agnostics?

    And, for the record: female, optimist, love/loved by many, seldom angry, but pissed as hell that Nisbet keeps pulling this shit.

  123. #124 scooter
    August 8, 2008

    Craig #73

    How the hell do you “love atheism?”

    You have to be a Zen Atheist

  124. #125 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    Pony, you really got a lot of nerve to tell me what I should write here and what I shouldn’t write here. You’re not my boss. I know you don’t care for vulgar language, but for people like you I think it’s very appropriate to say that you should go fuck yourself.

  125. #126 Rick R
    August 8, 2008

    Carlie at #112- “Nisbet with Christians reminds me of women like Michelle Malkin (and Serena Joy, for fictional versions) who spend all of their time putting down other women to try and get into the boys’ club. You want to smack them and say Honey, no matter how much you play nice and agree that all those other people in your group are bad, but you’re different and you’re the good one, it won’t work. They will throw you out of the clubhouse the second they get bored with you and feel like it.
    Nisbet, the Christians don’t like you. They might enjoy picking on PZ more, but just because they’re ignoring you doesn’t mean the think you’re better. Trust me, they think a friendly atheist is going to hell and is just as much a threat to the fabric of society as an outspoken brash atheist.”

    Nisbet reminds me of some voices within the gay community that have adopted the views of this jerk-

    http://www.thinkandask.com/2006/0302076-homo.html

    who feel that homophobia is actually gay people’s fault. I mean, if they’d just stop being so damn DIFFERENT…..

    It’s the same message. Homophobes hate butch fags. Just like Christofascists hate “nice” atheists.

  126. #127 Pony
    August 8, 2008

    BobC, I really feel like you’re reading things into my posts that aren’t there. You are under absolutely no obligation to do what I tell you, in fact I haven’t told you to do anything.

    I haven’t, have I?

  127. #128 scooter
    August 8, 2008

    MAJeff 121

    some of the babes are hot, too. The cameraman has an eye for the lookers.

    Those Maltese were scary looking though.

  128. #129 negentropyeater
    August 8, 2008

    Barklikeadog,

    Pony, your fence sitting is not our responsibility.

    Who is defined by “our” ? Do you get to decide where the fence gets put ?

  129. #130 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    And then you lose any chance of reaching them with your argument.

    Like it’s possible to convince a brain-dead Christian asshole to stop attacking science education and stop lying to his children about sky fairies.

    The only point I want to get across to Christians is that they’re insane and when they try to stick their insanity into our schools they’re traitors and they should be put in prison.

  130. #131 Benjamin Franklin
    August 8, 2008

    Just as fundamentalist Muslims consider all non-Muslims infidels, so do fundamentalist Christians consider all non-Christians (and even other sect) infidels and atheists.

    Nesbit (Mr. Nice) isn’t going to change a single one of their minds, but neither is PZ.

    But maybe that’s just me being grumpy.

  131. #132 John Morales
    August 8, 2008

    So, Pony. Enjoying your foray into the comments?

    We get it, it offends you and makes you think the message is diminished.

    Perhaps there are other ways to diminish a message, you know. Hint hint.

  132. #133 Pony
    August 8, 2008

    Is it possible to convince anyone of anything if you constantly indulge in ad hominem attacks? (Satisfying though they may feel)

  133. #134 Pierce R. Butler
    August 8, 2008

    TrueBob @ # 77: That last one Pierce may be a victim of him not babysitting the thread.

    I’ll admit I don’t keep exact track of the timing on every comment, but I’m fairly certain that other displayed comments are time-stamped after I’d submitted my little # 55 above.

    If prone to cheap(er) shots, I’d speculate on the motives of someone who throws out a big sack of slanders and declines to stick around to address the utterly predictable responses – but I’m just an angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loner with an addiction to ideological porn, so I won’t.

  134. #135 LisaJ
    August 8, 2008

    “They’re usually angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners…”

    Uh, excuse me Matty. We ‘bad’ atheists are also significantly comprised of angry, grumpy, uncharismatic FEMALE loners. Sexist jackass.

    Seriously, this guy is super annoying.

  135. #136 Pony
    August 8, 2008

    Hi John M!

    Yes, I am actually, I’ve been enjoying the blog since crackergate, after I got linked here from the RDF.

    Are you perhaps hinting that an overly verbose and pseudo-intellectual style might seem condescending and off putting to people who already feel like their faith is under attack from a self appointed intellectual elite? Sure, I can see that. Do you think I’m guilty of this? I quite probably am. Can you offer any constructive suggestions?

  136. #137 Blake Stacey
    August 8, 2008

    MAJeff, OM (#90):

    He [Nisbet] thinks he’s the only one capable of it [framing], and that his preferred framing is the only acceptable one because his strategy is the only acceptable one and his goal the only reasonable ones.

    Remember when he wrote that post which was entitled, in all caps, “ATHEISM IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE”? And everybody was like, dude, fuck the heck? First of all, there are real people hurting out there because they don’t toe somebody’s line. That ain’t right, and that kind of prejudice damn sure is a civil rights issue. On top of that, making people think about civil rights when the subject of religion comes up is a good thing. We’re all taught to see the marchers and the bus boycotters as heroes. And the lesson we’re given is that you don’t have to be part of a group to support the rights of that group. Isn’t that how we want those “moderate” or “liberal” theists to think about nonbelievers? Isn’t it just good communication to evoke the victorious struggles for equality and decency of decades past? Dare we suggest that such a strategy, in addition to being factually respectable, employs context and narrative in an advantageous way?

    My hypothesis is that the Nice Hair crowd came to their conclusions first, and justified them with whatever sociology jargon they found congenial later. They’re trying to draw lines in the ideological sand, to define a new in-group mentality — but on an old, time-honored basis: the ones who are In are the people who don’t make waves.

    High School Prom King, signing off.

  137. #138 BobC
    August 8, 2008

    Is it possible to convince anyone of anything if you constantly indulge in ad hominem attacks?

    A better question would be – Is it possible to convince a shit-for-brains Christian of anything?

    The answer is most definitely not. These people are insane and their stupidity is breathtaking. That’s why I just remind them that they’re assholes and they will never be allowed to get away with anything.

    Personally I think it’s immoral to NOT ridicule Christian scum. Look at what they’ve done to our country. America is in a race with the Muslim countries for having the most science ignorant population of the world.

  138. #139 mothwentbad
    August 8, 2008

    -50 points for invoking “the new atheism” without referring to our adversary as “the old bullshit”.

  139. #140 Jeremy
    August 8, 2008

    Personally I find that BobC’s profanity-laden posts embody the exasperation I sometimes feel when it comes to dealing with creationists.

    Different approaches for different people.

  140. #141 DaveL
    August 8, 2008

    The problem with Nisbet’s approach lies in the fact that religion is just so obviously ridiculous.

    I’ll explain: nobody I know of in the modern world would have the slightest hesitation to laugh to scorn anyone who believed the world was run by anthropomorphic gods living at the summit of Mt.Olympus. Nor did the vast majority have any trouble pointing out the craziness of the idea that a UFO hidden in Hale-Bopp’s tail was coming to spirit away people’s souls. In these cases, there’s no question of “framing”, no pussyfooting around trying to avoid offending the followers of Zeus or the Heaven’s Gate cultists. However, there’s this big, fat double standard being applied here when you contrast the above with the deference given to the world’s major religions. This double standard is the heart of how these beliefs persist.

    It’s not like it’s all that well hidden, either. Anyone slightly educated knows that there are supernatural beliefs systems that were once sincerely held by the majority in some culture and now can be safely treated as primitive superstitions, when really the religions prevalent in our own culture have no firmer basis in evidence. No, the reason the double standard persists is the tacitly accepted social taboo against pointing it out.

    Atheists like PZ who aren’t afraid to call a ridiculous claim ridiculous and laugh it to scorn are the ones working to break that meme. The “framers”, by giving deference where none is deserved, perpetuate the unnecessary and harmful notion that this double standard is valid.

  141. #142 JD
    August 8, 2008

    In fairness, PZ would probably choose to comment on this on Matt’s turf,…

    I doubt it; Nisbet censors the comments on his blog. He’s a coward. Why would you think PZ would comment on “Matt’s turf.” Nisbet isn’t worth the trouble.

    … rather than linking to it from Pharyngula.

    Then why put the link to it?

    Nisbet is not anyone to pay any attention to. Regular readers of PZ’s blog know that well. Why drive traffic to his seldom read site?

  142. #143 Hap
    August 8, 2008

    I might actually respect Nisbet’s opinion and self-proclaimed monopoly on “Appropriate Methods to Obtain Social Acceptance for Atheism” if he had actually done anything to advance a cause or had come up with a general method to do so. All I’ve heard him do is bitch about how an less conciliatory approach to atheism will lead to the burning of atheists at the stake (as if people had previously needed a reason to do so). As said before, he’s like Ebert, but without having written or done anything relevant (not even Valley of the Dolls).

    It’s way past put-up-or-shut-up time for Nisbet. He needs to either do something constructive or STFU. It wouldn’t take a whole lot – some sort of community espousing his principles would help (then one might see how they could work). More likely though, there’ll just be more whinging, with a Science paper thrown in for good measure. If women had waited for Nisbet’s help to gain the vote, I’m sure they would have…constructive input into their husband’s vote. Woo-hoo!

    I’m going to make a guess that his framing towards acceptance of evolution isn’t going too well. His framing of framing hasn’t gone swimmingly either. Maybe he could start there – but that would require him to actually do something, and I suspect bitching about Prof. Myers is much easier.

  143. #144 Kate
    August 8, 2008

    I have never found PZ Myers to be angry over anything that isn’t worth getting angry about. People threatening a student’s life over silliness? That’s worth getting hot under the collar, I think. PZ never threatened to kill anyone, hurt anyone, or threaten their livelihoods. At no time did he threaten anyone’s family, pets or homes. Yet *PZ* is the one with the attitude problem?

    Nesbit, with his “dressing down” of PZ is giving the impression that those things ought to be simply ignored, or somehow…. understood as being the correct way to behave? He also decided to publish this when PZ is on vacation and isn’t going to respond and being very careful to not reference the death threats made by many Catholics to PZ and the young student who is at the center of all of this. So not only is Nesbit an apologist for violent, irrational people, he’s a chicken, too.

    Nesbit, if you’re reading this: You’re bloody pathetic. If you’re going to try to malign someone at least have the guts to tell the whole truth. Stop being such a chicken-shit, yellow-bellied, sniveling, groveling, candy-ass. Grow a set and stand up for what you believe in. Stop pretending that delusions and fairy-tales are good things. They aren’t. They kill people, they make people suffer, they induce self loathing and hate and fear. You think I should respect people who perpetuate such ideas. I think I should call them raving nutters and demonstrate my utter contempt for their ludicrous actions and dangerous beliefs.

  144. #145 Pony
    August 8, 2008

    I’m sorry BobC, but I don’t think there’s a direct link between a person being wrong, and a person being stupid. Admittedly, some wrong people are stupid, but assuming that for all of them smacks of poor reasoning. After all, some stupid people can be right.

  145. #146 TA
    August 8, 2008

    Whooeee. I guess I’m one of those guys too! However, I’m really only into bashing those who would force me to buy into their delusions.

  146. #147 Pierce R. Butler
    August 8, 2008

    BobC @ # 130 et seq. – while not going to Pony’s wild extreme* of decrying ad hominem commentary, I do want to go on record as finding your statement that Christians trying to put their creed into public schools should go to prison to smack of troubling authoritarianism.

    That they should fail, have their errors in fact and logic pointed out in very public ways, and suffer years of mockery and condescension should suffice.

    * Don’t take it personally, Pony! ;->}

  147. #148 Benjamin Franklin
    August 8, 2008

    Pony @ #136

    I can relate.

    Are you perhaps hinting that an overly verbose and pseudo-intellectual style might seem condescending and off putting to people who already feel like their faith is under attack from a self appointed intellectual elite?

    Yes

    Sure, I can see that. Do you think I’m guilty of this?

    Yes

    I quite probably am. Can you offer any constructive suggestions?

    Sprinkle your posts with lots of mocking references, some double entendres, some blatant sexual references, and end posts with non-sequiturs, puns, and arcane references. Wait a minute, thats my schtick, find your own, ya damn heathen!

  148. #149 Jim G
    August 8, 2008

    Nisbet is like a guitar with one string.

  149. #150 Azkyroth
    August 8, 2008

    In case he doesn’t let it through, I just posted this to Nisbet’s thread:

    A few quotes on-topic, since I don’t want to bother with this right now:

    “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” -Martin Luther King

    “The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.” -Frederick Douglass

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana

    Mr. Nisbet, you and yours are repeating the past.

    Give it a rest.

  150. #151 John Morales
    August 8, 2008

    Me @132: 3 paragraphs, 35 words, 160 characters.
    Pony @136: 3 paragraphs, 78 words, 378 characters.

    Can you offer any constructive suggestions?

    Yeah. Look up irony and hypocrisy.

  151. #152 BaldApe
    August 8, 2008

    While there is a case to be made for reasonable discourse, Nesbit didn’t make it.

    It’s pretty tough, though, when theists have such a commitment to the unexamined assumption that god exists that they start with idiotic statements like “It takes more faith to be an evil-utionist than to believe in god.”

    It is also remarkable, as others have said, that it’s so easy to forget the fact that PZ didn’t start the whole silly thing. He pointed out the stupidity of persecuting somebody for not eating a cracker, and got death threats.

