Pharyngula

Where’s my invitation?

Hey, I just checked my mailbox for a fancy gilt envelope, but no joy. I was hoping to hear from the Pope.

The Pontifical Council for Culture has announced that it is creating a foundation to focus on relations with atheists and agnostics.

See? They should be calling me any minute now…oh, wait.

The president of the Council announced the initiative on Wednesday as a response to Pope Benedict’s call to “renew dialogue with men and women who don’t believe but want to move towards God.

Well, I’m out. That’s like putting out a call for healthy men and women who want to move towards degenerative neurological disease.

Maybe Chris Mooney is available?

Comments

  1. #1 JD
    February 26, 2010

    Like an ad for Close Up toothpaste featuring Karen Armstrong and Michael Ruse.

  2. #2 Pygmy Loris
    February 26, 2010

    Even if I wanted to “move towards God” why would I choose the RCC as my religion? The church opposes progress of all kinds that directly benefits people. They protect people who abuse children. If you’re out looking for a religion, the RCC doesn’t seem to be a very good choice.

  3. #3 KKBundy
    February 26, 2010

    I got mine! They just don’t like you PZ. I’ll put a word in for you!

    The Blessed Atheist Bible Study @ http://blessedatheist.com/

  4. #4 David Marjanovi?
    February 26, 2010
    “renew dialogue with men and women who don’t believe but want to move towards God.”

    To have any such desire, one already has to believe. By definition, then, one is not an atheist; and unless one is a fideist, one is also not an agnostic.

  5. #5 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 26, 2010

    I have spent a quarter of a century with no desire to get up close and personal with an imaginary genocidal maniac. Why change now?

  6. #6 vanharris
    February 26, 2010

    How can anyone want to move towards something that they don’t believe in?

    Ah, i see. The pope’s nose thinks there’s only one god, which is his fellah, naturally. But what if he’s wrong, & it’s that Vodou Yawa fellah? Or Zeus, or Thor?

  7. #7 David Marjanovi?
    February 26, 2010

    already has to believe

    …has to already believe, that is. I think I’ll really go to bed as early as I’m now contemplating.

    No idea where that error even came from. It’s not German, or French for that matter.

  8. #8 KKBundy
    February 26, 2010

    Pygmy said “If you’re out looking for a religion, the RCC doesn’t seem to be a very good choice.”

    I agree Pygmy, but being an atheist homeschooler living deep in the heart of fundamentalist paradise makes me view the Catholics as the reasonable ones. You gotta start hanging with the deep deep Baptists sometime. Those people are crazy!

    The Blessed Atheist Bible Study @ http://blessedatheist.com/

  9. #9 daveau
    February 26, 2010

    How do you move towards something that doesn’t exist? I mean, if you really don’t believe.

    Wait, sorry. For a second there, I was expecting the RCC to make sense.

  10. #10 aratina cage of the OM
    February 26, 2010

    How can you move towards something that is in between your ears?

  11. #11 Sastra
    February 26, 2010

    Hey, I enjoy this advice from Sam Harris:

    How to Believe in God in Six Easy Steps

    1. First, you must want to believe in God.

    2. Next, understand that believing in God in the absence of evidence is especially noble.

    3. Then, realize that the human ability to believe in God in the absence of evidence might itself constitute evidence for the existence of God.

    4. Now consider any need for further evidence (both in yourself and in others) to be a form of temptation, spiritually unhealthy, or a corruption of the intellect.

    5. Refer to steps 2-4 as acts of ?faith.?

    6. Return to 2.

    —–

    The sort of apologetics designed to help people who want to believe are always remarkably loose. They mostly seem to consist of attempts to find ways to show that faith in God isn’t all that different than faith in sunshine, or your mother, or the value of love. Don’t you want to be that kind of person? Don’t you want to be a better person?

