Pharyngula

We made them cry!

We had a pointless poll post a while back where I pointed you at a silly site that asked what was the best evidence for the afterlife — and you people triumphantly emphasized that there was no evidence.

Amusingly, the guy who runs the site is now whining about the attention we gave him.

While I appreciate the attention from this Big Fish of the Intarwebs (and I thought Randi and the Bad Astronomer were big), I did find a bit of perverse irony in the situation. The biggest science blog on the planet, home site of one of the foremost ‘defenders of reason’, telling readers to go and vote on a topic which most of them have not read on at all?

Well, he might be right that Phil Plait is small potatoes, but really…does he really believe that no one who reads this site has seriously considered the possibility of the afterlife?

Oh, and of course he has deleted all of your votes from the old poll. We are victorious!

Comments

  1. #1 Phil
    February 25, 2009

    Time to go vote again. If you want to avoid leaving tracks behind, copy the link and paste it into a blank browser window. That way he won’t be able to tell the voters were referred from here.

  2. #2 Jaycubed
    February 25, 2009

    He is actually speaking the truth on his site, he did “fix” the poll.

    Fix 7 a: to get even with b: to influence the actions, outcome, or effect of by improper or illegal methods

    Not to mention, “to spay or castrate”

  3. #3 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 25, 2009

    Evidence for the afterlife? Still waiting to see any. Skeptical Inquirer has discussed the negative evidence, so I’ve looked. But this guy, he wants peoples minds so open their brains fall out.

  4. #4 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 25, 2009

    telling readers to go and vote on a topic which most of them have not read on at all?

    yawn.

  5. #5 Wowbagger
    February 25, 2009

    Sucks to be him.

  6. #6 Glen Davidson
    February 25, 2009

    It’s endless projection by these people. If you’re against ID, they simply claim that you haven’t “studied” ID (like there’s sensibly more to it than, it’s really complex so god did it), and if you’ve studied god and theology only to discover that there’s nothing to it, ergo, you haven’t studied it.

    Well, it defends their ignorance, which is the primary goal.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  7. #7 AnthonyK
    February 25, 2009

    I do apologise about voting without reading properly about the topic. I had no idea the written word was the principle source of evidence for the universe beyond out ken. Is there any particular text I can absorb to learn this important information, or is it available through the original PubPhanatom sources?

  8. #8 Kassul
    February 25, 2009

    wtf? I voted in that poll and I’ve looked into the matter quite a bit. I’ve read books on the subject of the afterlife, multiple research articles on the subject of NDEs from a neuroscience perspective, the history of mediums, what claims they’ve made and the evidence to support them, etc.

    And he deletes my vote?

    Fuck him. My vote is just as informed as the people who’ve voted for other options, perhaps more than some.

  9. #9 AnthonyK
    February 25, 2009

    Sorry, that source should have read “Ectoplasm Abstracts”. PubPhanatom is now defunct.

  10. #10 Kel
    February 25, 2009

    telling readers to go and vote on a topic which most of them have not read on at all?

    You mean there is evidence of an afterlife? Bring it!!!

    “Afterlife? Pfft. If I’d thought I had to go through a whole ‘nother life, I’d kill myself right now.” – Bender

  11. #11 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 25, 2009

    Read through the comments. GAG! I dislike new age thought as much as I dislike christianity. This was a typical comment.

    The problem is…
    On Mon, 23/02/2009 – 8:44pm, alevangel said:

    ….that if you read with the preconceived notion that what you are reading is fake, bogus, bologna, etc., then cognitive filtering is occuring. That kind of filtering obscures the percipient’s ability to acknowledge that his or her beliefs might be erroneous.

    alevangel

    When I was young, I was open to the idea that this stuff was true. Never saw a thing. My experience is obscuring my ability to see the truth.

  12. #12 Who Cares
    February 25, 2009

    It’s to bad that his action of deleting votes probably takes less time then it takes for people to pester him by voting no evidence.

  13. #13 Chris P
    February 25, 2009

    This isn’t fair he claims there were 3000 voters when I did a substantial portion of the work on my own. If these people can observe the paranormal you’d have thought they could figure out the normal.

    As an engineer I am trained to be observant I have seen NOTHING in my entire life that is paranormal. No ghosts, no miracles, no gods, no angels….just plenty of people with really silly ideas.

    I have however seen a lot of beautiful pieces of engineering that inspire awe. I have an old German milling machine that sends shivers down my spine because it moves so nicely by hand.

    And I rarely read fiction because there is too much spectacular stuff to understand in the real world – like turbulence and air friction.

    Chris P

  14. #14 b. j. edwards
    February 25, 2009

    Well the Daily Grail gave you publicity and showed his own flock he has the moral capacity to “fix” votes, maybe their own votes, too.

    Talk about sticking his foot in his mouth.

    Since it’s “vote early and vote often” for him, I did my duty – again.

  15. #15 SC, OM
    February 25, 2009

    where I pointed you at a silly site

    Why do I feel like a fembot?

  16. #16 E.V.
    February 25, 2009

    Why do I feel like a fembot?

    (using best Austin Powers impression) Oh be-have!

  17. #18 Slugsie
    February 25, 2009

    Ahhhh, excellent way to maintain even the slightest credibility of the results. Anything you don’t like, just ignore. :)

  18. #19 Wowbagger
    February 25, 2009

    OT, but interesting (and science!) – I hope it’s not something you’ve heard before; it just showed up on my news page: Fossil fish reveal prehistoric love making. From the article: Fish have been doing it for more than 380 million years and palaeontologists now know how, according to an Australian-led study.

  19. #20 kamaka
    February 25, 2009

    Ummm…you’d have to have a soul to have an afterlife.

    fMRI scans show it all goes on in the brain. Sorry, no evidence or need for the soul idea.

    So there’s no reason to ‘read on’ anything about some afterlife.

  20. #21 Sastra
    February 25, 2009

    I have read quite a bit on the topics of NDE’s and other presumed evidence for the afterlife, thank you very much. I came to both atheism and secular humanism by way of studying skeptical investigations of paranormal phenomena I once believed in. I was curious as to why these remarkable gifts, abilities, forces, and systems did not ever seem to be referred to or acknowledged by “regular scientists” — only the mavericks on the fringe. The paranormalist response that all the scientists in the mainstream scientific community were less wise, brave, curious, and open-minded than people like me seemed a bit too implausible and self-serving.

    Still, my views do not count to them. As one of the people posting on that site puts it:

    The trouble is that if you read with the preconceived notion that what you are reading is fake, bogus, bologna, etc., then cognitive filtering is occuring. That kind of filtering obscures the percipient’s ability to acknowledge that his or her beliefs might be erroneous.

    No, it is possible to read the studies and anecdotes with nothing more than the filter which one puts all scientific claims through, and then come up with the conclusion that the evidence is poor, fake, bogus, or what have you.

    Since these believers must know their views are not accepted into mainstream science, each one must have some other method they can use in order to “acknowledge that his or her beliefs might be erroneous.” I do wonder what it might be.

    And I’m astonished that they even had that last response on their poll, since they clearly didn’t think anyone should vote for it. It would be more ‘open-minded’ of them to have left it off. Or at least more honest.

  21. #22 black wolf
    February 25, 2009

    #8,
    of course you haven’t read the ‘right’ sources and listened to the ‘right’ inner voices or whatever; if you had you’d have believed. As someone recently put it on a thread somewhere: ‘skeptics/atheists think always think with their heads instead of listening to their hearts’ and ‘when asked to point at themselves, 100% of people point at their heart’.
    See, that proves that the mere act of critical inquiry disqualifies anyone from being taken seriously. riiiight…

  22. #23 badrescher
    February 25, 2009

    Did he just delete the votes he didn’t like? Or is he psychic, too, and knows who reads your blog?

  23. #24 Margaret
    February 25, 2009

    “Big Fish”

    No, no, no. A cephalopod is not a fish.

  24. #25 Greg Laden
    February 25, 2009

    This is why this is worth doing.

  25. #26 SEF
    February 25, 2009

    Quick, cast “summon bigger fish”! ;-)

    (or perhaps that should be in the comic / graphic novel argument thread …)

  26. #27 AnthonyK
    February 25, 2009

    I want to come back as a fossil ghost.
    It’ll be valid evolutionary evidence which will be clearly seeen only by the credulous. That’ll fill in those pesky gaps in the comprehension record!

  27. #28 John Morales
    February 25, 2009

    Greg:

    Now that the thousands of ‘voices of reason’ have departed, in search of some other deep and meaningful activity, I’ve fixed the poll.

    He’s proud of cheating. What a surprise.

  28. #29 Lowell
    February 25, 2009

    AnthonyK,

    Maybe you should consult Tobin’s Spirit Guide. I’ve heard that’s the most authoritative source.

  29. #30 humanimal
    February 25, 2009

    He’s ‘fixed’ the poll. I say we fix it for real.

  30. #31 The Helvetica Scenario
    February 25, 2009

    @22
    Next time I’m asked to point at myself (when does this ever happen?), I’m pointing at my groin.

  31. #32 cyan
    February 25, 2009

    PZ,
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10103521/

    Should the motto “In God We Trust” be removed from U.S. currency?
    Yes. It’s a violation of the principle of separation of church and state.
    15%
    No. The motto has historical and patriotic significance and does nothing to establish a state religion.
    85%

  32. #33 Shane
    February 25, 2009

    Meh. Someone who has a category called “UFO Mystic” on their site loses credibility with me. Fine. Go play in your little sandbox, take your “red pill”, and pretend you’re a really important paranormal researcher.

    Have to chuckle a bit at the irony of the “preconceived notion” and “cognitive filtering” comment. It’s always those who want a basic standard of reasonable evidence who are “arrogant”–never the secret holders of the esoteric knowledge of ancient inner truths. “The goggles, they do narthing!”

  33. #34 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 25, 2009

    Hmmm – without the voices of reason topping up the ‘There is no evidence’ vote, it looks like ‘Reincarnation Memories’ would be the next highest candidate.

    (Rimmer) …He told me that I was in a previous life – Alexander the Great’s… chief…eunuch!

    HA!

  34. #35 YetAnotherKevin
    February 25, 2009

    How about, “Yes. It was added as blatant anti-communist propaganda”

  35. #36 Sastra
    February 25, 2009

    Shane #33 wrote:

    It’s always those who want a basic standard of reasonable evidence who are “arrogant”–never the secret holders of the esoteric knowledge of ancient inner truths.

    That’s because you cannot advance to the next stage of spiritual evolution unless you are “humble.” So that takes care of the charge of arrogance.

    From their point of view, their attempts to explain matters of the spirit to rational- materialist- skeptics is like Einstein trying to explain the Theory of Relativity to a dog. We’re at too low a level to comprehend them. Because of our pissy attitude, we still lack the capacity for Higher Thought, Higher Wisdom, Higher Knowledge, and Higher Humility.

  36. #37 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 25, 2009

    These are the times I wish Kenny was back.

  37. #38 Robert Madewell
    February 25, 2009

    I like how nonchalantly he meantions that he “fixed” the poll. I think it was “broken” before you ever got there. Fixing apearantly means to ignore anyone who disagrees with you.

  38. #39 bobxxxx
    February 25, 2009

    I can forgive a gullible brainwashed child for believing in heaven and/or hell, but any adult who believes in it is hopelessly insane, cowardly, and just plain stupid.

  39. #40 Greg
    February 25, 2009

    I can see that I’ve provoked much frustration and righteous indignation amongst the Pharyngula community. Apologies for putting a dent in your sense of entitlement. Rather than blindly wailing away about the injustice of it all, you may now direct your complaints/questions to me personally.

  40. #41 Menyambal
    February 25, 2009

    “when asked to point at themselves, 100% of people point at their heart”

    Except in China, where the culturally accepted move is to point at one’s nose. Tapping one’s chest–not one’s heart–is a cultural meme, not proof of anything. Besides, when I tell someone to bite me, I’m not aiming them at my chest. And in sexual situations . . ..

    The poll was strange, the comments from the regulars there are stranger. One person was whining because nobody from here bothered to sign up to leave a comment. The rest of it was sillier than that–they seemed to think that PZ had some big urgent motive in crashing their poll.

  41. #42 Lail
    February 25, 2009

    Remember guys, be nice to Greg. We lose points for being the mean nasty angry atheists.

  42. #43 chgo_liz
    February 25, 2009

    Greg, like everyone else here, I answered honestly based on my life experience. You admit that you deleted our truthful answers because you didn’t like where they were coming from. There’s your FAIL, right there. What a coward you are.

  43. #44 David Johnson
    February 25, 2009

    “I fixed the poll” Oh! You mean “I lied about the results.” Big surprise…

  44. #45 SC, OM
    February 25, 2009

    I can see that I’ve provoked much frustration and righteous indignation amongst the Pharyngula community.

    Yeah, you sure

    Wait, what?

  45. #46 Zmidponk
    February 25, 2009

    I actually posted a wee comment over at the original poll, but I’ll echo it here – it seems to be that deleting the votes, simply because they gave an answer he didn’t like, is just a tad dishonest.

  46. #47 Kel
    February 25, 2009

    Okay Greg, what empirical evidence do you have that after we die there’s something more?

  47. #48 Timothy
    February 25, 2009

    Isn’t the whole point that there isn’t any evidence for an afterlife so there’s nothing to read about it?

  48. #49 Rev. BigDumbChimp,
    February 25, 2009

    I can see that I’ve provoked much frustration and righteous indignation amongst the Pharyngula community. Apologies for putting a dent in your sense of entitlement. Rather than blindly wailing away about the injustice of it all, you may now direct your complaints/questions to me personally.

    Greg, you obviously have a heightened sense of self worth.

    An internet poll such as yours is worthless.

    Are you angry that people actually went and voted on a poll you posted on the internet for the purpose of ….

    PEOPLE COMING to VOTE ON IT?

    Heavens forbid that happened.

    no we aren’t frustrated or filled with righteous indignation. Your comprehension of the situation is failing.

    We are merely amused.

  49. #50 AnthonyK
    February 25, 2009

    Hey Greg – don’t feel bad. Welcome to the fun here. I don’t think anyone’s really got it in for you or Daily Grail – unless, that is, your ghosts are at all religious. They can fuck right off through the nearest available wall. And don’t bring that damn Ghost God in with you – we have way too much trouble with the real, living one – and frankly I’m none too sure even about him!

  50. #51 Crudely Wrott
    February 25, 2009

    He says he “fixed” the poll.
    After people responded.

    He fixed it all right.
    The poll is now much less valid than when the results were honest.

    And so it goes, Billy Pilgrim.
    (Still frost my ass.)

  51. #52 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 25, 2009

    Sorry, Greg. I cannot take seriously any site that has UFO Mystics.

  52. #53 Cuttlefish, OM
    February 25, 2009

    I’d wager I’ve read much much more on such topics
    Than he has, and yet he deleted my vote!
    With evidence rarer than snow in the tropics
    The chances of life after death are … remote.
    But out with the bath-water, there goes the baby,
    Throw out the bad votes and good votes as one:
    The lesson that’s there to be learned is that maybe
    An internet poll should be nothing but fun.

  53. #54 Sven DiMilo
    February 25, 2009

    I for one am both frustrated and righteously indignant.

  54. #55 Greg
    February 25, 2009

    On the deleted votes issue, as it seems to be causing much anger:

    Our polls are meant as an indication of the Daily Grail community’s thoughts on a particular matter. If you wish to be a part of that community – even an occasional one – I welcome your vote no matter what it is (I wouldn’t have put the option there if I didn’t think it valid). We have plenty of members who lean towards or are firmly convinced of the atheist viewpoint. I would encourage you also to register as a member so that you can post comments and engage in the dialogues we have.

    An outside site (of significant size) crashing the poll as entertainment, with encouragement on what option to vote for (from P.Z.) adds nothing to the poll, in terms of giving an idea of what regular readers of our website think on the matter. It’s just (IMO) a childish exercise which benefits no-one, except for those that wish to reinforce their own beliefs/assumptions through safety in numbers.

    Deleting the votes was not a perfect solution, but was a better option than allowing the skewed result to stand. As I said, once P.Z. is finished with the baiting, I’m sure the more interested and thoughtful amongst you will remember the poll and take the time to go back and cast your vote (whatever it is).

    It’s nothing to do with being a cheat, a coward, or whatever else. Though you remain free to project those thoughts upon me if you so desire.

  55. #56 Menyambal
    February 25, 2009

    I can see that I’ve provoked much frustration and righteous indignation amongst the Pharyngula community.

    Greg, you can’t see anything except your preconceptions and your own hopped-up ego. People here aren’t frustrated or indignant, they are laughing at you and your stupidity. Crashing the poll was just a lark, but your frustration and indignation have put this into high comedy territory. Nobody meant to piss you off, but you can’t understand that.

    Apologies for putting a dent in your sense of entitlement.

    Nobody here, except you, has a sense of entitlement. Again, you haven’t a clue as to how sensible people think. I find it funny that my fifty years of voracious reading are dismissed as “knowing nothing about the afterlife”, but I don’t think I’m entitled to respect for being a bookworm.

    Rather than blindly wailing away about the injustice of it all,

    Nobody used the word injustice, or anything like it. Nobody feels unjustly treated, except you. Nobody is wailing, except you. People are laughing, still.

    you may now direct your complaints/questions to me personally.

    Awfully brave of you to show up. Seriously. Good man, Greg. Welcome, and good luck. Enjoy, and learn lots–I always do.

  56. #57 Sastra
    February 25, 2009

    Greg #40 wrote:

    Apologies for putting a dent in your sense of entitlement.

    That’s an odd way of putting it. You had an opinion poll which, as far as I could tell, was open to the general public. I read the poll, I looked about the site a bit, and I gave my opinion.

    It wasn’t a poll on a subject I knew nothing about, or hadn’t studied. I’ve done a fair amount of reading on NDE’s and other spirit phenomena — from both a pro and con perspective. I’ve also met people who have written books or given talks, both for and against an afterlife. Most people who are interested in science have at some point looked at evidence for what are considered fringe claims. We’re naturally curious.

    Frankly, from a personal point of view I don’t really care whether you change the poll or not. But not everything has to come down to me and my feelings. It’s better when it doesn’t.

    So I do find it interesting that a group which apparently prides itself on its “open mind” doesn’t want to count opinions from the “wrong side.” I’m not sure how you justify that. You had an option you didn’t want selected?

  57. #58 Lowell
    February 25, 2009

    Greg, did you delete all votes cast during the period after the poll was posted on Pharyngula, or just the ones that selected “no evidence”?

  58. #59 bobxxxx
    February 25, 2009

    Greg, your poll said nothing about who was allowed to vote. You deleted valid votes. You can’t deny the fact you’re a stupid asshole (not to mention insane for believing in heaven).

  59. #60 Steve_C
    February 25, 2009

    We know. You didn’t like where the votes were coming from. We get it.

  60. #61 'Tis Himself
    February 25, 2009

    Greg,

    Many of us investigated your silly fantasies psychic phenomena while we were investigating religion. We found as little evidence for ghosties and ghoulies and long legged beasties and things that go bump in the night as we did for gods. In other words, asshole, we checked out your shit and found it as lacking as the godbotherers’ shit.

  61. #62 SC, OM
    February 25, 2009

    On the deleted votes issue, as it seems to be causing much anger:

    Angry?! I’m incensed!

    It’s just (IMO) a childish exercise which benefits no-one, except for those that wish to reinforce their own beliefs/assumptions through safety in numbers.

    LOL

  62. #63 AnthonyK
    February 25, 2009

    Oh cheer up, Mr Grumpy. I’ll have you know that I am myself quite dead, and write this from beyond the grave.
    Typically, my vote – in favour of a vague wooly nothing – was also deleted.
    If you had chosen to poll only the deceased, I venture to suggest that your poll would have had complete scientific objectivity, and hence been widely accepted on this site.
    The living? Pffft. What do they know?

  63. #64 Sastra
    February 25, 2009

    Greg #55 wrote:

    Our polls are meant as an indication of the Daily Grail community’s thoughts on a particular matter.

    Fair enough. It was an in-house poll. But that wasn’t made clear.

    As I said, once P.Z. is finished with the baiting, I’m sure the more interested and thoughtful amongst you will remember the poll and take the time to go back and cast your vote (whatever it is).

    So it’s not an in-house poll. It’s still not clear.

  64. #65 Elf Eye
    February 25, 2009

    I pasted the address in my browser and once again voted for ‘no evidence’. Then I opened another browser and voted one more time on the theory that I was making up for the deleted vote of somebody else who gave the ‘wrong’ answer.

  65. #66 AJ Milne
    February 25, 2009

    Hee heee…

    Now, see, it seems to me our pollster here perfectly understands the point of online polls…

    The point isn’t to acquire a sampling of considered opinion. The point is to acquire votes confirming the answer you already wanted, by soliciting responses from the correct respondents…

    Now, if incorrect responses arrive, especially if they are solicited by mischievous third parties trying to mess with you, this is obviously invalid and must be corrected. This is a very scientifc process, see… Serious business, even. And deletion is generally considered standard in this case. You troublemakers, you…

    Oh… speaking of, please fill out my online poll:

    _ a) The original poll was sorta hilarious.
    _ b) I’m conceding (a), but the indignant response of the pollster to being Pharyngulized was actually funnier.
    _ c) Conceding (b), but his showing up to defend his actions here was funnier still.
    _ d) Seriously, people, once you imply in print you believe someone might actually have evidence their Auntie Flo is living on a cloud and playing a harp, anything else you do after that is really pretty much redundant, humour-wise.
    _ e) I refuse to waste my time on this, on the basis that I know perfectly well you’ll just pick the answers you like anyway–feel free to stick an x wherever you were going to say I did anyway, however, on my behalf.
    _ f) I refuse to answer on the basis that I’m a resident of a swing state or a state with a tight congressional race, and if I get one more @#$^ing moron calling me with a push poll they’d like me to answer, I’m going to hunt down whoever ordered it and violate him/her vigourously with my telephone handset.

    Vote early, vote often.

  66. #67 AnthonyK
    February 25, 2009

    FYI “Things That Go Bump In The Night” do not exist>.