  152. #153 craig
    August 8, 2008

    As far as convincing anyone of anything… I have a three positions on that.
    1. It’s not my job to convince anyone of anything.
    2. There are people better equipped than I to education people who are honestly seeking education.
    3. I AM intellectually well-equipped enough to realize that you can’t teach rational thought to those who have rejected education and embraced delusion. Smashing your face against a brick wall isn’t going to turn it into a window.

    I CAN however teach the religious a few things. I can teach them that if they try to interfere with my rights, they’re in for a fight.

    I can convince them that there is NOTHING they can do that will shut me up, make me afraid, or make me knuckle under.

    I can teach them that every transgression on my rights will be met with a fight.

    I can teach them that I am not going away, I am not going to convert, I’m not going to shut up.

    I can teach them that there’s only one way to stop the mean, horrible intolerant atheists from being so unpleasant – STOP trying to push your religion into science. Stop trying to push your religion into schools. Stop trying to push your religion into government. STOP trying to push your insane delusions into these places where it has no place and where you have no right to, and where it’s illegal to.

    If you do that, if you keep your religion where it belongs – in your heads, in your homes, in your churches, and in your free speech, then you’ll see just how sweet a guy I am.

    Keep pushing it where you have no right to, and you will get nothing but resistance and a fight.

  153. #154 negentropyeater
    August 8, 2008

    BobC, 130

    The only point I want to get across to Christians is that they’re insane and when they try to stick their insanity into our schools they’re traitors and they should be put in prison.

    Just replace the word “Christians” with “Atheists”.

    Hey, a perfect post on a Christian fundie blog.

  154. #155 Azkyroth
    August 8, 2008

    Who is defined by “our” ? Do you get to decide where the fence gets put ?

    We certainly reserve the right to tell you where to put one of the fenceposts. :P

  155. #156 Steve LaBonne
    August 8, 2008

    Craig- bravo.

  156. #157 craig
    August 8, 2008

    “I do want to go on record as finding your statement that Christians trying to put their creed into public schools should go to prison to smack of troubling authoritarianism.”

    I’m not much on sending people to prison… but it IS against the law, you know.
    I’d settle for a fine and a restraining order.

  157. #158 Azkyroth
    August 8, 2008

    Is it possible to convince anyone of anything if you constantly indulge in ad hominem attacks? (Satisfying though they may feel)

    When dealing with people whom even a rudimentary sense of pattern recognition shows are unlikely to be convinced in any case, why not go with the satisfying approach?

  158. #159 Pony
    August 8, 2008

    Jeremy (#140):

    I actually agree with you on that, (and by extension, I suppose, with BobC. {Hi Bob!}).

    But I find it comparable to the WBC Phelps crowd with their “God hates fags and homos” shtick. Sure, it gets our attention, but we don’t take anything they say seriously.

    Also, atheists tend to point at that type of fundamentalist whacko and say “See? This is why religious moderation is dangerous, because you shelter people like that!”. I worry that they can then turn around and point to posts like BobC’s {Sorry Bob, I’m really not saying you are.} and say the same about us.

    I started talking to Jeremy, and finished off talking about Bob. Not really my intention. I do sympathise with your frustration Bob, I often feel it myself, especially when dealing with friends, family and loved ones who deny reality and facts because they disagree with the dogma they grew up with. I apologise if I have offended you at all.

  159. #160 craig
    August 8, 2008

    “Craig- bravo.”

    Thanks for overlooking the typos.. I’m dizzy with a bad meniere’s day, and I screw up when my blood pressure gets up.

  160. #161 negentropyeater
    August 8, 2008

    We certainly reserve the right to tell you where to put one of the fenceposts. :P

    If they’re not too big, I like them up my ass :-)

  161. #162 Pony
    August 8, 2008

    John Morales (#151)

    Yeah, I talk a lot. I use a lot of words when I talk, too.

    I’m just trying to make my point as clearly as I can, so as to leave less room for misunderstanding.

    Pierce (#147)

    None taken. XD

  162. #163 dubiquiabs
    August 8, 2008

    Tried to post on Nesbitts’ site. Probably didn’t frame it properly. Now I’m crushed, left with faint hope that my post may still be in ‘Nesbitt Limbo’.

    Maybe it’s because I said that he was aiming his water pistol in the wrong direction (PZ), or maybe because I suggested (again) hat he run for Pope? Thought he’d be pompous enough.

  163. #164 craig
    August 8, 2008

    “Also, atheists tend to point at that type of fundamentalist whacko and say “See? This is why religious moderation is dangerous, because you shelter people like that!”. I worry that they can then turn around and point to posts like BobC’s {Sorry Bob, I’m really not saying you are.} and say the same about us.”

    Well, first of all if they say that, they’re wrong – because Bob is merely expressing his opinion – he is NOT protesting at funerals of the religious with signs calling them idiots, etc.

    And so, yes, they might do what you say – but that would not be an example of Bob doing wrong, that would be an example of THEM being wrong. I mean seriously – in the scenario you give, it would be Christians equating Bob merely speaking his mind in a place where doing that is proper, compared with some Christians harassing people.

    So your argument is that Bob shouldn’t use his right to free speech because unreasonable people will unfairly and incorrectly demonize him for having done so? That the solution to having your free speech attacked is to stop using it?

    And of course, in pointing out that unreasonable Christians will incorrectly and unfairly attack Bob and other atheists for merely expressing themselves, you’re avoiding the obvious – that THAT behavior is what is the problem, and also that because of that unfair imbalance, it’s ALREADY happening. Atheists are attacked for what they say no matter how meek it is.

    Essentially your argument is like telling an abused child to “try to stop making Daddy so mad.”

  164. #165 Dale Husband
    August 8, 2008

    I find myself wondering what the hell this twit who imagines himself “Framing Science” is even doing on ScienceBlogs. He seems to have a grudge against PZ Myers that is decidedly unhealthy.

  165. #166 Wowbagger
    August 9, 2008

    Seriously, I can’t imagine that anyone who is close to godlessness is going to see angry atheists as an argument for god’s existence and turn back to the church.

    Can anyone who was at any point religious tell me – when you were in doubt about the existence of god, did the demeanour and/or the behaviours of atheists have any impact on the decision to give it up? If so, what effect? Positive or negative?

    Really, for atheism, I think any publicity is good publicity. Why? If people hear anything about atheism they might just start thinking about their theism, and, in doing so, see the flaws in it – something which wouldn’t happen if they’re insulated from criticism of it.

    We’ve got to keep giving them free tickets to the entertainment of doubt.

  166. #167 Sioux Laris
    August 9, 2008

    As someone else has no doubt already pointed out, Nisbit (A Nixonianly appropriate name, in that it somehow describe his character flaws to the proverbial “T”) is simply omeone angry that he can’t believe his own BS, and has decided that he REALLY wants to be P.Z. – no doubt out of envy for his rival’s popularity, obviously secure personal and familial affections, interesting work, etc. (not to mention a secret identity, massive fortune, and sentient squid-protected oceanic hidden fortess that Bruce Wayne spoke of with admiration.)

  167. #168 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    Craig (#164)

    Not at all Craig, I am only trying to say that attacking the people presenting a false argument is not the same as attacking an argument.

    I agree that it is unfair to attack Bob. I agree that he has every right to respond the way he does when he sees injustice and insanity running rampant.

    In no way am I advocating censorship, not even self-censorship. Like Voltaire, Hitchens and many other people, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    I just feel that expletive and invective are more effective when used sparingly. Part of their power comes from the shock value. If it becomes passe, it loses it’s punch.

    My argument is telling the abused child to go talk to someone who will listen, and explain the problem so they can/will help.

    I want to convince every single rational human being on the planet of the veracity of our position, so that the crazies will be left standing exposed, on their own.

  168. #169 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Pony @162,

    I’m just trying to make my point as clearly as I can, so as to leave less room for misunderstanding.

    well, that’s humble. Though I was under the impression you were referring to my style (as has happened) in your previous response – apparently, I misunderstood you.

    As far as strong and even vulgar language goes, I much prefer a forum where such is permitted and one can be forthright. And you should probably figure that goes for many others here as well.

  169. #170 Azkyroth
    August 9, 2008

    Is it possible to convince anyone of anything if you constantly indulge in ad hominem attacks? (Satisfying though they may feel)

    Argh, I can’t believe I missed this.

    “Ad hominem” refers to a fallacious attempt to discredit an argument by attacking its source. It is NOT a generic synonym for “insult” or “rudeness.”

    Ironically, statements that conflate the two and attempt to discredit an opponent’s argument, expressed with some rudeness, due to the fallacy connotations of “ad hominem” are themselves ad hominem fallacies, whether intentional or otherwise.

  170. #171 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    John (#169)

    Shit, if I’m coming across as humble, something is definitely wrong! XD

  171. #172 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Pony, that’s because you only aspire to arrogance.

  172. #173 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 9, 2008

    Azkyroth and Craig.

    *applause

  173. #174 Azkyroth
    August 9, 2008

    I’m sorry BobC, but I don’t think there’s a direct link between a person being wrong, and a person being stupid. Admittedly, some wrong people are stupid, but assuming that for all of them smacks of poor reasoning. After all, some stupid people can be right.

    And some smart people can be wrong.

    However, people who persist in being wrong despite having their wrongness conclusively demonstrated to them can justly be called stupid.

  174. #175 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    Azkyroth (#170) :
    “”Ad hominem” refers to a fallacious attempt to discredit an argument by attacking its source. It is NOT a generic synonym for “insult” or “rudeness.”"

    But Azkyroth, that’s not what I was attempting to imply.

    “Like it’s possible to convince a brain-dead Christian asshole to stop attacking science education and stop lying to his children about sky fairies.”
    ^– This is what I felt was an Ad Hominem attack. It seems to be attacking the holder of the argument/view more than the view itself. Did I fuck up?

  175. #176 Danio
    August 9, 2008

    Can anyone who was at any point religious tell me – when you were in doubt about the existence of god, did the demeanour and/or the behaviours of atheists have any impact on the decision to give it up? If so, what effect? Positive or negative?

    100% positive. I was relieved to discover that other people found religion as intractable and preposterous as I did. The ‘four horsemen’, and PZ made the biggest impression on me, but I must credit DJ Grothe and the Point of Inquiry podcast for introducing me to most of them in interviews, though as an upshot I discovered that I liked their approach more than that of the CFI/’Framing’ crew.

  176. #177 CalGeorge
    August 9, 2008

    Matt Nisbet has no class.

  177. #178 ngong
    August 9, 2008

    PZ Myers contrasted with immaculately attired DJ Grothe? Grothe is great, but he’s also openly gay. By Nisbet’s logic, isn’t associating atheism with homosexuality a serious framing error?

    On the other hand, you’ve got straight-talking PZ slobbering for another steak. It may come as a shock to Nisbet, but plenty of folks would prefer to identify with the latter character.

  178. #179 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Pony @175, you’ve quoted Azkyroth but missed the point. ad hominem is arguing by insult, the actual argument is the second clause, “brain-dead Christian asshole” is descriptive only and not used as the contention per se.

  179. #180 HennepinCountyLawyer
    August 9, 2008

    I actually liked the bagpipes.

    Must mean I’m not a real atheist, eh?

  180. #181 Danio
    August 9, 2008

    HCP @180: There’s gotta be a ‘no true Scotsman’ joke in there somewhere.

    I’ve always liked the bagpipes, but learned long ago that I am in a tiny, tiny minority in that regard.

  181. #182 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    So could you paraphrase the comment as “It’s not possible to convince you to stop teaching your children things not supported by evidence, or to stop you trying to force it on the rest of us and our offspring, so I’m not even going to construct a rational argument.”?

  182. #183 craig
    August 9, 2008

    “Azkyroth and Craig.

    *applause”

    Wow. Thanks, seriously.

    I’m always paranoid that I add nothing of use to the conversations here… I’m not as bright as I useta was, and can’t contribute like I could years ago. Figured I was just one of the spittle-fleckers.

  183. #184 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    ngong,

    By Nisbet’s logic, isn’t associating atheism with homosexuality a serious framing error?

    Apparently not. You have a problem with it ?

    straight-talking PZ

    What’s that ?

    Seems if plenty of folks (as you seem to believe) would prefer a character based on his heterosexual sexual orientation, they are still suffering from residues of religious endoctrination.

    Are you one of them ?

  184. #185 clinteas
    August 9, 2008

    Pony and BobC are playing Nisbet and PZ,hehehe…..
    And Im with BobC.
    Pony,we all have our style here,if you dont like what someone is writing,dont read it,its that simple.But dont tell me or BobC what and how to make our arguments.

    As to this Nisbet fellow, he kinda reminds me of this Chris asshole from the mixing memory blog,this whole lets be nice to everyone attitude drives me insane.
    Appeasement gets you nowhere,look at WW 2 for a prime example.
    And as has been said before,Christians hate atheists,because they threaten their feelgood-denial-of-reality-existence,and whether you are outspoken or nice and tolerant makes no difference to them at all.
    Now the fact that Nisbet censors posts on his blog,and the nicegoing projection with the “male loners”,tells you all you ever need to know about the guy,really.

  185. #186 Azkyroth
    August 9, 2008

    So could you paraphrase the comment as “It’s not possible to convince you to stop teaching your children things not supported by evidence, or to stop you trying to force it on the rest of us and our offspring, so I’m not even going to construct a rational argument.”?

    I can see why someone could interpret it that way considering the comment in isolation and somewhat literally. I think a more accurate paraphrase would be “I’ve constructed multiple rational arguments, I’ve deployed them, I’ve found it’s like talking to a wall, and I’m fed the fuck up with it!”

