Pharyngula

Tenure reviews are extremely stressful: imagine a job evaluation in which you may be told that you’ve been doing a fine job, you’re doing interesting work, but you aren’t quite as dazzling as your employer would like…so you’re fired. And then, because academic jobs in your specialty are scattered very thin on the ground, you get to spend a year struggling to find a new position (with the same horror show finale possible), and pack up and move to a completely different part of the country, uprooting all your connections that you may have built up over the last 5 or 6 years. What makes it even worse is how much you lose, since if your tenure committee approves you, you get a secure job for the rest of your life.

The stresses do not excuse Amy Bishop, however, who attended her tenure review meeting and when it did not return a favorable result, pulled out a gun and murdered and wounded her colleagues. Three are hospitalized with injuries, one is in critical condition; these three are dead.

I’m horrified. Good people with years of training and years of productivity ahead of them, with families and loved ones left behind, all wiped out in a flash of insanity, and leaving a body of students who are going to be scarred by this one awful event.

I’m also dismayed — I’ve been at meetings like that many times, where we walk in with trust in our colleagues that the worst we will face is a bitter intellectual argument. I’ve sat at tables with my fellow faculty lined up around them, and never before thought how easy we’d be as targets for one mad person to fire upon. The ease of access to handguns is a great social evil, one that too easily simplifies the conversion of disagreement into lethal combat.

Express your anger and grief here, or on Drugmonkey’s open thread.


Abel has more on her academic status — she seems to have had active grants and a foothold in industry.

And holy crap — Bishop shot and killed her brother in a shotgun accident in 1986! Or maybe not so much an accident — some reports say it was during an argument.

Comments

  1. #1 PZ Myers
    February 13, 2010

    One other disturbing phenomenon that isn’t getting commented on much (while everyone seems to be fascinated with the fact that Bishop is “harvard trained”) is that Bishop is white, while most of her victims are brown-skinned minorities. That’s a bit disturbing, too.

  2. #2 Desert Son, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Saw this yesterday when Carlie posted a report about it. Deeply saddened.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  3. #3 Paul Burnett
    February 13, 2010

    On th pstv sd, nw thr’s mr pstns pn n th Blgy Dprtmnt.

    [Not funny. Not funny at all. -pzm]

  4. #4 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 13, 2010

    What I’m finding disturbing is the large number of folks who think that if more people were carrying guns, particularly concealed guns, then there’d be fewer killings.

  5. #5 Walton
    February 13, 2010

    I don’t see why Professor Myers had to bring race (@#1) into this. This is a horrible tragedy, but I don’t see any evidence suggesting that it had anything in particular to do with race.

    As horrific as these events were, I do think we need to show a little empathy with the shooter as well as with her victims. The fact is that we live in a horrifically competitive society, which is not good for individuals’ mental health. From school and college through professional life, we are all constantly being assessed and evaluated, compared favourably or unfavourably with our peers, and expected to jump through hoops in which we succeed or fail. We have a culture of constant testing and competition, where everyone in society is always under pressure to “be the best”, and self-esteem is often tied to academic and professional success. It’s not surprising that, in this kind of environment, some people crack. That doesn’t excuse this woman’s act of murder, of course. But it does go some way towards explaining why tragedies like this occur. We do need to pay more attention, as a society, to mental health care and counselling; and I think we’d all be better off if we lived in a less competitive and pressured society.

  6. #6 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Tragic incident, and a valid reason why people should be allowed to carry concealed. I can’t help but feel there is something that we haven’t been told about yet.

  7. #7 creating trons
    February 13, 2010

    #4 ‘Tis Himself, OM: I totally agree. Most of the people I know get spitting mad when I tell them I believe handguns should be banned.

    I lived in Huntsville for a time, and aside from the buybull belt shit, it was a nice town. This is very sad.

    If it was tenure she was seeking, she’ll get it now. With the Alabama State Prison. AMF…

  8. #8 Desert Son, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Tis,

    What I’m finding disturbing is the large number of folks who think that if more people were carrying guns, particularly concealed guns, then there’d be fewer killings.

    Yeah, I mulled over those thoughts as well yesterday in the wake of Carlie’s post.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  9. #9 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Absolutely shocking. This has to be utterly premeditated. (Why else would she bring a gun to a tenure review?) They should lock up this disgusting psychopath at once, and throw away the key.

  10. #10 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    *headdesk* #6, I meant to say “shouldn’t be allowed…”

  11. #11 creating trons
    February 13, 2010

    Nerd, I’m glad you cleared that up. I’m an avid hunter but I feel handguns are primaruly designed to kill humans. I don’t own one.

  12. #12 Sastra
    February 13, 2010

    Very sad. And hard to say what’s behind it. Not only did she bring a gun to the meeting, but the news website has a photo of police leading away “another possible shooting suspect.”

  13. #13 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Hyperon, you are showing your idiocy again. This is the deep south USA, and they all have concealed carry laws. Maybe you need to learn something about the real world before you shoot off your mouth and appear stupid in front of the intelligent and knowledgeable people (unlike you) who post here.

    This has to be utterly premeditated.

    Real stoopid. Actually, it sounds more like she snapped, then grabbed the gun which was in her purse.

  14. #14 Steven Dunlap
    February 13, 2010

    A highly competitive higher education system does best serve the interests of scholarship and teaching. However, the consequences of failure in the U.S. often prove much more dire than in other countries. This is the place in which if you have a job you are a person and if you do not have a job you become a kind of non-person. For example, if you are unemployed so long that your benefits run out (and paltry benefits they are compared to other countries in the developed, industrialized world) then you no longer count as unemployed. Not kidding, the “unemployment rate” is a measure of people receiving unemployment payments. If you’re unemployed for long enough you don’t count anymore (in every sense of the phrase).

    In other words, competition in academia is intense for a reason. But what’s the rationale behind throwing people on a trash heap for failing to be the best of the best?

    Standard Disclaimer:
    None of the above is in any way intended to condone, excuse, make light of, support or encourage murder. I 2nd Walton in this regard – of course when no viable path of retreat exists then the weakest ones will crack.

  15. #15 Walton
    February 13, 2010

    creating trons,

    If it was tenure she was seeking, she’ll get it now. With the Alabama State Prison. AMF…

    Hyperon,

    They should lock up this disgusting psychopath at once, and throw away the key.

    With all due respect to both of you, this is the kind of attitude I hate.

    This woman needs treatment, not punishment. She isn’t “disgusting”; she’s mentally unstable. She should be sent to a secure psychiatric facility, not a prison. And we also need to look at the social conditions which caused her breakdown, and re-assess the way that we, in society, treat one another.

    Crime is not primarily an individual moral failing, and the problems of crime are not addressed by inflicting harsh “punishment” on perceived “wrongdoers”. Rather, crime is a symptom of various ills, both individual and social.

  16. #16 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Frankly, Nerd, you can shut the fuck up. I’m not American and am not familiar with American gun customs. Here I encounter equally ignorant statements from Americans about the rest of the world on almost a daily basis, and yet you don’t see me calling anyone stupid.

    As for whether this is premeditated, let’s wait and see.

  17. #17 heddle
    February 13, 2010

    They must do reviews differently than we do. For us the department review is the first step, and you are not present. (Or did she arrive uninvited?) In fact you are not present for any of the reviews: faculty, college, dean, faculty review committee, provost.

    I think universities should get rid of faculty at or about the fourth year review if they are not clearly on the road to tenure. In general people don’t turn it around in one or two years–that extra time only makes it all the more difficult to pick up the pieces. If you make it to the sixth year and are not tenured–what the hell were all those other reviews about?

    It’s a damn nasty process, that’s for sure.

  18. #18 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Walton (@5):

    I don’t see why Professor Myers had to bring race (@#1) into this.

    I have to say, the very first thing that occurred to me when I saw the three photographs PZ posted of those killed was to wonder, before I saw her picture, whether “Amy Bishop” was as white as that name sounded. The recent kerfuffle over baseless charges of racism elsewhere in the Sb blogosphere might’ve made me reluctant to say so out loud if PZ hadn’t broached the subject, but I think it’s perfectly legitimate to wonder whether this was a hate crime. The linked article mentions something about a motive — other than the obvious lost-it-over-tenure, perhaps? — the police are not yet commenting on.

    The fact is that we live in a horrifically competitive society, which is not good for individuals’ mental health.

    True enough… but often it’s adding the irrational fear that “those people” are competing unfairly that tips job stress over into violence. I witnessed this when I was growing up in the Texas Gulf Coast area, when there was a string of attacks in which the shrimp boats of Vietnamese refugee families where burned by white shrimpers. The whites were clearly motivated by the fear and stress of a highly competitive business… but there can be little doubt that the targeting of the attacks, and the level of violence, was racial in nature.

    Often racists motivations don’t exist in a vacuum, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there, or that they don’t contribute to outcomes.

    All that said, we can’t, of course, assume without other evidence that Amy Bishop was moved by race… but then, I don’t think that’s what PZ was doing.

  19. #19 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    Faculty meetings constitute one of the primary reasons that I won’t carry a gun. And traffic. And now that I think about it, I’m glad that I have never carried a gun into WalMart, the post-office, or other places that make me mad…OK. There are a lot of reasons to eschew weaponry.

  20. #20 Legion
    February 13, 2010

    Walton:

    I don’t see why Professor Myers had to bring race (@#1) into this. This is a horrible tragedy, but I don’t see any evidence suggesting that it had anything in particular to do with race.

    Walton, there’s no evidence that stress and the quest for tenure was a cause either, at this point. There are things about race relations in the US and in the south particularly, that you’re just not going to learn from a book.

    This is the first time we saw pictures of the victims, and the first thing that came to mind was whether and/or how much did the race of the victims/perpetrator play in this event.

    Racial preferences and prejudices are so deeply ingrained in the fabric of American life that these preferences operate on both a conscious and subconscious level — and everyone, at some point is either a perpetrator or victim — that includes Whites.

    AFAWK, There’s no evidence yet that race was an issue in this incident, but to conclude that race is an unlikely factor is to demonstrate a clear lack of understanding of race relations in the U.S.

    Our opinion is that there probably was no single trigger, but potential factors are as follows:
    1. The shooter may be mentally or emotionally stunted — suggested by some of the published comments about her.
    2. The stress of the quest for tenure
    3. Racial issues with co-oworkers
    4. Religion, politics, sports, etc.

    The fact that the shooter came to the meeting armed, suggests that she had already decided that violence was an option. Any of the causes above could have played a role in that decision.

  21. #21 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Frankly, Nerd, you can shut the fuck up.

    Sorry Hyperon, you are the one who needs to shut the fuck up. You keep spewing your ignorance and bigotry all over our fair blog. You will show intelligence when you cease doing so. Why don’t you start today? I’m sure most of the regulars would applaud your leaving…

  22. #22 Ewan R
    February 13, 2010

    I think that the fact that the south has conceal carry laws doesn’t neccesarily preclude the idea that this was completely pre-meditated – just because there are concealed carry laws really doesnt mean that everyone is packing heat, and it seems so spectacularly unlikely (although this may be a cultural bias from a Brit living in the mid-west) that an academic hoping for tenure would carry a gun on a regular basis. I’m completely unconvinced that if it were illegal to carry a concealed weapon that this tragic incident would have played out any differently.

  23. #23 Zeno
    February 13, 2010

    I’ve seen some unsurprising comments on other sites from aficionados of concealed-carry laws. They declare that the Huntsville killings show how important it is that everyone carry guns for self-defense. But it doesn’t show that at all. I see two possibilities here:

    (1) If everyone in the room had had a gun, it still wouldn’t have mitigated the element of surprise when Bishop pulled out her gun and began to blaze away at her colleagues. I doubt it would have reduced the body count, although some belated return fire might have added Bishop to the casualty list. Not a solution.

    (2) Perhaps Bishop routinely carries a gun in her purse because of the state’s conceal-carry law and did not have any premeditated intent to attack her colleagues in the event of a negative review. When she got the bad news and snapped, however, the gun was conveniently near at hand. In such a case, the concealed-carry law would have made matters much worse.

    I don’t know what the details are and I won’t speculate further. However, I do grow weary of the notion that everyone would be polite if everyone had guns. Arguments and blind rages will not magically go away.

  24. #24 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    The first report I read said that she had been informed of the tenure decision Friday morning, and then came into the faculty meeting Friday afternoon. First reports often can get timelines wrong, though, so it still isn’t clear if she had the gun already there when she was told, or if she was told, went back and got it, and then went to the meeting.

    I am incredibly pro-gun control, but I think this speaks more to the abject failure of our country to have any kind of working health care system. Our physical health care is already for crap, but our mental health care options are even worse. If we had a culture in which people who had problems coping with life were encouraged to seek help for it, and our system made it affordable and accessible, she might have made it through this part of her life intact.

  25. #25 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    ‘Tis (@4):

    Count me, too, in agreement.

    Nerd (@6&10):

    So glad to see that correction! In fact, I held off responding to you in my previous (@18) specifically because I hoped you’d just accidentally omitted an n’t.

    With all due respect to our past and present regulars who are to some degree pro-gun, I agree with (apparently) both ‘Tis and Nerd that people who think this situation would’ve been improved by another fucking gun in the room are livin’ in their own private Idaho.

    I don’t hate guns. My brothers-in-law are gun enthusiasts, and I had an opportunity to go to a pistol range with them over the holidays and target shoot with a variety of handguns (up to and including a short-barreled .44 Magnum revolver, the firing of which will get your attention). I’m all for target shooting as a sport, gun collecting as a hobby, and even (though I’m not interested in it myself) even hunting… but the notion that society would be improved if more of the people around you in everyday life had concealed handguns seems just a little bit insane to me.

  26. #26 IaMoL
    February 13, 2010

    They should lock up this disgusting psychopath at once, and throw away the key.

    *headdesk*

  27. #27 Steven Dunlap
    February 13, 2010

    @ heddle #17

    Quick answer: cheap labor.

    When I was a grad student in history I saw grad students who did 3 years of hard work, taking most of all of their Ph.D. course work before the dept. chucked them (after extracting as much tuition from them as possible). They’d receive an M.A. as a consolation prize so they would have the credentials to teach at a private high school or something (some I knew did that). But if that’s all you think the student is good for why string them along and let them continue paying full tuition for another year?

    Whether and to what extent any of this extrapolates to UAH I have no idea. Possibly, if the accrediting agency insists upon a certain number of Full-time faculty, they may have an incentive to keep someone on in that capacity for a few more years. After passing an accreditation review you can “clean house” and have time to replace the rejects before the next review. This, of course, is all speculation. Why exactly UAH kept Bishop on as untenured faculty for so long is a very good question.

  28. #28 Midnight Rambler
    February 13, 2010

    FWIW, the comments by other people in the news articles implied that she had been denied tenure already, and this meeting was on something else (it wasn’t clear if she was supposed to be there or not). So I think it almost certainly was premeditated.

  29. #29 robertgrimm
    February 13, 2010

    I never understood how a highly intelligent person can think that getting rid of some guns would solve anything. Violence would still occur. People who want to kill are going to kill using other weapons or their bare hands. There was just as much violence before guns. They’re just a tool to enable someone to act on their feelings, just like knives, bombs, clubs, and fists.

    The real social evil is bibles. The prisons are filled with a higher percentage of Christians than the general population. The idea that you can be absolved of your crimes by praying or that you have to answer first to a higher power enables crime much more than the availability of handguns. Other countries have violence and crime too even if they don’t have easy access to guns. It just looks a bit different.

    Fear and religion are the problem, not a particular type of weapon. If you want to fix the problem, you have to address the problem, not the tool used by people who suffer from that problem. The only way addressing the tool could possibly work is if you can take away all guns from everyone, not just criminals. Since governments are included in everyone and they’ll never give up their police and military weapons, this can never happen.

  30. #30 Sara
    February 13, 2010

    It is sad. I don’t think we can say anyone factor was the cause. A lot of factors contributed.

    As many say, if she hadn’t had a handy gun, she would probably have screamed, maybe thrown some things and had to be subdued. The only thing she would have suffered as an after math would be some embarrassment and the reputation she earned for being unstable.

    Tenure as a method of job review/security is not a good idea. I think Tenure should be seriously reviewed. This is of course an outlier example and not really an argument against the concept. But Tenure was certainly a factor.

    It is part of our culture to self identify with a job. And it can be a very detrimental thing to do. I know from experience that it can knock you down when someone doesn’t share your belief that you are good.

    I think the competition part of it, well that is just nature isn’t it. If nature didn’t compete for resources and gene distribution, well, it wouldn’t work. The key is to find a way to adapt in that environment.

    The mental stability – access to mental health care. I’m not sure that all people who are emotionally unstable would take advantage even if was accessible. I would presume that she had benefits as a professor and that mental health options were available to her.

  31. #31 Nice Ogress
    February 13, 2010

    Race probably wasn’t the primary motivator here, but it was very likely a factor. Like it or not, race colors everyone’s percetions of the world. ‘White’ people (and I use the term loosely) tend to automatically assume not only that other white people are automatically qualified/competent for whatever position they are seeking, they also assume that any differently-colored ethnicity is automatically UNqualified. And the darker-skinned you are, the less qualified you are assumed to be (this is also true by gender, though naturally there’s fewer degrees of ‘unqualified’ there).

    “I lost my job because the company had to hire to a quota” is a common refrain on every tier of American society – even though it doesn’t hold up to ANY standard of scrutiny (Really? You just happened to be more qualified for that position than every other applicant who was browner than you? Really?), because it’s the ‘safe’ reason why someone was rejected or fired – it didn’t have anything to do with YOU, YOU were PERFECT. It was those OTHER GUYS, RUINING IT FOR EVERYBODY.

    This was really true in the boom times, but even in the current economy, when you have 8,000+ applicants turning up for menial jobs like cashiering and clerking, people feel the need to rationalize away rejection. Most of the time, that rationalization falls along racial lines.

  32. #32 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    If every one carried a side-arm at all times, there would be no violence at all. Just like in the old west. And in the streets of Compton. And war.

  33. #33 cylusys
    February 13, 2010

    Much like how the phenomenon of UK inner city teens carrying knifes, for ‘protection’, results in spur of the moment stabbings, rarely in self defence – So too do concealed firearms allow a moment of anger to become the end of someone’s life.
    A tragedy for all concerned.

  34. #34 OurDeadSelves
    February 13, 2010

    One other disturbing phenomenon that isn’t getting commented on much… is that Bishop is white, while most of her victims are brown-skinned minorities.

    That was my first reaction when I saw who the victims were. Maybe this wasn’t racially motivated, but it’s certainly an angle that needs to be investigated.

    Walton: I think that Amy Bishop needs to be evaluated by a psychiatrist before we assume that she’s just some poor soul who needs help*. Here in the US, we have an unusually high acceptance of violent behavior coupled with a need for instant gratification, which can lead some apparently sane people to do very grisly things.

    * If she does need help, by all means she should be institutionalized in a secure psychiatric facility.

  35. #35 Jennifurret
    February 13, 2010
  36. #36 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    This woman needs treatment, not punishment. She isn’t “disgusting”; she’s mentally unstable. She should be sent to a secure psychiatric facility, not a prison. And we also need to look at the social conditions which caused her breakdown, and re-assess the way that we, in society, treat one another.

    Walton, I think you’re right that her murderous streak probably in large part stems from the ultra-competitive, sometimes soul-destroying capitalist and academic cultures of our times. So what? You’ve identified a possible cause; how does this in any way lessen the weight of her personal responsibility?

    I grant that sending her to a psychiatric facility might sound very nice. However, precisely this kind of attitude has got people killed. Evidence suggests that there is a gene for psychopathy, possessed by up to about five percent of males (and some females as well, as this current story presumably illustrates). These are people without remorse, without a conscience. Is there any evidence that these individuals can be treated with enough reliability to justify the risk to the public incurred by letting them roam free?

  37. #37 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    robertgrimm: Nonsense. A gun allows a person to dispatch enemies quickly and without contact. It is much more difficult to kill a room full of colleagues with your bare hands. Trust me.

  38. #38 Midnight Rambler
    February 13, 2010

    Paul Burnett @3: Seriously not cool. Although if you’re a postdoc I can see where you’re coming from.

  39. #39 andrewc
    February 13, 2010

    Keep in mind, the University of Alabama is a gun-free zone. It is illegal to carry a gun on campus, even with a concealed carry permit. It was already illegal for her to have the gun with her, so how would stricter laws in regards to concealed carry have prevented this shooting?

    Individuals with concealed carry permits are, on average, extremely safe with them. They actually have a much lower crimerate than police officers. I personally don’t have a gun, or a concealed carry permit – but those I know who do are stable, trustworthy people.

    A gun is only a tool, and has no ability to cause good or harm without the hands that hold it. I believe everyone has a right to defend their own life, and that individuals should have access to the most effective tool for that task. While a responsible person with a gun in that room may not have been able to mitigate this tragedy, there are many other situations in which a gun is the most effective tool to keep yourself and others alive.

  40. #40 deriamis
    February 13, 2010

    The fact that people in this country have a right (which I fully support) to own and carry a firearm does not address the inescapable fact that some people should not have one, for various reasons. Like every other right we have, it shouldn’t be completely free and divorced from the consequences.

    The correct answer is not to have everyone carrying a gun. Giving everyone an equal capability to kill does not make everyone safe; it just heightens the lethality of any particular disagreement. Instead, we should all recognize that rights come with a responsibility, and proof of understanding that responsibility should be the price paid to acquire that right.

    Alas, people who don’t understand the nature of rights and instead claim “I have them” without referencing inherent responsibility aren’t going to understand why gun ownership should not be an absolute right. And they aren’t going to understand why an unbalanced individual under a great deal of stress should not have access to lethal weapons. I feel for Dr Bishop’s situation, but I also feel rage at the fact that she had a weapon in the first place.

    Of course, there is also the problem of seeking mental help being stigmatized in our society, but I think one rant is enough for now.

  41. #41 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    Hyperon, it shouldn’t have to be either/or. If our prison system was at all functional (which it isn’t), it would serve the purpose not just of punishment, but also of rehabilitating people to be able to function as normal members of society. Instead, they’re put into a stressful situation in which they learn societally negative ways to cope with their problems, then just get dumped back out on the streets when their time is up. Saying she needs psychiatric assistance isn’t saying she shouldn’t be responsible for her actions, it’s saying that there is no way she will get any better without it.

  42. #42 umkomasia
    February 13, 2010

    #3

    You are a complete asshole.

  43. #43 Legion
    February 13, 2010

    When she got the bad news and snapped, however, the gun was conveniently near at hand. In such a case, the concealed-carry law would have made matters much worse.

    Good points Zeno, but we take issue with the snapped hypothesis. First, if a person is carrying a gun, that in itself indicates their resolve to use it.

    Defendant claims of “snapped” and “the gun went off” are euphemisms for “I took out the gun, which I keep in case I need to shoot someone. Aimed it at the person with whom I was having a disagreement, and pulled the trigger.”

    It’s possible that, in this case, the shooter was mentally ill, but it is also very likely that she knew exactly what she was doing.

  44. #44 OurDeadSelves
    February 13, 2010

    Arg, the one time I don’t preview and total blockquote fail.

    People who want to kill are going to kill using other weapons or their bare hands.

    Really? She could have killed three people and injured three more with a pocket knife? Or her bare hands?

    Ha! Don’t make me laugh.

  45. #45 wilson
    February 13, 2010

    I took several classes taught by Dr. Podilla when he was a professor at Michigan Tech.

    Unbelievable.

  46. #46 umkomasia
    February 13, 2010

    If you look at her “most recent publications” there are lots of gaps. There are several 2009 pubs, but flourish of pubs at the last minute does not look good to a tenure committee. Based on this they probably made the right call. Too bad it ended this way.

  47. #47 Pyre Spirit
    February 13, 2010

    And it’s yet another example of why gun ownership needs to be much more tightly regulated, with things such as handguns being completely banned for private ownership.

    Guns do not solve problems; they simply escalate minor problems into loss of life.

    Hunters, and those who live in areas with high traffic of dangerous wild animals, have an absolutely legitimate case for rifle ownership (Although they should be inspected yearly by local police to make sure they’re stored safely and securely). Handguns are simply for killing people. Study after study after study has proven this; and the frightening mortality rate from firearms in the US versus the more civilized Western countries which actually have adequate gun control have proven this.

    I’m sure the people, and the families of the people, killed in this incident, as well as in the chillingly high number of similar incidents, truly appreciate how easy it was for the nuts who slew them to execute their supposed ‘constitutional’ right for gun ownership though! (Not even to mention the retarded habit of the pro-gun crowd to completely and blatantly misquote the passage from the constitution which speaks to gun ownership; and which clearly and precisely puts out the idea of ‘WELL REGULATED’)

  48. #48 EastexSteve
    February 13, 2010

    What a tragic waste. My condolences to the families. It seems more states keep adding concealed carry laws, whats the data say as to its effectivness? I guess my state is a good place to start. Have a good day all.

  49. #49 Ray Moscow
    February 13, 2010

    Guns: a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

  50. #50 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Ewan R (@22):

    it seems so spectacularly unlikely (although this may be a cultural bias from a Brit living in the mid-west) that an academic hoping for tenureAlabaman would carry a gun on a regular basis.

    My modification is not a snarky FTFY exercise, but a bit of a thought experiment: Does the substitution I propose change your thinking at all?

    I don’t mean to be smearing Southerners, either: I was born and raised in the South, and my father’s family roots in the South go back generations. But there are cultural differences, including differences in attitudes about guns, that cannot be ignored.

    Of course, I don’t know where Amy Bishop was born and raised, but it seems broadly more likely that faculty in Alabama are more likely to have either been raised with or have absorbed the gun culture of the South than, say, academics a “Brit livind in the midwest” might encounter.

    I’m completely unconvinced that if it were illegal to carry a concealed weapon that this tragic incident would have played out any differently.

    I’m also not sure that a no-concealed-carry law in this particular jurisdiction would’ve made a difference, all other things being equal… but that’s because all other things includes a national gun culture that makes it easy to acquire and carry guns even in localities where they’re illegal.

    Whatever we do about guns, we need it to be a national solution: There’s nothing magical about a state border when it comes to something that can be so easily hidden in a purse, briefcase, or glovebox.

  51. #51 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 13, 2010

    I grew up in semi-rural Wisconsin. Everybody had guns. I got my first shotgun when I was 7. I was target shooting with a pistol when I was 10. I was hunting deer with a military caliber rifle when I was 12. All quite typical for a kid growing up in the American Midwest. Guns were as much a part of the culture as fishing poles and cars.

    My father made it through World War II without being shot. He was slightly wounded by a hunter who was fixed on the deer and didn’t notice the man wearing a bright orange vest and hat on the other side of the deer. It was at that time that I started to think about what happens when people are wandering around carrying loaded firearms.

    Many people have a fantasy that they’ll be cool and calm in a life or death situation. A few of them will. But a large number won’t. If they have guns they’ll be playing Shoot Out at the OK Corral and woe betide anyone who’s anywhere near the intended target.

    I shot pistols competitively for years. Before every competition there was a lecture on firearm safety. The people at the competitions heard the lecture many, many times. Many of us even gave the lecture. But everyone paid attention because a sure way to get disqualified from the competition was to goof off during the safety lecture.

    So I think I know how to handle a pistol safely. But I do not know how I’ll handle myself in a situation as happened in Huntsville. I just don’t know because I’ve never been in that situation. Talking to my brother and other combat veterans, I’ve learned in combat some people freeze, some people just start shooting aimlessly, and a minority settle down to take care of necessary business. If that’s how trained soldiers act in a shooting situation, I don’t think someone who’s taken a six hour NRA pistol course is going to do any better. But you can’t tell John Wayne or Jane Wayne that. They know they’ll be Wyatt Erp fighting Billy Clanton in Tombstone, Arizona.

  52. #52 Sara
    February 13, 2010

    Jennifurret
    Wow. I wish you hadn’t sent me to that pit of ignorance. I feel like I lost some brain cells just reading the comments.

    sigh.

  53. #53 nejishiki
    February 13, 2010

    My PI is up for tenure soon. I’ll try to be on vacation when it happens.

  54. #54 GA girl
    February 13, 2010

    This is really sad, but please remember guns don’t kill. People kill. Don’t blame it on the instrument used.

  55. #55 robertgrimm
    February 13, 2010

    #37: True to a degree, but people were killing in moments of rage before guns. An axe or a large knife makes it nearly as easy as a gun if you have the element of surprise. Sure, guns make it easier to kill, but they don’t make it happen. Mentally unstable people make it happen. If we solve the problems that lead to the instability, we solve most of the gun violence without taking away any guns.

    Let me put it another way. Nuclear weapons make it much easier to kill large numbers of people. Since there have been enough to deter their use, only countries with really unstable leaders are willing to use them. The political systems of most countries preclude leaders with those kinds of stability problems from being leaders. In effect, they’ve solved the mental stability problem with regards to nuclear weapons. As a result, people don’t die from them, even though they’re the easiest way to kill.

    Take away the desire to kill and you take away the killing. You’ll never end it entirely. The only way to do that is for us to go extinct. You can improve things by having a more functional society that addresses mental health problems without resorting to religion. If everyone recognizes that they have to answer to people in this life, they’re more likely to be better people. Just look at the general well being of the people of northern Europe for examples of this.

    If you take away guns, there will still be people so unstable that they’ll kill by other means. People who are mentally stable can use the same tools that the unstable use to defend themselves from the unstable.

  56. #56 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmejZX_zNWxcV088dvOSyRc4hSoKBqvahY
    February 13, 2010

    Sorry for my naievete, but how does tenure work?

    If I work at the college for X years, then go for the tenure review… I can assume I’ll be granted tenure OR denied tenure. If I am denied tenure, what happens next — am I fired, or can I keep working as an untenured professor? If I am denied tenure, do I get another shot in a few years?

  57. #57 Desert Son, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Tis,

    Many people have a fantasy that they’ll be cool and calm in a life or death situation. A few of them will. But a large number won’t. If they have guns they’ll be playing Shoot Out at the OK Corral and woe betide anyone who’s anywhere near the intended target . . .

    So I think I know how to handle a pistol safely. But I do not know how I’ll handle myself in a situation as happened in Huntsville. I just don’t know because I’ve never been in that situation. Talking to my brother and other combat veterans, I’ve learned in combat some people freeze, some people just start shooting aimlessly, and a minority settle down to take care of necessary business. If that’s how trained soldiers act in a shooting situation, I don’t think someone who’s taken a six hour NRA pistol course is going to do any better. But you can’t tell John Wayne or Jane Wayne that. They know they’ll be Wyatt Erp fighting Billy Clanton in Tombstone, Arizona.

    This. Very well said.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  58. #58 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Oh, BTW: AE (@32) winz teh fookin’ intertoobz!!

  59. #59 OurDeadSelves
    February 13, 2010

    True to a degree, but people were killing in moments of rage before guns. An axe or a large knife makes it nearly as easy as a gun if you have the element of surprise.

    But I have to believe that mass murder is a hell of a lot more difficult without easy access to firearms. Yes, there will always be anger motivated killings, but I highly doubt that a room full of people can be threatened by one loon with a knife.

  60. #60 Nice Ogress
    February 13, 2010

    On the debate about gun control, I have to say I am pro-gun control on all levels. Yes, guns should be regulated, licensed and their sale controlled; They should not be easy to get, and they should not be sold to children or idiots. Furthermore, if you own a gun, you should bloody well be able to hit whatever you shoot at, instead of whatever happens to be standing next to your target.

    HOWEVER. I don’t believe it is a possibility to ever eradicate guns from the population. From a purely utilitarian standpoint, It Cannot Be Done.

