Pharyngula

You don’t see that every day

Comments

  1. #1 TSC
    November 27, 2008

    hahahahaha.

  2. #2 Christie
    November 27, 2008

    That’s awesome.

  3. #3 Ruben
    November 27, 2008

    Nice. When a Christian has a “friends of A” thingy on his page, with the atheist red “A” logo, I think we’re safe to assume that he’s truly liberal.

  4. #4 Emmet Caulfield
    November 27, 2008

    No surprises. Moron caller Godwins in the first few seconds. Bubba trots out the usual ignorant creationist tropes. Scott corrects them. If I had any criticism, I think Scott could’ve been more assertive putting down the asswipe caller, but maybe he didn’t want to seem too aggressive too early. His call. I’m not sure I could’ve concealed my contempt, so his judgment is probably better than mine.

  5. #5 BobC
    November 27, 2008

    It’s difficult for me to understand how a scientifically literate Christian could continue being Christian. People are an ape species so Jebus was just an ape. Why worship an ape? I don’t get it.

  6. #6 Owlmirror
    November 27, 2008

    Go, Hatfield, Go! Someone Is Wrong On The Air!

    (Oh, dear. KYNO looks like a denial of lubricant. Possibly because it’s unGodly.)

  7. #7 Matt Heath
    November 27, 2008

    . People are an ape species so Jebus was just an ape. Why worship an ape? I don’t get it.

    Not that I think Jesus was anything special, but to quote Feynman “nothing is mere” Shakespeare and Newton and Bach were “just” apes too, but their work is just as amazing and wonderful now, knowing that, as it was to people before they knew.

  8. #8 BobC
    November 27, 2008

    Yeah, but nobody prays to Shakespeare. Nobody claims Shakespeare performed miracles.

    Christians believe the Jebus ape was a god who rose from the dead. How can a scientifically literate person believe that?

  9. #9 Tyler DiPietro
    November 27, 2008

    Jesus is actually a crab.

  10. #10 David
    November 27, 2008

    Now, if we could only live in a country with more people like Scott Hatfield.

  11. #11 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Excellent work Scott.

    For those who think Scott was being too congenial, I suspect that’s just his nature (unlike PZ, who to my knowledge requests to be supplied with a plate of freshly squeezed baby before he’ll accept any invitation to debate).

    In the context of this radio interview, I think he did a wonderful job. Not too aggressive, yet not lacking backbone or conviction in the least.

  12. #12 zaardvark
    November 27, 2008

    “powerful evidence … all living things share common descent.”
    “Could that common descent be a creator called God?”
    “There’s … that’s a good point … ”

    No, it’s really not. That is an ignorant and childish question. This was so painful to listen to :(.

  13. #13 el.kundo
    November 27, 2008

    Hi!

    Long time lurker, first time poster

    I have to write something because I’m so outraged about that fundamentalist moron. It’s so painful to listen to this. How can sane people base their decision over what is true on whether the theory hurts their feelings or not. “but you don’t say I descended from apes, do you?” YES! for f%&$’s sake, that’s what we find if we actually look at the world out there. Get over it. And what is it btw, that’s so bad about being an ape? We are hairless, smart apes. I have no problem with that.

  14. #14 el.kundo
    November 27, 2008

    Btw,

    I read this blog and especially the comments everyday and with pleasure.

    Thanks and Greetings to you all!

    (And if Cuttlefish reads this: I love your poems)

  15. #15 Owlmirror
    November 27, 2008

    “powerful evidence … all living things share common descent.”
    “Could that common descent be a creator called God?”
    “There’s … that’s a good point … “

    No, it’s really not. That is an ignorant and childish question.

    It’s a theistic-centered questioned. Look, when you’re dealing with a YEC, moving them towards OEC is a (minor) improvement. When you’re dealing with an OEC, moving them towards IDiocy is another (minor) improvement.

    While non-theistic evolution might be the ultimate goal, moving people to a sufficiently good understanding of evolution that they at least understand and accept it to the point of holding to theistic evolution might be as good as it’s going to get. At least for a single radio show debate.

  16. #16 BobC
    November 27, 2008

    And what is it btw, that’s so bad about being an ape?

    Apes don’t go to heaven. That’s what the Christian cowards are afraid of.

  17. #17 Tulse
    November 27, 2008

    Apes don’t go to heaven.

    But doggies do, right Daddy? That’s what you told me when Rex went away!

  18. #18 BobC
    November 27, 2008

    It’s a theistic-centered question.

    And it’s a good opportunity to tell the uneducated creationist it’s wrong to stick the Magic Fairy into any scientific idea.

    The question “Could that common descent be a creator called God?” should be answered with “God had absolutely nothing to do with it”.

    This is called “being honest”.

    “that’s a good point” is extremely dishonest.

  19. #19 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 27, 2008

    Apes don’t go to heaven. WRONG!
    This monkey’s gone to heaven.

    Rock me, Joe!

  20. #20 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Janine, I think I love you.

  21. #21 Shiftingname
    November 27, 2008

    I thought that this comment was a little icky, though. Is it just me?

    “Nice work. One of these days, you’ll make a fine Atheist.”

    it just reminds me of what a jackass Christian would say (of course replace “athiest” with “christian”, all condescending like.

  22. #22 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    “Hey, my god says that you’re god who thinks he’s god is a false god.” A real worthwhile discussion.

  23. #23 Matt7895
    November 27, 2008

    @ Janine #19

    Monkeys aren’t apes.

  24. #24 mothra
    November 27, 2008

    I am posting my comment for Scott here because his blog requires me to sign up for a service I do not want (or need).

    Scott your patience was exemplary. The situation required thoughtful wording so as to keep an audience listening instead of reacting. A suggestion: when stating that science only admits naturalistic explanations, you could (should) point out that only naturalistic explanations are amenable to the scientific method. One cannot ‘test for the presence of god’ (which is the crux of ID, the assertion that one can). I have never understood how followers of ID do not see how their claims cheapen and demean their faith. Maybe this doesn’t matter when you’re faith is tallied with bronze coins.

  25. #25 raven
    November 27, 2008

    And what is it btw, that’s so bad about being an ape? We are hairless, smart apes. I have no problem with that.

    True. We are apes. So what? We are also the dominant species on the planet and the survivors of 3.7 billion years of evolution.

    A common creo complaint is that it is insulting to insist that we are just “souped up monkeys.” I don’t see why, better than a non-souped up monkey at the least. The more important point, is that what we wish, or want, or think reality is or should be is irrelevant. Human desires or delusions have no effect on what the real world actually is. Some call this magical thinking or solipsism. Some just say it is stupid.

  26. #26 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    November 27, 2008

    Matt7895.

    I know. I keed. It was an excuse to toss in a Pixies song. Plus one person loves me for it.

  27. #27 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    Plus one person loves me for it.

    Who!? Who is he?! I’ll moiderize ‘im!

  28. #28 secularguy
    November 27, 2008

    Monkeys aren’t apes.

    Well some (descendants of) monkeys are apes, and some of those apes are us!

  29. #29 woody
    November 27, 2008

    “Could that common descent be a creator called God?”

    Yep.

    Or “Igor.”

    Or “Lucky”.

    take your pick…

  30. #30 AJ Milne
    November 27, 2008

    A common creo complaint is that it is insulting to insist that we are just “souped up monkeys…”

    Well, to be fair, there’s quite a gulf between a monkey and a creationist…

    The one’s a gibbering, capering menace that chatters loudly and incoherently, flings shit, and leaves a foul stench everywhere it goes…

    (… and the audience can hear it coming …)

    The other’s a monkey.

  31. #31 woody
    November 27, 2008

    Christians believe the Jebus ape was a god who rose from the dead. How can a scientifically literate person believe that?

    Their god doesn’t believe ‘em any more than anybody else should when they protest their love, and constantly sets ‘em up to ‘test’ their faith…

  32. #32 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    The question “Could that common descent be a creator called God?” should be answered with “God had absolutely nothing to do with it”.

    Ideally yes BobC, but I prefer not to let their assumption that potential evidence of a god is evidence for their god go unchallenged. Apologists have a knack for interpreting some scientific claim in a pantheist or deist way and then somehow running with that as if it were a validation of their belief in the god of the Primitive Baptist Conference of New Brunswick, Maine and Nova Scotia, or whatever.

    So, while I think “God had absolutely nothing to do with it” is fine in an argument with some sort of moderate universalist (though I prefer to answer with “I suppose, and in the same way you might say that the various farms and factories that supply us with ice cream might be collectively called “the Magic Ice Cream Fairy”, but what would be the point besides adding unnecessary stupidity to your language?”), I suggest that when dealing with good ol’ fashioned theists one might consider responding with something along the lines of “Yes. And that common descent could also be a creator called Unkulunkulu. Shall I book you a ticket to KwaZulu-Natal now, or are you going to pay your respects to the most high ancestor of us all from here?”

  33. #33 The Atheist Jew
    November 27, 2008

    A little OT but this guy needs to be put out of his misery. He is a teacher who claims he isn’t a believer, but he has made 6 or so videos “refuting” evolution.
    Here is one where he calls Ken Miller an idiot and mocks his PHD and the fact that he is allowed to lecture.

  34. #34 Brian D
    November 27, 2008

    Owlmirror @ #15 has got it. Fundamentalism has such an extreme stranglehold on the human mind that baby steps are required before rational discourse can be attempted. Furthermore, you cannot rationally talk someone out of a position they arrived at irrationally, so when breaking the initial shell of YEC, pure rationality often isn’t the best course of action. (My grandmother resisted all effort to understand the vastness of the universe when I or my dad explained it, but listened when my mother’s United minister – who is every bit as liberal Christian as Scott appears to be – reframed it in that context, for instance.)

    (That said, I’ve had folk use ‘evidence for a creator’-style arguments on me. I’ve had some success at liberalizing (Stage One Deconversion) an evangelist friend of mine by countering with “So, if that evidence points to a creator, what evidence points to it being your God?”, usually supplemented by whatever other creation myth I feel like talking about at the time. It’s been a slow process (hint: if it falls into “Yes, there were other creation myths before, but mine’s TRUE!”, ease off or withdraw; the point is to catch a single logical flaw, and if the fundamentalist you’re talking to counters with a deeper fallacy, you won’t reach him in his current state), but it has been progressing.)

    Dan Barker, former fundamentalist evangelist and current co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, recently spoke at my campus. I’ve been working through his recent book (Godless), and it explains the thought processes involved in a rational shift from the inside, which makes it fascinating. Apparently, one of the hardest steps for him was to accept that Christians who thought the message was more important than literal scripture readings were still Christians and shouldn’t be thrown out of church! Imagine walking up to him prior to that step and talking about common descent!

  35. #35 Tulse
    November 27, 2008

    A common creo complaint is that it is insulting to insist that we are just “souped up monkeys.” I don’t see why

    ‘Cuz that would mean the big Sky Daddy din’t make us the most speshalest of aminals ever! And we are! Our Sky Daddy loves us the bestest!!!!

  36. #36 6EQUJ5
    November 27, 2008

    Why not teach ID and evolution together and let the students make up their minds?

    Why not teach astrology and astronomy together and let the students make up their minds?

    Or alchemy and chemistry, geomancy and geography, palmistry and physics, or numerology and mathematics?

    As for the reluctance to believe scientific evidence, there are still plenty of our countrymen who can’t accept that the Confederacy lost the war.

    BTW, one way of detecting ID / YoungEarthers / Creationists is to ask them if we are mammals. Many refuse to accept that as a fact, even though they were breast-fed as babies. Talk about denialism.

    As for reconciling religion with science, it is not possible. Those who claim to do so are pretending, just as those who claim to believe in their religion are pretending.

    My Grandpa Jack often said, “Don’t kid yourself.” It was good advice.

    Mark Twain: “Faith is believing in something you know isn’t true.”

  37. #37 Chris Davis
    November 27, 2008

    @25

    We are apes. So what? We are also the dominant species on the planet

    You jest, surely? Homo Sap? We haven’t been around for more than an eyeblink. Although we’ve made an impressive start, I think we should wait a few hundred million years before claiming the trophy – y’know, like the dinos?

    In the interim, have you seen how well grasses is doing? My money’s on them.

  38. #38 Brownian, OM
    November 27, 2008

    In the interim, have you seen how well grasses is doing? My money’s on them.

    Well sure, if you’re a high risk investor. Those of us with more cautious, long-term strategies have portfolios heavily weighted toward prokaryotes. Historical analysis suggests that non-nucleated cells tend to outperform nucleated ones in both bull and bear markets, and are practically immune to Dow fluctuations.