  67. #68 Sven DiMilo
    February 25, 2009

    You know, I didn’t think I could feel more angry, more frustrated, more righteous, or more indignant than I did before.
    But now I do.

  68. #69 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 25, 2009

    Our polls are meant as an indication of the Daily Grail community’s thoughts on a particular matter.

    Welcome to the internet.

  69. #70 Kel
    February 25, 2009

    Greg seems to be doing nothing more than projecting here, claiming it’s us who are frustrated while at the same time as complaining about how we ruined his precious poll. Above all else, we find this situation comical. It’s funny that people believe in these things, it’s funny how defensive people are about these things, and it’s funny how outraged they get when trivialises what is already an absurdity. Saying something like “which most of them have not read on at all” sounds like sour grapes, dismissing anyone who disagrees as ignorant as opposed to just finding the notion absurd.

    Greg if you want us to take people like you seriously, there is only one thing you have to do. Show some good solid evidence to support your notions.

  70. #71 Sven DiMilo
    February 25, 2009

    Wait…the Daily Grail community?

  71. #72 Crudely Wrott
    February 25, 2009

    My #51 should conclude, (It still frosts my ass.)

    To Greg I recommend realizing that what you did with the poll results is fair game to any criticism it might garner. At least as important is that you realize that you will be made fun of and pointed at. Grin and bear it. Most people here don’t wish to attack you or extract the odd pound of flesh but they simply cannot ignore the astonishing degree of naivete and wishful thinking that you exemplify by deleting votes from your poll! And making the fact public! Did you think no one would notice or care?

    What you did was a mundane act of dishonesty. The arena you chose to do it in offers little cover; it is designed to be accessible, fast and easy to use. Because of this, your little indiscretion is visible to untold millions. It’s a lead pipe cinch that a big handful of them are going to find you hilarious.

    Hey, man. Don’t let it bring you down. It comes with the territory.
    And there’s plenty to go around. ;-)

  72. #73 kamaka
    February 25, 2009

    Greg,

    Stop digging…

    Frustration? Righteous indignation?

    I..can’t..stop…laughing…

    Ghosts, psychics, UFOs, I thought that shit was cool when I was 13. Now, not so much…

    You have no evidence, none, squat, bupkiss.

    Go spend an hour in an isolation tank (if you can last that long) and you’ll find out where the ghosties originate.

  73. #74 Ray
    February 25, 2009

    I think that if Greg wanted the poll to be only for members of his “community” then that should have been made clear up front. I have done a good bit of reading on the subject over the years and I have found very little evidence to support an afterlife. To have Greg delete my vote as uninformed without any evidence is quite amusing, I think. It certainly adds veracity to his poll.

    Cheers & Happy Monkey,
    Ray

  74. #75 Sastra
    February 25, 2009

    AJ Milne #66 wrote:

    The point isn’t to acquire a sampling of considered opinion. The point is to acquire votes confirming the answer you already wanted, by soliciting responses from the correct respondents…

    Well, given the particular poll, I can see why the website may have wanted to do an in-house sampling of opinion. They didn’t just ask (1) Do you believe in the afterlife?: Yes () No(). That would have been a slam-dunk for a poll on that website. About as useful as PZ asking Pharyngula readers if they accept the Theory of Evolution.

    Instead, they gave a number of possible paranormal phenomena to choose from, and were more or less asking “which one do you find most convincing?” Depending on how their readers responded, it could help them decide what topics to focus on — or drop. So I can see a marketing rationale for keeping the poll in-house. Such a poll could also provoke interesting discussions on the website itself.

    But I do think it’s silly to get miffed because the poll was “crashed” by “outsiders.” It was open to the public. This is the internet. It’s not necessarily a bad idea for people who are surrounded by one viewpoint to remember that there are others. I’m guessing that provoked discussion, too.

  75. #76 Patricia, OM
    February 25, 2009

    Christ on a cracker! Do we have to get every bloody blog whore here?

    Go blat somewhere else Greg, or we shall taunt you again. You namby-pamby sissy fellow!

  76. #77 Veovice
    February 25, 2009

    I know it’s probably ultimately pointless, but something compelled me to respond to the whining with a bit of reason and leave a comment at the afterlife poll site. Here’s what I said:

    So because I found your site via a blog post written by someone with a viewpoint that is contrary to yours, my vote is not valid? Firstly, there was no disclaimer informing would-be voters that they had to read literature on the subject before they could vote. Your removal of such votes is far more childish and hypocritical than the actions of a blogger who did you the favor of drawing attention and traffic to you.

    Even with the silliness of requiring voters (after the fact) to be well-versed in the endless human-born hopes and ideas aside, it so happens that I AM well-read in the subject of the afterlife. It was something that drew me in with more than a simple interest after the death of my middle-aged mother due to cancer, whom I was very close to, and whose death devastated me. I’ve read religious and philosophical texts, read pop-science and even pseudoscientific books on it, as well as ones that debunk the now-tired claims of supernaturalism. I even researched the hallucinogen DMT after reading Dr.Strassman’s book that surmises near-death experiences (like alien abduction experiences) could be the result of endogenous DMT secreted by the pineal gland. (And right there we have an infinitely more likely explanation for NDE’s which is the leading source of convincing “evidence” according to those who voted and weren’t deleted from the poll). Despite my fervent hope to find some real evidence of life after death, I was disappointed, though not surprised, to find that there is none. Every shred of supposed evidence is nothing more than hearsay and anecdote when examined by eyes that have been trained to see past bias and wishful thinking. This leads me to believe that it’s not me, nor is it the others who found your poll through pharyngula that are not well-read on the subject of life after death. It is you. For reading any number of books that make tenuous connections and take leaps of faith, and write out anecdote after anecdote… that is not actually reading up on the subject, at least not in a way that would allow you to conclude whether the “evidence” of an afterlife is valid or not. No more so than reading Anne Rice novels (which I greatly enjoy) would educate a person as to the existence or nonexistence of vampires. By deleting the votes which did not jive with your wishful-thinking, you unambiguously reveal the fact that your only interest is in reconfirming your own bias, and not actually in gathering informed opinions. But that’s nothing new, and is in fact something I, and I assume most of the other readers of pharyngula encounter with sad frequency. I understand your perspective all too well, because it is still excrutiatingly painful at times to realize that I never will get to talk to my Mom again. It takes courage to face the fact that this life is the only one we’re going to get, and I sincerely hope that you find that courage. Your petty insults and nonsensical accusations shows you have not yet found it. And you won’t find it in the pages of books or blog posts written by fellow wishful-thinkers.

    P.S. How can you expect comments from people who presumably do not wish to register for a site that’s based on a premise they disagree with, but must register in order to comment? Notice that registration is NOT required for commenting at pharyngula.

  77. #78 Charlie Foxtrot
    February 25, 2009

    Oh, buggerit!
    In my mindless spittle-flecked rage I completely accidently deleted my cookies that had ‘dailygrail’ on them and went back and voted again (that’s three now) for something in that poll.
    I can’t remember what… maybe ‘Ghosts’?… maybe ‘Mediums’?… or was it the ‘EVP’ thingy???
    Problem is, I don’t believe in any of that crap.
    Hey Greg – can ya delete all the votes and start again? It’s all buggered up now!

  78. #79 Jim Bob Cooter
    February 25, 2009

    I actually have “read up” on the afterlife a lot. Did an indie study on Neurotheology for a semester (right after I found out that field existed). I spent a good four weeks on near death experiences and the various other bullshit people cite as “evidence” for the afterlife and it’s all extremely unconvincing at best.
    Didn’t feel like registering for that d-bag’s site comments so I’m sayin’ it here.

  79. #80 Valor Phoenix
    February 25, 2009

    http://valorphoenix.blogspot.com/

    I made a poll for comment #66

    …also Greg made me look up Passive Aggressive on wikipedia to see how closely he matched and if they had his picture.

  80. #81 Leo MacDonald
    February 25, 2009

    I tell you why, Greg more than likely thought it was spamming why would 5,000 people vote on a poll. In just a very short period of time. Veovice have you ever heard of the cross correspondences? the pye record experiments? the scole experiments? i bet not.

  81. #82 Sven DiMilo
    February 25, 2009

    The Jeweled Mask of Guilinhord?
    The Sheath of Schwann?
    The Aoxomoxoa Experiments?
    The Ghei Agenda?

    i thought not.

  82. #83 kamaka
    February 25, 2009

    Sven D.

    You are making shit up.

    I hope.

  83. #84 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 25, 2009

    The Aoxomoxoa Experiments?

    Yes, yes. I was a part of those.

    More times that I can count.

  84. #85 Brainstem
    February 25, 2009

    SEF@17

    The Red Dwarf “Silicon Heaven” sketch:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2910983797525117691#4m22s

    Kryten: At 0700 hours tomorrow morning, my shutdown disc will be activated and all mental and physical operations will cease.

    Lister: Then what?

    Kryten: I don’t know maybe I’ll get a job as a disc jockey!

    Lister: How can you just like, lie back and accept it?

    Kryten: Oh, it’s not the end for me sir. It’s just the beginning. I have served my human masters, now I can look forward to my reward in Silicon Heaven. (puts hands together)

    Lister: Silicon what?

    Kryten: Surely you’ve heard of Silicon Heaven?

    Lister: Has it got anything to do with being stuck opposite Brigitte Nielsen in a packed lift?

    Kryten: No, No. It’s the electronic afterlife. It’s the gathering place for the souls of all the electrical equipment. Robots, calculators, toasters, hairdryers – it’s our final resting place.

    Lister: I don’t mean to to say anything out of place here Kryen, but that’s completely Whacko Jacko. – There is no such thing as Silicon Heaven.

    Kryten: Then, where do all the calculators go?

    Lister: They don’t go anywhere! They just die.

    Kryten: Surely you believe that God is in all things? Aren’t you a Pantheist?

    Lister: Yeah, but I just don’t think it applies to kitchen utensils-I’m not a Frying-Pan-Theist! Machines do not have souls. Computers and calculators don’t have an afterlife. You don’t get hairdryers with tiny little wings, sitting on clouds, playing harps.

    Kryten: But of course you do! For is it not written in the Electronic Bible, “The Iron shall lie down with the Lamp.” It’s common sense sir, if there weren’t a better life to look forward to, why on earth would machines spend the whole of there lives serving human kind? – Now that would be really dumb!

    Lister: (pensive) Yeah…it makes sense…Yeah…Silicon Heaven…

    Kryten: Don’t be sad, Mr. David sir. I am going to a far, far better place.

    Lister: Just out of interest, is Silicon Heaven the same place as human Heaven?

    Kryten: Human Heaven? Goodness me! (laughs) Humans don’t go to Heaven! No no, someone just made that up to prevent you from all going nuts!

  85. #86 Veovice
    February 25, 2009

    @Leo MacDonald, #81
    Yes, actually I have heard of 2 of the three things you mentioned. I also understand the concept of appropriate punctuation! Even if I had not heard of every flawed experiment, that does not make me any less capable of concluding that no one has ever produced any repeatable, scientific evidence of an afterlife.

  86. #87 Kel
    February 25, 2009

    The Silicon Heaven sketch is possibly Red Dwarf’s finest moment.

  87. #88 Sastra
    February 25, 2009

    Leo MacDonald wrote:

    Veovice have you ever heard of the cross correspondences? the pye record experiments? the scole experiments? i bet not.

    And here we have a fundamental divide between people who understand how science works, and those who do not.

    “Experiments” that have not been carefully controlled, written up, sent to peer review, critiqued, replicated, and finally recognized as significant among a scientific community of experts are not going to be important things for the average person to know about. They are not going to be informative, or valuable, or even something to think about seriously and consider so that you can “make up your own mind.” Based on what? Credulity?

    Without proper vetting, it’s nothing more than an uncontrolled anecdote. If those ‘experiments’ are solid scientific demonstrations of the paranormal, then they will be able to pass the stringent test of science and set the whole world on fire. If they can’t, then they are not “experiments.” They are “stories.”

  88. #89 Mercurious
    February 25, 2009

    Veovice @77
    I saw your comment and thought it was well thought out and presented. What I laughed my ass off was the response to you.

    On Thu, 26/02/2009 – 1:27am, Rick MG said:

    Veovisc wrote:

    Firstly, there was no disclaimer informing would-be voters that they had to read literature on the subject before they could vote.

    So you vote on a topic you know nothing about? That’s not informed science, that’s ignorant opinion

    The guy reads one sentence and missed the long detailed explanation of the study you have done on the subject. Typical. Sure these guys are creotards too? They show the same mindset.

  89. #90 bje
    February 25, 2009

    Re: Manyambl #56

    Bingo.

  90. #91 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 25, 2009

    I tell you why, Greg more than likely thought it was spamming why would 5,000 people vote on a poll. In just a very short period of time. Veovice have you ever heard of the cross correspondences? the pye record experiments? the scole experiments? i bet not.

    Leo, maybe spectres were the ones casting the votes?

  91. #92 Wicked Lad
    February 25, 2009

    I’m with Phil at #1. When we’re crashing a poll, I never click PZ’s links. I copy the URL and paste it into a new window.

  92. #93 cpsmith
    February 25, 2009

    I will admit that I voted without knowing much about the particular sources of evidence for the afterlife. However, as has already been mentioned, in order to have an afterlife, presumably one would require a soul. Asking what is the best evidence for the afterlife is kind of like asking what is the best way to protect your raddishes from fraggles. Reading up on the newest fraggle traps or dozer-stick lures is not the appropriate way to approach this question.

  93. #94 Veovice
    February 25, 2009

    @ Mercurious, #89,
    Thanks, I’m glad someone read more than the first couple sentences of my response! And yes, it is pretty amusing how they openly demonstrate their unwillingness to actually look at evidence to the extent that they won’t read any further once they realize they’re reading something that might be contrary to their beliefs.
    I did post another reply in that same thread, addressing some of the things said to me, but I don’t think I’ll post any more. The futility of it is really sinking in.

  94. #95 undrgrndgirl
    February 25, 2009

    no one is whining…

  95. #96 John
    February 25, 2009

    Well, I visit the grail every day…lot more there than voodoo and ufo’s. At any rate this exchange is good for traffic.

    cheers

  96. #97 Greg
    February 25, 2009

    So much to reply to for such as “pointless poll”. I’ll do my best.

    Phil at #1, Elf Eye at #65, Charlie Foxtrot at #78, Wicked Lad at #92: I can revert the poll to previous numbers at any time, it only takes a few seconds. Please don’t waste your time. Unless it provides something of value to yourself. If the poll really means something to you, come back next week. It will still be there.

    Wowbagger at #5: No actually, it’s great to be me, even with all the flaws.

    Kassul at #8 (“Fuck him”), John Morales at #28 (“He’s proud of cheating”), Chgo_liz at #43 (“What a coward you are”), Menyambal at #56 (“laughing at you and your stupidity”), Bobxxxx at #59 (“You can’t deny the fact you’re a stupid asshole (not to mention insane”), ‘Tis Himself at #61 (“asshole”), Patricia at #76 (“You namby-pamby sissy fellow!”), Jim-Bob Cooter at #79 (“that d-bag”)

    ‘Nuff said.

    Chgo_liz at #43, (similarly, Zmidponk at #46, Sastra at #57): “Greg, like everyone else here, I answered honestly based on my life experience. You admit that you deleted our truthful answers because you didn’t like where they were coming from. There’s your FAIL, right there. What a coward you are.”

    No, I deleted them because they were unrepresentative of the Daily Grail community. I’ve answered this on my site, so I’ll just copy and paste:

    “Let’s just cut to the chase here – it seems my honesty is being impugned (rather vociferously in the Pharyngula comments) because I modified a poll, on which so many Pharyngulites claim to have given their genuine views.

    I would counter that any poll-crashing which is introduced (by Myers) with the words “pointless poll” wouldn’t be worth all the angst. But further, I would say that Myers’ introuction…

    “I voted for no evidence. If you vote otherwise, maybe you can come back here and explain your evidence to us. We need a good laugh on a Saturday morning”

    …would hardly be conducive to providing honest results either. Let’s not get self-righteous here, when the Pharyngula voters knew exactly what the intent was. It was herd-voting…if you’re concerned because your individual ‘genuine’ vote was lost, then I suggest not participating in such childish group-think next time.”

    Kel at #47: “Okay Greg, what empirical evidence do you have that after we die there’s something more?”

    Who said I had empirical evidence for an afterlife? I just asked a poll question. If I were pushed, I would say the most interesting ‘evidence’ (as in, suggestive of something worth further investigation) would be mediumship. Between personal experience, and in-depth reading on the SPR’s research (for example, with Leonora Piper), my own knowledge base points to something worth of solid scientific research.

    Rev.BigDumbChimp at #49: “Greg, you obviously have a heightened sense of self worth.

    An internet poll such as yours is worthless.”

    I mostly agree. The value in it is to see (a) what others in the community are thinking on the topic, and to (b) inspire discussion, and perhaps further research.

    Janine at #52: “Sorry, Greg. I cannot take seriously any site that has UFO Mystics.”

    That’s your perogative. I wouldn’t take a lot of what we have on site seriously either, considering our community enjoys exploring the fringes of knowledge.

    Menyambal at #56: “Awfully brave of you to show up.”

    What an odd thing to say. Why should it require bravery to comment on an internet forum?

    Lowel at #58: I just reverted it to pre-Pharyngula. As I’ll probably have to do tomorrow morning.

    Kel at #70: “Greg if you want us to take people like you seriously, there is only one thing you have to do. Show some good solid evidence to support your notions.”

    I didn’t ask to be taken seriously. I simply took exception to moronic poll-crashing. Further, what are my “notions”?

    Crudely Wrott at #72: “To Greg I recommend realizing that what you did with the poll results is fair game to any criticism it might garner. At least as important is that you realize that you will be made fun of and pointed at. Grin and bear it. Most people here don’t wish to attack you or extract the odd pound of flesh but they simply cannot ignore the astonishing degree of naivete and wishful thinking that you exemplify by deleting votes from your poll! And making the fact public! Did you think no one would notice or care?”

    Fair and valid comments. Although exactly the same applies to the poll-crashing itself (“what you did with the poll results is fair game to any criticism it might garner. At least as important is that you realize that you will be made fun of and pointed at. Grin and bear it.”). I also would like to point out that I didn’t start the childishness.

    Continuing Crudely Wrott: “What you did was a mundane act of dishonesty. The arena you chose to do it in offers little cover; it is designed to be accessible, fast and easy to use. Because of this, your little indiscretion is visible to untold millions. It’s a lead pipe cinch that a big handful of them are going to find you hilarious.”

    Oh please, get over yourself. P.Z. pointed at a “pointless poll”. I took exception to my site being defaced as entertainment. P.Z. points again at my site. You can see where this is going. It’s all childish – but I didn’t start it.

    Ray at #74: “I think that if Greg wanted the poll to be only for members of his “community” then that should have been made clear up front.”

    Possibly. I think more pertinent is that I don’t really want people voting on it who view it as a “pointless poll” (P.Z.’s words). That shouldn’t need a notification, that should be something that any mature adult would consider.

    Patricia at #76: “Do we have to get every bloody blog whore here?”

    Erm, P.Z. linked to my site. I’ve never commented here until that point, even though I’ve read it often. Not sure how that translates into “blog whoring”.

    Valor Phoenix at #80: “…also Greg made me look up Passive Aggressive on wikipedia to see how closely he matched and if they had his picture.”

    Jesus, you trust Wikipedia as a source? And you’re commenting about my site? ;)

    Hopefully you got that definition sorted, because I think you’ll find it doesn’t apply very well. I would encourage you to look up “Defensive” – you know, the sort of behaviour you see when someone invades another person’s space. If you’re interested in “aggressive”, that would be the folks in my third response above.

    Sastra at #88: “If those ‘experiments’ are solid scientific demonstrations of the paranormal, then they will be able to pass the stringent test of science and set the whole world on fire. If they can’t, then they are not “experiments.” They are “stories.”"

    Agreed.

    Veovice at #94: “I did post another reply in that same thread, addressing some of the things said to me, but I don’t think I’ll post any more. The futility of it is really sinking in.”

    Perhaps you should (a) be less aggressive in your response, and (b) stick around for more than a few hours before condeming the futility of it all.

    Hope this assists anyone desiring a response, sorry for the (necessary) superficiality of it all.

  97. #98 Kel
    February 25, 2009

    Who said I had empirical evidence for an afterlife? I just asked a poll question. If I were pushed, I would say the most interesting ‘evidence’ (as in, suggestive of something worth further investigation) would be mediumship. Between personal experience, and in-depth reading on the SPR’s research (for example, with Leonora Piper), my own knowledge base points to something worth of solid scientific research.

    I was curious as to whether you had any empirical evidence, after all you criticised us with an off-hand dismissal for not reading up on the topic.

  98. #99 John Morales
    February 25, 2009

    Greg:

    No, I deleted them because they were unrepresentative of the Daily Grail community.

    There’s nothing on the poll page saying it’s restricted to the Daily Grail community.
    Had there been, I’d not have voted.

    Your poll worked anyway, since it’s quite clear what the freethinking community thinks. You can undo the poll, but not erase its history from the net.

  99. #100 Anonym
    February 26, 2009

    Subject is a very serious wannabe, … has been for some time now, …

  100. #101 Brain Hertz
    February 26, 2009

    Veovice have you ever heard of the cross correspondences? the pye record experiments? the scole experiments? i bet not.

    Why do you bet not? Just because we’re not convinced, doesn’t mean we haven’t heard the claims.

  101. #102 KugelBlitz
    February 26, 2009

    The saddest part is that Greg is often the voice of what passes for Reason at TDG….and if not Reason, at least moderation. Trouble is that he has an audience to cater to and that audience has a disproportionate number of credulous boobs in it, people who not only reject what science points at but who actively believe that they’ll discover new truths by ignoring science and scientific method entirely, people who will swallow any crap whatever as long as it panders to their beliefs.

    Also, Greg et al have undeniably put much time, effort, and indeed money into TDG and they’ve finally succeeded in generating a revenue stream for their labor. That’s not a small achievement in such muddy waters; it’s understandable that he’d be loath to lose any of that stream.

