Pharyngula

Happy Thanksgiving!

Or, for you non-Americans, happy Thursday! Or, for you Australians, happy Friday or Tuesday or whatever it is down in your topsy-turvy country where you’ve even got your seasons reversed.

Oh, heck, forget it. Happy Day! Find whatever reason you want to celebrate.

Again, for you non-Americans, this is a peculiarly American version of a fall harvest festival. We are supposedly celebrating an event in our history from the 17th century: the fellowship and cooperation between the Pilgrim immigrants and the native Americans that culminated in a shared feast. The truth is a little uglier and perhaps a bit more representative of our political reality. A gang of Puritan religious kooks who were too wacky and weird for their homeland emigrated optimistically to the new wilderness to the west, hoping to found a utopia for repressive fanaticism. They proved to be incompetent as well as crazy, and nearly died off completely in their first few years, but survived thanks to an affiliation with local tribes who were quite competent at successfully thriving in that environment, but were unfortunately strategically unwise in allowing these parvenu lunatics to persist in their midst.

So, yeah, we’re celebrating the survival of Republicans Mark I in the founding of our country. It was nice that they got along with the Indians while they were hungry, but don’t worry — it wasn’t long before the colony was stabilized, and then they resumed the habits of genocide, warfare, witch-burning, rebellion, empire-building, civil war, habitat destruction, and exploitation, i.e., normal history.

We traditionally celebrate this day with indolence and gluttony. Even better, since the holiday is always on a Thursday to give us a four-day weekend, the Friday after has evolved into something called Black Friday, in which stores offer sales to entice mobs into the malls for the biggest shopping day of the year, so we also celebrate with naked greed and commercialism. Like I said, it is a very American holiday.

I’m planning to spend it with a quiet family day — we’re getting together with my sons — and eat in moderation. Then tomorrow I’m not going anywhere near a mall and won’t be spending a penny…I’ll be catching up in much delayed office work. One nice thing about the holiday is that you can spend it any way you want.

Comments

  1. #1 Fernando Magyar
    November 27, 2008

    Then tomorrow I’m not going anywhere near a mall and won’t be spending a penny…

    Oh, so now you want to be officially blamed for all the ills of the US economy, besides all the other evil things you are already known for…

  2. #2 Vidar
    November 27, 2008

    Happy day from Europe.

    Why not do this at Christmas, like civilized countries do?

  3. #3 forksmuggler
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving, PZ (and all you Pharyngulites)! Thanks for everything.

  4. #4 SteadyEddy
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving PZ! Although now you’ve ruined my favorite non-religious holiday by reminding me it celebrates the saving of inept religious folk. Damn it… well, it’s still about the food and family for me. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

  5. #5 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Turkey day… or whatever you’re eating.

    I’ve smoked one, going to fry one and the mother in law is roasting one. Making a little Oyster dressing and some other goodies.

    There will be lots of eating and drinking had by all. Probably some football. Then there will be the obligatory escape by me mid afternoon to run away from all the people and take a walk downtown in Charleston. Maybe take some photos or something.

    Have a great day everyone.

  6. #6 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Happy day from Europe.

    Why not do this at Christmas, like civilized countries do?

    We do it then too.

  7. #7 MissPrism
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving, all you American Pharyngulites!

  8. #8 Tomas
    November 27, 2008

    When I lived in the states, thanksgiving always struck me as odd, especially this weird mythology about the pilgrims and native americans. I am all for eating and harvest feasts and such, but that part I find very odd. Why not a huge “lets celebrate we won over those dirty savages day and took this land for ourselves” fest? At least it would be honest.

    It would be like the romans holding a feast to commemorate the good will between the peoples of Rome and Carthage.

  9. #9 Richard Harris
    November 27, 2008

    Now what would be a good excuse for Thanksgiving in the U S of America would be if Cheney & Bush resigned, so that Nancy Pelosi became President, & she, being a good Democratic Party member, immediately resigned so that Obama could take over early.

  10. #10 Enshoku
    November 27, 2008

    @vidar

    We do. 80% of American holidays involve gluttony in some way. Easter dinners, Christmas dinners, thanksgiving feasts, Halloween candies, 4th of July ( my birthday) barbecues, new years day drinking and eating, etc.

    We need more holidays…

  11. #11 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Holiday to everyone. Hope the food coma wears off by tomorrow morning. I’m finishing the thawing of the turkey breast which the Redhead will make into pasties tomorrow. We have to finish off some leftovers today to make room for the pasties in the fridge.

    I’m with PZ on going nowhere near a mall/store tomorrow. I hate shopping in crowds.

  12. #12 damnedyankee
    November 27, 2008

    Point of nitpickery: Puritans didn’t burn witches. They opted for a stolid Protestant hanging. Less showy than Catholic burnings, but you get to re-use the rope.

    And on that cheery note, I hope all of my fellow Americans have a great holiday!

  13. #13 Walton
    November 27, 2008

    Now what would be a good excuse for Thanksgiving in the U S of America would be if Cheney & Bush resigned, so that Nancy Pelosi became President, & she, being a good Democratic Party member, immediately resigned so that Obama could take over early.

    Obama wouldn’t be able to take over early. Pelosi would automatically be succeeded by Condoleeza Rice, who is fourth in line of succession.

    Surely you can be patient for a couple more months?!

  14. #14 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    I’m with PZ on going nowhere near a mall/store tomorrow. I hate shopping in crowds.

    No doubt. I’m heading to the swamp tomorrow to catch some fall photos. No mall for the chimp.

    Closest thing i get to store wise tomorrow is the beer store.

  15. #15 Steve_C
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving! I’m off to the Macy’s Parade.

  16. #16 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    Walton, I think the President Pro Tem for the senate is ahead of Rice in the succession list.

  17. #17 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    When I lived in the states, thanksgiving always struck me as odd, especially this weird mythology about the pilgrims and native americans. I am all for eating and harvest feasts and such, but that part I find very odd. Why not a huge “lets celebrate we won over those dirty savages day and took this land for ourselves” fest? At least it would be honest.

    I’m not sure about “most” Americans but I know “a lot” of us merely use this holiday as a long weekend that affords us the time to get together with friends and family that we normally don’t get to see.

    Well, that’s at least how we do it. I think there will be 35-40 of us today.

  18. #18 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    Rev, I hope you have enough chairs. That is quite a crowd. Enjoy the day. Sounds like some eats.

  19. #19 Otto
    November 27, 2008

    The first thing I heard this morning was about the murders in Mumbai. Thanks god. You are up to your usual form today.
    Well, I am happy about living in Minneapolis where this kind of madness is very unlikely, I hope.

  20. #20 Christopher
    November 27, 2008

    Erm… sorry about sending those puritans over. We honestly thought they’d die out quickly. Our bad.

  21. #21 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Rev, I hope you have enough chairs. That is quite a crowd. Enjoy the day. Sounds like some eats.

    Luckily it’s at the in-laws.

    Which gives me the ability to escape once my anti-social traits start to surface.

  22. #22 Newfie
    November 27, 2008

    Happy GobbleBird day from Newfoundland and Labrador.
    and from Rahm Emanuel.

  23. #23 MissPrism
    November 27, 2008

    Blimey, Rev.BDC, how many pies for that number of people? We’re feeding 5 people on Sunday for a slightly Anglicised Thanksgiving (a Thanksawfully?) and I’m reckoning four pies plus cream and ice cream

  24. #24 Richard Harris
    November 27, 2008

    Walton @ # 13 …would automatically be succeeded by Condoleeza Rice,…

    Hey, folks, we’ve cracked it!

    Errrr, I must admit though, living as I do on the other side of the pond, there may be a down side to her that I don’t know about.

  25. #25 ggab
    November 27, 2008

    Story time****
    I have a new Mother in-law.
    She didn’t know us well enough for Christmas shopping and decided we should send her our Amazon wish lists.
    She is a devout catholic, so I removed certain items from my list and e-mailed it to her.teehee
    As soon as she had our e-mail addresses, her daughter started sending us chain e-mails. grrrrr
    The latest was one of the usual lies about what evil atheists are doing to the christian community. Obvious bullshit meant only to inspire hatred of atheists.
    I used one of my dummy e-mail accounts to give an appropriately sarcastic response.
    Chances are, they have been able to narrow the list of culprits down to just a few. I’ll find out today whether they’ve figured it out.
    It’s going to be a great day.

  26. #26 Michele
    November 27, 2008

    Yes sir that’s my family you are referring to in Plymouth. I’m here to tell you that time hasn’t been kind to their descendants or diluted the craziness- home schooling, bible thumping, god-believing nuts, every last one.
    Except me. I’m usually rational.
    And I’m jealous of the Rev. since he’s having oysters in his stuffing and nobody here likes it but me.

  27. #27 jose
    November 27, 2008

    so do native americans do this too?

  28. #28 Matt Heath
    November 27, 2008

    They set off from Plymouth and they landed in Plymouth. How lucky is that?

  29. #29 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Happy GobbleBird day from Newfoundland and Labrador.
    and from Rahm Emanuel.

    You sure that’s not from Jerry Garcia?

  30. #30 Emmet Caulfield
    November 27, 2008

    You USians seem to get far fewer days off than us Europeans, so make the most of it and enjoy! Excess is fine in moderation :o)

  31. #31 CosmicTeapot
    November 27, 2008

    Reverend

    You smoked a Turkey!

    I know you Americans like things big over there, but how large are the cigarette papers in your part of the world?

  32. #32 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    I know you Americans like things big over there, but how large are the cigarette papers in your part of the world?

    < a href="http://www.instantrimshot.com/">Ba dooom BAP

  33. #33 Moggie
    November 27, 2008

    #6:

    Happy day from Europe.

    Why not do this at Christmas, like civilized countries do?

    We do it then too.

    Is that why you have twice as much Jesus as Europe?

  34. #34 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Is that why you have twice as much Jesus as Europe?

    I’m sure it doesn’t help

    Though I’ve always considered it a pretty secular holiday.

  35. #35 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    CosmicTeapot, good thing I wasn’t trying to drink coffee when I read your post. It would have been all over the monitor and keyboard.

  36. #36 Michelle
    November 27, 2008

    Happy belated thanksgiving! What is it with you people? Our thanksgiving was weeks ago!

  37. #37 breadmaker
    November 27, 2008

    #12
    didn’t the Salem witch trials involve some buring?

    but also PZ,

    isn’t there some “theory” about the bread they ate being infected with some mold particluar to the grain.

    can’t we cut the truely crazy people so slack?

  38. #38 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    isn’t there some “theory” about the bread they ate being infected with some mold particluar to the grain.

    ergot

  39. #39 John S. Wilkins
    November 27, 2008

    Today Australians celebrate [looks around for convenient reason to drink beer] oh yes, it’s the celebration of some golf tournament in Melbourne.

    And we have our seasons perfectly in order. It’s not our fault that you northerners insist on having a cold Christmas, which is against God and reason.

  40. #40 Citizen Z
    November 27, 2008

    For all the non-Americans, here’s an explanation of Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims decided to have a feast with the Native Americans, because they knew it would be a terrible time for the Indians considering they didn’t believe in the Christian god. The Pilgrims were thankful for a chance to spread the Good Word of Jesus. The modern version of Thanksgiving has morphed into a giving of thanks for smallpox to wipe those same natives out as part of God’s plan to provide bountiful land to good Christians (“Manifest Destiny”), and also to give them a chance to create a country that would try to exclude and diminish their heathen religion. At least, that was the 20th century history of Thanksgiving. Recently Judaism has been included in what’s called the “Christian-Judeo ethic”, at some point in the near future Native Americans may be made retroactively Jewish.

  41. #41 bluescat48
    November 27, 2008

    [quote]Reverend

    You smoked a Turkey!

    I know you Americans like things big over there, but how large are the cigarette papers in your part of the world?[/quote]

    Yes that’s why there are so many bird-brains here in the US

  42. #42 John C. Randolph
    November 27, 2008

    The Plymouth colony is an early lesson in the dangers of trying to abolish private property. When they founded the colony, they tried holding all property in common, and about 2/3 of them starved to death. Once they gave that nonsense up, they had a bumper crop and invited Massasoit and his warriors to a feast to celebrate.

    The information they got from the Indians was certainly helpful, but they were still starving in the second winter despite having that local knowledge. It was the reestablishment of private property that saved the colony from complete destruction.

    -jcr

  43. #43 ggab
    November 27, 2008

    Citizen Z
    “at some point in the near future Native Americans may be made retroactively Jewish.”
    According to the Mormons we are.

  44. #44 Blake Stacey
    November 27, 2008

    Happy happy day! I’m currently experimenting with variations on my berry-bread recipe.

    It is traditional in my household to play the Dandy Warhols song “I Am a Scientist” while performing foolish experimentation in the kitchen.

  45. #45 John C. Randolph
    November 27, 2008

    at some point in the near future Native Americans may be made retroactively Jewish.

    Funny you should mention that. The idea that Jews came to north America in biblical times is a cornerstone of mormon mythology.

    -jcr

  46. #46 John
    November 27, 2008

    “A gang of Puritan religious kooks who were too wacky and weird for their homeland emigrated optimistically to the new wilderness to the west, hoping to found a utopia for repressive fanaticism.”

    Your religious history is ignorant and simplistic–or, perhaps, do you blow the Pilgrims off as “wacky and weird” because you’re a big fan of British monarchy?

    “So, yeah, we’re celebrating the survival of Republicans Mark I in the founding of our country.”

    Interesting…all the Congos I know who share their political affiliation are Democrats.

    I guess that you must hate the Pilgrims because you have such contempt for the third-rate universities and colleges their wacky religious sect founded, including Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Carleton, Grinnell, and Oberlin.

  47. #47 Dark Matter
    November 27, 2008

    That is the best explanation of Thanksgiving I’ve ever heard, except you forgot the part about watching men in tights and too much padding run around a field chasing a silly little pointed ball in the stupidest sport ever invented – and the most American now, apparently, since MLB became obsolete.