    That said, the current gun licensing laws are ludicrous. Gun ownership is one case where I tend to think that if you want one, you probably shouldn’t ever be allowed to have one.

  61. #61 Nineveh
    February 13, 2010

    Go Second Amendment!

    No just kidding the second amendment is bullshit. And “going back to original intent” of the founders would make Jefferson spin in his grave.

    These poor people. Lives stolen by the hand of a maniac.

  62. #62 elucifuga
    February 13, 2010

    I agree with heddle (#17). It is not yet clear if the shooter was in a faculty meeting where her tenure was discussed. If so, that is a very bad way to proceed. Discussions on tenure should be in the absence of the candidate where free discussions of pros and cons can be discussed openly.

    The process should begin with very careful recruiting ? hopefully to avoid such problems. Such recruitment should include more than just letters from the prospect?s list of references. Phone calls to others who may have information, etc., helps obtain an accurate assessment. Of course, it is not always possible to get a completely accurate picture. Thus, the review process throughout the probationary period should by both complete and accurate and the faculty member advised appropriately. If it is not likely that the person would get tenure, they should be so advised to look for another position, this, of course, only after they are advised how to improve their chances for tenure. Most institutions follow these procedures, but unfortunately many say they do, but do so without being honest and thorough.

  63. #63 Sven DiMilo
    February 13, 2010

    If you look at her “most recent publications” there are lots of gaps. There are several 2009 pubs, but flourish of pubs at the last minute does not look good to a tenure committee. Based on this they probably made the right call. Too bad it ended this way.

    This comment is ignorant.
    The guidelines for tenure vary widely among different institutions.
    The degree to which the guidelines are followed varies widely among different institutions.
    The degree to which the provost follows the dean and the dean follows the chair and the chair follows the personnel committee, the details of the size and makeup of the committee, and the ability of the entire faculty to vote, etc. etc. differ widely among institutions.
    Personalities vary widely within and among institutions.

    There is NO WAY anybody who wasn’t directly involved in the decsion knows why she was denied. Please do not pretend you do.

  64. #64 robertgrimm
    February 13, 2010

    Guns don’t solve problems, but people using guns do.

    Problem: A man killing people from a clock tower. Solution: People using guns approach him and shoot.

    Problem: A foreign tyrant is damaging commerce.
    Solution: People using guns to force his armies from the country.

    Problem: A person pulls a gun and starts shooting in a crowded restaurant.
    Solution: Another person pulls a gun and fires back.

    Any situation where guns are necessary is by definition a bad situation, but you can’t make bad situations go away by taking away guns. You might be able to make some not as bad is you could, but you would have to take them all and that is impossible. There are too many that are unknown by the government and they’re too easy to make. Remove them all or address the real social problems that lead to their use. Those are the only real options. Anything else is an unrealistic dream.

  65. #65 Legion
    February 13, 2010

    And it’s yet another example of why gun ownership needs to be much more tightly regulated, with things such as handguns being completely banned for private ownership.

    If all the guns in the US disappeared today, the malignant mindset that fuels gun violence would still exist. People would simply resort to edged and blunt-force weapons, chemicals, and home-made explosives.

    The problem in America is that our culture is polluted with an astonishingly high acceptance of violence.

    Christians go ballistic at the thought of their children seeing a woman’s breast, but don’t think twice about taking their kids to see Mel Gibson’s The Passion — which was little more than Christian S&M porn.

    Fundamentally, America needs to adjust her perspective on and the acceptance of casual violence.

    We’re not optimistic that she can do that.

  66. #66 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    andrewc ((@39):

    Keep in mind, the University of Alabama is a gun-free zone. It is illegal to carry a gun on campus, even with a concealed carry permit. It was already illegal for her to have the gun with her, so how would stricter laws in regards to concealed carry have prevented this shooting?

    This just points up the futility of trying to maintain a “gun-free zonebubble” in the middle of a sea of guns. (See also me @50 re regional and national gun cultures.) Your comment, it seems to me, is not an argument against stricter gun laws so much as it is an argument for more broad-based gun laws.

    ‘Tis (@51):

    RAmen, brother!

    Carlie (@24):

    Posting lag caused me to miss your comment earlier, but I wholeheartedly agree that access to health care and our attitudes about mental health are too-frequently-unacknowledged but vital aspects of this case.

  67. #67 umkomasia
    February 13, 2010

    Sven #63

    My comment is not ignorant. a 3 year gap in publication in hard to justify at ANY institution worth its salt.

  68. #68 cgranade
    February 13, 2010

    I truly cannot stand comments like #3. Though I appreciate the role of humor in dealing with tragedy and hardship, “jokes” like #3 are completely inhumane, and represent a complete lack of empathy for all those afflicted by the tragedy. It disgusts me that anyone would think that Pharyngula is a place where that kind of vile trash is welcome.

  69. #69 Desert Son, OM
    February 13, 2010

    but I highly doubt that a room full of people can be threatened by one loon with a knife.

    A room full of people can be threatened by one loon with a knife.

    The difference lies in a number of factors.

    A knife can do terrible damage to someone, but it requires a number of special considerations for that to happen, the first being that it has to be up close. A gun can deliver extremely harmful kinetics from a long way away, increasing the possibility that more people get injured in a shorter space of time.

    The significant power that a bullet carries can mean very deep wounds, and the bullet can fragment and ricochet within the body, shredding and doing additional damage. Undoubtedly, a knife can sever a femoral artery or wedge between vertebrae or puncture a lung, and it most certainly takes its place alongside guns as an awful dealer of damage.

    The gun can be used at range. Of course, not everyone (as ‘Tis Himself correctly points out) is a crack shot, not everyone is calm and cool while trying to fire (adrenaline can make fine motor control go out the window, seriously impinging on a shooter’s accuracy), and there’s a fair chance to miss.

    But with multiple bullets (even just six in a cylinder), there’s some mediation of the accuracy limitations.

    One person with a knife may start to severely hurt a room full of people, but in doing so, will need to get close to those people, which means the people threatened now have an opportunity to resist, engage, wrestle, hit, etc. Yes, the knife damage resultant may be significant (even deadly; a knife fight is an awful thing), but the gun damage may be far worse by hitting more people in a shorter span of time.

    Guns have additional psychological implications, too. Noise is a factor (many martial arts have long counseled the use of yelling – kiai in Japanese martial arts, for example – as a way to both focus the attacker and unnerve the defender), and guns are also highly psychologically fetishized in media. A gun pointed at you is fucking terrifying, precisely because it can most definitely hurt and kill from 20 feet (or even 100 feet) away. At 20 feet away, the knife is scary, to be sure, but 20 feet is also a good head start for running away, for example.

    The short version in all this is there’s no “good” violent situation to be in; but there are factors in a violent situation that affect the outcome more or less positively.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  70. #70 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    Remove them all or address the real social problems that lead to their use.

    False dichotomy. There are actually a myriad of potential solutions regarding gun violence.

    How about this scenario: A man is ripped off by a scalper outside a sports stadium. He begins to wave his (no-longer) concealed gun in the face of the scalper demanding his money back. A bystander thinks that she is witnessing a robbery and reveals her own sidearm, is shot by the man who was ripped off, at which point all hell breaks loose and bullets fly. Many are killed in the melee including the scalper and the man who produced his gun first.

    This is the kind of shit that happens when everyone carries a gun in public.

    Maybe, robertgrimm, the people who live in your neighborhood are uniformly reasonable and not prone to fits of pique or poor judgment. If this is the case, we live in different neighborhoods.

  71. #71 duras
    February 13, 2010

    It would be better if everyone was required to carry guns at all times. Especially in this case, there would have been maybe one death we care about. Pull a gun, shoot, and get shot. Instead of pull a gun, shoot, shoot, shoot and kill tons of people. Our middle ground on the gun issue is complete nonsense. We cannot ban guns because of the 2nd amendment, but we CAN legalize them completely for everyone (except maybe for crazy people and felons). If that were the case, we’d have one of the lowest crime and murder rates in the world (like Switzerland).

  72. #72 Legion
    February 13, 2010

    cgranade:

    It disgusts me that anyone would think that Pharyngula is a place where that kind of vile trash is welcome.

    Welcome to the Internet. FWIW, you and others have expressed justified concern regarding the inappropriateness of the comments at #3. Count us as being in agreement with your sentiments. We rather doubt that the commenter will make the same mistake again.

  73. #73 Desert Son, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Antiochus Ephiphanes at #70,

    Excellent post.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  74. #74 Fate
    February 13, 2010

    “The ease of access to handguns is a great social evil, one that too easily simplifies the conversion of disagreement into lethal combat.”

    This situation is a terrible thing, and demonstrates the need for a linkage between the National Immediate Criminal-Background Check System (NICS) database and mental-health databases all over the United States.

    A law that cannot be enforced is not a law.

  75. #75 Walton
    February 13, 2010

    I agree with cgranade. The comment at #3 was totally unacceptable.

  76. #76 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    Thanks, Desert Son (congrats on the OM by the way)

    duras…please tell me you’re joking. I, for one, should never be permitted to carry a gun. I’m not a vicious dude. It’s just that I have the dexterity of Inspector Clouseau combined with the self-awareness of a jar of dill pickles.

  77. #77 robertgrimm
    February 13, 2010

    Antiochus Epiphanes: You state there are a myriad of potential solutions, yet you don’t propose any. All the solutions I’ve heard of besides the two I proposed suffer from a lack of considering human nature, specifically, people will be violent. I’ll take your claim that I stated a false dichotomy seriously when you state how it is rather than stating that it is.

    As for your scenario, it sounds like the slippery slope fallacy rather than something real. In the same situation without guns, the scalper is more likely to get punched or stabbed. A bystander is also likely to join in to protect one or the other people in the altercation. Sure, fewer people may be harmed, but not having the guns doesn’t stop the event from occurring, which seems to be the idea behind most attempts to ban guns. It seems to me that the solution is to get rid of the kind of mindset that would lead to the situation occurring in the first place, in this case, it seems like a combination of a sense of entitlement combined with a lack of understanding that others are people too.

  78. #78 Sven DiMilo
    February 13, 2010

    a 3 year gap in publication in hard to justify at ANY institution worth its salt.

    gah. Worth your salt, maybe.
    Some places require a publication.
    Some people have teaching appointments.
    Are you in the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama, Huntsville?
    If not you do not know what you’re talking about.

  79. #79 OurDeadSelves
    February 13, 2010

    A room full of people can be threatened by one loon with a knife.

    Robert-
    You’re absolutely right; I oversimplified my point. What I should have said was that guns are much more dangerous than knives/axes/blunt objects when used in this type of situation.

  80. #80 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    robertgrimm:

    Others have mostly been dealing with you admirably, but wow is #64 some prescription-strength stooooopid!

    Problem: A man killing people from a clock tower.
    Solution: People using guns approach him and shoot.

    So it entirely escapes your attention that this mass murderer has chosen to make his stand in a clock tower precisely because it’s a location you can’t just “approach” without him having a shot??? A SWAT team might be able to storm the building, or a trained sniper might have a chance of taking him out from a distance; a Regular Joe@copy; with a gun in his pocket is just another target.

    Problem: A foreign tyrant is damaging commerce.
    Solution: People using guns to force his armies from the country.

    Right. Because armies (even those of tinpot dictators) don’t have weapons that would make Regular Joe@copy; with his concealed pistol say “here I am with my shooter, and one little bean”¹!

    Problem: A person pulls a gun and starts shooting in a crowded restaurant.
    Solution: Another person pulls a gun and fires back.

    Aaaand.. Regular Joe@copy; becomes a second source of Unwanted Airborne Lead™ to menace bystanders and nuisance (potentially fatally) any peace officers (i.e., people actually trained to deal with this situation) who might happen by.

    <HeadFuckingDESK!!>

    ¹ Citation needed; for the life of me I couldn’t find an online reference to this Dr. Seuss line. I think it’s from I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew.

  81. #81 JimboK
    February 13, 2010

    Words of wisdom from some southeastern homeboys:

    Hand guns are made for killin’…
    Ain’t no good for nothin’ else.
    And if you like your whiskey,
    You might even shoot yourself.
    So why don’t we dump ‘em, people,
    To the bottom of the sea?
    Before some fool come around here,
    Wanna shoot either you or me.

    Its a Saturday night special.
    Got a barrel that’s blue and cold.
    Ain’t no good for nothin’,
    But put a man six feet in a hole.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Saturday Night Special” 1975

  82. #82 umkomasia
    February 13, 2010

    Sven,

    The University values research. Also, I mitigated my comment by saying “probably.” The fact is they denied her tenure and I assume my Alabama colleagues had good reasons to do so. Are you trying to justify her actions? Idiot.

  83. #83 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    If I work at the college for X years, then go for the tenure review… I can assume I’ll be granted tenure OR denied tenure. If I am denied tenure, what happens next — am I fired, or can I keep working as an untenured professor? If I am denied tenure, do I get another shot in a few years?

    Unfortunately, protections that have been put in place to prevent exploitation have also worked to increase the stakes at a tenure review to absurd levels. In general, a tenure decision must be made by the 7 year mark, if not delayed due to extraordinary circumstances. And if a person is denied tenure, they may NOT continue in that position. The general idea is to force a university to make a decision on a candidate, rather than stringing them along for years and years. They can’t decide that a person isn’t good enough for tenure and keep them too. However, that obviously means it’s a make-or-break decision for the candidate, and it’s pretty hard to get another job after having been denied tenure once. Here are the AAUP guidelines that are followed (not legally enforceable, but a college that violates them gets put on a censure list and it looks pretty bad for the college).

  84. #84 Desert Son, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Further to my post at #69:

    If I’m in a meeting, and someone who is upset suddenly produces a knife, I’m going to be scared, confused, angry – a bundle of wrought emotions. Should I manage to remain somewhat calm enough to act and think, I may be able to, for example, get my briefcase and use it to defend myself, a makeshift shield, a makeshift club. I might have recourse to a chair to interpose, or a table, or access to a tool of some kind that is longer than the blade, allowing me to strike the knife-wielder before the knife-wielder strikes me. These things may help prevent the knife-wielder from closing to deadly range, at least for a few desperate moments that might buy time for help to be summoned. They’re also completely dependent upon my ability to react and think clearly.

    My briefcase is much less likely to stop a bullet, not only structurally (a briefcase might conceivably carry enough material of density sufficient to stop a bullet, but I’m pretty sure mine doesn’t), but also because it is so much less likely for me to react quickly enough to interpose the briefcase with the bullet’s path (again, presuming the bullet is fired accurately). Even if the bullet does strike the briefcase and richocets (let’s say), it may still hit me, or the meeting attendee next to me, and so on.

    I don’t want this to sound like I’m coming down on the side of “blades good! Guns bad!” because that’s not it. I’m trying to come down on the side of “violent circumstance bad, but given the circumstance, what factors are in play that might result in a better outcome?” and I’m not seeing how more guns at hand makes the circumstance more likely to have a better outcome.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  85. #85 Fred The Hun
    February 13, 2010

    Oh, boo hoo hoo! I’m sorry but I don’t have much sympathy for this sad excuse for a human being…

    I myself lost my job over a year ago and at 56 it hasn’t been easy to find another. I decided to hire myself and start my own business and it hasn’t been easy.

    I have been in some of the roughest places in the world and even so it never once occurred to me to carry a weapon.

    I just can’t seem to be able to wrap my mind around why the hell a Harvard educated biology professor would even consider the need for carrying a loaded gun into a faculty meeting. W.T.F.

    People consider me a bit of a doomer, I think that living in the US doesn’t help my general outlook on life.

    Things are tough now and I think they are going to get much tougher the American people are woefully unprepared for what is coming down the pipeline. They have the emotional maturity of a bunch of spoiled two year olds. The last thing they need is to have easy access to weapons.

  86. #86 Thebear
    February 13, 2010

    Carlie @ 54:

    I don’t think anybody blames the tool. Reifying inanimate objects is pretty stupid.

    We blame the people that make the tool awailable, and it sounds like your hands got some blood on them.

  87. #87 creating trons
    February 13, 2010

    I want to ban handguns for the same reason I don’t approve of the death penalty. Anything primarily designed to take a human life, IMO, is wrong.

    I was born and raised in the south. most of the guys I know who carry guns don’t have a permit and probably wouldn’t pass scrutiny by the local sherriff. He gets to decide if you get a permit or not. In most of the counties I’ve lived in its politics and payoffs. A regular unknown like many of us here can’t rely on fairness and SOP to secure a permit.

    If you knowingly carry a weapon to a situation, what’s the worst that can happen? Well, it happened. It doesn’t matter to me if she has a mental problem. A mother, wife, father, husband, etc. was removed from our world. My heart goes out to those family members.

    Walton @15: fuck you. How would you feel if this asshole had taken some one from your immediate family? How does a reasonable person recover from this sad event?

  88. #88 nejishiki
    February 13, 2010

    #80
    Yep, from Solla Sollew.

    “so I was left with one shooter and only one bean
    Which is not very much if you see what I mean.”

  89. #89 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Damn… I guess that’s what I get for trying to show off my HTMLfu (@80)!

    Obviously, in each instance,…

    Regular Joe@copy;

    …should be…

    Regular Joe©.

  90. #90 JimboK
    February 13, 2010

    Words of wisdom from some southeastern homeboys:

    Hand guns are made for killin’…
    Ain’t no good for nothin’ else.
    And if you like your whiskey,
    You might even shoot yourself.
    So why don’t we dump ‘em, people,
    To the bottom of the sea?
    Before some fool come around here,
    Wanna shoot either you or me.

    It’s a Saturday night special.
    Got a barrel that’s blue and cold.
    Ain’t no good for nothin’,
    But put a man six feet in a hole.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Saturday Night Special” 1975

  91. #91 Thebear
    February 13, 2010

    Shit – wrong name in my post at #86. In no way meant for you Carlie. I’m so sorry!

  92. #92 Desert Son, OM
    February 13, 2010

    OurDeadSelves,

    Sorry, I composed and posted my follow up before I saw your addendum, and I don’t want to sound like I’m piling on you. I was trying to further clarify and I hope complement some of the excellent points made by ‘Tis and Bill Dauphin. I apologize if I came across as piling on, and thanks for your follow up. I’m a slower typist/composer than I’d like.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  93. #93 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmHzDpTLP2mp-qpt639sa9q2J8Wl4QREfQ
    February 13, 2010

    Just an aside but as some one English I thought the operative part of the 2nd amendment was …as part of a well regulated Milita. Gun Control is not opposed to the 2nd amendment, if you want to have a gun join the National Guard (and go to Iraq)

  94. #94 Kemist
    February 13, 2010

    Problem: A person pulls a gun and starts shooting in a crowded restaurant.
    Solution: Another person pulls a gun and fires back.

    Unforseen complication: A police officer witnesses the shooting and, thinking the second gunman is another shooter, shoots him dead.

    Problem: A foreign tyrant is damaging commerce. Solution: People using guns to force his armies from the country.

    Most probable non-hollywoodian outcome : The people, untrained for warfare and using light weapons, are slaughtered in the space of two minutes by the army, dumped in a big hole with lime and burried with bulldozers. The tyrant continues to dominate.

    Problem: A man killing people from a clock tower. Solution: People using guns approach him and shoot.

    Unforseen complication : the man is very well prepared and a very good marksman. He has rendered his position unattainable by welding doors. He is now chuckling to himself as shoots the limbs off foolish people trying to get him with handguns from unprotected positions.

  95. #95 Walton
    February 13, 2010

    Walton @15: fuck you. How would you feel if this asshole had taken some one from your immediate family? How does a reasonable person recover from this sad event?

    I wasn’t intending to downplay the suffering of the bereaved families. As I said, this is a horrific tragedy.

    But inflicting revenge on this woman will not bring her victims back to life, or take away the pain of their surviving family members. Nor are you justified in judging her as an “asshole”. I don’t know, and none of us yet know, all the circumstances that motivated her to pull the trigger. We don’t know what kind of emotional and mental state she was in. You are not entitled to judge her without the facts before you, nor is it your right to decide that she “deserves” to suffer.

    The right response to this is not to bay for blood, or demand the infliction of public retribution on Dr Bishop. Rather, the right response is to re-examine the way our society treats people, and do everything in our power, both as individuals and as a community, to prevent this kind of thing happening again.

  96. #96 OurDeadSelves
    February 13, 2010

    Robert-
    No worries, I think we’re in agreement on the issue! I think you made an excellent point about a knife vs. you briefcase. ;)

  97. #97 robertgrimm
    February 13, 2010

    #80

    The clock tower situation was a reference to a real event where ordinary people and ordinary police, no SWAT, were able to approach him without him having a shot. They couldn’t hit him from the ground. His gun didn’t cause the situation, it was his brain tumor, a dysfunctional family, and a meth problem. Psychological help combined with medicine would have saved more people than his not having access to a gun. His first killing was with a knife.

    I think the second situation involving armies is valid because the only way to fully solve the problem of gun violence by taking away guns is to take them all away. If that happened, there could be no armies. As much as I hate war, I recognize that it is sometimes necessary because people will always have disagreements and national existential crises.

    In the third situation, sure someone else might be hurt, but it is just as likely that the problem will be solved by the presence of the second shooter. In a perfect world, nobody would be hurt at all because the first shooter wouldn’t even be there, but we don’t live in that world. We live in the one where bad things happen. Sometimes a bad thing is preferable to a worse thing. What is better: a single shooter killing twenty unarmed people in a restaurant or that same shooter being incapacitated or killed after a few shots with only one or two killed and four or five injured? Both are terrible, but I’d rather see the second happen than the first.

    Getting rid of guns is a nice dream, but it is just that, a dream. It can’t happen. They’re too useful at some level and too easy to make if they are all gotten rid of. I remember an episode of the Cosby Show where Rudy wished all the guns were gone. She wished they could all be put in a big pile at the bottom of the ocean. That isn’t realistic, but taking fewer than all the guns is even less realistic. Someone will always be oppressed by someone with a gun, whether it is a single person or a government. Sure, the army is more powerful than the general population, but one man has the power to change history with or without a gun, even in the face of an army.

  98. #98 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    Thebear – that wasn’t me, that was GAgirl.

    Oh, boo hoo hoo! I’m sorry but I don’t have much sympathy for this sad excuse for a human being[…]the American people are woefully unprepared for what is coming down the pipeline. They have the emotional maturity of a bunch of spoiled two year olds.

    So…fuck the mentally ill, they bring it on themselves and get what they deserve? I don’t understand the thinking that people who do things like this are deserving only of punishment. In that case, might as well just bring back firing squads and make the sentence automatic on conviction. (Yeah, I know there are some people who would LOVE that.) Acknowledging that there are mental illnesses that screw around with a person’s perspective and impulse control doesn’t somehow mean that everything gets forgiven and excused. It means that if you focus only on punitive measures and punishment, you will NEVER get rid of the problem or the danger, because you’re attacking it from the wrong end. Someone whose brain is literally bathed in the wrong chemicals and with the wrong neural connections will not be capable of linking cause and effect to say “Hm, I don’t think I ought to shoot this person, because I might get punished for it.” Acting as though people who do things like this are just jerks is a dangerous way to stick your head in the sand.

  99. #99 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    nejshiki (@88):

    Thanks for the confirmation, and for the corrected quote.

  100. #100 umkomasia
    February 13, 2010

    Carlie,

    I disagree that it’s hard to get another job after a tenure denial. I’ve seen it happen MANY times.

  101. #101 Susan
    February 13, 2010

    At a seminar we had years ago on reducing workplace violence, the instructor, who had consulted on hundreds of case investigations, told us that not once had there been no indication that such an incident would occur. I’m sure this is not relevant at all:

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/02/professor_accus.html

    When it comes to guns, this country is insane. Most of the rest of the world does it much better.

  102. #102 MultiTool
    February 13, 2010

    The weirdest thing for me (maybe I’m naive) is that if you look at the killer’s web page, she’s a Ph.D. neuroscientist with some pretty interesting work in neurotransmitter chemistry.

    Again, I’m clearly naive, but shooting up the room seems a pretty stupid solution for someone whose mind was ordered enough to make it that far in such a complex subject.

    OTOH, I’ve been on the receiving end of the humiliation you get when applying for highly competitive ‘smart people’ jobs. You are 100% helpless and they are 100% unaccountable, and you have zero recourse within the laws of society to convince your judges that you are a human being who matters more than a speck of lint.

    God forbid a violent person should walk into such an interview.

    (I rather hope this is not how it went down, though. Any semblance of justification for this attack would only distract people from the evil of it.)

  103. #103 Walton
    February 13, 2010

    I agree totally with Carlie at #98. Very well-put.

  104. #104 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    Thebear – no problem, it’s easy to get comments mixed up when they’re coming through so fast.

    umkomasia – I didn’t mean to say that it doesn’t ever happen; I’ve been part of hiring people who had tenure denials in their past. But there is that perception, and it can definitely be more difficult in positions when there are a hundred or more applicants and there isn’t a really clear explanation regarding that denial. A lot of committees would look at it as a potential headache they don’t want to even deal with, if there are enough other equally qualified applicants available. It’s not impossible, but it can be harder.

  105. #105 bubbabubba666
    February 13, 2010
  106. #106 robertgrimm
    February 13, 2010

    Kemist: The first two were historical situations that really occurred and were solved by people with guns. Any time an act of violence occurs, there it the potential for massive harm. Any time the police come along without seeing the beginning of the situation, they’re likely to misinterpret it and do the wrong thing. Unforeseen complications are the definition of the human condition. That will always be a problem whether guns are present or not.
    .

  107. #107 Desert Son, OM
    February 13, 2010

    OurDeadSelves,

    No worries, I think we’re in agreement on the issue!

    Thanks, I concur.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  108. #108 nejishiki
    February 13, 2010

    #101
    Odd… you’d think that someone who had ‘accidentally’ shot her brother would be skittish about having guns around…
    it’s almost as if… no, couldn’t be…

  109. #109 Walton
    February 13, 2010

    OTOH, I’ve been on the receiving end of the humiliation you get when applying for highly competitive ‘smart people’ jobs. You are 100% helpless and they are 100% unaccountable, and you have zero recourse within the laws of society to convince your judges that you are a human being who matters more than a speck of lint.

    Exactly. That’s the point I was trying to make earlier. This is one of the fundamental problems with our society, and is one of the major reasons why so many people have mental breakdowns and are emotionally traumatised by their experiences in the workplace.

  110. #110 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Walton, old boy: back at #36 I might have raised one or two points worth responding to.

  111. #111 Fred The Hun
    February 13, 2010

    Carlie, @ 98,

    Hey, Carlie how you been?

    I’ll bet I know way more about mental illness than you ever will. And I mean up close and very personal.

    How much you want to bet that if she uses insanity as a defense she still gets convicted?

  112. #112 Legion
    February 13, 2010

    Susan:

    At a seminar we had years ago on reducing workplace violence, the instructor, who had consulted on hundreds of case investigations, told us that not once had there been no indication that such an incident would occur.

    True, but people don’t usually see the clues until after the bloodbath.

    We used to teach. Had a great student who’s grades suddenly started to slip. We figured that it was just another case of third term malaise. We were wrong. The student committed suicide soon afterward.

    In hindsight all the clues were there, we just misinterpreted them — perhaps because we were never trained to identify potential suicides. There’s a natural inclination to want to see the best in people, but doing so may make us miss the worst.

    This goes back to the need for both mental health education for the healthy, and better treatment for the sick.

  113. #113 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    Fred, read carefully. I’m not saying she shouldn’t get convicted. I never did. What I’ve been saying is that she should ALSO get mental health counseling, and that if she doesn’t, whatever sentence she serves will put her out at the end of it just as likely, if not more so, to do it again. I’m also saying that on a national level, focusing only on gun control or on what sentence a shooter should get doesn’t solve the problem of random shootings, because the root causes of those shootings include that hundreds of thousands of people have no access to mental health service.

  114. #114 umkomasia
    February 13, 2010

    She shot her brother to death years ago. Coincidence? I think not.

  115. #115 robertgrimm
    February 13, 2010

    The problem with the argument for or against gun control is that you can’t demonstrate the effectiveness of either argument through examples or studies without removing the variables of social welfare and stability and religion.

    Anti gun people often point at other countries, typically in Europe, where there is less violence in general, but they fail to take into account the generally better social welfare; including healthcare systems that take mental health seriously, and the lower percentage of people who take religion seriously.

    Pro gun people have a problem proving their point for the point because few of them can make a decent argument or realize flaws in either their own or their opponent’s reasoning.

    Of course there is also the general problem of neither side generally being willing to listen to the other side due to the fact that both often seem to generally take it as a matter of principle. Most of the arguments on both sides that I’ve run into seem to be knee jerk reactions to other people rather than well thought out arguments that take the many variables into account.

  116. #116 Cinnamonbite
    February 13, 2010

    Considering:
    haven’t been able to sell 1st house for 4 years now-too many foreclosures in the area so been renting it. Because of so many foreclosures in the area many people renting and to compete, must drop the rent to $800 but the bank requires $1200. Bank won’t renegotiate.

    Due to lay-offs, been out of work since November. No income, 2 mortgages. About to lose everything. No one is hiring. No call backs after filling out hundreds of applications. No interviews. Nothing. All I hear is, “hiring-freeze.” Have started applying outside the country since no one outside the state seems to be in need of computer programmers with 20 years experience.

    Have no where left to turn at this point.

    So, with all that in mind, I truly understand exactly what led to the shooting. What’s more, this isn’t the first economy/job shooting.

  117. #117 creating trons
    February 13, 2010

    Walton @95:

    “But inflicting revenge on this woman will not bring her victims back to life, or take away the pain of their surviving family members.”

    When you require this woman to pay for her crimes, you are not inflicting revenge. You kill some one for other than self defence, you get to go to jail. For a long time, hopefully.

    “Nor are you justified in judging her as an “asshole”. I don’t know, and none of us yet know, all the circumstances that motivated her to pull the trigger.”

    This is a fellow human who needlessly took the lives of 3 of our fellow humans. She’s a fucking asshole. regardless of her motivation(s), she doesn’t get to play outside anymore. Period.

    “You are not entitled to judge her without the facts before you, nor is it your right to decide that she “deserves” to suffer.”

    3 people are murdered inside the building with witnesses and she is apprehended with the murder weapon outside the building. How many more facts do you require? What are you, a defense attorney? (my appologies to attorneys (sp?)).

    You still didn’t answer my question. What if it had been your spouse or child?

  118. #118 Sven DiMilo
    February 13, 2010

    The University values research.

    SLACs “value research” these days. People have teaching appointments even at Universities that prioritize research. However, I have since poked around and learned that hers was indeed a research-faculty position.

    I assume my Alabama colleagues had good reasons to do so.

    No, you did not assume. You judged, from afar, based (as far as I know or knew) solely on her pub list*, that they “probably made the right decision.” And my point remains that you are unwarranted in making that call.

    (Incidentally, do you “assume” that all tenure decisions made by “your colleagues” at Alabama and elsewhere are straightforward and perfectly justified? All kinds of shit goes down, my friend. Ask PZ about it if you ever get the chance.)

    *[a pub list, by the way, that considered alone would be plenty good enough in many departments of which I am personally aware, particularly ones that “value research” but, like UAH, have a Masters but not a doctoral program. I know what I am talking about here. And that’s why I suggest that you do not.]

    Are you trying to justify her actions?

    No, of course not; I am criticizing yours.

    Idiot.

    hokay

  119. #119 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Carlie, I agree with many of your points, but I can’t help being amused by your allocation of advocacy energies. You treat some people as if they’re loathsome slimebuckets merely because they hold nuanced views about affirmative action, sex differences, etc. A cold-blooded, psychotic murderer, however, is to your mind someone who is ill and failed by society.