    Once you’ve got a disposition to help an argument along, you’ll find all sorts of confirming evidence. As Dawkins says, God can’t lose. You’ll also stop asking hard questions, and convince yourself that no, you’re asking even harder questions, now that you’re trying to relate to God, and change your life. But those are different sorts of questions, with a different focus.

  12. #12 ewizardlt
    February 26, 2010

    You won’t get an invitation, because
    YOU FAIL AT RELIGION :P

  13. #13 withheld
    February 26, 2010

    They’re probably starting with people who are already registered with a Catholic church. There’s no way that 90% of Catholics actually believe what the church is teaching.

  14. #14 aratina cage of the OM
    February 26, 2010

    The Pope should be very afraid of promoting this, actually. If I got close enough to God, I’d kick it in the balls as hard as I could and immediately go for its throat on full kill mode.

  15. #15 vanharris
    February 26, 2010

    Archbishop Ravasi listed further objectives of starting relations with atheistic organizations, studying the “spiritual place” of non-believers and developing “themes of rapport between religion, society, peace and nature.”

    “With this initiative, we would like to help everyone to step out of a poor conception of believing, (and) promote the understanding that theology has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature, he continued.

    What feckin’ chutzpah! These Catholic eejits are living in a fantasy world of their own misconceptions here on Earth that’s just as crazy as their feckin’ Heaven.

  16. #16 AdamK
    February 26, 2010

    One wants to move toward what is attractive. What do they imagine is attractive about their nebulous-but-monstrous “god”? Or their hideous death-cult?

    Why would anyone want to be a christian if one could possibly avoid such an miserable fate?

  17. #17 Jadehawk, OM
    February 26, 2010

    so they’re trying to woo the faitheists and other “believers in belief”?

    or is this just one more of the “atheists do know there’s a god, they’re just in denial” idiocies?

  18. #18 vanharris
    February 26, 2010

    AdamK,

    Why would anyone want to be a christian if one could possibly avoid such an miserable fate?

    For access to choirboys?

  19. #19 SparrowFalls
    February 26, 2010

    A new meaning for the phrase ‘confirmation bias’?

  20. #20 Jon A
    February 26, 2010

    I know you’re all competent adults and you don’t believe in Santa Claus but for those of you who would like to move towards Santa…

  21. #21 great.american.satan
    February 26, 2010

    I did LOL. I don’t do that very often. You a funny muthahumpa, dude.

  22. #22 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 26, 2010

    Jon A, you can’t fool me! Everybody knows there ain’t no such thing as Sanity Clause.

  23. #23 aratina cage of the OM
    February 26, 2010

    Oy. I’m way too slow for this place. Paul W. beat me to it for my second comment too.

  24. #24 llewelly
    February 26, 2010

    The president of the Council announced the initiative on Wednesday as a response to Pope Benedict’s call to “renew dialogue with men and women who don’t believe but want to move towards God.”

    I spent a great deal of time and energy moving towards God. Eventually I realized I was going in circles.

  25. #25 Kyorosuke
    February 26, 2010

    Jon A, you can’t fool me! Everybody knows there ain’t no such thing as Sanity Clause.

    Oh, Janine, I love you for that.

    “[honk!]” “Make that three hard-boiled eggs.”

  26. #26 Glen Davidson
    February 26, 2010

    want to move towards God.”

    This desire to move toward nothingness is why religion tends toward nihilism in its later stages.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  27. #27 Jon A
    February 26, 2010

    We the uninvited should reply offering to enter dialogue with those who do believe but would like to move towards rationality.

  28. #28 fishnguy
    February 26, 2010

    Maybe after the hocus pocus stuff is dealt with they can move on to the reality of child molesting priests and the churchs’ part of shuffling this evil from parish to parish. Do the right thing Mr.Ratzinger and own up to your part in all this tragedy.

  29. #29 idiotiddidit#5116d
    February 26, 2010

    “With this initiative, we would like to help everyone to step out of a poor conception of believing, (and) promote the understanding that theology has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature, he continued.