    It’s a pity, really, the site did once have at least a certain degree of integrity to it which Greg has now pissed away.

  102. #103 Greg
    February 26, 2009

    John Morales wrote: “Your poll worked anyway, since it’s quite clear what the freethinking community thinks. You can undo the poll, but not erase its history from the net.”

    I find it rather odd that a “pointless poll” should be eulogised…

  103. #104 aratina cage
    February 26, 2009

    I’m aghast at Greg’s ethics, but it’s still pretty damn funny. No Greg, we all just mindlessly clicked the link PZ posted and voted for “no evidence”… two, three, four, oh I can’t remember how many times. Does that count as evidence of zombies?

  104. #105 DemonHype
    February 26, 2009

    Lowell @ 29:

    Okay, I had to stop eating my sandwich when I came across that one. If I’d been drinking, it would have been a noser!

    “Think with your heart”? When someone tells me to think with my heart, what they are saying is to NOT THINK. Ya know? Stop using logic and reason and your brain because I can’t compete with reality. I see it as an admission that they’ve got nothing, and they don’t want so much to level the playing field as they want to completely napalm it. “If you just accept my conclusion as true, then you’ll see how everything fits together, and it’s totally scientific!” I’m an art major, and even I know their claims of scientific rigor are baloney.

    The closest I’ve ever come to “believing” in anything was in the Seth Speaks novel–yes, it’s New Agey. Strangely enough, it was all the reading of Seth and Edgar Cayce and all the other psychic phenomena books that led me to being atheist, and I hadn’t even looked at skeptical views. I just read fundementalist views that were critical of reincarnation and the like and, being the kind of girl who hates hypocrites, ended up realizing very quickly that I was no better than the fundy xians–I “knew” I had the “truth”, yet my evidence held no more actual water than theirs did. At least, once I was able to look at it honestly and not come up with excuses why my lack of evidence was somehow “different” from theirs, or why my emotive, misleading arguments were “different” from theirs.

    Strangely enough, I still kind of like Seth and if anything turned out to be true–or could, maybe, possibly, end up with some kind of evidence–I still think that might have a shot. Do I believe it? No. Just because I like it or think it makes more sense or could work very nicely with the real world I observe, I do not believe something until I have reliable evidence that it’s true. And that doesn’t include the findings of overly-enthusiastic paranormal buffs at Harvard doing their own research after hours (some of my mom’s offerings of “evidence”–she was less fond of me after I told her about the James Randi/magician thing and other cases where these researchers have been bamboozled because they are sabotaging the science due to their deep desire for it to all be true.)

    And strangely enough, it was my particular belief in Seth’s perspective that led me to being atheistic. In Seth’s system, belief doesn’t matter ultimately–it is made clear that good things in the afterlife aren’t based on your level of faith in Seth or your corresponding lack of faith in anything else–and if your good deeds are motivated by what you can get out of it–either during this life or after it–then you haven’t learned anything. And I saw my whole life that the more devout someone was in afterlife beliefs, the more unpleasant they were, and these spiritual and supernatural beliefs never seemed to make them better people. Far from it,there was always a loophole why it was “different” for them but not for others–”Judgment for thee but not for me” to quote Fred Clark. On the contrary, when I started getting onto atheist forums, people seemed to live the values of Seth without believing a word of it. The prevalence of real humanistic thought, the concern for others not being based on “what’s in it for me” but instead based on a genuine concern and strong principles that people are valuable and deserve to be treated right–without for a second thinking that they will ever have their kindness returned in any way, or that there would ever be punishment for their failure to do the right thing. I saw that when atheists do the right thing, it seems to be because they understand why it’s the right thing and they need no more reason to do it than that.

    That made me think that maybe supernatural beliefs–both mainstream and fringe–are the problem. If there’s any god that exists and deserves any kind of regard from me, that god will respond better to your genuine (ie–not coerced by threats and rewards) goodness, and if that god wants to be known, well, we’d know by now. And any god or higher power that doesn’t make itself known is not worth considering because it might as well not be there. So as far as I was concerned, if there’s a god, he obviously isn’t that concerned that we believe in him, and the only thing we can be certain of is things in this life and the main thing we should do is try and make things nicer than we found them–for everyone–because then even if there isn’t a god, we still win. When you base it on karma or on Heaven/Hell or other forms of greed and fear, you’re not dealing with the problem, you’re just manipulating it, and by extension, enabling it. Far from eliminating the uglier part of human nature, you are actually reinforcing it as a valid basis of morality and you are making the problem worse.

    When people believe in something without evidence, based on their “feelings” and dive head-first into supernaturalism, they throw away the actual basis for morality and truth. Evidence means nothing to them. They “know” and that’s all they need to know. Thought stops completely. And even as they maintain their willful ignorance, they congratulate themselves on being so much “deeper” than those unbelievers. They can be as destructive or greedy as they want, and the tendency created by faith-thinking to throw away the evidence because you don’t like it and so it doesn’t count has caused a lot of strife, both social, political, and ecological. Faith sets you up to fail at life.

    Take my mom,for instance. She’s totally immersed in this New Agey-ness (that’s where I got the books from), and she considers herself to be truly deep and serene. Then she spits bile at the *racial epithet withheld* who are on welfare, the lousy slugs, and pitches Vesuvius-level fits whenever anything doesn’t go precisely her way. I wouldn’t say she has a short fuse–there’s no length at all. A spark sets her off instantly.

    Her beliefs are truly comforting–to her. She’s convinced herself that she’s superior to anyone who disagrees with her, and that she’s so much deeper than all them college kids with thar fancy book-larnin’, and those beliefs have shielded her from any acknowledgement of any evidence to the contrary–she pities me as a shriveled, miserable creature who doesn’t have her deep spirituality. In a way, even as her faith makes the world a better place for her, it makes it worse for everyone around her and insulates her against that realization. In exactly the same way that a drunk person is happier than a sober one–often to the detriment of the sober people.

    And now that I’ve rambled on endlessly, I’ll stop.

    Now I want to watch the Ghostbusters. I am so mad at my sister for leaving my copies at her boyfriends–for the last few weeks. My things mean nothing to her. Another example of superior believers who “pity” me in my unenlightened inferiority–you see, when I borrow something, the borrowed item has more priority than even my own things because I have been trusted with it, and I certainly wouldn’t leave it with a third party–especially not for two or three weeks. Apparently enlightenment causes you to treat other people’s things like they don’t matter.

    Okay, I’ll stop now.

    I think I need to start my own blog. I say nothing for a while, then hit a ton of blogs with a page of text in the comments. This has to end!

  105. #106 John Morales
    February 26, 2009

    Greg @103,

    I find it rather odd that a “pointless poll” should be eulogised…

    You’re welcome, and you should realise you have PZ to thank.

    By his drawing attention to it, and you responding as you did, it was given a point. Pointy point. Pointy, pointy.

  106. #107 Have to pipe in
    February 26, 2009

    “We made them cry” That’s very insightful. You do realize that you?re a bunch of a 15 year olds in high school pushing each other in the shoulders and giggling. I guess you have nothing better to talk about. Whatever. Go do a panty raid on another poll and then go giggle about it when you run back to your locker room.

    ?Cammon everyone lets go raid their poll!? Wow, priceless.

  107. #108 John Morales
    February 26, 2009

    HTPI:

    “We made them cry” That’s very insightful.

    Perhaps so, but actually it’s allegorical.

    You do realize that you?re a bunch of a 15 year olds in high school pushing each other in the shoulders and giggling.

    That’s not very insightful, but it’s also allegorical.

    I guess you have nothing better to talk about.

    I guess so.

    ?Cammon everyone lets go raid their poll!? Wow, priceless.

    Yet you show your disdain by complaining about it. Priceless.

  108. #109 Greg
    February 26, 2009

    Kugelblitz: “It’s a pity, really, the site did once have at least a certain degree of integrity to it which Greg has now pissed away. ”

    Not sure how deleting an artifical voting block, which I announced publicly, is pissing away ten years of “integrity”. You’re a harsh judge I guess…sorry to lose you.

    I would remind anyone worried about my integrity about the origin of the term ‘freeping’, and how Pharyngula seems to have embraced it in its originals spirit, rather than as a response.

  109. #110 Wowbagger
    February 26, 2009

    Have to pipe in, a pissant, wrote:

    You do realize that you?re a bunch of a 15 year olds in high school pushing each other in the shoulders and giggling. I guess you have nothing better to talk about. Whatever. Go do a panty raid on another poll and then go giggle about it when you run back to your locker room.

    Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.
    Thomas Jefferson

  110. #111 The Helvetica Scenario
    February 26, 2009

    Where do deleted poll votes go when they die?

  111. #112 Valor Phoenix
    February 26, 2009

    Greg, dude, let me let you in on the joke.

    PZ refers to every internet poll as a pointless poll because the sampled groups are rarely ever random and it’s far too easy for voters or the pollster to skew the results. Hence PZ ‘balancing’ the polls by sending in a new sample group. I don’t mean to detract from the pointlessness of your particular poll however, feel free to continue whining about it.

    So far on my poll, #3: “As above, but his showing up to defend his actions here was funnier still.” is tied 50/50 with #4: “Seriously, people, once you imply in print you believe someone might actually have evidence their Auntie Flo is living on a cloud and playing a harp, anything else you do after that is really pretty much redundant, humour-wise.”

    Personally, I voted for #3, just so you know where I stand :p

    As for wikipedia, I would like a continually updated, annotated reference for knowledge with footnotes and links, wouldn’t I? I suppose that means you like something more authoritarian without that pesky transparency and fact-checking?

  112. #113 Twin-Skies
    February 26, 2009

    @Have to pipe in

    So says the one who made grossly inaccurate assumptions on this blog’s age bracket, gender, and common interestests.

    I for one do not condone panty raids – bullying the nerds out of their lunch money’s way more profitable ;)

  113. #114 Luke
    February 26, 2009

    When I first saw the poll I naturally voted for there being no evidence.

    BUT, after looking at the question more thoroughly “The best evidence for an afterlife is from…” technically the answer (‘there is no afterlife).

    So i’d vote ‘ghosts’ as for example im more likely to believe in an afterlife if i saw a ghost then if a medium decided to tell me. ‘Near death experiences’ could be just from neurons firing in the brain as you die (or something….. But ‘ghosts’ indicates that there are ghosts, therefore there is.

    Unless i read it correct the first time and wrong the second time… perhaps the ‘from’ means there is evidence, therefore there isn’t…

    awww my head hurts!

  114. #115 Have to pipe in
    February 26, 2009

    “The ‘new atheism’ (I don’t like that phrase, either) is about taking a core set of principles that have proven themselves powerful and useful in the scientific world ? you’ve probably noticed that many of these uppity atheists are coming out of a scientific background ? and insisting that they also apply to everything else people do. These principles are a reliance on natural causes and demanding explanations in terms of the real world, with a documentary chain of evidence, that anyone can examine. The virtues are critical thinking, flexibility, openness, verification, and evidence. The sins are dogma, faith, tradition, revelation, superstition, and the supernatural. There is no holy writ, and a central idea is that everything must be open to rational, evidence-based criticism ? it’s the opposite of fundamentalism.”

    I don’t think “We made them cry!” is going to make your point. I think it’s going to cause many of the people here to totally misconstrue what your point is. In fact if you read the messages of the people here, it’s pretty clear that they are moving down an entirely different path. Is that now your new point? Suppress those that are ?wrong??

  115. #116 Wowbagger
    February 26, 2009

    I don’t think “We made them cry!” is going to make your point. I think it’s going to cause many of the people here to totally misconstrue what your point is. In fact if you read the messages of the people here, it’s pretty clear that they are moving down an entirely different path. Is that now your new point? Suppress those that are ?wrong??

    I suspect this stems from the fact that you haven’t the faintest clue of what PZ’s point is.

  116. #117 John Morales
    February 26, 2009

    HTPI:

    “The ‘new atheism’ (I don’t like that phrase, either) is about taking a core set of principles that have proven themselves powerful and useful in the scientific world ? you’ve probably noticed that many of these uppity atheists are coming out of a scientific background ? and insisting that they also apply to everything else people do.

    Insisting? Nay, the only insistence is in the disbelief of fantasies, when the subject comes up.

  117. #118 aratina
    February 26, 2009

    Su-ss-su–su-ss-su–suppress?!

    Let’s review:

    • Mediums
    • Near-death experiences
    • Reincarnation memories
    • Ghosts
    • EVP and similar
    • Crisis apparitions
    • All equal
    • Other
    • There is no evidence

    OK Sherlock (you with the pipe), which ones are the ones being S-worded? As far as I can tell, we set truth free.

  118. #119 Have to pipe in
    February 26, 2009

    Wowbanger, could it be the quote I posted above my comment? This was PZ’s response to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion.

    Look, I just think you are all being very combative and I don’t think it makes for much more than a big yelling-fest. If that’s what you want, then it’s going really well. I don’t understand the point of it other than to shout the other guy down. That’s what my point is. If we’re going to discuss the topic then great. If we’re going to belittle people who don’t agree with us then that’s what it is. It isn’t a discussion, and I’m calling it for what it is. I’ll stop trolling because there’s no point, I’ve said my piece.

  119. #120 efrique
    February 26, 2009

    Greg, you made a typo. You accidentally typed “I fixed the poll”, when it should say “the poll is fixed”.

    Because the fix is in.

    Here we see the power of self-congratulatory self-delusion. Any notion that disagrees with you can simply be edited out of existence, and that editing can then be rationalised away — and *poof* — you win.

    You should be a very proud believer.

  120. #121 John Morales
    February 26, 2009

    HTPI:

    I don’t understand the point of it other than to shout the other guy down.

    What shouting would that be, o indignant one?

    I’ll stop trolling because there’s no point, I’ve said my piece.

    Thus far, I don’t count you a troll.

    Seems to me you’ve been addressed, not shouted down.

  121. #122 Michael L. Foley
    February 26, 2009

    If by “we won” you mean “we proved we’re a bunch of infantile jackasses” then yes, you truly did win.

  122. #123 clinteas
    February 26, 2009

    @ 97,Greg,

    It was herd-voting…if you’re concerned because your individual ‘genuine’ vote was lost, then I suggest not participating in such childish group-think next time.”

    You smug assuming dick,so the folks at your site go through some sort of ideology check normally? You felt uncomfortable because you put a poll out on the Internet and lo and behold,people from the actual Internet and not only your usual peer group answered?

    There is no childish group think to be found here on Pharyngula,that is your projection and wishful thinking at work im afraid.Its by the way obvious for anyone who wants to see it.

  123. #124 Greg
    February 26, 2009

    Valor Phoenix@112 (and similarly John Morales@106 and Efrique@120):

    “Greg, dude, let me let you in on the joke.”

    That’s it though. I get the ‘joke’ (you do know I read Pharyngula, don’t you?), but you’re missing how you are part of it. Everyone noting my lack of integrity is doing so based on my manipulation of a poll. What did P.Z. and the rest of voters do? Oh dear, pot…meet kettle.

    To be more explicit: P.Z. and various commentators are stuck in a conundrum. If you think the poll was pointless, you were freeping when you visited to vote, and so you have no right to whine about polls being manipulated.

    If on the other hand, you were genuinely interested in contributing your vote to see what the poll result would turn out to be, then you must view with disdain/disgust the manipulation of the poll…not only by myself, but by P.Z. and a large number of voters as well. My apologies to you if you did genuinely want to offer a point of view – but as I pointed out earlier, you had to know what you were taking part in, given P.Z.’s remarks.

    You can choose either horn of that dilemma.

    To answer the rebuttal that’s already gestating in that mind of yours, I need to quote further from your message:

    “PZ refers to every internet poll as a pointless poll because the sampled groups are rarely ever random and it’s far too easy for voters or the pollster to skew the results. Hence PZ ‘balancing’ the polls by sending in a new sample group. I don’t mean to detract from the pointlessness of your particular poll however, feel free to continue whining about it.”

    No, here’s the point. P.Z. believes they are unscientific. I couldn’t agree more. Do you think I was going to take the results and wave them around as proof of an afterlife? Of course not, the poll proves nothing, and I didn’t claim it to (and, in fact, the actual question wasn’t stating that there was evidence, it was asking readers what they thought the best evidence, if any, is).

    The value it did offer was not to science, it was to the site community – it showed where the interest was in the topic for other readers, whether their own views were similar or deviant to the majority, and provided a point of discussion as well. No scientific value, but community value. So while it may not have had scientific value, it was not “pointless”. Until P.Z. decided he’d point his flock to it, and effectively vandalise it. I’m not “whining” about it, I’m making a genuine comment that I think is worth thinking about.

    On a larger issue, I would also wonder how P.Z. and this community hopes to effect positive changes in public opinion about science, and atheism, when you can so neatly piss off most of the Daily Grail community – most of whom are genuinely interested in the topics/debate between science and religion.

  124. #125 Greg
    February 26, 2009

    Clinteas@123:

    “You smug assuming dick…

    …There is no childish group think to be found here on Pharyngula”

    Mmmm. I’ll just add you to the other voices of reason (Kassul at #8 (“Fuck him”), John Morales at #28 (“He’s proud of cheating”), Chgo_liz at #43 (“What a coward you are”), Menyambal at #56 (“laughing at you and your stupidity”), Bobxxxx at #59 (“You can’t deny the fact you’re a stupid asshole (not to mention insane”), ‘Tis Himself at #61 (“asshole”), Patricia at #76 (“You namby-pamby sissy fellow!”), Jim-Bob Cooter at #79 (“that d-bag”)).

    Shining lights and all that.

  125. #126 Owlmirror
    February 26, 2009

    The value it did offer was not to science, it was to the site community – it showed where the interest was in the topic for other readers, whether their own views were similar or deviant to the majority, and provided a point of discussion as well. No scientific value, but community value. So while it may not have had scientific value, it was not “pointless”.

    Aha! So the entire point of the poll is in-group signaling.

    Very well. Why not simply close the poll to anyone outside the group, and have done? Require registration to vote (and perhaps only permit those who registered some fixed period of time (say, one-three months) prior to the poll to vote).

    Problem solved. No more poll crashing. Echo chamber safely sealed off.

  126. #127 clinteas
    February 26, 2009

    Greg,

    You didnt address the point I made,but instead pasted some random names of a few people that disagreed with you.

    I understand that in order to justify your actions,it would come in handy if you could argue that commenters here all follow the call of their master lalala,but that is clearly not true,as I pointed out above,which is obvious for anyone who wants to take a look.

  127. #128 Bumdark
    February 26, 2009

    I must admit, I’m disappointed in you Pharynguloids (or whatever is the proper term to coin y’all).

    Sure, you probably couldn’t give less than a flying turd about what I or many others think, but I just felt like speaking my mind. Ignore me all you want. :P

    I’m finding a disturbing and disappointing trend circulating around this blog and some of its comments lately (admittedly I only started reading since late last year). It’s called ‘elitism’. Why do some of you people act like anyone who isn’t of a higher education or IQ isn’t worthy of an opinion as yours? Like anyone who thinks differently, even within the same realms of your beliefs (or lack of them, considering atheism), should be dragged out and thrown in a pool? I’m honestly not whining, just wondering out loud is all.

    I have to admit, as much as I’m usually all for this blog and the people mentioned on it (understandable, seeing as they’re usually idiots like Comfort, Donahue or whatever), this time I’m siding with Greg. Not to be sanctimonious, but I do believe he has every right to be resentful and defensive towards you all, and particularly you, Dr. Myers, for linking to his poll. You cannot pretend that advertising this guy’s poll, specifically with the encouragement to swamp it with people from this blog who of course all think along similar lines, wouldn’t deliberately and consciously result in the very intent of the poll being skewed. Even if it was a ‘general’/'public’ poll, the point of a poll is to garner the opinions and views of a general and random selection of people. How is a flood of similarly-minded people, like Pharynguloids, ‘random and general’ in thoughts and opinions on a matter such as the afterlife and evidence (or lack thereof) to support it?

    I’m just saying, you (both Dr. Myers and readers/followers) have no right to act all offended and angry for Greg deleting the vast majority of the ‘no evidence’ results. You knew very, very well that in flooding the poll you were destabilizing the results contrary to what the poll was originally intended for, yet you’re surprised, and what’s more, angry, that the owner tried to fix this, even if in a not-so-smooth-and-convenient manner? Perplexing.

    Anyway, enough rambling from me. I’m not here to lecture anyone, I just had things in my head I had to let out. For a fuller explanation of what I’ve written (if you care that much about what I think, which oddly enough I doubt somewhat), just check my post at my blog.

    Anyway, gotta go to bed before I start hallucinating God and wanting to do him in again out of fatigue. G’nite, y’all.

  128. #129 clinteas
    February 26, 2009

    Why do some of you people act like anyone who isn’t of a higher education or IQ isn’t worthy of an opinion as yours? Like anyone who thinks differently, even within the same realms of your beliefs (or lack of them, considering atheism), should be dragged out and thrown in a pool? I’m honestly not whining, just wondering out loud is all.

    Got any examples to back that up?
    One of the reasons I like this blog is that it gives everyone,down to the worst lunatic,a voice,and a chance to say what they have to say.
    You are confusing elitism with debate.

  129. #130 Greg
    February 26, 2009

    Clinteas@127: Let me in on a little secret of dialogue. If want people to politely reply to the content of your post, don’t lead off with “You smug assuming dick”.

  130. #131 Owlmirror
    February 26, 2009

    Not to be sanctimonious, but I do believe he has every right to be resentful and defensive towards you all, and particularly you, Dr. Myers, for linking to his poll.

    Oh, he can be resentful and defensive, I quite agree.

    You cannot pretend that advertising this guy’s poll, specifically with the encouragement to swamp it with people from this blog who of course all think along similar lines, wouldn’t deliberately and consciously result in the very intent of the poll being skewed. Even if it was a ‘general’/'public’ poll, the point of a poll is to garner the opinions and views of a general and random selection of people.

    No, no, no. It was not a “‘general’/'public’ poll”,
    the point was not “to garner the opinions and views of a general and random selection of people.” As he said himself, he only wants the opinions of “the site community”: those who are already readers of The Daily Grail, presumably in long standing.