  120. #120 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Problem: A foreign tyrant is damaging commerce. Solution: People using guns to force his armies from the country.

    Let’s consider the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. About 1000 Jews armed with rifles, pistols and molotov cocktails took on a reinforced Waffen-SS Panzergrenadier brigade. The Jews were able to get some machine guns and grenades from the Polish Underground or captured from the Germans. Getting ammunition was a bigger problem for the Jews than getting firearms.

    The SS attacked with armored personnel carriers (APCs) and infantry. They systematically burned houses block by block using flamethrowers and blew up basements and sewers.

    The German casualties were officially 17 dead and 93 wounded. The Polish Underground estimated about 300 German casualties. Approximately 13,000 Jews were killed in the ghetto during the uprising (some 6,000 among them were burned alive or died from smoke inhalation). Of the remaining 50,000 residents, most were captured and shipped to concentration and extermination camps.

    So history tells us that determined folks armed with rifles and pistols do not hold off trained and equipped soldiers. The movie Red Dawn is a fantasy.

  121. #121 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    robertgrimm: What I’m saying is that it is possible to offer counciling for someone who is psychotic while simultaneously barring them from gun ownership. Although, I think I would take care of the latter first.

  122. #122 umkomasia
    February 13, 2010

    Sven,

    Get over yourself. Whatever the exact requirements for tenure at that institution are, she did not meet them as far as her colleagues are concerned. As you point out, the requirements can vary. I am not at this institution (but another in Alabama) and she did not make it. I just pointed out that there are big gaps in her pub record and that this is often an issue in tenure decisions. This does not justify shooting people !!!!!!!!!

  123. #123 scientizzle
    February 13, 2010

    Just a warning: in the disemvoweled post @ #3, the link in Paul Burnett’s name will take you to a site that will try to infect your computer with a trojan…

    Even more of a jackass, eh?

  124. #124 Legion
    February 13, 2010

    OK, we’ve probably posted more comments on this thread than any other, so we’re signing off, but before we do… wanted to address Cinnamonbite @116

    This economy and the policies that created it have fucked up a lot of people’s lives. About a year ago, we finally managed to sell our house — at a $10,000 loss. Didn’t matter though because we had decided we wanted to make a change.

    We worked in the software industry too, for about 10 years. The joke about having to move to a foreign country to get hired in the US isn’t as funny as it used to be, but that’s not something we wanted to do.

    So we sold the house and wiped the slate clean. Now we’re very happy working in a completely different industry for a lot less money, but also with a lot less debt. These days we can afford to spend all day ranting on Pharyngula.

    Bottom line: there’s always a good, although not always painless, solution. For us, it was just making the decision to let go of a lifestyle that no longer suited us.

    We’re glad we made the decisions we did. Talk to someone, a family member or friend, who can give you a wider perspective than what you may be able to see right now.

  125. #125 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    You treat some people as if they’re loathsome slimebuckets merely because they hold nuanced views about affirmative action, sex differences, etc.

    Calling someone a loathsome slimebucket =/= putting them in jail. And once again, where did I say she shouldn’t be placed in jail? In fact, I specifically told you that I thought that viewing it as either solely mental illness that needs treated or crime that needs punished makes no sense.

  126. #126 SteveM
    February 13, 2010

    Just an aside but as some one English I thought the operative part of the 2nd amendment was …as part of a well regulated Milita.

    That’s not exactly how it is written. It says “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    It does not say that only the militia can have guns, or that only those in the militia. It says that because we need a militia, the people must be able to own firearms. As I understand it, at the time of the writing, the US did not have, and did not want, a standing army. Thus, it was expected that when needed, the citizenry would be formed into a militia and would be supplying their own weapons and so it was necessary that they have the right to own weapons even in peace time.

  127. #127 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    robertgrimm (@97):

    I gotta’ go watch me some Olympics soon, but I’ll stay for one more round:

    The clock tower situation was a reference to a real event where ordinary people and ordinary police, no SWAT, were able to approach him without him having a shot.

    You’re talkling about this case, which happened in my home state while I was growing up there (though admittedly I was a small child at the time it happened). Civilians and “regular” cops did return fire, and one of the cops on the scene later credited the return fire with reducing the casualties by forcing Whitman to spend more time behind cover… but civilians did not “approach” him in any meaningful sense, nor did they subdue or kill him, nor did they prevent him from killing 14 people that day, including 13 in or from the clock tower (and wounding 32 others, including those tending the casualties on the ground near the tower).

    Whitman’s behavior was caused by a brain tumor, and his guns were (mostly) long guns rather than handguns, but it’s very hard for me to see this case as supporting the argument that the world is better off if it’s full of concealed handguns in civilian hands. Certainly the rare possibility of a deranged sniper in a high place doesn’t justify supporting widespread concealed carry: The guns best suited to returning fire in such a situation are rifles, which almost by definition isn’t what concealed carry refers to.

    think the second situation involving armies is valid because the only way to fully solve the problem of gun violence by taking away guns is to take them all away. If that happened, there could be no armies. As much as I hate war, I recognize that it is sometimes necessary because people will always have disagreements and national existential crises.

    So let me follow your “logic” here:

    Nations must have armies.
    Armies must have guns.
    Occasionally armies are used against their own civilians.
    Therefore, everybody, everywhere must have a gun.

    Really? That actually makes sense to you? That actually sounds like a recipe for a better world to you? <headscratch>

    Your third example is similar: If anyone has the ability to deal death and destruction, everyone should. It’s a sort of mutually assured destruction theory of civil justice. Well, MAD might or might not have been sane policy WRT strategic weapons; when it comes to every dogwalker or grandparent carrying around death in a pocket, it’s just fucking nuts.

    In particular reference to the restaurant example, it’s your burden to show actual evidence that, within an enclosed, crowded space, the presence of additional firearms in (relatively) untrained hands is likely to result in harm reduction. I think that suggestion is ludicrous on its face, but it’s your claim, and your burden to prove it.

    Sure, the army is more powerful than the general population, but one man has the power to change history with or without a gun, even in the face of an army.

    In a stable society with a functioning civil government, “one man” without a gun has vastly more influence over history than any single person who attempts to influence events with a handgun. Ultimately, over the seep of history, even the vanishingly rare successful assassin doesn’t wield as much power as a voter or an activist or a volunteer or a public servant.

    And in an unstable society in which the government is willing to use modern military weapons against its own civilians, individuals with handguns are nothing but cannon fodder.

    Red Dawn was a fanboy wet-dream, and it doesn’t justify me having to take the risk of living in a world full of cranky people with guns in their pockets.

  128. #128 robertgrimm
    February 13, 2010

    @120: My specific example was based on the American Revolutionary War, where each side thought the other were still humans. Your example was an situation where one thought the other was sub-human. You’re also talking about one of the most ruthless national leaders of all time. That army was eventually defeated by more people using guns. Guns that wouldn’t exist if we got rid of guns in the only responsible way, getting rid of all of them. It was a much more complicated situation than just some people fighting some others without being matched in firepower.

    For a counter example, look at the many guerilla wars going on right now. The guerillas tend to have less firepower than the people they’re fighting, yet they still do a decent job.

    @121: I have no problem with keeping people who are known to be dangerous from having guns. We need to do a better job of determining who is dangerous. That said, you can never absolutely keep them from guns without getting rid of all of them. That’s my point. They’ll always be available in some way. Some people are more responsible than others. As long as guns exist and we have the concept of innocent until proven guilty, they should be allowed access to guns until they are judged incompetent or dangerous. If you take guns from everyone without getting rid of all of them, criminals will still get them and you will lose the bedrock principle of the entire enlightenment notion that people have to be proven guilty before they can be penalized.

  129. #129 The Devil's Chaplain
    February 13, 2010

    PZ @ #1,

    [first timer here]

    re: “One other disturbing phenomenon … is that Bishop is white, while most of her victims are brown-skinned minorities. That’s a bit disturbing, too.”

    It doesn’t appear that race or racism was a motive, if the reporting at The Huffington Post is any indicator.


    Sammie Lee Davis said his wife, Maria Ragland Davis [one of the victims], was a researcher who had tenure at the university. He said his wife had mentioned the shooter before, describing the woman as “not being able to deal with reality” and “not as good as she thought she was.”


    Amanda Tucker … had Amy Bishop for anatomy about a year ago. Tucker said a group of students went to a dean complaining about Bishop’s performance in the classroom, and Tucker signed a petition complaining about Bishop. “When it came down to tests, and people asked her what was the best way to study, she’d just tell you, `Read the book.’ When the test came, there were just ridiculous questions. No one even knew what she was asking,'” said Tucker.


    Andrea Bennett, a sophomore majoring in nursing, was in one of Bishop’s classes Friday morning. Bennett said nothing seemed unusual, but she described Bishop as being “very weird” and “a really big nerd.” “She’s well-known on campus, but I wouldn’t say she’s a good teacher. I’ve heard a lot of complaints,” Bennett said. “She’s a genius, but she really just can’t explain things.” Bennett, an athlete at UAH, said her coach told her team Bishop had been denied tenure and that may have led to the shooting. “She went to Harvard, so she is very smart. I can see that her getting denied tenure at UAH would be pretty upsetting,” said Bennett.

  130. #130 Walton
    February 13, 2010

    creating trons,

    When you require this woman to pay for her crimes, you are not inflicting revenge. You kill some one for other than self defence, you get to go to jail. For a long time, hopefully.

    The whole idea of making someone “pay” for his or her crimes is a retributive one. Ultimately, what is the point? It won’t bring the victims of this tragedy back to life. It won’t make anything better.

    In reality, human behaviour is complex. Your simplistic retributivist view, pinning all the “blame” on the individual who pulls the trigger, ignores all the emotional, psychological and social factors which affect human behaviour. As I said, the correct response to a horrible tragedy is not to seek someone to blame, but rather to seek to change the conditions of society so as to avoid it happening again.

    This is a fellow human who needlessly took the lives of 3 of our fellow humans. She’s a fucking asshole. regardless of her motivation(s), she doesn’t get to play outside anymore. Period.

    Again, more simplistic, self-righteous moralism. You do not know, any more than I do, what may have happened to cause this woman to act in the way that she did.

    3 people are murdered inside the building with witnesses and she is apprehended with the murder weapon outside the building. How many more facts do you require?

    I’m not denying the fact that she committed the shooting. Nor am I saying that a court shouldn’t find her guilty (though obviously I can’t judge that until we have evidence as to her state of mental health and cognitive capacity). But this isn’t a court, and I’m not arguing about her legal guilt or innocence. Rather, I’m arguing that you do not have the right to judge her as an “asshole”, or to assert that she deserves to suffer, before you know her life history and the combination of circumstances that drove her to commit the shooting.

    What are you, a defense attorney?

    Not yet, though I’m in the process of finishing my law degree. But I’m not making a legal argument here; I’m not discussing her legal guilt or innocence.

    You still didn’t answer my question. What if it had been your spouse or child?

    If it had been my spouse or child, I would be no more entitled to demand retribution. Inflicting suffering on Dr Bishop will not bring her victims back, will not put right the wrong, and will not serve any desirable social objective. Your attempt to appeal to base emotions of hatred and the desire for vengeance, rather than rational argument, frankly saddens me.

  131. #131 Legion
    February 13, 2010

    “Pharyngula, I wish I knew how to quit you.”

    Bill:

    I gotta’ go watch me some Olympics soon

    OK, last one. Hey Bill, the Legioness and one of the Legioneers is at the Olympics right now. They sat with the athletes at the opening ceremony last night — said it made her want to cry.

    We’re jealous, in part because we don’t have TV access, so we can’t watch it, and we’re on a Mac, so the crappy MS software (Silverlight) at NBC.com won’t work for us either.

  132. #132 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Walton,

    The whole idea of making someone “pay” for his or her crimes is a retributive one. Ultimately, what is the point? It won’t bring the victims of this tragedy back to life.

    Responsibility is a useful fiction. Doesn’t bring anyone back from the dead, but is a very convenient, rough and ready concept. For all intents and purposes, it is impossible to enter into causal complexities whenever we see a crime committed. For more on this, for example, Freedom Evolves by Daniel Dennett.

  133. #133 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Walton (@95):

    The right response to this is not to bay for blood, or demand the infliction of public retribution on Dr Bishop. Rather, the right response is to re-examine the way our society treats people, and do everything in our power, both as individuals and as a community, to prevent this kind of thing happening again.

    RAmen, brother! The next time you wonder whether you’re turning into a liberal, stop wondering: You are. And, as I’m sure you understand, I mean that as a high compliment.

    ‘Tis (@120):

    Re Red Dawn… great minds think alike, eh? (See me @127, which I was writing while you were posting.)

  134. #134 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    The right response to this is not to bay for blood, or demand the infliction of public retribution on Dr Bishop.

    Yes, we shouldn’t bay for blood, but it’s not obvious that we shouldn’t bay for long prison sentences. Perhaps it is indispensable as a deterrent. Perhaps if society adopted a compromising attitude toward killers, then there would be a great deal more killings. I don’t think we should rock the boat unless we’re absolutely convinced we have all the necessary information at hand.

  135. #135 Fred The Hun
    February 13, 2010

    Carlie @ 113,

    because the root causes of those shootings include that hundreds of thousands of people have no access to mental health service.

    While I’m very much in agreement with you that there are plenty of people without access to health care let alone mental health care in this country, trust me I know, I lost mine along with my job a while back, and that this is a most serious problem for all of society. Including but not limited to the mentally ill.

    However,I highly doubt that this particular individual, regardless of the stresses and neurochemical imbalances from which she probably was indeed suffering, could be included in the group of people who did not have access to mental health care. I don’t know if her husband, family and friends were aware of her situation. Though I do find it very difficult to believe that she was included among the hundreds of thousands of people have no access to mental health service.
    BTW it’s probably well into the millions.

    It remains to be seen what actually led up to this very unfortunate but not so uncommon incident. Going postal, it seems is a by product of striving for the American Dream. I agree that our entire society and the way it is structured is pretty fucked up to say the least.

    But walking onto a campus with a loaded gun, where it is in fact illegal to carry a concealed weapon falls under the category of premeditation.

    That act is what I have little sympathy for.
    I have even less sympathy for those that argue for ubiquitous access to fire arms as a basic right.

    So now it will be up to a court of law to work out the details of her case. While I can’t pretend to know the final outcome my guess is a defense of momentary insanity, in her case will not fly.

  136. #136 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Devil’s Chaplain (@129):

    I don’t see how the linked article or your quotes from it address the worry that race may have been a factor. I wasn’t (and I don’t think PZ was, either) suggesting that race was the only factor, only that it might have been a contributing one. Your information suggests possible other factors, but that doesn’t really answer the question PZ and I were asking.

    Legion (@131):

    I’m on a Mac (Intel iMac, OS X.4.latest, Firefox 3.5.latest), and I was just able to watch highlights from last night. I do have a TV (which I obviously haven’t gone to sit down in front of), so I haven’t tried watching anything live. It looks like you might need to turn off your popup blocker (if any) for the NBC site. It’s also possible that you have to have service from an affiliated cable/broadband provider to get access.

  137. #137 thedolcelife#276f1
    February 13, 2010

    Looks like she killed her younger brother a few years ago and got away with hit. The only difference between a thief who steals small amounts and one who steals large amounts is time. I guess the same is true for murderers.

    I think it’s ridiculous to say this person needs help because she is mentally unstable. By definition, a murderer is mentally unstable (exceptions for self-defence/protecting innocents). Gandhi would argue that not even in the act of self-defence would murder be “rational”.

    No matter, she needs help; that doesn’t excuse murder.

    No sympathy, here.

  138. #138 No More Mr. Nice Guy!
    February 13, 2010


    “If only all professors would routinely pack heat at committee meetings, this would never have happened…”

  139. #139 No More Mr. Nice Guy!
    February 13, 2010

    My commend #138 didn’t come out right. I meant that this is going to be the standard gun nut talking point in response to this tragedy.

  140. #140 Jadehawk, OM
    February 13, 2010

    As horrific as these events were, I do think we need to show a little empathy with the shooter as well as with her victims. The fact is that we live in a horrifically competitive society, which is not good for individuals’ mental health
    […]
    We do need to pay more attention, as a society, to mental health care and counselling; and I think we’d all be better off if we lived in a less competitive and pressured society.
    […]crime is a symptom of various ills, both individual and social.

    !!
    I have no idea how you finally got around to realizing this, but I’m glad you did.

    I am incredibly pro-gun control, but I think this speaks more to the abject failure of our country to have any kind of working health care system. Our physical health care is already for crap, but our mental health care options are even worse. If we had a culture in which people who had problems coping with life were encouraged to seek help for it, and our system made it affordable and accessible, she might have made it through this part of her life intact.

    quoted for truth. i don’t think anyone from a civilized country could even fathom such things as being send home after a suicide attempt with a list of possible counselors, and the suggestion to find yourself one. also notable: a lot of them are either stupidly expensive, or have waiting lists up to six weeks, or both. I’d bet my lunch-money that a lot of 2nd attempts happen because of this.

    What a tragedy. It’s made even worse by conservatives chiming in how this proves that people who believe in evolution turn into amoral monsters. Sigh.

    *facepalm*

    Problem(1): A man killing people from a clock tower. Solution: People using guns approach him and shoot.

    Problem(2): A foreign tyrant is damaging commerce.
    Solution: People using guns to force his armies from the country.

    Problem(3): A person pulls a gun and starts shooting in a crowded restaurant.
    Solution: Another person pulls a gun and fires back.

    (1)People carry around sniper rifles just in case? how absurd. ad in any other situation, the sniper will kill most if not all the people who try to get closer to him.
    (2)doesn’t happen; especially not when the armies of the tyrants have tanks, bombers, or even nuclear weapons
    (3)…and causes multiple additional fatalities by way of friendly fire.

    We cannot ban guns because of the 2nd amendment, but we CAN legalize them completely for everyone (except maybe for crazy people and felons).

    the moment universities allow guns I’m leaving this country. the last thing I need is to surround myself with young people stressing over exams that may or may not determine the rest of their lives. A single minor incident could just result in everybody shooting at everybody, with me stuck in the middle of it :-/

    If that happened, there could be no armies. As much as I hate war, I recognize that it is sometimes necessary because people will always have disagreements and national existential crises.

    or, you know, we could finally start behaving like civilized people and use diplomacy instead of organized murder to solve international problems…

    seriously, getting rid of all armies would be awesome.

    In the third situation, sure someone else might be hurt, but it is just as likely that the problem will be solved by the presence of the second shooter.

    no, it isn’t “just as likely”, unless the restaurant was filled with professional soldiers who are capable of remaining cool under sudden fire.

    Getting rid of guns is a nice dream, but it is just that, a dream. It can’t happen.

    except, you know, in civilized countries, where it does happen, it does work, and the incidents as you describe them are vanishingly rare. gun culture is a huge fucking problem, exceeding the problem of gun-ownership per-se by orders of magnitude.

    When it comes to guns, this country is insane. Most of the rest of the world does it much better.

    well, most of the rest of the civilized world also has created societies that don’t create individuals who see all other people as their competitors and adversaries to the degree that’s the case in the U.S.

    You treat some people as if they’re loathsome slimebuckets merely because they hold nuanced views about affirmative action, sex differences, etc. A cold-blooded, psychotic murderer, however, is to your mind someone who is ill and failed by society.

    you’re an idiot. your views aren’t “nuanced”, you’re blatantly clueless, sexist and racist. And appartenly also incapable of thinking rationally about the best possible solution to a problem, instead of letting your baser instincts take over with stupid, pointelss revenge fantasies, which do not solve the problem of increasingly many people snapping like that. thinking of the causes and possible humane solutions is being “weak on crime” in your primitive brain, isn’t it. nevermind that no one said she should be just given a pat on the head and released back on the streets.

    My specific example was based on the American Revolutionary War, where each side thought the other were still humans.

    and it was also before the industrial revolution and the development of modern warfare, when the weapons of the army weren’t nearly as astronomically superior to the weapons of the general populace (and also, in modern warfare, the enemy almost always becomes “sub-human”; see vietnam). are you advocating for private ownership of tanks, bombers, and military helicopters? maybe those killer-drone-plane thingies, too? or nuclear weapons?

    don’t be absurd.

    RAmen, brother! The next time you wonder whether you’re turning into a liberal, stop wondering: You are. And, as I’m sure you understand, I mean that as a high compliment.

    seconded

    Perhaps it is indispensable as a deterrent.

    except deterrents don’t actually always work, especially not on mentally disturbed individuals.

  141. #141 Knockgoats
    February 13, 2010

    duras@71,

    Switzerland does not have a particularly low homicide rate – this is just one of the myths gun-advocates like to propagate – they generally lack much regard for truth. Among rich countries, homicide rates generally correlate well with degree of income inequality. There are two major outliers. Both the USA and Singapore are highly unequal, but the USA, with very lax gun control, has a homicide rate far above trend; Singapore, with extremely strict gun laws, has a homicide rate far below trend. Interesting, no?

    I think we’d all be better off if we lived in a less competitive and pressured society. – Walton@5

    Well said comrade! (I mean that quite sincerely.) I can see you’ll be attacking me from the left by this time next year! Seriously, it is the socio-economic inequality you have until recently unequivocally supported that makes society so pressured. Of course we can’t do away with competition, specifically for jobs which demand a high level of talent, expertise and commitment – but high economic and status inequality increases the stakes and as Wilkinson and Pickett show, this leads to multiple social pathologies.

  142. #142 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    thedolcelife (@137):

    I think it’s ridiculous to say this person needs help because she is mentally unstable.

    I don’t think that’s what Walton or any of the rest of us are saying. Rather, my position, at least, is that it’s premature to start calling her vicious names or calling for her blood, before we know all the facts.

    Nobody is justifying her actions; we’re just calling for a response to them that’s rational and evidence-based. And some of us are saying it might be worth looking at social factors — gun policy, economic stress, race, etc. — that might make incidents like this more likely, even though nothing excuses them.

    By definition, a murderer is mentally unstable (exceptions for self-defence/protecting innocents).

    Yes, the old “murder is inherently crazy, so how can crazy be a defense” argument… but we’re not talking about “crazy”; we’re talking about whether or not this woman had the mental capacity to form the requisite mens rea… whether she is legally responsible for her actions. It’s a fairly well established legal concept.

    It may turn out that she’s a perfectly sane (in the legal sense) heartless killer… but we don’t know that yet.

    No sympathy, here.

    Ahh, good to know what sort of person we’re dealing with. What’s being discussed is not some touchy-feely I’M-OK-You’re-OK BS; we’re talking about rational responses to tragedies potentially related to social problems. If that strikes you as something to sneer at, well then “God, Jed, I don’t even want to know you.”

  143. #143 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Well said comrade! (I mean that quite sincerely.) I can see you’ll be attacking me from the left by this time next year! Seriously, it is the socio-economic inequality you have until recently unequivocally supported that makes society so pressured.

    Yes, well, academia is arguably the most competitive and cut-throat part of society. (At least out of institutions that exist on such a large scale.) Nevertheless, most academics are lefties. Go figure.

  144. #144 Jadehawk, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Yes, well, academia is arguably the most competitive and cut-throat part of society.

    yes. so much more competitive than Stock Brokering, for example. or sports.

    You’re still the world’s most clueless person.

  145. #145 creating trons
    February 13, 2010

    Walton:

    “Your attempt to appeal to base emotions of hatred and the desire for vengeance, rather than rational argument, frankly saddens me.”

    Its not hatred.

    Although I agree with some of what you are saying, its not vengence. It’s Hey, for no good reason you killed my wife of x years. Yea, you’re more than just an asshole, you’re a fucking monster.

    Now does this person need some mental attention? Maybe so. But I don’t want this person released back into our society, ever. She’s obviously dangerous. And she has proven this buy her recent actions.

  146. #146 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Talk about clueless. There aren’t nearly as many stock brokers or professional sports players as university students.

  147. #147 Jadehawk, OM
    February 13, 2010

    There aren’t nearly as many stock brokers or professional sports players as university students.

    oooh, another bait and switch. Students aren’t all “academics”, and aren’t even what is being discussed here, anyway. covering your idiocy by switching the subject of conversation doesn’t help your case though:

    1)most students don’t actually compete with each other, so the total numbers are irrelevant;

    2)suddenly switching to include students instead of actual academics promptly invalidates your claim that a majority of them are leftists.

  148. #148 Walton
    February 13, 2010

    I’m not sure where I stand on gun control – I can see both sides of the argument – but I really think it’s a side issue.

    Ultimately, as I said earlier, violent crime is a symptom of various ills, both individual and social. The criminal justice system can only ever attack the symptoms, rather than the root causes. If we really want a more peaceful and less violent society, then we need to treat the problems that cause crime: primarily, we need to place much more emphasis on the mental and emotional health of everyone in society. Mental health is at least as important as physical health, and we need to make it much more of a priority.

    Research shows that high proportions of those in prison grew up in broken families or foster care, are long-term unemployed, don’t have a stable home or family life, and suffer from mental illness and/or substance abuse. With treatment, help and support – psychiatric care, drug and alcohol rehab, and so on – most of these people would be far less likely to re-offend. But instead of giving them the help they need, government currently locks them up in prisons, from which they usually emerge traumatised, addicted to hard drugs, and with even worse prospects of finding employment or a stable home life. The problem is inflamed by stupid right-wing punitive rhetoric, which tends to demonise offenders and caricature them as evil people, and emphasises “responsibility”, “moral values” and “punishment” while ignoring the actual causes of crime.

    Banning guns doesn’t, in itself, solve the problem of violent crime. What will reduce the problem of violence is to place more emphasis on mental health care, and giving people the mental and emotional support they need to lead a stable life.

    Sorry for the rant. I realise I may be veering off-topic here.

  149. #149 The Devil's Chaplain
    February 13, 2010

    Bill @136,

    re: “the worry that race may have been a factor”

    Where all those shot & injured colleagues of color? Faculty, UAH, Dept. of Biological Sciences


    The injured were Joseph Leahy, associate professor of biology, in critical condition; Luis Cruz-Vera, assistant professor of biology, in stable condition; and Stephanie Monticello, staff assistant, also in stable condition.

    If so, you might conceivably have a point. Otherwise, what do you have besides irrational fears?

    “All that said, we can’t, of course, assume without other evidence that Amy Bishop was moved by race.” ~Bill @18

    “It doesn’t appear that race or racism was a motive, if the reporting at The Huffington Post is any indicator.” ~me @129

    You might as well worry that sexual bigotry may have been a factor, if you get the point.

  150. #150 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Talk about clueless.

    That has been you, Hyperon, bigot and idiot, ever since you started posting here. PZ, please consider the banning of this piece of trash a boon to us regulars. We beseech you in the the name of FSM.

  151. #151 jjr1993p2
    February 13, 2010

    Even though Alabama has concealed carry, they don’t have campus carry; few states do. Maybe campus police should give tenure meeting members and candidates a pat down or wand before entering the meeting.

    In other words, it was already illegal for Ms. Bishop to have that gun on her person on that campus. Fat lot of good that did her victims in the end.

    Part of the problem is the way our society makes people over-identify with their job as constituting the whole of their being…and when they lose their job, it gets perceived as a direct attack on them as a human being, their entire sense of self-worth is wrapped up with something that is inherently tenuous and fragile.

    I have a concealed carry permit; I was let go from my university job in Texas. I did not carry on campus, I obeyed the law. Even if it were legal for me to do so, if I had what I knew was going to be a stressful meeting with my boss that could get heated, I would probably have voluntarily left my firearm at home that day.

    As it turned out, I did have a final meeting with my boss that got heated and ended with my boss asking for my resignation, which I said I would supply and stormed out of her office, headed to H.R. to turn the letter in. I cleaned out my desk and walked home without further incident. But I also knew I potentially had a job I could fall back on in another city (which didn’t pan out but I didn’t know it wouldn’t at the time) and I had the social safety net of my family to catch me. I kept repeating to myself “I am not my job”. I didn’t feel hopeless or at the end of my rope. It was a disappointing setback, but I knew I would recover from it somehow.

    Most academics wouldn’t carry concealed even if it were legal for them to do so, though more conservative faculty (Business school, economics) might, so baring any special security procedures from the campus police, it’s unlikely the outcome would’ve been very much different even with legal campus carry. This shooter was targeting very specific individuals, unlike Mr. Cho at VA Tech.

    I support legalizing concealed carry on campus, but I’m under no illusions that it’s an iron-clad measure that will make campus shootings history. It’s no guarantee, it just slightly improves one’s survival odds and the odds of the unarmed people around the permit holder in the event of an active shooter incident.

    The case is no doubt still under investigation, but I would wager this was probably pre-meditated. She didn’t just happen to be carrying a gun and “snap”.

  152. #152 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Students aren’t all “academics”, and aren’t even what is being discussed here, anyway. covering your idiocy by switching the subject of conversation doesn’t help your case though:

    Not at all “bait and switch”. It’s pretty common to use “academia” to denote the whole shebang: university faculty as well as students. I’m mainly concerned about treatment of students, since faculty occupy a small percentage of the overall population.

    1)most students don’t actually compete with each other, so the total numbers are irrelevant;

    Why are so many students so desperate to attain high grades? The answer is obvious: they want to succeed relative to other students, i.e. their motive is competitive.

    2)suddenly switching to include students instead of actual academics promptly invalidates your claim that a majority of them are leftists.

    A stupid objection. The institution is run by people who are chiefly lefists. They are responsible for creating legions of sleep-deprived, overworked students, and they are responsible for perpetuating an atmosphere in which grades are prized above actual learning and personal development.

  153. #153 thedolcelife#276f1
    February 13, 2010

    Bill,

    Thanks for educating me about mens rea, I had no idea such a concept existed. Can we all hold hands a sing Kumbaya? Oh, you’re not calling for that? You’re calling for not prejudging and waiting for rational arguments? Do you think I’ve expressed a knee-jerk opinion, poorly thought out and irrational?

    That’s interesting. How about I just state all my beliefs relevant to this discussion and this forum, so we can get that out of the way.

    1. She’s a nut.
    2. She deserves a fair trial – I’m glad I won’t be on that jury.
    3. If she’s guilty, she deserves whatever punishment the law advises, short of death.
    4. I don’t believe the Death Penalty is ever justified.
    5. There should be stricter gun laws.
    6. I believe in evolution (so at least I’m not a Troll).
    7. I have recently found this forum.
    8. I have no idea how much you post here or how popular you are, nevertheless, from your one post alone at #142, I think you’re an a**hole.

  154. #154 davem
    February 13, 2010

    Remove them all or address the real social problems that lead to their use.

    From this side of the pond, it looks to me that the social problem is ‘being brought up in the USA’.

    If I wanted to get a gun, I wouldn’t even know where to get one. the very concept of carrying a weapon to kill people is anathema to me. Only law officers and criminals carry guns.

    The genie is out off the bottle in the US, of course. There is no way that you can put it back, in the next 50 years at least. My effort at brain storming comes up with the following crazy idea:

    Allow anyone at all to carry a gun, even madmen. Just ensure that all weapons are registered, along with details of the retailer. And that these retailers accept that they will be charged with supplying a weapon used in a felony for all crimes committed with the weapons, even if the weapons have been stolen.

    Everyone still has the right to bear arms. But they will become unobtainable through legit channnels.

    Sorted.

  155. #155 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Walton, why don’t you address some of my above arguments? For instance, what do you make of a recently documented case in which people were killed as a result of the high-minded ideals that you apparently advocate? What about the evidence of a gene for psychopathy, which might be active in about 5% of men? Do you deny that punitive measures such as prison sentences might be essential for deterrence purposes?