  39. #39 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    People are an ape species so Jebus was just an ape. Why worship an ape? I don’t get it.

    I prefer to ask why anyone would worship anything.

    Why would a perfect being require worship? To me it’s (yet another) dead giveaway that humans invented god and made him in their image, filling their construct with their insecurities and desires.

    I can think of nothing more abhorrent than a creature that demanded worship and punished those who dissented.

  40. #40 DiscoveredJoys
    November 27, 2008

    You jest, surely? Homo Sap? We haven’t been around for more than an eyeblink. Although we’ve made an impressive start, I think we should wait a few hundred million years before claiming the trophy – y’know, like the dinos?

    In the interim, have you seen how well grasses is doing? My money’s on them.

    I sometimes wonder if giraffes walk about feeling superior because they have the longest necks…

  41. #41 Paul Burnett
    November 27, 2008

    “So, if that evidence points to a creator, what evidence points to it being your God?” – Brian, #34

    That’s close to something I enjoy: Pointing out to the yokels that the term “God” is an occupational title, not a name. Do they mean Yahweh or Wotan/Odin or Zeus/Jupiter or Ahura-Mazda or Vishnu or whoever – and how can they tell which one?

  42. #42 llewelly
    November 27, 2008

    I sometimes wonder if giraffes walk about feeling superior because they have the longest necks…

    They’re definitely holding their noses in the air …

  43. #43 Matt
    November 27, 2008

    As for the reluctance to believe scientific evidence, there are still plenty of our countrymen who can’t accept that the Confederacy lost the war.
    @6EQUJ5

    I have yet to meet one of these people, and I’m hoping it never happens. On the other hand, I’ve met plenty who want to start the war up again. I’ll never forget reading a shirt that said “Never go North of the Mason Dixon line without an army in front of you.” Or some such.

    The one that people really seem to be in denial about is Vietnam.

  44. #44 Patricia
    November 27, 2008

    Sorry Scott, I’m not too impressed. You sound to me like you are talking out both sides of your mouth. You were polite though.

  45. #45 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    I have yet to meet one of these people, and I’m hoping it never happens. On the other hand, I’ve met plenty who want to start the war up again. I’ll never forget reading a shirt that said “Never go North of the Mason Dixon line without an army in front of you.” Or some such.

    Yes there are a few but it’s blown out of proportion.

    There are some though for sure. I’m not sure they can’t accept it as much as it gives them something to talk about after the cross burns out.

  46. #46 John Morales
    November 27, 2008

    Patricia @44, do you think so? I thought he talked cogently about science and about belief, and drew a clear line between them, and handled himself with aplomb.

    I’m quite impressed, myself.

  47. #47 Michael Hawkins
    November 27, 2008

    Speaking of creationists, here’s a blog post destroying Dinesh D’Souza and his awful arguments about atheists and science.

  48. #48 Mrs Tilton
    November 27, 2008

    Matt @43,

    I’ll never forget reading a shirt that said “Never go North of the Mason Dixon line without an army in front of you.”

    The southern traitors already tried that, once. They failed. And then their rebellion was put down, albeit far more mercifully than it should have been.

    How’s this for a t-shirt: “Reconstruction — It Can Still Work!”

  49. #49 Azdak
    November 27, 2008

    I can think of nothing more abhorrent than a creature that demanded worship and punished those who dissented.

    This is what inured me to religious indoctrination as a child.

    “Fine. He created the universe. But he’s still kind of a dick.”

  50. #50 breadmaker
    November 27, 2008

    #5 Bob

    because he was born via a virign ape, Bob.
    the Roman Catholics are so enthusiatic they even worship Mary.
    but then we’re not arguing their intel’ or edu’.

    #8 Bob

    because his raising from the dead has nothing to do with science,Bob.
    but this does not prevent the event from having happened.
    wouldn’t you be enthusiastic about a buddy of yours who you saw levitate into heaven?
    do you worship science?

  51. #51 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    Breadmaker,

    You must be new here.

  52. #52 Jeanette
    November 27, 2008

    I thought that Scott Hatfield did a good job on that interview. If I were the one doing the interview it would have gone much differently, but I’m an atheist and not the most patient one, either. His beliefs and his interviewing skills are two different things.

    And I really like his “Friend of ‘A'” on his site. If all religious people were as friendly and reasonable, religion wouldn’t be the source of conflict and the destructive force that it is. What does it hurt us if someone simply believes something different than we do? It’s when they act unreasonably based on those beliefs that they become insufferable.

    Oh, and Greetings to you, too, el.kundo. Did you know that Cuttlefish has a book out now? It’s a very sweet little paperback book.

  53. #53 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    wouldn’t you be enthusiastic about a buddy of yours who you saw levitate into heaven?

    You saw a buddy of yours levitate into heaven? :S

  54. #54 breadmaker
    November 27, 2008

    #34 BrianD

    from your second paragraph.
    i’m not really attempting to be mean, but the questions did arise
    when reading your post.

    are you trying to victimize/convince someone you are correct because of his flaw in logic?
    do you try to teach your friend to apply formal logic?

    at what point do we gain the boldness to proclaim the superiority of our capability for inference?
    look at all these mutations, so rapid in organism X, in 10^9 years it will be a more complex organism Y. i can’t reproduce this but it will happen, i know, because my inference is better.

    at what point do our assertions become circular because of depending on inference?

  55. #55 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    Jeannette @ 52
    You claim to be an atheist, how ardent a one I am not too certain to understand because of semantics. An atheist does not have a disbelief in a god; we give it’s existence no credence whatsoever and do not attach the word belief to that idea. You also state that its when they act unreasonably on those beliefs that they become insufferable. Isn’t the very act of belief to atheists unreasonable?. Perhaps you meant to present those statements in a more coherent manner devoid of what atheists definitely mean.

  56. #56 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    Fortunately, Breadmaker, we aren’t dependant on pure logic for our claims. That’s where the evidence comes in. Evidence for evolution exists. Evidence for god does not. Of course it’s possible for a god to exist, but not the one proposed by Judeo-Christians, since they make claims which are unsupported by evidence. As far as I know they also make claims that are unsupported by logic, but that’s not something I’m familiar enough with to argue.

  57. #57 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    Wowbagger @ 56
    Well stated, but I would prefer that it might be probable for a god to exist, but not possible.

  58. #58 Blondin
    November 27, 2008

    I was disappointed that Scott didn’t slap that guy down when he started going on about “the major devotees of evolutionary theory in history”. I thought his come back about evolutionary theory emerging from capitolism not from communism missed the mark completely. Jerks who want to mention Hitler or other proponents of eugenics seem to forget that people were using artificial selection to breed for desirable characteristics centuries before Charles Darwin sailed forth in the Beagle.

    There have been people who thought Darwin’s writings somehow advocated the practice of eugenics but they were wrong. Darwin specifically did not endorse eugenics and spoke out against such suggestions during his life. He can hardly be held responsible for the bad ideas of others.

    People who make this ridiculous accusation are either being disingenuous or have not bothered to look further than the heavily quote-mined propaganda they’ve been fed.

    After all, even if Darwin himself did advocate dispatching the ‘weak and inferior’ (which he most emphatically did not) it still would have nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of the concepts of natural selection and common ancestry.

  59. #59 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    Holbach wrote:

    Well stated, but I would prefer that it might be probable for a god to exist, but not possible.

    Thanks – but I’m not sure I get what you mean.

  60. #60 llewelly
    November 27, 2008

    Since Mary was an ape, doesn’t that mean the conception of Jesus was the result of bestiality?

  61. #61 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    Wowbagger @ 59
    Probable in so far as all manner of ideas and reasons for a god to exist have been put forth, but not possible as these ideas and reasons will never be proved anywhere in the Universe.

  62. #62 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    Probable in so far as all manner of ideas and reasons for a god to exist have been put forth, but not possible as these ideas and reasons will never be proved anywhere in the Universe.

    Right. What it comes down to is that the word ‘probable’ doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. Now I know.

  63. #63 Merkin Muffley
    November 27, 2008

    I’m sorry, we are suppose to be impressed with Scott Hatfield because he is the one in the discussion who is the least wrong?

    Kind of like deciding who to support for President.

  64. #64 Your Mighty Overload
    November 27, 2008

    Atheist Jew at 33

    That guy is nuts – he doesn’t seem to understand that food supplies rarely dry up completely, food just tends to become scarce, and that under those circumstances two things happen (1) big animals may die preferentially, leading to a shift in reproductive balance (2) smaller animals within the population may be “fitter” under a limited food supply, also skewing the reproductive pool.

    What a nut-job. He clearly doesn’t understand what Miller was talking about. Just lots of accusations, and no proof of anything – least of all the “Goddunit” assertion 15 seconds before the end.

  65. #65 Jeanette
    November 27, 2008

    Holbach @55:

    You claim to be an atheist, how ardent a one I am not too certain to understand because of semantics. An atheist does not have a disbelief in a god; we give it’s existence no credence whatsoever and do not attach the word belief to that idea.

    Who’s we? You don’t speak for me. I consider the semantic squabbling over the term “belief” to be pissy and inconsequential. This reminds me of the argument over atheism/agnosticism.

    I can’t know for a fact that there is no god of any kind, but I do know for a fact that no one has presented empirical evidence for any such thing, and for that reason I enjoy a state of “disbelief,” wherein I reject any belief in gods.

    You also state that its when they act unreasonably on those beliefs that they become insufferable. Isn’t the very act of belief to atheists unreasonable?.

    If we were perfect reasoning robots like you, yeah. But we humans all “believe” things, whether we know it or not. There are undoubtedly things that each one of us “believes” to be fact that are simply untrue. I don’t “believe” that there is a human being on earth who has a mind consisting entirely of proven facts, without error. And if we didn’t allow anything in our minds until it had been empirically tested, I don’t “believe” we would be very functional. Much of what we “know” has been read and heard from others in the world around us.

    No human is perfectly reasonably, and that’s fine, as long as they’re not fucking up other people’s lives.

    Perhaps you meant to present those statements in a more coherent manner devoid of what atheists definitely mean.

    Um, what? Perhaps you meant to present this statement in a more coherent manner not devoid of any discernible meaning. If in your robot mind that was some form of the phrase “Happy Thanksgiving,” same to you.

  66. #66 Newfie
    November 27, 2008

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5ll1s3yljw

    I fully endorse this preacher. We need more people like this. I can’t think of a better way to get stupid out of the gene pool, and progress the human race more quickly. This is one of the upsides to religion, and needs to be promoted. How can I help? You don’t need to see a doctor..you’re not praying hard enough. Spread the word!! Amen!

    / total sarcasm. I do not endorse this idea. Stupid people may still have good genes to pass along.

  67. #67 grolby
    November 27, 2008

    Oh, stuff it, Holbach. There is a wide range of ideas about God, or more accurately, the lack thereof, contained within atheism (atheists are tough to organize in part because we’re so diverse). Atheism could mean a relatively passive lack of belief, or a more active refutation of belief. The issue is not with “belief,” itself, it’s which beliefs are reasonable and which are not. To believe actively in the divine or supernatural is unreasonable. To believe actively that there is no such thing as the divine or supernatural is very reasonable.

    I understand the desire to fight the argument that “atheism is just like theism,” but there are more effective and convincing ways to do it. Arguing that “it’s not that I believe that there is no God, atheism is a LACK of belief,” is not only so much intellectual wankery, it’s also just plain NOT an accurate statement about how many atheists think about the issue. Keeping the argument focused on which belief is more reasonable is both more representative about why most atheists believe (or don’t believe) what they do, and also refutes the idea that the argument, “atheism is just another belief, like theism,” has any merit. Wankery about how you lack belief, on the other hand, gives some legitimacy to the notion that all beliefs are equally reasonable. That is, frankly, an idiotic position to hold. PLEASE stop making this argument.

  68. #68 reindeer386sx
    November 27, 2008

    This reminds me of the argument over atheism/agnosticism.

    I don’t see any difference between the two. Same difference. Shrug!

  69. #69 Newfie
    November 27, 2008

    Posted by: grolby | November 27, 2008 9:56 PM
    atheists are tough to organize in part because we’re so diverse

    Damn… and I was thinking this was one of our “churches” here on the intertubes. ;)
    *breaks the beer stopper of another bread*

  70. #70 reindeer386sx
    November 27, 2008

    Atheism could mean a relatively passive lack of belief, or a more active refutation of belief.

    Exactly. Same thing as agnosticism. Same damn thing, if you ask me.