  186. #187 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Pony @182,

    Like it’s possible to convince a brain-dead Christian asshole to stop attacking science education and stop lying to his children about sky fairies

    It’s not possible to convince you to stop teaching your children things not supported by evidence, or to stop you trying to force it on the rest of us and our offspring, so I’m not even going to construct a rational argument.

    No.
    Consider the subject in the original is “a brain-dead Christian asshole” whilst in the paraphrase it’s “you”.
    See, he made the comment to Pharyngula about the subject, not to the subject about themselves.

    Care to try again?

  187. #188 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    Clinteas, please don’t put words in my mouth.

    My only point that I’ve been trying to articulate is that a message wrapped around a brick and then thrown at a person is more likely to knock them out than to get the message across.

  188. #189 Wowbagger
    August 9, 2008

    Danio, #176

    Thanks for that – as a never-believer (due to a lack of indoctrination rather than any sort of mental/intellectual invulnerability) I’ve only got others’ deconversion stories to go on for any sort of understanding of the process.

    But what I’m getting is that things like this, while perhaps not positive for image of atheists, should do a great deal to increase the number of atheists.

    If we’ve got the numbers, who gives a crap what they think of us? Politicians, marketers and CEOs are interested in votes, dollars and dividends, not ‘perceived niceness’; when listening to atheists can be shown to have an effect on ballot-boxes, sales and share prices we’ll have succeeded.

  189. #190 Pierce R. Butler
    August 9, 2008

    clinteas @ # 185: Appeasement gets you nowhere,look at WW 2 for a prime example.

    A poor example, historically speaking. Chamberlain completely lacked the military & political resources to do anything to stop Hitler in 1938, and both of them knew it.

    A better example: Clinton’s repeated attempts to reach across the aisle to Congressional Republicans, compromising personally & politically, right up until they impeached his sorry ass.

  190. #191 RamblinDude
    August 9, 2008

    Hi everybody. My name is RamblinDude and I’m an angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loner.

    Oh, sure, I didn’t want to admit it at first. I was full of pride and spittle flecked hateful rebelliousness, but then I finally hit a breaking point and admitted the truth. And then I became angry! Oh, I railed and fumed and cursed the godless universe. (Seems funny to think about it now.) I finally calmed down, though, and I thought I could change myself. You know, if I just did the right things, I could become sweet tempered and charismatic and win friends and influence people. When that didn’t work, (and of course is didn’t) I became depressed. What was the point of living if I couldn’t even control my own grumpiness? No miracle was going to change me; there was no gentle, guiding hand to protect me from my chronic nihilism, and Creationists were still going to lie and quotemine and try to destroy science education and get us all blown up in some stupid manmade Armageddon. All was desolation, decay and death…and then I accepted myself!

    Now I’m learning to live with my grumpiness, and to not be ashamed of my unappealing personality. I no longer fight my crushing loneliness and fascination with Don Imus and my need to attack and ridicule religious believers. The Nisbets of the world no longer have a hold on me. I’m free. I’m me!

  191. #192 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    My only point that I’ve been trying to articulate is that a message wrapped around a brick and then thrown at a person is more likely to knock them out than to get the message across.

    I think it got the intended message across perfectly – to the intended audience.

    Hint: The post begins “Like it’s possible to [...]“.
    What does that phrasing indicate in the vernacular?

    Oh yes, clinteas’ comment was rather apposite too.

  192. #193 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    Azkyroth (#186)

    Possibly I’ve come in too late in BobC’s tour of duty to meet the rational arguments. From what I’ve seen of Bob in the comments (and I have read some of the earlier blog posts as well as the new ones – there’s just so little time and so many things to read!) there’s only the “I’m fed up” posts.

    I don’t know, maybe I get too antsy about generalisations. More likely I get too wrapped up in arguing and forget my original point.

    John (#187)

    No, I do not care to try again. You win, I’ll be more careful with my argument classification from now on.

  193. #194 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    @192 post quote

  194. #195 craig
    August 9, 2008

    “I just feel that expletive and invective are more effective when used sparingly. Part of their power comes from the shock value. If it becomes passe, it loses it’s punch.”

    Isn’t that the goal? That atheists speaking out forcefully and freely will lose its shock value?

  195. #196 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Pony, thank you.

  196. #197 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Clinteas,

    Pony and BobC are playing Nisbet and PZ,hehehe…..

    That’s your interpretation, not mine.

    But dont tell me or BobC what and how to make our arguments.

    Arent you telling Pony what and how to make his arguments ?

    Appeasement gets you nowhere,look at WW 2 for a prime example.
    And as has been said before,Christians hate atheists,because they threaten their feelgood-denial-of-reality-existence,and whether you are outspoken or nice and tolerant makes no difference to them at all.

    Why look at war ? Look at other civil liberties movements, blacks, gays, and read my post #88.
    Also not ALL christians hate atheists. For those who don’t different approaches might work differently.
    Also “whether you are outspoken or nice and tolerant makes no difference to them at all”, is that your working assumption, got any evidence for that ?

  197. #198 craig
    August 9, 2008

    “ngong,
    By Nisbet’s logic, isn’t associating atheism with homosexuality a serious framing error?
    Apparently not. You have a problem with it”

    Since he said “by Nisbet’s logic,” I took this to mean it might be a framing error because the people Nisbet wants to play nicey-nice with, the religionists, would have a problem with it.

    If mean old outspoken atheists make atheists look bad by appearing to be that dreaded thing – atheists, equating them with that other dreaded thing – teh gay, can’t be any better.

    Again, from Nesbit’s point of view. The “if a bully keeps beating you up for your lunch money, try offering to buy him lunch” method.

  198. #199 Radwaste
    August 9, 2008

    “For sure, atheists for a long time have been unfairly stereotyped in the mainstream media and in popular culture. But we also have a lot of lousy self-proclaimed spokespeople who do damage to our public image.”

    A lot? How about, “most”?
    Vocal American Christians are quick to speak, and slow to learn, even though Saint Augustine cautioned them ~1600 years ago:

    “It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.” – The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19-20, Chapt. 19

  199. #200 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    I didn’t find Clinteas’ remarks an appropriate response to anything I said, but perhaps we are arguing at cross purposes.

    Am I to understand that you all feel that BobC is merely “preaching to the choir”, and that his remarks aren’t intended to reach an audience any wider than that which already agrees with him, and as such, he has no need to present anything more than a sort of haka for the atheist side?

    If this is the case, then I apologise for thinking that BobC really believes that all christians are incapable of seeing reason, and that the best thing for them is to be derided and abused, because they’ll never listen anyway.

    However, I do NOT apologise for making my feelings known, or for standing up for my right to have an opinion that didn’t line up with the rest of you, or for defending my point of view after being told to “shut the fuck up” or “go fuck myself”!

  200. #201 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Craig @198, good point. As a weak analogy, I think this belief functions much like the presupposition of a reformed babdist does – it is not something to be examined or criticised, but to be defended as the basis for one’s contentions.

  201. #202 ngong
    August 9, 2008

    Seems if plenty of folks (as you seem to believe) would prefer a character based on his heterosexual sexual orientation, they are still suffering from residues of religious endoctrination.

    It seems fair to say that many folks prefer to identify with heterosexuals. For a number of silly reasons, religion being one.

    Nisbet emphasizes the associations people make, not the underlying logic in arguments. Thus he says that public atheists should “lay low” on the issue of evolution in the classroom. Apparently, the well-attired openly homosexual dude teaching teenagers in camp passes the test, but the slovenly PZ doesn’t. I’d be curious to know his thinking there.

  202. #203 craig
    August 9, 2008

    “Why look at war ? Look at other civil liberties movements, blacks, gays, and read my post #88. Also not ALL christians hate atheists. For those who don’t different approaches might work differently. Also “whether you are outspoken or nice and tolerant makes no difference to them at all”, is that your working assumption, got any evidence for that ?”

    Of course not all religious people hate atheists. But unless they are actively working for the acceptance of atheists(very few are, maybe a handful), then they are irrelevant.

    By way of example take my father. He is in no way a bigot, but I grew up hearing him express concern about the tactics of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He didn’t like the confrontation, he didn’t like protests.

    He was always of the “they should change the system from within the system” persuasion, ignoring of course that “they” were locked OUT of the system, and those inside the system including him weren’t working to change it.

    Dad’s not a bigot. He’s just a coward. People getting upset or “in your face” about things scare him, he automatically reacts negatively to them… but that doesn’t mean they are being counterproductive in his case – because he was doing nothing for them ANYWAY.

    The very thing that turns him off from activists means that he is of no use, he is irrelevant to the causes they are turning him off from anyway. So it doesn’t matter if they turn him off.

    I realized in my early 20s I was taking after him. I had a similar opinion about gay rights. I was for them, but I didn’t like the “in your face” demands for them. I was of the “work through the system” persuasion myself.

    Then one day I realized that his argument was a way of doing nothing. That just as he sat back and was an irrelevant bump in the road during the civil rights era, I would be the same when it came to gay rights. Making excuses to “go slow” and not offend anyone.

    I decided that’s not the kind of person I want to be. Not the kind of person I can be. The white people who were not bigots but sat on their asses to avoid confrontation did NOTHING to help blacks gain rights, and in fact were an impediment to it.

    Christians who don’t hate atheists but who are not willing to fight against their fellow Christians for the rights of atheists are at best irrelevant and at worst enablers. I am not going to waste my time worrying about how they will react.

    And of course there’s cowards like that on both sides of every issue. Blacks who didn’t want to rile the whites, Nisbets who don’t want to upset the religious.

  203. #204 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Pony:

    My only point that I’ve been trying to articulate is that a message wrapped around a brick and then thrown at a person is more likely to knock them out than to get the message across.

    I didn’t find Clinteas’ remarks an appropriate response to anything I said, but perhaps we are arguing at cross purposes.

    No? Here’s Nisbet:

    And when their self-promoting atheist punditry is picked up by either the mainstream press or the religious media, we as a community of atheists incur deep self-inflicted wounds, with news coverage feeding the stereotype that we are a bunch of intolerant and arrogant eccentrics.

    Also,

    However, I do NOT apologise for making my feelings known, or for standing up for my right to have an opinion that didn’t line up with the rest of you, or for defending my point of view after being told to “shut the fuck up” or “go fuck myself”!

    You can of course substantiate this allegation? And where exactly does anyone ask for an apology?

    Such defensiveness indicates fleeing from no pursuers but your own conscience.

  204. #205 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t “Straight talking PZ” a reference to his blunt and direct honesty rather than to his sexuality?

  205. #206 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Craig,

    all I am saying is what’s Nisbett’s logic ? Apparently not what you think it is, otherwise he wouldn’t have put DJ Grothe as example of what he believes is the right approach for Atheism on his blog.

    Also, I really think some people have a problem learning from other civil liberties actions from the past. Not one approach is best. A diversity is best. Nice guys, less nice, more aggressive. That’s what works.

    So that’s my problem with Nisbett when he thniks one frame is best. But also with those who seem to think that another frame (a more aggressive one) is best. All need to work together, stimulate each other, and avoid this bickering.

    I agree with what wowbagger said, the more we talk about atheism, the better it is.

    Let multiply those who openly talk about it, their own way.

  206. #207 craig
    August 9, 2008

    “Also, I really think some people have a problem learning from other civil liberties actions from the past. Not one approach is best. A diversity is best. Nice guys, less nice, more aggressive. That’s what works.

    So that’s my problem with Nisbett when he thniks one frame is best. But also with those who seem to think that another frame (a more aggressive one) is best. All need to work together, stimulate each other, and avoid this bickering.”

    I agree mostly, I just think that the the “nice guys” are completely ineffectual without a bunch of angry loud people to be contrasted against. Because without the angry loud people, the “nice guys” are not seen as nice guys, they’re seen as the angry ones no matter how nice they are.

    The nice guys NEED people like PZ, and the more strident than PZ.

    In fact, I would argue that if you had to only have one way of operating, being loud and strident would be the way to go – because “nice” without strident will get you no where (there have been “nice” atheists since forever) whereas with the strident an no “nice” guys, you’d still stand a chance of making a change.

    And anyway, I don’t mean to sound like I am issuing a blanket condemnation of the “nice” atheists… it seems to me that the only time we criticize them is when they slam us and want us to shut up.

  207. #208 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Well, no trolls about. That’s unusual.

    PS Pony, feisty and opinionated is good. So long as you stay on topic and advance matters.

    So far, so good.

  208. #209 RayvenAlandria
    August 9, 2008

    I wrote a comment on the guy’s blog but it states that it has to be approved. He may not approve it. We’ll see.

  209. #210 craig
    August 9, 2008

    Maybe the trolls followed PZ to Ecuador?

    He forgot to select some guest trolls.

  210. #211 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    RayvenAlandria, there is only one comment there after mine (some time ago), so the presumption is Dr Nisbet has not had a chance to overview the moderation queue and release posts. He’s let critical ones through on the previous instance.

  211. #212 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Heh. Nah, craig, I reckon the liberal use of the cluebat and the poo-flingin’ recently (with the banning of the ones that regenerated too fast) may be the cause of the lull.

    It’s nice, anyway.

    Gotta say, the PZminions are doing a great job with posts.

  212. #213 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    “Such defensiveness indicates fleeing from no pursuers but your own conscience.” – John (#204)

    Sorry, what?

    I am not saying, nor have I said that atheists should not promote their opinions, or mess with illogical sacred cows, or stand up for their right to disagree with religion in loud and obnoxious ways. I never criticised crackergate, or condemned any of the “New Atheists” for pointing out the obvious cracks in the fašade of religious dogma.