  156. #156 Jadehawk, OM
    February 13, 2010

    The institution is run by people who are chiefly lefists. They are responsible for creating legions of sleep-deprived, overworked students, and they are responsible for perpetuating an atmosphere in which grades are prized above actual learning and personal development.

    which explains so well why actual leftist professors often boycott grading.

    or, you know, not. it’s the outside, decidedly not leftist, atmosphere that creates competition for grades. which is why, for Western countries, it’s more fierce the less actually leftist a country is. but i’m sure that’s coincidence.

    and you’ve still not explained how total numbers are relevant to the strength and/or ruthlessness of competition. I suggest you think a bit about what it is students compete for and about before you say such idiotic things.

  157. #157 MadScientist
    February 13, 2010

    According to other reports the university claims that the particular meeting had nothing to do with Bishop’s tenure.

    Firing a shotgun multiple times inside a house is not an accident, especially not when a 22-year-old is holding it. “Oops, I pulled the trigger once.” “Oops, I pulled it again.” “Oops, I pulled it yet again.” Semi-automatic shotgun with a defective sear spring, or an automatic shotgun with a stuck trigger? Inquiring minds want to know!

  158. #158 Stephen Wells
    February 13, 2010

    To all those advocating campus carry. You hear gunshots and turn around. Two people are shooting at each other. Determine _instantly_ which is the crazed shooter and which is the hero trying to take down the crazed shooter.

  159. #159 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    which explains so well why actual leftist professors often boycott grading.

    Yes, and I think this is very much laudable. Unfortunately, these professors are a relatively insignificant minority. And yes, I don’t think it’s leftist philosophy that’s responsible for academic competitiveness. I’m just stating that it appears to me that leftists are the people who chiefly preside over this. Maybe they should learn that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  160. #160 Kemist
    February 13, 2010

    “If only all professors would routinely pack heat at committee meetings, this would never have happened…”

    What a wonderful idea.

    Universities could also start to award tenure with duels.

    To get tenure, you need to win a duel against a tenured professor.

  161. #161 The Devil's Chaplain
    February 13, 2010

    Bill @136,

    BTW, if the UAHuntsville Directory Search is any indicator, “Stephanie Monticello” is actually “Stephanie Monticciolo”:

    Monticciolo, Stephanie, Ms
    Title: Staff Assistant
    Dept: Biological Science Chair

    It also appears that UAH links are up & then down again, perhaps due to updates or overload or some other racist motive.

  162. #162 MadScientist
    February 13, 2010

    @Nerd #6: How is carrying a concealed weapon supposed to help in this case? I wouldn’t allow weapons in meetings, not to mention anyone with significant training with a handgun can shoot a hell of a lot more people before anyone can draw their weapon.

  163. #163 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Devil’s Chaplain (@149):

    Where all those shot & injured colleagues of color?

    All of the dead, of whom PZ has provided photographs, were people of color. As to the wounded, I haven’t seen pictures of them. It’s not difficult to imagine that Luis Cruz-Vera might be a shade darker than Dr. Bishop, but he might also be as pale as my grandma was; for the others I have not even small clues.

    But we also don’t know whether those wounded, rather than killed, were targets of the attack or collateral damage (I hate that term, but it’s sadly apt here).

    So what we know is that a white shooter killed three people of color and wounded three other people. PZ (in the OP) and I have commented on the disturbing possibility that race might have been a factor, but I, at least (PZ himself has not commented further, as I recall), have been extremely careful not to go beyond that… as the very lines you quote from me exemplify:

    “All that said, we can’t, of course, assume without other evidence that Amy Bishop was moved by race.” ~Bill @18

    I fairly carefully explained, in my initial comment on this subject (responding to Walton’s response to PZ), why I feared race might be part of the mix of factors here, and provided an historical anecdote by way of example, but I have been careful not to presume that the facts will ultimately bear out my fears in this regard.

    “It doesn’t appear that race or racism was a motive, if the reporting at The Huffington Post is any indicator.” ~me @129

    The link you provided hinted at other possible causes (job frustration, bad rep with students, etc.), but I didn’t see anything in there that actually addressed race one way or the other. The existence of other factors does not logically exclude race as a factor, and its not having been mentioned in one piece of journalism certainly doesn’t rule it out.

    You might as well worry that sexual bigotry may have been a factor, if you get the point.

    Yeah, if all the killed had been male, it might have been something to wonder about… except that, AFAIK, gender-motivated violence is far less common in the workplace (i.e., excluding domestic violence) than race-related violence is¹.

    There’s a difference between speculating and assuming, and while the former has something of a bad name, it’s actually quite useful if you’re careful with it. As I assert I have been.

    ¹ Having thus speculated under an AFAIK caveat, I find I’m now curious. Do any of our resident social scientists have information or opinions on this point? Beyond, I mean, whatever I might turn up on teh Googlez?

  164. #164 Jadehawk, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Maybe they should learn that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    oh yes; because not complaining, and not trying to undo the damage that is also present in their own lives, is a much better solution.

    WTF?

  165. #165 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    And yes, I don’t think it’s leftist philosophy that’s responsible for academic competitiveness. I’m just stating that it appears to me that leftists are the people who chiefly preside over this. Maybe they should learn that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    Could you take a moment to clarify just what in the fuck your point is here?

  166. #166 Walton
    February 13, 2010

    What about the evidence of a gene for psychopathy, which might be active in about 5% of men? Do you deny that punitive measures such as prison sentences might be essential for deterrence purposes?

    Criminologists have been researching the effects of imprisonment for decades, and there’s a considerable body of information available on the subject. The fact is that the prison population in the US and UK has been increasing dramatically over the last couple of decades, and there is little or no evidence to show that this is having a positive effect on crime. Indeed, rates of recidivism among offenders released from prison are extremely high. Drug abuse in prisons is also rife. I can cite specific studies if you wish.

    I realise this doesn’t directly address the question of deterrence – which is difficult to measure, of course, since any assessment of deterrence relies on a counterfactual (it’s not possible to determine how many crimes would have been committed if not for policy X). Comparisons between jurisdictions are always risky, since it’s impossible to control for various social, cultural and economic factors which affect crime rates. However, suffice to say that the US – which has by far the highest prison population per capita in the developed world – does not seem to have succeeded in reducing homicide or violent crime in general.

    As to the “psychopath gene”, I have no idea, since I’m not a geneticist and know little about this area of science. But if there is such a thing, then those who are afflicted by it, while they may well need to be contained away from the general public, hardly “deserve” to be “punished”; we do not choose our genes, and having a particular genetic makeup is not a moral failing.

  167. #167 Aquaria
    February 13, 2010

    the “unemployment rate” is a measure of people receiving unemployment payments. If you’re unemployed for long enough you don’t count anymore (in every sense of the phrase).

    This is an attempted argument that drives me up the wall.

    No, unemployment numbers are not based on the number of claims, therefore the numbers are underreported–not in the US, at least. This is a common misconception.

    The unemployment rate that the USDOL releases each month is based on the Current Population Survey–approximately 60,000 households. If anyone aged 16 or over in your household is unemployed and has looked for work in the past month without success, then that person is counted as unemployed. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been unemployed, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve ever applied for/received unemployment benefits; all that matters in being counted as unemployed is if you were unemployed and looked for work in the month under question.

    The downside of this method is how it overlooks underemployed workers who have taken part-time work, who took a job that paid less, just to have a job, or the worker who truly has become discouraged and didn’t try to find work.

    For more info: http://www.bls.gov/cps/uiclaims.htm

  168. #168 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    @Nerd #6: How is carrying a concealed weapon supposed to help in this case?

    Please note my correction #10. Sorry about the confusion.

  169. #169 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Indeed, rates of recidivism among offenders released from prison are extremely high.

    I’m afraid this isn’t worth much unless you can show that the rates of recidivism are significantly lower for criminals who are treated as you suggest. Note that it would have to be very significant to justify removing the deterrence factor instantiated by prison terms. (Despite the high presence of violent crime in the US, it just seems intuitively obvious that if we do away with punishment of criminals, then there will be a hell of a lot more criminals. If you doubt this, consider the various documented cases in which the police went on strike and all hell broke loose.)

    But if there is such a thing, then those who are afflicted by it, while they may well need to be contained away from the general public, hardly “deserve” to be “punished”; we do not choose our genes, and having a particular genetic makeup is not a moral failing.

    I don’t know — maybe Hitler had some bad genes. I’m afraid you’re committing the fallacy of the “Pronoun in the Machine”: “we” are precisely determined by a mixture of genes and environment (where environment includes random developmental processes). That’s all “we” are. Letting people off the hook because they’re naturally nasty (as if there’s some ghostly essence in there, independent of the genetic influences) doesn’t make for a good criminal philosophy.

  170. #170 https://me.yahoo.com/a/xnK7TG0Lo5mL8GKo5hytRqwpHvFihEl7Eat3.EjEEeCYqC8fHRcH#05c76
    February 13, 2010

    The Arrogant Worms sum up the whole gun argument in a suitably snarky way.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCtD3OJ-_Es

    Lithified Detritus

  171. #171 The Devil's Chaplain
    February 13, 2010

    Bill @163,

    re: “So what we know is that a white shooter killed three people of color and wounded three other people.”

    No, Bill. If available sources are credible, we know that a distraught white female asst. professor, who was up for tenure did not get it, shot several of her white & black & hispanic & male & female colleagues at a UAH Dept. of Biological Sciences staff meeting, three of whom have died.

    So why push the racist button with unsubstantiated, unsupported speculation when we already have enough of it for real?

    What good can come of it?

  172. #172 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Hmm. Sorry, my last post was a bit garbled. (Have had a bit too much to drink.) You can probably decipher what I was trying to say, so I won’t bother correcting anything.

  173. #173 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    thedolcelife (@153):

    Thanks for educating me about mens rea, I had no idea such a concept existed.

    Even in the absence of any cues, I assume that’s snark? Look, I have no way of knowing who you are. Possibly you’re a vastly experienced criminal lawyer, and the notion of me (not a lawyer of any sort) “informing” you about mens rea is truly laughable. But I can only respond to what you wrote.

    Do you think I’ve expressed a knee-jerk opinion, poorly thought out and irrational?

    As I say, I can only respond to what you wrote, which was somewhat cryptic, laden with what struck me as cliche arguments, and ended with a declaration of unsympathy. If I’ve misunderstood you, I’d actually love to be corrected… but this current post of yours isn’t really accomplishing much along those lines.

    That’s interesting. How about I just state all my beliefs relevant to this discussion and this forum, so we can get that out of the way.

    1. She’s a nut.

    Assuming facts not in evidence, for any meaningful value of “nut.” Certainly her actions strike most ordinary folks as “crazy,” but we just don’t have enough facts yet.

    2. She deserves a fair trial …

    How generous of you!

    3. If she’s guilty, she deserves whatever punishment the law advises, short of death.

    Agreed. Did you think I would disagree?

    4. I don’t believe the Death Penalty is ever justified.

    Agreed.

    5. There should be stricter gun laws.

    A point I’ve been arguing for consistently in this conversation.

    6. I believe in evolution (so at least I’m not a Troll).

    Not real clear on the concept of “Troll,” which has little to do with whether you’re right or wrong about things, and everything to do with how you participate. (And, BTW, neither this nor anything in my previous post is intended to call you a troll; I don’t know where you got that idea.)

    7. I have recently found this forum.

    Welcome. Seriously.

    8. I have no idea how much you post here or how popular you are, nevertheless, from your one post alone at #142, I think you’re an a**hole.

    How kind. You, by your own words, don’t know me well enough to come to that conclusion, but if knowing me better doesn’t change your mind, I suppose I can bear up under the shame of it.

    You’ll note that even the last observation of my comment to you — the only part of it that was even a little bit personal — was carefully conditional. I try not to jump to conclusions about people, and I eagerly await evidence that in your case first (and second) impressions don’t tell the whole story.

  174. #174 Jadehawk, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Note that it would have to be very significant to justify removing the deterrence factor instantiated by prison terms. […]Letting people off the hook because they’re naturally nasty doesn’t make for a good criminal philosophy.

    if you want anyone to take you seriously, I’d suggest you stop arguing against the tedious strawman that we’re advocating an end to prison-sentences. Even Walton, to my knowledge, accepts the necessity to keep incorrectibly dangerous individuals separated from society.

    And btw, there’s lots of evidence that better prison programs keep rates of recidivism lower than the nasty U.S. system that creates more serious criminals. and there’s just as much evidence that having a more equal and just society to begin with keeps crimes lower much better than strict prison sentences. you’re arguing from your ignorance of the facts again.

  175. #175 Knockgoats
    February 13, 2010

    Yes, well, academia is arguably the most competitive and cut-throat part of society. (At least out of institutions that exist on such a large scale.) Nevertheless, most academics are lefties. Go figure. – Hypermoron

    Jesus wept, Hypermoron, how does anyone get to be as stupid as you? You must really work at it. First, do you have any actual data for these claims? Second, those running universities are not “most academics” – the latter are almost all on the “publish or perish” and/or “we’re doubling your class sizes, deal with it” treadmills, working 50, 60 or more hours a week – so you’d actually need to look at the top management, who set the procedures. More generally, societies are far more competitive and pressured at all levels than three decades ago, because the right have been in charge and that has been what they have deliberately brought about. This is not something they hide – they fucking well boast about it!

    As for your claims of a “psychopathy gene”, it wouldn’t be surprising if there were a genetic component to liability to develop personality disorders – but I’d be astonished if there were a “psychopathy gene” that led to this kind of event. Why would such a gene be so much more prevalent in the USA than other rich countries, for a start? A quick look at google scholar using the search key “psychopathy gene” reveals a lot of studies of possible genetic influences, and gene-environment interactions, but nothing I can see suggests the presence of a “psychopathy gene”. I suspect your source is some simplistic popularization, but go on, prove me wrong.

  176. #176 Jadehawk, OM
    February 13, 2010

    8. I have no idea how much you post here or how popular you are, nevertheless, from your one post alone at #142, I think you’re an a**hole.I’m greatly amused. If you think Bill is an asshole, you won’t survive long on this blog. People here do not engage in fake politeness. the content of your posts is more important than “tone”, and everybody’s posts are subject to argument and vicious deconstruction if they’re muddled and unclear, or unsupported by evidence, or just plain wrong in some way

  177. #177 Jadehawk, OM
    February 13, 2010

    oops, blockquote fail. let’s try again:

    8. I have no idea how much you post here or how popular you are, nevertheless, from your one post alone at #142, I think you’re an a**hole.

    I’m greatly amused. If you think Bill is an asshole, you won’t survive long on this blog. People here do not engage in fake politeness. the content of your posts is more important than “tone”, and everybody’s posts are subject to argument and vicious deconstruction if they’re muddled and unclear, or unsupported by evidence, or just plain wrong in some way

  178. #178 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    I suspect your source is some simplistic popularization, but go on, prove me wrong.

    Anderson et al., 1999; Blair & Cipolotti, 2000; Lalumiere, Harris, & Rice, 2001; Lykken, 2000; Mealey, 1995; Rice, 1997.

  179. #179 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    I know the conversation has already moved on, but I wanted to clarify what I meant. When I was talking about mental health services, I didn’t just mean for “extreme” neurological disorders. Someone who is otherwise perfectly fine but decides in cold blood to kill another person still has something wrong with their coping mechanisms. They have not learned how to deal with their emotions properly. They have not learned how to empathize with other people. They still have problems, and proper mental health care could still help them deal with the rest of their lives. That shooter might not have a diagnosable mental illness, but IF we had a culture that didn’t stigmatize mental health issues, she might have gotten some therapy when it was still at the level of anger/stress management and learned how to defuse herself and put her life in perspective.
    I’m NOT trying to say that someone who goes on a shooting spree is “crazy” and therefore not legally responsible for their actions. I’m saying that to prevent such things from happening, we have to have a culture that doesn’t make people worry that one visit to a psychologist gives them a pre-existing condition that will bite them in the ass in their next job, or that going to their own EAP will flag their employment file for their current job, or that people will make fun of them because only crazy people go to psychologists, or have to pay incredibly high out of pocket fees because their insurance doesn’t even cover mental health.

  180. #180 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Yawn, Hyperon still proving he is the evidenceless idjit. What a bore. Maybe if he learned something, and actually had a cogent argument. But, that would be impossible for such a terminally stoopid idjit. His only hope is stopping his moronic posts. When will he be man enough to actually do so? Inquiring minds want to know…

  181. #181 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    I’m afraid this isn’t worth much unless you can show that the rates of recidivism are significantly lower for criminals who are treated as you suggest. Note that it would have to be very significant to justify removing the deterrence factor instantiated by prison terms.

    Hey Hyperon, learn to Google.

    And again, no one’s suggesting removing prison terms, so stop saying they are.

  182. #182 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    I’m such a noob, but I gotta ask…How do you insert a link ino the text of your post so that it doesn’t look like the url but a normal phrase that is all light blue. Like Carlie did with “learn to Google”?

  183. #183 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    Hey Hyperon, learn to Google.

    If I didn’t know any better, I could find out from Google that evolution is a myth. We’ve been through this before. You seem to think that it’s legitimate to draw conclusions about a vast literature from only the most cursory Google search. I prefer to take my time, or at least get directions from people who already know the literature.

    And again, no one’s suggesting removing prison terms, so stop saying they are.

    Well that’s the impression I get from Walton:

    But instead of giving them the help they need, government currently locks them up in prisons, from which they usually emerge traumatised, addicted to hard drugs, and with even worse prospects of finding employment or a stable home life.

  184. #184 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Devil’s Chaplain:

    I was sorry to learn that while I was composing what I thought was a careful, thoughtful response (@163), you were writing this…

    It also appears that UAH links are up & then down again, perhaps due to updates or overload or some other racist motive. [emphasis added]

    …which you later followed up with this…

    So why push the racist button with unsubstantiated, unsupported speculation when we already have enough of it for real? [emphasis added]

    If you look back at my first comment, you’ll see I said I was reluctant to discuss this aspect, and only did so in response to others’ comments. What I was worried about was precisely what you’ve done: Tar as racist the very idea of even discussing whether race was a factor.

    What good can come of it?

    If everyone reacts like you, probably none, unfortunately.

    Look, a tragedy like this is first and foremost an individual event. But some of us find it useful to look beyond the individual event, to consider the larger social context in which it took place, and which might or might not have influenced it.

    Hence the discussions here about gun laws, and about whether the tenure system is wise, and about the impact of job stress on behavior, and about the retributive character of the justice system, and about our public policy regarding mental health care… and about race. Like it or not, race is part of the “larger social context” in this country; if those of us who are not racists are afraid to even talk about it, where are we left?

    I won’t apologize for anything I’ve said, or back away from the topic… but I am going to back away from any further exchanges with you, as it’s quite clear that no good can come from them.

  185. #185 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    AE (@182):

    Probably others are tapping out the same information while I am, but…

    <a href=”[URL of link]“>[visible linked text]</a>

    …with (forgive me if this is obvious) the items in italics and square brackets inserted instead of the placeholders. Don’t leave out the quotation marks!

  186. #186 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010
  187. #187 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    You seem to think that it’s legitimate to draw conclusions about a vast literature from only the most cursory Google search.

    I was saying that you could have found it that way. I knew about it because I lived in Missouri for several years and paid attention to the coverage it’s gotten as a model of how to lower recidivism. You continually assume that people know less than you just because they don’t put their entire life resume out for your perusal, and honestly your inability to do anything but heap unfounded scorn on anyone who disagrees with you makes you completely incapable of having a decent discussion with anyone.

  188. #188 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    Damn!

    I mean you are awesome, Bill.

  189. #189 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Thanks for having my back, Jadehawk!

    BTW, to thedolcelife:

    My comment…

    Not real clear on the concept of “Troll,” which has little to do with whether you’re right or wrong about things, and everything to do with how you participate.

    …and Jadehawk’s observation…

    the content of your posts is more important than “tone”, and everybody’s posts are subject to argument and vicious deconstruction if they’re muddled and unclear, or unsupported by evidence, or just plain wrong in some way

    …are not really contradictory, even though they might seem so at first: Being a troll, which relates to certain easily recognizable modes of internet discourse but not necessarily to holding opinions the majority think of as wrong, is far from the only way to make yourself “subject to argument and vicious deconstruction”; indeed, if you’re truly trolling, most of us will (eventually) just say that, and not engage you further.

    Holding an opinion contrary to the (local Pharyngulan) majority views will get you vigorous argument, but usually not personal abuse if you are honest and express yourself cogently.

    You will get harsh criticism (and to Jadehawk’s point, many here suffer fools far less gladly than I) if you argue dishonestly, or stubbornly persist in promoting views that are obnoxious, or attack people here for no reason, or just don’t make much sense.

    Hang around long enough and you’ll see some well-respected regulars have extraordinarily heated exchanges with each other, only to be on the same side in the next heated exchange. I look forward to seeing you in the fray!

  190. #190 David Marjanovi?
    February 13, 2010

    Keep in mind, the University of Alabama is a gun-free zone. It is illegal to carry a gun on campus, even with a concealed carry permit. It was already illegal for her to have the gun with her, so how would stricter laws in regards to concealed carry have prevented this shooting?

    By removing the large reservoir of legal guns right outside the university’s doors. This “gun-free zone” nonsense is of course unenforceable, unless you introduce airport-level security, which isn’t feasible at all.

    That said, I think a more basic problem is how extremely easy it seems to be in the USA to get an illegal gun….

    An axe or a large knife makes it nearly as easy as a gun if you have the element of surprise.

    Try carrying one in your purse.

    And then try getting close enough to six people to actually hit them. It can be done, but it’s not easy ? not as easy as with a gun, by far.

    Problem: A person pulls a gun and starts shooting in a crowded restaurant.
    Solution: Another person pulls a gun and fires back.

    Did someone shit into your brain?

    Shooting? In a crowded restaurant? How do you avoid hitting the person behind the maniac?

    What about someone approaching him from behind and, like, kicking him over or something?

    If that were the case, we’d have one of the lowest crime and murder rates in the world (like Switzerland).

    What I’ve read about Switzerland says the opposite: it’s got one of the highest such rates in Europe.

    About a year ago, we finally managed to sell our house

    All six thousand of you lived in the same house??? :-)

    or, you know, we could finally start behaving like civilized people and use diplomacy instead of organized murder to solve international problems…
    seriously, getting rid of all armies would be awesome.

    And for many of them, though perhaps not for the USA, it is in fact an option. Two words: Costa Rica. After the army had made too many coups, they simply abolished it.

    and also, in modern warfare, the enemy almost always becomes “sub-human”; see vietnam

    Or indeed Iraq. Remember the term sand nigger?

    are you advocating for private ownership of tanks, bombers, and military helicopters? maybe those killer-drone-plane thingies, too? or nuclear weapons?

    “…I think that should be restricted.”
    ? Terry Nichols in Bowling for Columbine.

    Why are so many students so desperate to attain high grades?

    In which countries other than the USA? The very first thing I learned at university was to completely stop caring about grades if they were anything but the equivalent to F.

    (Of course, one reason for this is that professors are almighty where I come from. The only thing you can do when you feel your grade is unfair is to sue ? yeah, right. I’ve seen bizarre grading practices and bizarre techniques of composing a test… I suppose it’s not like this the world over. Or at least I hope so.)

    Only law officers and criminals carry guns.

    And most criminals don’t. Where I come from, most bank robberies are committed with toys or other imitates, because ? even illegally ? guns are just so hard to get!

  191. #191 ckitching
    February 13, 2010
    And again, no one’s suggesting removing prison terms, so stop saying they are.

    Well that’s the impression I get from Walton:

    Then you have some serious reading comprehension problems. All Walton has said is that the goal of reducing criminal activity shouldn’t end (or start) at lengthening or handing out more prison terms. This is a perfectly rational statement by itself. There is value to the deterrence effect of prison terms, but it has been repeatedly shown that lengthening prison terms, or creating nastier and nastier punishments do not have the desired effects.

    Take the death penalty, for example. Having such a severe penalty for premeditated murder should have a tremendous deterrent effect on crime. Instead, it has virtually no effect over decades long prison terms.

    If we want to reduce crime, the simplistic impulse to hurt criminals isn’t going to work. We need to understand what drives them to commit these acts, and then try to find solutions to that, instead.

  192. #192 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    DM (@190):

    Did someone shit into your brain?

    <literal>LOL!!</literal>

    I think you owe me a keyboard.

  193. #193 David Marjanovi?
    February 13, 2010

    I think you owe me a keyboard.

    Heh. There are advantages to having gone to school in Vienna after all.

    “Have they shat into your brain” would have been a more literal translation, but the past tense (absent from Viennese) is probably better here in English, and the “they” part is as strange in German as it would be in English… perhaps the whole thing is a literal translation from Czech anyway, dunno.

  194. #194 The Devil's Chaplain
    February 13, 2010

    Bill @184,

    re:“If you look back at my first comment, you’ll see…”

    Fair enough. And if you look back at my first comment back @129, which was addressed to our gracious host, you’ll see:

    “It doesn’t appear that race or racism was a motive, if the reporting at The Huffington Post is any indicator.”

    So whose the reluctant one here, Bill?

    re: ” What I was worried about was precisely what you’ve done: Tar as racist the very idea of even discussing whether race was a factor”

    Sorry if you don’t appreciate sarcasm, if not criticism.

    re: “I won’t apologize for anything I’ve said, or back away from the topic… but I am going to back away from any further exchanges with you, as it’s quite clear that no good can come from them.”

    Well, that’s one way to bury any discussion that Bill @136 suggested a racist motive, abscent any evidence to the contrary:


    “… the worry that race may have been a factor. I wasn’t (and I don’t think PZ was, either) suggesting that race was the only factor, only that it might have been a contributing one.”

    But who knows, maybe her her brother was black? Hmmm… missing police records.

  195. #195 The Devil's Chaplain
    February 13, 2010

    Antiochus @182,

    Cut & paste is considerably quicker, if not more progressive, in these parts.

  196. #196 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 13, 2010

    What about someone approaching him from behind and, like, kicking him over or something?

    I wasn’t going to mention it, but this is precisely how I prefer to dispatch armed assailants. Sometimes from behind, sometimes from above. I think rather than carry firearms, everyone* should be trained in Kung Fu.

    *Except of course the assailant in question.

  197. #197 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    @182 –

    Is like this:

    <a href=”http://www.domain.com”>Visit Our Site</a>

    where what’s in quotes is the url, and what’s in the Visit Our Site spot is the text you want to be linky.

  198. #198 DavidCOG
    February 13, 2010

    Nerd of Redhead:

    > Tragic incident, and a valid reason why people should be allowed to carry concealed.

    lol. Hollow, grim lol.

    “The answer to people being massacred with guns is more guns.”

    Even intelligent Americans are unbelievably stupid when this subject is discussed.

    ~~~

    Ah! Just saw the correction: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/02/tragedy_at_the_university_of_a.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+scienceblogs%2Fpharyngula+%28Pharyngula%29#comment-2271340

    However, I’ll leave my original comment because there are *many* Americans who think exactly that. Right now, elsewhere on the tubes will be someone fantasising about how they pulled out the Glock they always have strapped to themselves and shot the woman before she shot them.

    Guns: killing people since they were invented.

  199. #199 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Every time I think I’m out… [sigh]

    OK, DC, one last try:

    And if you look back at my first comment back @129, which was addressed to our gracious host, you’ll see:

    “It doesn’t appear that race or racism was a motive, if the reporting at The Huffington Post is any indicator.”

    Right, and my response — the only reason I responded to you at all — was that the “reporting at The Huffington Post” didn’t actually apear, to my best reading of it, to in fact be “any indicator” of the point you were imputing to it. It hinted at some possible motives, but nothing about it ruled out other motives, and it did not say the police had come to any conclusion about motive. The fact that the article didn’t mention race does not logically exclude race from the discussion… but my comment to you was more about the logical failure of your argument than about its content.

    Well, that’s one way to bury any discussion that Bill @136 suggested a racist motive, abscent any evidence to the contrary:

    “… the worry that race may have been a factor. I wasn’t (and I don’t think PZ was, either) suggesting that race was the only factor, only that it might have been a contributing one.”

    I’m not trying to “bury” anything I’ve said; I’ve been referring, and proudly so, to my previous comments throughout the conversation. But if you think the lines you’ve quoted mean that I said there was “a racist motive, abscent[sic] any evidence to the contrary,” you need to do some serious work on your reading comprehension. What I said, and have consistently continued to say, is that the initial information about the dead victims and the shooter suggest a possibility that there might be a racial dimension. Nothing about that is intended to mean — nor do I think it can honestly be interpreted to mean — that I (or anyone else) considered race a default motive, to be assumed unless specifically contradicted by contrary evidence. You seem to be having serious trouble following the logic of this discussion.

    And your last little one-liner doesn’t even deserve mention.

    I apologize for my lack of discipline in responding to you after I said I wouldn’t. I promise I won’t make the same mistake again.

  200. #200 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 13, 2010

    robertgrimm #128

    My specific example was based on the American Revolutionary War, where each side thought the other were still humans. Your example was an situation where one thought the other was sub-human. You’re also talking about one of the most ruthless national leaders of all time. That army was eventually defeated by more people using guns. Guns that wouldn’t exist if we got rid of guns in the only responsible way, getting rid of all of them. It was a much more complicated situation than just some people fighting some others without being matched in firepower.

    What difference does it make if one side thinks the other is subhuman? In the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising a bunch of civilians armed with rifles and pistols took on a brigade of elite troops. The civilians lost big time.

    In World War II the German Army was defeated primarily by the Soviet Army (80% of German casualties occurred on the Eastern Front). Zhukov and Rokossovski were not leading groups of partisans and civilians equipped with small arms. They led real soldiers well armed with what was then modern equipment.

    Incidentally, the American Revolution was being lost by the Americans until the French came over to help the colonists. The French provided arms, equipment, and a lot of drill sergeants to the Americans. The French turned the badly equipped, poorly trained revolutionaries into a well equipped, trained, professional army. Forget the propaganda about the Lexington and Concord Minutemen. It was the French and American ARMIES who defeated the British Army during the Revolution (along with considerable help from the French Navy and some very bad strategic decisions by the British commanders).

  201. #201 John Marley
    February 13, 2010

    @duras(71)

    Yeah, that worked *real* well in the Old West.

  202. #202 https://me.yahoo.com/a/c3tkxdEYj9QYPX7pWHrbYhY263cLSw--#e6108
    February 13, 2010

    Was PZ denied tenure earlier in his career?

  203. #203 Paul Burnett
    February 13, 2010

    I wrote “n th pstv sd, nw thr’s mr pstns pn n th Blgy Dprtmnt.” And PZ replied “[Not funny. Not funny at all. -pzm]”

    Okay, Cracker Guy – now do you have some insight on how some folks felt when you poked a nail through a communion wafer?

    Just making a point…

  204. #204 PZ Myers
    February 13, 2010

    Yes, I was. Managed to cope without shooting anyone.

    Burnett: are you seriously comparing punching a hole in a cracker to murdering three people?

  205. #205 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    Oh, you made a point all right, Paul Burnett. You made the point that some people can’t distinguish a lump of wheat from humans, you seem to be one of them, and therefore it would be wise for everyone to stay far, far away from you, not let you near sharp objects, and hope that you never manage to find your polling place to vote.

  206. #206 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Paul Burnett (@203):

    Okay, Cracker Guy – now do you have some insight on how some folks felt when you poked a nail through a communion wafer?