    We’re having a large dinner and watching movies afterwards – I think we’ll start with “Brazil.” The food will be excellent, because nobody present believes in eating gross things just because their parents were damn-fool enough to think green beans soaked in cream of mushroom soup was a good thing, and tomorrow, we will do no shopping whatsoever, thereby contributing to America’s downfall. But I might get some homework done, so I can’t bring myself to care.

  48. #48 John C. Randolph
    November 27, 2008

    do you blow the Pilgrims off as “wacky and weird” because you’re a big fan of British monarchy?

    It does not follow that because one acknowledges the wackiness of the Puritans, that one must endorse the even more absurd idea of monarchy.

    -jcr

  49. #49 Carpworld
    November 27, 2008

    Seems only right that someone should post William Burroughs’ Thanksgiving Prayer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7_MYrVzU-Y

    Enjoy your holiday!

  50. #50 Tualha
    November 27, 2008

    I’m thankful that Ann Coulter’s jaw is wired shut.

    What are you all thankful for?

  51. #51 Porky Pine
    November 27, 2008

    The BigDumbChimp said:

    [quote]Happy Turkey day… or whatever you’re eating.

    [b]I’ve smoked one,[/b] going to fry one and the mother in law is roasting one. Making a little Oyster dressing and some other goodies. [/quote]

    How do you keep it lit?

  52. #52 charley
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Day to you all and thanks for the witty, godless refuge you provide me from my overly religious, conservative extended family and co-workers. My wonderful god-free wife, kids and I will gather with my parents side today for the traditional feast, but the day started with a guilt trip phone call from my dad “inviting” us to church. “You mean there’s nobody there who wants to give thanks?” Meanwhile we begged off from gathering with my wife’s family this year, as they view us primarily as devil possessed and hell bound. They are polite about it, but somehow that doesn’t help much.

  53. #53 SC
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving! And happy birthday to me!

    I’m back “home” with family today, and friends too starting tomorrow. It’s already a fun, social, and relaxing weekend.

  54. #54 Jonathan Smith
    November 27, 2008

    As a non-believer, who do I give thanks to on Thanksgiving day? I give thanks to my parents, friends, and associates, but never to imaginary gods who have yet to produce a single benifit to mankind.

    –Ignots Pistachio

  55. #55 ggab
    November 27, 2008

    Happy birthday SC.

  56. #56 John C. Randolph
    November 27, 2008

    I guess that you must hate the Pilgrims because you have such contempt for the third-rate universities and colleges their wacky religious sect founded, including Harvard,

    Harvard started out as the Oral Roberts University of its day, and only obtained its present prestige in the aftermath of the civil war, when the north was casting about for some institution to hold up as superior to the college of William and Mary or the University of Virginia.

    Harvard still has one rather nasty Puritan legacy, which is that its faculty and students get indoctrinated with the idea that they’re some kind of anointed nobility who are entitled to tell other people what to do. In my experience, Harvard MBAs are trained to be middle-managers at IBM or GM in the 1960s, and they’re pretty close to useless today.

    -jcr

  57. #57 NickG
    November 27, 2008

    Ann Coulter’s jaw is wired shut.

    Really?

    OMG that is FUCKING AWESOME! Next thing you know Bill O’Reilly will have a colostomy.

  58. #58 spgreenlaw
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving everybody! And a happy birthday to you, SC!

    I’m heading over to spend the day with some family, tofu and wheat gluten ball firmly in hand. Oh, and a vegan pumpkin pie I made, for the first time ever. Let’s hope it turns out well.

    Also, I just got rick-rolled by the Macy’s parade.

  59. #59 negentropyeater
    November 27, 2008

    So, yeah, we’re celebrating the survival of Republicans Mark I in the founding of our country.

    I don’t get this. Anybody can explain ?

  60. #60 Craig
    November 27, 2008

    “I guess that you must hate the Pilgrims…”

    Um… the pilgrims were theocrats who wanted the “religious freedom” to force everyone to adhere to their beliefs, something they weren’t getting back home. The fact that the people who were in charge back home weren’t much better doesn’t make the pilgrims admirable.

  61. #61 John C. Randolph
    November 27, 2008

    #59 negentropyeater:

    I don’t get this. Anybody can explain ?

    PZ was trying to make a joke by conflating Republicans with the Puritans, who predated the founding of the Republican party by several centuries.

    -jcr

  62. #62 Tom Woolf
    November 27, 2008

    Ahhh, Black Friday…. Sometimes I go to the mall just to see the masses en mass. (strange – I initially spelled “en mass” as “enmass”… spell-check gave me to options to correct it: “en mass” and “enemas”) Can be fun to people-watch.

    I have occasionally dug into BF for the deals. There were two types of shoppers. First were the “I will kill you to get that last item at that price.” Watch their elbows and stay away from the front of their carts. The others were “Cool – lots of good deals…Let’s see what I can get!” They were much, much friendlier (I like to think I was in the 2nd group, as I could not be credited with more than one kill).

    :-P

    If you venture out on BF, do it early – especially if you are people-watching.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  63. #63 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 27, 2008

    As God as my witness, I thought that turkeys could fly.

    The whole episode of WKRP with the original music cues used to be on YouTube but not any more. For example, the song that Dr Johnny Fever plays at the end of the turkey bombing scene is CCR’s It Came Out Of The Sky. I thought that was funny.

    Not quite whole but still one of the funniest things to be found. Enjoy.

    And Happy Birthday SC!

  64. #64 James
    November 27, 2008

    I’m breaking with tradition this year, in that I will spend some money tomorrow — but only because I’ve been invited to morning dim sum with a friend.

    As for today, it is boneless pressed duck for dinner, and reading a book (“The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” this year.) My family is on the other side of the country, and it is much easier to visit them at other times of the year.

  65. #65 Emmet Caulfield
    November 27, 2008

    isn’t there some “theory” about the bread they ate being infected with some mold particluar to the grain.

    Which reminds me of one of my laws, Emmet’s Corollary to Poe’s Law, which states “Pentacostalism is indistinguishable from ergotism”.

  66. #66 Bacopa
    November 27, 2008

    If you don’t want this holiday to be about the pilgrims you can make it be about Jamestown, Kent Island, or any of a number of colonies that predated Plymouth.

    And just about every colony had some skill exchange with Native Americans. Jamestown could not have made it if they hadn’t learned tree girdling from the local tribes. Jamestown did not have enough labor supply to clear fields. Native Americans showed them how to strip a ring of bark off a tree so that it wouldn’t leaf out and to plant hills of corn on the sunny ground afterwards. The trees can felled later whenever you have extra time.

    Every English colony experienced a die off whatever their economic arrangements were.

  67. #67 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving PZ! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Happy Birthday SC!
    Enshoku @10 – My birthday is July 4th too.

    I’m roasting a New Jersey Giant rooster, and making a white pumpkin pie. We buy nothing today, and nothing all weekend. We don’t do christmas shopping at all.

    For fun the Grouchy ol’ Bastard will watch football, and I’m knitting a sock. Oh! Big excitement!

  68. #68 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    As for today, it is boneless pressed duck for dinner

    How do they raise boneless ducks?

  69. #69 Craig
    November 27, 2008

    PZ was trying to make a joke by conflating Republicans with the Puritans, who predated the founding of the Republican party by several centuries.

    Chronologically, but not ideologically. (OK, I’ll admit, your 1860 Republicans were quite a bit different in some respects from the ones they have these days…)

  70. #70 Emmet Caulfield
    November 27, 2008

    Bah. in #65, I meant “Pentecostalism”, of course.

  71. #71 KI
    November 27, 2008

    @47
    Your unfortunate characterization of green bean hotdish (casserole to you non-Minnesotans) is the result of bad kitchen skills, not the recipe itself. I home canned my own green beans, made my own mushroom soup, and fried my own (home-grown) onions. It is, as they say “To die for”.
    Spellchecker questioned “hotdish”. Barbarians!

  72. #72 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    Happy birthday SC.

    Janine, I recall that WKRP episode. Very funny.

  73. #73 Dust
    November 27, 2008

    I was so inspired by the ‘Thankfullness’ thread from a couple of days ago that at work yesterday I made a couple of my own e-cards and sent them to my 3 favorite accounts.

    So thanks PZed, for that, it really felt good to say ‘Thanks’ to them.

    I appreicate this blog and thanks to my good little atheist sis for turning me on to it.

    Oh, and about the Puritans, didn’t they have a hobby of hanging Quakers and Unitarians and other infidels? And why not, I mean really, religous freedom should only go so far! /snark

  74. #74 Christophe Thill
    November 27, 2008

    So, this is the day where you say “thanks”? Then thank you, PZ, for a great blog.

  75. #75 wheatdogg
    November 27, 2008

    We traditionally celebrate this day with indolence and gluttony.

    Tonight I tried to explain Thanksgiving to a university radio audience here in China. I dutifully explained the origins of the holiday, and the fact that it’s a time to share a huge meal with your family and friends. The radio host asked me what else we do to celebrate the holiday.

    The truth is, not much. My response was pretty much what PZ says, but his explanation is pithier. We give thanks by stuffing ourselves and then watching long, tedious parades and long, tedious games involving a strangely shaped ball.

    Pretty weird holiday, if you think about it. Even so, Happy T-day, all!

  76. #76 Josh
    November 27, 2008

    Happy TG all. Enjoy your theropods.

    I like to hunt for dinosaurs, but I also like to eat them.

  77. #77 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Janine, Wild turkeys, like the ones we have here in Oregon, can fly. At my brothers place the turkeys will come in and eat chicken feed when the winter is really cold and the snow is deep.

  78. #78 AnthonyK
    November 27, 2008

    I think it is particularly inappropriate for all you godless souls to misappropriate the word “Happy”.
    How can you be “Happy” when you have abandoned the certainity of infant fairy tales and replaced them with enquiry and rationalism? When you believe, most sincerely, that all there is consists of wonder, self, and others, set in a truly magical universe, and where your only moral guide is what is best for everyone?
    For shame: your personal “Happiness” is only an illusion, un-endorsed by our guilt free creator and wholly free of the real certainities of theology.
    No wonder you are such a miserable, guilt-plagued bunch of misanthropes.
    Jesus doesn’t want you to be “Happy”, so don’t you dare try to misappropriate the term!
    And don’t even get me started on “Happy Christmas”, when Santa Claus died for all our sins…

  79. #79 John
    November 27, 2008

    Craig @ #60:
    “Um… the pilgrims were theocrats who wanted the “religious freedom” to force everyone to adhere to their beliefs, something they weren’t getting back home.”

    Really? Tell me more, Craig. I’d like for you to explain how Congregationalism, which is expressly about not having a central authority for THEIR OWN CHURCH, somehow constitutes wanting to force everyone to adhere to their beliefs.

    You and PZ come across as just as ignorant and dishonest as the holy rollers. Is it ethical to denounce something without bothering to know WTF you’re talking about?

  80. #80 John
    November 27, 2008

    PZ wrote:
    “…Republicans Mark I…”

    Yeah, that Lincoln was such an asshole for freeing the slaves…

  81. #81 Ubi Dubius
    November 27, 2008

    More nitpickery: “the Friday after has evolved into something called Black Friday, in which stores offer sales to entice mobs into the malls for the biggest shopping day of the year”. Black Friday is not even in the top 10 shopping days of the year in most years. #1 is usually the Saturday before Christmas.

  82. #82 SC
    November 27, 2008

    Thanks for the birthday wishes!

    (And thanks, Janine. I remember that WKRP episode so fondly.:))

  83. #83 'Tis Himself
    November 27, 2008

    John C. Randolph

    The Plymouth colony is an early lesson in the dangers of trying to abolish private property. When they founded the colony, they tried holding all property in common, and about 2/3 of them starved to death. Once they gave that nonsense up, they had a bumper crop and invited Massasoit and his warriors to a feast to celebrate.

    John, you once whined that I was being snotty to you because I called you an economic illiterate. Thanks for proving that, like so many libertarians, you’re a historical illiterate as well.

    William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation somehow doesn’t mention this private property abolition. But what would Bradford know, he was only one of the Plymouth colonists.

    A word of advice. If you want to convert people to your ivory tower economic theories, it would help if you didn’t show how completely ignorant about economics and history you are.

    And yes, I’m being snotty. Live with it.

  84. #84 Reginald Selkirk
    November 27, 2008

    With Turkey Day out of the way, let’s all prepare to celebrate Jesus-mas in a meaningful and deeply religious fashion with some traditional baby Jesus chocolates.

  85. #85 PlaydoPlato
    November 27, 2008

    T-Day Story:

    One year my wife and I decided to be “original” and have an all seafood Thanksgiving. Not a bad idea conceptually, but it’s the execution that counts.

    We had a tasting menu of shrimp, clams, red snapper, squid (sorry PZ) etc. I wasn’t a very good cook at the time, so everything came out tasting like “Dollar Day” at Long John Silvers.

    We made up for that debacle years later with a barbecue beef ribs Thanksgiving. This year, we’re sticking to the standards.

    Happy Turkey Day Pharyngulites.

  86. #86 Somnolent Aphid
    November 27, 2008

    Somnolent Aphid will spend this day sucking the nectar of life and then falling asleep in front of a warm and cozy fireplace, remembering all the friends and family members, both fallen and and still among us, who are all well loved. The “traditional” thanksgiving of youth with large family and 20 types of stuffing and meats and farces and the bird itself, wild celebrations taking the entire day and troupes of relatives coming and going, drunken and sober, a mere remembrance. This having been transformed each year now into something different, into, starting with our first lentil loaf vegan feast some 30 years ago, thanksgiven, thankstaken, from turkey day into tofurkey day, transformed so many times so that the transformation itself is something to be celebrated. Thanks from the atheist heart without reservation for all the richness we share and all the people who help and who have helped make it so.

  87. #87 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Oh, heck, forget it. Happy Day! Find whatever reason you want to celebrate.

    Oh, so now it’s a War on Thanksgiving you want, is it?

  88. #88 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 27, 2008

    Patricia! You just ruined that joke for me!
    AAAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHHH!

    But it is good to see that your arm is healed enough that you are knitting. But when are you going to be healed enough to be slutting?

    ————————————————————

    John is the Thanksgiving Turkey’s Asshole.