  71. #71 Cheezits
    November 27, 2008

    I do so see that every day. I read talk.origins after all. But if a creationist asked that same question (“Could that common descent be a creator called God?”) on t.o, they wouldn’t get such a wishy-washy response. They’re be told the truth, which is that that is not what “common descent” means.

  72. #72 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    Jeanette @ 65
    You obviously have deep seated opinions on what constitutes atheistic beliefs and non-beliefs, and I will in no way agree with your stated comments. Perhaps you think being considered an atheist renders you to be of a free mind in matters of not buying all superstitious crap. A reasoning robot? I used to be religious, as I think you most ceertainly still are, and had no instruction or prompting to direct me on a totally non-religious course but just the ability to reason and see the obvious crap that religion has puked forth for some time. We get our knowledge and wisdom from people and books, but we also attain it through experience and just plain thinking and reasoning out the most blatant bullshit we have been taught throughout our lives. I know what I believe and do not believe, and I am able to discern this in other people, especially in those who present a front in apposition to what is stated and expressed. Get off the fence and stop the pretense of being amenable to both sides.

  73. #73 Denis Loubet
    November 27, 2008

    I don’t get the reluctance to be realated to an ape. The Christian alternative is that we’re nothing but dirt golems. That’s supposed to be better?

    If the Christians are right, then we’re all artificial. The whole universe is artificial. There’s no such thing as natural. This is something to be wished for?

    I don’t get them.

  74. #74 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    Wowbagger @ 62
    I think you failed to get the gist of what I meant in my statement. Don’t rely on the dictionary meaning of the word probable but try to discern what the hell I’m trying to express in that statement. I won’t explain it any further as I think I have done so if you read it a little closer.

  75. #75 Lago
    November 27, 2008

    “Atheism could mean a relatively passive lack of belief, or a more active refutation of belief.

    Exactly. Same thing as agnosticism. Same damn thing, if you ask me.”

    Agnostics could also want to believe in a God, see evidence they think is consistent with the idea of a God, but consider that evidence as still too arbitrary to be parsimonious enough to point either one way or the other for sure by their standards. Their desire for a smoking-gun, mixed with a higher standard of evidence, could simply leave them just on this side of agnosticism, relative to theism…

    In other words people, agnosticism is not atheism, no matter how many people try and rework the definition. As an agnostic myself, I define agnosticism the same way Huxley (the person who coined the term) did. We are not theists or atheists. I readily believe atheists have the far better set of logical arguments for their position as compared to theists, but no one comes close to answering the question.

  76. #76 Tim Fuller
    November 27, 2008

    I am inspired by this individual’s attempt to edify and enlighten. Having an open door at the local rightwing am radio outlet (50k Watts of nonsense) I could do this type of ‘debate’ with the Black Christian Dominionist host (Kim Wade WJNT 1180), possibly as early as tomorrow (Friday). I’m considering an ‘atheist morality’ hour the day after Thanksgiving where I challenge the notion that the Bible is the basis for human morality. I plan on using the strong Baptist support for slavery (based on biblical law) as prima facie evidence that the Bible cannot be considered unerring, and that human morality evolved (double whammy !!!!) BEYOND the Bible in this country post 1865.

    After that, I won’t need to do anything but respond to the volley of calls as the switchboard lights up like a Chinese pinball machine.

    I used to do a religious hour on Wednesdays a couple years ago with Kim and a local regligous nut he promoted. It was advertised as The Heathen vrs. The Holy Man. Guess which role I played? It turns out that in the pantheon of outspoken media critics of religion, I am the humorous and engaging type. Not knocking hardcore atheists like Dawkins, Meyers, et.al. who prefer a more ‘in your face’ approach. It takes all kinds.

    I ought to buy stock in Rolaids because the heartburn such salient commentary would cause to the pre-defecated remains of listeners in Jackson MISSISSIPPI will surely cause at least a local surge in sales.

    Do you guys think it’s worth the effort? Do I owe my community my precious time and effort to drive to the station and engage in humorous sophisms with the lunatic in an attempt to enlighten (and enrage) his audience? The ‘debate’ will follow the Faux News standards of decency and honesty. My strength is that I can be a tad bit ruder than Alan Colmes in defending my positions and it won’t cost me my job!

    As mentioned, I quit doing this stuff a couple years ago because I know how good I am (why else would they literally wet themselves if I even SUGGEST I might do an odd show every now and then) and I didn’t want to raise THEIR ratings. I did it because of my Boy Scout oath to community (for free). I called Bush a liar about WMD back when it wasn’t fashionable and I have ruminated (on-air) about whether Jesus might have been gay…what with all the walking around the desert with 12 dudes and all. I’m the perfect radio package. I can enrage a whole lot of people without resorting to crap like ‘nappy headed hoes’ or the “Seven Words”. Controversy leads to ratings and I’m very freakin’ controversial, even/specially within my own family.

    I’d do this full time if I could find an outlet with a paycheck. Seems to me that the stock of gifted progressive radio commentators ought to be on the rise? Sure they coupled Keith with a well spoken lesbian, but the airwaves are still SERIOUSLY bereft of progressive voices.

    If you were in my shoes, what would you do and why?

    Pharyngula Bonus: Me and Kim Wade in studio:

    http://flickr.com/photos/timtimes/3065103228/

    A picture of The Holy Man:

    http://flickr.com/photos/timtimes/3064263715/

    Enjoy.

  77. #77 Newfie
    November 27, 2008

    The Big Bang could have been a giant wet fart (shart) of some critter swimming through the “ether”. I don’t care that our universe is made of the excrement of some creator critter.. but there is no way to know what that critter is… since it has took its dump and moved on.

  78. #78 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    grolby @ 67
    Your opinion and description of atheists can never describe me, as I know what I definitely believe and do not believe and no amount of organizing with many different meanings has any effect on my stance of opinions. So many atheists who claim that moniker with different ideas only render the name as unsettled as the various religions. A simple thing in rendering the word god to the lower case maybe a small matter, but my consistency in doing so fortifies my stance in giving any credence to this nonsense. No, I won’t stuff it, any more than I will cease to remind people that their beliefs are insane bullshit.

  79. #79 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    Newfie @ 77
    Your interpretation of The Big Bang leaves nothing to the imagination, but everything to crap. I hope you don’t lecture on Astronomy!

  80. #80 Daily Kos
    November 27, 2008

    No one could ever find 2 atheists. Antitheists-yes. Atheists-none exists.

  81. #81 Wax Banks
    November 27, 2008

    They should have ticketed attendees for going.

  82. #82 Douchebag
    November 27, 2008

    Liberal Christian is an oxymoron.

  83. #83 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    No one could ever find 2 atheists. Antitheists-yes. Atheists-none exists.

    Retard, almost everyone here is atheist, they don’t believe in God. They can be antitheist as well, and agnostic, the terms aren’t mutually exclusive. But in terms of belief (which is what atheism is a matter of), there are plenty of atheists around.

  84. #84 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    November 27, 2008

    No one could ever find 2 atheists. Antitheists-yes. Atheists-none exists.

    Let me guess. No atheists in foxholes?

    What other fucking stupidity filled canard is next?

  85. #85 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    Tim Fuller @ 76
    By all means get that program started! Any time the voice of reason is divulged to the masses just might get more people to their senses with a little prodding and call in voicing their long withheld religious doubts and questions. Of course, with Mississippi being in the bible belt, there will definitely be many religious idiots calling in to save your soul or wreak vengeance on you with their imaginary god or with themselves. Be subtle and reasonable at first without calling them insane morons, and try to get them to offer the proof for their imaginary god, not just in a sunset or a face on a cow turd, but real tangible proof as in the regrowth of a severed arm or a church hit by lightning that had a lightning rod and still burned to the ground. The air is yours; blast it with some honest to goodness reason!

  86. #86 Jeanette
    November 27, 2008

    More idiocy from Holbach:

    You obviously have deep seated opinions on what constitutes atheistic beliefs and non-beliefs, and I will in no way agree with your stated comments.

    So what? Who the fuck are you, the semantics police?

    Perhaps you think being considered an atheist renders you to be of a free mind in matters of not buying all superstitious crap.

    I don’t have any superstitious beliefs about god or anything else. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

    A reasoning robot? I used to be religious, as I think you most ceertainly still are,

    What, because I use the word “belief,” now you’re arguing that my atheism is a religion? You’re a complete idiot. I’m not now nor have I ever been religious in any way.

    (Skipping your big rant against religion, which is preaching to the choir.)

    Get off the fence and stop the pretense of being amenable to both sides.

    I’m about the most vocal atheist there can be, but people are entitled to BELIEVE anything they want, as long as they’re not inflicting it on others. You are apparently arguing that people are not entitled to believe in gods, and furthermore that atheists should be forbidden to use the word “belief,” and yet you have the gall to call MY atheism a religion? Putting restrictions on other peoples’ personal behavior and even their thoughts is what religion does. So if one of us is religious, it’s you.

  87. #87 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp @ 84
    Here is one of my favorites, and often repeated by me to beat some sense into the retard’s head:

    “Here lies the atheist, all dressed up with no place to go.”
    Of course there’s no place to go, you freaking moron!

  88. #88 BobC
    November 27, 2008

    #75:

    I readily believe atheists have the far better set of logical arguments for their position as compared to theists, but no one comes close to answering the question.

    The question, is there a god (also known as the magic fairy), has been answered. It’s childish bullshit. It’s would be a waste of time to say anything more about it.

  89. #89 BobC
    November 27, 2008

    I meant “It would be”, not “It’s would be”.

  90. #90 Newfie
    November 27, 2008

    Holbach
    Newfie @ 77
    Your interpretation of The Big Bang leaves nothing to the imagination, but everything to crap. I hope you don’t lecture on Astronomy!

    Explain to me how you know what the “singularity” was that started our universe… does anyone know? Our ‘known’ Universe has been expanding and accelerating for 14.5 Billion years in our “concept” of time and space, and encompasses a finite volume. Even if we might be able to get a full measurement of that volume, Wherein does that volume lie? My point is that I’m trying to think of the even larger ‘verse’ of what we understand and calculate because of the limitations of time and space.
    To put it another way… all we know of the universe could fit into a huge closet.. but we can’t see and measure beyond that closet. Where is that closet? Is it a part of a bigger room?

    / odd thoughts that I have when trying to grasp the scope of the universe.. and I’m also not the one to answer these questions.

    If you could point me to others that have hypotheses of a bigger than our “known” universe, I’d be interested in reading that.

    bed time for me.. nite nite.. and good health to you… I’ll check back tomorrow.

  91. #91 Jeanette
    November 27, 2008

    Holbach @78:

    Your opinion and description of atheists can never describe me, as I know what I definitely believe and do not believe and no amount of organizing with many different meanings has any effect on my stance of opinions.

    1.) Mightn’t the same be true of the rest of us, rendering your word games a complete bullshit waste of everyone else’s time?

    2.) You know what you “definitely believe?” And yet you chastised me for using the word belief, and you said:

    Isn’t the very act of belief to atheists unreasonable?.

    So you expect the rest of us to refrain from using the word “belief,” because belief to atheists is unreasonable. Yet you use the word. Does that mean you’re not an atheist? Or does it just mean that you left your god behind, but not your irrationality?

  92. #92 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    Trying to distinguish atheism from agnosticism is foolish, they are attempting to answer very different questions. Atheism is about belief, agnosticism is about knowledge. Personally I prefer atheist because with agnostic people take it in the weak context that I’m unsure about the existence of God. While I am unsure in the existence of God, I’m equally unsure about the existence of Brahman, Apollo or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. I don’t know whether any of them do exist, but I don’t have any reason to believe that any of them do. So I don’t believe in any of them, and atheism is the best most accurate descriptor for it because it hasn’t been tainted with “uncertain theism”.