    Just making a point…

    A transcendently stupid point! Do you really not understand the difference between human lives and a frackin’ cracker? And no matter how much you may revere the cracker, do you really not understand the difference between a cheap joke about materially benefiting from mass murder on the on hand and the political expression of a public demonstration of one’s lack of belief in gods on the other?

    Please write this on the blackboard 3×1034 times: PZ Myers didn’t actually kill anyone!

  207. #207 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Burnett, let’s play along for a moment that the cracker is godflesh. God would not be murdered by PZ’s action. The three people are dead and are not coming back.

    Your point is inane.

  208. #208 ckitching
    February 13, 2010

    What point could you possibly be making? You you really think that violence against crackers is somehow equivalent to shooting and killing three people? Are you that stupid?

  209. #209 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Paul Burnett #203

    Just making a point…

    What point would that be? Explain how sticking a nail through a frackin’ cracker equates to three dead human beings and three more wounded.

  210. #210 The Devil's Chaplain
    February 13, 2010

    Bill @199,

    re: “It hinted at some possible motives, but nothing about it ruled out other motives… The fact that the article didn’t mention race does not logically exclude race from the discussion…”

    It doesn’t exclude a lot of things. But suggesting a racist motive, even tangentially, in a case where a 42-yr-old white female asst. biology professor from Massachusetts, who was distraught that same day from learning her tenureship after 7 years or so was a no-go, pulled out a 9mm & blew away some of the very same white & black & Hispanic colleagues who probably contributed to that decision, & who, btw, “accidentally” fired 3 shots with a 12-gauge shotgun & killed her 18-year-old brother, Seth, an accomplished violinist with science awards no less, some some 24 years earlier, is faulty hypothesis, if not irrational fear, at its very best.

    Hey, maybe the Spaghetti Monster made her do it.

    Or maybe they all played black violins.

    re: “I apologize for my lack of discipline in responding to you after I said I wouldn’t. I promise I won’t make the same mistake again.”

    Correct us if we’re wrong, but wasn’t it Bill @136 who engaged us first? However, as long as you don’t let it happen again, we’re good.

    BTW, did we mention that the police records were missing only 2 years later? That is, according to Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier who does not “want to use the word ‘coverup”. This does not look good, many, if not most, might say.

    Professor accused in Ala. slayings shot her brother in Mass. 24 years ago

    Braintree cop: We let Ala. slay suspect off in ?86 bro kill

  211. #211 Paul Burnett
    February 13, 2010

    PZ wrote (#204): “Burnett: are you seriously comparing punching a hole in a cracker to murdering three people?”

    Personally, not at all. But in the twisted universe of the True Believers, they were as outraged and offended by your CrackerGate comments as you were when you read my comment. THEY don’t understand or accept there’s any difference between living flesh and the transubstantiated living flesh of their god, represented by their cracker.

  212. #212 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    But in the twisted universe of the True Believers, they were as outraged and offended by your CrackerGate comments as you were when you read my comment. THEY don’t understand or accept there’s any difference between living flesh and the transubstantiated living flesh of their god, represented by their cracker.

    Stop being so patronizing, Burnett. If you put any True Believers in a room with their child and a eucharist cracker and asked them which one you should shoot, all of them would pick the cracker.

  213. #213 https://me.yahoo.com/a/Kdn4oTomm.8V8XtwCJRl2N49jpS7E_xi#eb061
    February 13, 2010

    How about this scenario: A man is ripped off by a scalper outside a sports stadium. He begins to wave his (no-longer) concealed gun in the face of the scalper demanding his money back. A bystander thinks that she is witnessing a robbery and reveals her own sidearm, is shot by the man who was ripped off, at which point all hell breaks loose and bullets fly. Many are killed in the melee including the scalper and the man who produced his gun first.

    This is the kind of shit that happens when everyone carries a gun in public.

    Did you make this up or is it based on a real incident? Michigan recently changed its gun-laws and tens of thousands of people have been issued permits in the last years – including myself. This kind of shit is not happening that I am aware of, in fact the homicide rate in Detroit has fallen. This behavior of waving a gun around is called “brandishing” and the first time it happens you lose your concealed carry permit. It doesn’t happen with law-abiding owners, I suppose it happens with criminals. In fact, as a law-abiding citizen you would never have your gun outside a stadium because you can’t take one in – of course the criminals can still get theirs in as most stadiums don’t have metal detectors.
    The perp in the Alabama case was carrying a non-registered handgun. I’m not sure about the laws in Alabama but thats generally not good and probably illegal. As mentioned, campuses are usually gun-free zones. Also illegal. She is not an example of the type of people who are issued concealed carry permits, she is an example of why we choose to carry. And yes, I would have been prepared to shoot her and maybe, just maybe stopped an innocent person from getting killed. At least I would have had a chance.

    Why do I carry? – easy answer – I live 2 miles from Detroit. There was a murder during a car-jacking at my local gas station 1/4 mile from my home. There was a rapist breaking in homes and raping 80 year old women. I have been approached at gas stations, shopping mall parking lots and walking to my classes at Wayne State University. As a women I will not allow myself to be a victim and I will fight for my life. And as a woman, all 120 pound of me, I can be KILLED by an unarmed man, quite easily in fact.

    I am have read this blog for quite some time, I am an AP Biology teacher, atheist, anti-death penalty, pro-choice, and your basic liberal. But I will not be a victim. If you want me to stop carrying you need to provide for my safety – good luck doing that where I live.

  214. #214 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Fine, so we need to not say or do anything that might upset people’s faith. Meanwhile, it is quite alright for you to make light of a real event.

    Your point is still inane.

  215. #215 ckitching
    February 13, 2010

    And you’re defending this “twisted universe of the True Believers” why exactly? Your gallows joke may have been crude and inappropriate, but I don’t know how PZ’s dizemvowelling your post compares to the death and violence threats “crackergate” created. Your attempts at finding analogies between these things is still failing.

  216. #216 The Devil's Chaplain
    February 13, 2010

    Sorry Bill @199,

    Forgot these little juicy tidbits.


    Frazier said during the booking process that day, then-Chief John Polio ordered cops to release Bishop, whose mother Judith Bishop Frazier said then was a public official sitting on the Personnel Committee.


    State police death investigation records released last night back up the longstanding version of events – that the shooting was accidental. Bishop?s arrest is never mentioned in the state police report, nor is the alleged argument with her brother.

    Read on.

  217. #217 DLC
    February 13, 2010

    A tragic incident. I would like to extend my condolences to the families of those murdered.
    Not quite as tragic is the amount of people jumping to conclusions, here and elsewhere.
    I’ll wait until after the trial to declare this woman guilty, but it sure looks that way now.

    AOL news and ctv.ca are carrying a story that Bishop shot and killed her brother in 1986, but that the police ruled the incident an accidental shooting. I guess they’ll review their findings now. Or would, except the same news source reports that the files and evidence are missing.

  218. #218 Hyperon
    February 13, 2010

    I was saying that you could have found it that way. I knew about it because I lived in Missouri for several years and paid attention to the coverage it’s gotten as a model of how to lower recidivism.

    Yes, I could have found that datum using Google, just as I could have “found” from Google that evolution flies in the face of the second law of thermodynamics. As I observed earlier: if you’re going to espouse a societal change of wholesale order, then you’d better have some pretty good information backing it up. The single example you quote is not nearly enough.

  219. #219 BoxNDox
    February 13, 2010

    Part of the problem is the way our society makes people over-identify with their job as constituting the whole of their being…and when they lose their job, it gets perceived as a direct attack on them as a human being, their entire sense of self-worth is wrapped up with something that is inherently tenuous and fragile.

    This is an incredibly important point that really cannot be emphasized enough.

    A huge number of jobs have been eliminated in this country, and while the stimulus package helped to some degree and a subsequent “jobs bill”, if passed, will help even more, the reality is a lot of those jobs will never return no matter what actions our government does or doesn’t take. Any sensible analysis of the trends in our economy comes to this conclusion, as does any examination of the significant shifts in workplace dynamics, especially at large companies.

    What is needed socially is nothing less than a total reassessment of how people are valued. Unfortunately, I have to say I see almost no chance of this happening, which I think means we’re going to an increase in such tragedies in the future.

    I also have to say that the first thing that popped into my mind when I read about this was the tragedy at Stanford back in 1978, when Thomas Streleski murdered his former advisor, Karel de Leeuw (who happened to be a close friend of a friend of mine). I was deeply conflicted about the event at the time and continue to be so now.

    On the one hand, there is absolutely no excuse for walking into someone’s office and bludgeoning him to death with a hammer. Nobody deserves that.

    But on the other hand, Streleski had been working on his doctorate in mathematics for 19 years. (If memory serves, his thesis topic was some highly technical thing in complex analysis, which is a very old and very well-researched area where new results are really difficult to come by.) That’s a crime in it’s own right – Streleski should have been directed into a more reasonable research area years earlier, and if that didn’t work removed from the program. And while Streleski was an especially egregious case, what is effectively abuse of graduate students and junior faculty is all too common.

    Now, of course I have no idea of the circumstances of the present case. It could be anything from an outright hate crime to a deeply disturbed person who snapped under pressure and who should have been identified as such long before this could happen. But I can’t help thinking that no matter what it ends up being, a component of it is likely to be the “your job is who you are” thing.

  220. #220 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 13, 2010

    DLC (@217):

    The shooting of her brother is intriguing, but I’m not sure what it tells us about the current case. Even if the finding of accidental death is overturned, a crime committed in 1986 may not be directly related to the one committed in 2010. It might be evidence of longstanding mental illness, or it might be evidence of a pattern of criminal behavior. But it might also be just an unrelated “prior bad act,” and thus (if my extensive Law and Order legal education can be trusted) inadmissible at trial.

    In any case, I doubt it tells us much about the proximate cause(s) of yesterday’s shooting spree: How many of us still have the same fears, obsessions, or emotional triggers as we did in ’86?

  221. #221 Carlie
    February 13, 2010

    I see that there is a new comment by Hyperon, but after so many go-rounds in the past, knowing that no matter how long it goes there is no way to make a point with him, I’ve decided to delegate interaction with him to my happy greasemonkey. It’s a step I rarely take, but life is just too short.

  222. #222 jeff
    February 13, 2010

    This comment thread is one of the worst I’ve yet seen. So many narcissistic assholes projecting shit onto a tragedy. A few (only a few) here are the most insufferable, callous, and logic-impaired asswipes I’ve come across.

  223. #223 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Hyperon still thinks he is anything other than killfile material for gross insipidity and stupidity? What a loser bigot, as everybody has telling him since day one…

  224. #224 thedolcelife#276f1
    February 13, 2010

    Alright, attempt #2 (or 3):

    I’ve started reading Jeremy Rifkin’s new book “The Empathic Civilization” – great stuff. From the introduction, “…Recent discoveries in brain science and child development are forcing us to rethink the long-held belief that human beings are, by nature, aggressive, materialistic, utilitarian, and self-interested.” There’s plenty more and he makes his case better than I ever could.

    When I think about having empathy and compassion for others and I read the news articles about this shooting, sure, I think about Amy Bishop a little bit.

    But, really, my heart goes out to Dr. Podila, Dr. Davis, Dr. Johnson, the other victims, and all of their families. I think about the pain and anguish the faculty, staff and students at that University are feeling. I think about the Bishops and how they lost their son and, presumably, now their daughter. I think about the police officers on the original case in Boston and how, right now, they probably feel like they let down the people of Alabama.

    Did Dr. Bishop think about any of these people with compassion when she put that gun in her purse the morning of her review? Want to walk in her shoes? Go ahead, take a moment and imagine spending Thursday preparing for your tenure review.

    Powerpoint? Check. Handouts? Check. Bullets? Check.

    I have the capacity to think of all of the pain she just caused and still sympathize for Dr. Bishop. I simply choose not to.

    She can have her legal rights, she won’t have my heart.

  225. #225 strange gods before me, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Hyperon, I thought you said you were leaving.

  226. #226 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Jeff, care to point out who you think are being assholes? Or is this just a blanket statement?

  227. #227 Paul Burnett
    February 13, 2010

    Janine (#226) wrote: “Jeff, care to point out who you think are being assholes? Or is this just a blanket statement?”

    Probably me. I apologize.

  228. #228 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 13, 2010

    Paul Burnett, usually when a person drops in and drops a statement like that with no qualifier about what made him upset, it usually means that the person does not like the blog. I just want to see what made him upset.

    Apparently, he has not gotten upset with the creationist and anti-sciences blogs where they are taking this specific mass murder as a sign of the moral failure of the theory of evolution.

  229. #229 chuckgoecke
    February 13, 2010

    I am just sad. Speculation about the underling story at this point is useless. Anyone thinking of suicide, and/or taking others with them, or otherwise wrecking their and others lives, please just get help.

  230. #230 jeff
    February 13, 2010

    No, I do not care to point out who has been disgraceful on this thread.

  231. #231 jeff
    February 13, 2010

    Janine, I LOVE the blog! It’s just that I believe that, in situations like this, it’s best to say that it’s bad, and not name people. Is that really hard to understand?

  232. #232 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 13, 2010

    I do not see the point. If something made you upset, please say why. What is the purpose of a vague statement.

    Frankly, I was not too happy seeing people make speculations about Bishop’s motive, not enough is known by us to say why she did it. That is why I said nothing about. That and there was already over one hundred and fifty statements by the time I got here.

  233. #233 jeff
    February 13, 2010

    Hi Janine,

    I appreciate the response, and I agree about the speculation part. I never intended to become part of the debates above; hence, I registered a complaint, and left off names. Cheers.

  234. #234 Non Edible Nacho
    February 14, 2010

    May I join (if a bit late) the “Hey, nice comments, Walton” crowd? Give it a few years more and it may all end up in a full metamorphosis from complete conservative (including the religious aspects) to rampant socialist, with a big part of the process registered on the archives of this site.

    *raises glass*

  235. #235 ambulocetacean
    February 14, 2010

    The US needs some proper gun laws. Most Australians have never even seen a gun that wasn’t on a cop.

    I’m pretty sure that down here (unless you’re a private eye or whatever) you can only get a handgun if you join a pistol club – and you have to leave the gun at the club.

    I don’t think Australians are much less crazy than Americans but massacres and gun crime are so rare here simply because there are so few guns.

    How does Britain survive without guns? Even most cops in Britain don’t have guns, FFS.

    Let’s not forget that the American gun trade is causing carnage in Mexico too – most of the cartel psychos are slaughtering people with guns bought in the US.

  236. #236 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 14, 2010

    thedolcelife (@224):

    But, really, my heart goes out to Dr. Podila, Dr. Davis, Dr. Johnson, the other victims, and all of their families. I think about the pain and anguish the faculty, staff and students at that University are feeling. I think about the Bishops and how they lost their son and, presumably, now their daughter. I think about the police officers on the original case in Boston and how, right now, they probably feel like they let down the people of Alabama.

    But who isn’t? Oh, there’ve been a couple of clearly obnoxious comments, but those of us who have been ruminating on what Dr. Bishops motivations might have been, or what societal factors might have set the tragedy in motion, have in no way been minimizing the loss and suffering of the victims; their families, colleagues, and students; and the others directly affected by this event.

    But precisely because of all that pain and loss, isn’t it worthwhile to try to understand why these things happen? To think proactively about how we might see them coming, if not actually prevent them, in the future? It’s not a binary choice between sympathy and analysis; we clearly need both.

    Janine:

    I do not see the point. If something made you upset, please say why. What is the purpose of a vague statement.

    I can’t see inside Jeff’s head, of course, but I’m guessing he’s just generically bummed about the whole sorry mess: both the tragic horror of the event itself, and the apparent coldly analytical discussion here. On that last score, and this…

    Frankly, I was not too happy seeing people make speculations about Bishop’s motive, not enough is known by us to say why she did it.

    …I suppose I should plead guilty, having been a big part of this thread’s word count. But I don’t really feel guilty: Of course we don’t yet know why Bishop did what she did, and we may never know much of it… but that’s often true of news stories about events on the personal scale, whether happy or tragic.

    At some level, we’re totally disconnected from the people we read about in the news… except that we’re connected by the society that we share, and individual stories can usefully prompt us to think about larger issues.

    Was Bishop mentally ill? Whether she was or not, or whether we ever learn the answer, Carlie’s and Walton’s thoughts about public policy around mental illness have been valuable to me, and will translate into action in terms of which candidates I support and what I tell them is important to me.

    Was it really all about the stress of tenure? Maybe so, maybe not, but people in this audience may have been spurred to advocacy around tenure reform by our conversation. Was it really about economic stress not specific to tenure? That’s obviously a needful subject for conversation.

    Was race a factor? Maybe not, but it bears remembering that we live in a society where racially-motivated violence is a real issue that needs to be faced. Did our gun laws or our penal system contribute to this? What changes might we need to make in the future?

    I don’t think it’s careless, or gossipy, or disrespectful to those who’ve suffered loss to ask these questions. If hearing about a tragic story like this doesn’t motivate us to both feel and think, all that’s left is voyeurism… and that would be disrespectful.

    IMHO, of course. It has not been my intention, in any of my comments here, to trivialize this event or the suffering it has caused, nor to excuse the perpetrator. If my comments have hurt anyone reading them, I sincerely apologize. But this stuff is happening in our world… the world we not only live in, but make with our own hands and minds, day after day. Talking and thinking about it out to matter to us.

  237. #237 Bill Dauphin, OM
    February 14, 2010

    Ummm… out should be ought @236, last line.

  238. #238 F
    February 14, 2010

    What about the evidence of a gene for psychopathy, which might be active in about 5% of men? Do you deny that punitive measures such as prison sentences might be essential for deterrence purposes?

    And what gene (or is it an environmental factor, or just sheer bloody-mindedness) that seems to inform your neuropathology?

    Imprisonment, whether or not a deterrent of some level of efficacy for those acculturated to some form of criminal behavior, is not a fucking deterrent to psychopaths. This, among some other characteristics, is why they are classified as psychopaths in the first place.

    Prison is, however, a good way to keep them away from the public. It isn’t very good at rehabilitating most criminals, however, which is something that needs to be addressed.

    Not that the shooter in question here has been identified as a psychopath, by any means.

  239. #239 Hyperon
    February 14, 2010

    Imprisonment, whether or not a deterrent of some level of efficacy for those acculturated to some form of criminal behavior, is not a fucking deterrent to psychopaths

    Say “fucking deterrent” all you want: you still don’t necessarily have a good argument. Not all psychopaths are in jail, and some experts believe that punishment is the only way to keep psychopaths from doing harm. Indeed, it is hard to see how else we’re supposed to deal with individuals that are selfish through and through, and have no meaningful sense of right and wrong. Getting criminals rehabilitated is of course something to be promoted, but this has to be weighted against the cost and — especially if we do away with prisons in favour of “secure psychiatric facilities”, as Walton seems to advocate — the possibility of extra risk to the public.

    Not that the shooter in question here has been identified as a psychopath, by any means.

    Yes, it’s only four people she killed in cold blood, including her own brother. A veritable bleeding heart.

  240. #240 Kagehi
    February 14, 2010

    While a responsible person with a gun in that room may not have been able to mitigate this tragedy, there are many other situations in which a gun is the most effective tool to keep yourself and others alive.

    Going to use this to address both this comment, and robertgrimm’s assertion that solutions, including banning guns in public, doesn’t somehow consider the social ills that “make them dangerous”. First, this is bullshit. We also don’t let untrained, non-specialists wander around with primacord or other high explosives, **precisely because** the general public is likely to use them incorrectly, in the wrong situations, and/or intentionally against other people. Guns shouldn’t be any different. I find it bloody **insane** that half the weapons, including the completely blunt ones, in the martial arts are *100%* illegal to carry at all, and the only possible reason for this seems to be that they are a) not guns, b) not small enough to be a knife, and c) might leave people alive to remember that someone beat the shit out of them with one.

    Finally, things like the above quote are asserted ***all the time*** by pro gun people.

    If anything, the refusal to recognize that errors are possible, that the wrong people might become victims, especially in a crowd of untrained people, who are all armed, and the blindly stupid refusal to recognize the ***same*** problems that such pro gun people claim are a reason to “keep” them, i.e., that there are psychological factors that will make people violent, with or without them, are as much an argument against allowing such people to have an instant-kill, rapid fire, and long range, weapon, as they are used as arguments for everyone else to have one to defend themselves against them. And, in point of fact, its probably a greater argument against allowing them to have them, because rational people, who are not already thinking about using guns to attack/defend, and have not already, at least, considered killing someone with one, are not going to be carrying them. People that have thought about killing people, do intend to attack someone, even if its only as a defense, and are already **primed** to use it as a solution to such a problem **are** going to be the ones armed.

    Can you honestly tell me that these, especially if they are not well trained, not psychologically evaluated, not *dedicated* to using them as a last resort, etc., are the people you want in the crowd with you, holding guns, and possibly shooting people that they only “think” they saw firing/pulling on them? You are out of your fracking mind if you think these people should be armed, and even more out of your mind, if you think *everyone* needs to have one, when the only thing the people, not already primed to kill someone, are likely to do is wave it ineffectually, drop it, or hide under a damn table, none of which makes *their* tool all that useful in stopping the assholes who are ready to shoot people instead.

  241. #241 Knockgoats
    February 14, 2010

    Well said Bill Dauphin,OM@236.

  242. #242 Knockgoats
    February 14, 2010

    Well said Bill Dauphin,OM@236.

  243. #243 Rowan
    February 14, 2010

    I see she is now reported to have been the suspect in an attempted letter bombing of a Harvard professor in 1993 she was in dispute with.

    Article at The Boston Globe

    I think it should be apparent that this woman has mental health issues.

  244. #244 Define Life
    February 14, 2010

    I am a student at UAH, and have classes in the building where this took place. I had just left the campus when this happened. While I don’t know anyone involved personally, I know several people who did. One of my good friends has actually known the killer, Amy Bishop, for several years. He said that she was normally a very nice person, or at least appeared to be. Clearly she was not who she pretended to be, given recent events and her past history that has now come to light.

  245. #245 elzoog
    February 14, 2010

    The thing is, what specific law would PZ Meyers recommend to prevent someone like this from getting a gun? There was no evidence prior to getting the gun that the woman was crazy. She seemed to be a Harvard graduate with a possibly bright future. Does PZ Meyers recommend we ban guns entirely?

  246. #246 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 14, 2010

    Does PZ Meyers recommend we ban guns entirely?

    Many of us would like to see stricter controls on handguns, including strict enforcement of range safety rules. Gun safes, separate ammo storage, no hiding in the end table next to the bed, no loaded guns not under the direct control of the licensee. That will save toddlers and up from killing their siblings…

  247. #247 Ichthyic
    February 14, 2010

    There was no evidence prior to getting the gun that the woman was crazy.

    then you haven’t read the thread comments very carefully, or done your own research.

  248. #248 elzoog
    February 14, 2010

    Ichthyie:

    Hmm, evidence would mean history of mental illness. Let’s see if she had a history of mental illness that someone selling the gun would find if he did research….

    Let’s see, she shot her brother in 1986. Did the state evaluate her and determine that she was mentally insane? No. Was she charged with a crime? No. It was reported as an accidental shooting. Is an accidental shooting evidence of mental illness? No.

    You mean, research like reading the following from a web site PZ Meyers mentions himself

    “”Nothing seemed to be off at all,” she said about her teacher, who wore a pink sweater in class. “We were all shocked, like, all of us just couldn’t believe it.””

    Nothing seemed to be off at all… hmm… no evidence of mental illness there.

    One link from PZ Meyers himself is entitled “UA Huntsville Dr. Amy Bishop holds active NIH R15 AREA award”. Hmm, a researcher that gets a grant for specifically “Elucidation of Nitric Oxide Resistance Mechanisms in Motor Neurons”.

    So tell me how I as a gun seller who standing before me is a woman who is a Harvard graduate, is doing NIH research on “Elucidation of Nitric Oxide Resistance Mechanisms in Motor Neurons” has never been convicted of a crime, has no apparent history of mental illness (by that I mean actually going to a psychologist or psychiatrist and been diagnosed as opposed to something subjective), how am I as a gun seller supposed to say “This woman is crazy, no way am I selling her a gun.”?

  249. #249 holly baker
    February 15, 2010

    No matter what the state gun law is here in Alabama, the Alabama University system has a “no weapons law” for all it’s campuses, including but not limited to, bow and arrows, sling shots, etc. I have seen the campus security deal with these types of situations on the main Tuscaloosa campus. Even if you have a carry permit for the state, you better take your gun off and leave it at home before you go on campus. THAT is the law and that is what makes it premeditated. Of course she’s crazy! She shot people! Over tenure! What better definition do you need? Of course she was “under pressure”. Who isn’t? It’s called life, but being a college professor doesn’t make her any different than Manson, McVey, or Jack the Ripper. People are dead and she did it; I don’t care about extenuating circumstances, we all have extenuating circumstances but we don’t go around killing people.

  250. #250 elzoog
    February 15, 2010

    Holly: “Of course she’s crazy! She shot people! Over tenure!”

    Let’s say I am the guy who sold her the gun that she used. I do a background check… hmm let’s see … did she shoot people over an issue of tenure? Nope.

    I don’t know if you realize this or not Holly, but whoever sold her the gun probably doesn’t see far enough into the future to know what she is going to use it for.

  251. #251 Becca
    February 15, 2010

    Since the gun was illegal and unregistered, whoever sold her the gun wasn’t about to check for a history of mental illness anyway.

  252. #252 JBlilie
    February 15, 2010

    She is also a failed unibomber wanna be

    We all know that more guns make as safer, right? … right?

  253. #253 JBlilie
    February 15, 2010

    Should have been “make us safer” …

  254. #254 JBlilie
    February 15, 2010

    @248:

    Let’s see, she shot her brother in 1986. Did the state evaluate her and determine that she was mentally insane? No. Was she charged with a crime? No. It was reported as an accidental shooting. Is an accidental shooting evidence of mental illness? No.

    She shot her brother 3 times in the chest. The local cops let her go without charging her. Shooting someone once might be an accident. Shooting some one three times and hitting them in the chest each time is not an accident.

    The local cop needs to be seriously investigated.

    The real lesson is taking violence more seriously and not letting peoiple off with lame excuses.

  255. #255 glowball
    February 15, 2010

    @213 by me.yahoo.com+alphanumeric salad
    This. This exactly.

    I’m not in Detroit, but living in the U.S.
    Women are a target, in parking lots, on the roads, in our own homes.
    There is no better equalizer than a gun and the proper training to use it.
    A VERY LARGE DOG is good too, but hard to take with one everywhere.

    As to the concerns of guns in the hands of the untrained, make it just like a driver’s license. No pass test, no pass safety rules, no gun. That would cut down on a lot of the nonsense.

    As for the Dr., she seems to be what my mom would call ‘not quite right’. Its very sad. I’m very sorry for the families of the victims.

  256. #256 Becca
    February 15, 2010

    @252 – no, she was cleared of sending the pipe bomb – according to her husband, she was merely one of many people they talked to about it.

  257. #257 JBlilie
    February 15, 2010

    @256:

    She was also “cleared” of murdering her brother.

    Failure to recognize a pattern (just like with Nidal Hasan.)

  258. #258 Becca
    February 15, 2010

    @257 – I didn’t say she was innocent of sending the pipe bomb, nor did I say there wasn’t a pattern there – there obviously is. I merely that she was only one of several people who were questioned, and cleared. @252 stated that she had done it:

    She is also a failed unibomber wanna be

    We have no evidence to support that bald a statement.

    OTOH, evidence does make things look very bad for her shooting of her brother.

  259. #259 Michael
    February 15, 2010

    I would say that this tragedy should surprise no one. When Darwinists teach that people exist for no reason but are simply “accidents” of nature, with no Divine Image and no Divine transcendent purpose, what else can one expect?

    It’s a shame she killed a professor from India. Even if he was a Hindu idolater, at least he believed in gods rather than nothing at all. But such is the vaccuum that Darwinism leaves in the human soul that those moved to senseless rage inflict terror on any and all targets.

    It seems that God is making the Darwinists drink the bitter cup that they have poured out with such malicious enthusiasm for everyone else.

    We want them to stop polluting our perception of our planet with their pompous perverted polemic against the Creator God.

  260. #260 stevieinthecity
    February 15, 2010

    You are a fucking piece of shit Michael.

    Your nonexistent god is a vile manifestation of your ignorance.

  261. #261 Michael
    February 15, 2010

    Stevie,

    Spoken with the limited linguistic capability of someone who has indeed evolved from monkeys, but not very far and not very long ago.

    You should be a poster boy for Darwinianism.

  262. #262 Michael
    February 15, 2010

    Darwin suffered from extreme cynicism and despair. He needed a psychiatrist or a therapist, not a careeer as a psuedo-biologist.

  263. #263 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 15, 2010

    It seems that God

    What deity? Show conclusive physical evidence that your imaginary deity exists. Evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural, original. Until then, you are a delusional fool without a cogent argument.

  264. #264 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 15, 2010

    Micheal. your ignorance is exceed only by your smugness. Please, explain what a real biologist is. If you have the proof, you will change the field.

    As for your crack about Darwin being cynical and suffering from despair, that hardly matters in his field of knowledge as long as other scientists are about to replicate and expand on his work.

    Why are you making an assumption of what Gopi Padila’s believes are? And why would you care? According to your theology, he is just as damned as any atheist.

    Micheal, you are the poster boy for religiously induced stupidity and hatred.

  265. #265 elzoog
    February 15, 2010

    Becca “Since the gun was illegal and unregistered,”

    So what law does PZ Meyer recommend to handle people who get guns illegally?

  266. #266 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 16, 2010

    Michael,

    Thanks for coming here and displaying the morass of intellectual dishonesty that is the fundamentalist mind. Keep up the good work.

  267. #267 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 16, 2010

    elzoog, show some intelligence, and actually work to enforce present gun laws, including the confiscation of all illegally obtained and unregistered firearms. Or shut the fuck up as a fuckwit.

  268. #268 Tulse
    February 16, 2010

    Michael’s a poe, right? I figure just the alliteration in the last sentence alone makes it likely, much less the “Hindu idolator” line.

  269. #269 Sven DiMilo
    February 16, 2010

    Charles Darwin a “pseudo-biologist”???

    That would be funny if it wasn’t so damn sad.

    Why, because he didn’t jockey gels?

  270. #270 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 16, 2010

    So what law does PZ Meyer

    Who?

  271. #271 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 16, 2010

    Michael’s a poe, right? I figure just the alliteration in the last sentence alone makes it likely, much less the “Hindu idolator” line.

    No I’m pretty sure Michael has been here showing his ass in the past.

    His blog looks very familiar, and ridiculous.

  272. #272 Rincewind'smuse
    February 16, 2010

    I would say that this tragedy should surprise no one. When Darwinists teach that people exist for no reason but are simply “accidents” of nature, with no Divine Image and no Divine transcendent purpose, what else can one expect?

    It’s a shame she killed a professor from India. Even if he was a Hindu idolater, at least he believed in gods rather than nothing at all. But such is the vaccuum that Darwinism leaves in the human soul that those moved to senseless rage inflict terror on any and all targets.

    The putrid combination of abject stupidity and intellectual dishonesty in these words serve as a lesson on the effects of religion on the mind, so for that I thank you.It’s telling that you would use a human tragedy as a religio-political opportunity. I’m not going to do your work for you, you fucking sack of shit , but do a search over the last 20 years and eat your fucking words like the proudly moronic fool you are when you realize that many such shootings are done by religious fundamentalists whose minds have been irrevocably clogged by the intellectual equivalent of spam you call a religion.