    The Pilgrims thought that the Puritans were too lax. The Pilgrims thought that rather secular and very rich Netherlands was a hell. The Pilgrams are not a people I would want to emulate.

    John, nice way of accusing PZ of being a racist. Asshole.

  89. #89 papa zita
    November 27, 2008

    I make a chestnut dressing – no oysters here. It has a lot of ingredients such that it takes an hour for two people to make it (and only a few of the ingredients need to be cooked). It has chestnuts, chopped walnuts, raisins, chopped apples, croutons, condensed milk (for wetness), onions and celery and turkey liver (all sauteed together), seasonings, and nothing is really measured. It can be cooked outside the bird or as stuffing. I tend to do both – the turkey does give a better flavor to the stuffing, but it’s not an “approved” method anymore. You make the dressing the day before and refrigerate it until cooked. My father used to make it in his restaurant and I’ve never met anyone that didn’t like it. It was why relatives always came to our house for Thanksgiving instead of us going to theirs.

  90. #90 gazza
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving, PZ and all you atheist ‘septics’. You have my admiration, and pity, in various measures for your stand in such an unfortunately religious country.

  91. #91 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    Janine, the commercial turkeys can’t fly. They were bred to increase the amount of meat on the bird, and the size of the wing didn’t keep pace. So they can’t generate enough lift to get off the ground. It also helps in keeping the turkeys from escaping. They actually might be able to glide, but I suspect they would be like the space shuttle, with a step glide path. Since they get no practice in gliding, they would probably not know what to do if tossed out of a plane.

  92. #92 negentropyeater
    November 27, 2008

    When I lived in the US, it seemed Thanksgiving and Christmas very often gave couples the possibility to alternate between both families.
    That’s a practical benefit compared with us Europeans who do not have this holiday.

    I think we should import Thanksgiving to Europe for that purpose, clearly we don’t have enough holidays.

  93. #93 Rich Orman
    November 27, 2008

    Actually, the Republicans Mark I were the ones who freed the slaves and all that.

  94. #94 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    OOOOOOPS! Sorry Janine. Er domestic turkeys can’t fly…does that help your joke?

    The ol’ arm is up to knitting, but slinging grog & swill, and smacking trolls with slutty remarks does require a bit of muscle. Not quite there yet.

  95. #95 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    *headdesk* That should be “steep glide path”.

  96. #96 Moses
    November 27, 2008

    You forgot the part where the colonists were grave robbers. That’s where they got the corn seed. And other things. Sure, they had SOME shame and replaced the much of what they stole in later years. Only to then destroy the entire cemetery area… You also left out their arrogance when they bragged about the feast one that the Indian’s “the likes of which they’d never seen” when, in fact, most of the food with native game or native crops being used by the colonists.

    You also skipped over that it wasn’t even the first Thanksgiving (harvest) feast held by the white man in America. That’d happened two years prior. Or that the real reason we have the holiday was nation building during the Civil War. That we didn’t actually have a “Thanksgiving” holiday for the first 200+ years.

    Some correction though, the Pilgrims WERE NOT Puritans. The Puritans came a decade later and settled in Boston. The Pilgrims were UTOPIANS, the Puritans were reformers. The Pilgrims believed in inclusion of others. The Purtains were more insular.

    The early Puritans weren’t all that religiously crazy in the context of their time. The Puritans of the 17th and 18th centuries were not the big assholes their descendants turned into!!! Much of the anti-sex stuff attributed to the early Puritans them is as phony as the Plymouth Rock story and came from the 19th Century. The same with the severe dress and have-no-fun crap. All of this came about in the 19th Century as they jogged severely right in their religious attitudes.

  97. #97 MoxieHart
    November 27, 2008

    I live away from both my families, plus I have to work tomorrow, so I meet my dad halfway and we have our own A Christmas Story Thanksgiving dinner by going to the Spanish Tavern.
    I mostly miss the Comedy Central MST3K Turkey Day Marathon, I’d rather watch that than the parade or football. “Watch out for snakes!”

  98. #98 Moses
    November 27, 2008

    Posted by: John C. Randolph | November 27, 2008 10:17 AM

    The Plymouth colony is an early lesson in the dangers of trying to abolish private property. When they founded the colony, they tried holding all property in common, and about 2/3 of them starved to death. Once they gave that nonsense up, they had a bumper crop and invited Massasoit and his warriors to a feast to celebrate.

    The information they got from the Indians was certainly helpful, but they were still starving in the second winter despite having that local knowledge. It was the reestablishment of private property that saved the colony from complete destruction.

    What a goddamn liar you are. Not everything revolves around your idiotic philosophy.

    They landed December 21, 1620, which is, for all intensive purposes, WINTER, you dolt! They had no shelter and ran out of supplies. They mostly died of scurvy, exposure and disease because the only shelter they did have was in crowed, unsanitary conditions on the damn ship.

  99. #99 Chris Davis
    November 27, 2008

    Thanks for the explanation and history lesson. Happy Hypocrisy Day, then.

    Concerned to hear that you don’t burn witches. Might I ask you to reconsider? At this time of the year, the really ugly and obese ones are a splendid source of renewable hydrocarbons.

    Just don’t eat ‘em: Long Pig has an undeserved reputation – imagine a steak from a 40 year-old animal…

  100. #100 watercat
    November 27, 2008
  101. #101 nanahuatzin
    November 27, 2008

    My 10 years old daughter has developed a curious sense of humor.

    In Mexico, most of our private schools, have English classes, which sometimes inlcude the US celebrations.

    So, for thanksgiving, her teacher asked her students for a drawing for the event.

    My daughter put a turkey, cooking a puritan, with an indian seating in the table waiting…

    She got an “A”

  102. #102 castletonsnob
    November 27, 2008

    I mostly miss the Comedy Central MST3K Turkey Day Marathon, I’d rather watch that than the parade or football. “Watch out for snakes!”

    I’m with you, MoxieHart! As you may guess from my name, Time Chasers is one of my favorites.

    “You Castleton snob!”

  103. #103 John C. Randolph
    November 27, 2008

    TH,

    I don’t believe you’ve read Bradford’s book, because if you had, you’ve have known that the plymouth colonists didn’t have individual plots of land on which to raise their crops until the third year, and a majority of them starved to death because of it. This is not in dispute.

    Bradford compares the initial communal approach, and the abandonment of it in his book:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=tYecOAN1cwwC&printsec=titlepage#PPR3,M1

    See pages 134 and 135.

    “This had very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corne was planted than other waise would have bene by any means the Gov or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave farr better contente. The women now wente willingly into the field, which before would aledg weaknes, and inabilitie; whom to have compelled would have bene thought great tiranie and opperssion”

    And yes, I’m being snotty. Live with it.

    I’m thankful today that you’re the one who has to live with your personality flaws, not I.

    -jcr

  104. #104 spgreenlaw
    November 27, 2008

    MoxieHart,

    I think I’ll be watching a few episodes tonight! Eegah is a classic.

  105. #105 Moses
    November 27, 2008

    Posted by: ‘Tis Himself | November 27, 2008 11:47 AM

    John, you once whined that I was being snotty to you because I called you an economic illiterate. Thanks for proving that, like so many libertarians, you’re a historical illiterate as well.

    William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation somehow doesn’t mention this private property abolition. But what would Bradford know, he was only one of the Plymouth colonists.

    A word of advice. If you want to convert people to your ivory tower economic theories, it would help if you didn’t show how completely ignorant about economics and history you are.

    And yes, I’m being snotty. Live with it.

    The part that kills me is that we should all know, from years of propaganda in grade-school, that the Pilgrims left England late, were ill-supplied and died while wintering-over on the ship due to disease, exposure and starvation. They made us read books. They made us watch movies. They made us write papers.

    How he could get it so horribly wrong… It’s beyond belief.

  106. #106 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 27, 2008

    Nerd, that would be a helicopter.

  107. #107 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Nerd, You’re right about the turkeys, they drop like a stone. Because Americans favor breast meat, they have bred domestic turkeys and chickens to be so absurdly out of proportion that flight is almost unheard of in adults.

    If your holiday bird has a breast that appears to be one piece, it wasn’t allowed to sleep on a perch or roost at night. It has no breast muscle developement. (More than you wanted to know probably.)

  108. #108 John C. Randolph
    November 27, 2008

    for all intensive purposes,

    Moe,

    The phrase you’re attempting to use there is “for all intents and purposes”, not “Intensive purposes”.

    -jcr

  109. #109 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 27, 2008

    Moses, it matters not that they got it all wrong. What matters is that this country had a miraculous start. Think of it along the lines of Romulus and Remus being suckled by the she-wolf.

  110. #110 Moses
    November 27, 2008

    Posted by: John C. Randolph | November 27, 2008 12:40 PM

    TH,

    I don’t believe you’ve read Bradford’s book, because if you had, you’ve have known that the plymouth colonists didn’t have individual plots of land on which to raise their crops until the third year, and a majority of them starved to death because of it. This is not in dispute.

    You’re right, it’s not in dispute. You’re just WRONG. They died in the first winter while they starved to death on their ship.

    The first landing party was December 20, 1620, just a few days before winter.

    During the first winter in the New World, the Mayflower colonists suffered greatly from diseases like scurvy, lack of shelter and general conditions on board ship. [6] 45 of the 102 emigrants died the first winter and were buried on Cole’s Hill.

    As William Bradford wrote,

    “of these one hundred persons who came over in this first ship together, the greatest half died in the general mortality, and most of them in two or three months’ time”.[35]

    Jesus, you are such a thoughtless, ignorant TROLL. There is NO POSSIBLE WAY what you said is true. It’s 100% IMPOSSIBLE.

    They came too late and arrived in winter.
    They were ill-supplied.
    They arrived too late to farm.
    They mostly starved to death while sitting on the Mayflower.

    And you are, once again, completely wrong.

  111. #111 John C. Randolph
    November 27, 2008

    What a goddamn liar you are.

    What do you think I’ve lied about, Moe?

    -jcr

  112. #112 nanahuatzin
    November 27, 2008

    I am not expert in the US history and i may be mistaken.

    But i can say that when the Pilgims took corn from the indians, they commited the mistake of not taking the recipe to prepare it.

    Corn and bean are complementary, if you eat both, you do not need animal proteins… but the corn mus be prepare in a special way.

    For thousands of year corn has been subject to a tratment called “nixtamalli” which frees the nutritional elements of corn. Whithouth it, corn is a low quality food.

    Acording to a study by “Ortiz de Montellano, Bernard R” the average mesoamerican was better feed than the average european. ((1990). Aztec Medicine, Health, and Nutrition. Rutgers University Press)

  113. #113 John C. Randolph
    November 27, 2008

    You’re just WRONG. They died in the first winter while they starved to death on their ship.

    Yeah, they fucked up from the get-go, and they KEPT ON dying, after their first two paltry harvests, because they wouldn’t do the work they needed to do. Bradford said so. Why do you insist on ignoring that?

    They eventually saved themselves by abandoning one of their many stupid ideas, that is, communal food production. Once they did so, their productivity jumped.

    -jcr

  114. #114 Ukulathiest
    November 27, 2008

    The problem with Americans is that they don’t realise that it is they who are topsy-turvy – not us in the ‘quieter’ hemisphere.

  115. #115 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    November 27, 2008

    All of the Pilgrims/Indians stuff is revisionist history, anyway. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Texas.

    Nachos and Margaritas, anyone?

    For me, we will revive a family tradition and do a dinner and a movie. From there, we will be properly armed to resume the “War on Christmas.” It’s the Atheist Duty!

  116. #116 PlaydoPlato
    November 27, 2008

    Wow, the Great Pilgrim Debate of 2008 reminds me of the regrettable Thanksgiving I spent with an alcoholic older relative.

    She got “full-up” as they say and mistook a rather smallish chicken for a turkey. When the rest of the extended family started to arrive and it became clear that there wasn’t going to be enough “turkey” to go around, well, things got ugly.

    Every slight, real or imagined, from years past bobbled to the surface like a bloated corpse in New York’s East River.

    I left just as swearing began.

  117. #117 nanahuatzin
    November 27, 2008

    John C. Randolph @ #113

    “They eventually saved themselves by abandoning one of their many stupid ideas, that is, communal food production. ”

    Like every technology, “communal food production” can work if you know how to do it, if they failed it is because they did not developed a system to reward eficiency.

    I think you are equating it with “comunism” but the ideology is not the point.

    When the european arrived , in mesoamerica there was a “communal food production” , which worked well, mesoamerican people could produce up to three crops a year, and they were well feed .

    Their cities and towns were divided in “calpullis”, each town owned it´s land in comunal form, and asigned sections to each calpulli. In each calpulli, elders asigned sections of land to individuals. When a young was married, he received his section of land, if he had a second wife, then he was asigned another section of land (because of this most nahuas were monogamous). But all people in the calpulli share the efforts of the crop and the maintenance of the infraestructure (irrigation channels, creation of chinampas etc.) Also each calpulli tried to outdone the work of other calpullis.

    This sistem was a communal system that also rewarded the invividual, yet there was no individual properties. And it worked with their technology. Maybe today will not work so well with our current economic values.

  118. #118 Sili
    November 27, 2008

    Frabjous day, surely?

    Well, at least people who’re stuffed like turkeys aren’t likely to make too much of a hullaballoo.

  119. #119 meloniesch
    November 27, 2008

    Not going to spend a penny PZ? Your bladder and kidneys won’t thank you for that!

  120. #120 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 27, 2008

    Earlier I got my Anglicans and Puritans mixed up. I am sorry about that.

  121. #121 Steven Dunlap
    November 27, 2008

    John @ #79

    I’d like for you to explain how Congregationalism, which is expressly about not having a central authority for THEIR OWN CHURCH, somehow constitutes wanting to force everyone to adhere to their beliefs.

    There exists a difference between not having a central authority in one’s own sect and the behavior of that sect towards others. Anthropologists call it “tribalism” in that a given tribe can be very warm and fuzzy toward other members of the same tribe while exhibiting brutal behavior to members of other tribes. My favorite illustration of this concept comes on p. 226 of Larry Gonick’s Cartoon history of the universe (v. 1-7) in which a man and woman stand in the aftermath of a massacre with dead bodies lying around them and a baby harpooned on the man’s spear. He asks the woman “Oh… Did you cut your finger, dear?”