    Oh, really? Theology has scientific dignity? I guess so, in the same way that any experimental negative result has scientific dignity.

    I simply fail to understand the mindset, despite being raised Catholic. The whole point of faith is believing the unbelievable. Why do they appeal to science? If science could prove God, then there would be no need for faith.

  30. #30 Sastra
    February 26, 2010

    Archbishop Ravasi listed further objectives of starting relations with atheistic organizations, studying the “spiritual place” of non-believers and developing “themes of rapport between religion, society, peace and nature.”
    “With this initiative, we would like to help everyone to step out of a poor conception of believing, (and) promote the understanding that theology has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature, he continued.

    Oohh, I think I see what he’s doing here. Bait and switch from a common ground. He wants to get the atheists on board with the idea that moral values, peace, nature, art, love, philosophy, and the sense of wonder are all part of their own “spirituality” — a natural spirituality, it’s okay — and, from there, slowly move towards calling them “religious.” Or, perhaps, religious values “too.”

    And faith is important to everyone, in some way. Atheists have faith in their mother’s love, or that the sun will come up tomorrow, or that if we work hard, the environment will improve. All common ground, see? Superficial resemblances linking it all together, bringing us all on the same side.

    And then the stuff that makes no sense, will slip by on the back of the stuff that does make sense. Maybe they can even call God “natural.” Or Nature.

    That should work. We’ll never see that one coming. Fools us every time.

  31. #31 Rikaishi
    February 26, 2010

    It’s the same as their protestant outreach program(s). The councils are largely made up of patronizing Catholics and Protestants who want to be Catholic. Non-Catholics who have more self respect tend to stay away.

    Astrid Storm’s piece on the subject was interesting:
    http://bit.ly/3Jyl6s

  32. #32 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 26, 2010

    promote the understanding that theology has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature

    Theology is opinions about imaginary beings. Discussion about whether angels dancing on the heads of pins are waltzing or doing the macarena are hardly scientific/

  33. #33 Matt Penfold
    February 26, 2010

    The Catholic Church recently upset the Church of England by offering to take all the misogynists and bigots of the latter’s hands.

    Personally I would have thought the C of E would have jumped at the chance. For a long time it has been divided over whether it should treat gays and women as human, with a large element of those opposed to such a move coming from the Catholic end of the Anglican movement. Had I been the Archbishop of Canterbury I would have rejoiced at the though of being free of the nastier element within the Church.

  34. #34 Cinnamonbite
    February 26, 2010

    “That’s like putting out a call for healthy men and women who want to move towards degenerative…disease.”
    Oh.
    So they should target smokers.

  35. #35 Owlmirror
    February 26, 2010

    “renew dialogue with men and women who don’t believe but want to move towards God.”

    LOLPOPE:
    I CAN HAS FAITHIESTS?

    Oohh, I think I see what he’s doing here. Bait and switch from a common ground. He wants to get the atheists on board with the idea that moral values, peace, nature, art, love, philosophy, and the sense of wonder are all part of their own “spirituality” — a natural spirituality, it’s okay — and, from there, slowly move towards calling them “religious.”

    Ah. Of course, coming at it from the other direction, any Catholic who suggested that this is all that religion is would be condemned as a modernizing heretic by the traditionalist/fascist faction (Piltdown Man, SSPX, et cetera)

  36. #36 Walton
    February 26, 2010

    Personally I would have thought the C of E would have jumped at the chance. For a long time it has been divided over whether it should treat gays and women as human, with a large element of those opposed to such a move coming from the Catholic end of the Anglican movement. Had I been the Archbishop of Canterbury I would have rejoiced at the though of being free of the nastier element within the Church.