  273. #273 holly baker
    February 16, 2010

    Dear elzoog,
    I didn’t say anything about her method of obtaining the weapon. I don’t think that has anything to do with the point I was trying to make. She had an illegal weapon carried in an illegal way. If she is so “brilliant” I’m certain she was well aware of the illegality of her weapon possession. Nobody can know for certain that she went into that room with the absolute intent to kill but she knew she was breaking the law just by having the gun in her possession. As far as the seller or provider (or victim of stolen property) of the gun, of course you can’t know what the possessor intends to do with the weapon for ever and ever as long as they have the weapon. I have a Smith & Wesson .38. I holster my gun when I hike around our place in the CO mountains because of bear, mountain lions, bull elk and a few other large animals I might encounter. So, I have a gun for a specific purpose and I’ve never used it for anything else. Can I promise that I will never use it for anything else? Of course not. Only time will tell.

  274. #274 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlilp9Eepzb7HACfNkzQ8JEHNtOahPR5N0
    February 16, 2010

    Michael’s sordid, hate-filled bile betrays the weird hierarchy that somehow matters to the fundamentalists. His comment “At least he believed in gods rather than nothing at all” implies that as long as you believe some kind (any kind) of unproven, unprovable, archaic, primitive bollocks then you’ve at least got a foothold above the seething mass of filth that is the UNBELIEVER! Pearls, etc…

    What a total cock.

    Nik

  275. #275 Kamaka
    February 16, 2010

    HighandMikey @ 259

    It seems that God is making the Darwinists drink the bitter cup

    Here we have it, the smug arrogance of someone who thinks they know what god thinks.

    Michael, you pompous ass, even if your fairy-tale gawd existed, you would still not have the slightest idea of what the omnipotent one might be thinking. Come on down off your self-created golden throne, oh mind-reader of gawd, and admit you have no special insight into much of anything.

  276. #276 thedolcelife#276f1
    February 16, 2010

    Regarding Michael and his blog…

    As a Jew (who doesn’t believe in any kind of god, I’m an atheist despite a good friend trying to convince me I’m agnostic), I find Michael’s blog doubly reprehensible. Something’s always bothered me about Jews who convert to Christianity. Is this a loyalty thing? Or, is it that I believe I can be a reform Jew who is an atheist (culturally jewish), but no zealot like a convert?

    Anyone else go through this? How do you reconcile it? I mean this honestly.

  277. #277 Kamaka
    February 16, 2010

    I find Michael’s blog doubly reprehensible

    I never bothered to check. The pompous troll is also a blogwhore? There’s a surprise.

    Something’s always bothered me about Jews who convert to Christianity.

    Something bothers me about anyone who converts to xtianity. The whole mythos is so bizarre, it scares me that anyone would buy it.

    Judaism is pretty bizarre, too. The rules of life’s conduct and the reasons for doing so are quite strange, but at least belief in god is not required.

  278. #278 elzoog
    February 17, 2010

    Nerd: “elzoog, show some intelligence, and actually work to enforce present gun laws”

    I wasn’t aware that there is no effort to enforce present gun laws. Besides, PZ Meyers says the following “The ease of access to handguns is a great social evil, one that too easily simplifies the conversion of disagreement into lethal combat.”

    So how does PZ Meyers propose to fix this problem of “The ease of access to handguns”?

    Of course the problem with confiscating illegally obtained hand guns is finding them in the first place.

    Holly: “I didn’t say anything about her method of obtaining the weapon”

    Maybe you didn’t, but PZ Meyers did. Hence my question of what PZ Meyers thinks is a solution.

    As far as the rest of your post. Yeah she knew she was doing something illegal. Someone who intends on doing something illegal deciding to do it in an illegal way, hmm, I wouldn’t have thought of that. I always thought that people who want to do illegal things consult the law just to make sure they do it in a legal fashion. Thanks for proving me wrong.

    So far none of you have really answered what should be done to prevent this sort of thing that is in any way practical.

  279. #279 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 17, 2010

    elzoog, you might try and make the effort to spell the blog owner’s name correctly.

  280. #280 Michael
    February 17, 2010

    Dear Pharyngulites,

    I really am shocked at the vulgarity with which some of you express yourselves. If this is any indication of the psychological constitution of American biologists, I can understand how Amy Bishop might have been driven to commit murder. The language of some of you truly seems indicative of humanoids who only recently, but not completely, evolved from lower life forms.

    As for the accusation that I show “hatred”, this astounds me. I wrote that the Alabama massacre was a tragedy. And truly I feel great sadness for Amy Bishop’s ruined career, her humiliated family, and her annihilated victims. It is a black mark for American academia in general. And while it probably is true that the brutal competition for grant money and tenure played a large role in pushing her over the edge; however, I also believe that it is ironic — at the very least — that those who teach the Darwinist notion that people are autonomically-generated life forms by a “blind and pitiless” watchmaker would find it so hard to accept what Bishop did. It seems to me that the very fact that you are shocked and horrified proves that you do have souls and a Godly conscience that puts the lie to the Richard-Dawkins-brand of militant and belligerent Darwinian atheism.

    As for my claim that Bishop’s actions reflect the broader Darwinist attitude that people have no intrinsic moral worth because they have not been created in the image of God, I cannot fathom why you would call this “hateful”. Is it hateful for a doctor to diagnose a patient with cancer? Is it hateful for an epidemiologist to announce that Swine Flu is likely to kill 1 million people worldwide? Is it hateful for an environmental toxicologist to inform the public that the groundwater is severely polluted and will kill an unacceptably large percentage of its imbibers? So why pray tell is it hateful to assert that the degraded image of humanity promulgated by Darwinists is somehow responsible for Amy Bishop’s murderous rampage against her colleagues in Alabama (and perhaps against her brother, and attempted against her colleagues, in Massachusetts too)?

    This is an excellent example of how many of you seem to react in reflexively knee-jerk ways, literally like lower animals relying on instinct rather than reason. Perhaps this is why you are unable to think rationally about questions of philosophy, metaphysics, and theology. The fault, perhaps, is not yours, nor even with Darwinism per se. The fault is the super-specialization that has forced itself upon American academia, in which professors develop a depth of knowledge without a commensurate breadth of understanding. Everyone seems to occupy his spot in the Matrix, with almost zero chance of comprehending any other field, or even another sub-specialty within one’s own field. Perhaps this is the ultimate metaphorical consequence of pursuing the “Tree of Knowledge”: being able to see not even the trees, let alone the forest, and not even the branches on the individual tree, and not even the leaves on the individual branches, but just one vein in a particular leaf. Is such knowledge even fruitful? Does it benefit humanity? Does it give rise to happiness and joy in the heart of its possessor?

    You alone know the answers to these questions. It seems to me that only God can help you out of the terrible morass you have dug yourselves into. Your society has betrayed you. The system has betrayed you. You are the most wretched and pitiable victims of intellectual fraud I can imagine.

    How can it be that the best educated generation in American history (in terms of percentage of the population who are college graduates) are living in a time of total economic, social, and political meltdown? How can such an “educated” population apparently be so stupid and incapable of managing its society? What has gone wrong?

    The sinister intellectual matrix you find yourselves in, of deep but narrow knowledge and almost total blindness to anything outside the borders of your tiny rabbit holes, is perfect for controlling the masses. It is a nearly foolproof scheme dreamed up by the elites, who themselves are often the most broad-minded people with the widest possible interests. That is how they have managed to subjugate an entire society of rabbit-holed geniuses. Excessively deep knowledge would seem to lead to essentially deficient understanding.

    Perhaps God is waiting for your frustration to grow so intense that you will cry out to be liberated from the deep and irrelevant rabbit holes you are buried in. Your exile is almost infinitely worse than what the Hebrew slaves faced in ancient Egypt. That was largely an exile of the body; while you lie imprisoned in the dark depths of intellectual irrelevancy and indeterminacy. I for one pray for your release and liberation so that you might receive the joyfully abundant life that Jesus offers in this world and the eternal peace He offers in the next.

    Shalom waSalam beShem Yeshua – Peace in the Name of Jesus!

  281. #281 Michael
    February 17, 2010

    Dear Mr. “Dolcelife”,

    One thing I learned growing up in a Jewish academic family, is that while even most religious Jews embrace Darwinism, even most secular Jews embrace a theistic point of view arising from the indoctrination they receive via Hebrew and Sunday school classes that they attend as children.

    (The fact that these two world views are contradictory — in my opinion — does not really seem to concern them. Thus they walk around in a kind of intellectual and spiritual schizophrenia.)

    But, while these Jews tend to have a minimialist sense of spirituality having been raised by their parents and communities to believe in a Higher Power who seeks their good and wills their success in life, for non-Jews this is not the case. Christians who are exposed to Darwinist ideas in college tend to totally abandon their church and their faith they were inculcated with as children, with rare exceptions.

    This fact leads me to wonder if subconsciously, or perhaps even deliberately, Jews utilize Darwinist concepts as a tool by which to eviscerate Western society of its Christian foundations while ensuring that, in the end, Judaism will emerge as the only unchallenged and totally dominant faith system.

  282. #282 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 17, 2010

    that those who teach the Darwinist notion that people are autonomically-generated life forms by a “blind and pitiless” watchmaker

    Um, no that’s not at all what is taught.

    As for my claim that Bishop’s actions reflect the broader Darwinist attitude that people have no intrinsic moral worth because they have not been created in the image of God, I cannot fathom why you would call this “hateful”.

    It’s not just hateful, it’s a stupid and completely inaccurate strawman version of the correct teaching of the Theory of Evolution. Something that makes no moral claism, only describes as best we can with the information we have how the biological diversity on this planet came to be.

    Is it hateful for a doctor to diagnose a patient with cancer? Is it hateful for an epidemiologist to announce that Swine Flu is likely to kill 1 million people worldwide? Is it hateful for an environmental toxicologist to inform the public that the groundwater is severely polluted and will kill an unacceptably large percentage of its imbibers? So why pray tell is it hateful to assert that the degraded image of humanity promulgated by Darwinists is somehow responsible for Amy Bishop’s murderous rampage against her colleagues in Alabama (and perhaps against her brother, and attempted against her colleagues, in Massachusetts too)?

    One of these things is not like the other, one of these things does not belong.

    This is an excellent example of how many of you seem to react in reflexively knee-jerk ways, literally like lower animals relying on instinct rather than reason. Perhaps this is why you are unable to think rationally about questions of philosophy, metaphysics, and theology. The fault, perhaps, is not yours, nor even with Darwinism per se. The fault is the super-specialization that has forced itself upon American academia, in which professors develop a depth of knowledge without a commensurate breadth of understanding. Everyone seems to occupy his spot in the Matrix, with almost zero chance of comprehending any other field, or even another sub-specialty within one’s own field. Perhaps this is the ultimate metaphorical consequence of pursuing the “Tree of Knowledge”: being able to see not even the trees, let alone the forest, and not even the branches on the individual tree, and not even the leaves on the individual branches, but just one vein in a particular leaf. Is such knowledge even fruitful? Does it benefit humanity? Does it give rise to happiness and joy in the heart of its possessor?

    Except that there are many fields in the sciences that are part of the massive support for the ToE, not just biology. Do you deny their knowledge as well? Do you deny the interconnected breadth of knowledge shared between the disciplines on this subject or are you just too ignorant to know about it? Or maybe you know about it and are just to stupid to grasp the significance of it?

    You alone know the answers to these questions. It seems to me that only God can help you out of the terrible morass you have dug yourselves into.

    The increase of knowledge trumps your religion Michael. It always has, always will.

    Your society has betrayed you. The system has betrayed you. You are the most wretched and pitiable victims of intellectual fraud I can imagine.

    Shinny Shinny mirror.

    How can it be that the best educated generation in American history (in terms of percentage of the population who are college graduates) are living in a time of total economic, social, and political meltdown? How can such an “educated” population apparently be so stupid and incapable of managing its society? What has gone wrong?

    Those damn biologists ruining the economy.

    The sinister intellectual matrix you find yourselves in, of deep but narrow knowledge and almost total blindness to anything outside the borders of your tiny rabbit holes, is perfect for controlling the masses. It is a nearly foolproof scheme dreamed up by the elites, who themselves are often the most broad-minded people with the widest possible interests. That is how they have managed to subjugate an entire society of rabbit-holed geniuses. Excessively deep knowledge would seem to lead to essentially deficient understanding.

    What size tin foil hat is that?

    Perhaps God is waiting for your frustration to grow so intense that you will cry out to be liberated from the deep and irrelevant rabbit holes you are buried in.

    My only frustration in this area is that babbling morons like yourself still have an influence over the weak minded.

    Your exile is almost infinitely worse than what the Hebrew slaves faced in ancient Egypt. That was largely an exile of the body; while you lie imprisoned in the dark depths of intellectual irrelevancy and indeterminacy.

    Still gazing in that mirror are you?

    I for one pray for your release and liberation so that you might receive the joyfully abundant life that Jesus offers in this world and the eternal peace He offers in the next.

    Now here’s something.

    Please keep praying. Spend as much time as you can praying for us. All day and night.

    The more you spend time on your knees talking to yourself, the less you’ll be out in the real world causing the harm you do.

    Shalom waSalam beShem Yeshua – Peace in the Name of Jesus!

    You should really get that checked out. Looks like it itches.

  283. #283 Michael
    February 17, 2010

    Another thing you all should consider: even according to the imperatives of Darwinism itself, which assert that traits that are advantageous to survival are preserved, while those that are not are discarded from the biosphere, it would seem that the clearly demoralizing effect of Darwinist concepts on the human psyche strongly suggest that they are NOT advantageous to human happiness, success, or survival and on that basis alone should be rejected.

  284. #284 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 17, 2010

    I wasn’t aware that there is no effort to enforce present gun laws.

    Then there needs to be house to house, apartment to apartment searches for unregistered and illegal firearms. And the jailing of offenders, who now receive not even a slap on the wrist, just confiscation of the firearm. Put up or shut up.

  285. #285 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 17, 2010

    Another thing you all should consider: even according to the imperatives of Darwinism itself, which assert that traits that are advantageous to survival are preserved, while those that are not are discarded from the biosphere, it would seem that the clearly demoralizing effect of Darwinist concepts on the human psyche strongly suggest that they are NOT advantageous to human happiness, success, or survival and on that basis alone should be rejected.

    Good grief that was stupid.

  286. #286 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 17, 2010

    And one thing you should consider Michael is that your babble condones murder if it suits your God’s need. So lecturing us on moral would make you an idiot. And that isn’t a reason to reject evolution. You can only reject evolution if the evidence doesn’t support it. But the evidence do in fact support it.

    (He won’t come back. Judging from his blog, another Hovind appologist?)

  287. #287 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 17, 2010

    (He won’t come back. Judging from his blog, another Hovind appologist?)

    No his pathology is of a different sort. Similar, but different.

  288. #288 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 17, 2010

    No his pathology is of a different sort. Similar, but different.

    I had assume he was because all of Hovind’s ilk called Jesus by the Hebrew pronounciation Yeshua.

  289. #289 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 17, 2010

    Yeah that’s a reasonable guess, but Michael is one of those “used to be Jewish but realized that Jews are all going to hell” types.

  290. #290 Michael
    February 17, 2010
  291. #291 Michael
    February 17, 2010

    see this on the problem of sexuality and evolution:

    http://www.scienceagainstevolution.org/vol14-5.pdf

    excerpt:

    Sex and Violets

    It?s Valentine?s Day, and we love to celebrate it by talking about the theory of evolution?s failure to explain the origin of sex.

    There is no question that sexual reproduction has its advantages. The controversy is over how natural selection could possibly have caused sexual reproduction to arise. Let?s give you some general background describing the problem, and then talk about specific issues evolutionists have been debating recently in the technical literature.

    A Head Start
    Evolutionists don?t like to include abiogenesis (the origin of life) as part of the theory of evolution because they can?t even begin to present a plausible scenario as to how it could happen. Without abiogenesis, the theory of evolution is literally dead on arrival. If there is no living thing to evolve, there can be no evolution.

    But it is Valentine?s Day, and our hearts are so overflowing with love that we are willing to give evolutionists a head start. Just for the sake of discussion, we are willing to grant them their premise that life began through some unknown, undirected natural process without so much as a laboratory full of equipment, an intelligent designer (and his deformed assistant), and a freshly assembled composite corpse. Frankencell just came to life all by himself, as if by magic. (But magic wasn?t involved. It was a purely natural process! )

    There are two things we know for sure about Frankencell. First, Frankencell must have reproduced. If Frankencell never reproduced, then we would not be here. Frankencell either would have died without leaving any offspring, or Frankencell would still be the only living thing on Earth. So, the reproductive process must have originated before Darwinian evolution could have occurred.

    The second thing we know for sure is that Frankencell must have had the ability to grow. Frankencell must have grown large enough to reproduce.

    Growth requires food. Food has to be converted into proteins, amino acids, nucleic acids, enzymes, and all that other stuff that makes up a cell, and allows the cell to grow. That?s a problem for evolutionists, too. But, as tempting as it is to go down that path, let?s not go there so we can get to the sexy part.

    Frankencell Was a Plant
    The difference between plants and animals is that plants can make their own food. Animals have to eat plants and/or other animals to survive. Frankencell could not have been an animal because he was the first living thing. There were no other plants or animals for Frankencell to eat. Therefore, Frankencell must have made his own food.

    Green plants do this today using a complex process known as photosynthesis. Scientists agree that this process if far too complicated for a single cell like Frankencell to have used. So, there must have been another simple, effective method that Frankencell used to capture energy and convert it into food. We don’t know what this process might have been, but there must have been such a process. If there wasn?t, then Frankencell would have died before he could reproduce, and there would have been no evolution. Since we KNOW evolution is true, Frankencell must have had some unknown way to make his own food. But we have our mind fixed on sex, so we can?t explore that evolutionary conundrum, either.

    A Lonely Valentine
    Frankencell grew large enough to reproduce. So, one February 14, long ago, Frankencell bought a box of chocolate and went looking for someone to be his Valentine. The problem is that Frankencell was the first living thing. He had not reproduced yet. He was all alone in the world. Not only were there no other living things to eat, there were no other living things to mate with.

    For Frankencell to reproduce, he (Oops! We should have called him, ?it.?)?For Frankencell to reproduce, it had to do it all by itself. Frankencell must have used asexual reproduction to begin the spread of life across the face of the Earth.

    Already we have ignored the problem of how life began, how metabolism began, and how asexual reproduction began. We have to ignore those critical problems to get the problem of the origin of sex.

    The Origin of Sex
    If the theory of evolution is true, Frankencell must have been an asexual plant which eventually gave rise to all the sexual plants and animals. How could this have happened through natural selection?

    For a long time, Frankencell reproduced by cell division, making identical copies of itself. Then, by some fortunate mutation, Frankencell gave birth to Frankenmale. As soon as he was old enough, Frankenmale bought some flowers and chocolate and went looking for Frankengal. But all he found were Frankencells. After a long, futile search for Frankengal, Frankenmale died.

    Then, one day, a fortunate mutation produced Frankengal. Every night she sat by her telephone, waiting for Frankenmale to call and ask her out on a date. But Frankenmale died many years earlier, so poor Frankengal died an old maid, without leaving any offspring.

    As luck would have it, mutations produced both Frankenmale and Frankengal on the very same day. Unfortunately, the mutant Frankenmale was born in New York, and Frankengal was born in California. Since they did not know about Match.com, Frankenmale and Frankengal never found each other, and both died lonely and sexually frustrated. The world remained filled with asexual Frankencells.

    But even if Frankenmale had found Frankengal, would he have known that he had to take her to dinner and a movie before he could get lucky? There are certain courtship rituals that simply can?t be bypassed. Would Frankenmale have had the desire to court Frankengal? What if Frankenmale wasn?t handsome or a good listener?

    According to the theory of evolution, new traits evolve because they improve the ability to produce offspring. It is hard to find a mate. Some people never do. But an asexual creature just needs to find itself. Everything it needs for a good time is right there, all the time.

    Sexual reproduction certainly is advantageous because, after a large gene pool exists, sexual reproduction can facilitate adaptation by randomly producing the most advantages combinations of genes. But, absent an existing gene pool, the necessity to find a partner before reproducing is a distinct disadvantage. There is no reason for natural selection to favor sexual reproduction over asexual reproduction.

    Some evolutionists might try to argue that, at some point, Frankencell developed latent sexual tendencies. That is, one particular Frankencell could reproduce asexually or sexually. That Frankencell made many identical copies of itself asexually. Those offspring could reproduce sexually with each other. But why would they? They all have identical genes, so there is no advantage to gene shuffling. If they can reproduce without a partner, why find one?

    Sex Is Good
    We need to make this important point before we go on. Creationists and evolutionists agree that sexual reproduction has some significant advantages which can make a species more fit for survival. There is absolutely no argument about that. The disagreement is about whether or not natural selection is the mechanism by which sexual reproduction came about. Even some evolutionists have serious doubts about the power of natural selection to produce such a change.

    The simple-minded (but erroneous) reasoning goes like this: Natural selection causes species that are more fit for survival to drive less fit species to extinction. Sexual reproduction makes a species more fit for survival. Therefore, sexual reproduction must be the result of natural selection. Furthermore, since sexual reproduction does exist in some species, it proves that natural selection is powerful enough to bring about a change in sexual reproduction. This circular reasoning is invalid because the premise is used to prove the conclusion, and the conclusion is used to prove the premise.

    There are long-term benefits to sexual reproduction; but natural selection depends upon immediate, short-term benefits to the species in question. Frankenmale would not have had any short-term survival benefits over Frankencell. Therefore, natural selection would not have made Frankenmale more likely to produce offspring than Frankencell.

    Current Questions
    Now that you have a general understanding of the problem, presented with all the seriousness it deserves, let?s look at what serious evolutionists say about the problem.

    For Darwin, sex was a big question mark. “We do not even in the least know the final cause of sexuality; why new beings should be produced by the union of the two sexual elements,” he wrote in 1862. “The whole subject is as yet hidden in darkness.”

    Today, biologists understand the molecular nuts and bolts of sex fairly well. Each new human being (or bird or bee) needs a set of chromosomes from each parent. But that’s the how. The why of sex is still fairly mysterious. Bacteria don’t have to search for a mate; they just grow and divide in two. An aspen tree can simply send out shoots that grow into new trees. No muss, no fuss with finding a partner, fertilizing an egg, and joining two genomes. Why should so many species take such a labyrinthine path to reproduction, when straightforward routes are available? 1

    Evolutionists can?t understand why sexual reproduction began because of ?the twofold cost of sex.?

    In 1971, the late British evolutionary biologist John Maynard Smith helped kick off the modern study of the evolution of sex by pointing out how costly sons are to a mother. An asexual female lizard, for example, produces just daughters, all of whom can reproduce. A sexually reproducing female lizard, on the other hand, produces, on average, a son for every daughter, half the reproductive potential. Yet despite this “twofold cost of sex,” as Maynard Smith called it, he observed that sex is widespread, as most animals and plants produce males and females. 2

    Evolutionists think that sex might have evolved as an optional way of reproduction. Perhaps a creature evolved that could reproduce asexually or sexually. This is pure speculation, of course. But, if the speculation is true, then what is the advantage to losing the asexual option and evolving into a purely sexual creature?

    If sex started out as an optional way to reproduce, then a new question emerges: How did sex later become mandatory in many species, including our own? Hadany suspects that the answer has to do with sexiness?that is, with the preference sexually reproducing organisms often have to mate with some individuals over others. 3

    Sure, we enjoy sex. But that still isn?t a reason to lose the option of being able to reproduce asexually.

    Although sexiness may help explain how sexual reproduction took over, it can’t fully explain why sex has managed to reign for billions of years. Because they don’t have to pay the twofold cost of sex, under the right conditions, any new cloners ought to spread rapidly in a population, challenging sexual reproduction. However, given the rarity of asexuals, something must be getting in the way. Over the years, scientists have proposed about 20 different hypotheses to explain the failure of asexuality to regain much of a foothold. 4

    None of these 20 hypotheses really work. The most popular, but admittedly inadequate explanation, is called the Red Queen hypothesis.

    This model of host-parasite coevolution came to be known as the Red Queen hypothesis, after the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking Glass, who takes Alice on a run that never seems to go anywhere. “Now here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place,” the Red Queen explains.

    The Red Queen conundrum, some researchers have argued, may give an evolutionary edge to sex. Asexual strains can never beat out sexual strains, because whenever they get too successful, parasites build up and devastate the strain. Sexual organisms, meanwhile, can avoid these dramatic booms and busts because they can shuffle their genes into new combinations that are harder for parasites to adapt to.

    Red Queen models for sexual reproduction are very elegant and compelling. But testing them in nature is fiendishly hard, because biologists need asexual and sexual organisms that share the same environment and parasites. 5

    Even if the Red Queen hypothesis is true, it only explains why sexual reproduction is better than asexual reproduction. It doesn?t explain the ORIGIN of sexual reproduction.

  292. #292 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 17, 2010

    So you prefer a different organization based on willful ignorance, blatant dishonesty, obfuscatory practices and head-in-the-sandism, just not Hovind’s?

  293. #293 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 17, 2010

    I really am shocked at the vulgarity with which some of you express yourselves. If this is any indication of the psychological constitution of American biologists, I can understand how Amy Bishop might have been driven to commit murder. The language of some of you truly seems indicative of humanoids who only recently, but not completely, evolved from lower life forms.

    Micheal has me pegged. My use of profane language is all of the proof that is needed to show that I am a serial killer. Be careful though, I have a younger sister who’s body count will be at least double the amount I have.

  294. #294 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 17, 2010

    That is Micheal’s example of real biology?

    ‘Proceeds to bloodying her forehead because she is bashing it on her keyboard.’

  295. #295 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 17, 2010

    That is Micheal’s example of real biology?

    Michael’s copypasta is just a long giant argument from personal incredulity.

    A boring childish one at that.

  296. #296 Michael
    February 17, 2010

    So you prefer a different organization based on willful ignorance, blatant dishonesty, obfuscatory practices and head-in-the-sandism, just not Hovind’s?

    Be specific, if you can.

    Otherwise just be at peace.

  297. #297 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Otherwise just be at peace.

    Translated to everyday english: Shut the fuck up and just accept what I copy and paste!

  298. #298 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 17, 2010

    You be specific first. You’re the one challanging fact on no grounds with no evidence. You want evidence from me, read any reputable science journal. Or go take a college high school middle school course.

  299. #299 jrunderhay
    February 17, 2010

    I’m going to bypass Michael – I just don’t have the energy to deal with such blatant intellectual dishonesty and hatred today. Threats of eternal damnation by the erstwhile saviour have never improved crime rates. Instead, I am going back to earlier points raised in this thread.

    There is an interesting (at least to me) post over on Statsblog about the connection between mental health and crime. They bring up the connection/correlation between the decrease in violent crime and the increase in prescriptions for mental health drugs.

    http://thestatsblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/pharma-and-crime-its-not-what-you-think/

    I don’t have the source here now, but I recently read a study on the high percentage of inmates in Canadian prisons who are also mentally ill in conjunction with the dearth of services for them.

    I am in no way meaning to diminish this as a tragedy, only to suggest that treatment in conjunction with punishment, rather than exclusively punishment, would be the appropriate response.

  300. #300 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Jrunderhay, never apologize for by passing a thread jacking troll and getting back on the topic.

  301. #301 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 17, 2010

    Oh I’m at peace.

    The site you provided is full of the typical creationist canards that have been debunked and laughed at ad nauseum.

    I don’t have time to read the whole thing but from my quick perusal, the entire site appears to be an exercise in quote-mining. A favorite tool of the creationist because they can’t actually provide any science that disproves anything. The can only pick quotes and match them with other quotes leaving out the majority of the rest of the relevant information. The do this to try and create some smokey veil of a hint of accuracy, but as soon as breeze of truth is exposed to it it all blows away. Just like any claim of evidence for creationism.

    If you’d like to be taken seriously, actually provide some real science supporting creationist claims and stop thinking that your repeated exercise of tilting at the windmills of that big mean empirically supportable science does anything more that expose you and your kind for the dishonest willfully self deceiving people that you are.

    And shouldn’t you be busy praying for us all?

  302. #302 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 17, 2010

    Perhaps God

    What god? You have provided no conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity, ergo any claims of existence are invalid. So show the evidence, or remove your claims of your imaginary deity, and any conclusions based upon it. Welcome to science. Where evolution has the evidence. Deities don’t.

  303. #303 Jadehawk, OM
    February 17, 2010

    …the clearly demoralizing effect of Darwinist concepts on the human psyche…

    no such thing. just because you need a drug (religion) to deal with reality, doesn’t mean the rest of us do.

  304. #304 aratina cage of the OM
    February 17, 2010

    Let’s see, Michael worships a genocidal (biocidal even), tyrannical ape in the sky and we are somehow hateful?

  305. #305 thedolcelife#276f1
    February 17, 2010

    Michael, Wow! It seems pointless to even attempt having a dialogue with you; there’s so little logic.

    Just to be clear: I am *happy* to be an evolved creature, the end product of 3.5+ billions years of evolution fermented from the remains of stellar ashes. I am *enraptured* with the thought that I, simple matter, can feel my big toe and that I would miss it terribly if it were taken from me. I feel *compassion* for my fellow humans (and all life) on this planet when I see them/it in pain and struggling. I am *transformed* when I realize that the same animal that can build theories that predict with incredible accuracy the movement, life and death of the planets and the stars, the chemistry of the materials around me, the quantum weirdness of the small, and the evolution of all living things can also paint a bull in two brush strokes and can be the best five tool baseball player ever (thank you, Mr. Mays).

    Finally, I am *saddened* when I see my fellow humans so tragically stuck in a mental prison in which they have confused ritual and mythology for truth. I am *disturbed* when their tortured conclusions are used to justify such vitriol and inflicted upon others.

    All of these things work just fine with invoking fairies or a sky god. They are all explicable with straightforward evidence, including your (paranoid) need to fantasize about being more important than you really are.

    None of us are really that important; that thought does not lessen humanity in any way. We are all star stuff and incredibly beautiful (at least potentially beautiful). I really feel sorry for you that you think so little of people that you cannot see that.

    – abp

    PS: Abiogenesis can’t happen? Here’s a great description in this New Scientist article discussing a potential source for cell enablement. By the way, the first sentence says, “We may never be able to prove beyond any doubt how life first evolved.” Before you throw that back in our faces, please prove beyond any doubt that any of the magic you spout exists.

  306. #306 Michael
    February 17, 2010

    There is so much evidence for a Divine Creator that only the willfully blind could miss seeing it.

    Here’s another “deluded moronic believer” named Sir Isaac Newton:

    “The main business of natural philosophy is to argue from phenomena without feigning hypotheses, and to deduce causes from effects, till we come to the very first cause, which certainly is not mechanical; and not only to unfold the mechanism of the world, but chiefly to resolve these and such like questions. What is there in places almost empty of matter, and whence is it that the sun and planets gravitate towards one another, without dense matter between them? When is it that nature doth nothing in vain; and whence arises all that order and beauty which we see in the world? To what end are comets, and whence is it that planets move all one and the same way in orbs concentric, while comets move all manner of ways in orbs very eccentric, and what hinders the fixed stars from falling upon one another? How came the bodies of animals to be contrived with so much art, and for what ends were their several parts? Was the eye contrived without skill in optics, or the ear without knowledge of sounds? How do the motions of the body follow from the will, and whence is the instinct in animals? Is not the sensory of animals that place to which the sensitive substance is present, and into which the sensible species of things are carried through the nerves and brain, that there may be perceived by their immediate presence to that substance? And these things being rightly dispatched, does it not appear from phenomena that there is a being incorporeal, living, intelligent, omnipresent, who, in infinite space, as it were in his sensory, sees the things themselves intimately, and thoroughly perceives them; and comprehends them wholly by their immediate presence to himself?”