    The pilgrims hanged so many Quakers that Kind Charles II sent written orders to them to stop hanging his subjects. This was before the witch trials.

    You either understand the concept of tribalism or you don’t.

  122. #122 pablo
    November 27, 2008

    “Or, for you Australians, happy Friday or Tuesday or whatever it is down in your topsy-turvy country where you’ve even got your seasons reversed.”

    Lisa: In fact, in Rand-McNally people wear shoes on their hands, and hamburgers eat people.

    Bart: Cool!

  123. #123 Bill Dauphin
    November 27, 2008

    Walton:

    Obama wouldn’t be able to take over early. Pelosi would automatically be succeeded by Condoleeza Rice, who is fourth in line of succession.

    Which is why, in this scenario, Pelosi would not resign, but instead would simply serve out the Bush term as a proxy for Obama.

    That said, this byzantine arrangement seems unnecessary, since the current president is effectively AWOL in addition to being lame duck, and even though Obama’s hands are not yet on the tiller of the ship of state, he’s clearly the one charting the course at this point.

    Richard Harris:

    there may be a down side to [Condi Rice] that I don’t know about.

    You mean aside from having served as enabler-in-chief for the entire Bush debacle? She seems personally intelligent and competent, and her embrace of Obama’s victory suggests she’s not just a partisan hack… but the fact that she put all those admirable personal assets in service of the evil (and I don’t use that word casually) Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld agenda makes her more despicable, IMHO, rather than less.

    BTW, Happy Thanksgiving to all! I’ve had a houseful of my daughter’s college friends all week, which is why I’ve been in short supply around here… but it doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of y’all!

  124. #124 Holydust
    November 27, 2008

    I’m glad that, for the most part, for a lot of us Thanksgiving has always been purely: “the day you get together with family and eat the same comforting stuff every year, the stuff that you’ve been saving for just this day” and hasn’t focused on history. That means I can still enjoy it. Even as a kid, I was suspicious. “Pilgrims? Native Americans? Sitting at one table in peace and love and equality? ..what? No way.”

    The paper cutouts always make me laugh.

    Green bean casserole… I have waited for you another year and you will be mine! *open arms*

  125. #125 John
    November 27, 2008

    “You either understand the concept of tribalism or you don’t.”

    I do, and there’s quite a display of it here. So far, in desperate attempts to see the world in a dichotomous, tribal way, we’ve got:

    Pilgrims = Republicans; and since we know that many of the pilgrims were Congos and that Congos are now UCC, we can transitively derive the equation:

    Jeremiah Wright = George W. Bush.

  126. #127 Azdak
    November 27, 2008

    Whoops, I fail at tagging. That should have read:

    “Thanksgiving is so last month!”

  127. #128 Nick Gotts
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Birthday, SC!

  128. #129 Joe
    November 27, 2008

    > We traditionally celebrate this day with indolence and gluttony.

    Indolence, unless you’re the one setting up house to receive guests, preparing the feast, and cleaning up from it.

    Also traditional is trying to steer a clear path between serving up poultry with the consistency and flavor of pulpy chalk, or offering up a serving of food poisoning to all gathered.

  129. #130 Shamar
    November 27, 2008

    Yes, happy Thanksgiving to PZ and all the rest of ya!!

    I’m sooooo getting ready to eat more than I eat in a week!!

    Hope yall have a good one :-)

  130. #131 Richard Harris
    November 27, 2008

    Bill @ # 123, “…served as enabler-in-chief for the entire Bush debacle…”

    Yeah, that sounds about right. Pity though, as you say say, “She seems personally intelligent and competent…”

    I’m too busy to look into this aspect of USAnian politics, so thanks for your explanation, which will suffice for me.

  131. #132 negentropyeater
    November 27, 2008

    So is Thanksgiving a religious or secular holiday ?

    Your president had no hesitation when he gave this speech on Thanksgiving 2001 :

    Thanksgiving reminds us that the greatest gifts don’t come from the hands of man, but from the Maker of Heaven and Earth.

    These week American families will gather in that spirit. We will remember, too, those who approach the holidays with a burden of sadness. We think especially of families that recently lost loved ones, and of our men and women in the Armed Forces serving far away from home.

    This is a nation of many faiths. And this holiday season, we’ll all be joined in prayer that those who mourn will find comfort; that those in dangers will find protection; and that God will continue to watch over the land we love.

    May God continue to bless America, and I hope everybody has a happy Thanksgiving.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011119-5.html

    Ah, those were the days…

  132. #133 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    The pumpkin is outside cooling, all roasted & about to be mashed up for pie. While it’s baking I’ll truss up the rooster. What are you having Janine?

  133. #134 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 27, 2008

    Posted by: Patricia | November 27, 2008

    What are you having Janine?

    Whatever my family will feed me. And then I will clean up after them. And on the side, try to corrupt my older nephews and nieces.

  134. #135 llewelly
    November 27, 2008

    Then tomorrow I’m not going anywhere near a mall and won’t be spending a penny…

    Pointing your Evil Atheist Cyberpistol(tm) straight at the economy, now, are you?

  135. #136 thalarctos
    November 27, 2008

    Happy birthday, SC!

  136. #137 Dr. Strangelove
    November 27, 2008

    “We traditionally celebrate this day with indolence and gluttony.”

    But cranberry sauce out of a can and pumpkin pie is so yummy!

    Those of you not football lovers may be interested in knowing the Fox Movie Channel is playing a Planet of the Apes marathon. Happy Thanksgiving Pharyngulites!

  137. #138 Rey Fox
    November 27, 2008

    “They set off from Plymouth and they landed in Plymouth. How lucky is that?”

    Like a bible prophecy, it is!

    “The food will be excellent, because nobody present believes in eating gross things just because their parents were damn-fool enough to think green beans soaked in cream of mushroom soup was a good thing”

    Reason triumphs again.

  138. #139 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Ha, ha! Yes, corrupting the young. There’s a sport I excel in.

  139. #140 mothra
    November 27, 2008

    @ RBDC #5 You smoked a turkey?? Yes, but did you inhale?
    At my University, our department got together on Wednesday noon and watched the WKRP Thanksgiving episode.

    There is an old Scientific American article, I do not recall the issue or year (there is an Indigo bunting on the cover) with an article on bird orientation. They dropped indigo buntings out of a hovering helicopter at a high altitude on a cloudless night. The buntings never could orient themselves. I wonder, given the known intellectual prowess of domestic (flightless) turkeys, whether even the wild (flying) turkeys could have landed safely.

  140. #141 Doug the Primate
    November 27, 2008

    Posted by: John C. Randolph | November 27, 2008 12:45 PM

    for all intensive purposes,

    Moe,

    The phrase you’re attempting to use there is “for all intents and purposes”, not “Intensive purposes”.

    Correct, JCR. All Pharyngulites please note, for future reference. You too, JCR, RE your next post:

    #113Posted by: John C. Randolph
    They eventually saved themselves by abandoning one of their many stupid ideas, that is, communal food production. Once they did so, their productivity jumped.

    Because next you’ll be telling the Israeli kibuttzim that they’re doin’ it wrong!

    -jcr

  141. #142 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    I’m not an expert on the pilgrims, but I do wonder if by the third year they had finally cleared enough good growing area, had enough seed, and finally learned how to grow things in New England, so that the change in land ownership with the increased food production was pure coincidence. That has happened more than once through the years.

  142. #143 rrt
    November 27, 2008

    PZ: Not even the APPLE store?!

    Rumor is they’ll have real discounts for the first time ever… :)

  143. #144 Jadehawk
    November 27, 2008

    I have just finished cooking, and if I never see pumpkin puree in my entire life, I can die happily. which means I’m not the one who will be trying to get the stuff out of the cracks in the kitchen furniture…

    and a happy thanksgiving (and birthday) to everyone

  144. #145 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    I’m not an expert on the pilgrims, but I do wonder if by the third year they had finally cleared enough good growing area, had enough seed, and finally learned how to grow things in New England, so that the change in land ownership with the increased food production was pure coincidence. That has happened more than once through the years.

    Nope. PRIVATE OWNERSHIP and LAISSEZ-FAIRE CAPITALISM did it.

    In a similar vein, I work in cancer surveillance, and all common sense and logic (though no research) supports the idea that smaller government and lower taxes shrink tumours.

    Do you gubmint-loving commies think it’s a mere coincidence that Salk’s polio vaccine was found to be a success in clinical trials merely one year after Ray Kroc took over the McDonald’s corporation? Hmm?

  145. #146 raven
    November 27, 2008

    I’m thankful that the New Theocrats lost the election by a whole 6 % points. The first American theocracy didn’t work so well. As several have pointed out, the Puritans outlawed the Quakers and hung a few of them. They also hung a few Unitarians for the same reason before getting to the witches.

    It is really pointless to beat up on the Puritans. They have long since evolved into something more benign. And other groups have occupied their vacated ecological niche.

    massmoments.org:

    …in 1658, Plymouth Court ordered that any boat carrying Quakers to Sandwich be seized to prevent the religious heretics from landing. A year earlier, Quakers in Sandwich had established the first Friends’ Meeting in the New World. Magistrates in both Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies were alarmed by Quaker teachings that individuals could receive direct personal revelations from God. To protect orthodox Puritanism, the courts passed a series of laws forbidding residents from housing Quakers. Quakers themselves were threatened with whipping, arrest, imprisonment, banishment, or death. But driven by conscience, some Quakers repeatedly returned to Massachusetts to preach; four of them, including Mary Dyer, went to the gallows before a shocked King Charles ordered an end to the hanging of Quakers in 1661.

  146. #147 Skepticalskeptic
    November 27, 2008

    #79: The Puritans had any number of faults, but don’t expect anything like balance from the buffoon who is the proprietor of this site. He never lets facts get in the way of accusing religionists of all manner of evil. Of course folks like Weber and Tocqueville saw Puritanism as providing a firm foundation for American democracy. But PZ knows better (even if he fails to cite a lick of evidence). It should be obvious by now: religionist bad; atheist good. Stick with the talking points and the script. Please.

  147. #148 Ferrous Patella
    November 27, 2008

    PeZed,

    I set the mpeg player to “Holiday” today. “The Bitter Withy” came up and I thought of you since you were so amused by it.

  148. #149 negentropyeater
    November 27, 2008

    Nope. PRIVATE OWNERSHIP and LAISSEZ-FAIRE CAPITALISM did it.

    In a similar vein, I work in cancer surveillance, and all common sense and logic (though no research) supports the idea that smaller government and lower taxes shrink tumours.

    Does make a lot of sense. It’s the invisible hand !

    Look, if the invisible hand makes sure that an individual pursuing his own self-interest will tend to also promote the good of his community as a whole, then it does make sense that the invisible hand will also make sure that a tumour pursuing its own self-interest will also tend to promote the good of the body as a whole.

  149. #150 Bill Dauphin
    November 27, 2008

    neg:

    So is Thanksgiving a religious or secular holiday?

    Interesting question. I’ve always thought of it as an historical holiday, along the lines of Independence Day, Presidents’ Day, Veterans’ Day (aka Armistice Day), etc., notwithstanding the fact that the historical occasion was a religious feast.

    However… here in CT we still have “blue laws” that forbid the sale of alcohol on Sunday. In fact, even the display of alcohol is forbidden on Sunday, which means that grocery and convenience stores that sell beer must have drapes to cover their beer stocks on Sundays (and during late hours, when alcohol sales are also forbidden). When I made a last-minute grocery run earlier today, I noticed that the beer drapes were deployed, from which I conclude that CT law, at least, treats Thanksgiving as a religious holiday.

  150. #151 Cactus Wren
    November 27, 2008

    My personal Typo Of The Day, which I’ve already posted on at least one other forum:

    Happy Thinksgiving.

    And tomorrow’s my favorite holiday.

  151. #152 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    Bill Dauphin wrote:

    However… here in CT we still have “blue laws” that forbid the sale of alcohol on Sunday. In fact, even the display of alcohol is forbidden on Sunday, which means that grocery and convenience stores that sell beer must have drapes to cover their beer stocks on Sundays (and during late hours, when alcohol sales are also forbidden).

    You’re serious, aren’t you? This isn’t some sort of traditional Thanksgiving joke you like to tell to unsuspecting foreigners and then laugh your asses off when they fall for it?

  152. #153 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Food is done, the people are gone. Really bad football is on.

    Now let the consumption of malted adult beverages commence.

  153. #154 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    However… here in CT we still have “blue laws” that forbid the sale of alcohol on Sunday. In fact, even the display of alcohol is forbidden on Sunday, which means that grocery and convenience stores that sell beer must have drapes to cover their beer stocks on Sundays (and during late hours, when alcohol sales are also forbidden).

    In the south there are still a lot of Blue Laws that keep liquor from being sold on Sunday. Sometimes beer and wine as well. I wasn’t aware CT had these laws. I assumed it was purely a Bible belt thing.

    I do like how they changed the law in North Carolina to allow beer sales earlier than 1 PM on sunday when the Carolina Panthers team was started.

    I guess the baby jesus is a football fan.

  154. #155 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Look, if the invisible hand makes sure that an individual pursuing his own self-interest will tend to also promote the good of his community as a whole, then it does make sense that the invisible hand will also make sure that a tumour pursuing its own self-interest will also tend to promote the good of the body as a whole.

    Good point negentropyeater! I’m gonna knock out the glass of my microwave and smoke an unfiltered cigarette while standing in front of it as soon as I get home, knowing that the rampant growth and prosperity of any resultant tumours will have trickle-down effects, bringing growth and prosperity to the rest of my body.

    It should be obvious by now: religionist bad; atheist good.

    You’ve noticed that too, have you? Generally, the only way any thing good comes out of religion is accidentally.

    By the way, I was tempted to not read your comment, but since you repeated ‘skeptic’ twice in your moniker, I just knew you were extra-skeptical and therefore righter.