    “I think that in philosophical strictness at the level where one doubts the existence of material objects and holds that the world may have existed for only five minutes, I ought to call myself an agnostic; but, for all practical purposes, I am an atheist. I do not think the existence of the Christian God any more probable than the existence of the Gods of Olympus or Valhalla. To take another illustration: nobody can prove that there is not between Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptic orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think the Christian God just as unlikely.” – Bertrand Russell

    “It is often said, mainly by the “no-contests”, that although there is no positive evidence for the existence of God, nor is there evidence against his existence. So it is best to keep an open mind and be agnostic. At first sight that seems an unassailable position, at least in the weak sense of Pascal’s wager. But on second thoughts it seems a cop-out, because the same could be said of Father Christmas and tooth fairies. There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can’t prove that there aren’t any, so shouldn’t we be agnostic with respect to fairies?” – Richard Dawkins

    “The best argument for the use of the name Agnostic is simply that the word Atheist has been so long covered with all manner of ignorant calumny, that it is expedient to use a new term, which though in some respects faulty, has a fair start, and will in time have a recognized meaning. The case so stated is reasonable; but there is a per contra that whatever the motive with which the name is used, it is now tacked to half a dozen conflicting forms of doctrine, varying loosely between Theism and Pantheism. The name of Atheism escapes that drawback. Its unpopularity has saved it from a half-hearted and half-minded patronage.” – John M. Robertson

  93. #93 Holbach
    November 27, 2008

    Jeannette @ 86
    You’re an atheist my ass. I still think you’re a closet religionist and only posting here in the guise of an atheist to seek solace in conversation with your betters. My mood, temperment, and sarcasm will more than match yours if I am so inclined. But what a waste of words.

  94. #94 Kel
    November 27, 2008

    Just for clarification, I’m saying there that those who usually say “I’m an atheist not an agnostic” or vice versa usually fit into the category of both, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  95. #95 Wowbagger
    November 27, 2008

    My main problem with the word ‘atheism’ is that it’s an unnecessary term. Everyone is born atheist and it’s only those who have the misfortune to be indocrinated into – or unhappy enough to seek solace in – religion who deviate from the ‘default setting’ (for want of a better term).

    I hope that it will, one day, fall into redunancy; that there will be no more need to describe one’s self as ‘atheist’ than to describe one’s self as an aphrenologist or an avoodooist or an abigot or an ahomophobic.

  96. #96 Tim Fuller
    November 27, 2008

    Holbach at 85

    Yeah, I’m leaning that way myself. I was doing it long enough back then, that random individuals I met as part of the daily grind were able to identify me by voice. It was flattering and creepy at the same time, because like any ‘celebrity’ these folks only knew me from my radio persona (which is pretty much my regular persona lol) and that isn’t necessarily a good thing in the heart of Dixie. They push Christian gobble-de-gook pretty hard down here and this station caters to the worst of the nutjobs. Did I mention my wife was worried about me as well?

    That was all pre Obama, and naturally I feel energized that the illegal activities of the Bush administration are finally center stage. (It was WMD’s all day long back then….oh the memories)

    The unrelenting and irrational war cheer leading by Kim Wade (and all other Fixed News affiliates) made my blood boil. My religious Wednesdays morphed into political Fridays and eventually my status rose as high as hosting the show entirely by myself when Kim couldn’t make it. In the end, I backed off more out of a desire not to increase Kim Wade’s ratings (and give him more influence) than a fear for my safety.

    I’m hoping that if there is another fling with radio in my future that it will be one that I can actually pay some bills with.

    Enjoy.

  97. #97 Kel
    November 28, 2008

    My main problem with the word ‘atheism’ is that it’s an unnecessary term. Everyone is born atheist and it’s only those who have the misfortune to be indocrinated into – or unhappy enough to seek solace in – religion who deviate from the ‘default setting’ (for want of a better term).

    While I agree it is the default setting (well the default would be more accurately described as theological noncognitivism), the term atheist has it’s uses. Black is the absence of colour, but we still use the word black. Atheism for me is like that, it is a term to convey information about my position on theology.

  98. #98 Holbach
    November 28, 2008

    Newfie @ 90
    I hope you understood my comment to yours as one of humor and not in any way one of ridicule or sarcasm. Hell, I am an Astronomy lover! I think about it and wonder over it everyday. The great Hubble Space Telescope is my hero, sending back those pictures of this incredible Universe that is almost beyond our comprehension to fully grasp the workings of it all. Sure, I can discuss all the astronomical facts of what we already know, but to even comprehend the singularity that started it all is beyond my ken. I know that there are black holes swallowing whole galaxies, stars that have diameters of millions of miles, hundreds of millions of planets in other galaxies, and so many incredible things we still are not aware of but that just staggers the imagination into amazement. I don’t think we will ever know how the Universe came into being, but I have never ascribed a creator to it just because it is unknowable. To me, knowing this and being sure of it’s natural origin makes me just wonder all the more of it’s incredible origin and formation. I am not concerned with String Theory, Parallel Universes, Worm Holes and all the other theories; I am content with what we have now and happy to know we are discovering a little more with each picture Hubble or an earth bound telescope reveals. To me, Astronomy is a frustating science, for we have only a limited means to explore our immediate space which is so limited by time and distance. Heck, we should have been on Mars by now if we were not preoccupied with religion and all the other distracting crap here on earth. It boggles my mind to think that in the Andromeda Galaxy (my favorite!) there may be a solar system like ours in a comparable section of an arm of Andromeda with planets like ours and an Earth that has evolved in the same manner as our planet!
    We will never survive our planet, and will never know the origin of the Universe, but I will as long as I live be in awe of it’s origin and content, and all without any thought of a supernatural creator. There is just too much to wonder about without the need for that nonsense.

  99. #99 Teleprompter
    November 28, 2008

    Holbach @ 93

    Holbach, I have just lost most of my respect for you that I have ever had. Usually, your comments are insightful and enlightening. However, tonight you have crossed a threshhold into arrogance and condescension that I hope you have enough decency left in you to turn away from this belligerant demeanor which suits you so poorly.

    I recognize that you do have a solid argument for defining what atheism may or may not be. However, it is unparalleled arrogance for you to then say who is or is not an atheist based on some arbitrary standard you yourself have constituted as being right without respect for the diversity of freethought or consideration for the intellectual opinions of others. Your intellectual/logical arguments are unblemished, but your judgment is called into question when you needlessly accuse Jeanette or others of being a phony atheist with such unneedlessly provocative statements as “atheist my ass”. Your “mood, temperament, and sarcasm” are eroding your credibility with several posters here already. You would be wise to change your ways.

    Your assumption that your knowledge of atheism is the be-all and end-all of knowing atheism in no way gives you license to be so foolishly judgmental of others or to arrogantly act as if you are innately superior to everyone.

    Sarcastic might does not make right.

  100. #100 Patricia
    November 28, 2008

    Holbach – You are a darlin.

  101. #101 Jeanette
    November 28, 2008

    Re: Holbach @93: I run an atheist group, you useless skid mark. Unlike you, I obviously don’t lack the courage of my convictions, since I am able to say that I disbelieve in gods.

    If anyone’s a closet religionist, it’s you; you’re the one who came on here acting like a troll and disrupting what was pleasant conversation and reciprocated holiday greetings by criticizing the way other people use words. You’re a pompous ass if you think anyone needs your approval.

  102. #102 Jeanette
    November 28, 2008

    @Kel, re: atheism versus agnosticism.

    YES!!! Someone who “gets it.” My agnosticism is the reason for my atheism.

    Teleprompter: I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so, though you said it more calmly, and therefore better than I did.

    Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are NOT trolls (atheist or otherwise).

    ~Jeanette

  103. #103 BobC
    November 28, 2008

    Jebus, some people take blogs too seriously.

    Good stuff there in #98, Holbach. Science has so much more to offer than any religion ever did.

  104. #104 Holbach
    November 28, 2008

    Teleprompter @ 99
    As long as you maintain a modicum of respect for my ideals and opinions which you have deigned to graciously acknowledge, I will be truthful to myself both in integrity and demeanor, and will not compromise either to the opinions of others, real or imagined. I am never caustic without cause, but only respond in like manner when the situation demands a reasonable but stern reply. My opinions and replies are honest and direct and reflect the mood of receipt and response. What others may think of me on this post will in no way or manner alter my honest opinions or in their delivery. I will not reply to your comments at length, but only say that perhaps you are being overly and needlessly sensitive to comments that were not directed at you, and should use better judgment and tact to judge those comments on merit and content.

  105. #105 Holbach
    November 28, 2008

    Patricia @ 100
    Thanks for the kind comment. Hope you are well and happy. Off to bed.

  106. #106 Scott Hatfield, OM
    November 28, 2008

    Patricia (#44) wrote:

    Sorry Scott, I’m not too impressed. You sound to me like you are talking out both sides of your mouth. You were polite though.

    If you could be more specific, your criticism would be more helpful. I admit to fudging a bit at the end when Autry put me on the spot where Genesis is concerned, simply because I know what mischief could be done by various ‘true believers’ of various stripes. I could’ve given a blow-by-blow breakdown of what I think about various parts of Genesis, but I didn’t want to go there. Ultimately, where I stand on Genesis has nothing to do with the question of whether or not evolution should be taught, or not. I tried to turn that all aside by complimenting the mayor for his support of religious diversity (which to me includes free thought), as I tried to mute earlier attempts to link evolution with a political agenda, such as abortion. I admit to some ham-fistedness there as well, as the caller never referenced communism specifically, only Hitler and eugenicists like Sanger. But I think my instincts there are correct, as the main point is to simply reject that sort of argument as irrelevant.

    BTW, for those of you who are not too busy arguing over who or what is the ‘truthiest’ atheist, I appreciate the feedback and I hope to respond specifically to some of the many comments over at my blog in the near future. I wish all of you a lovely holiday!

  107. #107 BobC
    November 28, 2008

    I could’ve given a blow-by-blow breakdown of what I think about various parts of Genesis, but I didn’t want to go there.

    It’s so much easier to be an atheist who thinks Genesis is 100% pure bullshit, as is the rest of the worthless Bible.

  108. #108 Teleprompter
    November 28, 2008

    @ Holbach 104

    I still feel that your demeanor was not merited by the circumstances of the discussion, and that it was beyond rude of you to say “atheist my ass” to Jeanette.

    I do respect you for not changing your actions just because of others’ opinions. That is an admirable quality. However, if you examine the situation again, I hope you will determine independently that some of your statements were not warranted. As I have said, it takes bravado to say who is and who is not an atheist without actually knowing anything about someone. I realize that according to your definition of atheism, you could determine to an extent who is and is not an atheist, but just because you can determine that does not necessarily mean that you should. I believe that the diversity of freethought should have been more carefully considered on your part and that discretion should have been more wisely exercised. The independent nature of freethought does not jive with the sort of ideological purge which I believe you are implying when you say that such-and-such is an “atheist my ass”. We all come to our own individual conclusions about belief and knowledge. That’s the point, is it not?

    You say that perhaps I am being overly sensitive, and that may be true: however, I believe that my feelings are warranted, for I could very easily have been called a phony atheist by you or by someone else, and the only way I see of preventing this occurrence is by raising an objection to it now. What is to prevent you from continuing to mislabel others if not for immediate criticism, whether it originates from the person you have mischaracterized or from someone else, such as myself?

    I have never really appreciated the “you’re-not-affected-so-shut-up-and-say-nothing” sentiment. How has that attitude ever benefitted anyone?

    Just as you do, I do not care what people think of what I say: if people do believe I take this too seriously, I don’t care. I have my own standards and try to live up to them. Apathy is just not a part of my belief system.

    And yes, I do have beliefs.

  109. #109 Jason A.
    November 28, 2008

    ‘Disbelieve’ can mean ‘does not believe’ passively or ‘believe the opposite’ actively.

    ‘Belief’ has different connotations depending on context, not all of them religious. It’s okay to believe things when the belief is founded on reason, and open to change.

    Theism/atheism is about belief in gods existence, and gnosticism/agnosticism is about belief in the possibility of knowing god. They’re different things and agnostic isn’t a third position separate from theist or atheist. If you believe in god you’re a theist. If you doubt it you’re an atheist. You can still be a gnostic or agnostic either way.

    “Agnostic has become a term for atheists who don’t have the balls to call themselves atheists” – me

    /semantics

  110. #110 Jason A.
    November 28, 2008

    Also, when did we start having No True Atheist? arguments?

  111. #111 Nick Gotts
    November 28, 2008

    when did we start having No True Atheist? arguments? – Jason A.

    They’re a Holbach speciality.

  112. #112 clinteas
    November 28, 2008

    Jeanette @ 101,

    dont take Holbach’s remarks personally,your posts here are insightful and much appreciated !
    We should not be having any “no true atheist” argument here,last thing we need really,everyone should be able to accept anyone else’s opinions and convictions.

    Kel @ 97,

    well said !

  113. #113 John Morales
    November 28, 2008

    Jeanette, clinteas is wrong on one thing – Holbach’s remarks were personal.

    But Clinteas was right about the rest of it. And I agree with #52.

  114. #114 Mrs Tilton
    November 28, 2008

    Kel @83,

    almost everyone here is atheist, they don’t believe in God. They can be antitheist as well

    Can they, though? Milton’s Satan was certainly antitheist. But he was no atheist; he knew Milton’s God personally. But if you’re atheist, you don’t have a theos to be anti towards.