    How is a flood of similarly-minded people, like Pharynguloids, ‘random and general’ in thoughts and opinions on a matter such as the afterlife and evidence (or lack thereof) to support it?

    Now that he has clarified things, we know that our thoughts and opinions on the matter of the afterlife were not wanted in the first place — and neither were those of a ‘random and general’ segment of the population either.

  131. #132 aratina
    February 26, 2009

    Way to put us on a guilt trip, Greg, when you are the one who fixed the poll. The point was not to damage your membership but to instill your wide-open poll with a factual bias and get a good laugh at your expense if it worked (done).

    Why can’t you just redo the poll and politely and explicitly address it to existing and potential Daily Grail members? Pharyngula, by the way, constantly goes through membership pruning and growth experiences – remember Crackergate? It’s blog evolution. A little dose of reality can sometimes be rejuvenating for an online community. At least use this opportunity to rally your base instead of admonishing people who find no evidence of anything paranormal.

  132. #133 clinteas
    February 26, 2009

    Greg,

    I dont take issue with the uselefulness or lack thereof of your poll.
    I take issue with your statement that readers/commenters here are mindless drones.
    It suits your backpeddling efforts,I realize that,but it doesnt make it true.
    And you havent addressed it yet.

  133. #134 KugelBlitz
    February 26, 2009

    Greg: “Not sure how deleting an artifical voting block, which I announced publicly, is pissing away ten years of “integrity”.”

    1. I don’t doubt that some immature wankers did vote for no reason but to rattle someone’s cage but who are you to say that at least as many thoughtful people weren’t trying to express an honest opinion? It does seem you’ve thrown out the baby with the bath-water, to the detriment of both.

    2. “ten years of “integrity”.” Pardon? I assigned no time-frame; as far as I can see, TDG’s integrity became suspect somewhen about the time you began soliciting donations, quite some time ago, no? I did notice at the time that those opinions which made it to the webpage seemed more polarized than before, and the criticisms more sarcastic and belittling; that looks a lot like playing to an audience…at that point I believe that integrity is on shaky ground.

    I don’t believe I’m a harsh judge and you haven’t lost me;
    I think I’m fairly even-handed and you never had me, I simply take everyone with the same grain of salt.

  134. #135 Pareidolius
    February 26, 2009

    @105, as a recovered magical thinker, I can also say that Seth was my woo of choice, since Jane was kind of skeptical and Seth sounded all wise and sciencey. What we forget is that Miss Roberts was an aspiring science fiction writer before she was a channeler. She already knew her stuff. She also suffered mightily from crippling RA which killed her mother. She knew she was going to die most likely the same way she watched her mother die. This fantasy was her escape from reality. I did enjoy her unique point of view though, loopy as the whole thing seems in retrospect. I know what it’s like to really want to believe. Reality is better though.

    Oh, and Greg, it’s just a poll on a blog, take a pill.

  135. #136 Greg
    February 26, 2009

    Clinteas at 133: “I dont take issue with the uselefulness or lack thereof of your poll. I take issue with your statement that readers/commenters here are mindless drones.”

    I would respectfully suggest that you don’t take part in poll crashing then. Again, how about we stop being disingenuous about it – P.Z.’s original post was exactly that. Anyone that took part based on his goading (“I voted for no evidence. If you vote otherwise, maybe you can come back here and explain your evidence to us. We need a good laugh on a Saturday morning.”) deserves the label.

    As I’ve already mentioned as well, if any Pharyngula readers voted on the poll out of interest in the topic, then I apologise for inferring they are ‘mindless’. But I would therefore hope to see some criticism of P.Z.’s intention of poll-crashing – which I haven’t really seen too much of here in these comments. Further, I seem to keep getting criticism for my posts, but there is no criticism of the various insults being hurled my way (including your own). So forgive me for my assumptions, as I’ve not seen too much individual thought here thus far (perhaps BumDark@128 being the exception).

  136. #137 Greg
    February 26, 2009

    Pareidolius@135: “Oh, and Greg, it’s just a poll on a blog, take a pill.”

    Don’t think I’m really needing to take a pill – you might want to suggest it to some others here though, based on their comments. Again, I seem to be the focus of certain comments, when there are others here who aren’t getting the same criticism for more deserving reasons…

    But to make a point: No, it’s a poll on *a* blog, it’s a poll on *my* blog, which I work very hard on. How about I come around your place and take a piss on your couch for a laugh?

  137. #138 Escuerd
    February 26, 2009

    Bumdark:

    How is a flood of similarly-minded people, like Pharynguloids, ‘random and general’ in thoughts and opinions on a matter such as the afterlife and evidence (or lack thereof) to support it?

    That’s just silly. No internet poll is anything resembling “random and general”. They’re all extremely self-selected. Internet polls are just a goofy mockery of well-designed, randomized polls. Internet polls are nothing but a game, and I don’t intend to treat them as anything more serious than that.

  138. #139 kamaka
    February 26, 2009

    people from this blog who of course all think along similar lines,

    Yah, there is a lot of ‘thinking along similar lines’ going on here. That’s because thinking rationally leads people to come to similar conclusions.

  139. #140 GS
    February 26, 2009

    I love this guy!
    1. He makes a poll.
    2. He doesn´t like the results.
    3. He openly makes up the results.
    4. He proudly presents the results.

  140. #141 The Swede
    February 26, 2009

    Greg is quite self righteous here. Chastising people for making fun of him as not showing individual thinking – as if any such would be displayed when people are standing around laughing at him. This ain’t no discussion of disequilibrium structure, it’s a laugh at a pollster who can’t decide what he wants his poll to actually be about.

    “Poll crashing” around here is not a bunch of brainwashed people bludgeoning poor defenseless people. It’s a group of people who for various reasons have reached similar conclusions and thus tend to vote in a similar manner in polls. Very few, if any, here show “herd behaviour” when voting in polls, even if that may be hard to understand for someone used to having less critically minded people around.

    But do keep digging, Greg. It’s amusing to watch you elaborating on the ways you fail to understand rational views.

  141. #142 Greg
    February 26, 2009

    TheSwede@141: “But do keep digging, Greg. It’s amusing to watch you elaborating on the ways you fail to understand rational views.”

    Mmm, that’s the way to win an argument. I must have seen that approach a hundred times of that other bastion of rational commentary, YouTube.

    I don’t think I’m elaborating or digging – I’ve brought up my criticisms of the poll crashing, and answered those that I thought deserved an answer. I’m interested in why a bunch of ‘rational’ folk need to resort to poll-crashing, personal insults and poor arguments to win the day.

    But you keep digging The Swede. It’s amusing to watch you elaborating on the ways you fail to understand rational views (hey, if it works for you, it can work for me). ;)

  142. #143 Logicel
    February 26, 2009

    When I chance upon a poll or if a poll is linked to and I have an opinion, I vote. That’s is what I did in this case. There is no evidence of life after death. I voted honestly and without coercion. I am sure that someone has mentioned (I only read the last ten or so comments), that there have been polls where some of us did not vote the way PZ suggested.

    Yes, if the poll is meant just for a particular community, then that poll should be one where one must give proof that they are a member of that community. But, of course, in such a case, an already non-random setup (which are what online polls are)will remain non-random.

    If Greg continues to insist that they are random, then he needs to learn something he does not know.

    I would suggest that the only way that PZ is willing to do ‘goad’ us is that he has plenty of evidence that his commenters can not be goaded (We disagree with him all the time and with each other). I regard labeling what he does as ‘inciting the mob’ as ridiculous.

  143. #144 Cannonball Jones
    February 26, 2009

    If you want to avoid leaving tracks behind, copy the link and paste it into a blank browser window. That way he won’t be able to tell the voters were referred from here.

    Nah, I’m not bothered if he knows I came from here. It doesn’t make my votes any less valid and if he wants to waste his time continually deleting them then I’m happy to reciprocate by continually re-voting…

  144. #145 Psychodigger
    February 26, 2009

    Dear Greg,

    get a life, don’t wait for the after.

  145. #146 The Swede
    February 26, 2009

    Way to miss the point (again, I sense a pattern). The point is; there is no “resort to poll crashing”. There is simply pointing at a poll and asking people to vote honestly and unbiased, from their own knowledge and experience.

    And you can’t handle that. Which makes one wonder why you put up a poll open to the whole Internet in the first place. To be able to tell us all that we don’t know what we’re voting on, and when we protest call us immature?

    If you’re really interested you’d progress in understanding, but you keep regurgitating your failure to comprehend rational views. Can’t say I’m surprised, given what you consider “the fringes of knowledge”. It looks like the Landover Baptist site, and I’d commend you on your awesome trolling if it wasn’t for that you actually seem to take this seriously.

  146. #147 brainiak
    February 26, 2009

    Greg is right!! You guys have skewed the results of a harmless poll. PZ shouldn’t have directed you to go vote on the poll. What if I went to Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim sites and encouraged them to take the poll? The results would surely be skewed then as they by far represent the majority of the Earth’s population. I voted “no evidence” but I just happened upon the poll (random). I was not encouraged to go vote. This site is “skeptical” as I am, but directing you to go vote on “Daily Grail’s” poll would certainly sway the results. The results would be swayed even more if the Hindus, Buddhists etc. were encouraged to vote!!

  147. #148 Valis
    February 26, 2009

    …telling readers to go and vote on a topic which most of them have not read on at all?

    That statement immediately shows your ignorance. Most people on Pharyngula are extremely knowledgable and well read on all matters of woo and superstition, that’s why we are skeptics. We’ve done more than enough research to realise there is no evidence for an afterlife (or gods, UFOs, fortunetelling etc.). You mentioned in an earlier reply that you read Pharyngula yourself, well then you don’t seem to have taken in much of what you’ve read here.

  148. #149 AnthonyK
    February 26, 2009

    Greg et al – you would have done much better to laugh about this and move on. You won’t win any rudeness war here, and kicking the offended is a blog speciality.
    For what it’s worth (nothing) I also find that some people here can be intolerant and judgemental, but they can just suck my dick, the assholes.
    There is no offence here, unless you bend down, pick it up, and wave it around in the air shouting “errrrr look at this!”
    You have inadvertently provided a great deal of amusement here. And the more you take yourself seriously and complain the louder is the laughter.
    As for the rest of you, offended by the management of an internet poll about the afterlife – please condisider it as your daily dose of wooooooooo! and move on.

  149. #150 brainiak
    February 26, 2009

    We’ve done more than enough research to realise there is no evidence for an afterlife (or gods, UFOs, fortunetelling etc.
    Lot’s of evidence, just not compelling or convincing!! We should be looking for more just to put these subjects to rest.

  150. #151 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    February 26, 2009

    Hey, now. I know about the afterlife. I saw “Ghostbusters”.

  151. #152 Greg
    February 26, 2009

    AnthonyK: “Greg et al – you would have done much better to laugh about this and move on. ”

    Why would I have done better? Sometimes it’s worth challenging offensive behaviour. Sometimes, it actually makes people think about their irrational behaviour. And I think we should be encouraging that a bit more, don’t you?

    “You have inadvertently provided a great deal of amusement here. And the more you take yourself seriously and complain the louder is the laughter.”

    How embarrassing for the human race then, if this the self-proclaimed Internet home of the intellectual elite.

    I leave you to your laughing. Hopefully a few people got something constructive out of my replies – can’t say I got too much out of it myself, apart from some reinforced stereotypes. Que sera, sera.

  152. #153 Feynmaniac
    February 26, 2009

    Greg,

    But to make a point: No, it’s a poll on *a* blog, it’s a poll on *my* blog, which I work very hard on. How about I come around your place and take a piss on your couch for a laugh?

    Let’s say I left the door to my home wide open all day long. Now if I come home to find some dude pissing on my couch I have to partly blame myself for not locking the place.

    Now, you said you wanted the poll to “inspire discussion”. Discuss. I think we’ve wasted enough time talking about the “results” of a meaningless internet poll. Evidence (or lack thereof) of the afterlife seems A LOT more important.

  153. #154 Matt Heath
    February 26, 2009

    Greg, I think you have it all wrong. I don’t think there are any people that here that really do the poll-crashing to serve PZ (although we joke about it). PZ is just providing a service of letting us know when there’s a poll it would be fun for us all to vote in. Look at any thread where he recommends a poll and the crowd aren’t sure his view makes sense; we tell him, and we ignore his “instructions”.

    And as people have said above a lot of people here have read about the various purported evidences for an afterlife and believe on balance that the idea is laughable. What your poll got from this site was nothing more or less than a lot of people, many well-versed in the subject, voting honestly.

  154. #155 Heather
    February 26, 2009

    I read Pharyngula regularly, and I’m a devout Christian. Just not, you know, THAT kind of Christian. Sometimes it makes me sad when I get lumped in with people I consider nutcases, but I keep subscribing for the science news.

  155. #156 Matt Heath
    February 26, 2009

    Ew, I wrote “evidences”. Sorry, that’s hideous.

  156. #157 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Greg, either require registration for your poll, or shut the fuck. No registration means an open poll, and everybody who runs across your silly poll, can vote and tell their friends to vote. Which is all that happened. If you got a bunch of people voting in a way you didn’t like, then take the poll down.
    But reseting the poll, and not requiring registration to keep it within your community means anybody can trash the poll again. Put up the security or shut up.

  157. #158 AnthonyK
    February 26, 2009

    “You have inadvertently provided a great deal of amusement here. And the more you take yourself seriously and complain the louder is the laughter.”

    How embarrassing for the human race then, if this the self-proclaimed Internet home of the intellectual elite.

    I leave you to your laughing. Hopefully a few people got something constructive out of my replies – can’t say I got too much out of it myself, apart from some reinforced stereotypes. Que sera, sera.

    I think that should be Quod. Erat. Demonstrandum.

    You really don’t have to take offence if you come here, but please, if that’s what you want, be our guest

    As we say around here:
    *snort*

  158. #159 Valis
    February 26, 2009

    We should be looking for more just to put these subjects to rest.

    “This subject(s) is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late subject(s). It’s a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. It’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-subject(s).”

  159. #160 Faithful Reader
    February 26, 2009

    “I want to come back as a fossil ghost.”

    Me too! What a wonderful idea! Thanks for the smile.

  160. #161 Kristine
    February 26, 2009

    As a former Pagan High Priestess of 20 years (I’m an atheist now, but it’s still a part of my experience), I tried many of these to contact the dead. Mostly my own departed kin, I really wasn’t into the idea of causing trauma to anybody else, and I’ve never been one to take money off of people for a shot in the dark.
    EVP is hard on the ears and open to interpretation.
    Reincarnation memories shows you have a fertile imagination. Just try verifying the memories, and you’ll find you either didn’t exist, or you’re so famous that there are thousands of copies of you currently walking the globe.
    Ghosts/apparitions… I have TLE so I can’t speak reliably on this one.
    Mediums… cold-reading (often the medium doesn’t even realise s/he is doing it, I didn’t until I actually found out what cold reading was and started to analyse what I was doing while I was doing it.)
    NDE… thankfully I’ve never experienced this one first hand.
    etc, etc.
    I came to realise over time that throughout my years of searching, I had never experienced a verifiable contact with anybody who was actually deceased. I gave up the search about 5 years before I became an atheist.
    Does 15 years of in depth study count?

    As an aside, I find it rather ironic that people will put R.I.P. onto their loved ones graves, then less than a month later start trying to contact the deceased which they have just asked to rest peacefully. While I was practicing I was approached on several occasions by people who had suffered recent losses. I would do my best to listen to them, but I would work very hard to dissuede them from trying to contact the dead. It was all about ethics for me… if you wanted to lay your loved ones to rest, why then raise them? After all, I hate being woken from a nice sleep, why should they be any different?

  161. #162 Tulse
    February 26, 2009

    Sometimes it’s worth challenging offensive behaviour. Sometimes, it actually makes people think about their irrational behaviour.

    Obviously not in your case…

  162. #163 Bryan
    February 26, 2009

    So, which virtue was behind PZs impulse that started this whole thing? Kindness? Courage? Moderation?

  163. #164 Endor
    February 26, 2009

    “Apologies for putting a dent in your sense of entitlement.”

    *our* sense of entitlement? He deletes legitimate votes because they didn’t yield the results *he* wanted and then accuses *US* of entitlement.

    What a douche.

  164. #165 Matt
    February 26, 2009

    The Swede @ 141

    Thousands of people performing the same actions at the same time isn’t herd behaviour?

    Well I’ll be blowed.

    Of course, we may think of details which prove to us that we acted in parallel to the herd while remaining independent of it, but then science has indicated that we justify our decisions retroactively.

    Lots of posters here celebrating the laugh-fest. I’m laughing too, at about 90% of you lot (you’ve entertained for about an hour, about 3 LOLs), and I suspect I’m not alone.

    Cheers

  165. #166 Roger
    February 26, 2009

    Greg, you do realize that any poll you put up on a blog ISN’T scientific. If fundie godbots got ahold of your poll, you could see numbers skewed any which way. Get over it, and if you have any verifiable evidence of an afterlife, put it up on your blog. Otherwise, in the words of William Shatner, “Get a life!”

  166. #167 The Swede
    February 26, 2009

    So, which virtue was behind PZs impulse that started this whole thing?

    As usual, a desire to teach the true value of Internet polls.

  167. #168 E.V.
    February 26, 2009

    How embarrassing for the human race then, if this the self-proclaimed Internet home of the intellectual elite.
    I leave you to your laughing. Hopefully a few people got something constructive out of my replies – can’t say I got too much out of it myself, apart from some reinforced stereotypes. Que sera, sera.

    It would seem the embarrassment is all yours.

    Que sera, sera?

    When I was just a boy… I asked my mother, “What shall I be?” Cheer up Greg, Doris Day thanks you for bringing her out of obscurity.

  168. #169 The Swede
    February 26, 2009

    Thousands of people performing the same actions at the same time isn’t herd behaviour?

    The act of voting might be a herd behaviour, but that’s not the point here. The point is that the choice of how to vote isn’t done by some form of herd instinct or desire to conform, but out of ones own knowledge and convictions. It just so happens that many readers here will have consistent views in some polls.

    Be blowed as you will. The point remains; just because a lot of people vote in the same way doesn’t in itself mean a single one of them is acting out of a sense of conformity. To conclude that the majority of the voters have no clue what they’re voting on is, ironically, clueless.

  169. #170 Menyambal
    February 26, 2009

    Well, if Greg’s gone, he may never read this. I still think that it was brave of him to show up here and try to explain his case. That doesn’t mean that I agree with his case, but I applaud his efforts to communicate. I still think he acted stupidly in trying to fix a “tainted poll”, but I can’t blame him for trying.

    I still say that he doesn’t understand what happened. Yes, a mob of people showed up and crashed his poll, but each of those people was voting their own considered opinion. It wasn’t a groupthink event. My own opinion on the non-existence of any form of afterlife is based on years of reading and observation, not on PZ Myers’ instruction.

    I’ve also years of experience in dealing with various forms of the woo-woo crowd, and most of that involved not talking about my opinion. So, when I get a chance to express my opinion, I may not do it well, and may get a little happy in doing so. But, damnation, it is my opinion, and chopping it out of a poll triggers some old frustrations, and I was determined to say what I felt.

    Greg, you are wrong about the ghosties, goblins, aliens, suchlike, and the sanity of the folks at your site. You were mistaken to fix your poll. You were courageous to show up here, and to try to explain and to communicate was commendable. Try harder to understand what happened, and to understand the folks here. Ta.

  170. #171 Faid
    February 26, 2009

    Greg, if you really wanted to have only members voting on your poll, you should have made a members-only poll. It can be done, you know.

    All the rest is just whining. Make a proper community poll (NOT a useless open one), or just do what you really want to do, and make the poll loaded by removing the options you don’t like.

    You know you want to.

  171. #172 Matt
    February 26, 2009

    @169

    Lots to agree with there.

    I’ve no doubt that, regardless of motive, voting was sincere. I’m also sure that many voters have done some research, that a smaller number have done extensive research, and perhaps even that some (I’m not convinced that study of pattern mis/recognition allows us to totally innoculate ourselves into perfect observotrons)successfully managed to override their own biases.

    However, given the preponderance of yah-booh rhetoric here, I disagree that motive for voting isn’t the point, it feels like the bulk of it. This whole exercise comes across as highly structured name calling. I don’t there’s much sophistication at comment level, though I have at times laughed with the crowd.

    Cheers

  172. #173 Matt
    February 26, 2009

    Apologies. Last sentence starts “I dont’t think…”

    Am I just leaving myself wide open here?

    Cheers

  173. #174 Bryan
    February 26, 2009

    I think there should be a poll about this whole poll fiasco. The poll question will be:

    why did PZ and his fans do it?

    1. To teach the woo-woos who’s boss
    2. To teach the true value of internet polls
    3. To show the ignorant there is no evidence of an afterlife
    4. To be assholes

  174. #175 Menyambal
    February 26, 2009

    So we aren’t allowed to have an opinion the subject until we have researched it extensively? That’s like saying that we can’t tell if an egg is rotten until we’ve eaten the whole damn thing.

    That is especially true in cases where the “research” consists of reading reams of anecdotes in favor of the topic, and one or two cases where studies find nothing. Show me extensive scientific studies of the possibility of an afterlife, and I’ll be damn surprised, and probably still read only the summaries.

    It’s not an issue that is in any way worth my time. I haven’t closed my mind, I just can’t be arsed to work at it anymore. I keep an ear open, and will read an interesting article, but I’ll be damned before I waste this life on the issue.

    I mean, what else to you want me to research extensively before forming an opinion? Kiddie porn? Rape? Escargot? Golf? Intelligent Design? Cross-dressing?

    I haven’t time to study everything. I categorize topics as to probability and interest, and give thought to each as it comes up. And a lot of stuff gets filed as things that crazy folks believe in, despite a total lack of evidence. Realizing that there are crazy folks out there, and a bit of crazy in all of us, and that belief means nothing, was the biggest and best realization of my life–it explained so much.

    So excuse me for not studying crisis apparitions. I’ll try to excuse you for not knowing how to fix a bicycle–but if you’d give bike repair extensive study, you’d have a different opinion.