    Well, the Anglican Church is complicated. Most major religious sects have a moderate wing and an extremist insane wing. The C of E, by contrast, has a large moderate middle, and two separate insane wings – the “High Church” Anglo-Catholics and the “Low Church” evangelicals – who really don’t like each other. The evangelicals and the Anglo-Catholics are both equally loony (though in different ways), but they balance one another out, allowing the moderates to be the dominant force. If the more conservative Anglo-Catholics were to leave en masse and convert to Rome, the danger would be that the evangelical faction would become more dominant, leading to the Anglican Church becoming less liberal overall.

  37. #37 SteveV
    February 26, 2010

    PZ – As I posted on another thread, Miss M emailed the Pope recently – still no reply.
    Why should you be different?

  38. #38 Matt Penfold
    February 26, 2010

    Well, the Anglican Church is complicated. Most major religious sects have a moderate wing and an extremist insane wing. The C of E, by contrast, has a large moderate middle, and two separate insane wings – the “High Church” Anglo-Catholics and the “Low Church” evangelicals – who really don’t like each other. The evangelicals and the Anglo-Catholics are both equally loony (though in different ways), but they balance one another out, allowing the moderates to be the dominant force. If the more conservative Anglo-Catholics were to leave en masse and convert to Rome, the danger would be that the evangelical faction would become more dominant, leading to the Anglican Church becoming less liberal overall.

    Something is seriously fucked when you have to keep one lot of bigots around to counter another lot of bigots.

  39. #39 j.c.
    February 26, 2010

    It reminds me of those gay conversion therapies: you identify as X but really, honestly, truly you can’t want to be X so we’ll help you fix that.

    It’s a general lack of respect thing and also shows how completely out of touch the church is. Personally, I consider it an achievement when I manage to break one of the RCC’s tenants and not once ever in my atheism have I felt a deep-seated need to move towards God. And I really love living in sin with my partner.

  40. #40 Walton
    February 26, 2010

    PZ – As I posted on another thread, Miss M emailed the Pope recently – still no reply.

    I imagine he has a large backlog of messages. In about three years’ time, you’ll probably get a reply from some deputy assistant sub-junior private secretary, saying something along the lines of “The Holy Father thanks you for your message” and some platitudes which have nothing to do with what you actually wrote. This is how most heads of state and of major organisations do business.

  41. #41 Legion
    February 26, 2010

    FTA:

    Atheists Invited to Vatican Outreach Initiative

    It’s a trap!

  42. #42 Owlmirror
    February 26, 2010
    promote the understanding that theology has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature

    Theology is opinions about imaginary beings. Discussion about whether angels dancing on the heads of pins are waltzing or doing the macarena are hardly scientific/

    I suspect that this means that the Catholic Church has still not given up on Natural Theology. “Nature is the work of God; studying Nature is therefore a proxy for studying God; therefore, studying God (theology) is another way to study Nature.”

    Or something to that effect.

  43. #43 Insightful Ape
    February 26, 2010

    How exactly do you move toward god? Does that take a winged horse as was the case for prophet Mohammad?

  44. #44 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 26, 2010

    If I were to drift back to goddism I certainly wouldn’t go to the sexist, homophobic Catholic Church. Some of the Catholic dogma, like the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary, sex only for procreation, and the bureaucracy of the faith, are either silly or the result of old men grasping for as much power as possible.

  45. #45 Kel, OM
    February 26, 2010

    I suspect that this means that the Catholic Church has still not given up on Natural Theology.

    If one were a believer, it would make sense to understand God through nature.

  46. #46 somnia.mortis
    February 26, 2010

    “With this initiative, we would like to help everyone to step out of a poor conception of believing, (and) promote the understanding that theology has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature, he continued.

    It would seem that in order to promote the understanding of this premise, the premise needs to be demonstrated…get cracking! But on the subject of dignity, one could do worse than this quotation I found, which I add for comedic and ironic value.

    ?Those who insist on the dignity of their office show they have not deserved it.? — Baltasar Gracián

  47. #47 Andyo
    February 26, 2010

    Well having been raised a catholic, I’m pretty sure the vision they have of atheists is the condescending one, instead of just plain intellectual enemy bullies, like other religions think.