    I said people don’t listen to you when all they can hear is abuse and expletive. They just tune you out.

    As to my apology: You’re right. No one did ask for it. I felt it was appropriate, given the response that my initial comments drew. I don’t wish to be thought of as a troll. But I still want there to be no misunderstanding of what I say, so I carefully delineated the boundaries of what I was apologising for.

    “Pony, your fence sitting is not our responsibility.” – Barklikeadog (#93)

    “If you don’t like that, you are welcome to go fuck yourself.” – BobC (#92)

    “I know you don’t care for vulgar language, but for people like you I think it’s very appropriate to say that you should go fuck yourself.” – BobC (#125)

  213. #214 llewelly
    August 9, 2008

    Nisbet is fond of claiming PZ has no positive contribution to atheism; that PZ is merely against something rather than for something. He deliberately ignores PZ’s atheist creed, and PZ’s many positive posts (including, ironically enough, articles arguing in favor of the very same camp inquiry Nisbet mentions in his article). Further, Nisbet constantly compares PZ to the famous racist Don Imus – but can cite no example in which PZ demonstrates similar prejudice. Nisbet frames PZ as ‘angry’, ‘rude’, etc – and yet in every interview I’ve ever heard, PZ is always calm and polite. By propagating these falsehoods, Nisbet’s articles on PZ actually serve to strengthen the very negative frames people attach to atheists. But when he writes these unjustifiably negative articles on PZ, his blog gets quite a bit of traffic. Perhaps this latest stunt will help move his blog up from the 14th most popular science blog to the 13th, or even 12th. Or perhaps not.

  214. #215 RayvenAlandria
    August 9, 2008

    Well, although I didn’t go off on him too much, I went off on the idiot who claimed Atheists are not treated as badly as black or gays are/were. My family has had so many things happen to us I could write a book about it. We’ve been run off the road more than once, have had guns pulled on us, have been attacked in Home Depot’s parking lots, have been physically assaulted, and have had neighbors come to the door to ask us if we’re devil worshipers. It just goes on and on. (I used to have magnetic signs on my truck advertising the Atheist group I organized, that’s how people know we were “the evil ones”.) If “mainstream” christians know you’re an Atheist many of them will harass and abuse you. When I see someone claim that Atheists are not mistreated , I get a bit pissy. I hope he approves my comment, but he may not.

  215. #216 BobC
    August 9, 2008

    I bet the vast majority of atheists in America completely ignore religious insanity. They act like religions don’t exist. They never think about it. For example, they are totally unaware of Christian attacks against science education, and wouldn’t care if they did hear about it.

    My brother is a good example. Only once in the past year did I see him ridicule some Christians. He was watching a television show that had some Christians raising their arms and looking up to Mr. God with their usual zombie expressions. My brother didn’t say a word but he raised his arms and imitated the goofy way they looked. He obviously thought they were nuts. Other than that rare event I doubt he wastes a second of his life thinking about how hopelessly stupid Christians are. Perhaps he has the right idea. Perhaps paying attention to out of control religious nuts is just a waste of time.

  216. #217 scooter
    August 9, 2008

    Rayven

    I posted a comment early this evening and it never showed up.

    “I must abandon identifying as a peace advocate since somebody burned a flag somewhere, and a bunch of paper patriots had a sissy fit.”

    Hardly a searing flame, but perhaps he has heard enough from those who are not buying into the nicey-nice.

  217. #218 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    I think my biggest problem so far is trying to stay coherent when the conversation moves disjointedly between people typing at different speeds!

  218. #219 clinteas
    August 9, 2008

    @ Neg No 197 :

    //Arent you telling Pony what and how to make his arguments ? //

    Im not telling anyone how to make their argument for something,but I can have an opinion about how they make it.

    //For those who don’t(hate atheists) different approaches might work differently//

    Yes sure,I was talking about the Nisbet approach,which,even ignoring his intellectual insincerity and appeal to prejudice,is IMO not getting one single religionist to even think about his/her deluded state of mind.

    //Also “whether you are outspoken or nice and tolerant makes no difference to them at all”, is that your working assumption, got any evidence for that ?//

    Evidence from observed facts,Neg,sorry no studies at hand.We can have opinions right?

  219. #220 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Craig,

    Of course not all religious people hate atheists. But unless they are actively working for the acceptance of atheists(very few are, maybe a handful), then they are irrelevant.

    Actually one of the most active way these kinds of moderate relgious people can work for the acceptance of atheists is as parents not to impose their religious views on their children, and motivate them to try to get the best education possible and make their own choices.
    My father was such a Christian. And both my sister and I never became religious.
    That’s partly how we got from 10% non religious in France to 50% in 30 years.

  220. #221 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    llewelly @214, my comment there was designed to pass any reasonable filter; when I referred to an antagonistic party, I was deliberately obfuscatory. I wonder if this comment will cause future elision…

    Pony @213: OK, substanciated. :)

    However, consider that

    I said people don’t listen to you when all they can hear is abuse and expletive. They just tune you out.

    applies to you as a matter of personal declaration, but you haven’t shown it applies to those to whom the message was intended in the first instance. Which I thought you’d acknowledged.
    As you have regarding the apology.

    And yeah, BobC was @92 was rude and abrasive. However, he did make a substantial point:

    Pony, is anyone forcing you to read my comments?

    You might perhaps address that if you wish to advance your claim, rather than crying foul.

  221. #222 clinteas
    August 9, 2008

    @ 212

    //Gotta say, the PZminions are doing a great job with posts.//

    I second that !!

    @ 216

    //I bet the vast majority of atheists in America completely ignore religious insanity. They act like religions don’t exist. They never think about it//

    Theyre probably just glad to be left alone and not to have to deal with the insanity all the time.
    Here in Australia you can ignore religion quite easily,we have all the madness the US has as well,but on a much smaller scale and somewhat less intrusive in public life.

  222. #223 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Duh, I meant Scooter @217 in #221. Sorry, I was distracted.

  223. #224 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    John (#221)
    Sorry, I forgot to add:

    “Pony,we all have our style here,if you dont like what someone is writing,dont read it,its that simple.But dont tell me or BobC what and how to make our arguments.” – Clinteas (#185)

    Which I believe is Clinteas telling me to keep my opinions to myself.

    All I’m claiming is the right to advance my thoughts the same as everyone else here. No one is forcing me to read theirs, but no one is forcing them to read mine either. If I am going to comment (even a little bit) intelligently on the issues people have raised, I need to read what they have to say.

    Also, I think it’s just good manners to extend the same courtesy to other people that I would like them to extend to me. XD

  224. #225 Ian H Spedding FCD
    August 9, 2008

    The problem with some atheists is they keep switching off their targeting computers and rely on the Force of their personalities to hit the central core of their opponents case.

    Not all Muslims are bin Laden-inspired suicide bombers just like not all Christians are like the twisted, bitter hatemongers of the Westboro Baptist Church. Attack them as if they are and they are just going to raise shields and deflect the most powerful arguments you can throw at them. And arguments are no good if no one listens.

    Take Wafergate. Sure, taking the doctrine of transubstantiation literally is absurd to any non-believers – and, probably, a lot of believers too. But here you had a perfectly good PR coup with young Webster Cook being set upon by a gang of Pythonesque Catholics. “All I did was take the wafer. I didn’t expect the bloody Spanish Inquisition.” “NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!”. But then PZ’s prank with another wafer blows it. Instead of being embarrassed by the misguided antics of a few of their fellow believers, Catholics were able to be outraged by what they could perceive as a blatant insult to them all.

    Nisbet is wrong when he wants the New Atheists to just shut up. Any cause needs forceful, outspoken advocates if it wants to be heard over all the others clamouring for our attention. But, come on, there’s a difference between shouting to get others to listen to you and shouting insults that just get them to switch off.

  225. #226 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    But, come on, there’s a difference between shouting to get others to listen to you and shouting insults that just get them to switch off.

    Maybe so.
    However, a far closer and therefore truer analogy would be “But, come on, there’s a difference between shouting to get others to listen to acknowledge you have beliefs too and shouting insults that just get them to switch off demonstrate intolerance and hypocrisy.”

  226. #227 clinteas
    August 9, 2008

    Pony,

    Im not sure why you are going all persecution complex on me,Im not trying to tell anyone what to say,thats just absurd.
    Again,I can have an opinion about how someone says something,and I voiced that opinion.

    @ 225 :
    Good post,but I just totally refuse to comment on crackergate anymore !

    And I think there is a common misconception here when we talk about which approach better advances our “agenda”.
    I dont have an agenda at all,I am not aiming to deconvert any Christians,they leave me alone,I leave them alone,couldnt care less.

    If they however try to bring their delusions into classrooms,or wield influence in political decisions,or demand I follow their stupid beliefs,or manhandle students in public universities,then I think we should speak up,and call them on their delusions,and make sure they hear us loud and clear.

  227. #228 rcn2
    August 9, 2008

    Thanks Pony for your constructive view. It was right on the mark, at least for me. As a former “brain-dead Christian asshole” who was, eventually, convinced, arguments wrapped in a brick of insults (perversely) didn’t knock me out, but made my faith stronger.

    After all, if you’ve been indoctrinated that they’re all out to get you, the raving loony atheist merely confirms what you’ve been told, regardless of any actual rational content sandwiched between the invective.

    What did work (in my case) was the straightforward, factual writings of Dawkins and Sagan (among others), and the rational and patient replies on discussion posts.

    The insults may be entertaining, but as a style it’s cowardly and ineffective. It signals you’ve thrown in the towel before even beginning to fight, having assumed your opponent will never change their mind, and wanting to get in as many choice insults as possible for personal satisfaction. Having a reasoned argument, and refraining from insults and strawmen…well that would be like hard work, wouldn’t it?

    This is not to say I’m advocating a Nisbet-style nicey-nicey fest. It was the strongly stated arguments that were the most convincing, but I never bothered to listen to anyone that sounded like a raving lunatic. It rather reminds me of the vocal Christians that would go on and on about how stupid and evil other non-Christians were.

    This may not be everyone’s first choice, but keep in mind that the asshole you’re arguing with may actually be convinced. Not today, not tomorrow, but at some point your argument may go ‘click’, and they’ll be convinced. Or they’ll be a stronger Christian because you’ve insulted them.

    Your choice.

    Cheers

  228. #229 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    Clinteas (#227)

    “Again,I can have an opinion about how someone says something,and I voiced that opinion.”

    So can I, so I did.

  229. #230 Wowbagger
    August 9, 2008

    In defence of Nisbet’s moderations – I posted one in support of PZ, and it got through fine; it just took a while. If he is censoring it’s not due to content as far as I can tell.

  230. #231 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Clinteas 219,

    Im not telling anyone how to make their argument for something,but I can have an opinion about how they make it.

    Sure, and my opinion is that I’m not a big fan of fundie talk (which I differentiate from agressive talk, not the same). Basically an opinion that makes sweeping particularly damning generalisations about all Christians and no evidence to back it up, and where I can change the word “Christians” for “Atheists” and found reproduced on all Christian blogs, by fundies that’s what I call fundie talk.

    What I like about Pharyngula, is that there is not much fundie talk and not from PZ. So when I see it, I’m going to give my opinion.

  231. #232 clinteas
    August 9, 2008

    So we’re all friends again then?? LOL

    Its eerie,I havent used the killfile for 3 days or so,the trolls must be following PZ to Equador or something !

    And Neg,

    as you well know people get frustrated here at times,and when it gets late and enough drinks have been consumed people talk a little what you call “fundie talk” ,I personally dont hold that against them.But I also think that the way an argument is presented should not reflect on the validity of that argument.
    Nothing wrong with aggressive talk when warranted,I agree,as I said above.

  232. #233 Wowbagger
    August 9, 2008

    rcn2, #228

    I think someone else mentioned this upthread (I’m jumping back and forth so you never know; it might be on another) – the fact that it’s good to have different approaches or ‘schools of thought’ for how atheists react to things, because not all people view things the same way.

    Yes, the even, measured tones of the scholarly Doctors Dawkins and Sagan might have worked for you, but that’s not to say that it’s going to be the same for everybody – especially if the person involved isn’t the type who takes intellectuals seriously. They’ve got to be open-minded enough to listen first.

    What PZ did, and what the more vocal and antagonistic atheists like Hitchens are doing is attacking the emotions rather than the intellect. It might have no hope of swaying certain sections of the faithful, but there are others who might react differently.

    It’s the classic one-two punch. Dawkins and co. work the head; PZ and Hitchens work the ribs. I don’t know where that leaves Nisbet and his ilk – off to one side blowing bubbles with the hope soap gets in their eyes I guess.

    As a number of comments here – and on Nisbet’s page – remind us, the polite and deferential approach hasn’t had very much success. It’s time to try something else.

  233. #234 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Craig, 207

    well generally it starts with the more aggressive ones, you’re right, as long as noone has started that approach, nothing works. But rapidly, you also need the other nicer approaches that are complementary, and that’s when it really continues to grow.
    For me that’s where America is now. You need all useful approaches, frankly the more people talk openly and publicly about Atheism, the better. So why would you try to advocate one approach versus an another ?

  234. #235 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Clinteas,

    I personally dont hold that against them.

    Me neither, but I can comment on it. And if it gets repetitive, then I will hold it against them.

  235. #236 BobC
    August 9, 2008

    Or they’ll be a stronger Christian because you’ve insulted them.

    Fine with me. I’m not that interested in saving Christians from their idiotic delusions. I just want them to understand if they attack America’s science education, they are going to be relentlessly ridiculed, taken to court, and be made to pay the legal bills when they lose.