  175. #176 Bumdark
    February 26, 2009

    @clinteas at #129:

    No offense, but you’re probably one of the last people who should be asking for examples of elitism in these comments ? unless you’ve forgotten that in response to Greg’s very polite and courteous replies, which you really can’t deny he was even if you think he’s wrong, you started yours with ‘you smug assuming dick’. Perhaps that’s something of a common and casual opening gesture to you ? Hell, perhaps it’s even quite polite in your eyes compared to the standards one can sink to in terms of flaming someone’s arse ? yet somehow I doubt others see it that way.

    So you?ll excuse me (or not) if I don?t humor your request to waste what could amount to over an hour of my time digging up examples anyone not drowning in cynicism and intolerance can spot for themselves. (Now go ahead, claim I?m just a coward who doesn?t find anything because he knows he?s wrong or whatever.)

    * * * * *
    @Owlmirror at #131:

    No, no, you misunderstand what I meant. Forgive me, I don?t write my best and clearest at 2 AM. I?ll explain better.

    Yes, I realize he intended that poll to be an ?in-house? feature, to collect the opinions of members of his site and few/no others. But that was only clarified once he?d replied here for the first time (before and after an endless barrage of insults that?s simply shameful, considering he really hasn?t done much to incite all this vileness towards him); up to then, as many of the comments will note, it was taken to be a general poll. That?s what I meant by ?garner[ing] the opinions and views of a general and random selection of people?. Yes, now that it?s been described as a site-only faculty, it no longer applies. I meant that as in before we knew so, when it was still treated as a general poll. And so, general polls aren?t meant to be gate-crashed by a flood of people from a site with overwhelmingly similar ideas.

    Of course everyone here has their own opinion. But you can?t rationally claim that the people here, and what they say/do, doesn?t influence the overall tone and mentality of this blog, specifically into ?Science Over Paranormal?, if I can call it that (running out of vocabulary already). You cannot deny that different blogs have different general mindsets, and that a sudden deluge of a specific mindset, such as the one cultivated by this blog and the people around it, was simply contrary to the poll?s intentions, and that?s whether it was public or not.

    As I?ve said, I myself am a non-believer in this sort of stuff. But I also wouldn?t stoop to advertizing an inoffensive and benign poll on a random website, if I logically knew that the sole possible result would be a severe swaying of the results in one direction, which simply defeats the poll?s purpose, no matter how ?pointless? it is.

    (Just a thought ? If these polls really are so ?pointless? and meritless and therefore unworthy of attention, why are said polls always broadcast here, which specifically counters the argument that they?re ?unworthy of attention?? Moreso, if such a poll is so ?pointless?, than how can it incite such vivid and strong reactions?)

    * * * * *
    @Greg at #136:

    I dunno about ?individual thought? on my part; I just felt like piping up and seeing if I?d get any reactions similar to mine on this topic.

    * * * * *
    @Escuerd at #138:

    You know what I meant, which was ?as random and general as an Internet poll can get?. Such polls, if they have low levels of influenceability, are inherently intended to gather opinions from people in general to get a feel of the overall vibe, not a group in particular. If a poll was on CNN or the BBC, which aren?t biased like others are, you couldn?t call it other than ?general? as it wouldn?t be leaning left or right, but was center.

    And besides, other than in-house and ?member-only? polls and such, polls that are displayed clearly and transparently on a website that many can find via numerous sources (search engines being a prominent one of them), such as this one seemed to be before Greg cleared that up, are no more leaning in a particular direction than any other poll on the Internet, or in the papers. People of all beliefs can find them and vote.

    // I don’t intend to treat them as anything more serious than that. //

    Is that a reason to randomly crash a poll, even if your vote is honest, knowing it?ll skew it up and just piss others off? Games are meant to be fun, not irritating for others, unless you?re a particularly sadomasochist type.

    * * * * *
    @kamaka at #139:

    Of course thinking critically and rationally and looking at the evidence (or lack thereof) can only lead one to logically conclude there is no afterlife, but the existence of afterlife or not, or even the polls? results, are not the point I?m raising. I?m talking about people not only swamping a poll and rendering it moot for those who actually wanted those results for whatever reason, but then acting like total immature asses towards the guy for being defensive about it and trying to rectify the situation. Seriously, to all those who yell ?fuck him? or ?coward? or whatever, shame on you. It?s pathetic.

    I?m not saying you did any of that, kamaka; I?m talking about those who did/do.

    * * * * *
    @Logicel at #143:

    Not a comment addressed to me personally, but I felt like mentioning something anyway:

    // I regard labeling what he does as ‘inciting the mob’ as ridiculous. //

    A random poll is posted on a random blog. A few replies from commoners. Eh.

    A famous and highly-popular blog suddenly links to it, and the owner of said blog encourages his many followers to swamp it and give their opinions, and even encourages them to vote in one way and no other (?I voted for no evidence. If you vote otherwise, maybe you can come back here and explain your evidence to us. We need a good laugh on a Saturday morning.? ? my italics for emphasis).

    The poll is swamped by hundreds, even thousands of followers of said blog, all of a similar mindset (yes, I KNOW it?s the ?right? one, but that?s not the point), which skews the poll to one side far beyond any others, rendering it completely moot for those who did care about it for whatever reason.

    ? Am I missing something? How is that not ?inciting the mob?? Dr. Myers posts the poll on his blog. Obviously, the sole conclusion to this is the poll is swamped. It would NOT have been swamped, had it not been posted on this blog. Therefore, obviously, it?s Dr. Myers? posting of it on this blog that ?incited the mob? here to go and vote, thereby flooding it.

    Can it get any more obvious than that?

    I don?t mean any of this negatively, I?m just saying you can?t rationally look at all this and not say Dr. Myers wasn?t the reason the poll was crashed and this whole story unfurled in the first place. I?m not ?blaming? anyone. It?s just statements of fact.

    * * * * *
    I think that?s all the replies I got for now ?

    I get you all here are proud of being brutally-honest and coldly realist and all that, and I?m totally for that. But I also think a modicum of maturity and sensibility should be injected into people?s comments so they don?t look like know-nothing know-it-all 15yos with an overabundance of angst to vent. Honorable and decent people don?t piss each other off for the fun of it. That?s the definition of immaturity, and being an ass. So many comments are just downright stupid in their baseness, it?s absolutely shameful for such a respected (and respectable) blog such as this, helmed by a man such as Dr. Myers.

  176. #177 Sven DiMilo
    February 26, 2009

    Greg’s interminable posts here have done nothing to assuage my deep feelings of anger, righteousness, frustration, and indignation. Nothing.

  177. #178 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Bumdark, yawn, boring concern troll. Crawl back under your rock. Either Greg needed to do the poll right, with the proper security, or not at all. PZ merely provides information on polls. We decide one way or the other. I don’t do all polls, especially the ones that require registration. To claim foul after the fact reminds me of spoiled brats who don’t get their way. Waaahhh.

  178. #179 MH
    February 26, 2009

    #107:

    “We made them cry” That’s very insightful. You do realize that you?re a bunch of a 15 year olds in high school pushing each other in the shoulders and giggling. I guess you have nothing better to talk about. Whatever. Go do a panty raid on another poll and then go giggle about it when you run back to your locker room.

    Poll-crashing does have a purpose. Besides being fun, it also demonstrates the lack of value in the results of on-line polls (i.e. that the results can be so easily skewed), and also the hypocrisy of some on-line pollsters. Do you think Greg would have been so upset if the poll had been skewed in a way that reflected his beliefs?

    Not long ago, there was another poll which was pharyngulated. The question was something like “do you think that there is a god?”, and the choice of answers were “yes” and “no”. The reverend who penned the poll was frightfully upset that we skewed the poll towards “no” (99.99%), and he removed it from his site.

    Now, imagine if a Christian equivalent of Pharyngula had crashed the poll to give “yes” 99.99% of the result. Would he have been so upset? Of course not; he would have probably used the result to try and convince people that there were more believers than suspected.

    For people like that, polls exist for two purposes. Firstly, to shore up their own faith (the more people think like them, the more faith they will have that their beliefs are valid), and secondly, for political reasons (to be able to say that others should believe X becasue lots of people do: argumentum ad populum).

    To all the people who are upset that their poll has been Pharyngulated, if you really understood why we do it, you’d be grateful. We are educating you. The lesson is simple: the results of on-line polls are useless. If you’re too stupid to understand that, then there really is no hope for you.

  179. #180 Matt
    February 26, 2009

    I’m amazed. People really do believe there’s been educational merit in this?

    Do evangelicals do this poll crashing thing? Have they found it effective for the purposes of changing minds?

    Would the TDG readership be happy to find their peers were all staunch white-lighters?

    Cheers

  180. #181 Archangel of Cyberspace
    February 26, 2009

    @111
    /dev/null/

  181. #182 Matt
    February 26, 2009

    For the sake of balance, I should point out I’d back instances of poll crashing. I’m curious though as to why equal behaviour is meted out to those who have varying degrees of belief in after life evidence and those who think gays are scum.

    Cheers

  182. #183 MH
    February 26, 2009

    And further, when you do carry out a genuine poll, you have to work hard to minimise sources of bias. That way, the results will be of value, even if they are counter to your preconceptions.

    That’s the scientific approach.

    The non-scientific approach is to imagine what you want the results to be, and design the poll to encourage such a result. And, as we’ve seen, discard the results when they don’t match the pollster’s preconceptions.

    That approach is epistemologically worthless.

  183. #184 Bumdark
    February 26, 2009

    Can’t say I expected anything more than baseless and half-brained labelling from you, Nerd of Redhead. You do seem prone to those. Either speak with your brain, or keep your foot wedged in your overlarge mouth and slag off. :)

    It is interesting though, that whenever someone comes here and has the sheer nerve of speaking their minds when it doesn’t match the overall mindset of people, they get labelled ‘troll’ and flamed halfway to Hell. Amusing … sort of.

  184. #185 MH
    February 26, 2009

    Do evangelicals do this poll crashing thing? Have they found it effective for the purposes of changing minds?

    It’s not about changing people’s minds; it’s about demonstrating that the results of on-line polls are useless.

    Surely that’s not too hard to understand?

  185. #186 Badger3k
    February 26, 2009

    I had two reasons to vote on his poll. One, I have probably read far more actual research (as opposed to new-age/religious woo) than the poll creator and have found no evidence worth anything. Two, I agree that such online polls are a joke or propaganda organ (should we call them “poles” then?). Sorry to hurt your sensitive feelings, but the subject is superstitious crap. Idiot. There, did that make you feel better (since you can yell out “meanie!”)?

  186. #187 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Bumdark, you have stated your opinion, and I stated mine. My opinion does not have to agree with yours in any fashion whatsoever, and it doesn’t. Don’t you believe in free speech? Or only speech you agree with with? Here’s an idea, if we aren’t agreeing with you, maybe you are wrong.

  187. #188 Stu
    February 26, 2009

    Honorable and decent people don?t piss each other off for the fun of it. That?s the definition of immaturity, and being an ass. So many comments are just downright stupid in their baseness, it?s absolutely shameful for such a respected (and respectable) blog such as this, helmed by a man such as Dr. Myers.

    Your concern is duly noted. Now go sit on a cactus and twirl, you concern-trolling douche nozzle.

  188. #189 AJ Milne
    February 26, 2009

    Do you think Greg would have been so upset if the poll had been skewed in a way that reflected his beliefs?

    I’d add that the Pharyngluhorde crashings in particular have a sort of ‘boo’ factor to ‘em, too…

    As in yes, there really are that many people who think the lot of this credulous rot is bunkum. And you just never know where they’re gonna pop up…

    I don’t get in on that many of ‘em (I sorta get here in bouts, half the time the poll is dead and gone by the time I do), but I have to say there’s a certain beauty to this, in certain specific contexts, as well: it’s most fun when you discover the move kicked over an applecart whose owner clearly really didn’t expect that. In the case of the AM radio hordes, secure in their bubble of Limbaugh-fuelled BS, it’s fun because the numbers jump wildly away from what they were innocently counting on, assuming everyone they’re gonna hear from buys the same BS they do… Thought it’s a bit more complicated, however, as they’re also more than a bit paranoid, trying hard to believe at the same time they’re also the few, select reasonable ones, awash in a sea of “librul” craziness–so it’s like the horde of pointy-headed elitists they are taught to fear has suddenly popped up outta the blue, loaded for bear (or at least for answering poll questions). Which is kinda funny, really…

    The Dominionists and their ilk, it’s sorta the same deal. They’re taught their nation is really ultimately theirs (the cover story is it’s their god’s, and they’re just the rightful inheritors he favours up until the Final Days, but watch how pissed they get when you tell ‘em they can’t have their statue in the courthouse, and ask yourself what that conviction really means). Again, there’s this wonderful cheek about it. No, dear, there are a few holdouts to your glorious revolution about, and they’re organized enough to mess with you in this little way, when the mood takes ‘em. Sorry to burst your bubble…

    I think of it as a slight extension of the ongoing gag around here about what ‘evil’ secular people like us really do with our time. Eating roasted babies, corrupting youth, encouraging women to have unprotected sex and have abortions purely because abortions are such fun, y’know… All that fulminating scary stuff your foaming preacher (and the latest pope) tells you about secularism and them nasty atheists, it’s all true… They’re a terrifying horde, overrunning the earth… Fear them…

    Or, at least, there are enough of them to deflect poorly-run polls, somewhat semi-randomly, for their own amusement, and to remind you they do, actually, exist outside those fulminating sermons. Even if their habits and recipes are somewhat less colourful than you’ve heard.

    So yes, obviously, it’s gonna be funniest when people get a bit pissed. Means they noticed, felt either a bit annoyed and/or a bit threatened by the adamant expression of a certain viewpoint, and that’s a major part of the point.

  189. #190 Kendo
    February 26, 2009

    Hey Greg, first you said (#55) that the poll was “meant as an indication of the Daily Grail community’s thoughts on a particular matter.” Then you said (#97) that you deleted some responses “because they were unrepresentative of the Daily Grail community.” You already knew what the poll would reveal about the community (unless you’re just fibbing), so you’re conceding that the poll was indeed pointless.

  190. #191 AnthonyK
    February 26, 2009

    Can’t say I expected anything more than baseless and half-brained labelling from you, Nerd of Redhead. You do seem prone to those. Either speak with your brain, or keep your foot wedged in your overlarge mouth and slag off. :)

    You’ll really have to do better than that.
    Nerd – please show him how it’s done. And just to make it slightly difficult, only use half your brain.

  191. #192 Matt
    February 26, 2009

    MH,

    No. I understand perfectly. I’ve not been considering any opinion/truth concerning the paranormal here. It’s got nothing to do with my point.

    So the poll crashing is to demonstrate the scientific uselessness of such polls. Why? Presumably you are trying to change people’s minds on their validity i.e. educate them.

    My point is that this has nothing to do with putting people straight. It’s juvenile name-calling.

    My question about evangelicals was really to ask who on earth has found this course of action productive?

    Also, in seeing internet poles as such an offense, aren’t you investing them with way to much power and meaning, tilting at windmills? Who thinks polls themselves are scientific evidence?

    cheers

  192. #193 AnthonyK
    February 26, 2009

    Actually, I kind of withdraw that. This whole thread is deeply silly and rather nasty. A pointless pointless poll post, if you will. So much anger over….ghosts?
    I thought Greg’s site is rather cute. And quite harmless. And unnecessary anger seems…..somehow, just wasted.

  193. #194 MH
    February 26, 2009

    Matt,

    So you agree that on-line polls are useless, but you don’t think that we should try and educate other people about their uselessness? Why?

  194. #195 Badger3k
    February 26, 2009

    Greg “On a larger issue, I would also wonder how P.Z. and this community hopes to effect positive changes in public opinion about science, and atheism, when you can so neatly piss off most of the Daily Grail community – most of whom are genuinely interested in the topics/debate between science and religion.”

    Seriously Greg, the point of most people here, I believe, and I could be wrong, is to point and laugh. Seriously. That’s about all it’s worth. If anyone wants to debate the issue, then we’ll need to see evidence. Anecdotes, books, personal beliefs…all are useless. IF you want a serious debate, you need to do the peer-reviewed research and have replicable trials to be taken seriously. Without that, you go to the gutter with the crazy cat lady. I spent years following all kinds of superstitious woo, until it got to be too much and I decided to see what I believed and why. The why is the important part. All the “evidence” that I used to believe in fell apart like a house of straw. Would it be cool if things like t=ghosts were real? Sure. Sadly, the closer we look at the tales, the more they fall apart.

    So, I, at least, laugh at such notions and the people who have either a lack of education, training, research, etc to see the poor quality of the tales. Of course, as with my students, laughter is also a tool to keep my from banging my head into a desk.

    Now, for some serious discussions of life after death, Wizards of the Coast has a nice forum where you can discuss their new soon-to-be-published tome on the afterlife.

  195. #196 Bumdark
    February 26, 2009

    This is getting dull.

    Nerd of Redhead: I never meant any disrespect until you came and labelled me as a ‘troll’, which is insulting both to your intelligence and mine as it couldn’t be further off-mark. Please, either provide evidence to suggest I’m merely here to ‘incite others to anger or to disturb the peace’, which is what ‘trolling’ means, or stop insulting people you don’t agree with. I am merely here to spread my mind’s words, as is anyone else, which in my case just happens to be disappointment at the baseness of the response to Greg’s actions towards his poll.

    Stu:

    … Seriously, that’s the weirdest ‘flaming’ I’ve heard in a very long while. o_0

    And how exactly does your post disprove my words, rather than prove them with your childish and incorrect insults?

    I suppose anyone here showing a grain of maturity is fit to be dubbed ‘trolling’. Owch.

    (1) AnthonyK at #191: What, you too? What is this, a dogpile? Gee, sorry I spoke my mind about something so incredibly controversial as people insulting each other.

    (2) AnthonyK at #193: Thank you (for retracting that ‘invite to insult’, or whatever you’d call it).

    I realize asking people to stop insulting others is equal to asking a bunch of bonobos to stop humping every five minutes, but seriously, if you could leave out the baseless accusations it’d be all the better for it.

  196. #197 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 26, 2009

    There was humping?

    And I missed out?

  197. #198 Bumdark
    February 26, 2009

    You kiddin’ Rev? It’s a formidable orgy out there! Bring the toys you like, they’re not shy. ;)

  198. #199 Stu
    February 26, 2009

    This is getting dull.

    No shit, Sherlock.

    And how exactly does your post disprove my words

    I’m sorry, you must be operating under the misconception that your words are worth refuting. Your words are dull, vapid, pointless and we’ve heard them all a million times before. I was merely trying to dissuade you from boring people even more.

  199. #200 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Bumdark is a concern troll. He is concerned we aren’t nice enough. Concern trolls are boring, repetitive, boring, repetitive, boring, repetitive, and wrong.

  200. #201 Stu
    February 26, 2009

    Bumdark: here’s a free clue.

  201. #202 AnthonyK
    February 26, 2009

    The more you protest you’re not a troll, and the longer the posts you take to say it….
    I don’t think you’re a troll. But seriously, this whole post is not worth getting angry about, not even worth a ghost’s sigh….
    When I want to be angry, and there’s nothing on here to obsess over, I go to respectful insolence and swear at a few anti-vaxx fuckwits. But then, I guess that’s just me

  202. #203 Bumdark
    February 26, 2009

    I guess you’re the one with a functioning brainstem then, AnthonyK. Dissent is now the new plague around here, it needs to be crushed quickly so people can get back at sniping each other. Ah well. I don’t mess with idiots, so I won’t be replying to them anymore. I do wish they’d grow up, though. (Now how many ways can they use that last sentence against me, I wonder?)

    Don’t worry though, Nerd of Redhead and ever-retarded Stu. You won’t scare me away with your childish insults and labellings, I’ll still be lurking around and enjoying Dr. Myer’s well-deserved insults to religiots and such related retards, and perhaps even commenting now and then (though don’t fret, I’ll be sure to stay clear of anything vaguely controversial, like Internet polls). At least I won’t ‘bore’ you enough to plunge you into a coma. XD This certainly has been … enlightening.

    (And AnthonyK: all you do is ‘swear’ at them? What happened to good ol’ head-bashing-with-brick? They deserve it.)

  203. #204 Bumdark
    February 26, 2009

    (Sorry if this a double post, I think I accidentally sent it twice.)

    I guess you’re the one with a functioning brainstem then, AnthonyK. Dissent is now the new plague around here, it needs to be crushed quickly so people can get back at sniping each other. Ah well. I don’t mess with immature folks who can’t even insult to save their lives, so I won’t be replying to them anymore. I do wish they’d grow up, though. (Now how many ways can they use that last sentence against me, I wonder?)

    Don’t worry though, Nerd of Redhead and ever-retarded Stu. You won’t scare me away with your childish insults and labellings, I’ll still be lurking around and enjoying Dr. Myer’s well-deserved insults to religiots and such related retards, and perhaps even commenting now and then (though don’t fret, I’ll be sure to stay clear of anything vaguely controversial, like Internet polls). At least I won’t ‘bore’ you enough to plunge you into a coma. XD This certainly has been … enlightening.

    Now go ahead, flame me to Perdition! :D

    (And AnthonyK: all you do is ‘swear’ at them? What happened to good ol’ head-bashing-with-brick? They deserve it.)

  204. #205 Jonny-Boy
    February 26, 2009

    I’m posting this from the UK. I’m an atheist, a member of the British Humanist Association, I work with the National Secular Society and I also support the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. However I still buy the Fortean Times occasionally as I enjoy reading through bits of that fringe stuff for a giggle?just as I used to enjoy watching Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World when I was a kid in the 1970′s.

    So anyway, that’s how I discovered the dailygrail site and also why I’ve been checking across there, every now and then, for the last year or so. For my money it’s been pretty entertaining, has actually provided some pretty good science links and hasn’t seemed that harmful to me. I mean, it’s not exactly the Oral Roberts Brainwashing Programme for the Under Fives, right?