    You don’t happen to know NotedScholar, do you? At first I thought the stuff he wrote was the dumbest crap ever until I saw that he was a noted scholar (don’t bother trying to google him; all the evidence you need is in the name he gave himself.) Now I know to trust what he has to say because a) he is noted; and b) he is a scholar. Similarly, I know I can trust what you have to say more than other skeptics because you, unlike them, are the skeptical kind of skeptic. (BTW, thanks for pointing out PZ’s failings: I’m beginning to think he’s just the normal, non-skeptical sort of skeptic.)

    I’ve noticed similar trends among the religious; if you examine their actions, they’re usually as holy or less (by their own standards) than the non-religious. However, once you hear them describe themselves (though more often than not they tend to demonstrate their personal relationship with Jesus by focusing on the things they think other people are doing wrong), you can tell that they are holy; in fact, they’ll often come out and say so (again, usually by focusing on what they think you and others are doing wrong). Are you a religious sort? If so, you might want to consider adding ‘holy’ or some such to your moniker so people will know you’re holy.

    But back to my original point: as you are a skeptical skeptic, I will listen to what you have to say. At least until someone named skepticallyskepticalskeptic shows up.

  155. #156 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    I have to admit I’m amazed by this Blue Law concept. Why don’t people try and overturn it? I thought Connecticut was in one of the more progressive parts of the US. If we were talking Utah I might understand, but the North-East?

    And as for the bible belt – isn’t that home to those fine gentlemen Mr Jack Daniels and Mr Jim Beam? And the elusive Wild Turkey? And the cough-medicine-sold-as-liquor, Southern Comfort?

    You Americans are a very strange people.

  156. #157 JoeB
    November 27, 2008

    Surprised no one has yet mentioned the Claremont, CA kindergardeners who are not allowed to dress up as indians and pilgrims. Objecting parents, some of American Indian ancestry, apparently, say it is equivalent to dressing up as slaves and masters, of Jews and Nazis.
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2008/11/nearly-two-doze.html

  157. #158 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    And as for the bible belt – isn’t that home to those fine gentlemen Mr Jack Daniels and Mr Jim Beam? And the elusive Wild Turkey? And the cough-medicine-sold-as-liquor, Southern Comfort?

    Well this is really going to send you into a loop.

    The county where Jack Daniels is distilled is dry.

    You can not buy ANY alcohol in that county. Period.

  158. #159 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    I have to admit I’m amazed by this Blue Law concept.

    More than a few years ago, I was driving back to Edmonton from Kelowna with my ex in her parents’ camperised Westphalia, when we decided to stop in Vernon for the night and cook a little dinner. Pulling in for gas, I asked the teenaged clerk if he knew where we could get a few groceries and perhaps a bottle of wine. With the nearest thing to wide-eyed terror I’ve seen outside of a Carpenter or Cronenberg film, the kid slowly backed away saying “No liquor; it’s Sunday–no liquor in town–it’s Sunday.” After eating his Christian soul and the souls of any as-yet unborn babies he might consider fathering to wash away my atheist blood libel, I left the store, turned back onto the main road, and nearly drove into the biggest, busiest, most well-lit, and unmistakably open liquor store this side of the beer volcano in FSM’s heaven! If I hadn’t already sentenced the poor kid to a godless eternity in limbo, I would’ve turned back, grabbed him, and washed his face with 12-year-old-purchased-on-Sunday scotch.

    The funny thing about bible belts and blue laws (at least in Canada): they sometimes exist more in the minds of those that wish they existed than in real life.

  159. #160 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    The wiki entry on Blue Laws gives a decent enough runb down on it

  160. #161 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    There are a couple of days a year that can’t sell alcohol here in Australia: Good Friday, and the morning of Anzac Day. Not sure about Christmas as everything is closed that day.

    It’s pretty bullshit though, there’s no reason that people shouldn’t be allowed to buy on Good Friday. Silly archaic law which will stay purely because it’s a silly archaic law.

  161. #162 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    The funny thing about bible belts and blue laws (at least in Canada): they sometimes exist more in the minds of those that wish they existed than in real life.

    They’re pretty much enforced tooth to tail here in your southern neighbor.

  162. #163 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Kel. Whats the deal with singling out a day for WW1 soldiers?

    Not that I don’t think they should be remembered but is there a corresponding day for WW2 soldiers? Vietnam?

  163. #164 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    They’re pretty much enforced tooth to tail here in your southern neighbor.

    Yeah, sometimes I forget. Pot is still ‘technically’ illegal here too, but fairly tolerated everywhere but in Harper’s cabal.

    Funny though; the only way to have missed enough of the last century to conclude that stiffer penalties and fines are effective in curbing drug-related crime is to have been completely baked out of one’s gourd for the last three decades.

  164. #165 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Wish I could send you all some “smellertubes” from my kitchen. The rooster is roasted and now the three egg pumpkin pies are baking….mmmmmm!

  165. #166 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    Kel. Whats the deal with singling out a day for WW1 soldiers?

    To celebrate the farce of invading Turkey because the Brits thought it a good idea…

    I would think that it’s a celebration of Australia’s transition into manhood as a nation. Anzac Day back in 1915 was our right of passage in the international community. Celebration is the wrong word though, it’s really more a comiseration. It’s to recognise the honour and sacrifice that those young men gave for this country. It’s a day where we mourn the loss of life. In other words, I have no idea nor do I really care.

  166. #167 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Anzac Day back in 1915 was our right of passage in the international community.

    ok makes a little more sense as picking one battle as a day to have a national holiday over all the other battles and wars Australian soldiers have fought in just seemed a little strange.

    Patricia

    Wish I could send you all some “smellertubes” from my kitchen. The rooster is roasted and now the three egg pumpkin pies are baking….mmmmmm!

    Ok I’m glad you said this.

    I’m a foodie to the extreme but someone asked me the other day about Roosters vs. hens. They were talking about chickens and I’m not sure if you’re talking chickens or turkey (guessing turkey because of the day but probably wrong) but it doesn’t matter for my question.

    They were somewhere where people would wait for the opportunity to get a rooster over a hen and pay a lot more. I had no idea. I tend to try and buy heritage breeds of any animal I’m cooking but never considered the male vs. female for poultry.

    Is there a noticeable difference in the bird being a rooster over a hen?

    And yes i want smellertubes. Maybe ted stevens can lobby for it.

  167. #168 Gary
    November 27, 2008

    Nerd of Readhead;

    To a hammer everything is a nail. Seems most people can simplify and jamb an (historical) event into their own belief system without breaking a sweat.

  168. #169 Azdak
    November 27, 2008

    I’d never heard of blue laws until recently, but growing up, always took it for granted that for whatever reason, you just can’t find a lot of places open for business on a Sunday. I remember reading about blue laws on Wikipedia and thinking, “man, that’s dumb… why would you not be able to buy certain things on a Sun… waitasec! It wasn’t that long ago that we couldn’t do that either!” I don’t recall ever really being confronted with a religious justification for this — it was just generally accepted here that for one day per week it was just really hard to buy shit.

    The turning point, at least on the (wet) west coast of Canada was Expo 86 in Vancouver. Prior to that, pretty much everything was closed on Sundays. That was also about the point in time when the government started allowing stores other than the publicly-owned B.C. Liquor stores to sell beer and wine (and much more recently, hard liquor). So it was a World’s Fair that triggered our moral decline.

    Well, presumably that and jazz music.

  169. #170 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 27, 2008

    [Rice] seems personally intelligent and competent, and her embrace of Obama’s victory suggests she’s not just a partisan hack… but the fact that she put all those admirable personal assets in service of the evil (and I don’t use that word casually) Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld agenda makes her more despicable, IMHO, rather than less.

    Well… “intelligent and competent”… hm. She was a Sovietologer after all.

  170. #171 Alcari
    November 27, 2008

    Or, if you’re me:

    Happy birthday ;)

  171. #172 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Well, presumably that and jazz music.

    well everyone knows Jazz music leads to dancing and race mixing.

    Of course it is responsible.

  172. #173 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Chimpy – You should check out the heritage breed we’re having for dinner, New Jersey Giants. At maturity the roosters can weigh 13 pounds! This is the first one we’ve roasted, I’ll let you know if I prefer it to a hen.

    We traditionally only eat the roosters because we keep the hens for eggs. The Jersey Giants lay double jumbo brown eggs! The Australorps are a fine eating chicken too. Bride of Shrek favors them.

  173. #174 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Nice! I’ll check them out.

    So for you it’s mostly the egg thing.

    I’m going to have to find out more about the rooster / hen conundrum.

  174. #175 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    The county where Jack Daniels is distilled is dry. You can not buy ANY alcohol in that county. Period.

    Now, how the hell does that work? You can make it but you can’t buy it? The logic (or lack thereof) is making my head hurt. I’m guessing the distillery is powered by cognitive dissonance.

  175. #176 Azdak
    November 27, 2008

    I’m guessing the entire culture is powered by cognitive dissonance.

    I went ahead and fixed that for you.

  176. #177 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Well it’s moonshine country. You couldn’t make or sell whiskey back in the day but people did. I’m sure it all comes out of some of odd intertwining of religion and moonshine.

    “Everything” down here does.

  177. #178 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    You couldn’t make or sell whiskey back in the day but people did.

    Reminds of one of my all-time favourite episodes of The Simpsons, Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment. Just brilliant – the ‘Drunken Irish Novelists of Springfield’ who start fights; Moe selling bathtub mint juleps to Southern Gentlemen; Homer’s still exploding and setting him on fire so he has to run out onto the front lawn and roll around to put it out – the list goes on.

  178. #179 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    I’m guessing the entire culture is powered by cognitive dissonance.

    Which culture

  179. #180 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    That episode had some of the best one-liners.

    “Alcohol is a way of life; Alcohol is MY way of life” – Homer Simpson

  180. #181 Candy
    November 27, 2008

    When I made a last-minute grocery run earlier today, I noticed that the beer drapes were deployed, from which I conclude that CT law, at least, treats Thanksgiving as a religious holiday.

    Holy shit! I live in Iowa; beer sales on Sunday were illegal until the early 80s, and then the blue laws were scrapped. I think there’d be an armed uprising now if they tried to revive them. Jeez, how are people supposed to handle those awkward family gatherings without booze? Convenience stores tend to be open 365 days a year, and we can buy beer on Xmas or Easter or any other holiday for that matter. Bars are still required to close at midnight on Sunday, although it’s 2:00 PM any other day of the week. (I think in theory at least this is considered more of a “public good” ordinance than a religious one, it being thought that with the work week beginning the next day it is better that people not be out getting hammered until 2:00 AM. I imagine it’s really just a vestige of the old blue laws. I mean, how is it better not to drink late on Sunday but to be able to drink hearty Mon – Thurs? Oh, well, such is the law.)

    Iowa may not be the best example of a midwestern “heartland” environment, though. This week, the Iowa Supreme Court is going to begin to hear arguments to decide whether or not the gay marriage ban is constitutional. It’s a pretty liberal court, and I’m guessing there’s probably a 90% chance we are going to be the next state to legalize gay marriage. We don’t have stupid “initiatives” and “propositions” here to screw things up, either; ffs, that’s why we elect people to the statehouse, to make laws. Not that we’d be likely to pass a prop 8 here anyway, with a new poll showing fully 60% of Iowans support civil unions at the least. (This is somewhat off topic – okay, more than somewhat – but I’m pretty happy about this. Yay!)

    New poll

    varnum v. brien

  181. #182 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Oops! It’s Jersey Giants (old habit of saying New Jersey), you may have trouble finding them. According to a posting by Slow Food USA – Ark of Taste, on Local Harvest there are less than 5,000 breeding birds in the USA.

    Yep, we do eggs. Our local market is very high end, and ultra finicky. We never allow any roosters in with our virgin hens, the hens live in a pasture with chicken playground equipment, and eat grass & organic feed. You’d fall out of your chair if I told you the obscene price I get for a dozen eggs. We don’t charge extra for the blue and green ones, like most egg sellers do. *grin*

  182. #183 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    Jeez, how are people supposed to handle those awkward family gatherings without booze?

    Exactly. On the rare occasions I’m at any kind of family gathering (not often; they live on the other side of the country) I tend to start drinking at about 10am. Dealing with them sober is just unthinkable.

  183. #184 skepticallyskepticalskeptic
    November 27, 2008

    “You’ve noticed that too, have you? Generally, the only way any thing good comes out of religion is accidentally.”

    So all those hospitals and universities sprung up by accident? Despite the constant claims to the contrary, I don’t see much evidence for the idea that one group (or the other) is somehow better. Were redstaters taking the affirmative, I’d point out that in the west, a country’s being religious correlates with all kinds of nonsense (e.g., higher crime rates) while, on the other hand, officially atheist countries have this unfortunate tendency to kill their citizens in huge numbers. Atheists in the USA are less likely to divorce but also less likely to give to charity (even secular charities). So no, I’ve noticed no such thing.

  184. #185 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    I don’t see much evidence for the idea that one group (or the other) is somehow better.

    All joking and snark aside, I agree with this.

  185. #186 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    while, on the other hand, officially atheist countries have this unfortunate tendency to kill their citizens in huge numbers.

    What’s with the atheism = communism arguments that keep coming up? The soviet union was a totalitarian state that acted to fortify it’s own power. This dogmatic structure is no different from a theocracy – they are both opposite to secularism (which is what almost all atheist advocate). Dogmatism = bad

  186. #187 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    The one big difference is that the religious refuse to tolerate the non-religious, and keep wanting to insert their religion places where it doesn’t belong. Like in politics, schools, courts, and our front doors. If religious people would keep their religion to themselves, we atheists would not bother them. But that doesn’t happen.

  187. #188 may
    November 27, 2008

    happy blobbing.

    as for why not do it at Christmas instead?

    i get a feeling Americans do it at Christmas as well.

  188. #189 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    What’s with the atheism = communism arguments that keep coming up?

    It’s a widely held belief of the skeptically skeptical skeptics.

  189. #190 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    It’s a widely held belief of the skeptically skeptical skeptics.

    In other words, someone who can’t sufficiently analyze something to find the root cause. The communist countries had a religion, but it was a cult of personality for whichever leader they had at the moment, with communist rhetoric as the dogma. Not a true secular society.