    “There is one God, the Father, ever living, omnipresent, omniscient, almighty, the maker of heaven and earth, and one Mediator beween God and man, the man Christ Jesus….

    “The father is omniscient, and hath all knowledge originally in his own breast, and communicates knowledge of future things to Jesus Christ; and none in heaven or earth, or under the earth, is worthy to receive knowledge of future things immediately from the Father but the Lamb. And therefore the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, and Jesus is the Word or Prophet of God….

    “We are to return thanks to the Father alone for creating us, and giving us food and raiment and other blessings of this life, and whatsoever we are to thank him for, or desire that he do for us, we ask of him immediately in the name of Christ….

    “To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. That is, we are to wroship the Father alone as God Almighty, and Jesus alone as the Lord, the Messiah, the Great King, the Lamb of God who was slain, and hath redeemed us with his blood, and made us kings and priests.”

  307. #307 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 17, 2010

    There is so much evidence for a Divine Creator that only the willfully blind could miss seeing it.

    Sorry, there is no conclusive physical evidence, say like an eternally burning bush. So, you are nothing but a delusional Liar for Jebus?. A person without character, morals, and common sense. Nobody worth listening to. What a loser.

  308. #308 WowbaggerOM
    February 17, 2010

    Michael wrote:

    There is so much evidence for a Divine Creator that only the willfully blind could miss seeing it.

    Let’s say – simply for the sake of argument – we chose to accept that.

    Now here comes the tricky part (for you): how can you demonstrate that you have been provided with any accurate information regarding this deity?

    Or, in other words, what makes you think this hypothetical creator god is the God of the bible?

  309. #309 negentropyeater
    February 17, 2010

    Michael,

    if Newton had lived after Laplace wrote Celestial Mechanics (finished in 1825) and Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species (1859), he wouldn’t have considered the movements of celestial bodies and the apparence of design in living things as evidence of a divine creator.

    Science didn’t die with Newton !

  310. #310 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    Argumentum ad There were people who did science long ago who believed in god, therefore god.

  311. #311 Michael
    February 18, 2010

    I thank you for the last three comments. They at last pose reasonable questions.

    Wowbagger’s question demands a good answer and more time than I have right now. For the moment, I consider the historicity of the Biblical account, the miraculous survival of Israel, and the power of prayer to help in real life situations.

    To negentropyeater, yes science did not die with Newton, but neither did God die with darwin.

    To Rev.OnlyRecentlyButNotCompletelyEvolvedFromMonkeys, Newton was not exactly “long ago”.

    I would exhort all of you to look at this website to read about evidence of the great physical, intellectual and spiritual prowess of people who really did live long ago, 3000-4000 years to be exact: http://www.beforeus.com

    Finally, to Turd of Redhead, I would say that it is unwise to deride and mock the discover of the law of gravity. In fact I would call it a very GRAVE sin to mock GRAVITY. For in truth there is a spiritual law of gravity as well, namely that when you die and God’s spirit of life departs from you, you will remain an unspiritual mass that descends by gravity straight to hell.

  312. #312 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 18, 2010

    Finally, to Turd of Redhead, I would say that it is unwise to deride and mock the discover of the law of gravity. In fact I would call it a very GRAVE sin to mock GRAVITY. For in truth there is a spiritual law of gravity as well, namely that when you die and God’s spirit of life departs from you, you will remain an unspiritual mass that descends by gravity straight to hell.

    I like my word salad with bleu cheese dressing.

  313. #313 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 18, 2010

    Michael, delusional fool and loser. Your deity doesn’t exist. There is no physical evidence for one. Your babble is work of myth/fiction and you cannot show hard evidence otherwise. If you actually read your babble like I have, you would realize your imaginary deity is one sick amoral crimelord. You have no evidence. You have nothing but your delusions. Keep them to yourself, otherwise you just show your delusions and loser status. If there is any scientific evidence for creationism, cite the peer reviewed scientific literature, or shut the fuck up. Welcome to real science.

  314. #314 Michael
    February 18, 2010

    see these too:

    http://www.jesusfactorfiction.com/

    http://www.jesusfilm.org/film-and-media/watch-the-film

    i doubt anyone can watch this Jesus Film (the only Jesus film made entirely on location in the Holy Land) without feeling a stirring in his/her soul.

    also these:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLfic9Em1uk&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1tGLJjY7Ds

  315. #315 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 18, 2010

    scientific evidence don’t trump religious delusion as Michael is an exmple of. He’s so out of tune with reality, he believes the story in the bible to be true.

  316. #316 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 18, 2010

    Gyeong Hwa Pak, he is even more delusional then that. He thinks that there is a spiritual law of gravity. He probably also thinks that like attracts like.

  317. #317 Michael
    February 18, 2010

    the scientific proofs of God’s existence are very simple. they are two fold:

    (1) the rational laws of the universe testify to a rational being who brought them into existence.

    (2) life cannot arise spontaneously from non-life (unless of course you are willing to contradict not only Sir Isaac Newton but Prof. Louis Pasteur as well).

    you dont want to accept these proofs because you feel threatened by God. i dont know why. perhaps you are living in sin. perhaps you feel guilt about something. only God knows. But He wants to help you not hurt you.

    if you refuse His help you alone are responsible for your destruction. satan deludes you to think, just as he did to Adam and Eve, that God hates you and wishes you evil. nothing could be further from the truth.

    Jesus put to rest forever the false notion that God does not love us and demonstrated overwhelmingly that God wishes to save us.

  318. #318 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 18, 2010

    He probably also thinks that like attracts like.

    Isn’t there a book about that?

    Anyways, it extremely distasteful and wicked of him to hijack a thread about the suffering of others in order to promote a vile deity that clearly loves to watch people suffer. Then he goes on and lies. Idiots like him has no right to claim they are moral.

  319. #319 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 18, 2010

    Issac Newton also worked on alchemy, you lackwit. Does that mean we should take it seriously.

  320. #320 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 18, 2010

    That’s not proff. In the scientific world, you need phyisical evidence. What you just spouted is not even good sophistry.

  321. #321 Bernard Bumner
    February 18, 2010

    …you dont want to accept these proofs because you feel threatened by God.

    I asking him to stop calling me. I called the cops. I took out an injuction. He still sits outside my house at night in his car, just staring through my windows. He leaves comments on my Facebook page. I just don’t know what to do.

    Oh wait, God? I though you wrote Tim

    Nah, God hasn’t been round since I lent him my hedge trimmer. I think he’s avoiding me.

  322. #322 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 18, 2010

    Michael, your sophist proofs of your imaginary deity are meaningless. We have explainations for the universe, and they do not require your delusional friend. Now, if you had an eternally burning bush, something that can be examined by scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, so it can be deterimined it is of divine, and not natural, origin, you might have something. There is also no evidence Jebus of the babble existed, and writing starting at least a generation after the fact hardly lends any credance to the myth. Your babble is myth/fiction, and you have provided no conclusive evidence otherwise. In fact, there is no scientific evidence for most of genesis, especially the flood. What a loser.

  323. #323 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 18, 2010

    Michael can except actual evidence and reality because it is a threat to his imagination God.

  324. #324 aratina cage of the OM
    February 18, 2010

    Michael, sheesh that was weak. Your first “scientific” proof fails completely to take science into account. Your second proof relies on ancient authorities (and not the only ones at that!) despite modern understandings of life.

    And by the way, Michael, Harry Potter loves you despite your shortcomings.

  325. #325 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    To Rev.OnlyRecentlyButNotCompletelyEvolvedFromMonkeys, Newton was not exactly “long ago”.

    Thanks for conveniently missing the point.

  326. #326 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 18, 2010

    Because nothing can come from nothing, clearly Inti rules our world. Why do you rally against Inti, Michael. He’s provided you with all the engery you need to grow crops and yet you claim he doesn’t exist. I on the other hand can show Inti’s great power. So much for Yahweh.

    ;)

  327. #327 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    (1) the rational laws of the universe testify to a rational being who brought them into existence.

    Says who?

    (2) life cannot arise spontaneously from non-life (unless of course you are willing to contradict not only Sir Isaac Newton but Prof. Louis Pasteur as well).

    You need to bone up on what Pasteur was seeking to demonstrate with his experiment. In their day the idea was that higher life forms like worms from mud, maggots from meat etc.. could spontaneously generate. A far cry from what abiogensis research points to these days.

    It’s ok though. You and your babbling are just more examples of Creationist myopia and lack of grasping context. And not to mention outright dishonest and obfuscation.

    And even if there was evidence (which you have not provided and there is none) of a higher power, who says it’s your Christian god?

  328. #328 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    yay typos

  329. #329 Bobber
    February 18, 2010

    you dont want to accept these proofs because you feel threatened by God.

    Now why would anyone feel threatened by a supernatural, all-powerful entity that occasionally and for no logical reason engages in murderous rampages, including, in one instance, killing nearly every single living being on the planet? Why would anyone feel afraid of that? (Good thing I don’t believe in the Genocidal Spirit – I might live my life in fear, like… oh… you do.)

    perhaps you are living in sin.

    What is this “sin”? For we who do not bear the weight of a deity’s heels grinding us into the earth, “sin” is a strange concept.

    …He wants to help you not hurt you… satan deludes you to think, just as he did to Adam and Eve, that God hates you and wishes you evil. nothing could be further from the truth.

    Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man, living in the sky, who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time…but He loves you.

    —George Carlin

    I think I would rather go unloved by such a capricious, torture-loving maniac. God doesn’t deserve worship; he deserves institutionalization.

  330. #330 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    I think I would rather go unloved by such a capricious, torture-loving maniac. God doesn’t deserve worship; he deserves institutionalization.

    Think of what Nurse Ratched would do to him.

  331. #331 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 18, 2010

    Canard: (2) life cannot arise spontaneously from non-life.

    Nobody interprets this as a law. Pasteur lived in a time when people believed that organisms arose from inorganic matter all the time. Use your brain.

    According to your own theology, abiogenesis occurred.
    If God is alive, you need to explain where he came from. If God is not alive, the first “living” thing (however you want to define it) sprung from non-life.

    Also, Michael, you can’t seriously buy the “Sex and Violets” apologetic above, can you? It is, as they say, fractally wrong. Your problem isn’t with “Darwinists” (whoever they are) but with reality. There is another thread on this site that you may find more suitable dealing with Bigfoot. Start there and work your way up. Remember, baby steps.

    I prefer Sex and Violins anyway.

  332. #332 Jadehawk, OM
    February 18, 2010

    For the moment, I consider the historicity of the Biblical account, the miraculous survival of Israel, and the power of prayer to help in real life situations.

    the bible is almost completely contradicted by real history, and prayer has been shown to not actually work.

    (1) the rational laws of the universe testify to a rational being who brought them into existence.

    and another religionist who reifies words. dude, a “law” of nature isn’t like a human law. it’s just a description of how things happen, not a prescriptive order to do something.

    (2) life cannot arise spontaneously from non-life

    abiogenesis has fuck-all to do with evolution. and besides, self-replicating strands of RNA have self-assembled from non-self-replicating component molecules, so you don’t know what you’re talking about (and neither Newton nor Pasteur knew about DNA or were geneticists, so their opinion of this is as relevant as a plumber’s opinion on car engines)

    you dont want to accept these proofs because you feel threatened by God.

    these weren’t proofs. they weren’t even evidence. they were a meek attempt at rationalization.Also, I’m not threatened by god. how could I? there are not gods. how can i possibly feel threatened by a figment of your imagination?

    Jesus put to rest forever the false notion that God does not love us and demonstrated overwhelmingly that God wishes to save us.

    god doesn’t exist; the fictional character Yahweh from your bible is the worlds most abusive parent, and decidedly doesn’t “love” anyone. And what the fuck is so great about another fictional character having a bad weekend “for our sins”? especially whenYahweh is supposedly omnipotent, thus not actually needing anything to just forgive people their sins?

    nah, as far as fictional godlike-characters who really love humanity, Prometheus wins by a mile: poor fucker is suffering for all eternity because he gave humans fire. Now THAT is love and self-sacrifice!

  333. #333 Kamaka
    February 18, 2010

    HighandMikey @ 316

    satan deludes you

    So you not only think you know what gawd thinks, you think you know what satan thinks, too?

  334. #334 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    Just to be clear because my comment about Pasteur and Newton is a bit botched.

    Pasteur’s experiment was tightly controlled environment. His exclamation about Aristotelian spontaneous generation may have been true about his tightly controlled experiment but says nothing about what the research into abiogenesis (including chemical abiogenesis) is looking at today.

    The worms, maggots reference was to Newton.

    Trying to post and work at the same time failure.