    Sorry for this essentially taxonomic discussion, but what do those atheists here who identify as antitheist mean by “antitheism”? Is it something like “Not only do I lack a belief in a supernatural divine being [i.e., atheism], but I also believe the very idea of a god or gods [or perhaps, “the human institution of religion“] is harmful and would prefer that it die away“? And if so, would “antireligious” be a better term? “Antitheism” seems to me to imply the existence of something that atheists do not believe exists.

    Jeanette @101, if it’s any comfort, Holbach thinks I’m secretly religious, too. See you at church on Sunday, I guess.

  115. #115 Kel
    November 28, 2008

    Can they, though? Milton’s Satan was certainly antitheist. But he was no atheist; he knew Milton’s God personally. But if you’re atheist, you don’t have a theos to be anti towards.

    To clarify:
    One can be atheist without being antitheist, one can be antitheist without being atheist. One can be both atheist and antitheist, but one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other.

  116. #116 CosmicTeapot
    November 28, 2008

    Every time I go to Scotts web site from here, I can never get back with the back button.

    Does anyone else have this annoying problem?

  117. #117 Blondin
    November 28, 2008

    “Also, when did we start having No True Atheist? arguments?”

    I’ve always thought of them as “Unholier than thou” pissing contests. Counter-productive…

  118. #118 Jeanette
    November 28, 2008

    Thank you, Teleprompter, for sticking up for me, and to the rest of you for the supportive comments. I never intended to get into some kind of conflict on here, I just couldn’t see why I was being lectured at and talked down to by someone who wasn’t making any sense. Not that I should have bothered to respond. The whole thing was totally insane, because if anyone should be able to think freely it’s us.

    Have a great day,
    ~Jeanette

  119. #119 Walton
    November 28, 2008

    For the record (not that my opinion counts for much around here), I agree with Jeanette.

    But I would go further. The problem is not just on this thread – Holbach is consistently rude, confrontational, condescending and disparaging. He clearly sees himself as intellectually superior to everyone else, simply by virtue of his hardline atheism. His insults are directed not just towards the religious, but also towards agnostics, deists and anyone who doesn’t accept his specific viewpoint.

    Want to know why atheists are stereotyped as “militant” and as unpleasant people? Look at the likes of Holbach and BobC – the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson of atheism. There’s a direct parallel between Falwell’s absurd and offensive assertion that “If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being,” and Holbach’s absurd and offensive (and repeated) assertions that all religious people, and even those who are ambivalent about religion, are insane, worthless, stupid etc.

    It’s regrettable, because there are so many atheists here who are civil, intelligent and worth listening to (Nick Gotts, John Morales, Bill Dauphin, etc). Yet the vocal few will always make more of an impact than the many.

  120. #120 speedwell
    November 28, 2008

    Antitheism… the confusion lies in whether you think of the word as being “mad at god or gods,” or “is firmly convinced of the nonexistence of gods,” or “set against believing in gods”, or “offended by god-belief in others,” or “distressed by the abuses and wrongheadedness of god-beliefs,” or even, “if there were a God, I wouldn’t worship Him because He is evil.”

    I don’t use the term because the referent is so unclear. I do use “atheist” because what people generally think the word means corresponds closely enough to what I do believe–that there is no Christian God, no convincing evidence of any other proposed gods, and no way to legitimately propose a convincing God or gods that can be demonstrated to exist.

  121. #121 Jeanette
    November 28, 2008

    What? Another comment on this thread? What now? Oh, hi Walton. I’m glad I came back to see. Thank you, too. I appreciate it. And the many can be vocal, too, it appears. Okay, I saw the cute octopus and the comments and now I have other stuff to do.

    Have a great day, Walton.

  122. #122 BobC
    November 28, 2008

    Want to know why atheists are stereotyped as “militant” and as unpleasant people? Look at the likes of Holbach and BobC – the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson of atheism.

    Walton, I just wanted to thank you for including my name as being a militant and an unpleasant person. I never hesitate to call a Christian asshole an “asshole”. If everyone did that, the world would be rid of religious insanity sooner rather than later. The problem is too many people suck up to religious stupidity. That should have ended after 9/11/2001.

    The other problem is the people who suck up to the creationists.

    Here’s an example from Scott Hatfield (who by the way is much more intelligent and scientifically literate than I am):

    Creationist retard: “Could that common descent be a creator called God?”

    Scott Hatfield: “that’s a good point”

    No, it’s not a good point. It’s an idiotic childish point.

    I’m not criticizing Mr. Hatfield. I admire his patience with idiots, and I admire his knowledge of science. I’m just saying that I personally don’t think it’s a good idea to suck up to people who want to destroy science education.

    Everybody has their own way of expressing themselves. One method is not necessarily better than any other method. If I point out the obvious fact that Christian extremists are stupid assholes, I shouldn’t be criticized for saying that. If somebody else wants to try to politely persuade these idiots, that’s fine with me, even though I think they are wasting their time. Talking to a creationist is like talking to a dog. A dog will never understand science and neither will a creationist.

  123. #123 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 28, 2008

    Sorry for this essentially taxonomic discussion, but what do those atheists here who identify as antitheist mean by “antitheism”?

    I suppose they mostly interpret that word as meaning “against theism” (as in “religion poisons everything”) rather than “against God”. Though the attitude mentioned in comment 120 — “if there were a God, I wouldn’t worship Him because He is evil” — also exists.

    And if so, would “antireligious” be a better term?

    Certainly, in that it’s unambiguous.

    (…Except maybe in the context of those American fundies who claim in all seriousness that their Christianity is not a religion but a personal relationship. Hm.)

    Look at the likes of Holbach and BobC – the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson of atheism. There’s a direct parallel between Falwell’s absurd and offensive assertion that “If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being,” and Holbach’s absurd and offensive (and repeated) assertions that all religious people, and even those who are ambivalent about religion, are insane, worthless, stupid etc.

    Yes, though there is one difference. Foulwill controlled millions of Reptilian voters, and “Robertson/Khomeini” (as a parody ad said) additionally ran for president in 1988. Holbach and BobC are harmless ranters on teh intart00bz that can be safely ignored, as I do most of the time.

  124. #124 Holbach
    November 28, 2008

    Walton @ 119
    I see you have returned, and at the portentious moment when there is foment among the comments to add yours, and in so doing to take comfort and strength in the old adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. To set the record straight, I don’t consider Jeannette my enemy after an altercation of little consequence. You however, I will place in that category, for you are the enemy of reason which this site constantly repulses against and for which you are a prime example of unreason.
    My confrontational comments are consistently rude, disparaging, and directly sarcastic, but never condescending as you stated for I do not stoop down to any position that is beneath rational thinking as yours is most noted. And to set you straight about intellience. To be an atheist has nothing to do with superior intelligence, for a person who never went to school can be an atheist{born as such), and possess just the rudiments of reasonable intelligence. This state is still above you, for being an atheist has absolved him of the stultifying effects of religion and all it’s weird strappings. He may be eventually indoctrinated into the insanities of religion, but this is because he lacks the intelligence to counteract that crud with deep seated intelligence. But if he remains untainted by that dereangement and functions as a decent human being, he will still be superior to you for his lack of religion.
    Your embracing of religion is entirely your own doing, and in spite of the enormous evidence to the contrary that religion is a pox on the human mind, you will make no attempt to reason out why you believe in such nonsense and follow the examples of many who have on this site sloughed off all semblances of that deranging state. Why is it that atheists can do all you can do, and yet do it without an appeal to an imaginary god and suffer no consequences? I am civil when the occasion demands it, but will abandon that civility when faced with unreason on many levels. As far as I’m concerned, a no-holds-barred assault should prevail on the forces of unreason to impress upon such afflicted minds that we are not to be taken as like idiots. My assaults would never be physical, only with verbal and written attacks to which you are most vulnerable. It is obvious that my writing ability and knack for expression irritates you to no end, and this causes you to espouse my superior attitude. My writing and expressive ability is honed by study and practice, not by a false sense of superior intelligence. You have played a part in this, as you are both practice and recipient of my expressive ridicule to which I should give you credit for both accounts. You have experienced my opinions for some time on this site and are well aware that I will give no quarter to the forces of unreason to which you are represented by your many posts. Why don’t you just come to your subsumed rational senses, slough off that derangemnet and revert to your natural state of atheism? Try it for a while and see and think if your life is lived in a state of exquisite reason. I may lose a continual foil of assault but I graciously defer to the cause of reason. If you demur, then I will remain a constant source of annoyance. Yours in reason, Holbach.

  125. #125 Holbach
    November 28, 2008

    David Marjanovic @ 123
    Your comments and opinions are duly noted.

  126. #126 Azdak
    November 28, 2008

    Can they, though? Milton’s Satan was certainly antitheist. But he was no atheist; he knew Milton’s God personally. But if you’re atheist, you don’t have a theos to be anti towards.

    As both an atheist and an antitheist, I invoke Steven Weinberg:

    Maybe at the very bottom of it… I really don’t like God. You know, it’s silly to say I don’t like God because I don’t believe in God, but in the same sense that I don’t like Iago, or the Reverend Slope or any of the other villains of literature, the god of traditional Judaism and Christianity and Islam seems to me a terrible character. He’s a god who will… who obsessed the degree to which people worship him and anxious to punish with the most awful torments those who don’t worship him in the right way. Now I realise that many people don’t believe in that any more who call themselves Muslims or Jews or Christians, but that is the traditional God and he’s a terrible character. I don’t like him.

    And while I’m quoting brilliant things other people have said (as opposed to coming up with intelligent things to say, myself), I think Kel’s posts here are definitely worth re-emphasizing, particularly:

    Trying to distinguish atheism from agnosticism is foolish, they are attempting to answer very different questions. Atheism is about belief, agnosticism is about knowledge.

    I used to like to identify myself as agnostic because I bought into the notion that the atheist position implied a degree of certainty I wasn’t willing to commit to — i.e.: “absolute certainty.” I’ve since realized that absolute certainty is an artificial concept restricted to the realms of mathematics and formal logic; that “certainty” in the real world rests solely on interpretation of available evidence; and have therefore come to regard the agnostic label as something of a cop-out — at least among the agnostics who have put some thought into their position (I make the distinction because most of my “agnostic” friends are of the “don’t know, don’t care, can’t be bothered to think about it” persuasion, which seems like an entirely different position to me).

  127. #127 BobC
    November 28, 2008

    Holbach’s absurd and offensive (and repeated) assertions that all religious people, and even those who are ambivalent about religion, are insane, worthless, stupid etc.

    I don’t know if Holbach really has these opinions, but if he does I partly agree with him. I certainly wouldn’t say somebody like the Catholic theist Ken Miller is stupid. His knowledge of evolutionary biology is thousands of times greater than mine. (However I will never understand why a person with his intelligence could believe in a magic fairy.)

    I don’t have a problem with atheists who are ambivalent about religion. I admire atheists who can ignore religious stupidity. Perhaps that’s the way it should be. Just ignore them and pretend there’s no religious violence and no religious ignorance. Unfortunately I can’t do that.

    I agree that most Christians, most Muslims, and most Jews who are religious, are completely out of their minds. Believing in a magic fairy who hides in the clouds and watches over us is the most idiotic idea in human history. A adult who still believes this childish nonsense has to be insane.

    I think atheists who say believing in a magic fairy is normal and nothing to be ashamed of are not much better than the religious nuts.

  128. #128 Holbach
    November 28, 2008

    BobC @ 122
    Good stuff there, and nice to know that we are lumped together against the irrational crud. No quarter in word or expression.

  129. #129 Holbach
    November 28, 2008

    BobC @ 127
    Likewise.

  130. #130 inkadu
    November 28, 2008

    One more post for a dying thread:
    Jeanette:
    If all religious people were as friendly and reasonable, religion wouldn’t be the source of conflict and the destructive force that it is. What does it hurt us if someone simply believes something different than we do?

    I’m not sure I saw this discussed amid the agnotheist business and the orderlies rushing to restrain Holbach.

    Christianity specifically teaches that God sent his Son to die to forgive our sins. It’s the core principle of even the most liberal Christianity. That makes me nervous because I know there is a very simple set of conclusions to be drawn from those fact:
    1. We are damned to hell.
    2. We need salvation.
    3. The only way to salvation is through Christ.
    4a. Anyone who doesn’t believe in Christ is rejecting the gift of salvation, moreover they are ungrateful to God, whose done everything for them.
    (OR
    4b. God likes to play practical jokes on his family.)