    I long ago gave up the idea that it’s possible to reason with an idiot. I have watched scientists spend several hours of their limited time patiently and extremely politely explaining the evidence for evolution. Always at the end the creationists say “There is NO evidence for evolution.” These people have proved again and again they’re brain-dead assholes. I have seen so much hopeless Christian stupidity it has become impossible for me to not laugh at them.

    If some Christian is so offended by my honesty that they decide to continue living in their insane childish fantasy world, I could care less. It’s their life they’re wasting, not mine. Let them live their entire lives being morons. It’s not my problem. They just need to know they’re being watched and will never be allowed to get away with anything.

  236. #237 rcn2
    August 9, 2008

    Wowbagger,

    I think you misunderstood. I thought PZ’s antics are excellent and to the point. I admire Hitchens. Even as a Christian, and I’m fitting my old fundie hat on now, I would have found their antics disturbing, but I would have paid attention long enough to get the point. Your point I entirely agree with.

    It’s the “brain-dead Christian asshole” thrown around as a generalization that’s amazingly ineffective, although I may be wrong. Maybe there really are Christians that will ultimately be convinced by someone calling them an asshole. But I suspect not.

    I am NOT arguing for a polite and deferential approach. I have appreciated more than I can put into words the support I found in the vitriolic words of Hitchens, as I certainly didn’t find such support in my immediate community.

    What I am saying is that calling someone an asshole, even if they are an asshole, is generally a poor tactic. If you’re just in it for the lulz, and not seriously concerned about convincing anyone, then of course insult away.

    What I tend to reflect on, going back to Dawkins, is his notion of religous indoctrination of children, and how we should view that as a form of child abuse. Those children grow up to be adults, still indoctrinated. Of course they’re acting like assholes, they had their minds abused! But somehow now that they’re adults they’re going to switch sides because atheists deliver better insults…..

    Laugh, yes. Sneer, act intellectually snobby, broach unthinkable ideas like the complete absence of any sky fairy, and generally trample all over their precious ideologies, YES, that works.

    But childish name calling? Not that I don’t understand it. I went through a phase right after converting being generally pissed off at being lied to my whole life, and generally insulted any Christian who was willing to argue with me. As far as I can tell, that’s Nisbet’s strategy, along with a few posters here, and a number of my former (christian) friends. I’ve never seen it work, and it never worked for me. Has it worked for you?

    Cheers.

  237. #238 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    “I could care less” is a pet peeve of mine.

  238. #239 BobC
    August 9, 2008

    It’s the classic one-two punch. Dawkins and co. work the head; PZ and Hitchens work the ribs.

    I prefer to point at the Christian scum and laugh at them.

    By the way, I will be forever grateful to some people who laughed at me when I tried to explain my religious beliefs to them. It was the first step to my realizing I had been brainwashed.

  239. #240 rcn2
    August 9, 2008

    BobC,

    “I long ago gave up the idea that it’s possible to reason with an idiot.”

    Fair enough, I’ve just had the opposite experience, and the idea that while I completely agree with your stance intellectually, there’s far more safety in a large vocal minority than a tiny insulting one. And we actually have the truth on our side. It makes a difference.

    But again, I have a different perspective. As a teacher I meet children indoctrinated to accept the craziest things all the time. I have to care.

    Cheers.

  240. #241 BobC
    August 9, 2008

    rcn2, For the vast majority of Christian scum there is no strategy that works. Any Christian who makes it to the age of 30, and he’s still a Christian, will remain a Christian the rest of his life. His life is totally wasted. His disease is incurable. There’s is nothing that can be done for him. Be nice to him, reason with him, or call him what he is – a gullible idiot, the result will be the same. He will die a Christian, thinking that the entire universe was magically created for his species.

    How would you treat a flat-earther? Would you try to reason with him? Of course not. Anyone who believes the earth is flat is an idiot and always will be an idiot. Christians aren’t any different, except their beliefs are even more insane. If they keep to themselves, I ignore them. But if they attack science education, I attack them and insult them relentlessly. That strategy doesn’t change anyone’s mind, but in Florida where I live the creationists were constantly being ridiculed, and now we have the perhaps the best public school science standards in the nation.

  241. #242 Wowbagger
    August 9, 2008

    rcn2,

    Ah, okay. Sorry, that wasn’t what I got from your post; good to know you aren’t advocating the obsequious forelock-tugging deference and non-action of the Nisbets of the world.

    I don’t believe in insulting people either – well, unless they are an irredeemable troll who’s come here causing trouble; some of my posts in the cracker thousands will attest to that. Apart from that, though, I don’t think it helps a discussion to do so.

    But BobC is BobC – and I support his right to say whatever he pleases. I mightn’t agree him in terms of his abrasiveness, but it’s not my place to tell him to be quiet; if PZ decides it’s in breach of whatever equates to a code of conduct here he’ll tell BobC that.

  242. #243 Pony
    August 9, 2008

    rcn2,

    I’m pretty much in the same boat as you, in terms of upbringing, which is probably why we agree. ;)

    I have the added problem that I am now an atheist named “Kristian”. So perhaps that makes me a little more sensitive to the name calling! XD

    When you’re on the inside, and you still have a vague sense of that “in-group security vs out-group hostility” which religion fosters so well, any attacks make it easier to ignore what the other person is saying.

  243. #244 scooter
    August 9, 2008

    Hey Clinteas, you still here? I have to hook up with an aussie on live radio, what’s the time difference?

    it’s 3 am here

  244. #245 clinteas
    August 9, 2008

    scooter,

    its 615 pm here.

  245. #246 clinteas
    August 9, 2008

    0415pm in the West, 0545pm in South Australia.

  246. #247 scooter
    August 9, 2008

    Where does Caldicott live, do you know?

  247. #248 clinteas
    August 9, 2008

    Helen Caldicott?

    Not sure where she lives,it would be in the Eastern timezone though,or max 30 minutes off,no big difference.18.36pm now,here in Melbourne.

  248. #249 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    BobC,

    Anyone who believes the earth is flat is an idiot and always will be an idiot. Christians aren’t any different, except their beliefs are even more insane.

    Hey you seem to know so well the beliefs of moderate Christians, tell me which ones you consider even more insane than the earth is flat, and why ?

    My dad is such a moderate Christian, never considered him an idiot nor insane, actually he is very intelligent (PhD in mathematics from cambridge, from a very poor familly who got one of the very few royal grants), he even was intelligent enough not to impose his religious beliefs on his children.

    So tell me what are his beliefs that make him so insane ?

  249. #250 rcn2
    August 9, 2008

    BobC,

    “For the vast majority of Christian scum there is no strategy that works.”

    Throwing in the towel already? No, there isn’t one strategy that works. But there are a multitude of strategies that sometimes work. That’s the point. And simply calling them scum almost seems like self-fulfilling prophecy. ‘Look, I’ve insulted them all day, and none converted. It must be impossible!’

    Not that I don’t get the pleasure of doing so. Being intimately familiar with their thoughts and methods I despise their methods and tactics probably more than most, and certainly more than most people I’ve met who ‘grew up’ as atheists. The point I’m trying to get across is that it does, sometimes, work. While characterising them as an out-group that can be attacked may satisfy the primate inside, it actually works to further the Christian cause.

    And I like your second example. I often pretend to a class that I believe that the world is flat as a functional exercise in what does and does not constitute science, and what does and does not constitute an argument. I ensure I don’t get proven wrong as I make use of every rhetorical trick possible.

    What’s most educational to me, is that most student do not understand why the world is NOT flat. They simply believe what they are told, and always have. Switching is hard. Secondly, rhetoric is important. Most suggest that my rhetoric is a lot more convincing than any ‘evidence’ they’ve been told in class.

    What’s the point of this digression? Flat earthers are insane because this is not a normative belief. Christianity is. It’s entirely normal to grow being told that God killed himself to meet a rule he made himself to save the world (he made himself) from himself. Regardless of the logic, kids believe what they are told, and they grow into adults who continue to do so.

    So, in the end, I would advocate reason with a Christian. I find reading the Bible an excellent start. Despite being an idiot in one area, many people are rational in other areas of their life. It’s a matter of extending that rationality, hard though that might be.

    There is a difference, however, between insulting and ridiculing an idea. I’m all for ridiculing ideas. I’m a science teacher, so I’m just as concerned with science standards as you are, and I especially appreciate public support. There is a big difference, between calling Christians scum, and stating that ID is laughably stupid and then pointing out a few examples.

    Of course, in the interest of complete disclosure, I’d probably try to reason with the flat-earther too. Once reasoning stops, there’s nothing that’s stopping the creationists, flat-earther’s, anti-vaxxers, TT practitioners, and others from taking over. Good science standards came from convincing people that good science standards are necessary, not from broad insulting generalizations.

    Christians who post death threats are scum. Christians who believe in creationism are merely (amazingly) ignorant.

    Cheers.

  250. #251 rcn2
    August 9, 2008

    Pony,

    “I’m pretty much in the same boat as you, in terms of upbringing, which is probably why we agree. ;)”

    Congrats :). I think another point that is often ignored (and only recently pointed out to me by my wife), is that there’s no die-hard atheist like a former Christian.

    The atheists I know who grew up that way are faintly puzzled by Christianity, and occasionally annoyed. I’ve got racks of books on the failures of Christianity, the philosophy of atheism, books on translating greek and hebrew, multiple copies of the Bible in various translations, etc, etc. The ‘converts’ to atheism I’ve met seem to be much the same.

    You may not convert that many, but any you do will remain pissed off and fighting the rest of their life!

    Rather than scum, I view Christians as ‘Atheist Bombs’, just waiting to go off. All you need to do is find the right trigger.

    Cheers.

  251. #252 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Pony 243,

    I have the added problem that I am now an atheist named “Kristian”.

    And my real name is Christian…
    Never had a problem with it, I’m defintely not a Christian.

  252. #253 Alan Kellogg
    August 9, 2008

    If you won’t get passionate about something, are you really interested in it?

  253. #254 Arnaud
    August 9, 2008

    Negentropyeater:

    My father was such a Christian. And both my sister and I never became religious.
    That’s partly how we got from 10% non religious in France to 50% in 30 years.

    Erm, no it’s not. It’s mainly because of the strictly enforced secularism of the state schools for the past 100 years. So strictly enforced in fact it went a bit further than that and we can talk in this case of militant atheism. Read La Guerre des Boutons again!

  254. #255 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Arnaud,

    I don’t see what the law on LaicitÚ has to do with “militant atheism”. And sure, stricly enforced secularism was the most important legislative enabler, but why did France wait more than 50 years before there was a real begining of a decline in Catholicism ?

  255. #256 BobC
    August 9, 2008

    Hey you seem to know so well the beliefs of moderate Christians, tell me which ones you consider even more insane than the earth is flat, and why ?
    My dad is such a moderate Christian, never considered him an idiot nor insane, actually he is very intelligent (PhD in mathematics from cambridge, from a very poor familly who got one of the very few royal grants), he even was intelligent enough not to impose his religious beliefs on his children.
    So tell me what are his beliefs that make him so insane ?

    he even was intelligent enough not to impose his religious beliefs on his children. OK, that’s impressive. You’re not from America, are you? Here in the United States of Christianity, I can’t imagine any Christian who doesn’t brainwash their children.

    What’s a Christian belief that’s more insane than a belief in a flat earth? Heaven. I pretty darn sure virtually every Christian in the world believes in heaven. That’s an extremely insane idea for countless reasons. The heaven belief requires quite a bit of childish wishful thinking, and it helps to be a coward who’s terrified of reality.

    Are there extremely intelligent Christians, some many times smarter than I could ever hope to be? Yeah, sure. Yet they still have these crazy medieval beliefs of the Christian death cult. It’s not normal to believe these things. I don’t think childhood indoctrination is a good excuse. When people grow up they’re suppose to throw out the fairy tales. God isn’t any less a fairy tale than Santa Claus.

    For your information I usually only ridicule the worst of the bunch. For example the Christian politicians who were in yesterday’s news here in Florida. Last year they were constantly attacking our excellent new public school science standards and they got nowhere (thanks partly to relentless ridicule). Now they’re at it again. They’re trying to get a bill passed that would allow incompetent creationist biology teachers to teach whatever they want and completely ignore the new standards. These are the Christian scum who need to be told they’re idiots.

    Little old Christian ladies who mind their own business I ignore. It’s the out of control Christian extremists who deserve to be laughed at.

  256. #257 Samantha Vimes
    August 9, 2008

    The problem with Nesbitt’s approach isn’t in how he deals with theists, but how he deals with atheists. His rants about how awful those meanie atheists don’t seem to me to be pro-atheism OR pro-tolerance.

  257. #258 Arnaud
    August 9, 2008

    Negentropyeater,

    Look at French political history during the first half of the 20th Century for your answer. I cannot really condense that in a blog comment. LaicitÚ in France was a lot more (and in a lot of ways still is) than merely state neutrality toward religion, in the same way that the catholic church was not neutral in politics. It was often, in the classrooms at least, active hostility.

    Most of the political support for the restoration of the monarchy, for instance, which was still significant till WWII, was expressed through the church and the collapse of that political tradition did much to weaken catholic influence in the political sphere.
    There was a real fight between the Republic and the Church, then.

    As for the 50 years, well, it takes time to change the mind of a whole nation. During this time the mentalities changed enormously anyway. By WWII, people were still identifying themselves as catholics but they didn’t (for the most part) take their political opinions for the local priest anymore. I call that progress.