    In their twisted view, an atheist is a tortured soul, who wants to want to believe deep inside, but the adversities of life (a.k.a. emotional issues) just have them in denial.

    They hold similar views of teh gay as mentioned above. In short, they’re not only assholes, they’re self-important condescending assholes.

  48. #48 Andrew Brown
    February 26, 2010

    “With this initiative, we would like to help everyone to step out of a poor conception of believing, (and) promote the understanding that theology has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature, he continued.

    How is this any different to a slightly more wordy version of Ray “Red Lobster” Comfort’s Creation proves a creator argument? Seems to be exactly the same illogic just with a smoother delivery! Perhaps Ray should adopt the Prada loafers and magnificent gold hat in order to be taken more seriously!!!

  49. #50 DanielR
    February 26, 2010

    Maybe Chris Mooney is available?

    Zing!

  50. #51 CalGeorge
    February 26, 2010

    “The Pontifical Council for Culture has announced that it is creating a foundation to focus on relations with atheists and agnostics.”

    Hey, look on the bright side, it beats burning at the stake!

  51. #52 Sastra
    February 26, 2010

    “With this initiative, we would like to help everyone to step out of a poor conception of believing, (and) promote the understanding that theology has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature, he continued.

    But atheists don’t have a problem with saying that theology has a ‘founding in nature.’ Well, yes. Religion is explainable as a natural phenomenon, the evolved human product of neurology, psychology, social forces, etc. It can be taken apart, and studied scientifically, like anything else.

    The Catholics are the ones claiming theology has a supernatural foundation.

  52. #53 https://me.yahoo.com/a/uf5sufocwpseHSTvfi6f7f5V2X8V#de1de
    February 26, 2010

    I was so bummed when my husband, again, turned down an event at the Vatican. Sure, it would be tedious for him, but amusing for me.

  53. #54 CalGeorge
    February 26, 2010

    #15: “…theology has scientific dignity”

    Is there any evidence for this? Put up or shut up, Catholic Poobahs!

  54. #55 qbsmd
    February 26, 2010

    “With this initiative, we would like to help everyone to step out of a poor conception of believing, (and) promote the understanding that theology has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature, he continued.< \blockquote>

    If I were a little more cynical, I would suspect that this press release was specifically made to troll for responses from atheist public figures like PZ. I’m surprised PZ let this go and took a shot at Mooney instead. I had to check if he even commented on this (he did not).

  55. #56 qbsmd
    February 26, 2010

    wrt my previous post, I messed up the blockquote, and just now saw the previous post (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/02/congratulations_to_chris_moone.php).

  56. #57 Twin-Skies
    February 26, 2010

    The president of the Council announced the initiative on Wednesday as a response to Pope Benedict’s call to “renew dialogue with men and women who don’t believe but want to move towards God.”

    You know, I can’t help but feel incredibly offended by what I see as a half-assed attempt at patronization.

    Kind of like a parent telling me “It’s okay if you don’t believe, we know you’re just being pouty ;)”

    Fuck you church – maybe I’d lend you a little more respect if you actually arrested your sex offenders instead of hiding them, and actually pulled your head out of your hairy ass to see why your stance on Reproductive Health does more harm than good.

  57. #58 Gwydion Suilebhan
    February 26, 2010

    Sort of a cheap shot at Chris Mooney, honestly. Guy’s doing some really nice work with CFI lately.

  58. #59 PZ Myers
    February 26, 2010

    Cheap shot? Cheap shot?

    Yes, it was.

  59. #60 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 26, 2010

    Sort of a cheap shot at Chris Mooney, honestly. Guy’s doing some really nice work with CFI lately.

    And that excuses everything else?

  60. #61 Tregarthen
    February 26, 2010

    How can you move towards something that does no exist?

  61. #62 F
    February 26, 2010

    What the hell does that even mean?