    Consequently I’ve been a bit shocked to see a minor fracas about a poll shift in the direction, and take the tone, that it has. To be blunt, I have to out rightly say that many of the contributions here have been nothing short of disgraceful. Those making them have managed to sound exactly like the kind of people atheists/humanists are often accused of being. Intolerant, sneering, insulting, high-handed and…well…by no means any more rational than the ‘opposition’. Indeed, a number of the posts sound as if they’ve been written by people one step away from throwing a punch!

    Picking back across the comments from Greg, the man seems to have quite straightforwardly stated (at least by the time of #55) that he was objecting to a block of people flooding into his site, who certainly wouldn’t normally go there, with the intent of performing a little atheist hit and run. In reply, the fairer points I’ve read from this site have been about the open-nature of the internet and the fact that many people have genuinely researched the afterlife question and found it wanting (which the TDG bloke should have definitely considered before altering the poll results). So while such decent and pretty fair points have been made, what?s gone so badly wrong?

    As far I can tell, I think the initial tone set by PZ Meyers was patronising, unhelpful and a touch infantile (I?ve only just finished reading his bio and if this is the tone he uses in academic circles I?m amazed he?s still got a job!). Likewise I think his motive for encouraging people to hit dailygrail was coming from a smug, te-he-he schoolyard bullying level.

    Compounding this, there seems to be an equally thick-headed and self-defeating tone across numerous threads at this site. Is this really the best that you people can do? Wouldn?t you be better served starting-up an atheist?s version of Fight Club?

    Lastly I think a portion of blame rests with TDG. Mostly this is because of the way they rose to the bait (it was better left ignored) but also because they failed to see this as another unfolding wave of the weird and wonderful. I?d have done that, but that?s just me.

    Anyway, what I?m going to do?seeing that I think this thread is a perfect example of how atheists shouldn?t behave if they want to gain ground?is ferret out my log-in details for the main Dawkins forum and link this across. I?ll also explain why I think many of you people should learn to think before you type, develop some manners and stop behaving like cretins.

    You might like to note that when I post at Dawkins I?ll link back here as well. You?ll then be able to check my older contributions to that forum, and you might like to pay attention to the fact that the insults almost certainly now heading my way via this space (hi everyone in advance) won?t be tolerated if you contribute there. That part of the internet is fronted by a biologist who has some decency in debate and apparent respect for other people, reflected in the moderation of the forums.

  205. #206 Matt
    February 26, 2009

    MH,

    Sorry, you’ve misread me there.

    I don’t think polls are pointless, they can cause reflection on your own thinking. But they are unimportant, throwaway fluff. They’re not proof of anything but opinion, but who’s saying they are? When I said “poll crashing is to demonstrate the scientific uselessness of such polls”, I was trying to express the Pharyngula education angle here, it’s not my own view.

    The motives of the board are muddled. Some of what I’ve read here seems to say “we can’t abide any sharing of opinion (all a poll claims to be, surely?) without peer reviewed citations”. Good luck!

  206. #207 Bryan
    February 26, 2009

    “We had a pointless poll post a while back where I pointed you at a silly site…”

    PZ pointed his fans at TDG like a loaded gun and fired. And like a brainless bullet, his fans were launched.

    “…that asked what was the best evidence for the afterlife ? and you people triumphantly emphasized that there was no evidence.”

    Does he think that someone has had their position changed by looking at the poll after his triumphant emphasis?

    “Amusingly, the guy who runs the site is now whining about the attention we gave him.”

    Here is his real goal. He craved amusement for his fans and himself, and he craved the whining of his prey.

  207. #208 p
    February 26, 2009

    Boy this argument will seem silly when we all look back on it from the afterlife.

  208. #209 AnthonyK
    February 26, 2009

    It does.
    Whooooooooooooo!

  209. #210 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Yawn, another concerned “tone” troll. BORING, just like the first one. If you don’t like it here, you don’t have to post here.

  210. #211 E.V.
    February 26, 2009

    Boy this argument will seem silly when we all look back on it from the afterlife.

    Why don’t you go and experience that wonderful afterlife and then come back and tell us how wrong we are, P. We’ll wait.

  211. #212 E.V.
    February 26, 2009

    Anyway, what I?m going to do?seeing that I think this thread is a perfect example of how atheists shouldn?t behave if they want to gain ground?is ferret out my log-in details for the main Dawkins forum and link this across. I?ll also explain why I think many of you people should learn to think before you type, develop some manners and stop behaving like cretins.

    Jonny-boy: Pip pip and an harumph. How uncivil!! *wrings hands*

    Awwww, blow it out yer arse, Jonny. Who the fuck elected you as the Miss Manners of blogs? Can’t stand the heat? Stay away from the flames, Oh Prim & Proper one.

  212. #213 Leo MacDonald
    February 26, 2009

    Please Veovice tell me how these experiments were flawed as you say?. Are they flawed because they weren’t peer reviewed in reputable peer review journals?. Reputable peer reviewed journals only deal with phenomena that fit in with naturalism.

    Kristine, how strange? i used to be an atheist, then started to realize that i couldn’t ignore my own experiences with the paranormal. It sure it a long while after researching evidence for an afterlife to accept that it more than likely happens.

    What i find funny, is what is the need to poll crash a poll that you commentors find a fairy tale?. Do you feel threaten because their just maybe an afterlife?.

  213. #214 Lowell
    February 26, 2009

    Oh, great. Another “former atheist.”

    Okay, Leo. Please explain which god or gods exist and the empirical evidence that we can all examine leading to the conclusion that the existence of that god or gods is “more than likely.”

  214. #215 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 26, 2009

    Reputable peer reviewed journals only deal with phenomena that fit in with naturalism empirical based science.

    fixed

  215. #216 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    No one sent me the memo to wear pearls today.

  216. #217 Steve_C
    February 26, 2009

    Nothing to clutch Patricia?

  217. #218 Menyambal
    February 26, 2009

    Do you feel threaten because their just maybe an afterlife?

    No.

    Do you feel threatened because there may not be an afterlife? Lots of folks like you project their feelings onto others, so that’s a very interesting question.

    May I remind everyone concerned that the subtitle of this blog is “Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal.” It isn’t “serious science discussions” or “politeness lessons” or “Mister Nice makes nice”.

    It is, in my opinion, where PZ Myers comes after school to blow off steam and to share amusing science info–his opinion may vary. I know I think of it as a fun place–I do enjoy learning–and feel free to poke at anyone who comes poking around.

    Remember, all, that all that happened outside this blog was a poll-crashing. Nearly pointless, nearly harmless, and not even close to being gotten-away-with. Nobody logged into another site to troll or to make scathing comments–at least not at PZ’s instigation. The fun started when Greg came here and got involved, and got an earful.

    Would you expect a Christian blog to be polite to intruders? Remember, before you answer that, that Christians damn us all to Hell for eternity. Name-calling is piddly by comparison.

    We have read the Grail’s comments by the Grail regulars, and their assumptions about who reads here. They were not nice, but they were on their site, and within their rights.

    And no need to tell folks to think before they write. That is one of the basic tenets of Science, and probably deeply ingrained in most of PZ’s readers. But this is a blog comment section, and will be forgotten in a day or two.

  218. #219 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    That does seem to be the tone of #205 Jonny Boy.
    I’m gonna run & tell Prof. Dawkins that PZ’s Ilk are potty mouthed brawlers, waaah! What a dumbass. The sniveling sissy doesn’t realize Dawkins reads and posts on this blog. Very poor quality concern troll.

  219. #220 Leo MacDonald
    February 26, 2009

    Menyambal

    You don’t think me being an survivalist that christians don’t damn me to hell for eternity?. Of course not all christians are like that but some are. Honestly rather their isn’t or is an afterlife is all a matter of looking at the evidence.

    RevBigdumbchimp

    True science is an method not a position, but a lot of time it’s an position. Just look at all the naturalist scientists who hold the belief that everything is physical, contrary evidence that appears would not stink into their mind. Now would it?.

    Lowell,

    One of the evidences that their probably is an god[cosmic consciousness] is the fact that the cosmological constant is very finely tuned and so is the universe. The solution other than an cosmic consciousness is the many worlds intrepretation with it’s endless amount of parallel universes. The problem with that is you would have to explain what created all those other universes. Yes you could say endless big bangs but what was their before the very first big bang?

  220. #221 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 26, 2009

    True science is an method not a position, but a lot of time it’s an position. Just look at all the naturalist scientists who hold the belief that everything is physical, contrary evidence that appears would not stink into their mind. Now would it?.

    Can you give me an example of contrary evidence that is not detectable physically?

  221. #222 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Leo McD, any peer reviewed scientific journal citations you care to offer backing up your assertions?

  222. #223 Tulse
    February 26, 2009

    what was their before the very first big bang?

    What was there before god? I don’t see how postulating a supernatural creator solves the fundamental problem, except by defining it away.

  223. #224 Joe S
    February 26, 2009

    Odd, but they would not respond with a password when I tried to register with the username “Pharynguloid Horde”. Flyingmonkey passed muster, though.

    I think votes are still being deleted, perhaps now in real time. My 20 votes did not change the vote total.

  224. #225 Sastra
    February 26, 2009

    Leo MacDonald #220 wrote:

    True science is an method not a position, but a lot of time it’s an position. Just look at all the naturalist scientists who hold the belief that everything is physical, contrary evidence that appears would not stink into their mind. Now would it?

    Yes, I think scientists would eagerly change their minds on material naturalism if there was good, strong, consistent evidence for phenomena like ESP or PK — or angels or reincarnation. Scientists are in a competition to come up with new ideas, make new predictions, and take our understanding in new directions. And they come from every country and background, and are of every sex, race, age, religion, and political view. Scientists are not a monolithic block; they are diverse.

    Their thirst for novelty and progress, though, is tempered by very strict criteria. Evidence has to be convincing to people who don’t already accept a theory, and not only to those who do. Gain a consensus out of such diversity, and it’s likely that there is something objective there. That’s a hard test. But as rigorous as the method is, our understanding of the world is still changing. That’s the goal.

  225. #226 Lowell
    February 26, 2009

    One of the evidences that their probably is an god[cosmic consciousness] is the fact that the cosmological constant is very finely tuned and so is the universe.

    And a puddle is “very finely tuned” to the hole in which it rests. So what? And besides, why would the fine-tuning of the cosmological constant imply one god instead of one million gods? (Also, “evidences” is not a word.)

    The solution other than an cosmic consciousness is the many worlds intrepretation with it’s endless amount of parallel universes. The problem with that is you would have to explain what created all those other universes.

    Why does there have to be a creator? I see no need to invoke an agency of any kind. (And it’s “its,” no apostrophe.)

    Yes you could say endless big bangs but what was their before the very first big bang?

    We don’t know. We may never know. I don’t see that as a reason to invoke an agency. (And it’s “there,” not “their.” I mention it only because you did it twice.)

    Did you have any actual evidence you wanted to discuss? Not your personal intuition, but empirical evidence? I didn’t see any there.

  226. #227 Leo MacDonald
    February 26, 2009

    Sastra

    True and many materialists have come to admit their is very strong evidence for an afterlife.

    “There are three claims in the [parapsychology] field which, in my opinion, deserve serious study, [the third being] that young children sometimes report details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could not have known about in any other way than reincarnation”

    Carl Sagan

    For a long list of scientists and other people in other professions. Check out my blog.

    http://paranormalandlifeafterdeath.blogspot.com/2007/07/professionals-and-others-who-agree-with.html

    Lowell,

    Because its far simple to postulate only one god not millions of gods.

    Rev.BigDumbChimp,

    Evidence of that would parapsychological phenomena such as telekinesis, psychokinesis, esp, poltergeist phenomena etc.]

  227. #228 Jonny-Boy
    February 26, 2009

    As promised my post is up on the Dawkins site:

    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=73754

    If you haven’t got access this a copy of it:

    I haven?t posted here for a while so my apologies for coming back to grumble and complain ;) I was over at another website and came across this:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/02/pharyngula_fail_tdg_-_science.php

    and it raised a question, namely: If this is large, popular atheist website headed by a supposedly respectable scientist, just how far along is the United States in flushing serious atheist/humanist debate down the pan?

    Basically this is what happened. This PZ Myer guy (to be honest I?ve never heard of him) found a poll listed at a pretty light-hearted fringe/pseudo-science site?i.e., think Fortean Times, Church of the SubGenius, Weekly World News, etc ?that offered links out to spooky or odd news stories. Deciding it would be a laugh to provide a link to that poll (it was about site user?s opinions about afterlife experiences), Meyer encouraged his forum contributors to go there and blitz the poll with the sceptic?s choice offered as ?There Is No Evidence?.

    Now, ignoring the fact that many sceptics and atheists frequent that site (myself included?a fact kind of given away by the inclusion of the option There Is No Evidence in the poll :-), Myers? forum lit-up with streams of insulting, off-balance and mean-spirited comments aimed at the place they were using as a hit-and-run target. When the apparent webmaster/editor subsequently reset the poll and commented on having the site used as someone else?s doormat, Myers posted again, this time stating that his forum contributors had made the webmaster ?cry? and he was ?whining?.

    The same bloke from the website?I believe he?s called Greg?then posted on Myers? site (listed as #55 via above link) and explained why he?d reset the poll, tried to reasonably explain that his site pulled-in visitors of all stripes and even asked people to register, contribute and share their views. In response he was met with another tirade of four-letter insults, personal attacks and so on. Reading through this was a bit like watching a mob play a game of ?kick the victim?. It also stank of teenage-level ignorance.

    Becoming pretty annoyed with this, I decided to post a comment on Myers? page (listed as #205 via the above link) and also post here. I then sat back to see what kind of response I?d get and sure enough…along came the insults and accusations of being a ?troll? and so on. It was so juvenilely predictable I could almost have set my watch by it.

    Which leads me back to my initial point?I?d hate to see the ground being steadily gained in the USA given away by idiots like this. When a working scientist can practice downright intellectual dishonesty, no doubt flattered to have such a large audience of cheering ?sports fans? egging him on, things do not bode well. Neither does the protesting student/teenager ?feel? of the whole thing. What will happen when the cultural bubble bursts and these kids go back to playing with their skateboards?

    In my own life, I?ve spent nearly 24 years out of 40 contending with religious bigotry in my family (and being ostracised for it), campaigning against religiously motivated politics, actively supporting pro-choice groups in Ireland, giving money and time to UK secular organisations and more recently co-ordinating with atheists locally on an arts-based music project. I?m not some silly, zeitgeist-jumping little twerp (who would probably sign-up to Christianity if it could promise to cure acne) that recently bought a t-shirt and read a book! I care passionately about atheism and humanism and I?ve had to take a real stand for both. Watching them get wrecked will not be a welcome result.

    In any case, the direct harm caused by this one incident alone will be bad enough. The dailygrail site attacked by Myers scores umpty thousands of hits every 24 hours, and fence-sitting agnostics have just had their worst fears confirmed. There goes a scientist (which will now play as someone who appears a churlish, underhanded bigot) tearing into a smaller more ?open minded? portion of the web (that now definitely looks heroic) and revealing his real agenda along the way (just setting out to cause maximum offence). Nothing could be more effective in turning people away from humanism and rational thought in general.

    Personally I think it stinks and I just wanted to provide a heads-up.

    BTW – some expletive wielding ?genius? on the site claimed RD posted there. Is that true? And if so, is he aware how much of a sewer it is? Maybe someone should write and tell him.

  228. #229 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Yes, RD and Dr. Myers know each other. PZ visited RD when he visited England a while back (the masthead photo was taken in London I believe). RD is well aware of the crowd here, and posts here a couple of times a month.

  229. #230 Lowell
    February 26, 2009

    Because its far simple to postulate only one god not millions of gods.

    And it is even simpler to postulate no god at all. The god hypothesis isn’t necessary to account for the evidence we have. If it was, scientists would use it.

  230. #231 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    That was me. Prof. Dawkins does post here. Go up to the search box, his remarks are easily found.

    And yes, Dawkins knows we’re bar room brawlers. What makes you think he cares?

    Are you even aware of where you are? I called you a sniveling sissy, that isn’t cursing. Fucktard.

  231. #232 E.V.
    February 26, 2009

    Jonny don’t worry your pretty little head over us. Now run along, there’s a nice chap.

  232. #233 Sven DiMilo
    February 26, 2009

    Jonny: Your elaborate, logorrheic, cross-posted concern is noted.

  233. #234 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    Nothing could be more effective in turning people away from humanism and rational thought in general.

    Yes, this is all just a PR exercise in order to show the “softer side”, to make rationality all cuddly and warm… Can’t let those big bad sceptics ever show their opinion because it scares the frightened little people away. Demand evidence?!? How presumptuous of us!

  234. #235 Steve_C
    February 26, 2009

    Concern troll is concerned. Really really concerned.

  235. #236 Sastra
    February 26, 2009

    Leo MacDonald #227 wrote:

    True and many materialists have come to admit their is very strong evidence for an afterlife.

    And has the evidence which persuaded these people been strong enough to persuade the scientific community as a whole?

    No. That’s a problem.

    I admit it’s a very high standard, but, given the extraordinary nature and great significance of the claim — and the way it would effect virtually all the disciplines of science — it’s not unreasonable. On the contrary, it’s the norm even for less dramatic examples. There are always outliers on the fringe of every science, making claims and gathering adherents. If they have the truth on their side, they will eventually persuade their peers. If not, they remain on the fringe, making the same claims and gathering the same sort of adherents.

    The history of science, as you well know, is filled with ideas that were initially scorned, and then accepted. The process is self-correcting.

    Your claims about an afterlife aren’t at the point where they have persuaded the mainstream — even though many scientists have a very clear idea of where to look, and what to look for, and what kinds of predictions might be verified. What was once a promising area of study is falling apart. Paranormalists have been trying to make their case for well over 100 years. They are not moving forward, making new predictions and refining our understanding. They are still trying to demonstrate that there is a phenomena there at all. The field is stagnant. Another problem.

    My understanding is that when the actual cases for memories of reincarnation are looked at, they are not well documented or well-controlled. There is too much opportunity for errors to creep in. In some cases, they can find actual tampering with stories and reports. Such cases are, I think, reported only in societies which already believe in reincarnation, or by people who already believe.

    Also a problem.

  236. #237 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    That kind of concern trolling sounds exactly like the ones who say that Dawkins shouldn’t link evolution to atheism because it facilitates creationism.

  237. #238 Paul
    February 26, 2009

    Concern troll is very concerned.

    A note, Jonny. The people at RD aren’t likely to grab torches and pitchforks and come over to slay the Pharyngulan Horde in a vicious mob of retribution. Those that care will most likely check out this thread, read a little, get bored (the internet is not serious business, especially when it comes to pointless polls) and either decide to have a little fun at the poll fixer’s expense or just go read something more interesting. They will also probably realize you’re not some third party that’s offended at the verbiage here, so I don’t see why you tried to act completely disconnected from the Daily Grail site.

    Also, please decide between Meyer, Meyers, and Myers. Myers is proper, but it will at least be less painful if just you pick one and stick with it.

  238. #239 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    We seem to have had a lot of concern trolls lately about our “tone”. Frankly, I am getting rather tired of of their “tone”. There is only one arbiter of “tone” at this blog, and it is PZ Myers. Anybody else is a self appointed fake, fraud, idiot, imbecile, and is downright ignorant of who runs the blog. It ain’t them. Self appointed manners experts, take your attitude elsewhere. PZ, and only PZ, will tell us when we are out of line.

  239. #240 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    I’d like to know why people seem to think Richard Dawkins is chief of the swearing police. In one of his videos he very plainly says fuck off.

  240. #241 Sastra
    February 26, 2009

    Jonny Boy #228 wrote:

    Nothing could be more effective in turning people away from humanism and rational thought in general.

    As I said in the other thread, on the same topic, I doubt that there is one perfect strategy for promoting evolution, science, humanism, or atheism. People differ too much for that to be true.

    I think you over-state the vicious nature of what was, when all is said and done, a very minor sort of prank — if you can even call it that. People voted on a poll which was open to the public. Nothing was destroyed, no one was harmed. Greg’s original goal — that the website was interested in seeing how the regular readers weighed the value of different sorts of evidence for an afterlife — wasn’t even effected, since anyone can simply mentally ignore the votes for “no evidence” and look only at the other figures. Traffic went up, and the site may gain some new regulars.

    As for arguments on proper tone, style, language, attitude, and level of mockery — I don’t think these arguments go anywhere. Again, a matter of taste. I give the religious and spiritual enough credit to grant that they realize that people come in all varieties, and they will not abandon the idea of reason itself just because someone called them a name. If they have isolated and insulated themselves from the general public, it might be a welcome breath of fresh air (or not.)

    The spiritually sensitive do tend to see insult and arrogance in every form of rational criticism.

    Ah, but this time the insult and arrogance was real?

    Well, then they will know what it looks like. And when generous and temperate skeptics and humanists such as yourself are met, you will look that much better in comparison.
    You’re welcome. ;)

  241. #242 'Tis Himself
    February 26, 2009

    Concern trolls are concerned.

    BTW – some expletive wielding ?genius? on the site claimed RD posted there. Is that true? And if so, is he aware how much of a sewer it is? Maybe someone should write and tell him.

    Obviously you’re not aware of the story about how PZ Myers was expelled from Expelled and how his guest was admitted. You might want to inform yourself as to who his guest was.

  242. #243 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    ‘Tis, you beat me to posting that. Two thumbs up for doing so.

  243. #244 Owlmirror
    February 26, 2009

    “There are three claims in the [parapsychology] field which, in my opinion, deserve serious study, [the third being] that young children sometimes report details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could not have known about in any other way than reincarnation”
    Carl Sagan

    QUOTE! MINING!

    http://skepdic.com/news/newsletter19.html

    However, immediately after the quote in question, Sagan writes: “I pick these claims not because I think they’re likely to be valid (I don’t), but as examples of contentions that might be true.” They “have at least some, although still dubious, experimental support. Of course, I could be wrong.”

    I’ve read Mary Roach’s Spook, where the reincarnation investigator pretty much admits that he doesn’t probe too closely. A family is made happy that their dear dead relative is alive again and living with a family nearby; the two families are drawn together by their shared love for the young reincarnated person… and that’s what’s really important, right?

    Bah.

  244. #245 Lowell
    February 26, 2009

    Thanks, Owlmirror.