    So I think of religion — almost all religion — as a frozen poison, waiting for the right circumstances to thaw.

    It’s like racism. Some people are racist to a degree, yet treat others with dignity and respect. Nobody would argue that we should let them believe what they want as long as they still treat people decently. The belief system is, in itself, a problem. Ditto religion.

    That opinion isn’t too popular in the Unitarian-Universalists church where Jeanette assuredly leads her atheist groups (ok, sorry, I thought every post in this thread had to have some sort of unfounded speculation about Jeanette’s religion).

  131. #131 Lynn
    November 28, 2008

    I’m a Catholic who strongly believes in evolution, and has since early childhood. As a teen I read much more about it and it gave me a great awe of and insight into God. It thrilled me to know/feel the connection to all creatures great and small, that stardust cruises my veins (as the elements are created in the hot furnaces of the stars); it is wonderful, from very small creatures to complex organisms. All is wonderful, all is miracle; some miracles have scientific explanations & some don’t…yet.

    As an anthropologist I used to tell my students, “I know some of you may have religions which forbid belief in evolution. You don’t have to believe in it, you only have to learn it for the test.”

    Now I tell them that believing in creationism or intelligent design might even be an insult to God, and that my God is an awesome God perfectly capable of creating through evolution, and not some David Copperfield in the sky with a magic wand. God’s ways are far above anything we could imagine or think up; we could only discover evolution and the big bang. Early peoples who wrote the various creation myths used the best science (observations and theorizing) of their times; they stood outside and saw the sun come up in the east and travel westward. The Bible is full of these geocentric images, but that doesn’t mean we should throw out the science that tells us the earth goes around the sun.

    Genesis is a wonderful book, much more wonderful if people don’t miss out on the symbolic layers of meaning, bec they are so focused on the literal levels. However, to disrespect current scientific truths (provisional and limited to the material realm, as they are) is surely to disrespect God. It could very well be a sin to disbelieve in evolution, and I’m very sure it is a terribly egregious sin to disbelieve in global warming and refuse to mitigate it.

  132. #132 Frasque
    November 28, 2008

    I love this blog but damn, I can only get about 10 comments in before the squabbling becomes unbearable.

  133. #133 Brad
    November 28, 2008

    Janine:

    I know. I keed. It was an excuse to toss in a Pixies song. Plus one person loves me for it.

    Make that +2

  134. #134 inkadu
    November 28, 2008

    Frasque — As internet atheists hang-outs go, this is a children’s ball pit.

    Lynn — If you could answer my implicit question as to how salvation and the messiah relate to evolution, I’d appreciate it. God sending his son down to save one tendril of an evolutionary tree doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. And most of what the Catholics believe is derived from the bible; it seems obviously an exercise in institutional delusion to think that you’ve accurately distilled the literal from the metaphorical, especially as what was once considered literal is now considered metaphorical. Or how the soul, eternal life, and mind/brain connection fits into all that.

    Glad you’re not a nutso creationist, tho.

  135. #135 BobC
    November 28, 2008

    Lynn (#131), your comments are excellent but I wonder how you justify your Catholic beliefs. Please see inkadu’s excellent comments in #130.

  136. #136 inkadu
    November 28, 2008

    BobC – Thanks. Catholics are an interesting variety of Christian. They put a lot of store in logic and learning. I don’t doubt that Lynn has answers to our questions that she finds convicing, predicated on some unjustifiable starting suppositions.

  137. #137 Scott Hatfield, OM
    November 28, 2008

    BobC:

    You wrote:

    The other problem is the people who suck up to the creationists.

    Here’s an example from Scott Hatfield (who by the way is much more intelligent and scientifically literate than I am):

    Creationist retard: “Could that common descent be a creator called God?”

    Scott Hatfield: “that’s a good point”

    No, it’s not a good point. It’s an idiotic childish point.

    I’m not criticizing Mr. Hatfield. I admire his patience with idiots, and I admire his knowledge of science. I’m just saying that I personally don’t think it’s a good idea to suck up to people who want to destroy science education.

    At the risk of sounding like a total suckup again, you make a good point, too, BobC. I don’t think we should suck up to anyone who clearly is a liar, who is anti-science, who is against public education, et cetera. But here’s the thing: being a creationist does not necessarily make a person any of those things, and even if I thought it was true that the creationist in question was lying or anti-science, I would have to be pretty confident of calling them out that way in the public square.

    It was, after all, his show and I was his guest, so in that context I think it’s prudent to assume good intent on the part of the Mayor, especially since he has a track record of trying to improve his local public school system and is positively perceived by much of his community (which reelected him with 72 percent of the vote back in 2004). He’s managed the neat trick of being able to passionately assert his version of Christianity without being perceived as intolerant or exclusionary, which (if you check out the Republican Party nationally) is not that common. So, from my point of view, I think I am more likely to receive a fair hearing from the average Fresnan by engaging the Mayor in a civil way.

    Now, this runs the risk of playing the ‘suck-up’, frankly. (sigh) All I can say is that personally I am often infuriated by both the stupidity and mendacity of the opposition, but as a real person who uses their real name on the Internet, I have to act more prudently than some of the passionate and frequently-hilarious provocateurs that inhabit Pharyngula. I want to be effective at promoting science education in the community I live in, which is far more conservative than this blog, and trying to decide how to be most effective involves (to put it mildly) interesting choices now and then.

    Nevertheless, I greatly appreciate the feedback!

    SH

  138. #138 Owlmirror
    November 28, 2008

    All I can say is that personally I am often infuriated by both the stupidity and mendacity of the opposition, but as a real person who uses their real name on the Internet, I have to act more prudently than some of the passionate and frequently-hilarious provocateurs that inhabit Pharyngula. I want to be effective at promoting science education in the community I live in, which is far more conservative than this blog, and trying to decide how to be most effective involves (to put it mildly) interesting choices now and then.

    See, now that’s the proper framing of framing!

  139. #139 llewelly
    November 28, 2008

    @Owlmirror:
    Perhaps the worst failure of Nisbet was his refusal to recognize that any city of significant size contains a huge variety of communities – and thus, a huge variety of strategies are needed to promote any one message. Some people are just not turned on by submission.

  140. #140 BobC
    November 28, 2008

    Mr. Hatfield, I agree with your logic. You really are a genius in my opinion, which makes it very difficult for me to understand why you didn’t throw out Christianity a long time ago.

  141. #141 grolby
    November 28, 2008

    Your opinion and description of atheists can never describe me, as I know what I definitely believe and do not believe and no amount of organizing with many different meanings has any effect on my stance of opinions. So many atheists who claim that moniker with different ideas only render the name as unsettled as the various religions. A simple thing in rendering the word god to the lower case maybe a small matter, but my consistency in doing so fortifies my stance in giving any credence to this nonsense. No, I won’t stuff it, any more than I will cease to remind people that their beliefs are insane bullshit.

    Hot damn, you are one pretentious asshole. Your opinion and description of atheists doesn’t do much for me, either. Who the fuck do you think you are, some kind of Atheist Golden Child semantic judge of purity? The irony is that your feelings and my feelings about religion – i.e. that it is a load of crazy, hateful crap – are more or less the same. The difference is that one of us apparently believes that he has a need to demonstrate an allegedly superior intellect through asinine semantic games intended to prove greater ideological purity. It would work better if you actually knew jack shit about language, but judging by the outrageous, pompous bombast of your posts, that’s not much of a concern for you. You’re an obnoxious, self-important troll of perhaps average intelligence with a larger-than-average vocabularly. Good for you. Please understand that when I ask you to “stuff it,” I am not telling you to stop calling out religious bullshit, I am telling you to cease the insane linguistic witch hunts against your allies. It’s pathetic.

    That said, Walton is also either hopeless obtuse or simply a dick for suggesting that that stereotyping of atheists as militant and mean is somehow your fault, or that you are somehow equivalent to Jerry Falwell. That’s ridiculous. Falwell had the authority of nonsense, despicable faith behind him. You’ve got no more power than the typical white male asshole behind a keyboard.

  142. #142 Jeanette
    November 28, 2008

    Re: inkadu’s post @130: I agree that religious beliefs, and all supernatural beliefs, are irrational and potentially dangerous. I’m not some kind of cheerleader for religion, and am more accustomed to being called a “fundamentalist atheism.” I’m opposed to religion finding its way into our laws, into public schools, onto our money, into any place in any way where our tax money is supporting it, because it’s wrong and it’s illegal under the U.S. Constitution. I also think that proselytizing is rude and assholish, and religious people should keep their superstitions to themselves, as per the old etiquette rule against mentioning the topic in mixed company.

    That being said, I don’t think it’s realistic to simply demand that religious people just get over it immediately. Some people do seem to be getting over it in a hurry right now because the new openness of atheism is allowing people to openly explore their doubts. (See the link for info about the COCORE billboard project.)

    But there’s also a lot of shifting going on, from more extreme to more moderate forms of religion. I think criticism of religion might factor into that, but education in a broader sense is probably more directly responsible. If you notice, some of our European commentators can’t believe that there are people who deny evolution. European wasn’t conquered by atheists, their religion just seems to have faded away as a relic of the past.

    So yes, we should be open about our atheism and fight against religious violations of separation of church and state, and it’s fine to criticize religion and to verbally attack the extremists who are on the attack themselves, but personal attacks against the most moderate of religious people can serve no good purpose. When they’re bending in our direction, don’t drive them back into the arms of lunacy.

    Besides which, I don’t think that we atheists can necessarily claim to be perfectly rational beings just because we’ve shed one category of irrational beliefs. The nasty troll behavior that breaks out on these message boards is an example of that. We can’t claim superiority over religionists when any of us can call a teenager an “enemy” because he’s a libertarian. (And no, I’m not one of those, either.)

    As to whether the group I run meets in the local UU church, no, but our local humanist group does rent meeting space there. It took some getting used to, but I do go to church on a monthly basis, more often than many religious people. I guess it’s suddenly become radical to say this, but Unitarians tend to be nice people.

  143. #143 Jeanette
    November 28, 2008

    @grolby: “Atheist Golden Child,” LOL. (I’m going for brevity this time.)

  144. #144 John Morales
    November 28, 2008

    BobC,

    Mr. Hatfield, I agree with your logic. You really are a genius in my opinion, which makes it very difficult for me to understand why you didn’t throw out Christianity a long time ago.

    That’s Mr. Hatfield, OM. Pretty clearly, he’s Christian by examined and informed choice, and has managed to nuance and abstract his belief without impinging on his rationality otherwise.
    It’s clearly not a problem for him or for us, and it worked to advantage (as being a fellow believer and therefore credible) as as science advocate in that interview.

  145. #145 Kel
    November 28, 2008

    Want to know why atheists are stereotyped as “militant” and as unpleasant people? Look at the likes of Holbach and BobC – the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson of atheism.

    That’s a really unfair comparison. You could compare Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens to Falwell and Robertson in terms of the strength of their conviction in their arguments, but the gravity of what they say is completely different.

    Falwell and Robertson blamed 9/11 on gays, the ACLU, and abortion making God mad. Now what atheist would say anything so extreme and stupid?

    This is the bullshit that is a militant atheist. A militant Christian or Islam are people who incite violence, a militant atheist simply rejects God. It’s a huge double standard. The equivalent to people like Holbach or BobC would be your average person on the street who doesn’t understand how anyone can not believe in God. They are nothing like the Pat Robertson’s and Jerry Falwell’s of this world.

  146. #146 inkadu
    November 28, 2008

    Jeanette –

    What’s your idea of “personally attacking” someone for their beliefs? I agree with you if you mean we should be courteous. But I’m afraid you are confusing criticizing someone’s beliefs as attacking them personally. There’s really nothing wrong with criticizing people’s beliefs accurately. Really. There isn’t.

    I also think you are far too timid about the politics of it. One, I think religious beliefs are more likely to go away if they are open to criticism. Two, people aren’t going to abandon evolution because you called God an ape-lover. And three, good luck changing the way atheists approach religion.

  147. #147 Lynn
    November 28, 2008

    RE #134, 135 136. Belief in God is like an apriori assumption a person makes (we call it faith), rather than something you can prove scientifically. Even John (1Jn4:12) says, “No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God lives in us…” Belief in God, however, does come through one sense, hearing it from others, as St. John of the Cross pointed out.

    Even in ancient times I imagine there were lots of atheists and “back pewers” who didn’t really quite believe in God. I’m always amazed there are so many who claim to believe in God.