  190. #191 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    The one big difference is that the religious refuse to tolerate the non-religious, and keep wanting to insert their religion places where it doesn’t belong.

    A trait common to many communist countries as well, to be sure (it was a component of Marxist ideology).

    It is a trait that most atheists have no wish to emulate. The difference is that we’re actually interested in the hows and whys of such things, so that they can be avoided. The lesson we can take from religion is that blind obedience and willful ignorance hasn’t shown itself to be particularly effective in preventing such things.

    It’s time to look at the evidence and change our understanding to fit the real world, rather than the ass-backwardness of religious denial.

  191. #192 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    If the religious were happy to keep their lies and nonsense to their homes and their churches where no-one who doesn’t want to listen to it is bothered by it then there wouldn’t be a problem.

    But they don’t. They rant about the US being a ‘christian nation’ and want to erect monuments to the ten commandments, fight against the consensus of the worldwide scientific community to have nonsensical mythology taught as an ‘alternative option’, and use the so-called morality of their bronze-age predecessors to determine social policy that oppresses homosexuals and leads to the spread of death, disease and an increase in abortions and/or unwanted children.

    As an atheist I don’t need religion to be wiped out. I just don’t want to have to hear about it or have to tolerate the people who believe in it be justified by it in making poor decisions that negatively affect the society in which I live.

  192. #193 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    Not a true secular society.

    Again, what’s with people not knowing the difference between atheism and secularism? (not you Mr. of Redhead)

  193. #194 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    As an atheist I don’t need religion to be wiped out. I just don’t want to have to hear about it or have to tolerate the people who believe in it be justified by it in making poor decisions that negatively affect the society in which I live.

    One minute there was a nail here, then Wowbagger showed up and Wham!

  194. #195 gene
    November 27, 2008

    #50 I’m thankful for the Haber-Bosch process, sewage systems, and SCIENCE!

  195. #196 Don't Panic
    November 27, 2008

    Negentropyeater@92,
    Exactly, Thanksgiving is there so one can alternate families and holidays. This year we’re flying back to CA to spend Xmas with my in-laws. But we’re too poor to fly out for thanksgiving with the outlaws. So I spent it grocery shopping (nothing like waiting for the last second) and cooking.

    Whoa, did I cook too much food for just the three of us. Turkey (on the grill), mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, rolls, cranberry jelly … Okay, we were a little short of greens. I would have steamed broccoli but the microwave was making weird sounds and smelling funny. Tomorrow we’ll go shopping for a replacement. Then I’ll be truly thankful :-)

  196. #197 mindlesley
    November 27, 2008

    Patricia, DO I wish you could post me a pumpkin pie. Maybe also tell me how to select/raise chickens.
    In Aus. we have every climate from bloody cold (the arse end of Tasmania) to bloody hot above the tropic of Capricorn,(Darwin or Cape York). At the moment we are getting a quite innappropiate monsoon-like event in central-South-eastern Aust. Our weather is getting more extreme – go figure, global warming?
    On the subject of hols, (note Oz bloggers, in fact Oz dwellers generally, are abbreviationists in extremis), here fulltime permanent employees get at least 4 weeks paid holiday leave per year often more. Plus stress leave, family leave and so on. Also have lots of meaningless days off for irrelevancies like the queen’s birthday – irrelevant unless you’re a queen.
    Ditto Anzac Day, nice for old soldiers and their fans, but they’re dying off and we need another war to replenish both them and stimulate world economy.
    Also see Australia Day, Jan26, which is bloody hot usually, where most of us celebrate living within coo-ee of a beach. And some others patriotically celebrate near extinction of Aborigines who usually hold a demo about us invading their country. So you see we are just one big happy family – civilised but still somewhat savage. Thanksgiving for such a rational (generally), humorous (often) and discursive site, your Aus. educationalista, Mindlesley

  197. #198 Ed Darrell
    November 27, 2008

    Obama wouldn’t be able to take over early. Pelosi would automatically be succeeded by Condoleeza Rice, who is fourth in line of succession.

    Surely you can be patient for a couple more months?!

    Pelosi could nominate Obama to be vice president; if the Senate would confirm quickly, Pelosi could then resign, and Obama would be president early.

    Of course, we could keep Pelosi, if Cheney would resign first, and Bush would appoint Obama VP, and then resign after the Senate confirms Obama.

    We will have to wait at least fifty-someodd days, alas. Unless Cheney gets struck by patriotism and conscience.

    I suspect we’ll wait. Can the nation survive? Probably. We are a hopeful bunch.

    (Thanks, Mike Haubrich, for the plug for margaritas and nachos. I’m sure Texans didn’t have those at the first Thanksgiving, but they’ve left us precious little in the way of historic recipes or tradition to follow, and heaven knows we need the margaritas.)

  198. #199 shonny
    November 27, 2008

    OMG that is FUCKING AWESOME! Next thing you know Bill O’Reilly will have a colostomy.

    – or lobotomy? Oops, too late for that, nothing left up there!

    Good news about Tranny Annie though. For as long as it lasts.

  199. #200 clinteas
    November 27, 2008

    A belated Happy Birthday,SC !!!

    And that was the most original interpretation of Thanksgiving that I’ve ever heard,thanks PZ,made me read up on the stuff.

    while, on the other hand, officially atheist countries have this unfortunate tendency to kill their citizens in huge numbers.

    YAWN.

  200. #201 skepticallyskepticalskeptic
    November 27, 2008

    “What’s with the atheism = communism arguments that keep coming up?”

    You’re projecting (unless you argue that, for example, the Reign of Terror was Marxist).

  201. #202 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    You’re projecting (unless you argue that, for example, the Reign of Terror was Marxist).

    I wouldn’t argue it had anything to do with atheism, the system was set up where the state had supreme power. What happened in soviet had nothing to do with atheism, to even bring it up is a deliberate attempt to misrepresent atheists and show the dangers of something that doesn’t exist.

  202. #203 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    “officially atheist countries have this unfortunate tendency to kill their citizens in huge numbers”
    Don’t pretend you were talking about the Reign Of Terror there. Not that it matters, France was not an official atheist state and the fighting was a political struggle.

  203. #204 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    What happened in soviet had nothing to do with atheism, to even bring it up is a deliberate attempt to misrepresent atheists and show the dangers of something that doesn’t exist.

    Exactly. You might as well point out that the people involved were a-unicornists as well and that, in order to ensure such massacres don’t happen in the future, we should all start believing in unicorns.

  204. #205 mayhempix
    November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving from Buenos Aires.

    We went to a restaurant called Kansas… yes, Kansas, but without creationists. It is “the” North American restaurant here, overlooks the polo field and looks like a giant Houston’s. They have the best Caesar Salad in Latin America and ribs to die for. But tonight was turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato with pecans, veggies and pecan pie. And did I mention it was in the high 90s and so humid you could almost swim? So the air conditioning was just as great as the meal.

    Happy birthday to SC.
    And yes patricia, jcr is the asshole of the turkey. Only a turkey’s asshole or Libertarian (same difference) would claim that private ownership and the Free Market God saved the pilgrims.

  205. #206 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    mindlesley – Yeah, I wish pies could be shipped too. We have blueberries, cherries, apples, pumpkins and wild Huckleberries during the year that are wonderful. Mostly I bake pies for my daddy, he is almost 80 years old, and spoiled rotten.

    Bride of Shrek raises chickens in Oz. Perhaps she could advise some breeds for you. We free-cycled our coops and fencing. Now we free-cycle our egg cartons, and pasture feed, so it is very cheap to keep hens. My chickens aren’t atheists, they think I’m gawd. *snicker, snicker*

  206. #207 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Oh happy B-Day SC!!

    I just downed the obligatory turkey sandwich.

  207. #208 Farmisht Phoenix
    November 27, 2008

    “Parvenu Lunatics” is my new band.

  208. #209 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Oh dear, I missed an asshole.
    OK, I plead cooking, baking and knitting a sock. I need to shape up!

    For those interested, the Jersey Giant rooster was a wonderful bird. Sublime flavor, and very tender. Tomorrow he will be chunked into a stock pot and made into chicken and dumplings. My dumplings are light enough to float, almost like clouds. (Sorry vegetarians & vegans)

    Perhaps PZ could be nudged into opening a thread for Solstice recipes and we foodies could share some treats?

  209. #210 dkew
    November 27, 2008

    PZ is incorrect to lump the Separatists of Plymouth Colony (the Pilgrims) with the Massachusetts Bay Puritans. Plymouth actually got along with its native neighbors reasonably well for 50 years (see Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Mayflower” for a recent semischolarly history.) JCR, as always, is full of shit, in this case about the extent and timing of Plymouth deaths.
    http://www.mayflowerhistory.com/index.php

  210. #211 barkdog
    November 27, 2008

    As long as we are all piling on John C Randolph, I might as well add that communal landholding was the norm throughout the middle ages, when Europe reached a height of prosperity that was not matched again for centuries after it was ended by the black death. On the other hand, one of the great causes of misery in Britain during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries waa the conversion of remaining communal holdings to private property via acts of enclosure. This may have been a necessary preliminary to the industrial revolution, but it was no picnic for the rural population.

  211. #212 Nemo
    November 27, 2008

    Here’s my Thanksgiving…

    It started with a preacher coming to my door (despite my “No Soliciting” sign). I fully expected this today, but it was no less annoying for that. After some banalities, she said “Marriage today is under attack! Let me read to you from the book of Job…” Lacking the patience to argue (it’s all I can do to refrain from shouting at these people), I gave her the finger and closed the door.

    Then we went to my sister’s for dinner. That part was fine.

    But then as we came home, on my street, we saw a beautiful, tiny, dead cat. :(

    So, humbug.

  212. #213 Nerd of Redhead
    November 27, 2008

    Perhaps PZ could be nudged into opening a thread for Solstice recipes and we foodies could share some treats?

    I would second that motion. I’m sure Rev. BDC is interested, and we might even get MAJeff to drop by for a quick recipe. The Redhead has had me type up several of her recipes for her friends, so I can add something from those files. Baklava anyone? (No, that ones too long to post here, about 3 pages with drawings.)

  213. #214 Monado
    November 27, 2008

    Here’s something to be thankful for: the South African cricket team, including its six security advisers, led 120 people out of the Taj hotel in Mumbai after it was attacked by terrorists. They organized, armed, called hotel security to tell them noncombatants were coming out, and led the people down 25 flights of stairs via a fire escape and out the back. The story is here; it says 150 people escaped and the team led 120 people out so I guess that puts 30 people with the cricket team.

  214. #215 Monado
    November 27, 2008

    Arrgh, forgot the link. Check out the picture of the security guy: he looks like a serious dude.

  215. #216 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Whao.. that’s pretty cool Monado.

  216. #217 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Nemo – Your sign is too kind. If you own your home then you can be much more direct.
    My current sign says: No bible thumpers wanted! Knock on this door, we will sacrifice you to Kali. Babies eaten raw.
    In other words christians: FUCK OFF!

    This is printed in red ink on slime green card stock. And guess what, they feel that I am MORE in need of saving!

    When I get that marriage shit, I feel free to lie. I tell them I have seven husbands, two wives and a billy goat from Enumclaw.

  217. #218 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    See, i welcome them at my house because the never show up. I want to get the chance to have a little discussion with them

    Just the other day a couple jahovas Witnesses came to the door and Mrs. BigDumbChimp shoo’d them away without telling me.

    The first such visitors ever at this house in 3 years.

    and yes I’d be into the recipe thing

  218. #219 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Nerd of Redhead – Another fun thread might be – ethnic folk food customs.
    i.e. hillbillies on how to catch wild ducks or geese – bruise dried corn with a mallet, and soak over night in whiskey or moonshine. Scatter corn on bank of a pond or lake. Observe ducks and geese eating corn. When they are staggering drunk, dash out and capture them.

    And just watch, we’ll get the trout ticklers.

  219. #220 Pimientita
    November 27, 2008

    In the south there are still a lot of Blue Laws that keep liquor from being sold on Sunday. Sometimes beer and wine as well. I wasn’t aware CT had these laws. I assumed it was purely a Bible belt thing.

    Well, even here in NYC you can’t serve alcohol in a restaurant or bar before noon on Sundays and there’s still a few hours every night that any alcohol besides beer can’t be sold (beer is included in the “on premises” rules, though, I believe). The latter seems to me more of a “crime prevention” measure than anything, but the former is strictly blue law.

    Seems we aren’t safe from theocracy even in heathen Gotham.

  220. #221 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    So what do you discuss with them Chimpy? Balaam’s Ass?
    Once I start spouting the bible’s contradiction’s at the morons they usually retreat.

  221. #222 Craig
    November 28, 2008

    I don’t want religion wiped out AND I don’t want to not have to hear about it either, since not having to hear about it would require oppression. After all, I also have to hear about crop circles and Chuck Norris and America’s Next Top Model and pro wrestling and Donald Trump and other idiotic things.

    As long as hearing about religion is only on the level of those other things – a strange subculture or annoying individual – then I can handle it.

  222. #223 Wowbagger
    November 28, 2008

    As long as hearing about religion is only on the level of those other things – a strange subculture or annoying individual – then I can handle it.

    That is pretty much what I meant by what I wrote earlier – I think it’s a bit of a leap to equate ‘don’t want to have to hear about’ to ‘no-one is allowed to talk about it, ever, on pain of death’.

    For example, I don’t want to have to hear the music of Celine Dion, but that doesn’t mean I’m advocating having her whacked in order to achieve that.

  223. #224 Liberal Atheist
    November 28, 2008

    Maybe it’s high time to create some new holidays when we celebrate science and scepticism? I’m starting out small next year with Pi Day on 3/14. Seriously though, how about creating a new Christmas/Yule that has nothing to do with human/god hybrids or other obviously fictional entities and instead we decide to review the year in science and celebrate it. The Christmas/Yule decorations would be inspired by science, there are a lot of fascinating imagery from the instruments of science, whether they be microscopes or telescopes. The food would be the same obviously.