  258. #259 BobC
    August 9, 2008

    In #256 I was talking about the Christian politicians in Florida who want to give creationist biology teachers the right to lie to their students about science, as if they aren’t already lying every chance they get. In a less religious country, the politicians would be passing a bill requiring the public humiliation and firing of all creationist science teachers. Instead in our Christian infested state, our politicians want to give bad teachers the right to be incompetent. It’s not fair to the students. The Christians are not satisfied with destroying the minds of their own children. They want to ruin the education of everyone else’s children. They’re traitors and they should be treated like traitors. I earlier suggested they should be put in prison. That’s not likely to happen, but they should at least be ridiculed. These Christian extremists are enemies of America and they’re no better than terrorists. The never ending Christian war against science is never going to end until rational people fight back.

  259. #260 Rick R
    August 9, 2008

    BobC wrote- “These Christian extremists are enemies of America”

    I couldn’t agree more. All those flag wavin’, lapel pin wearin’, Jesus-shoutin’ morons really do hate America, and are actively trying to destroy it.
    A strong statement to be sure, but I’ve come to believe it 100%.

  260. #261 Lee Harrison
    August 9, 2008

    On the very few occassions I’ve commented at Framing Science my comments have either been massively delayed or simply vanished, so I’ll post it here as well:

    “Matt, you’re way off base and the message is getting old – as has been said by many others so far. For myself, I just wonder if anyone else noticed how utterly bored those teenage girls appear to be. I present science in front of crowds of a wide variety of sizes and a wide variety of backgrounds, ages, etc – if the best photo I could find of me doing my stuff had an audience looking that ‘rivetted’, I’d have given up by now.

    I like DJ, I listen to his podcast every week, I usually agree with him – but calm and quiet can’t change society, no matter how good it is at building on the changes achieved by the loud and proud.

    And can we cut the ‘Don Imus’ references? You’re starting to look like a Don Imus Framer…”

  261. #262 Tony Sidaway
    August 9, 2008

    Obviously the sentence “get your tanks off our lawn” can never be spoken politely.

  262. #263 Matti K.
    August 9, 2008

    Well, isn’t it quite obvious why Nisbet is attacking PZ?

    http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2008/08/framing_science_climbs_to_14_a.php

    http://www.wikio.com/blogs/top/sciences#how

    A competent scientist does not allow narcissism win over objectivity and rationality.

  263. #264 True Bob
    August 9, 2008

    I’ve always liked the bagpipes, but learned long ago that I am in a tiny, tiny minority in that regard.

    Maybe we are a larger minority than we realize. Bagpipe loving atheists, unite!

    BobC wrote:

    If some Christian is so offended by my honesty that they decide to continue living in their insane childish fantasy world, I could care less.

    BobC, no you couldn’t.

  264. #265 True Bob
    August 9, 2008

    Huh. I just noticed Nisbet’s comment policy:

    Keep it substantive, serious minded, on topic, and respectful.

    Ignoring the hypocrisy, ohwaitnoIcan’t.

    His post itself appears at minimum, disrespectful. He chose a good guy and a bad guy, and used pics that illustrate it. A guy who is dressed nicely, talking to fresh faces, vs. a slovenly dressed, mouth-open, lone sloucher. I’m not seeing the respect.

    Additionally, at the least, Oran’s nasty and immature generalizations from his oh so superior vantage point is hardly respectful or substantive. Must be the in group who gets to ignore all four characteristics of acceptable commentary.

  265. #266 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Lee,

    On the very few occassions I’ve commented at Framing Science my comments have either been massively delayed or simply vanished

    I’ve tried to post 2 comments : one is #26 here at 7:58 PM yesterday, the other #88 at 9:53 PM.

    His comment policy is :
    “Keep it substantive, serious minded, on topic, and respectful.”
    So, I believe I fit that policy. If he can’t check his comments and delays posting so much, it’s just unacceptable.

    I think I’m going to send a complaint to the seed overloards. This is not acceptable of a member of scienceblog, if he wants to manage his blog that way, take a blogger account and let it die of inattention. He benefits from the scienceblog pool, and from the increased traffic from Pharyngula, but gives a very bad image of scienceblog and gives a shit of the commenters. What’s that for a scienceblog ?

    I think we should start a bandwaggon on this.

  266. #267 Jeremy
    August 9, 2008

    BobC@239:

    I agree that ridicule of religion is what wakes up some people. I remember being 13 or 14 and hearing a classmate say “Fuck you, God” while giving the finger to the sky. I had never heard or seen anything at odds with religion before, and it got me thinking. That may have been what started me down the path of rational analysis that lead me to atheism a year or two later.

  267. #268 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    I’ll just see at what time he ends up posting them.

    He basically considers his blog as a platform to post his own posts only. Doesn’t care at all about the commenters. Actually he’d probably be even happier with 0 comments. Most of his posts have 0, 1, or 2 comments. Very few get double digits.

    He even has a post where he boasts himself of being 15 on a ranking of top science blogs. What a stupid ranking it is. It’s based only on the number and influence of links. Number of comments don’t count.

    So it’s clear, for Nisbett, many links, very few comments, that’s fine.

    I’m not going to post a link to his post on this on July 3, from Pharyngula, that’s going to increase his ranking !

    What an idiot this Nisbett is !

  268. #269 V Profane
    August 9, 2008

    I think it’s time to just start ignoring these framing wonks. Their behaviour at this point is little short of trolling. They claim to be pro-science and pro-reason and yet all they seem to do criticise the actual voices of science and reason in their dull blogs or obscure little films. Most troublingly, in classic troll/true believer form, they never respond to substantive criticism, which is what really makes this ‘framing’ merry-go-round a waste of time.

  269. #270 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Danio,

    do you know that by posting a link to Nisbett’s post you’re increasing the ranking that Nisbett goes and boast about.

    Check his post on July 3, 2008.

    And this is how Wikio computes this stupid ranking :

    Moreover, the weight of a link depends on the linking blog’s position in the Wikio ranking. With our algorithm, the weight of a link from a top blog is greater than that of a link from a blog that is less well ranked.

    So by linking from Pharyngula, because it ranks so high, you’ve just increased his ranking much more. So he’ll boast about even more !

    People can find the link themselves just put the date of his post.

  270. #271 rationalSheep
    August 9, 2008

    I wish someone with Nisbet’s position and (supposed) intelligence would spend some quality time doing what should be done, namely uncovering “framing” as a weak-kneed ploy to distract, rather than an honorable tactic to pursue.

  271. #272 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    For the record, 3rd comment I’ve tried to enter into framing science. Don’t know if and when he will post it…

    I’ve tried to post 2 comments : one is #26 here at 7:58 PM yesterday, the other #88 at 9:53 PM.

    It is now 14:07 PM next day. I don’t know if and when this comment will end up being posted. I’ve posted all three at the respective times on Pharyngula.

    Your comment policy is :
    “Keep it substantive, serious minded, on topic, and respectful.”

    So, I believe I fit that policy. If you can’t check the comments and delay posting so much, it’s just unacceptable.

    I think I’m going to send a complaint to the seed overloards. This is not acceptable of a member of scienceblog, if you want to manage your blog that way, take a blogger account and let it die of inattention. You benefit from the scienceblog pool, and from the increased traffic from Pharyngula, but give a very bad image of scienceblog and gives a shit of the commenters. What’s that for a scienceblog ?

    Also, I’ve noted your post about how influential you thnk you are on the 3 July. Based on this stupid ranking from Wikio that only counts links and not number of comments at all.

    So you really do not care at all about comments, do you ?

    Also, Danio yesterday posted a link to this post, hey that just increased your ranking so much, because Pharyngula is so high on the list, you should be happy no ? That’s probably the only reason you’re even on that list, because many Pharyngula commenters post links to your blog posts they find the most inadequate in their comments on Pharyngula.

    Would you care to check if my hypothesis is correct ? Is that how you define yourself as one of the top influencial Science blogs, based on how many commenters are pissed of by your posts and inadvertently link to them on their comments on Pharyngula ?

  272. #273 Carlie
    August 9, 2008

    Perhaps he has the right idea. Perhaps paying attention to out of control religious nuts is just a waste of time.

    Sure, as long as you’re not the one worrying that those religious nuts will be able to legislate your birth control away, or will be able to force your children to learn about their religion in school, or will be able to keep you from getting married to your loved one, or will be able to throw you in jail for having a good time with someone else.

  273. #274 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    negentropyeater @270, the commbox here puts in a nofollow attribute on links. Google at least claims to respect that.

  274. #275 JoJo
    August 9, 2008

    I have to agree with with BobC.

    I don’t mind most theists who go to church on Sunday, say grace at meals, and otherwise don’t pay much attention to religion. When my father had a stroke a couple of years ago, one woman told me that she’d remember my father in her prayers. I thanked her politely and, while I don’t believe her prayers made the slightest difference, I did appreciate her concern and good wishes for my father’s recovery.

    However, I do object strongly to the people who would turn this country into a theocracy. I intensely dislike someone who would outlaw abortion and same-sex marriage or mandate public school prayer because “that’s what God wants.” Those people are assholes and need to be told, in no uncertain terms, that they’re assholes.

  275. #277 Stephanie Z
    August 9, 2008

    Since I made this comment more than 16 hours ago, I don’t think it’s showing up on Nitwit’s site. I’ll reproduce it here. Can someone tell me how it fails the “substantive, serious minded, on topic, and respectful” test:

    Irreverence does not equal hate. It didn’t in the Vietnam protest culture. It didn’t/doesn’t in the here-and-queer movement. It doesn’t among the “New Atheists.”

    However, as a communicator, you should be aware that mere repetition of the equation will be enough to cause some people to believe it. Why are you repeating it?

  276. #278 Lee Harrison
    August 9, 2008

    Negentropyeater

    My comment has finally appeared, as have a lot of others – much delayed, it seems. There’s something ‘icky’ about a communications professor feeling the need to individually approve every comment on anything that he writes – of course, that is what we should expect given his preference that any communication be left to the professionals…

  277. #279 Pierce R. Butler
    August 9, 2008

    FTR: Prof. Myers has a comment up on Nisbet’s “2 images” thread now.

  278. #280 Jason Streitfeld
    August 9, 2008

    I looks to me like Matt Nisbet has little concern for the political, scientific, or philosophical details involved here, and would rather try to make a name for himself with vague and dubious assertions about the “new atheists,” instead of tackling any of the issues invovled in the debate between science and religion.

    Who are these “self-proclaimed spokespeople,” these “male loners” he is talking about?

    The fact that Nisbet only targets PZ Myers leads me to think he is merely trying to compete with Myers for attention within the science blog community. I’m not impressed.

    Incidentally, I do have some issues with atheism as a political movement today. It’s not that its leaders are too unfriendly, intolerant, or scathing; it’s that it isn’t always focused where and how it should be.

    Atheism should be more focused on deflating the absurd NOMA principle which stifles public discourse and education–not by blindly attacking any and all perceived threats, such as attempts to bring ID into the classroom; and not simply by increasing awareness of the case for evolutionary theory; but by working towards bringing critical discussions of religion into our science curriculum. Religion should not be protected from public criticism, and that includes the public classroom.

  279. #281 chris
    August 9, 2008

    I just think that the the “nice guys” are completely ineffectual without a bunch of angry loud people to be contrasted against. Because without the angry loud people, the “nice guys” are not seen as nice guys, they’re seen as the angry ones no matter how nice they are.

    The nice guys NEED people like PZ, and the more strident than PZ.

    Specifically, I think one of the things the nice guys need people like PZ for is so that they can attack them to prove their own niceness (to the rulers). They prove their own moderation by pointing at the extremist and rejecting him. And by positioning themselves as having an enemy in common with the rulers (i.e. the radical), they maintain their position of trust and respectability. That’s why they have to join in, or even lead, demonization of the radicals in order to be accepted as the nice Others (atheists in this case, but the pattern generalizes to other oppressed/rejected/marginalized groups).

    Now, some of the moderates may initially be pursuing this strategy in order to get into position to make a change. But history suggests that they tend to lose interest in upsetting the applecart right about the time they get cut in for a share of the apples.

  280. #282 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    John #274,

    so you mean that a link posted in a comment cannot be counted by Wikio ?

  281. #283 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    Well, 2 out of 3 got deleted.

    #26 got deleted, which I really didn’t expect. He probably didn’t even read it, what’s not in line with his comment policy on #26 ?

    What gets me is the bickering.
    Shouldn’t it be obvious that stimulating a diversity of approaches will benefit atheists more than arguing endlessly that “my approach is best”. Atheists can benefit from the PZ approach, the Nisbett approach, the Dennett approach, the more the better.
    Just do what you think is best, but stop arguing that what you think is best, is the best.

    Can someone tell me ?

    #88 got approved.

    #272 got deleted, which I did kind of expect.

    This is unacceptable.

    Nisbett is like Vive Christus Rex, except instead of anything being against the Roman Catholic magisterium being deleted, it’s anything against the American Nisbettian magisterium.

    He should at least put it on his comment policy. Even Vive Christus Rex does at least that.

  282. #284 True Bob
    August 9, 2008

    Ah, chris at 281, your post reminded me of a couple things.

    First, the self-hating gays, like George W. Bush.

    Second, and while I really don’t like the term, I don’t know a polite counterpart – house n*gg*rs. I’ve seen this used to describe Kindasleazy Rice and Colin Powell. Kiss up to Massa so you can live in the comfy house, not sweating out in the fields. But you’re never really in the club, are you?

    Nisbet can join those clubs any time for all I care, but he isn’t making change, and he only thinks he’s engaging them – they know otherwise, that he’s merely being tolerated and patronized.