    Like there atheists moping about, pacing their small and lonely rooms, constantly glancing over at their big “I Want To Believe” posters?

    Where is this market?

  62. #63 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlpz7jEh4Bd2ZEPBFRrUjWoV1sjep_eJEw
    February 26, 2010

    Ragutis at #49: Yeah, I noticed that. It seems that the Religious right don’t like that meeting at all.

    I guess they don’t want the gov’t to have anything to do with treating atheists like people at all.

  63. #64 timrowledge
    February 26, 2010

    What feckin’ chutzpah! These Catholic eejits are living in a fantasy world of their own misconceptions here on Earth

    You want chutzpah? I’ll give you chutzpah – these people think we’re living in their fantasy world!

  64. #65 Patricia, Ignorant Slut OM
    February 26, 2010

    theology has scientific dignity…WTF? Oh I get it, we’re playing a game!

    Immaculate conception has scientific dignity.

  65. #66 alysonmiers
    February 26, 2010

    Meanwhile, the Coalition of Baby-Eating Beer Worshippers shall launch its new initiative into outreach with people who think they’re Catholics but want to move away from the Pope.

  66. #67 melior
    February 26, 2010

    Hmm, I also don’t believe that money grows on trees, but I’d like to “move towards” filthy richness.

    Ya think the Pope will invite me to share in the Vatican’s huge piles of cash?

  67. #68 onethird-man
    February 26, 2010

    Wait, He’s supposed to be omnipresent, right? Doesn’t that mean we’re positively dripping in Him no matter where we are? And how does one move towards something you’re already floating in? Aren’t we all just really fruit bits suspended in the Jell-OTM of His love? How can a Catholic Hell exist where one is away from God, unless God isn’t in Hell, or God is Hell, or if that’s the case wouldn’t it still be impossible to be away from God in Hell if he’s both…?

    And why didn’t Alf just asked to be called Gordon Shumway if that was his real name, it sounds a lot more normal than “Alf” anyways…

    Or am I mixing up my fictional metaphysics and my eighties television shows again?

  68. #69 gillt
    February 26, 2010

    Someone on Mooney’s blog left a comment that Mr. Accommodationist was awarded a Templeton Fellowship.

  69. #70 Bastion Of Sass
    February 26, 2010

    Here’s another invitation that must have been lost in the mail or caught by your spam filters, PZ.

    Wait! What? There’s something very, very wrong here.

    Weren’t we all told in the Unity Convention thread that when atheists get together, all they could possibly discuss is how they don’t believe in god?

  70. #71 F
    February 26, 2010

    Please step away from the Pope

  71. #72 Bastion Of Sass
    February 26, 2010

    “renew dialogue with men and women who don’t believe but want to move towards God.”

    I long ago moved out of the City of Belief in Imaginary Beings, Zombie Worship, and Cannibalistic Communion, with its government of out-of-touch misogynistic, homophobic, child-rapist protecting, I-talk-to-sky-the-sky-fairy-and-lots-of-dead-humans men.

    Why in the hell would I want to move back?!

  72. #73 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    February 26, 2010

    But can you really have a dialog with irrational people?

  73. #74 skepticKnight
    February 26, 2010

    Is it me but does it seem that Christians know so little about us, not only do they show a clear ignorance of the facts, but have such egos, the pompous arrogance in the there “truth” that they think they can just make up gross misrepresentations of atheist/agnostics so they can reject it and feel all warm in fuzzy in their security blanket.

    You hit on some thing PZ when you said, “That’s like putting out a call for healthy men and women who want to move towards degenerative neurological disease.” Religion is a neurological disease,(I am sure you were alluding to this.)and one that is self inflected, for the most part.

    There are many non-theist that would not mind some form of afterlife, but if they think for one minute that it would be their idea of heaven or God then they just show their total lack of brain power.

  74. #75 CalGeorge
    February 26, 2010

    #61: “How can you move towards something that does no exist?”

    How can you move towards someone who is supposedly everywhere?