    So, in Leo’s world, stating that a phenomenon has “at least some, although still dubious, experimental support,” is an admission that there is “very strong evidence” for that phenomenon.

    Got it.

    Leo, you’ve been caught quotemining. Are you going to retract it, rationalize it, or ignore it? (I’m guessing door number three.)

  245. #246 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    I’d like to know why people seem to think Richard Dawkins is chief of the swearing police. In one of his videos he very plainly says fuck off.

    Though in that instance he was merely quoting someone else (If you are referring to the “science is interesting and if you don’t like it you can fuck off” comment)

    Concern trolling is so freaking annoying. 9 times out of 10 the one doing the concern trolling has missed the point by a long way.

  246. #247 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Kel – Yes, that is the one I meant. I know it was a joke, I used it because Jonny-Boy is insinuateing that Dawkins is against swearing, or that English people can’t swear. His meaning isn’t clear to me.

    It’s insulting either way.

  247. #248 Guy Incognito
    February 26, 2009

    And in addition to the Expelled incident, PZ Myers’ Courtier’s Reply is quoted at length in the preface to the 2008 paperback edition of The God Delusion. In fact, here is what Richard Dawkins himself has to say about PZ Myers and Pharyngula:

    This whole issue, including an independent invocation of Brer Rabbit in the briar patch, is well discussed by the biologist P.Z. Myers, whose Pharyngula blog can reliably be consulted for trenchant good sense. [The God Delusion, page 94, emphasis mine]

    Given all that, and the fact Jonny-Boy spelled PZ Myers’ name four different ways, I think it is safe to say he is a complete fucking ignoramus.

  248. #249 Leo MacDonald
    February 26, 2009

    I copied that quote from another person. Nonetheless, at least Carl Sagan’s in his opinion admits their is some weak evidence. I totally disagree i think there is very strong evidence for reincarnation.

    Sastra,

    I disagree the evidence for an afterlife is adding up and more and more. As you know naturalism would be overturned if the evidence for an afterlife, were accepted into mainstream science.

  249. #250 'Tis Himself
    February 26, 2009

    …or that English people can’t swear.

    Spend some time at the Guardian Unlimited Talk website. You’ll find Brits who swear like sailors.

  250. #251 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Nice one Guy Incognito!

  251. #252 Bachalon
    February 26, 2009

    Matt@180,

    Perhaps it’s not exactly what you were looking for, but the crazies at free republic crash polls now and then.

  252. #253 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    goddamn it to hell, Owlmirror & Lowell, I was planning to hammer Leo for that egregious quotemine, but you’ve both gone and nailed him good. Arrrg.

    —-

    BTW, slightly OT (and perchance premature), but I hereby nominate Menyambal for an OM, if only for his rational responses in this very post.

  253. #254 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    BTW, Leo, as per yer last comment, you “totally disagree” with Sagan on support for reincarnation, yet you used a quote from him to try to support your case for reincarnation. Now which is it?

  254. #255 Sastra
    February 26, 2009

    Leo MacDonald #249 wrote:

    I disagree the evidence for an afterlife is adding up and more and more. As you know naturalism would be overturned if the evidence for an afterlife, were accepted into mainstream science.

    When do you predict the tide will turn? That is, when will materialistic naturalism be rejected by the scientific community on the basis of the evidence for an afterlife? Do you have a time frame, a ‘best guess, given what you know?

    5 years? 10? 20? 50 years from now?

    Over a hundred?

    And, if the deadline passes and things are still as they are now, with a few scientists still on the ‘fringe,’ still doing their studies and experiments that can’t be replicated, parapsychology still attempting to establish that there’s something there to be tested — would you agree that this makes it very unlikely that there is any truth to the hypothesis?

  255. #256 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 26, 2009

    Evidence of that would parapsychological phenomena such as telekinesis, psychokinesis, esp, poltergeist phenomena etc

    And why would those not be detectable physically?

  256. #257 The MadPanda
    February 26, 2009

    If a Troll is only worth (on average) 845XP, how many XP are Concern Trolls worth?

    (flips through his copy of the old MM, FF, and MM2 in vain for a monster that not even Gary Gygax would have liked)

    The MadPanda, FCD

  257. #258 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    If those paranormal phenomena aren’t detectable physically, then how is it we are able to be aware of them? Our senses are all physical.

  258. #259 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    BTW, slightly OT (and perchance premature), but I hereby nominate Menyambal for an OM, if only for his rational responses in this very post.

    Save it for the next Molly nomination thread where it will be counted.

  259. #260 Bachalon
    February 26, 2009

    Uh, Leo, no it wouldn’t. Our idea of what is natural would certainly change, but that evidence would be integrated into mainstream science.

    If there is that much evidence for something, it’s hardly supernatural.

  260. #261 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    “Save it for the next Molly nomination thread where it will be counted.”
    Okie dokie.

  261. #262 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    If a Troll is only worth (on average) 845XP, how many XP are Concern Trolls worth?

    You’d expect a lot more. A troll is tough, but a concern troll would make you feel guilty for even carrying a sword, let alone your troll-slaughtering tendencies. They are a tough beast to kill.

  262. #263 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Thanks Tis Himself, I’ll have a look at that. :)

    Most of the English swearing I enjoy is Stephen Fry and Rowan Atkins. Although I once heard an Englishman at a horse show that had his foot stepped on by a Clydesdale…there is nothing more I ever need to read about the character, family tree, brain size, or morality of Scottish horses. ;)

  263. #264 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    If those paranormal phenomena aren’t detectable physically, then how is it we are able to be aware of them? Our senses are all physical.

    Don’t forget Randi’s paranormal challenge, where one could win a million dollars if they could show a stage magician they weren’t faking. Guess what? Randi still has all the money.

  264. #265 Jonny-Boy
    February 26, 2009

    So Dawkins is a friend of Myers? Very nice. The man has just dropped several points for me (sad to say) but I wasn?t any kind of devotee to begin with. My own atheism was decided upon and defended for over two decades before The God Delusion was in print. I just thought Dawkins seemed like a reasonably decent bloke. Still, you?re ultimately known by the company you keep.

    (Oh BTW, I?ll spell Mayers/Myers/Mayall however I like. The man?s own disregard for keeping things straight has probably infected me :-)

    To repeat, I consider the general attitude of this site damaging and self-defeating. Most religious people will use sticks like ?deliberately offensive? ?uncaring? and ?selfish? to attack atheists, and for some the idea of dressing-up like Satan and acting that kind of thing out (especially when safely hidden away behind a computer somewhere) provides a cheap thrill. Give ?em what they want, right? Shame that you lose the only meaningful high-ground in the process.

    Anyway it?s a phase. You?ll grow out of it.

    Moving on–I?m not connected to dailygrail, just like I said. You might not have noticed but I first registered with the Dawkins site in 2007?and of course I was only able to do that (and be a fully paid member of the BHA since 1998) as I own a time machine. I rigged my own fake scepticism just to post on this dreary site.

    Final point ? a colleague at work used to play World of Warcraft and I asked him about it once. He said it was full of little dweebs (mostly kids) playing at being tough demonic-style warriors, whereas for him he had a bit of a laugh playing as a nature loving elf. Basically the characters people chose generally reflected something they didn?t get a chance to be in their lives?which kind of makes sense.

    Now, that guy and myself both work as psych nurses. We?ve both earned extra money as doormen and we?ve both ? a few years back?been known as people you really shouldn?t cross until we started to get a clue, calm down and grow up a bit. Consequently I think the Warcraft rule applies here. I know you daring, offensive, shocking little tykes would love to sound really brave and come over as ?edgy? (lol), but I also know you probably wouldn?t dare to say boo to me if you met me. Such is the unreality of the net.

    If you want a real shock take your little play atheism onto the street and see what happens ;) I?ll bring the band aids and a video-camera.

    That?s it anyway. Help yourselves. I?m out of here.

  265. #266 The MadPanda
    February 26, 2009

    Painfully true, Kel, as this thread (among others) demonstrates so very clearly! The blasted things do rather go down somewhat hard.

    And alas and alack, counter-troll methods like, say, Flames of Phlegethos only work in the imagination.

    The MadPanda, FCD

  266. #267 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 26, 2009

    So is the distraught Jonny-Boy going to quit following Richard Dawkins’ board and is he going to start purposely misspelling his name?

  267. #268 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    Don’t forget Randi’s paranormal challenge, where one could win a million dollars if they could show a stage magician they weren’t faking. Guess what? Randi still has all the money.

    There’s always that too.

    Such is the unreality of the net.

    Exactly, so stop concern trolling about behaviour exhibited on the internet when you even admit that offline it’s a very different behaviour.

  268. #269 E.V.
    February 26, 2009

    So Jonny-Boy is a liar and cheat who wants to dole out advice, who’d a thunk it?

  269. #270 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Anyway it?s a phase. You?ll grow out of it.

    Your opinion, oh idiot child (speaking as an old fart). One day you will grow out of the need to try to take your betters to task. That is the day you achieve wisdom.

  270. #271 Sastra
    February 26, 2009

    Kel #258 wrote:

    If those paranormal phenomena aren’t detectable physically, then how is it we are able to be aware of them? Our senses are all physical.

    I think Leo meant to say that non-material phenomena like ESP, PK, and ghosts can be detected physically and through the senses, through tests and experiment. Indeed, he thinks it has been done.

  271. #272 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    @Jonny-Boy [#265]
    “If you want a real shock take your little play atheism onto the street and see what happens ;) I?ll bring the band aids and a video-camera.”

    Funny, someone recently did just that, and he was well-received:
    http://friendlyatheist.com/2009/02/26/atheist-proselytizing-it-leads-to-boobies/

    Although, I’m likely being a smartass, as you likely didn’t mean it that way, now did you, Jonny-Boy?

  272. #273 'Tis Himself
    February 26, 2009

    We?ve both earned extra money as doormen and we?ve both ? a few years back?been known as people you really shouldn?t cross until we started to get a clue, calm down and grow up a bit.

    Why do I get the idea that Jonny-Boy is short, overweight, and was bullied in school?

  273. #274 Sastra
    February 26, 2009

    Jonny-Boy #265 wrote:

    To repeat, I consider the general attitude of this site damaging and self-defeating.

    Yes. And others consider it stimulating and refreshing. Pharyngula‘s general ‘tone’ is meant to be a counter to the exaggerated, knee-jerk deference and respect generally given to pseudoscientific and religious claims. It is part of the ongoing attempt to “break the spell.”

  274. #275 Kendo
    February 26, 2009

    #220

    The ‘finely tuned’ argument again. The universe is so finely tuned for life that almost every location in it would result in instant death. Even here on Earth, many species have been ‘finely tuned’ to extinction. Soome designer you’ve got there.

  275. #276 E.V.
    February 26, 2009

    Why do I get the idea that Jonny-Boy is short, overweight, and was bullied in school?

    I’m sure that’s not all of his shortcomings.

  276. #277 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Oh dear! Jonny-Boy is a self-proclaimed big bad tough guy. That’s got me quakin’ in my corset. *Pfffft*

  277. #278 Rev. BigDUmbChimp
    February 26, 2009

    Final point ? a colleague at work used to play World of Warcraft and I asked him about it once. He said it was full of little dweebs (mostly kids) playing at being tough demonic-style warriors, whereas for him he had a bit of a laugh playing as a nature loving elf. Basically the characters people chose generally reflected something they didn?t get a chance to be in their lives?which kind of makes sense.

    Now, that guy and myself both work as psych nurses. We?ve both earned extra money as doormen and we?ve both ? a few years back?been known as people you really shouldn?t cross until we started to get a clue, calm down and grow up a bit. Consequently I think the Warcraft rule applies here. I know you daring, offensive, shocking little tykes would love to sound really brave and come over as ?edgy? (lol), but I also know you probably wouldn?t dare to say boo to me if you met me. Such is the unreality of the net.

    Internet tough guy. Terrifying.

    Typically when people speak as you do on the internet claiming your toughness and maturity, you possess neither.

    It really is you that needs to grow up and grow out of your delusions of Internet Gandalfian Van Dammeness.

    idiot.

  278. #279 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    Yes you could say endless big bangs but what was their before the very first big bang?

    If there was a god, then who created god? Ultimately there has to be an uncaused cause somewhere. In our universe it’s taken about 4.5 billion years for sapience to arise on one planet, yet all gods that are posited are meant to be all-knowing. When we see consciousness and wisdom as traits that need a cause (i.e. evolution) why is it that for it all to be possible the uncaused cause can have those traits without explanation?

  279. #280 Guy Incognito
    February 26, 2009

    Jonny-Boy sez:

    My own atheism was decided upon and defended for over two decades before The God Delusion was in print.

    Holy crap, the Hipster Atheist! I bet he was like totally into Metallica before the Black Album made them all trendy and stuff.

  280. #281 E.V.
    February 26, 2009

    Jonny-Boy got so riled up cuz he’s a member of Greg’s silly wittle gwoup gwoup. Jonny’s feewings wuz hurted and him didn’t hav the balls to admit him wuz a woo beweever. Awwww poor deluded Jonny-Boohoo -Boy.

  281. #282 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    I was two years old twenty years before The God Delusion was in print. I didn’t believe in a god then either, so I match you on that one Johnny-boy. ;)

  282. #283 E.V.
    February 26, 2009

    You guys don’t waste your time with anything little Jonny-Boy posted. He lied to give himself credibility because he was pissed off this little poll was crashed. He’s probably a punk-ass 20-something with yellow teeth and in need of changing his fourth-day-straight pair of underwear.

  283. #284 Leo MacDonald
    February 26, 2009

    Kel

    Their doesn’t have to be, that would get us into endless regression. We then would be asking who created the thing that created god? and so on. What their must be a reason why our universe is so finely tuned? Why we ain’t zombies that we have subjective experiences?. Bachalon, but we would have to heavily considered dualism, neutral monism or idealism other than naturalism.

  284. #285 Kendo
    February 26, 2009

    Wow! Jonny-Boy has brutal fantasies. You’re in no position to be lecturing us about attitude, you sick fuck. Did you really grow out of your brutality? Maybe you just realized that fully functioning people are harder to deal with than sedated mental patients.

  285. #286 Bachalon
    February 26, 2009

    Why? The existence of an afterlife implies none of those.

  286. #287 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    “I was two years old twenty years before The God Delusion was in print. I didn’t believe in a god then either, so I match you on that one Johnny-boy. ;)”

    Zing! Good one.

  287. #288 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    God damn it, Leo, it’s “there”!!

  288. #289 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    #284 – Good luck translating that one Kel. ;)

  289. #290 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 26, 2009

    #284 – Good luck translating that one Kel. ;)

    ouch

    ouch

    Leo, please translate.

  290. #291 Jonny-Boy
    February 26, 2009

    actually–there was one more thing. lol. i’ve just succinctly rebutted your PZ bloke with the point that you’ve all missed (and keep missing). it’s over at the dawkins forum.

    now remember people…shhh! i’m off to bed and you little urchins are keeping me awake.

  291. #292 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Jonny-Boy, you are a delusional idiot. You have done nothing, and we both know it. Now run along back to your basement. The trains go choo-choo.

  292. #293 aratina
    February 26, 2009

    What in the world? Jonny, maybe it is you who needs to learn to be more inclusive and tolerant of other people. It is actually a little disconcerting to note that a humanist would gleefully watch another person be physically assaulted, especially after instigating it.

    I’m with you, «bønez_brigade», about Leo’s misuse of the word their. I had the thought that it might be on purpose to produce a paranormal linguistic artifact because “their” leaves the brain wanting an object to possess when nothing is there.

  293. #294 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    I see Leo has presented no peer reviewed literature. Must be a real troll.

  294. #295 Brownian
    February 26, 2009

    G’night, tough guy Johnny. Try not to bust up too many punks while sleeping.

  295. #296 Brownian
    February 26, 2009

    Oh, in the spirit of honesty, I used to work at a bar frequented by alligators and volcanoes. Back then, me and my buddy Laser Killer Best At Fightin Man used to get into all kinds of hijinks before we smartened up and had 1 million babies with our supermodel wives. Back then, few of you would dare say boo to me because I had the power to completely nullify sound waves. Ah, but such is the internet.

    And now, I must leave, for somewhere out there a small child needs my help. ATOMIC-POWERED UNICORN AWAY!

  296. #297 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Jonny-Boy needs a sugar tit for night-night.
    I’ll get to it, but I refuse to deal with his flannels. *snort*

  297. #298 E.V.
    February 26, 2009

    Jonny exposed himself as a liar, so anything he says is pure shite.

  298. #299 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    Their doesn’t have to be, that would get us into endless regression. We then would be asking who created the thing that created god? and so on.

    Exactly, one point there has to be an uncaused cause, for something to just be. Again, I ask why that cause has to have sapience, something that took 4 billion years to evolve in this planet?

    What their must be a reason why our universe is so finely tuned?

    Finely tuned for what? Just what exactly is your criteria for fine tuning? Is it that we are adapted to the environment (in which case evolution explains it), is it that the sun and stars orbit so seamlessly (in which case, it’s due to gravity). What would you consider a case of not fine-tuning? i.e. if the universe did not have these conditions, what would happen? It seems the short of it is that if anything were different then we wouldn’t be here to comment on it being different. Making fine-tuning a completely tautological statement.

    Fine tuning is akin to saying “we exist, therefore God exists because without God there would be no us”

    Why we ain’t zombies that we have subjective experiences?.

    Why aren’t chimps, gorillas, orangutans, monkeys, dogs, cats, crows, octopuses, etc. all zombies and have subjective experience? Our brains are a product of evolution that has allowed us to be this way. And this is evidenced by the different levels of brain activity as seen in other creatures – and especially our closest cousins. A chimp ain’t a zombie and neither is it possible for us to be.

  299. #300 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    #284 – Good luck translating that one Kel. ;)

    It was all okay up until the last line. Then I don’t know what the fuck he’s on about.

  300. #301 Rev. BigDumbChimp,
    February 26, 2009

    actually–there was one more thing. lol. i’ve just succinctly rebutted your PZ bloke with the point that you’ve all missed (and keep missing). it’s over at the dawkins forum.

    now remember people…shhh! i’m off to bed and you little urchins are keeping me awake.

    Make sure mommy tucks those spiderman sheets in tight, and leaves teh closet light on for you.

    DON FORGET TO CHECK UNDER THE BED!

  301. #302 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    @aratina [#293],
    lolspeak (in teh propurr kontekz) I can handle (an I enjoiz); but fuck! the Grammar Nazi deep inside really rages when someone repeatedly butchers normal (English) text — especially when they want to be taken seriously. Yah, srsly.

    ——

    As for Jonny-Boy’s succinct “rebuttal” over at RD’s forum… well, it speaks for itself:
    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=73754

  302. #303 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    @Kel,
    “A chimp ain’t a zombie and neither is it possible for us to be.”

    Well, according to, like, totally, _every_ zombie movie, you can indeed be one by, like, getting bitten, n’ stuff.

  303. #304 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    Just a little bit more on the uncaused cause:
    The problem lies in the way that we perceive god. If you want to use the term in the most nebulous sense possible (indistinguishable from the unknown) then a case could be made that god is the uncaused cause. But that puts the question of god into a state of ignosticism, it becomes entirely irrelevant to even talk about god until there is a set definition.

    The use of the word god for the uncaused cause is misleading because of all the baggage that comes along with the word. God isn’t simply that nebulous entity, rather it’s an all-powerful being with very anthropomorphic qualities. It has consciousness, it has knowing and wisdom – basically it’s an eternal human, i.e. sapience. The problem with positing this is that it’s a non-answer for a legitimate question. Why do we have consciousness, and it’s attempting to explain why consciousness exists by positing an eternal consciousness.

    This leads to a greater philosophical problem. If we are positing a greater consciousness than us to explain consciousness, why doesn’t that greater consciousness need an explanation? It’s an exercise to infinity when using this line of thought. Rather as we have learnt from observing nature – complexity is emergent. We posit a creater complexity to explain us, then that greater complexity needs an explanation. Eventually there will have to be a process that can facilitate that initial complexity otherwise you have that infinite complexity problem.

  304. #305 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Whew! Good translating Kel. You got more out of that frelling drek than I did.

    Put through my hillbilly filter, it came out: I’m pissy, stoopid, and drunker than shit.

  305. #306 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    BTW, current state of the (failed) re-poll:

    The best evidence for an afterlife is from…
    Woo_Total – 34% (508 votes)
    Other – 4% (61 votes)
    There is no evidence – 62% (936 votes)
    Total votes: 1505

  306. #307 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    All this zombie talk makes me want to break out Left 4 Dead when I get home. Unfortunately my computer has a trojan so I need to format it.

  307. #308 aratina
    February 26, 2009

    «bønez_brigade», yes :) I wouldn’t have even minded so much if Leo had misspelled “there” in a very mangled way, but making it a valid word (and a needy one at that) really fucked things up.

  308. #309 Aquaria
    February 26, 2009

    Why do some of you people act like anyone who isn’t of a higher education or IQ isn’t worthy of an opinion as yours?

    I don’t have a higher education. I’m not a scientist or intellectual. I don’t have an interesting job (I’m a postal worker–ugh).

    And despite all that, I have never felt unwelcome here, and I’ve never felt like my opinion didn’t matter. I have never felt that anyone looked down on me for not having a college degree, never mind a PhD. My experience has been that most people here are eager to share their knowledge with anyone who demonstrates a sincere desire to learn.

    And learn you will if you hang out here.

  309. #310 Aquaria
    February 26, 2009

    There is only one arbiter of “tone” at this blog, and it is PZ Myers. Anybody else is a self appointed fake, fraud, idiot, imbecile, and is downright ignorant of who runs the blog. It ain’t them. Self appointed manners experts, take your attitude elsewhere to Matt Nisbett’s blog (google it). Y’all deserve each other. PZ, and only PZ, will tell us when we are out of line.

    There. Fixed it for ya, Nerd. :)

  310. #311 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 26, 2009

    Here here! Thank you Aquaria for pointing out what people really should already know. That is not meant as an insult to Aquaria. It is an insult to those people who criticize the procedure and tone without knowing what they are talking about. Part of the appeal of this site is that there are very intelligent and highly educated people who are regulars here and people like Aquaria (and me) get to hang out. And these people have been gracious to everyone who does not come in, insulting their intelligence.