  335. #335 Michael
    February 18, 2010

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    Dbt Btwn Snt Sylvstr, Pp f Rm, nd th Jws n th Prsnc f Snt Cnstntn th Grt, nd Hs Mthr, Snt Hln.
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    Th mprr rcvd hs mthr?s cmmnctn nd rspndd: ?Ldy nd my mthr, rjc n th Lrd! H Wh gvrns ll f th nvrs nd gvs lf nd prsrvs s, n Hs ?cnmy hs dspnsd tht b md mprr. W thrfr ght nt t bcm ngrtfl twrd th Bnfctr. ssmbl th mst lrnd f th tchrs f th Jws nd lt thm, bfr s, cm nd dbt wth th hrrchs f th Chrst. Thn shll th trth b knwn xctly, nd w shll hstn t th rthdx Fth. Fr th wll.?
    Th mprr?s plsr ws md knwn t th Jws. Thy slctd twlv mn, th chfs f thr Phrss nd mst xcptnl f thr tchrs. Ths Jws clmd nt nly knwldg f th prphts nd trdtns f thr ldrs, bt ls f bth th Grk nd Ltn lnggs nd th phlsphs f ths ppls. mng th rbbs, thr ws Zmbrs, wckd mn. H ws rptdly mr rdt thn th rst, nd ws Kbblst nd mgcn. Th Jwsh cntngnt wnt t Rm wth th gst. Thy wnt bfr Cnstntn nd skd tht h chs twlv bshps f th Chrstns tht thy mght hv dscssns wth thm, s tht th trth shld b md mnfst. Th blssd Slvstr nswrd thm nd sd, ?W d nt plc r hp n th nmbrs f mn, bcs th lss hmn hlp n hs, th mr s h hlpd by dvn pwr.? Th Jw Zmbrs thn sd t hm, ?f th wlt ppr t b mn f xcllnc nd gd tchr, thn d nt qt frm yr Gspl r yr bks, bt lt th prphts b th txts sd fr tstmny.? Snt Slvstr cmmntd, ? ls hd ths n mnd, bcs whn prvl vr y wth th tstmns f yr wn tchrs, thn y shll n lngr hv ny mth by whch t nswr.? Th dy f th dbt ws schdld. Th mprr, n th cmpny f hs sntrs, tk hs st pn th thrn. Th gst tk hr spcl plc bhnd crtn. n hndrd nd twnty Jws n ll wr prsnt, whl Pp Slvstr ntrd wth svrl bshps wh hd cm frm Rm, tgthr wth sm fllwrs.
    Zmbrs thn cm frth nd sd, ?Th lmghty Gd spk ths wrds: ?Bhld, bhld tht m H, nd thr s n Gd bsd M [Dt. 32:39].? f thrfr Gd spk ths nd H s th nly Gd, why d y dr t nm thr? Th n Whm y cnfss s Fthr, w d ls. Bt thn y cnfss th Sn s scnd, Whm r fthrs crcfd. Thn y spk f thrd, th Hly Sprt, s ths nt s?? Snt Slvstr rpld, ?W cnfss nd rvr n Gd Whm w dclr t hv Lgs r Wrd, vn s spkn f by th prpht: ?By th Lgs f th Lrd wr th hvns stblshd, nd ll th mght f thm by th Sprt f Hs mth [Ps. 32:6].? lswhr th prpht spks f bth th Sn nd Hly Sprt, ttrng, ?Why hv th hthn rgd, nd th ppls mdttd mpty thngs? Th kngs f th rth wr rsd, nd th rlrs wr ssmbld tgthr, gnst th Lrd, nd gnst Hs Chrst [Ps. 2:1, 2].? Dvd spks hr nt f n prsn bt tw, th Lrd nd Hs Chrst. Th sm prpht thn dntfs Chrst s th Sn, whn h wrt: ?Th Lrd sd nt M: ?Th rt My Sn, ths dy hv bgttn Th [Ps. 2:7].?? Ths, bth th Bgttr nd th Bgttn r spkn f hr.? Th Jws thn ntd tht Dvd hd spkn th wrds ?ths dy.? Thy dclrd, ?Ths wrds dnt tm. S thn hw cn th Sn b th trnl Gd?? Th mn f Gd Slvstr nswrd, ?Th xprssn ?ths dy? spks nt f th pr-trnl gnrtn f th Sn, bt rthr tht gnrtn whch tk plc n tm whn th Lgs bcm ncrnt. Th prpht ndrstd ths dffrnc. n wrtng ?Th rt My Sn,? h rfrs t th nly-bgttn, bgttn f th Fthr bfr ll gs. Ths s fllwd by ?ths dy hv bgttn Th,? whch bspks f th nly-bgttn?s ncrntn f th Hly Sprt nd th Vrgn Mry. Gd th Fthr rvls Hs cncrrnc wth th Sn?s tkng n flsh. vn s, th wrds ?ths dy hv bgttn Th? prtn t th trnty f th dvn gnrtn, n whch thr s n pst r ftr ctn, bt lwys th prsnt nly. ndd, n nlgy cn hld btwn dvn gnrtn r bgttng nd hmn gnrtn r bgttng. Dvn gnrtn ds nt mply ny pssn whtsvr. Mn, hvng trnstv ntr, bgts pssbly. Gd s nt cmpsd f prts. H s mpssbly nd ndvsbly Fthr f th Sn nd Lgs Wh s th Fthr?s Wrd nd Wsdm. n th n hnd, Scrptr spks f ?Sn,? n rdr t dclr th ntrl nd tr ffsprng f Hs ssnc; bt, n th thr hnd, tht nn my thnk f th ffsprng n hmn trms, whl sgnfyng Hs ssnc, t ls clls Hm Wrd, Wsdm, nd Rdnc. Fr th Sn?s gnrtn ws mpssbl, nd trnl, nd wrthy f Gd. Th Lgs s nt wrk r crtn. s th Fthr lwys s, s wht s prpr t Hs ssnc mst lwys b; nd ths s Hs Wrd nd Hs Wsdm. Th Bgttr nd th Bgttn r cssntl. Thr s n ntrvl btwn thm. Th Sn s c-bgnnnglss wth th Fthr.
    ?Th Sprt s spkn f n nmrs plcs. D w nt hr Hm spkn f n ths pssgs? ?Cst m nt wy frm Thy prsnc, nd tk nt Thy Hly Sprt frm m [Ps. 50:11].? nd, ?Th wlt snd frth Thy Sprt, nd thy shll b crtd [Ps. 103:32].? nd, ?Whthr shll g frm Thy Sprt [Ps. 138:6]?? S spk Dvd yr kng nd prpht. Wht bt yr lw-gvr, Mss? Dd h nt wrt n Gnss: ?nd Gd sd, ?Lt s mk mn ccrdng t r mg nd smltd [Gn. 1:26]??? Gd ws nt ddrssng th ngls, fr thy d nt pssss Hs ntr. Dvd wrt: ?Th Lrd sd nt My Lrd: ?St Th t My rght hnd, ntl mk Thn nms th ftstl f Thy ft [Ps. 109:1].?? Dvd clls th Chrst ?Lrd.? T whch f th mnstrng sprts hs Gd spkn ths? H spk t Hs cssntl Sn, Hs xprss mg.? Zmbrs cmmntd, ?Ths blf f Fthr, Sn, nd Hly Sprt cnnt b ccptd by th mnd f mn.? Th hrrch nswrd, ?Th pgns r gnrnt f Scrptrs, bt wht xcs d y hv? Y clm t knw th prphts; nd wtht xcptn, thy ll prphsd f th Chrst.?
    Th mprr thn ntrjctd, ? m stnshd tht th Jws r bng vnqshd by s mny tstmns frm thr Scrptrs, nd stll thy r cntnts nd flld wth sprt f cntrdctn.? Cnstntn thn trnd t th Jws nd sd, ?Bhld, vn thrgh yr wn wrtngs, cknwldg tht th vdnc shns thrgh tht Fthr, Sn, nd Hly Sprt crtnly xst. Thrfr, thr s n nd t spk frthr rgrdng ths mttr; nly f y hv dffrnt vdnc.? Th Jw Zmbrs thn sd, ?n yr Gspl t s wrttn tht ?Jss kpt n dvncng n wsdm nd sttr [Lk. 2:52],? nd tht H ws tmptd by th dvl. ftrwrd, dscpl dlvrd Jss nt th hnds f mn, s tht H ws bnd, mckd, scrgd, crcfd, nd dd. f H thrfr wr Gd, hw dd H sffr?? Snt Slvstr nswrd, ?ll f ths vnts wr prchd by th prphts. Hrkn thn! ss spk f th Chrst?s sdlss cncptn whn h ttrd, ?Thrfr th Lrd Hmslf shll gv y sgn: Bhld, th Vrgn shll cncv n th wmb, nd shll brng frth Sn, nd th shlt cll Hs nm mmnl [s. 7:14].? s th knwst, mmnl sgnfs ?Gd s wth s.?? Th Jws shk thr hds nd sd, ?Ny, th Hbrw txt spks nt f vrgn bt dmsl, yng wmn.? Th snt rspndd: ?Wll, wht grt thng r wht sgn shld tht hv bn? Why s t xtrrdnry tht yng wmn shld cncv by mn nd brng frth? Ds ths nt ccr t ll wmn, brng ffsprng? Wht srt f sgn wld tht vnt b? Why d y cntrdct nd sy ?dmsl? rthr thn ?vrgn?? vn s, vrgn s clld dmsl n hly Scrptr. [cf. Dt. 22:27; 1 Kgs. (3 Kgs.) 1:4].2 Frthrmr, n thr plcs th Scrptr s wnt t pt th wrd ?yth,? fr ?vrgnty?; nd ths wth rspct nt t wmn nly, bt ls t mn. Fr t s sd, ?yng mn nd mdns, ld mn wth yngr ns [Ps. 148:12].? nd gn, spkng f th dmsl wh s ttckd, t sys, ?f th yng wmn (nns) cry t [cf. Dt. 22:27],? mnng th vrgn.
    ?r vrsn hs nt crrptd th txt. n th frst plc, th Svnty trnsltrs r t b trstd bv ll th thrs. Fr th thrs my rghtflly b sspctd f nmty nd tmprng, snc thy md thr vrsns ftr Chrst?s cmng nd cntnd n Jdsm. Bt th Svnty, wh tk p ths wrk hndrd yrs r mr bfr th cmng f Chrst, r ncssrly clr f ny sspcn, nt nly n ccnt f th dt, bt ls thr nmbr nd grmnt.?
    Th Jws thn sd, ?Bt Mry br Jss, nt mmnl. Jss ws nt clld mmnl by Hs dscpls, frnds, r nms.? Th hrrch nswrd, ?Th nm ?mmnl? ws knd f xprssn ccrdng t th ss f th vnt f Hs ncrntn tht nw ?Gd s wth s.? Y knw tht th prphts r wnt t d ths. Brng t mnd ss wh gv n f hs sns rprsnttv nm whch mnt ?Spl qckly, plndr spdly [s. 8:3]?, snc th sn ws t b typ f Chrst. Hs nm dscrbs th wrks f Chrst. Th nm dclrs n mystrs mnnr hw th Lrd wld rgn nd spl. Th sgnfcnc f th pplltn rlts t th ss f vnts. gn, ths s cstmry n Scrptr, t sbsttt th vnts tht tk plc fr nms. Thrfr, t sy, ?Thy shll cll Hm ?mmnl? [Mt. 1:23]? mns nthng ls thn tht thy shll s Gd mng mn. Dd nt Brch sy, ?Ths s r Gd, nd thr shll nn thr b ccntd f n cmprsn f Hm. H hth fnd t ll th wy f knwldg, nd hth gvn t nt Jcb Hs srvnt, nd t srl Hs blvd. ftrwrd dd H shw Hmslf pn rth, nd cnvrsd wth mn [Br. 3:35-37]??
    ?Th spkst f Jss bng tmptd by th dvl. Hst th nvr rd f ths prfgrmnt n Zchrs, wh sd, ?Th Lrd shwd m Jss th hgh prst stndng bfr th ngl f th Lrd, nd th dvl std n hs rght hnd t rsst hm [Zch. 3:1]?? Jss, th sn f Jsdc, spkn f hr, ws typ f th Lrd Jss Wh tk p mn?s cs nd cndtn, wth th dvl st t Hs rght hnd. Jss, th sn f Jsdc, dscrbd s bng clthd n flthy grmnts, ws typ f th Lrd Jss Wh hd nt cmmttd ny sn nd yt br r sns, n Whs rght hnd std Stn t b Hs dvrsry [cf. Zch. 3:1, 4]. Th Lrd Jss prmttd Stn t stnd t Hs rght hnd s tht H cld sy, ?Bgn, Stn [Mt. 4:10].? Cnsqntly, th dvrsry ws cst dwn frm hs plc nd dprtd. ftr th cntst hd bn fnshd nd vctry hd bn wn, t ws sd f Jss, sn f Jsdc, ?Tk wy th flthy rmnt frm hm,? nd, ?Bhld, hv tkn wy thn nqty [Zch. 3:5].??
    Snt Slvstr thn spk f th Lrd?s Pssn nd rsrrctn. ?Prpht Dvd tlls s tht th Mssh wld b dlvrd p by dscpl, syng, ?Y, vn th mn f My pc n whm hpd, wh t f My brd, hth mgnfd th lftng f hls gnst M [Ps. 40:9].? ss nfrms s tht th Mssh wld b slnt bfr Hs ccsrs: ?nd H, bcs f Hs fflctn, pns nt Hs mth; H ws ld s shp t th slghtr, nd s lmb bfr th shrr s dmb, s H pns nt Hs mth [s. 53:7].? t ws ls prphsd tht th Mssh wld b smttn; s sys ss: ? gv My bck t scrgs, nd My chks t blws; nd trnd nt wy My fc frm th shm f spttng [s. 50:6].? H ws mckd, s sys Dvd: ?ll tht lk pn M hv lghd M t scrn; thy hv spkn wth thr lps nd hv wggd wth thr hds, syng, ?H hpd n th Lrd; lt Hm dlvr Hm, lt Hm sv Hm; fr H dsrth Hm [Ps. 21:7, 8].?? Ths sm prpht s clr rgrdng th Mssh?s dth by crcfxn: ?Th cngrgtn f vldrs hth srrndd M; thy hv prcd My hnds nd My ft. Thy hv nmbrd ll My bns, nd thy thmslvs hv lkd nd strd pn M. Thy hv prtd My grmnts mngst thmslvs, nd fr My vstr hv thy cst lts [Ps. 21:16-18].? nd, ?Thy gv M gll fr My fd, nd fr My thrst thy gv M vngr t drnk [Ps. 68:21].? Th Mssh ls sffrd wth trnsgrssrs, s prphsd by ss: ?H ws nmbrd mng th trnsgrssrs; nd H br th sns f mny, nd ws dlvrd bcs f thr nqts [s. 53:12].? Th sm prpht tlls s tht ?H shll br r sns….H ws wndd n ccnt f r sns, nd ws brsd bcs f r nqts;…by Hs brss w wr hld….Hs lf s tkn wy frm th rth; bcs f th nqts f my ppl H ws ld t dth. nd wll gv th wckd fr hs brl, nd th rch fr hs dth [s. 53:5, 6, 8, 9, 11].? Bt Dvd ls tlls s tht th Mssh ws rsrrctd: ?Fr Th wlt nt bndn My sl n Hds, nr wlt Th sffr Thy Hly n t s crrptn [Ps. 15:10].?? Ths nd mny mr thngs wr xplnd by th hrrch, s h tchd pn hw th sn ws drknd nd th rth qkd, th tmbs wr pnd nd th dd cm frth, nd th vl f th tmpl ws rnt. Cnsqntly, th Grk pgns wh wr prsnt shtd ld t Zmbrs, cnfssng, ?Chrst s th Sn f Gd.? Thn thy sd t hm, ?Thrfr, Jw, nlss th rt bl t prv tht th prphts dd nt ttr ths wrds, th rt vnqshd s lr nd bbblr. Mrvr, f th wrds spkn by th prphts r tr, whch th hst nt dnd, thn th ghtst t ccpt thm s tr, by cnfssng Chrst s tr Gd nd Mn. ndd, f th rfsst t wllngly ccpt th bvs, n ccnt f stbbrnnss, thn th hst dnd thn wn rlgn by ccsng thn wn prphts f flshd.?
    Th Jws stll wld nt qt, bt rsmd nd skd, ?Why shld Gd tk n flsh? Ws thr n thr wy t chv mn?s slvtn?? ?Wth Gd,? sd Pp Slvstr, ?ll thngs r pssbl. Th Lrd Gd ?frmd mn f th dst f th grnd, nd brthd nt hs nstrls th brth f lf; nd mn bcm lvng sl [Gn. 2:7].? Th rth ws thn pr nd vrgn, nt yt crsd n r lbrs [Gn. 3:17], nt yt stnd wth bl?s bld nd th kllng f nmls, nd stll nplltd by dcyng crpss nd ntntd by wckd dds. s dm cm frm ncrrptd rth, s Jss ws brn sdlssly f th vr-vrgn. Bt dm ws typ f ?th cmng n [Rm. 5:14].? Snc ?by mn cm dth, ls by Mn cm rsrrctn f th dd. Fr vn s n dm ll d, s ls n th Chrst shll ll b md lv [1 Cr. 15:21, 22].? S t hs bn wrttn: ?Th frst mn dm bcm lvng sl; th lst dm bcm lf-crtng Sprt. Bt th sprtl ws nt frst, bt th nml, nd ftrwrd th sprtl. Th frst mn s f rth, rthy; th scnd Mn s th Lrd frm hvn [1 Cr. 15:45-47].? Ths ll thngs r t b rcptltd n th Chrst, bth th thngs n th hvns nd th thngs pn th rth [ph. 1:10]. n bcmng Mn, Chrst hs brght bt th cmmnn f Gd nd mn. n Hmslf, H smmd p nd rnwd ll thngs nd hs prcrd fr mn cmprhnsv slvtn, tht w mght rcvr n Chrst wht n dm w lst. mn th mg nd smltd f Gd.?
    Th mprr ws hppy nd stsfd t ths pnt. H dmd Slvstr?s wrds nd rsnng mst ws. Cnstntn thn ddrssd th Jws: ?Y cn gnsy hm n nthng, snc h hs brght yr wn wrtngs nt vdnc.? Th Jws thn sd t th bshp, ?ll ths prphss ttrd by th prphts prtn t thrs, bt y hv flsly ttrbtd thm t th Chrst.? Snt Slvstr thn rmrkd, ?Fnd fr m nthr wh ws brn f vrgn mdn, nd wh ws crcfd, nd rs n th thrd dy; nly thn shll dmt tht ths thngs wr nt spkn f rgrdng th Chrst.? Ths nd mny thr thngs wr ttrd by Snt Slvstr t Zmbrs nd th rst f th Jws, s tht mch tm pssd. Th mprr ws thn trd f th Jwsh wrnglng, bcs thy kpt mkng prblms, cstng frth slss rgmnts, nd ctng xmpls tht cm t nght. Cnstntn wshd nw t brng n nd t th tlks nd ssgn th vctry t Snt Slvstr. Hwvr, lst th Jws shld ltr cmpln, h skd thm, ?Hv y nythng ls t sy?? n f thm, nmd Jbl, spk p nd sd, ?Slvstr stll hs nt nswrd r qstn. W skd hm t tll s hw Chrst sffrd f H s Gd. Tht ln dmnstrts tht Jss ws mn.? ftr spkng ths, th Jw thn trnd t th hrrch nd sd, ?t s mpssbl tht th shldst dmnstrt tht n n prsn thr xst tw ssncs, s tht n s cpbl f sffrng nslt nd pnshmnt, nd th thr ds nt prtk f ths thngs nd bds nhrmd.? Snt Slvstr rpld, ?nd f shld dmnstrt t, wlt th cnfss bfr ths whl cmpny f nbls tht th rt vnqshd, r wlt th cntmplt swng sm thr nw trs?? Jbl thn rmnd qt. Th mprr thn sd, ?f h ds nt cnfss th vctry, ths stndng hr shll scrb hs nnccptnc s stbbrnnss.?
    Thn Snt Slvstr tk p th mprr?s prpl clk nd sd, ?Wth ths prpl clth, shll vrcm th dvrsry. Nw ths grmnt ws frmrly rw slk nd wht. Tyrn prpl, vt dy frm crtn shllfsh frm whch th scrlt pgmnt s btnd, ws sd n ths frmrly nblchd clth. ftrwrd, vgrs mthds f dyng r ppld. Th fbrs my b n ls frm bfr spnnng r prtlly r flly spn yrn. Thy r sbjctd t bths, rnss, pddls, rllrs, drms, cgs, spnnng, nd cttng, nd whtvr mthds sch sklld n ths rt mply, s tht t mght bcm wrthy f th mprl wrdrb. Thgh th fbrs nd mtrl ndrg n xtnsv prcss, th wrr sffrs nthng. n lk mnnr ws t s n th bdy f Chrst; fr nly th flsh sffrd. gn, lt s s th xmpl f th mprr?s wl mntl. Clrnt ws sd n th thrds whch wr thn twstd. Wht ws twstd? Th clr tht sgnfs th ryl dgnty r th wl tht ws wl bfr t ws dyd prpl? Th wl stnds fr th mn, th prpl clr fr Gd. Thgh Gd ws prsnt n Chrst?s Pssn, H ws nt sbjctd t sffrng. s th dy, H dd nt prtk f ny trg.? ?Bt wt,? sd n f th Jws, ?ws nt th clr twstd wth th wl?? Th snt thn sd, ?f ths xmpl ds nt sffc, Jw, hrkn t scnd nd thrd, t th glry f th cssntl Trnty. Lt s pctr tr flld wth th rys f th sn. Nw lt s mgn tht smn hs ct dwn tht tr. Tll m, whn th x clvd th tr, dd th sn sffr nythng? Th tr snsd th x, bt th snlght xprncd n blw. Th sn bds ntchd nd mpssbl.? Th Jw thn sd, ? bsch th, tll m vn thrd xmpl, tht mght b bttr prsdd.? Snt Slvstr blgd hm nd sd, ?Whn rn, whch s btn wth th hmmr by th smth, s drwn frm th fr, t s plnly vdnt tht th fr ndrs n vlnc; nly th rn s sbjctd t th pndng nd cttng f ths sklld n mtl-wrkng. n lk mnnr, th dvnty rmnd mpssbl, s t s mmtrl, nd nly th flsh f th Chrst sffrd. H hs tw ntrs, n dvn nd n hmn, bt n sngl Prsn. Thgh H sffrd n Hs hmn ntr, yt nt n Hs dvnty. Nw Chrst ws tmptd n ll rspcts ccrdng t r lknss, wtht sn [Hb. 4:15]. S sys ss: ?H prctsd n nqty, nr crft wth Hs mth [s. 53:9].? Bt H sffrd, lvng bhnd n xmpl tht w shld fllw n Hs ftstps [1 P. 2:21].?
    ll th bystndrs, hrng ths xmpls, cclmd th mst ws Slvstr. t ths jnctr, th mprr ndd th dbt. Th snt, hwvr, dd nt wsh ths, fr h hd nt yt dscrsd wth ll twlv Jwsh ldrs. n f thm, Sln, hd nt yt ttrd wrd. Lst thr shld b cs ltr fr cmplnt, h sd t Sln, ?Hst th ny qstns?? H thn sd, ?Jstly hst th dscrnd thngs. Tll s thn f th prphts gv rsns fr sch trgs nd s mch sffrng; tht s, why shld th Chrst rcv sch hds nd shmlss dth? gn, cld nt mn b dlvrd by sm thr mns?? T ths qstn, th dvn Slvstr gv th prpr nswr. ?Chrst,? sd h, ?sffrd hngr tht H mght fd s. H thrstd n rdr t qnch r drynss wth lf-gvng drft. H ndrd tmpttn t lbrt s frm tmpttn. H ws tkn cptv t dlvr s frm cptr by th dmns. H ws mckd t fr s frm th dmns? mckry. H ws bnd n rdr t nt fr s th knt f bndg nd mldctn. H ws hmltd n rdr t xlt s. H ws strppd f Hs grmnts t clth s. H ccptd th crwn n rdr t gv bck t s th lst flwrs f Prds. H ws hng pn th tr n rdr t cndmn th vl dsrs tht tr hd strrd. vn s Stn trckd th mn n Prds nt tng frm th tr, whch shrd n r bnshmnt, s wth th Tr f th Crss Chrst cnqrd th dvrsry nd rsd mn, vchsfng hm gn Prds. Jss ws gvn gll nd vngr t drnk n rdr t brng mn nt lnd flwng wth mlk nd hny. H tk mrtlty pn Hmslf t cnfr mmrtlty pn s. H ws brd t blss th tmbs f th snts. H rs t rstr lf t th dd. H scndd nt th hvns t pn hvn?s gts. H s std t Gd?s rght t hr nd grnt th pryrs f th fthfl.
    ?t ws nt pssbl tht H shld cmmnd n ngl t tk n flsh nd fr mn, lst w shld b blgd t th nglc ntr, rthr thn t th Crtr nd Svr. Th Sn f Gd bcm Mn, n rdr tht H mght gn bstw tht fvr fr whch H crtd hm, whch ws ftr Hs wn mg, ndwd wth ntllct nd fr wll, nd ftr Hs wn smltd, tht s, prfct n ll vrt s fr s t ws pssbl fr mn?s ntr.
    ?Jss ndrd dth vlntrly, thrby trmplng pn Dth gnst hs wll. n tht vry bdy by whch Dth hd sln Jss, Jss br wy th vctry vr Dth. Dvnty, cncld n th mnhd, fght gnst Dth. Dth slw th ntrl lf, nd th sprntrl Lf slw Dth. Whn Jss ntrd Shl, clthd wth th bdy f dm, Dth hd n pwr vr Hm. Dth swllwd Jss, th Mdcn f lf, nd dscvrd tht th pry ws Gd n th flsh nd ncrrptbl. Thrpn, Dth vmtd frth th dd hld cptv. Jss thrfr dspld Hds, plndrng ts strhss nd mptyng ts trsrs. Ths, th Sn f Gd, hvng ssmd r ntr nd ntd t t Hmslf, cnqrd th dvl wh hd th pwr f dth.?
    Sln rmnd vclss, n lngr bl t rsst. Th spcttrs, hrng ths thngs, mrvlld, nd ppls rng t frm ll, ncldng Cnstntn nd th Jws. Zmbrs, bng wckd nd crfty, cntrvd pc f knvry. Lttl dd h knw tht sch vllny wld pt hm t shm nd brng hm nt th vry pt whch h hd prprd fr th pp. Zmbrs thrpn ddrssd th mprr: ?Sr, Slvstr s lqcs nd glb-tngd, by whch h hs bstd s n th dbt. H s plsbl nd bgls th ppl wth hs mbgs wrd gms. H ttmpts t xpln th dvnty by hmn rsnng. lthgh h hs xhstd ll r rgmnts, w shll nt bndn th trdtns f r ldrs nd wrshp th crcfd n. Slvstr tlks mch, bt m rdy t shw by dds, whch r mr crdtwrthy thn wrds, tht thr s nthng mr pwrfl thn th nm f th lmghty Gd, Whs nm knw. D th cmmnd tht thy brng hr wld bll, nd thn y shll ll knw th pwr f my Gd, Whs nm s s frfl tht th hrng f t brngs dth. Fr ths rsn, whn r frfthrs wshd t scrfc grt blls, thy wld spk th dvn nm n th r f th nml, nd strghtwy t wld xpr. Lt Slvstr spk th nm f hs Gd n th r f th bll, nd f t shld d, thn th Gd Whm h rvrs s th tr n. f th bst rmns lv, thn shll spk th nm n th bll?s r; nd f t shld d, y wll blv m.? Snt Slvstr, knwng ths t b cmplt nnsns, thn sd t Zmbrs, ?f vrly nn s bl t br hrng th nm, hw shlt th hr t nd nt d?? Zmbrs rpld, ?Th cnst nt knw ths mystry. Th rt th nmy f th Jws.? Th mprr thn ntrpsd nd sd, ?f th wlt nt spk f th mystry t th bshp, thn tll s: whr nd hw ddst th lrn ths nm? Prhps th ddst rd t n bk?? Zmbrs nswrd grvly, ?Th nm my nt b wrttn n nythng, lst th wrtr nd wht h hs wrttn pn shld sffr dstrctn.? Cnstntn dmndd mptntly, ?Ths ds nt xpln hw th nm ws rvld t th, f t cnnt b spkn r wrttn.? Zmbrs thn dsclsd, ? fstd fr svn dys, ntrtng th Lrd t mnfst Hs nm. Thn bhld slvr bsn flld wth wtr. n nvsbl fngr trcd th lttrs f th nm vr th wtrs. nly ftr xrtng myslf nd wth mch tl ws bl t cmprhnd t.? Th hly nd dscrnng Slvstr ndrstd ths t b dmnc mnfsttn, nd rptd hs rlr qstn, ?Whn th spkst tht nm, t s vdnt tht th hrst t t th sm tm. Thrfr, hw ddst th srvv t?? Zmbrs nswrd hm cntmptsly, syng, ? hv lrdy nswrd th. Th rt th nmy f th Jws nd nft t knw r scrts. thrfr shll whspr th nm nt th bll?s r. Whn th bst xprs, th shlt knw my rlgn t b th tr n.? Th hly hrrch rspndd wth mch grvty, syng, ?My Gd ds nt bstw dth, bt rthr lf nd blssdnss.? Zmbrs rtrtd, ?ngh tlk; thr r dds yt t d.?
    Thn th dvn Slvstr bsght th mprr nd ll th snt t dsptch mn t ld frth th mst wld bll tht thy cld fnd. Th bst ws fnd, nd vn thrty mn rstrnng t wth rps cld hrdly mng t. Snc Zmbrs nttd th chllng, h wnt frth frst t th bll, whch sddnly clmd t hs pprch. Zmbrs spk sm scrt wrds f srcry nt th crtr?s rs. Frthwth, th bll fll dwn t th grnd nd dd. Th Jws xltd, s thy shtd nd lghd scrnflly t th hly mn, wh spk bldly, syng, ?H prnncd nt th nm f Gd, bt f th flst f dmns.? Th bshp thn mntd hgh plc nd cmmndd ll t rmn slnt, fr h wshd fr thm t hr vry wrd f hs ddrss. Th crwd hshd, nd h spk wth grt vc nd sd, ? prclm th Mstr Chrst Wh grntd lght t th blnd, clnsd lprs, rsd p prlytcs, rsrrctd th dd, nd hld vry llnss. t s thrfr clr tht Zmbrs dd nt spk th nm f Gd, bt tht f th dvl, wh gvs dth, s h s mrdrr nd mnslyr; bt t rs p frm th dd, ths th dvl cn n n ws d. Thrfr, Zmbrs, f th dst wsh fr s t blv th, rs p frm th dd th bll whch th hst sln; thn ll f s shll blv n thy Gd.? Zmbrs thn rnt hs grmnt nd shtd ld, syng, ? mprr, mny yrs t th! Dst th s hw hv vrcm wth my dds, bt hw h prssts n cnfsng s wth hs sphstrs nd nnsns??
    Th mprr ptntly hrd Zmbrs, bt sd t th bshp: ?Wll ddst th spk, Slvstr, tht th mrcfl Gd grnts lf t ll nd nt dstrctn.? Th bshp thn skd th Jws, ?s t nt wrttn tht th Lrd sd: ? kll, nd wll mk t lv: wll smt, nd wll hl; nd thr s nn wh shll dlvr t f My hnds [Dt. 32:39]??? Th Jws nswrd, ?S spk th Lrd.? Th bshp cntnd nd sd, ?f Zmbrs hs sln th bll by th nm f Gd, thn lt hm rstr t t lf.? Cnstntn thn sd t th Jw, ?Wll thn, thr rs p th bll tht w mght blv n th, r th shlt b pt t dth s dcvr nd wzrd, lst th shldst drw th ppl nt prdtn.? Bt Zmbrs qckly ntrjctd, ?Ths thng th skst, mprr, n mn cn d. nc mr Slvstr ss wrds nstd f dds.? Zmbrs thn lkd pn th bshp nd sd, ?Lt Slvstr rs th bll n th nm f ths Jss.? Th hly bshp thn sd, ?Bt f shld rs p th bll, nvkng th lf-gvng nd svng nm f th Mstr Chrst, thn wht wlt th d?? Zmbrs rpld, ?Th dst bst, Slvstr. Th bll s dd. vn f th shldst fly n th hvns, th cldst nt rs th crtr.? Cnstntn bcm ngry nd sd, ? mrvl, Zmbrs, t thy shmlssnss. Ws t nt th wh sd tht w shld hv dn wth wrds nd lt nly dds b gvn s prf? nd nw tht th bshp gvs hs wrd tht h shll rs th bll, th syst, hw s t pssbl? f th bshp?s wrd cms t pss n vry dd, nd h rss th nml, wlt th nd th rst f th Jws hr cm t blv n th Chrst?? Th Jws, blvng tht t cld nt pssbly hppn, prmsd wth n th tht f Slvstr shld rs p th bll frm th dd, thn thy wld bcm Chrstns n th spt.
    Thn Snt Slvstr, bwng hs kns t th grnd, rsd p hs hnds nd ys hvnwrd. Wth trs, h ffrd p wrds f scrt ntrty t th Lrd. H thn rs p nd spk wth grt vc s tht ll mght hr: ? Mstr, Lrd Jss Chrst, Sn f Gd, ntrt nd spplct Thy gdnss, t rs p ths nml, whch Zmbrs slw by nvkng th nm f th dvl, s tht ll th ppl shll cm t knw Thy grt pwr nd blv n Thn ll-hly nm.? ftr h ttrd ths wrds, h crd t t th bst, syng, ?n th nm f th Mstr Jss Chrst, Wh ws brn f th Vrgn Mry nd ws crcfd by Pnts Plt, rs p nd b th tm frm hncfrth.? Th bll thn? th wndr!?rs p nd clmly pprchd th snt, wh rmvd th rps frm ts hrns. Th bshp thn sd t th bll, ?G t thy plc gntly nd dr nvr gn t njr nyn. N n shll njr th nr sly th. Th shlt lv t thn ppntd tm nd nd wth ntrl dth.? Th Jws wth Zmbrs, wtnssng sch n xtrrdnry mrvl, fll t thr kns bfr th snt, mplrng hm t prdn thr frmr mpty. n lk mnnr, th gdly mprr vnrtd th snt nd cclmd hm. Th mprss nd th nbls thn sght hly Bptsm frm th bshp. Th blssd Slvstr ctchzd thm, ncldng th Jws nd dltrs, cmmndng thm t fst crtn nmbr f dys, s thy shd trs nd prfrmd wrks f mrcy nd chrty. Snt Slvstr thn bptzd thm n th nm f th Fthr nd f th Sn nd f th Hly Sprt, th tr Gd, t Whm s d ll glry, hnr, nd vnrtn, t th gs f th gs. mn.
    Nw Snt Slvstr ws n rdnt zlt fr rght blf. H dsptchd tw lgts, Vts nd Vncnts, t ttnd th Frst ?cmncl Synd, cnvnd drng th rgn f Cnstntn th Grt (325) n Nc f Bthyn. Th wstrn bshp, Hss f Crdv, prsdd. Ths synd cndmnd th hrsy f rs. Snt Slvstr rpsd n Rm n th yr 335. Drng hs pntfct, Cnstntn hd gvn hm th plc f th Ltrn, whr h st p hs cthdr, th ffcl chr r thrn f bshp, nd stblshd th Ltrn bslc s th cthdrl chrch f Rm. H ls blt th frst chrchs f Snt Ptr n th Vtcn, Hly Crss n th Sssrn plc, nd Snt Lrnc tsd th Wlls.3Snt Slvstr ls blt chrch t th cmtry f Prscll n th Slrn wy, whr h ws hmslf brd. n 761, hs rlcs wr trnsltd by Pp Pl (757-767) t Snt Slvstr n Cpt t Rm. H ws th frst pp f Rm ftr th Chrch mrgd frm th ctcmbs.4
    [1] Th gst Hln (Hln) ws brn n c. 250 r 257, t Drpnn (ltr Hlnpls).
    [2] Tkng th ss p wth th Jws, Blssd Jrm dclrs: ? knw tht th Jws r ccstmd t mt s wth th bjctn tht n Hbrw th wrd lmh ds nt mn vrgn, bt ? yng wmn.? nd, t spk trth, vrgn s prprly clld bthlh, bt yng wmn, r grl, s nt lmh, bt nrh! Wht thn s th mnng f lmh? hddn vrgn, tht s, nt mrly vrgn, bt vrgn nd smthng mr, bcs nt vry vrgn s hddn, sht ff frm th ccsnl sght f mn. Thn gn, Rbcc, n ccnt f hr xtrm prty, nd bcs sh s typ f th Chrch whch sh rprsntd n hr wn vrgnty, s dscrbd n Gnss s lmh, nt bthlh [Gn. 24:43 sq.]….Whr h spks f th mdn cmng frth t drw wtr, th Hbrw wrd s lmh, tht s, ? vrgn scldd,? nd grdd by hr prnts wth xtrm cr.? Lttrs nd Slct Wrks: gnst Jvnns.-Bk , Ncn, 2nd Sr., V:370.
    [3] n th lft sd f th sqln Hll s th Chrch f S. Mrtn Mnt, th st f n rtry blt by Pp Slvstr, whch Pp Symmchs (498-514) trnsfrmd nt bslc n hnr f Snt Mrtn f Trs. t ws rblt n th 9th C. nd gn n th 17th C. S Frmn-Grnvll?s Th Bty f Rm, p. 77.
    [4] Btlr?s Lvs f th Snts, Dcmbr 31st, V:644.
    Ths prtn f th Lf f Snt Sylvstr, Pp f Rm, ws tkn frm Th Grt Synxrsts f th rthdx Chrch, Jnry Vlm

  336. #336 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 18, 2010

    It is clear Michael has no idea of what is meant by scientific evidence. There are a million or so scientific papers that directly and indirectly support evolution. It doesn’t get much more supported than that. And evolution has progressed in the 150 years since it was first described by Darwin, and includes DNA, genomes, genes, and other things that Darwin wasn’t even aware existed, but fall within his overall idea. Only more science can refute science, and all Michael can offer is religion. Which is worthless as evidence.

    The evidence for his imaginary deity and mythical/fictional babble, close to zip.

  337. #337 Kamaka
    February 18, 2010

    Oh, my!

    We have a full-blown delusional nutcase here.

  338. #338 Michael
    February 18, 2010

    the article is archived here, along with many other edifying articles, including my story of journeying from secular Judaism to orthodox Judaism to Christianity:

    http://groups.google.com/group/thebiblewheel/files

  339. #339 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    I believe we just took a sharp turn to Crazytown.

  340. #340 aratina cage of the OM
    February 18, 2010

    Oh no. Michael is not only religiously deluded, he is also an antisemite. Time to haul his ass to the dungeon.

  341. #341 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    February 18, 2010

    Oh, Mikey, epic logic fail

    “the rational laws of the universe testify to a rational being who brought them into existence.”

    Uh, no. How about this: the fact that the human brain evolved under the laws of this universe means that to be “fit” the laws of the Universe will make sense to it–at least those laws experienced in the relevant realm (e.g. classical mechanics. This not only explains why classical mechanics and other laws of the macroscopic realm are comprehensible, but why those of the microscopic realm (e.g. quantum mechanics) are counter intuitive.

    “life cannot arise spontaneously from non-life”

    Is a virus alive? They’ve systhesized one.

    http://www.stonybrook.edu/ovprpub/tsc/polio.html

    Sorry, Mikey, those gaps are getting smaller and smaller. Your god might be getting awfully cramped. I worry about him.

  342. #342 Jadehawk, OM
    February 18, 2010

    since most of the ardent promoters of Darwinist naturalism are Jews, who have a hidden agenda of defeating Christianity and allowing Judaism to reign supreme, i attach this ancient debate between one of the first Popes and a committee of rabbis in ancient Rome. judge for yourselves who has more eloquence.

    ah, so you’re an antisemitic Bircher type, too, huh?

    well, since that first sentence of yours is already incorrect (atheists and even Christians who accept evolution outnumber Jews), I can spare myself reading the rest of that paranoid, possibly hateful screed.

  343. #343 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    He’s an ex-Jew

  344. #344 Bernard Bumner
    February 18, 2010

    Wow! Evolution is a Jewish conspiracy?

    Thuffering Thucatash, Michael! If you’re going to post a story about Saint Sylvester, couldn’t you just have the decency to post the abridged version? I stopped reading after a while, and now I have no idea whether or not he caught Tweety Pie…

  345. #345 Jadehawk, OM
    February 18, 2010

    oh, I didn’t catch on to that, he’s a Jew converted to Christianity? and now he hates on the members of his former religion? how…. disturbing.

  346. #346 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 18, 2010

    What a loser Michael is. He thinks quoting his mythical/fictional babble means anything other than he is a delusional fool. (tl;dr, just scanned)

    Bwahahahaha.

    No evidence in the babble michael, just old prejudices of men. Still no conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity…

  347. #347 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    oh, I didn’t catch on to that, he’s a Jew converted to Christianity? and now he hates on the members of his former religion? how…. disturbing.

    Check out his blog… or don’t and take my word for it.

    He’s disturbing, disgusting, moronic and more than just slightly unhinged.

  348. #348 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 18, 2010

    I wonder if the poor guy was this bugfuck insane before he converted? Or is this form of christianity the most conducive form for his insanity.

  349. #349 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 18, 2010

    or don’t and take my word for it.

    Will do.

  350. #350 Louis
    February 18, 2010

    Ok, anyone that ever accuses me of long posts ever again can fuck directly off.

    ;-)

    Louis

  351. #351 Michael
    February 18, 2010

    kamaka @332

    God tells us what satan thinks. one thing only : destroy.

    but with three roles: tempt, destroy, accuse.

  352. #352 Louis
    February 18, 2010

    Tempt, destroy, accuse?

    How about dissect, laugh, go get a coffee and do something productive?

    Louis

  353. #353 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 18, 2010

    God tells us what satan thinks. one thing only : destroy.

    And sometimes god and satan gets together to share a skin of wine and will come up with drunken bets. Ask the children of Job if they enjoyed the results of one rather infamous bet?

  354. #354 Bernard Bumner
    February 18, 2010

    His three weapons are destruction, temptation, and accusation… and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…

  355. #355 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    God tells us what satan thinks. one thing only : destroy.

    but with three roles: tempt, destroy, accuse.

    And how do you know that isn’t Satan in a god suit telling you that stuff?

    He is the great deceiver, or so you people tell me.

  356. #356 Louis
    February 18, 2010

    …I’ll come in again

    Louis

  357. #357 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 18, 2010

    God tells us

    That is a lie, as your deity exists only as a delusion between your ears. No evidence for one. And if one did exist, he could certainly communicate with us much more clearly than the cesspool of mythology/fiction that is the babble.

  358. #358 Michael
    February 18, 2010

    @340

    “Is a virus alive? They’ve systhesized one.”

    That’s right. “They” – meaning someone designed it with intelligence (unless of course you were on the team, then it was just dumb luck)

    Sorry, Mikey, those gaps are getting smaller and smaller. Your god might be getting awfully cramped. I worry about him.

    He worries about you too. Specifically about the gap between your ears. Lots of black holes. And your soul that is a white dwarf.

    Get a life. Before He takes it from you…

    (You do recognize that we all die don’t you??? Do you hope for anything afterwards?)

  359. #359 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    I hear God and Satan share a fondness for peanut brittle.

  360. #360 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    Get a life. Before He takes it from you…

    Thief

    (You do recognize that we all die don’t you??? Do you hope for anything afterwards?)

    Hope has nothing to do with it.

    What you want or don’t want has no bearing on reality.

  361. #361 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 18, 2010

    (You do recognize that we all die don’t you??? Do you hope for anything afterwards?)

    Yeah! He pulls out the eternal life card!

    Yes, Micheal. We realize that we will all die. Thank you so much for for pointing out that you think we are to stupid to realize it.

    Please stop now, you have nothing new to offer. Each of us has heard these arguments thousands of times. You are no more convincing then all the others who have proceeded you.

  362. #362 Michael
    February 18, 2010

    @341 – ah, so you’re an antisemitic Bircher type, too, huh?

    i meant to write:

    “since some of the most ardent promoters of Darwinist naturalism are Jews”

    if it makes any difference to you.

    @356 – That is a lie, as your deity exists only as a delusion between your ears.

    Well, if my eyes count as being between my ears, then you are right. I read God’s word and know what He thinks.

    I also hear his “still small voice” speaking to my conscience, again between my ears.

    So you are right on track.

    Just stop talking so much and start listening.

    PS I know you all will be SO sad, but in honor of Lent I am curtailing internet usage. It’s been nice communicating with you all. And I sincerely hope to be able to meet you someday in Heaven, if not on earth.

    Shalom waSalam beShem Yeshua.

  363. #363 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 18, 2010

    You do recognize that we all die don’t you

    Yep, but the afterlife, like your imaginary deity and mythical/fictional babble, doesn’t exist. Except in the minds of delusional fools like yourself who can’t face reality. Which is why you are a delusional fool.

  364. #364 Bernard Bumner
    February 18, 2010

    You do recognize that we all die don’t you??? Do you hope for anything afterwards?

    I hope they don’t start selling a cure for the thing which killed me the day after I’m gone…

  365. #365 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    Shalom waSalam beShem Yeshua.

    Like I said before, you should probably see a doc about that. It sounds like it itches.

  366. #366 Jadehawk, OM
    February 18, 2010

    That’s right. “They” – meaning someone designed it with intelligence

    congratulations, you’re fucking clueless about how this works. throwing a bunch of ingredients and watching what will happen is not the same as “designing” something.

    And your soul that is a white dwarf.

    Get a life.sez the internet troll…

    You do recognize that we all die don’t you??? Do you hope for anything afterwards?

    nope. we’re capable of facing the fact that a human life is a short sort of thing. which is why we would never waste it on pointless, harmful, and decidedly unfun things like religion.

    kinda sad that you are afraid of both life and death so much you desperately cling to made up fairytales about a “life” of bland existence after your death. very sad.

  367. #367 Bernard Bumner
    February 18, 2010

    …in honor of Lent I am curtailing internet usage…

    Giving up wanking for lent?

  368. #368 Kamaka
    February 18, 2010

    I am curtailing internet usage

    We have heard promises like this before…

  369. #369 Knockgoats
    February 18, 2010

    Would some kind person please replace Michael’s head with a turnip? We’d get much more sense out of him. The head could possibly be used as a doorstop – waste not, want not!

  370. #370 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 18, 2010

    February 18, 2010

    You do recognize that we all die don’t you???

    Indeed, several dozens died during the reading of post #334, of boredom mostly, but also from the sheer length (an intellectual lifetime passed).

    Do you hope for anything afterwards?

    Hope? No, not really, although I would love to find out that my “personality” survived bodily death, and that the afterlife was filled with cannolis (and other assorted Italian pastries – oh, Mozzicato [Hartford, CT] is my friend), paisano wine, and as much pasta as I can consume. When you find a holy book that promises that, please let me know.

  371. #372 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    PS I know you all will be SO sad, but in honor of Lent I am curtailing internet usage. It’s been nice communicating with you all. And I sincerely hope to be able to meet you someday in Heaven, if not on earth.

    Didn’t Lent start yesterday?

  372. #373 Bernard Bumner
    February 18, 2010

    Didn’t Lent start yesterday?

    Not on his planet.

  373. #374 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    February 18, 2010

    Mikey,
    I believe that the synthesis of a virus speaks directly to your contention that life cannot come from non-life–a connection you conveniently chose to ignore.

    Maybe those tiny gaps you keep shoving him in explain why your god is so malicious and petty–wiping out Port au Prince, screwing over Job. Maybe he feels cramped in there.

  374. #375 PZ Myers
    February 18, 2010

    Michael has been curtailed. I’m giving him up for Lent.

  375. #376 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 18, 2010

    It’s been nice communicating with you all. And I sincerely hope to be able to meet you someday in Heaven, if not on earth.

    What you have been engaging in is not communication. You have said so yourself; you want us to shut up and just accept your personal form of incongruity. I cannot speak for anyone else but it was not nice for me.

    If there is a heaven and it is full of people like you, I want nothing of it. Sitting on a pile of salt would be more interesting then being around intellectually incurious people like you.

    I am grateful it is unlikely I will ever meet you in real life. Your smugness is stomach turning. I can have a more rewarding and humorous conversation with my five year old nephew.

  376. #377 Knockgoats
    February 18, 2010

    I also hear his “still small voice” speaking to my conscience – Michael

    No, that’s an auditory hallucination. Peter Sutcliffe got that too: maybe still does, but fortunately he can’t obey it any more.

  377. #378 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 18, 2010

    Michael has been curtailed. I’m giving him up for Lent.

    Humm. I was hoping for a little more crazy from him, but oh well.

  378. #379 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 18, 2010

    PZ, you only used the banhammer because you are jewish.

    No loss.

  379. #380 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 18, 2010

    Ah, the sanity of the thread just went up several notches.

  380. #381 thedolcelife#276f1
    February 18, 2010

    No zealot like a convert.

    Michael, having renounced what he left behind and feeling there’s no place to go back to, must now commit completely and utterly to his new found philosophy and do so to an extreme, otherwise those around him may think he is a traitor or a spy or worse, his mind may stray back longingly to what once was…

    He must be an anti-semite so he doesn’t have to apologize every waking moment for the made up story of what his birth family’s religion did to his newly adopted religion’s main character.

    Classic paranoid delusional personality disorder.

  381. #382 Walton
    February 18, 2010

    I really don’t get this de-vowelisation thing. Is it some bug in the software? Does it happen automatically when someone gets banned, and if so, why?

  382. #383 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 18, 2010

    I really don’t get this de-vowelisation thing. Is it some bug in the software? Does it happen automatically when someone gets banned, and if so, why?

    PZ has a macro that disemvowels a post. PZ uses it if he finds a post offensive. If the offensive posts continue, then plonking may occur.

  383. #384 phi1ip
    February 18, 2010

    I?d also observe that disemvowelling an obnoxious post is also preferable to the blogger editing it to add his own comments of disparagement. Nuff sed.

    Subtracting the vowels doesn?t completely occlude the meaning of the original text, but sure as hell makes it less obtrusive and offensive to the eye.

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