    I converted to Catholicism in my 20s, tho I was reared a Protestant and dabbled in several other religions. My favorite book at the time, during the mid-60s, was Kazantzakis’s THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST; I understood it as a historical novel, a concept fundamentalists seem unable to grasp. When I saw the movie decades later, my favorite line was Judas asking Jesus about his ragtag lowly disciples, “Where did you get these men?”

    RE evolution & Christianity….I don’t think we can 2nd guess God, but here’s my 2bits anyway: There are all these parallels re small things. The fact that we evolved from single cell animals, that Jesus was born in a manger & peasant estate. That God comes to us as a tiny piece of bread, accessable & quite loving. The prophet Elijah looked for God in fiercesome big things, but he found God in a tiny, still voice. This could just be my speculation, but I see parallels there, sort of like a poetic appreciation — the prose type people won’t be interested, I presume.

    Now lets get to the real issue — religion as the cause of world ills. I don’t blame religion for all the world’s ills, bec I’m not an ideological or ideational determinist. OTOH, I’m not a material-economic determinist like Marx either. I think the human condition is impacted by the biological, environmental, cultural (incl shared beliefs & values, religion, science, & technology), the psychological (motivational, emotional, cognitive processes, cognitions), and the social (incl economic, political, kin, and other relations). [A religious person might have some notions of the spiritual dimension, as well, divine economy…]

    Durkheim (early sociologist, atheist) thought religion brought people together and worried about its demise, which was the conventional wisdom among scholars in the early 1900s; he figured the educational system might have to fill in and inculcate society’s morals. I disagree that religion is solely a unifying thing, an “eminently collective thing” acc to Durkheim; I’ve always understood religion is a double-edged sword; it can be used to bring people together, and it can be used to fuel conflict and war. But religion used for evil purposes is only partly to blame for the world’s evils; we have to look at all the other analytical dimensions of the human condition to understand why people do the terrible things they do.

    I have very serious problems with the religious rights and fundamentalisms, whether they be Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, or cult fundamentalism. I understand these have sprung up in recent times to address perceived problems of our modern world, just as communism sprung up to address the evils of captialism. However, their adherents really need more education to understand the problems & come up with effective solutions, rather than just lashing out in bigotry and hatred.

    I wish I had some good solutions to solve world problems. I trust that living my Carmelite spirituality–which tells me to be a good person in the world, despite all the evil, wrong-doing, and wrong-headedness around me–would help, like Mother Teresa telling us the love with which we do our small, tiny good deeds makes them infinite. The journey of a thousand miles starts with small steps.

    That idea — being good to help solve world problems — is just a matter of faith, trust. No science to back it up, or to back up my belief in God. Sorry. I just wish people would come together, regardless of their beliefs or lack thereof, and mitigate global warming.

  148. #148 John Morales
    November 28, 2008

    BobC,

    I think atheists who say believing in a magic fairy is normal and nothing to be ashamed of are not much better than the religious nuts.

    I happen to be married to a church-going Catholic, so count me in that lot.
    Taken literally, that would show that tolerance is apparently not your strong suit (and I think you misunderstand normal), but I’d rather hope you’re merely overgeneralising rather than just being prejudicial.

  149. #149 John Morales
    November 28, 2008

    Lynn @147,

    There are all these parallels re small things. The fact that we evolved from single cell animals, that Jesus was born in a manger & peasant estate. […] This could just be my speculation, but I see parallels there, sort of like a poetic appreciation — the prose type people won’t be interested, I presume.

    Wrong. I’m very much the prose type, but I see allusions, implications and linkages just as well as you. Poeticism is a mode of expression, not a state of mind, and a particularly imprecise one.
    PS you mean allegories, not parallels.

  150. #150 Jeanette
    November 28, 2008

    inkadu @146: You’re ABSOLUTELY wrong about my views. There’s nothing at all wrong with criticizing people’s beliefs, and I do it all the time. I started an atheist group at the beginning of the year because the largest local atheist group struck me as being too politically correct and I felt maligned for my open criticism of religion.

    I am opposed to religion, but not to the extent where I can’t draw the line between protecting my rights and violating those of someone else. People can be good and decent and intelligent, even if they believe some rather stupid things, which is their right as long as they’re not imposing it on others.

    But criticizing someone’s views and putting them down personally are two different things. If someone is polite about their religious beliefs and isn’t imposing them on anyone in any way, then I don’t think it’s reasonable to go around calling them “retards.”

    Am I being a “fence-sitter?” Here’s a link to the New York Times story about the rally for separation of church and state that I led this September:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/18/us/18religion.html?_r=2&ref=us

    Yes, there was a small turnout, but we criticized religion with picket signs and a PA system on the steps of the state capitol building (the first such event in our state in many years). How many times have you done the same, inkadu?

    And as you can see if you look around the COCORE site and realize that their web address is up on billboards all over Denver, I’m one of a small minority who are willing to step up and be the public face of atheism in our community. If you’re calling me a fence-sitter, I hope I can live up to your example of activism in your community.

    ~Jeanette M. Norman

  151. #151 BobC
    November 28, 2008

    Mr. Morales (#148), my point was there’s nothing normal about believing in a magic fairy, no matter how many people believe in it. Of course many religious people can still be considered normal despite their irrational beliefs.

    I don’t expect atheists to rule out being married to theists, especially not in a country like god-soaked America. There’s no reason to dislike a person just because one of their hobbies (religion) is a total waste of time.

    I usually don’t care about other people’s strange beliefs, but when they try to impose their medieval ideas into governments or schools, or when they fly airplanes into buildings, then I become very intolerant.

  152. #152 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 28, 2008

    David Marjanovic @ 123
    Your comments and opinions are duly noted.

    You don’t say.

    Christianity specifically teaches that God sent his Son to die to forgive our sins. It’s the core principle of even the most liberal Christianity. That makes me nervous because I know there is a very simple set of conclusions to be drawn from those fact:
    1. We are damned to hell.

    You haven’t seen how liberal Christianity can get. Though I’m not sure it ever gets that far in the USA.

    Over here, many people believe Hell is empty: when you die, God stretches out his hand, and if you accept it, you go to Heaven. This is what the Religious Instruction teacher told us was his own belief, I kid you not. Another widespread belief is that Hell is just the absence of God: boring perhaps, but not involving any torture.

    And failing that, the tradition of secularism is now strong enough that people believe it’s blasphemy to take God’s revenge into your own hands. After all, it is written: “Vengeance is mine, speaks the Lord.”

    I agree, however, that anyone who takes their holy scriptures (not necessarily the Christian ones) more seriously than that is… in a conducive environment… potentially capable of becoming a public danger the way you describe.

    I don’t think we should suck up to anyone who clearly is a liar, who is anti-science, who is against public education, et cetera. But here’s the thing: being a creationist does not necessarily make a person any of those things

    Personally, I think few creationists lie. (There are some like Teno Groppi who try very hard to lie to themselves aloud, but that’s it.) It’s more an ignorance thing, like Robert Byers (on the Odontochelys thread) honestly believing all sediments are exactly identical and could therefore be flood Flood deposits, for example. It’s of course possible that those who use creationism as a business model — Gish, Ham, Hovind — lie and actually know better, but I don’t see a reason to assume they really know better.

  153. #153 Jeanette
    November 28, 2008

    Oh, and there’s a gross inaccuracy in that NYT article. It wasn’t a “No on 48″ rally, although that was one of many highlight issues and two speakers did give an excellent presentation about it. It was a rally against any violations of separation of church and state of any kind, and we spoke on that range of topics.

    BobC:

    I usually don’t care about other people’s strange beliefs, but when they try to impose their medieval ideas into governments or schools, or when they fly airplanes into buildings, then I become very intolerant.

    That isn’t what we’re talking about, as I have made clear. We’re talking about saying that it’s unacceptable for that nice, intelligent man with a “friend of ‘A'” on his website to believe things that we don’t.

    And religious beliefs are weird but literally “normal.” They are the norm, and denying facts should be left to the religionists. I think we should strive toward a world where religion and theism are not the norms, but I wouldn’t want to see us take a shortcut to a world free of religion by directly getting rid of religious people.

  154. #154 John Morales
    November 28, 2008

    BobC, I know what you’re saying, but “normal” is not synonymous with “skeptic” or “atheist” or “rationalist”. Remember, many atheists have other irrational beliefs (just not religious ones).
    Normal refers to the norm, not to your ideal.

    I usually don’t care about other people’s strange beliefs, but when they try to impose their medieval ideas into governments or schools, or when they fly airplanes into buildings, then I become very intolerant.

    As do I.
    so what again is your problem with Scott (cf. #140)? He advocates none of these, indeed promotes science and empiricism.

  155. #155 BobC
    November 28, 2008

    And religious beliefs are weird but literally “normal.” They are the norm, and denying facts should be left to the religionists. I think we should strive toward a world where religion and theism are not the norms, but I wouldn’t want to see us take a shortcut to a world free of religion by directly getting rid of religious people.

    Hi Jeanette, I’m also against getting rid of religious people. I’m in favor of eradicating religions, not the people who believe in them. The solution is better science education. I’m also in favor of throwing out the idea that religious beliefs should be respected.

    I have to disagree with your calling religious beliefs “normal”. I agree that normal usually means behavior that is shared by the majority of the population. But if the majority believed pink elephants orbited Pluto, I wouldn’t call that normal. For the same reason I wouldn’t call a belief in a magic fairy hiding in the clouds a normal belief. I think it’s insane and childish.

  156. #156 BobC
    November 28, 2008

    John Morales (#154):

    so what again is your problem with Scott (cf. #140)?

    If all theists were as intelligent, rational, and knowledgeable as Scott, I would never criticize theists again. I’m just wondering how it’s possible for a scientifically literate person to throw out all common sense to believe in something as impossible and ridiculous as a god fairy. Perhaps Scott himself or some other pro-science theist would like to explain this mystery.

    “normal” is not synonymous with “skeptic” or “atheist” or “rationalist”.

    I respectfully disagree. Atheism is normal. Theism is insanity.

    I’m not saying all atheists are sane and all theists are nuts. I’m just saying the idea there’s an invisible man ruling the universe is the most idiotic idea anyone ever had.

  157. #157 clinteas
    November 28, 2008

    Nothing better than a good ol group session,where we can all vent and tell each other what we always wanted to say LOL.

    @ Lynn,

    That is a rather impressive case of cognitive dissonance that you have going there.

    Mr. Hatfield

    It always makes me feel really old when people call me Mister….

  158. #158 Kel
    November 28, 2008

    The problem with global warming is that people don’t want to take responsibility for it. Those who are religious believe it’s all in God’s plan, while those who are libertarians deny it could possibly be caused by humanity. (honestly, how many libertarians actually admit that the science points to AGW? The only one I can think of is Michael Shermer and it took a long time for him to come around)

    It comes down to the fact we need to change the fundamental way society runs. We have for the last 100 years had a supply & demand market driven purely by the notion of profits. It has turned out that the commodities we have been using are finite and our whole society is unsustainable in the long term. In short, we have been turning environmental resources into capital. We have basic necessities as a species: food, water and shelter. If our actions will affect our ability to grow crops or have usable drinking water then we are screwed. Beyond that we need to construct mechanisms for luxury from renewable resources. But that won’t sit well and people will work to maintain the quality of life we have now, until we hit that critical point in time when desperation means drastic action.

  159. #159 Jeanette
    November 28, 2008

    BobC:

    If all theists were as intelligent, rational, and knowledgeable as Scott, I would never criticize theists again.

    You do realize that what you just said is similar to what I said, which got me accused by Holbach of being a closet religionist?

    Controversial statement by Jeanette:

    . If all religious people were as friendly and reasonable, religion wouldn’t be the source of conflict and the destructive force that it is. What does it hurt us if someone simply believes something different than we do? It’s when they act unreasonably based on those beliefs that they become insufferable.

    So you’d better watch out for the Atheist Inquisition.

  160. #160 Mrs Tilton
    November 28, 2008

    Inkadu @130,

    Nobody would argue that we should let [racists] believe what they want as long as they still treat people decently

    Really? I would. So would any liberal who understands the meaning of the term. In part because I can’t peer into people’s souls, I am less interested in what they think than in what they do. So what do I think about a person who has racist thoughts but refrains from racist acts? (Assuming I have some way to know that he is, in his inner core, a racist.) I think it’s a shame they think that way, not least for their own sake. And I wouldn’t like them, and barring very strong countervailing reasons to do so, I wouldn’t give them employment, or buy things from them. But I wouldn’t dream of not letting them think whatever it is they want to think. (Not that I, or you, have any authority to “let” people think what we believe it proper for them to think, or any power to police their thoughts at all.)