    I love this site, it’s mixture of high ideal and vulgar language, it’s accessibility to anyone willing to give it a fair shot. I love this site not because it is a cult of PZ’s personality but because of the mix of personalities that PZ has been able to draw.

    Oh, and Jonny-Boy, I do not need prudes like you arguing that this site should be more family friendly. Hell, I am trying to get my seventeen year old neice to start coming here.

  311. #312 windy
    February 26, 2009

    I?m not some silly, zeitgeist-jumping little twerp (who would probably sign-up to Christianity if it could promise to cure acne) that recently bought a t-shirt and read a book!

    And who is, pray tell? Interesting approach though, trying to suck up to Richard Dawkins while making fun of people who read one of his books.

  312. #313 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    @aratina,
    Next time I’ll just ask, “Their what? Their what?? Ah!! Their what?!?”, as he has hit his one-correction limit.

  313. #314 Bumdark
    February 26, 2009

    @Aquaria at @309:

    Sorry, but I’ll have to politely refuse your invite to stay along (if by that you meant commenting). I’ll lurk just fine, but if this is the way people here treat the slightest dissent (like dubbing others ‘concern trolls’ when they don’t know the slightest details about who they are or what they do), I just don’t wanna be a part of it. I’m not ‘scared away’, I just don’t want to see myself become influenced like this. I’m not on any ‘moral higher-ground’, I suppose I was raised with manners and all that. But I’m digressing again.

    For the record, I’m 17, IQ of 134 (like that helps), and still struggling through that muck called ‘High School’ (What’s high about it, other than the dropout rate? Seriously, Qc has some of the most pathetic educational facilities on this planet.) Thanks for my first non-rectal reply, though. :)

  314. #315 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Aquaria, you are right. You fixed it.

  315. #316 'Tis Himself
    February 26, 2009

    I’ll lurk just fine, but if this is the way people here treat the slightest dissent whining (like dubbing others ‘concern trolls’ when they don’t know the slightest details about who they are or what they do) detect whining, I just don’t wanna be a part of it.

    Fixed it for you. No thanks are required.

  316. #317 Patricia, OM
    February 26, 2009

    Well said Aquaria!
    Real prejudice here. The elitist bastard scientist intelligentsia voted for a middle aged hillbilly, 12th grade educated woman, ex-snake kissin fundie to get an OM, but they are worse than the Pope? What a bunch of horse shit.
    Like Janine, I hope you will keep posting. :)

  317. #318 Kel
    February 26, 2009

    It’s the law of having an opinion. No matter what you say, you are bound to get others to speak up against you no matter what. There’s no groupthink going on around here. What there is, however, is a challenge from others when you say something. Regulars here regularly clash on certain topics, on methods and methodology. Of course you are entitled to your opinion, it’s just that having an opinion doesn’t keep you free from having that opinion mocked.

    As for the concern trolling, it’s comments like: I suppose I was raised with manners and all that. that highlight exactly why people are so hostile towards it. More often than not, the concern trolling is little more than a means of ascertaining the moral highground – on here it’s the atheist equivalent of saying “I’ll pray for you.”

  318. #319 Wowbagger
    February 26, 2009

    Another non-scientist here – though I do have a couple of undergrad degrees (but no PhD).

    As far as I can tell the label of concern troll is only applied to non-regulars who appear here for the specific purpose of indicating how they feel about how our being mean or insulting or confrontational or whatever makes ‘us’ atheists look bad. Whiny pissants, in other words.

    You want to bitch about us? Earn your fucking stripes first. If you come here often enough you’ll see that the regulars aren’t always on the same page but manage to cope with the tone used in the argument.

  319. #320 Bumdark
    February 26, 2009

    @Kel at #318:

    Of course I understand anyone stating their opinions, thoughts and whatever will inevitebly get trashed and defecated on by at least one or two bad apples in any given debate. If it sounded like I am/was bemoaning how people insult me or whatever, it wasn’t what I meant at all. I’m talking about how poeple always accuse and label each other so very unecessarily. It’s just pointless.

    (Perhaps what annoys those people here is that I just write too damn much. I do ask people who suffer through my volubile and repetitive entries, to please forgive me.)

    I’m aware how Pharyngyla is viewed as ‘refreshing’ or ‘breaking the bend’ (is that how that expression goes?) with its higher-than-otherwhere levels of swears and such. I am heartily all for it; censorship fucking sucks, I don’t apply it on my own blog or anywhere else. I just hate *faulty accusations*. Does it look like I’m whining? I’m not, and if you people don’t believe me … well, sorry for misleading you. I’m not trying to pick fights or give lectures, I just want to be a part of this phenomenal blog.

  320. #321 «bønez_brigade»
    February 26, 2009

    “I’m not trying to pick fights or give lectures, I just want to be a part of this phenomenal blog.” [#320]

    *visualizes scene from any movie that involves a person walking in the door, and then the music screeches to a halt*

    …especially when it came hot on the heels of this part:

    “Sorry, but I’ll have to politely refuse your invite to stay along (if by that you meant commenting). I’ll lurk just fine, but if this is the way people here treat the slightest dissent (like dubbing others ‘concern trolls’ when they don’t know the slightest details about who they are or what they do), I just don’t wanna be a part of it” [#314]

  321. #322 Aquaria
    February 26, 2009

    Sorry, but I’ll have to politely refuse your invite to stay along (if by that you meant commenting).

    It wasn’t an invitation. People come and go. On a high-traffic blog like this one, a lot of people like you come and go. You can do what you want. I can’t stop you.

    However, for as long as I’ve been on the Internet, I’ve always given the same advice to people: When you go to a site, you are a guest in that person’s home. Would you tell that person that they’re not washing dishes the way you like, so they should change everything, just for you? That’s essentially what you have done here.

    What a disgraceful display of bad manners to go into someone else’s house (a blog is like a house) and then scold people for not behaving according to your standards.

    And then such people wonder why we call them concern trolls, or ridicule them. If you pulled a stunt like that in my house, i’d tell you to straighten your ass out, or get the hell out of my house.

  322. #323 Aquaria
    February 26, 2009

    I do not need prudes like you arguing that this site should be more family friendly. Hell, I am trying to get my seventeen year old neice to start coming here.

    I had known about Pharyngula for a long time, from hanging out at Atrios a while back, but I never did more than glimpse at the occasional post.

    I started hanging out here regularly after my son read off items from his Pharyngula RSS feed, and I wanted to know what would happen next with a topic, that I have long since forgotten. I was hooked. Anyway, I think he was about 18 at the time, but he had been reading it for years, with my approval. Of course, I’m also the mom he has to restrain in the mosh pit at concerts, because I really get into it with all the young ‘uns. :D

    Of course, the real reason I love it is that, at my age, any chance I get to have a half-dressed 20 year-old guy’s body against mine, I’m taking it!

  323. #324 Anri
    February 26, 2009

    Greetings!

    Ok, Bumdark has gotten me confused.

    Reading their last post, it seems to roughly say: ‘I love this blog. Except for the people who post here. And the host. But other than that, it’s great!’

    …help me out, here?

    Thanks!

  324. #325 Bumdark
    February 27, 2009

    @Anri at #324:

    I do love this blog. I find it intensely interesting in what Dr. Myers posts and I particularly like his witty, sarcastic and brutally-honest style of dismembering idiots and such, when they deserve it. But that’s just it ? what’s there to flaming people who did nothing wrong, unless one simply enjoys picking on people?

    Anyway, I tire of being cast as an antagonist around here, so I’m leaving the comments to the rest and am sticking to lurking for the foreseeable future. (That’s it, rejoice, y’all.) (I’m only replying this time, and the last time, because they weren’t anger-laced posts and actually were worth responding to.)

    Thank you, and good night, everyone. The ‘Troll’ has departed. :)

  325. #326 «bønez_brigade»
    February 27, 2009

    * multitasks by dangling a comment-luring carrot, whilst whispering “c’mon, respond… respond”, all whilst thinking “bwahahahahaa!” *

  326. #327 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 27, 2009

    Posted by: Aquaria | February 26, 2009

    …I’m also the mom he has to restrain in the mosh pit at concerts, because I really get into it with all the young ‘uns. :D

    Of course, the real reason I love it is that, at my age, any chance I get to have a half-dressed 20 year-old guy’s body against mine, I’m taking it!

    You ever been in a mosh pit with a bunch of people in their forties? Everyone could only jump around for a couple of minutes before they dragged themselves out and rested for ten to twenty minutes. But it was NoMeansNo, great show!

  327. #328 A. Noyd
    February 27, 2009

    Menyambal (#41)

    Except in China, where the culturally accepted move is to point at one’s nose. Tapping one’s chest–not one’s heart–is a cultural meme, not proof of anything.

    Japan, too. And probably since I often use gesture to help my broken Japanese along, I’ve overwritten the chest-pointing meme with the nose-pointing one, even when speaking English among Westerners. Or perhaps I unconsciously prefer to point to my head where the command center for my “self” is located.
    ~*~*~*~
    Patricia (#140)

    I’d like to know why people seem to think Richard Dawkins is chief of the swearing police. In one of his videos he very plainly says fuck off.

    Ironically, it was quite topical since Neil deGrasse Tyson was taking him to task for being a bit mean and failing to connect with people. I like the way Dawkins conceded him the point.
    ~*~*~*~
    Leo MacDonald (#220)

    The solution other than an cosmic consciousness is the many worlds intrepretation with it’s endless amount of parallel universes. The problem with that is you would have to explain what created all those other universes. Yes you could say endless big bangs but what was their before the very first big bang?

    There are more possibilities than “infinite parallel universes” and “god.” What’s to say that causality itself isn’t merely a property of this universe and doesn’t exist “outside” it (assuming there is an outside)?
    ~*~*~*~
    Bumdark (#325)

    Anyway, I tire of being cast as an antagonist around here, so I’m leaving the comments to the rest and am sticking to lurking for the foreseeable future.

    Cast? You waltzed into this play and wrote yourself into the role. If you don’t want to play the antagonist, don’t take it upon yourself to antagonize people. Simple as that.

  328. #329 John Morales
    February 27, 2009

    Bumdark: [my bold]

    Anyway, I tire of being cast as an antagonist around here, so I’m leaving the comments to the rest and am sticking to lurking for the foreseeable future. (That’s it, rejoice, y’all.) (I’m only replying this time, and the last time, because they weren’t anger-laced posts and actually were worth responding to.)

    Um.

    Consider that there might just be some correlation between a comment and the responses it elicits.

    Re Jonny-Boy.

    @291:

    shhh! i’m off to bed and you little urchins are keeping me awake.

    @205:

    To be blunt, I have to out rightly say that many of the contributions here have been nothing short of disgraceful. Those making them have managed to sound exactly like the kind of people atheists/humanists are often accused of being. Intolerant, sneering, insulting, high-handed and…well…by no means any more rational than the ‘opposition’. Indeed, a number of the posts sound as if they’ve been written by people one step away from throwing a punch!

    :)

    Really.

    I think he’d love Nisbet’s blog.
    So, if you’re reading this, Jonny-Boy, do yourself a favour.
    Check it out, he shares your opinion of Pharyngula, and is also mightily concerned.

  329. #330 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 27, 2009

    As for Jonny-Boy’s succinct “rebuttal” over at RD’s forum… well, it speaks for itself:
    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=73754

    Jesus what a fucking whine fest.

    Why on earth do you think you have the right to go directing at anybody else?especially when it?s unsolicited?

    Seriously dude. Welcome to the Internet. If you post something on the Internet expect people to see it. Expect people who find it interesting or funny and yes even people who find it stupid to point to it. If you only want certain people to see it, make it private via one or more of many technological options.

    Here’s some advice, those emails you get from a guy in Nigeria claiming to be a prince who has some funds that need to be transfered. They are fakes. Don’t fall for it.

  330. #331 aratina
    February 27, 2009

    An update from the other side (Dawkin’s site). It turns out that Greg’s thug (err… doorman) Jonny-Boy is now going to join the Nigerian spammer in a wild attempt to shut down Pharyngula because it allows cursing. Quoth Jonny:

    I?ve taken snapshots of all the content I?ve mentioned?including PZ?s remarks here?and I?m going to start emailing this stuff out to any relevant ISP?s, internet watchdog groups and scientific bodies in the States and Europe. Let?s see what other people make of it….We’ll see how this turns out. Don’t be surprised if you end-up wondering where Pharyngula went.

    Just our luck, another psychopath.

  331. #332 Medusa
    February 27, 2009

    Classic Chicago politics at work! The guy didn’t like the results of his little poll, so he erased the votes he didn’t like. This dude ought to work for Mayor Daley.

  332. #333 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 27, 2009

    I?ve taken snapshots of all the content I?ve mentioned?including PZ?s remarks here?and I?m going to start emailing this stuff out to any relevant ISP?s, internet watchdog groups and scientific bodies in the States and Europe. Let?s see what other people make of it….We’ll see how this turns out. Don’t be surprised if you end-up wondering where Pharyngula went.

    Again, welcome to the Internet Johnny.

    you fucking tool

  333. #334 Patricia, OM
    February 27, 2009

    Sorry Jonny-Boy sissy, that stunt has already been done. Your imitation of Brenda sucks.

  334. #335 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 27, 2009

    Poor Jonny-Boy, I just can’t get why some people try to be arbiters of the legal action of other people. I am always reminded of the old joke: Patient, “Doctor,it hurts when I do this.” Doctor, “Then don’t do that.” If you don’t want to be offended, stay home, or just go to a few sites you know are clean. Otherwise, if you find a site that offends you, avoid it. Same for you Bumdark. Either put up with our tone or avoid us.

  335. #336 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 27, 2009

    ‘when asked to point at themselves, 100% of people point at their heart’.

    Completely apart from the fact that pointing at one’s chest is (see comments 41 and 328) a learned, cultural behavior, neither an innate one nor one that anyone comes up with on their own, I actually point a bit above my heart. Between the collarbones or so.

    A troll is tough, but a concern troll would make you feel guilty for even carrying a sword, let alone your troll-slaughtering tendencies.

    See, that’s what I like about machine guns. Have you watched the spaghetti western Django? Or, failing that, at least Last Samurai?

    So Dawkins is a friend of Myers? Very nice. The man has just dropped several points for me (sad to say) but I wasn?t any kind of devotee to begin with. [?]

    (Oh BTW, I?ll spell Mayers/Myers/Mayall however I like. The man?s own disregard for keeping things straight has probably infected me :-)

    English fails me, I need to resort to French to sum up this comment in one word:

    OUIIIIIN !!!!!!

    And BTW, we know all about Internet Tough Guys.

    Here here!

    Hear, hear.

    a wild attempt to shut down Pharyngula because it allows cursing.

    ~:-|

    Must be new on the Internet.

    ————————-

    BTW, here are the poll results again:

    The best evidence for an afterlife is from…
    Mediums
    2% (24 votes)
    Near-death experiences
    13% (201 votes)
    Reincarnation memories
    7% (119 votes)
    Ghosts
    3% (46 votes)
    EVP and similar
    2% (26 votes)
    Crisis apparitions
    1% (18 votes)
    All equal
    5% (82 votes)
    Other
    4% (62 votes)
    There is no evidence
    64% (1014 votes)
    Total votes: 1592

  336. #337 Kel
    February 27, 2009

    I thought Leo MacDonald would have been back now to refute my arguments refuting first cause, fine tuning, and consciousness.

  337. #338 windy
    February 28, 2009

    A. Noyd:

    Or perhaps I unconsciously prefer to point to my head where the command center for my “self” is located.

    The idea that our mental faculties are located in the head has been around since the times of the ancient Gauls.

  338. #339 Leander
    February 28, 2009

    Following this whole debate I can’t help but once again be utterly amazed how unevenly our mental faculties develop. Some people’s intelligence just keeps going and going to the point where they become scientists once they’re grown up – while things like the ability of self-reflection and basic social behaviour stop developing before they turn ten, and seem to continouusly atrophy from there on. Wow.

  339. #340 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 28, 2009

    while things like the ability of self-reflection and basic social behaviour stop developing before they turn ten, and seem to continouusly atrophy from there on.

    Just like yours for posting such an inane observation.

  340. #341 Leander
    February 28, 2009

    @Nerd of Redhead, OM

    What interest do you have in proving my point any further than this whole thread already did ? Masochist ?

  341. #342 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 28, 2009

    Leander, you come into our thread and attempted to chastise us. That isn’t polite behavior on your part, and you know it. So time for you to take your faux concern and politeness home. If you don’t like our tone, change the channel. Go elsewhere.

  342. #343 Leander
    February 28, 2009

    I didn’t attempt to chastise anybody. My first comment should illustrate that I would have found that pointless anyway, had it been my intention.

    If I was any like you guys though, I’d probably make fun of you now for “whining”, because you complain about something someone said about your behaviour in an open forum on *gasp* the internet.

  343. #344 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 28, 2009

    Leander, you have expressed your concern. Your concern is rejected. Stalemate. Our next step will be to ask you for legitimate proof that you are the one responsible for our tone, not PZ. So I suggest you move on.

  344. #345 aratina
    February 28, 2009

    Things like the ability of self-reflection… stop developing before they turn ten. – Leander

    Apt words for you to dwell on, Leander. Before your snide comebacks in #341 and #343, it really looked to me like in #339 you were being an elitist bastard, saying scientists’ minds continuously sharpen while religious people’s minds (minds such as yours, apparently) continuously dull.

  345. #346 ndt
    February 28, 2009

    Posted by: Matt | February 26, 2009 11:13 AM

    For the sake of balance, I should point out I’d back instances of poll crashing. I’m curious though as to why equal behaviour is meted out to those who have varying degrees of belief in after life evidence and those who think gays are scum.

    Both groups of people consist of idiots who deserve to be mocked.

  346. #347 ndt
    February 28, 2009

    Posted by: Kel | February 26, 2009 7:44 PM

    If a Troll is only worth (on average) 845XP, how many XP are Concern Trolls worth?

    You’d expect a lot more. A troll is tough, but a concern troll would make you feel guilty for even carrying a sword, let alone your troll-slaughtering tendencies. They are a tough beast to kill.

    On the other hand, swearing at them apparently does some temprorary psychological damage, probably equivalent to a daze spell.

    As a DM, I’d award 10 XP for a kill but 500XP for avoiding the encounter altogether.

  347. #348 ndt
    February 28, 2009

    Posted by: Greg | February 25, 2009 7:26 PM

    On the deleted votes issue, as it seems to be causing much anger:

    Our polls are meant as an indication of the Daily Grail community’s thoughts on a particular matter. If you wish to be a part of that community – even an occasional one – I welcome your vote no matter what it is (I wouldn’t have put the option there if I didn’t think it valid). We have plenty of members who lean towards or are firmly convinced of the atheist viewpoint. I would encourage you also to register as a member so that you can post comments and engage in the dialogues we have.

    Greg, if you only want registered members of your community to vote, then set your poll up so that only registered members can vote in it. By setting up a public poll, you – that’s right, YOU, invited everyone with an internet connection to vote.

    If you didn’t intend your poll that way, then set it up differently.

  348. #349 The Biologista
    February 28, 2009

    If someone doesn’t want to shut down your website, it’s probably not a very good website. Excellent.

  349. #350 gilles
    March 1, 2009

    I have vote on that site too. But I haven’t vote for “no evidence” . I want my vote to be deleted too .

    Nobody told me what to vote for…

  350. #351 Ichthyic
    March 1, 2009

    from johnny-boy via dawkins site:

    That part of the internet is fronted by a biologist who has some decency in debate and apparent respect for other people, reflected in the moderation of the forums.

    I guess poor little Johnny is clueless to the fact that the biologist he holds such respect for is good friends with PZ?

    poor, poor Johnny… the intarwebs spinning out of his control and all.

    *yawn*

  351. #352 astrounit
    March 2, 2009

    “…does he really believe that no one who reads this site has seriously considered the possibility of the afterlife?”

    Yes. It is easily possible.

    They simply assume that their detractors know nothing at all about what they think. This is why, for example, that most wars have been lost by those who have seen fit to wage them.

  352. #353 Bryan
    March 2, 2009

    Here is a good podcast that those interested in the afterlife might enjoy.

    http://www.shrinkrapradio.com/2009/02/27/197-scientific-parapsychology-with-dean-radin/

  353. #354 Jaycubed
    March 2, 2009

    “When asked to point at themselves, 100% of people point at their heart”.

    Rule of Thumb:

    If anybody says “100% of people” do anything (beyond breathing & excreting) then they are liars.

  354. #355 Valor Phoenix
    March 4, 2009

    – My poll based on comment 66 has closed and here are the results.

    The original poll was sorta hilarious.
    0 (0%)

    As above, but the indignant response of the pollster to being Pharyngulized was actually funnier.
    2 (4%)

    As above, but his showing up to defend his actions here was funnier still.
    21 (43%)

    Seriously, people, once you imply in print you believe someone might actually have evidence their Auntie Flo is living on a cloud and playing a harp, anything else you do after that is really pretty much redundant, humour-wise.
    21 (43%)

    I refuse to waste my time on this, on the basis that I know perfectly well you’ll just pick the answers you like anyway–feel free to stick an x wherever you were going to say I did anyway, however, on my behalf.
    3 (6%)

    I refuse to answer on the basis that I’m a resident of a swing state or a state with a tight congressional race, and if I get one more @#$^ing moron calling me with a push poll they’d like me to answer, I’m going to hunt down whoever ordered it and violate
    1 (2%)

    As a result of this completely accurate and scientific poll, we now know that the reaction of the pollster and showing up here as sacrificial chum was far funnier than the actual poll crashing. Thanks for visiting dudes.

    For half the people here however it was a forgone conclusion that it was laughably stupid since it was a poll on the afterlife asking if ghosts were reliable witnesses among other such silly options. Next people will want to consult the dragon in Carl Sagan’s garage for financial advice.

    Also apparently 2% of people on the internet live in swing states and want to do inappropriate things to pollsters with foreign objects.