  224. #225 Cathy in Seattle
    November 28, 2008

    My ancestors (some of them) managed to survive that first winter in this country with the help of the Native Americans. I also had ancestors that didn’t survive (although children did, from which I descend). I’m the first to admit many of them were grade-A bastard religious whackos who quickly wore out the welcome everywhere they went. Some, however, were just along for the ride to the new world and didn’t have any particular religious axe to grind.

    They most certainly didn’t play right or fair with the locals. Many of them paid for it, too, later. However, the bottom line is, even with all of their mechanisms, they managed to produce a few liberals, such as myself. Even a president or two.

    I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving, and were able to find something to be truly grateful for. I’m grateful for Freedom of Speech, and hope to see the the return of the Constitution again –

  225. #226 Angel Kaida
    November 28, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving, all – even though it’s a little bit after Thanksgiving technically. I’m thankful to Al Gore for inventing the internet so I could “meet” all of you, and I’m thankful to PZ for writing his blog, and I’m thankful to my housemate for inviting me and the other lonely college kids over to his house to share Thanksgiving with his family. I’m thankful to his family for being so very nice, and to his mom for finally making turkey moist enough for me to eat it without sad. And I’m thankful to all the stores that will be slashing their prices tomorrow out of blind greed and commercialism, because I need shoes. Yay. I’m thankful to the people who run the center for wounded raptors that I was able to visit today, and thankful to evolution (I CAN BE THANKFUL TO BLIND PROCESSES IF I WANT TO) for beautiful birds.
    Yay.

  226. #227 clinteas
    November 28, 2008

    I’m thankful to Al Gore for inventing the internet so I could “meet” all of you

    Nice to meet you too !

    The Internet was however “invented”,if you want to use that word,by the military,to be able to exchange information in case of a nuclear war or somesuch.Google “DARPA” for more info.

  227. #228 Jorg Willekens
    November 28, 2008
  228. #229 Quiet_Desperation
    November 28, 2008

    Just a nitpick: witch hunting didn’t happen much here in the colonies outside of the Salem flare up. Heh heh…. flare up. And there were no burnings here.

    Massive witch hunts and executions were a European phenomena with anywhere from 50,000 to 150,000 dead between the years 1550 and 1650. Catholics tended to burn. Protestant favored hanging.

    From the DidYouKnow department:Nearly a full 1/4 of the victims were male.

    From the Unintended Consequences department: The witch hunt era was greatly enabled by Gutenburg. The printing press led to the mass distribution of Papal books on witch persecution. Of particular note is the “”Summis Desiderantes” by Pope Innocent #8.

    From the Candle In The Darkness department: In 1584, Reginald Scot publishes” Discoverie of Witchcraft” in which he claims supernatural powers do not exist and neither do witches.

    From the Statistical Clustering department: Witch execution during the peak era: England=70,000. Scotland=17,000. Ireland? Four.

    Some consider the flurry of accusations about ritual abuse at day care centers, pre-schools and Sunday schools here in North America in the 1980s and early 1990s to be similar phenomena.

    I passed through Salem 10 years ago on business. They have odd traffic signals. There was one that lit the yellow and red at the same time, and another exhibited a blinking green light. No other place in the state I have been has such things.

  229. #230 clinteas
    November 28, 2008

    QD wrote :

    From the Unintended Consequences department: The witch hunt era was greatly enabled by Gutenburg. The printing press led to the mass distribution of Papal books on witch persecution

    1. Its Gutenberg
    2. So car manufacturers are responsible for the deaths on our roads?The gun manufacturers for people getting shot? Got a broken logic circuit or two there,mate.

  230. #231 Stephen Wells
    November 28, 2008

    Did you notice that Obama’s thanksgiving address didn’t mention God once? It was- shock horror- secular.

  231. #232 johannes
    November 28, 2008

    > Much of the anti-sex stuff attributed to the early Puritans
    > them is as phony as the Plymouth Rock story and came from
    > the 19th Century.

    Exactly. Most – if not all – pre-industrial societies tried to ban or sanction extramarital sex. This isn’t something special, or peculiar to Puritans. Of course, this only applied for the middle classes. The leaders always had there mistresses, and if indentured servants bred without marrying, well, their children were an supply of cheap labour, and as such a welcome addition to the property of their masters.

    > The same with the severe dress and have-no-fun crap.

    Left-from-center heretical sects traditionally preferred bright colours like red (still associated with revolution and rebellion even today) or yellow – probably an artefact of manichean traditions, with their cult of light. Taylor’s bills to parlamentarian officers from the English Civil War are known, and they clearly show that the customers were sharp dressers, who ordered lots of silk, lace and ribbons.

  232. #233 CosmicTeapot
    November 28, 2008

    Last month, we had the holy joes call on us. I had to run down 3 flight of stairs to find out who they were. As soon as I saw them in their suits, I guessed who they were.

    As an englishman in Germany I played the ‘my german is not very good’ card, but one had a very good grasp of english.

    So I asked if they were jehova witnesses. When they said yes, I told them I did not believe in god.

    Now knowing I was an atheist, I could not believe it when they asked what I thought gods future plans for the world were. I think the fact that they had met an atheist threw them so much they had to get back on track with their questions regardless of how irrelevant they were to me.

    I was not prepared to deal with such stupidity so I asked them to leave, and no, we did not want a copy of the Watchtower. If I had to climb 3 flights of stairs, then they could jolly well carry their copies of the Watchtower.

    I hope all you americans (and canadians?) had a brilliant thanksgiving and SC, I hope you had a fantastic birthday.

  233. #234 Quiet_Desperation
    November 28, 2008

    1. Its Gutenberg

    Yay! Typo Nazi! Haven’t had one of you in days! You get a cookie!

    Actually, I did that on purpose to give people like you something to do today.

    2. So car manufacturers are responsible for the deaths on our roads?The gun manufacturers for people getting shot? Got a broken logic circuit or two there,mate.

    Pointing out an unintended consequence is not the same as blaming. Keyword = unintended. (rolls eyes) Broken reading comprehension circuit there, mate.

  234. #235 Quiet_Desperation
    November 28, 2008

    I could not believe it when they asked what I thought gods future plans for the world were.

    Well, assuming there is a God for sake of answering the question, based on His track record, I’d say he plans on coating the Earth with His gigantic, projectile diarrhea shits for yet another 3000 years. Say that to them next time just to see how they react. :-)

    But I’m not bitter.

    Well, OK, yes, I am.

  235. #236 BioMan
    November 28, 2008

    1. Its Gutenberg

    Shouldn’t that be “It’s”?

  236. #237 clinteas
    November 28, 2008

    QD,

    so pointing out a wrong policy of,say,GWB,makes me a policy Nazi?

    //Pointing out an unintended consequence is not the same as blaming. Keyword = unintended//

    Thats true,my bad.

  237. #238 Quiet_Desperation
    November 28, 2008

    so pointing out a wrong policy of,say,GWB,makes me a policy Nazi?

    Um, no.

    To illustrate:

    1. Typing an incorrect letter due to being on the brink of a tryptophan induced coma.
    2.Committing thousands of troops and billions of dollars to invading a another country based on bad and/or ignored and/or fabricated intelligence.

    Can you see the difference in magnitude here?

    Be honest. You are *totally* drunk, aren’t you? ;-)

  238. #239 mayhempix
    November 28, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving from Buenos Aires.

    We went to a restaurant called Kansas… yes, Kansas, but without creationists. It is “the” North American restaurant here, overlooks the polo field and looks like a giant Houston’s. They have the best Caesar Salad in Latin America and ribs to die for. But tonight was turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato with pecans, veggies and pecan pie. And did I mention it was in the high 90s and so humid you could almost swim? So the air conditioning was just as great as the meal.

    Happy birthday to SC.
    And yes patricia, jcr is the asshole of the turkey. Only a turkey’s asshole or Libertarian (same difference) would claim that private ownership and the Free Market God saved the pilgrims.

  239. #240 BioMan
    November 28, 2008

    @mayhempix

    http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/3507051.html

    (Waiting for ad hom attack on source in 3… 2… 1…)

  240. #241 mayhempix
    November 28, 2008

    Oooops. Sorry for the repeat post. For some reason it was still in the comment box when I refreshed this morning.

  241. #242 mayhempix
    November 28, 2008

    @bioman

    The Hoover Institution and Tom Bethel as a reputable source? Classic historical revisionism. This is from the same mindset that is determined to recast the Founding Fathers as Christians. Too funny!

    And I guess if you want to call the truth an ad hom attack, be my guest as the truth has never stopped Libertarians from persisting in their irrational belief of the Free Market God.

  242. #243 Stephen Wells
    November 28, 2008

    @240: Glancing over the linked article, I note that:

    (i) The article notes that the colony’s problems had a lot to do with the way it was funded, i.e. by for-profit investors demanding a high rate of return; it then declares by fiat that this wasn’t the real problem and settles down to commons-bashing. Bias much?

    (ii) The argument in this thread was against JCR who claimed that common property ownership led to the large number of deaths from starvation. Several posters have pointed out that most of these deaths occurred on board ship before any farming could occur at all. Nothing in the linked article refutes or even addresses that.

    (iii) the article’s opening claim, “There are three configurations of property rights: state, communal, and private property” is true in much the same sense as “There are three configurations of colour; red, green and blue.”

  243. #244 Tom
    November 28, 2008

    You forgot about the question of who we’re supposed to be thanking. Many people are now trying to twist Thanksgiving into a religious holiday, which would make it a holiday about completely missing the point:

    We are so thankful that we survived the winter, that we invite the “godless barbarians” whose generosity helped us survive, over for a feast, in which we thank God, and no one else, for the food on our table.

  244. #245 GuyIncognito
    November 28, 2008

    …the Friday after has evolved into something called Black Friday, in which stores offer sales to entice mobs into the malls for the biggest shopping day of the year, so we also celebrate with naked greed and commercialism.

    Too true:

    Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death by Customers

  245. #246 Angel Kaida
    November 28, 2008

    @227,
    Sorry… I was making an internet meme joke :( a bad one, but still a joke. I know where the internet comes from! Kinda!

  246. #247 ndt
    November 28, 2008

    Posted by: Craig | November 27, 2008 11:18 AM

    (OK, I’ll admit, your 1860 Republicans were quite a bit different in some respects from the ones they have these days…)

    Hell, 1960 Republicans were quite a bit different from the ones we have these days.

  247. #248 ndt
    November 28, 2008

    Posted by: John | November 27, 2008 11:39 AM

    Craig @ #60:
    “Um… the pilgrims were theocrats who wanted the “religious freedom” to force everyone to adhere to their beliefs, something they weren’t getting back home.”

    Really? Tell me more, Craig. I’d like for you to explain how Congregationalism, which is expressly about not having a central authority for THEIR OWN CHURCH, somehow constitutes wanting to force everyone to adhere to their beliefs.

    That’s modern Congregationalism. Their beliefs are radically different from their Pilgrim antecedents. You do know how Rhode Island was founded, right? Guy had to leave New England because he wasn’t the right kind of Christian? Any of that ring a bell?

    Posted by: John | November 27, 2008 11:41 AM
    Yeah, that Lincoln was such an asshole for freeing the slaves…

    Lincoln didn’t free the slaves. The amendment ending slavery was proposed and enacted after his death. You don’t know much about American history, do you?

  248. #249 ndt
    November 28, 2008

    Regarding blue laws, we have them here in Minnesota too. you can’t buy alcohol to take home on Sundays, but the stores don’t have to hide like in the state another poster talked about. And you can still drink in a bar or restaurant on Sundays.

    Bit in libertine Wisconsin the liquor stores are open on Sundays. I’ve been known to make a cross-border beer run in an pinch. I usually pick up some fireworks while I’m there.

  249. #250 mindlesley
    November 28, 2008

    Patricia apart from occasionally thinking I am god, at the moment you are my god of sublime cooking and poultry care. There are a few amazing literalists on this site, like those responding to Angel Kaida’s obviously sardonic statement re Al Gore/net. We in Oz have been infused from birth with a nationally-sanctioned vaccine against literal meaning. Leaves you a trifle paranoid but very humourously happy. Regards to all for your holiday, Mindlesley

  250. #251 SASnSA
    November 28, 2008

    GuyIncognito,
    I’ll see your “Walmart employee trampled” and raise you “Two killed in Toys ‘R’ Us shooting”

  251. #252 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 28, 2008

    Gutenburg

    Gutenberg. Mountain, not medieval castle. Not pronounced the same either.

    (Though some say his real name was Gensfleisch von Sorgenloch — “geese meat of worry hole”.)

  252. #253 Quiet_Desperation
    November 29, 2008

    David Marjanovi?: Gutenberg.

    Yes, yes, we’ve been through all that. (rolls eyes again)

  253. #254 Sphere Coupler
    November 29, 2008

    Had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat…and woke up the next day and did it again…life is good…

  254. #255 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Nice post, PZ. It beautifully illustrates the basic harmony between modern “scientific” atheism & anti-Americanism. My only question: Which came first?

  255. #256 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, since you are an illogical godbot, you obviously don’t understand the post. Time to let go of your illogic and embrace the rationality that is atheism. All the cognitive dissonance that is required to believe religion will go away, and you can finally understand the world as it is.

  256. #257 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    Ahhh, John Knight is back. The infamous turd who posted “You all hate God and people who try to honour God”

    Still posting misinformed inanity I see. Good to see you are at least consistent.

  257. #258 Owlmirror
    November 29, 2008

    It beautifully illustrates the basic harmony between modern “scientific” atheism & anti-Americanism. My only question: Which came first?

    Oh, definitely the anti-Americanism. Here’s an early “anti-American”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Williams_(theologian)

  258. #259 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Ah, yes. The “rationality” of the promiscuous personal attack. How I have missed it.

  259. #260 Owlmirror
    November 29, 2008

    The “rationality” of the promiscuous personal attack. How I have missed it.

    How can you possibly “miss” it? You are guilty of having performed it, multiple times, you hypocrite.

  260. #261 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    Meh, you’re nothing but trolling Godbot. If you even had the slightest intelligence you would know that atheists by definition can’t hate God, otherwise they wouldn’t be atheists. You can’t hate God and not believe in him.