  161. #161 John Morales
    November 28, 2008

    Bravo, Mrs Tilton!

  162. #162 Scott Hatfield, OM
    November 28, 2008

    Hatfield here. I appreciate both the kind words from the well-disposed godless, and the various critiques from others that complain I’m still part of the problem, in being just a bit less delusional than other theists. I certainly am in no position to tell other atheists how I should be treated, so I won’t bother than to say I’m ‘OK’ with it and that it goes with the territory. I”m a big boy and you’re not going to hurt my feelings.

    But, at the risk of being presumptuous, it seems to me that the danger is not that some atheists are highly critical of religion. The danger is that there must be some official, sanctioned, agreed-upon critique of religion in order to count as a ‘True Atheist’. This would tend to exchange a vital skepticism for the sort of dogma which already defines most believers. For that reason alone, I am sympathetic to what Jeannette wrote.

  163. #163 BobC
    November 28, 2008

    Jeanette (#159):

    You do realize that what you just said is similar to what I said, which got me accused by Holbach of being a closet religionist?

    That surprised me but I think it was just an innocent mistake.

    I’ve been called many bad things, but I doubt anyone here will ever call me religious.

    Lynn (#147), I read your interesting comments. They were interesting because I’ve been trying to figure out how some people can accept both evolutionary biology and religious ideas. Apparently you believe in Mr. God and Mr. Christ. I read your comments twice but I was unable to figure out why you believe in that stuff. I was wondering if you have ever considered why a Mr. God would be interested in this tiny planet in the middle of nowhere in an unimaginably vast universe. It sounds like wishful thinking to me. Of course the other problem is Mr. God is impossible, and also it’s obviously just an invention of ancient ignorant primitive people.

    You’re pro-science so your religion hobby is harmless. I just don’t get why you bother with it.

  164. #164 inkadu
    November 29, 2008

    Jeanette – I guess we don’t have that much of a disagreement, then. I don’t think we should discount people as people because they happen to be religious, either. And I’m not much for street rallies; over where I live there isn’t much call for it. But I bow to your activist street cred.

    Lynn – If we can not have first hand knowledge of God, only a priori knowledge that It exists, then why do you call yourself a Catholic and not a Deist? You seem to be saying that the church you belong to can not have any better idea who God is than you yourself do. By identifying yourself as Catholic, you are expressing an unfounded preference for a certain vision of God. That’s what I don’t understand.

    And, finally, Mrs. Tilton, I would be primarily interested in how we treat each other, I think we all are, but I wouldn’t sit across from someone saying how he had just hired a unusually-gifted-for-a-black person without having something to say in conversation. Not that I’d push my chair away from the table and splash my beer in his face, but it would be an opportunity to share my point of view. That’s what we’re talking about here. Is it OK to talk about these things with people in a reasonable fashion? Am I breaking some social code of conduct by doing so?

    David – I saw Christianity has a core belief that people burn in hell without salvation not because it’s accepted in Europe, but because it’s the only way the story of Jesus makes sense. What is the point of God sending his only son to die a horrible death if the only thing that matters is that we be nice to each other? It’s like saying Hamlet really doesn’t love Ophelia. It’s might be true, but the story is much less compelling that way. That’s why Christianity makes me nervous, the story itself has ramifications that can be ignored and cleaned up, but they are still there, lurking in the grass.

  165. #165 Lynn
    November 29, 2008

    I guess what I mean by apriori, is that I accept what my elders have told me — God exists. So I think about the attributes they told me about — infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient; God is Love; God is Truth (which is why, BTW, we must respect scientific truths, tho they be provisional, changeable with new & better evidence/theory, and pertain only to the material realm).

    The greatest Catholic saints and mystics do not claim to know much about God. One wrote “the cloud of unknowing.” St. John of the Cross said in effect if you have some idea or image about God, you’re wrong.

    I’ve thought about it this way. The cells of our body don’t really understand us, or what we’re about. Likewise we finite beings can’t understand the infinite God — and perhaps it’s not that we’re too far away, but maybe too close (and finite & limited). It’s also interesting that Durkheim (sociologist, atheist), speaking of totemism and how the clan worships its totem deity, which means it worships its society, and god & society are one. I liked that idea, though there are even greater things beyond the individual than society.

    When I studied calculus (as a college course offered in high school), I remember reading about the idea of infinity, and I remember being struck and awed by God, who is beyond whatever we can imagine or think up. Calculus was a mystical God-experience for me, and I figured mathematicians of all people must be very religious, so at Berkeley in the 60s when I met a math grad student, I asked what his religion was. He said he was an atheist. I asked what his parents’ religion was — atheist. How about grandparents — atheist. “I’m third generation atheist.” We had a good laugh. (I knew nada of B. Russell then.)

  166. #166 Lynn
    November 29, 2008

    Here’s something I wrote on another blog:

    The best way to defeat the devil or evil forces (whether supernatural, or natural & scientifically explainable) is thru humility. Arrogance is an evil-attractor — which explains why so many religious and atheists alike engage in evil.

    What is humility but an honest assessment of ourselves. Not false humility of denying our own abilities & talents, but an acknowledgement that these did not come from us but from…OK, for nontheists at least one can understand that all good things about oneself came from one’s parents, teachers, the elements that formed us, the food and air that sustain us each day. I.e., not from oneself. And we can be thankful to “not me” for all that has been given us, that allows us to give in return our pittily actions and sacrifices for the welfare of the world, which are made possible by “not me.” I think that would be a good posture, so as to thwart evil (whether natural or supernatural) in our own lives and in the world.

    So we can all celebrate Thankgiving – too at the least “not me”! :)

  167. #167 John Morales
    November 29, 2008

    Lynn, #165

    I guess what I mean by apriori, is that I accept what my elders have told me — God exists. So I think about the attributes they told me about — infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient; God is Love; God is Truth (which is why, BTW, we must respect scientific truths, tho they be provisional, changeable with new & better evidence/theory, and pertain only to the material realm).

    #166

    The best way to defeat the devil or evil forces (whether supernatural, or natural & scientifically explainable) is thru humility.

    So, you just assume God exists, then try to fit your perceptions of reality around this act of faith. You feel compelled to buy in to this notion of a supernatural realm that God inhabits. Now you have to believe in malevolent supernatural forces, and the power of priests and their talismans and prayers. Before you know it, celibate old men are providing marriage counselling…
    You’re no different from a Muslim, you do know that, right? The only difference is the religion through which you filter your perception.
    What’s there to be proud about, buying into a variety of delusional thinking? Humility is only proper.

  168. #168 Lynn
    November 29, 2008

    Well, John, yes in the beginning I just accepted what my elders told me, but as I grew up I tested all things and found them worthy of belief — using reason and experience. Not to go into my own personal experiences, but I’m satisfied that prayer works, that God loves me, that God has helped me many many times, and that there must be some method in God’s seeming madness re allowing evil to persist in the world (What was God thinking when he gave us free will, anyway). But it’s a different type of knowledge from scientific knowledge. It’s like knowledge based on poetry or poetic justice. It’s sort of like when there’s a current cut and I have to go downstairs to get the candles, I trust as I walk down in the pitch darkness that the builder made the stairs even. Now I could be wrong, but I trust.

    In a way I’m thinking that the atheists and fundamentalists are sort of alike in this respect, they are such literalists, such materialists. So, who knows, maybe you’re more like that Muslim. That’s not an insult, most Muslims are very fine, decent, and good people who’ve been smeared by some of their kooky evil brethren. Like I mentioned in my earlier post, I’m not an ideological determinists, there are other dimensions that impact us to do wrong.

  169. #169 John Morales
    November 29, 2008

    Lynn,
    Now that you’ve explained how “[you] tested all things and found them worthy of belief — using reason and experience.”, I have to correct my opinion and accept you’re confident in the rationality of your belief after exhaustive examination.

    I’m satisfied that prayer works

    To make you feel better, maybe. To regrow that amputated leg or something like that, no.

    But it’s a different type of knowledge from scientific knowledge. It’s like knowledge based on poetry or poetic justice

    Hm.

    In a way I’m thinking that the atheists and fundamentalists are sort of alike in this respect, they are such literalists, such materialists

    Materialism is merely the non-application of Supernaturalism. It’s not being literal, it’s not engaging in wishful thinking, but accepting reality. Besides, you make it sound so limited – all of space and time and everything that exists is covered by “materialism”.

    So, who knows, maybe you’re more like that Muslim. That’s not an insult, most Muslims are very fine, decent, and good people who’ve been smeared by some of their kooky evil brethren

    Nah, I’m nothing like any believer. I’ll change my beliefs in a flash, if I have good reason to do so. And I’ll do what I think is right, not what I’m told by others is right.
    As to the second part, may I say most Christians are probably fine, decent, and good people too.

  170. #170 Sastra
    November 29, 2008

    Lynn #168 wrote:

    In a way I’m thinking that the atheists and fundamentalists are sort of alike in this respect, they are such literalists, such materialists. So, who knows, maybe you’re more like that Muslim.

    Although this is a rather popular belief held by many religious moderates, it is still the atheists who are the least literal of all. We consider God to be a metaphor, a symbol. God is poetry. God is concept. It is not a Being, or a thing. It is not to be taken literally, any more than Santa Claus is to be taken literally.

    Theists can’t go that far — they still have to retain some sort of anthropomorphism, they have to make God into a person, or Force of Goodness, or something else very literal, lest they liberalize themselves into atheism.

  171. #171 Leigh Williams
    November 30, 2008

    David Marjanovi? @129: “You haven’t seen how liberal Christianity can get. Though I’m not sure it ever gets that far in the USA.”

    Yes indeed, it gets that far. A 2008 Pew Forum survey revealed that 70% of 35,000 survey participants believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life.” Heck, 57$ of EVANGELICAL respondents agreed with that statement, causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the fundamentalist Christian blogosphere.

    Belief in hell has been steadily declining for years, even here in the Bible-thumping US of A.

    What would be more interesting, I think, would be to ask these same people if atheists will also avoid hell. I’ll bet that the liberal Christians will say yes. The evangelicals are another story. Atheists are the new Jews for that bunch, now that antisemitism isn’t fashionable. They always have to have some whipping boy minority behind those evil conspiracies they use to whip their pew-sitters into a frenzy.

  172. #172 Lynn
    December 1, 2008

    RE #169, and “To regrow that amputated leg or something like that, no.” I’ve seen a few comments elsewhere re how people should pray for God to make amputees regrow their limbs. This is not impossible. First of all my impression is that God prefers to work through natural methods….since he created nature (thru evolution) and all natural laws.

    I did see some program about how they can now grow noses and ears, so perhaps regrowing limbs is not too far off in the future. And there are other ways God works — like by us limbed people helping out the amputees, being their limbs, so to speak.

    My main prayer over the past 20 years has been (tho I’m not very faithful in prayer, demoralized as I am) has been the mitigation of global warming. When I became aware of Eucharist desecration on the internet, then I had to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. So now my prayer is that all people everywhere have their emotional intelligence developed and grown strong. (It’s amazing that it is so similar to my very first automous prayer…or wish while blowing on a dandelion…that all people in the world be happy.) Anyway, that is my new prayer, and I believe it requires a much more difficult miracle, but if it can happen, then global warming will be solved to boot.

    When I first became a lay Carmelite some 20 years ago I mentioned about how my Presbyterian Sunday school teacher had given some explanations of Jesus’s miracles — like feeding the crowd; he got a few people to give 2 fish and 5 loaves, and that started the ball rolling, and other people who’d been fearfully hording, then all started sharing so everyone ate plenty. My Carmelite friend said, no that there had been an actual miracle and Jesus had multiplied the fish and loaves. I then agreed with her, but said that, “Yes, it would be too much to believe that horders had shared; Jesus actually multiplying the fish and loaves is the easier miracle.” But I felt sad, bec it would have been so much better a miracle (giving me some shred of hope that global warming might be mitigated), if God’s awesome power had gotten those people to care and share!

  173. #173 clinteas
    December 1, 2008

    Oh,wow,cool,

    this channel has a freakshow on,yay !

    My Carmelite friend said, no that there had been an actual miracle and Jesus had multiplied the fish and loaves. I then agreed with her, but said that, “Yes, it would be too much to believe that horders had shared; Jesus actually multiplying the fish and loaves is the easier miracle.” But I felt sad, bec it would have been so much better a miracle (giving me some shred of hope that global warming might be mitigated), if God’s awesome power had gotten those people to care and share!

    Is this candid camera or something,or a Poe contest ?

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