  283. #285 True Bob
    August 9, 2008

    Well neg, maybe the problem is that you advocate a certain equivalency among those approaches.

    One frame to rule them all, one frame to bind them…

  284. #286 Pierce R. Butler
    August 9, 2008

    A few disjointed opinions:

    MCN spells his name “Nisbet“, folks!

    The Great Pony/BobC Controversy seems to mostly miss a key point known to any good debater: the goal in a public argument is to persuade the audience, not the opponent. Showing how somebody is a complete fool, and calling them that, will indeed probably just harden that person in their opinions – but if it leads others to think, “I don’t want to be them,” it’s still successful. Likewise, if the criticism is too crude, and others think that of the person speaking, even if the argument is sound it’s still unsuccessful.

    Nisbet’s moderation policy is intriguingly weird. The great majority of approved comments are quite critical of his arguments, so he’s not just filtering for butt-kissers. My own # 55 (above) didn’t make it, which led me to a hypothesis about him trying to stop spats between commenters – but that was zapped by finding other put-downs of the same oaf I’d lambasted. (My little zinger may have been rejected as being in poor taste – but then how did Oran’s get through?) The comments on display tend to be literate and coherent, so maybe Nisbet’s dumping the less articulate – but it seems at least as likely that he’s just not getting much interest from the grassroots where the C & D students live. A look at the other comments in the bit bucket might clarify this question, but in the absence of same (many of those posted here did finally pass Prof. Nisbet’s review), I’d be curious to see other speculations.

  285. #287 Jim Lippard
    August 9, 2008

    I posted this comment at Nisbet’s blog that is awaiting approval:

    “I agree with Corey about preferring “skeptic” over “atheist” as my own self-identifying label, for the reasons he gives. “Skeptic” describes what I’m for, rather than what I’m against, and also describes a methodology and attitude rather than a dogma. I’m also happy to be labeled as an atheist, and to identify myself as such. But I could imagine becoming persuaded that some kind of god exists (e.g., through a religious experience), in which case I’d still be a skeptic even though I’d cease to be an atheist. Skepticism is something that there’s value in promoting for everyone.

    But I strongly disagree with Nisbet’s repeated false dilemmas–that you must either do this *or* that, and implying that we can’t endorse both or a sufficient diversity of views that allows both. We can, and I do.”

  286. #288 Matt Penfold
    August 9, 2008

    Nisbett has spoken about “crackergate” before, but has never once addressed the original issue, that of the assault and bullying of Webster Cook.

    What kind of person is Nisbett when he can be aware of how Cook was treated and say nothing in support ? Other have disagreed with PZ over what he did to the Crackers but most have been even more vocal in their condemnation of the way Cook was treated, and the death threats he and PZ received. Nisbett could not even be bothered to do that. Not only is the man a fool, he is also a moral coward.

  287. #289 The Chimp's Raging Id
    August 9, 2008

    Well, I added my two cents to Nisbet’s dumbass post. All I want to know now is where I can get hold of that “ideological porn” he referred to. Sounds like good shit. Anyone else want some?

  288. #290 negentropyeater
    August 9, 2008

    True Bob,

    yes but he did approve my #288, which basically advocated the same.

    No, the whole thing is definitely a strange pattern. I agree with Pierce, it’s intriguingly weird.

    I think he has a weird personal definition of “substantive”. What he doesn’t judge substantive enough, he cuts.

    Did anyone think that Nisbet was particularly logical, honest and just ? He obviously thinks very highly of himself, he is the etalon of judgement.

    Gee I don’t think such a comment policy is good for Scienceblogs, I really think we should put pressure on the seed overloards to react about this.

  289. #291 Michelle
    August 9, 2008

    Just like him to try to pull shit like that when he thinks PZ isn’t around, huh…

    Ah well.

  290. #292 Jim Lippard
    August 9, 2008

    I’ve also posted this comment:

    “Matt: Have you read Susan Jacoby’s book _Freethinkers_?

    That book describes several occurrences in the fight for the abolition of slavery and the right to vote for blacks and women where a moderate compromise group achieved success while more extreme factions were marginalized. But it’s likely that much of the motivation for the movements in the first place came from members of the extreme factions.

    Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wanted to tie the black vote and women’s vote together, while William Lloyd Garrison (himself one of the extremists on the abolition of slavery) supported the 15th Amendment (black right to vote) without modifying it to support universal suffrage. Anthony and Stanton disagreed about the role of religion; Anthony was willing to make common cause with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. That got the 19th Amendment passed–but also the 18th (Prohibition) and the imposition of censorship laws.

    In the early 19th century, would you have told Garrison to shut up? In the late 19th and early 20th, would you have told Stanton to shut up? If not, why do you tell atheist critics of religion to shut up?

    I also don’t understand your apparent endorsement of a wild-eyed kook like Bill Donohue as a spokesman for all Catholics, though it looks like another example of the same mistake you make in characterizing P.Z. Myers as a spokesman for all atheists.”

  291. #293 Jim Lippard
    August 9, 2008

    #288: Matt, that’s the same behavior exhibited by Rod Dreher at Beliefnet, and by Francis Beckwith at What’s Wrong with the World. They criticize Myers, but fail to criticize Donohue or the issuers of death threats.

  292. #294 Physicalist
    August 9, 2008

    PZ over at Nisbet’s place:

    Whoa…for the “picture of atheism” you choose a very poor photo of me looking dopey and laughing and holding a teddy bear, and you use that to justify the stereotype of angry, cranky, hateful atheists? It would have been more justifiable to use it in an article ranting about how atheists are not pretty and have bad hair.

    Ah, but it’s all about the hair, doesn’t PZ realize that?

    (Where’s that “nice hair!” comic from the earlier Nisbet nonsense? — my google-foo has failed me!)

  293. #295 Physicalist
    August 9, 2008

    Ah, here it is.

    Great Hair, Matt!

    Shorter Nisbet: “Do we really want someone with this hair representing atheism? Now this Grothe guy, he wears slacks and a coat — and he’s got great hair!”

  294. #296 Brownian, OM
    August 9, 2008

    Oh, thanks Physicalist! That comic totally cracks me up!

  295. #297 scooter
    August 9, 2008

    OT- congrats US Saber Babes. Gold silver and bronze sweep.

    Hey guest bloggers, please start an open thread so we can babble about olympics,please, we is INTERNATIONAL.

  296. #298 Pierce R. Butler
    August 9, 2008

    The Chimp’s Raging Id @ # 289: All I want to know now is where I can get hold of that “ideological porn” he referred to. Sounds like good shit. Anyone else want some?

    Yeah, that was in a comment of mine which Nisbet did allow.

    Getting tired of that anatomical porn, dammit!

    Funny thing, “communications expert” MCN apparently replies to comments less than just about every other ScienceBlogger. (Anybody know a way to measure this?) The “what’s your evidence?” questions just about always go begging…

  297. #299 Pierce R. Butler
    August 9, 2008

    Scooter @ # 297: Lots of Old Limp Pricks commentary in this thread.

  298. #300 The Chimp's Raging Id
    August 9, 2008

    Pierce R. Butler @ # 298

    I think I found some here. On second thoughts, though, I just don’t think I’ll finds its lack of boobies satisfying enough…

    Joking aside, I think it would be perfectly possible to measure the responsiveness of bloggers to comments (I’m answering this as a professional computer geek). You could devise a program that would crawl the comments on ScienceBlogs can work out the ratio of bloggers’ comments to readers’ comments (the former being easy to spot due to the way they are formatted differently). I don’t personally have time to do this but perhaps someone else does?

  299. #301 Aquarius
    August 9, 2008

    Maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way… Nisbet’s goal in undermining PZ may have more to do with propping up Grothe and CFI, perhaps because Nisbet’s father (a professor at a small, private, Catholic-founded liberal arts college) is on the board of CFI?

  300. #302 Jon W
    August 9, 2008

    My comment on Matt Nisbet’s blog apparently didn’t make the cut, so I’ll post it here:

    Is this how we really want Catholics to view us? Do we really want a group of moderately religious Americans–who polls show otherwise prize science and reason, and who stand for many of the same values that we hold dear–to think of us through the prism of PZ Myers?

    Are you really worried that these people who allegedly “prize science and reason” are incapable of distinguishing one atheist from another? Is that not a tiny bit patronizing? Why do you insist that atheism needs a single representative?

  301. #303 Ian H Spedding FCD
    August 9, 2008

    John Morales @#238

    “I could care less” is a pet peeve of mine.

    Me too. When will people learn that it should be “I couldn’t care less” ?

  302. #304 Pierce R. Butler
    August 9, 2008

    The Chimp’s Raging Id @ # 300: Good ideo, dubious porn (not enough throbbing).

    As for your proposed SciBlogs crawler, it sounds like a good idea but may need some tweaking (not all bloggers here choose distinctive formatting for their own comments). Other interesting patterns would probably be found as well.

    Aquarius @ # 301: If your suggestion does explain Nisbet’s motivation, he’s even more tactically & strategically incompetent than anybody here has yet asserted.

  303. #305 Azkyroth
    August 9, 2008

    Re: my post at 150: nope, didn’t go through.

    Contemptible.

  304. #306 AK47
    August 9, 2008

    Below is what I submitted to Nisbett’s blog last night at about 11PM Pacific time. It’s still hasn’t appeared, which makes me wonder how selective he is in allowing comments. (Full disclosure: I used a fake email address, but why should I have to give out my email address just to post a comment?)

    PZ is a self-proclaimed spokesperson for atheism? Could you please point out where he makes such a proclamation, or are you just being misleading on this point because deception is part of your framing strategy?

    I thought PZ was just a Professor with a popular blog. I thought that there could be a wide variety of atheist viewpoints and we didn’t all have to speak as a monolithic voice and have strategy meetings about talking points.

    This is just your latest whiny plea for PZ to shut up because you don’t like what he has to say. Instead of whining that he does atheists more harm than good, why don’t you go out and do more good so we can all emulate you.

    Stop focusing on the superficialities and talk about the substance. Make a convincing argument for why you think that the Catholic belief that a cracker turns into Jesus is something that PZ should take so seriously that he shouldn’t dare toss one into the garbage.

  305. #307 truth machine, OM
    August 9, 2008

    “I’m an atheist…but a friendly atheist.”

    Yeah, that was a real friendly piece.

    They’re usually angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners

    That reminds me of

    Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.

    (Karl Rove’s inverted description of Barack Obama.)

  306. #308 rmp
    August 9, 2008

    OK, I know I’m ignorant but I didn’t realize that posting at Matt’s site means hours/days/weeks before the comment get’s posted. How is it possible that he thinks that there can be a reasonable dialog when he delays posts by hours?

  307. #309 Brad
    August 9, 2008

    My comment also seems not to have got past the jellyware spam filter, so I’m repeating it here:

    Bill Donohue describing PZ as “irrational, dogmatic and hate-filled” says more about Bill Donohue than PZ Myers. Project much, Bill?

    Some ideas are so silly they need to be made fun of:

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/07/14/mass/

  308. #310 deadman_932
    August 9, 2008

    I tried posting the following at Nisbet’s blog:

    ——————

    Let’s lay the cards on the table here.

    In Florida, a guy had been threatened — physically and academically — for taking a wafer back to his seat.

    That’s the incident that spurred PZ to (1) stand up, (2) speak out and (3) take action that focused on the idolatry (among other odd aspects of such a notion) inherent to claiming a wafer IS a body.

    PZ never actually physically harmed another person, but may have caused emotional disturbance for people — who felt more strongly about a wafer’s symbolic content than the actual threats to a Florida student.

    Now, we have Mike Nisbet and Oran Kelley upbraiding PZ.

    But did Mike Nisbet or Oran Kelley ever take up the cause of the Florida student?

    Did they contact the Catholic League and forward their arguments regarding tolerance, love and groovy good vibrations? Did they step forward to mediate this crisis? DID THEY SAY OR DO ANYTHING AT THAT TIME?

    Not that I know of.

    I think this episode illustrates the difference between (1)vapid theoretics/ armchair academics and (2) actually attempting to change the world by thought and deed.

    On a final note to Mike Nisbet: others have pointed out the fallacious nature of your various attempts to tarbrush PZ and those who post at Pharyngula. I’ve posted there perhaps 5 times, each time with posts similar in style and substantive content as this one. You are not merely wrong in your tarbrushing, you’re guilty of using **numerous** fallacies.

    If your arguments above are illustrative of your skills in “framing,” then I can see why PZ took exception to your past criticisms.

    PZ’s criticisms — which I have read and agree with fully now — also point to your actual motive for this petulant attack.

    Sorry, Mike, but you’re not showing any actual competency in the “art” you attempt to forward.

    ———————

    We’ll see if that makes it to visibility on the comments section.

  309. #311 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    Pierce @286,

    I’d be curious to see other speculations.

    I’d say comments directly critical of him or his stance rather than the post itself, comments that repeat another’s point, comments that are prescriptive, and comments he considers out of topic are unlikely to pass muster.

    Ian @303, yeah. It’s just so carelessly thoughtless.

    negentropyeater @282, afraid not. As I understand it, all it means is that you’ve tagged the link with (functionally) a disclaimer that there is no endorsement of the linked subject. Without searching, I don’t know Wikio’s policy on the tags. I don’t even know how relevant their rankings are.

  310. #312 John Morales
    August 9, 2008

    deadman, just as well you don’t need to hold your breath :)

  311. #313 John Morales
    August 10, 2008

    Pierce, I stand corrected, I just rechecked the comments there. Throw my speculation out of the window!