    And for the hundreds of posts where you kept going on about the problem of induction, there’s no point in trying to engage you in anything but hostilities anymore. You’ve shown yourself to be a self-deceptive moron, not applying your own standards of criticism to your own beliefs and deluding yourself into thinking that there’s an internal consistency that is simply not there. Nothing but a trolling Godbot who doesn’t have anything worthwhile to contribute.

  261. #262 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    You can’t hate God and not believe in him.

    True. But you can hate God & profess not to believe in God. It is possible to hate God & to suppress (even to oneself) the knowledge of God. Indeed, hatred is a very good motive for suppressing that knowledge.

  262. #263 Wowbagger
    November 29, 2008

    John Knight whimpered:

    Ah, yes. The “rationality” of the promiscuous personal attack. How I have missed it.

    How on earth can you miss it, John? I strongly suspect that you receive it wherever you go.

  263. #264 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, ready to show us the physical proof for your imaginary god yet? Your god doesn’t exist, so no need to bow to what is only between your ears.

  264. #265 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    True. But you can hate God & profess not to believe in God. It is possible to hate God & to suppress (even to oneself) the knowledge of God. Indeed, hatred is a very good motive for suppressing that knowledge.

    Yes, but these people aren’t atheists. Us on the other hand don’t believe in God, just like we don’t believe in Brahman, Thor, Apollo, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Lord Xenu, the Giant Rainbow Serpent or Ziltoid The Omniscient. I no more believe in God than I do the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Do you believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? If you say no, I’ll take that as you suppressing your knowledge of the FSM through hatred.

  265. #266 Wowbagger
    November 29, 2008

    John Knight,

    True. But you can hate God reality & profess not to believe in God reality. It is possible to hate God reality & to suppress (even to oneself) the knowledge of God reality. Indeed, hatred fueled by religious belief is a very good motive for suppressing that knowledge of reality.

    Fixed it for you.

  266. #267 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Us on the other hand don’t believe in God, just like we don’t believe in Brahman, Thor, Apollo, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Lord Xenu, the Giant Rainbow Serpent or Ziltoid The Omniscient. I no more believe in God than I do the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    And yet your actions say otherwise.

  267. #268 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, please show us physical proof for your alleged god. Your avoidance of the question is really giving us the answer that god doesn’t exist.

  268. #269 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    And yet your actions say otherwise.

    What actions?

    You are still as full of shit as you were when you first started posting here.

  269. #270 Wowbagger
    November 29, 2008

    And yet your actions say otherwise.

    Care to elaborate on that, John? It should be easy if what you say is true.

  270. #271 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    It should be easy if what you say is true.

    Why would it be easy?

  271. #272 Wowbagger
    November 29, 2008

    John,

    Why would it be easy?

    Have you been at the blackberry nip again John, or have you suffered a head injury? It’s not exactly a complicated request.

    In post #266 Kel wrote this:

    I no more believe in God than I do the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    In #267, you wrote:

    And yet your actions say otherwise.

    To which actions are you referring?

    Sheesh. It’s like playing with my sister’s kids.

  272. #273 Sastra
    November 29, 2008

    John Knight #262 wrote:

    But you can hate God & profess not to believe in God. It is possible to hate God & to suppress (even to oneself) the knowledge of God.

    This isn’t a persuasive argument. It wouldn’t work on you. Telling people who disagree with you that they don’t really disagree with you, they’re only pretending to themselves that they disagree with you, is self-serving and pointless.

    Of course, on the atheist side, there is an interesting argument that people who claim to believe in God are self-deceived, and really don’t believe in God at all:

    http://carnap.umd.edu/~georey/Phil100/metaath.html

    “…all I want to claim is that for most contemporary adults in our culture, there is some level at which they know very well the religious stories are false, even if they manage to get themselves to “believe”, avow, defend and even die for them on the surface.”

    So there you go…

  273. #274 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    I ask again, what actions? If you are counting as me being hostile to you as evidence of me hating God and people who try to honour God, then you are severely deluded. I no more believe in God than I do the FSM, and as for you I don’t think you are a honourable person in the slightest. I have no problems with people wanting to believe in God, I have problems when people say stupid shit like “You all hate God and those who try to honour God.” My problem with you is because you are an idiot who hasn’t shown a single redeemable feature in the hundreds of posts you have made here. It’s got nothing to do with the proposition of whether God exists or not, and it’s got nothing to do with you coming to a different answer than me. It’s got everything to do with the way you speak on here.

    Notice that I’m not going after theists like Scott Hatfield? Hell my favourite youTube channel is made by a theist. There are many theists with admirable traits that should be admired for their actions. But you are not one of them, and it’s entirely irrelevant to the question of God’s existence. When it comes down to it, I echo what Nerd of Redhead is saying. No physical evidence, nothing to give weight to the idea, no reason to believe. This has nothing to do with hate and you are pathetic for dismissing my non-belief as inner-hatred of what I know.

  274. #275 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Kel: The use of language, the use of induction, the use of logic: How do any of these make sense on your professed world-view?

    Wowbagger: Just watch. It’s gonna get real complicated real fast.

    Sastra: In & of itself, no, it’s not a good argument. As part of a larger whole, well, it might be. Keep in mind it was in response to Kel’s earlier questions to me.

  275. #276 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    JK, if you aren’t just a delusional godbot, give us some physical proof for your imaginary god.

  276. #277 Sastra
    November 29, 2008

    John Knight #275 wrote:

    In & of itself, no, it’s not a good argument. As part of a larger whole, well, it might be.

    If “part of an argument” includes the assertion that the point of contention is already accepted by the other side, but is being secretly repressed, I’m not really sure you could call that an argument.

  277. #278 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    Kel: The use of language, the use of induction, the use of logic: How do any of these make sense on your professed world-view?

    Language – evolved
    Induction – falsifiable
    Use of logic – useless in the real world without evidential support

    Please don’t bring up the problem of induction again, I’ve read it dozens of time.

  278. #279 John Morales
    November 29, 2008

    @275. Presuppositionalism. Bah.

  279. #280 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    Wowbagger: Just watch. It’s gonna get real complicated real fast.

    Wowbagger, this just menas that we are going to see John Knight talk about the problem of induction over and over, while claiming that the source of morality is God, and that the bible is both logically consistent and morally steadfast. In other words, he’ll talk with no evidence for his God and spend the entire time doing the creationist tactic of simply trying to tear down the opposition.

    This is why I see no honour in you John Knight. You are an intellectual coward who did nothing but try to beat down another’s position in order to win by default.

  280. #281 Wowbagger
    November 29, 2008

    John, stop obfuscating and answer the question.

    How, exactly, is Kel’s disbelief in the other deities different from his disbelief in your god? What are the ‘actions’ to which you referred?

    If you aren’t prepared to answer it, withdraw your remark.

  281. #282 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    How, exactly, is Kel’s disbelief in the other deities different from his disbelief in your god? What are the ‘actions’ to which you referred?

    Apparently he can prove logically that Jesus rose on the 3rd day and ascended to heaven.

  282. #283 Wowbagger
    November 29, 2008

    Apparently he can prove logically that Jesus rose on the 3rd day and ascended to heaven.

    I believe the only thing that John Knight has proven is that there is no depth of intellectual vacuity to which a mind warped by religion will not sink.

  283. #284 Nerd of Redhead
    November 29, 2008

    Logic can lie if the premises are flawed. They are always flawed where religion is concerned, because there is no physical proof for god. The presumption must be god only exists between the ears of the person making the claim.

    Good physical proof is much harder to refute.

  284. #285 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    That’s just it. He can talk until the cows come home about being philosophically consistent, how his epistomology works. But quite simply his worldview comes down to accepting that Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day. You can’t prove or disprove that with philosophy alone, you need to appeal to some form of evidence in order to accept that. John Knight may not like it, but his entire worldview is based around anecdotal evidence. He’s trying to break down the very foundation on which is builds his beliefs on.

  285. #286 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Ah, Kel, let me re-phrase the question:

    How does your world-view provide the necessary predicates for using language?
    For making objective moral claims?
    For making probablistic claims based on past experience?
    For using logic?

    ~To use language, one must employ concepts & categories. (Cf. Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge.) However, one can never empirically perceive concepts & categories. One can only perceive particular members of categories, and even then one can perceive them as members of that category unless one already has some knowledge of that category. (Cf. Wilfred Sellars, Science, Perception, and Reality. Ludwig Wittgenstein also refutes the empiricist theory of concept formation, but I don’t remember where he does so.)

    ~Moral obligations are immaterial in character. They do not exist in a material universe. Nor can they be empirically perceived.

    ~Probablistic claims based on past experience presuppose the regularity of the natural world. On what basis do you believe in the regularity of the natural world?

    ~The use of logic is predicated on rules of logic or laws of logic. However, such laws are necessarily immaterial in nature, and cannot exist in a materialistic universe. Nor can they be ascertained empirically.

    As silly as these examples may seem, they are enduring problems in philosophy. The core assumptions of Christian world-view, however, provide the basic tools to deal with these problems & so provide the preconditions of intelligibility, because the direct, immediate, self-revelation of God provides the ultimate basis for all other knowledge (however indirectly derived).

  286. #287 Kel
    November 29, 2008

    How does your world-view provide the necessary predicates for using language?

    An evolved brain capable of communication, and some physical means to articulate the sound. Though as we’ve seen, we don’t need to speak in order to communicate in language. Deaf children have been able to communicate using hand gestures. So really all you need is a learning brain and a mode of communication.

    For making objective moral claims?

    Who says we can? As far as we can see, there is no universal morality. But don’t confuse the lack of universal morality with moral subjectivism, morality is a social construct and thus it has constraints.

    For making probablistic claims based on past experience?

    Induction. Don’t bring up the problem of induction again, I’ve read it dozens of times from you. You said probabilistic, not absolute.

    For using logic?

    It depends on the situation. If I’m doing mathematics, the logic is a construct of language. If I’m doing science, then logic is a slave to empirical evidence. If I’m doing philosophy, I say anything I want and justify it with “Goddidit”.

  287. #288 Sastra
    November 29, 2008

    If you define Materialism in a very simplistic, reductionist, and clunky way — so that it precludes abstractions — then it’s easy to refute. It’s sometimes called smallism, or greedy reductionism. But arguing against a straw man gets nowhere.

    The common ground we begin with is our experience of physical reality. Abstractions are simply repeating or repeatable patterns in physical reality which we pick out and recognize as similar.

    There is no “direct, immediate, self-revelations of God” — even if God exists, God is still inferred from experience. And, of course, not everyone has the “experience.” So it can hardly be the ultimate basis for knowledge. You think and reason your way to God, starting from more basic modes of experience and assumptions.

  288. #289 John Knight
    November 29, 2008

    Kel, honestly, you didn’t respond to my questions as clarified in the explanatory comments of my previous post. Why even replying if your not addressing the issues?

  289. #290 Kel
    November 30, 2008

    You say things are immaterial that aren’t. Moral obligations exist in the mind, they are wired into our brain. Whether it’s through learned interactions or simply hard-wired, they are still part of the material mind. Calling them immaterial is pointless without evidence.

    As for language, again speech is a function of the mind. It’s there wired into our brain. If you go past a certain age without learning language, you can’t learn it in the future. We can and have empirically test concepts such at these.

    For probabilistic claims, again it’s induction. We can be wrong with inductive claims, and that’s where falsification comes in. We have a whole understanding of nature built up on the premise of mechanistic natural laws (on everything above a quantum level – because God does like to play with dice after all) and those laws are able to not only explain what has come before, but predict what is to come. Over time, we get a cumulation on understandings of the processes that do work, and ones that don’t are eliminated or modified.

    Again, logic is a function of the brain, it’s not immaterial. We can see that some people’s brains are better wired for logic than others.

    As silly as these examples may seem, they are enduring problems in philosophy. The core assumptions of Christian world-view, however, provide the basic tools to deal with these problems & so provide the preconditions of intelligibility, because the direct, immediate, self-revelation of God provides the ultimate basis for all other knowledge (however indirectly derived).

    They may be enduring problems in philosophy but philosophy is useless without an empirical backing. The Christian worldview doesn’t solve it, it just calls the answer God (then makes inferences about God, including the central tenet that God died for our sins on the cross and rose on the 3rd day)

    The self-revelation of God can be refuted with the question “how do we know that it’s really God?” It’s like asking a liar whether they are telling the truth. You can’t have God being the ultimate basis for all knowledge when the question of whether God exists can’t be answered in that manner. You are assuming God exists and taking comfort in a complete worldview – no matter how absurd it is and how much it contradicts what we understand about reality.

  290. #291 John Knight
    November 30, 2008

    Based on the grammar of that last post, it’s past my bedtime. Night.

  291. #292 Wowbagger
    November 30, 2008

    John Knight wrote:

    Kel, honestly, you didn’t respond to my questions as clarified in the explanatory comments of my previous post.

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, John – isn’t that something your people say? I ask because you have yet to answer my question, most recently reiterated at post #281.

    Evasion makes baby jesus cry.

  292. #293 Kel
    November 30, 2008

    The only question I posed was a rhetorical one, there to show how his argument was flawed. Instead he’s gone off on a wild tangent trying to show how complete his worldview is, and he justified it by saying “Keep in mind it was in response to Kel’s earlier questions to me.” There were no earlier questions, he just wanted an excuse to bring up the same shit he spent hundreds of posts talking about in the D’Souza thread.

  293. #294 Kel
    November 30, 2008

    Evasion makes baby jesus cry.

    You know now he’s going to take that as you being as a believer ;)

  294. #295 Owlmirror
    November 30, 2008

    Of course, on the atheist side, there is an interesting argument that people who claim to believe in God are self-deceived, and really don’t believe in God at all:

    http://carnap.umd.edu/~georey/Phil100/metaath.html

    “…all I want to claim is that for most contemporary adults in our culture, there is some level at which they know very well the religious stories are false, even if they manage to get themselves to “believe”, avow, defend and even die for them on the surface.”

    So there you go…

    Heh.

    If Knight really believed in God, he wouldn’t be resorting to philosophical obscurantism to defend his belief in God; he would simply pray for God to manifest, and accept whatever happened as God’s ineffable will.

  295. #296 ianimaru
    December 1, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving (even it be late :D)

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