  312. #314 Elisabeth Goodman
    August 10, 2008

    I’m an angry, grumpy, uncharismatic FEMALE loner with a passion for attacking and ridiculing religious believers, thank you very much.

  313. #315 Danio
    August 10, 2008

    Posted by: rmp | August 9, 2008 9:42 PM
    How is it possible that he thinks that there can be a reasonable dialog when he delays posts by hours?

    Ah, but you see Nisbet has exactly ZERO interest in having any kind of dialogue, reasonable or otherwise. He’s chiefly interested in telling us how wrong we all are, and then ignoring the abundant justification for the behavior he summarily condemns. Not exactly the M.O. you’d anticipate from someone who claims to be a master of the nuances of communicating science, but there you are.

  314. #316 Autumn
    August 10, 2008

    I see that my comment
    “Shorter Nesbitt:
    Rosa Parks should have just gone to the back of the bus, and not ruined everything for us compliant and servile Negroes.”
    was not posted.
    It may have been a tad out of line, but I stand behind it.
    I think the worst thing may have been my use of the term “Negroes”, but as that reflects the period, I used it.

  315. #317 Bender
    August 10, 2008

    Hey, no one here can argue that PZ is an asshole. What else do you call someone who goes out of his way to piss other people off? So don’t whine when Nisbet calls a spade a spade. The only reason you and PZ get so angry at Nisbet is b/c you know he’s right.

  316. #318 Autumn
    August 10, 2008

    Oh Crap!
    I misspelled his name every damn time I used it!
    But I checked the spelling with a comment that seemed pro-nisbet, so that can’t be the only reason.
    Okay, so to be resonable, the first comment used the “negro” word, which is something that a basic filter may see as indicative of an upcoming racist rant. My next attempt was thanking and expounding upon a previous comment (both totally relevant to Nesbit’s post), so may have been somehow seen as going off topic or attempting to derail (it involved how “good Christians” would treat any atheist if there was a physical difference marking atheists as such).
    My third attempt, however, did not attract attention to any third party, but simply asked why a group not disavowing physical threats is any better than those who pose the threats in their name (as far as I can recall, as I’m now kind of drunk. Yay to the relatively non-judgemental nature of my phellow pharyngulites).
    The last one is recent, so according to what others have said, I may need to wait a bit before deciding that it has actually been deemed unfit for Nesbit’s audience’s consumption.

  317. #319 Wowbagger
    August 10, 2008

    Bender wrote:

    Hey, no one here can argue that PZ is an asshole.

    You’re right – none of us here is going to argue that PZ is an asshole.

    What’s your point?

  318. #320 Dag Yo
    August 10, 2008

    Reading on a bit further in Nisbet’s rant I found this gem rather striking because, at least for me, it really did hit home and gave me a good moment’s pause to rethink the anti-religious rhetoric that I occasionally make.

    “Yet all of this does far more harm than good. The addictive nature of their rhetoric radicalizes us and leads us to an ever more closed off conversation about how we are superior and everyone else is delusional.”

    And after a bit of consideration, I’ve decided that while I have trouble thinking of myself and others, who don’t accept preposterous tales as true simply because someone said that they were, as some sort of particularly superior demographic; I have no trouble whatsoever calling anyone who believes that some guy had to get nailed to a cross to remedy a problem caused by an incident involving a talking snake, delusional.

  319. #321 Michael X
    August 10, 2008

    Bender,
    You make psychologists cry. Further, if you think PZ says or does anything out of the simple wish to make the religious mad, you obviously arn’t paying attention. Let us hope that someday you have no need to stem-cell driven remedies to your health problems.

  320. #322 Michael X
    August 10, 2008

    As for Nisbet,
    Why are we even talking about him? Nisbet’s major claim to fame is that he criticizes atheists and they respond. Much like a troll, he only continues on because he gets recognition. We should starve him of attention like we should starve trolls.

  321. #323 Ray S.
    August 10, 2008

    I posted a comment last night at Nisbet’s rant. It still hasn’t shown up. Perhaps he will get to it when he gets out of church this morning.

    Perhaps he won’t approve it at all, since I agree with the majority there and here that sitting quietly in the back of the bus as Rosa Parks refused to do won’t get atheists anywhere.

  322. #324 negentropyeater
    August 10, 2008

    Bender 317,

    I can tell you the most honestly I can that I do not see PZ as an asshole, but I do see Nisbet as one.

    And I am quite certain that I am quite representative of most regular commentators on the entire Scienceblog network.

  323. #325 negentropyeater
    August 10, 2008

    Following what I said on 324,

    it would be interesting to do an opinion poll on the scienceblog network

    Who is more of an asshole ?

    1. PZ
    2. Nisbet

  324. #326 khan
    August 10, 2008

    Posted by: Elisabeth Goodman | August 10, 2008 12:25 AM [kill]?[hide comment]

    I’m an angry, grumpy, uncharismatic FEMALE loner with a passion for attacking and ridiculing religious believers, thank you very much.

    So am I.
    Why do people think there are no female atheists?

  325. #327 Pierce R. Butler
    August 10, 2008

    deadman_932 @ # 310: Not that your (or apparently anyone else’s – the most recent approved comment is about 27 hours old) feedback has much chance of getting through, but your hypothetical odds would be a little better, perhaps, if you’d gotten Matthew “Matt” Nesbit’s first name right…

    As for the rest of us, I’m coming to the conclusion that we should all be ashamed for demanding the time and attention of such a superior person, already beset by the delusions of everybody else while building a diverse inter-connected community. Let’s all troop down to the nearest House o’ God (they’re open today!) and insist upon receiving our penances!

  326. #328 MH
    August 10, 2008

    Aquarius #301 “Maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way… Nisbet’s goal in undermining PZ may have more to do with propping up Grothe and CFI, perhaps because Nisbet’s father (a professor at a small, private, Catholic-founded liberal arts college) is on the board of CFI?”

    Do you have a link?

  327. #329 Irene Delse
    August 10, 2008

    AHere’s what I posted on Framing Science:

    hat, Nisbet’s article is not a parody?? The mind boggles.

    ‘Cause, with the strange choice of photos, I was having a hard time to know whether to laugh with or at this blogger. I mean, between PZ Myers’ with wild hair and teddy bear (and that photo must obviously illustrate the fact that atheists are a bunch of really, really laid-back party-lovers, right?) and the one of a DJ Grothe in bad-looking pants, lecturing a bevy of teenage girls’ legs while managing to avoid looking at them, what was I to believe?

    Sheesh. Cranky unpleasants atheists, indeed.

    Don’t know when it’ll appear, but I wonder why most people weren’t questioning the choice of both those photos.

  328. #330 Ray S.
    August 10, 2008

    My comment to Nisbet’s blog was apparently not approved. Given what I’ve read above, I’m not surprised since I disagreed with him.

    I don’t think CFI needs to be propped up. Is it in some danger? I wasn’t aware of such. I listen to many of Grothe’s podcasts and generally find him to be a good interviewer, though when he fails to see the similarities between the gay rights struggle and the current struggle atheists find themselves in, I’m baffled. I often wonder if his constant surrounding by people accepting of his being gay and his atheism leads him to minimize the problem we see in less accepting locations.

  329. #331 Pierce R. Butler
    August 10, 2008

    Rejoice, ye angry, grumpy, uncharismatic male loners!

    The Great and Powerful Nisbet, from behind his curtain, has at last approved 13 comments, the latest being about 7 hours old by now.

    Says who there is no such thing as dialog at Framing Science?

    (Okay, don’t all answer at once!)

  330. #332 DinoBoy
    August 10, 2008

    “grumpy, uncharismatic male loners”

    Hey! Nobody calls PZ un-krazimatic!

  331. #333 the great and powerful oz
    August 10, 2008

    Matt Nisbet is a practitioner of “Communication”.

    He views all resistance as communication failure.

    His critics either:
    1) really agree with him but haven’t realised it yet, or
    2) only disagree because they fail to see how right he is.

    If you don’t agree, it’s always your failure to understand, never because he’s wrong.

    If people aren’t buying what he’s selling it’s because it needs more advertising, not because the product stinks.

    Poor, poor Matt. All those shrill arrogant critics are too dumb to perceive the awesome brilliance of his massive intellectual superiority.

  332. #334 deadman_932
    August 11, 2008

    Pierce Butler @ #327 – Hah, yeah, that can’t have helped my chances. My only excuse is that I recall thinking how Matt Nisbet’s name reminded me of Mike Nesmith, of the Monkees.

    I should have caught that when I scanned prior to posting, though. Ah, well. It wasn’t going to be allowed, anyway.

  333. #335 Beowulff
    August 11, 2008

    At Irene, #329: Funny you should say that, as I’ve just posted this at Nisbet’s blog:

    Mr. Nisbet: I’m sure DJ Grothe and others do fine work with Camp Inquiry, but I don’t think it’s a proper example of a strategy that will reach more believers than PZ’s strategy: exactly how many fundamentalist Christians do you expect to send their kids there? How many Christians (even moderate ones) are reached by an activity aimed specifically at atheists and skeptics?
    I also don’t think this was the best picture you could have used to illustrate the sense of “community”: Grothe is dressed in a way that doesn’t fit his surroundings and sets him apart from his audience; he’s looking the other way; and his audience looks quite bored. I’m sure there are many better pictures around that you could have used, because if this scene would be typical for Camp Inquiry, I can’t see how it could be the recurring success that it appears to be.

    No idea if it will get through the filter though, like many others here I can’t seem to figure out exactly what criteria are used to accept or reject comments. Another of my comments (refuting the silly argument by Rob Knop that gays didn’t ridicule straights by pointing out that they did ridicule anti-gay bigots, and rightly so) apparently didn’t make it, but others of its type did.

  334. #336 John Morales
    August 11, 2008

    I wonder if there’s any significance to the datetime stamps of posts as they appear there.

  335. #337 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    August 11, 2008

    Hey! Nobody calls PZ un-krazimatic!

    Thank you, Rumble. *chuckles*

  336. #338 Atypical Atheist (aka Cicely)
    August 11, 2008

    I’m generally pretty even-tempered, grumpy only on waking first thing in the morning, variably charismatic (depends on the company I’m in at the time), and female.

    Does this mean I have to leave now? Nobody told me that atheism was a Boys’ Club!
    ;)

  337. #339 Pierce R. Butler
    August 11, 2008

    John Morales @ # 336: I wonder if there’s any significance to the datetime stamps of posts as they appear there.

    My first comment (the only one approved) took several hours to clear moderation, but was time-stamped as of when I uploaded it. FWIW, which ain’t much.

    BTW, Greg Laden has an interesting small set of other blog posts on this microevent at http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/08/nisbet_pz_myers_is_an_angry_gr.php.

  338. #340 Aquarius
    August 11, 2008

    Matt’s dad (on CFI Board): http://www.medaille.edu/academics/faculty/humanities.asp

    ah, but it also seems that Matt’s also on the CFI Office of Public Policy Board: http://www.cfidc.org/opp/index.html

    so he’s just generally carrying water for CFI, and knocking down their “competition” as they are wont to do in general.

  339. #341 Bender
    August 11, 2008

    What a load of groupthink crap. PZ Myers is a terrible ambassador for atheism and science. All he does is crap all over people who disagree with him. And he seems to attract people who like to do the same. When someone like Nisbet tries to put out an olive branch to the rest of the world, you crap all over him as well. What’s with the kneejerk reaction every time this guy opens his mouth anyway? Sounds to me like he’s hitting too close to home.

  340. #342 True Bob
    August 11, 2008

    Bender, you don’t seem to have much familiarity with PZ. Have you listened to any of the radio events he appeared on? Have you read many of his threads?

    I personally think there are good reasons to support a multitude of approaches, but appeasement is not one of them.

    Until Nisbet proposes something that doesn’t translate to kowtowing,he has no room to speak. He advances nothing wrt acceptance of atheist thought. He’s one of those oh so rare nice atheists. I’m too uppity to join him, and apparently you, in the back of the bus.

  341. #343 the great and powerful oz
    August 11, 2008

    Bender:

    Calling Nisbet’s furious masturbation “an olive branch to the rest of the world” had me snorting my coffee.
    Nice one, but you owe me a new keyboard.

  342. #344 rmp
    August 11, 2008

    I fully support any of the science bloggers, even Matt, posting whatever they want. But I think SEED should establish some policy regarding the handling of comments. I think the 24 hour delay is horrible but even worse is the comments that never make it through. If Matt just wants to post, I could even live with that. But if you’re going to allow for comments, then truly allow for them. What he does is dishonest.

  343. #345 John Morales
    August 12, 2008

    rmp, I suspect bloggers on ScienceBlogs would prefer the freedom to choose their own comments policy.

  344. #346 Beowulff
    August 12, 2008

    Bender: at least PZ allows the dissenting views to be posted on his blog, with no censorship at all (other than banning the worst of the trolls). Substantial criticism is addressed, either by PZ or by regulars. That’s how you treat people with respect. Sure, the language is not always respectful, but what do you expect if the same crappy refuted argument is raised for the umpteenth time?

    However, arbitrarily censoring comments without justification and ignoring substantial criticism in comments, like Nisbet seems to do, that is crapping all over people.

  345. #347 Steve_C
    August 12, 2008

    Nisbet is a dishonest putz.

  346. #348 tony
    August 12, 2008

    I’m fed up with being classed as an angry dysfunctional male loner.

    I’m married, I’m convivial, and I’m passionate (not angry)!

    But I’m going to try to be nicer to fucktard Xians. next one who offers to pray for me, I’ll sweetly tell them to Go To Heaven!

    That can’t be a bad thing, surely!
    :D