  75. #76 patt
    February 26, 2010

    Come on guys,at least they aren’t burning us at the stake anymore.

  76. #77 andrewblairesch
    February 26, 2010

    I moved towards god once. Found myself in the middle of nowhere…. Bellefontaine, Ohio

  77. #78 CalGeorge
    February 27, 2010

    VATICAN CITY Nov. 30, 2007: Papal Letter Blames Atheism for World’s Worst Woes

    As he reaches out to renew dialogue with atheists, any chance he will moderate his hatred of us?

  78. #79 llewelly
    February 27, 2010

    Posted by: CalGeorge | February 27, 2010 12:11 AM:

    VATICAN CITY Nov. 30, 2007: Papal Letter Blames Atheism for World’s Worst Woes
    As he reaches out to renew dialogue with atheists, any chance he will moderate his hatred of us?

    No. The pope says one thing when he talks out of his hat, and something different when he talks out of his ass.

  79. #80 Twin-Skies
    February 27, 2010

    Immaculate conception has scientific dignity.

    Cannibalism has scientific dignity.

    I like this game :D

  80. #81 onethird-man
    February 27, 2010

    This is just a trick to sell more indulgences. They figure the secular community has to have at least three generations of pent-up indulgences demand, all they have to do is get us to believe, and they can instantly turn around and tell us we don’t believe hard enough. Ka-Ching!

    Clap, everyone! Clap if you want Jesus to live!

  81. #82 Numad
    February 27, 2010

    Maybe the invitation is meant for fictional atheists such as Gregory House, who are just waiting for a particularly stiff breeze to knock them into the belief that’s already right under the surface.

  82. #83 Q.E.D
    February 27, 2010

    “. . .promote the understanding that theology has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature”

    [with apologies to Freud] I think the Pope has Science Envy.

  83. #84 DLC
    February 27, 2010

    (singing) ” . . . and these papist persons plunge-in and they throw me in a dungeon and started playing ping-pong with my balls! . . .”
    (Mel Brooks, History of the World Part 1)
    Gee, maybe the Pope would like to apologize to all the Jews, Gays and non-believers his outfit whacked out in grisly ways over the centuries.
    Somehow I doubt it.

  84. #85 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 27, 2010
  85. #86 Miki Z
    February 27, 2010

    I’ve been burned at the stake in my past lives. Several of them.

  86. #87 SteveV
    February 27, 2010

    Walton #40

    ‘In about three years’ time, you’ll probably get a reply from some deputy assistant sub-junior private secretary, saying something along the lines of “The Holy Father thanks you for your message” and some platitudes which have nothing to do with what you actually wrote.’

    Cynicism is not an attractive trait in one so young.
    I’m shocked.

    I’m sure you’re right though. The email in question was copied to the Archbisop of Westminster and the Bishop of Plymouth. Only the Archbishop has replied, and in exactly the way you indicated.
    Miss M did point out her atheism in her email but he sent his prayers anyway.

  87. #88 SteveV
    February 27, 2010

    ‘Tis Himself, OM #85
    Thanks for that reminder.
    I’ll point it out Miss M when I get home from work, although I shudder to think of her reaction.
    She is already planning some sort of direct action at Mass tororrow over our little local difficulty – this could cause an escalation, possibly involving napalm.

  88. #89 Andreas Johansson
    February 27, 2010

    aratina cage wrote:

    How can you move towards something that is in between your ears?

    Easy. You just have someone spank you so hard your ass disappears up your foramen magnum.

  89. #90 DaveL
    February 27, 2010

    In other news, the Imperial Knights of the Klu Klux Klan announced today that it would be seeking greater dialogue with people of colour. At a press conference this morning the Imperial Grand Dragon called on Klansmen to “renew dialogue with men and women of colour who want to move towards a white-power philosophy.”

    “Firstly,” he said, it is “to create a network of black or brown people who accept dialogue without being, you know, uppity. People who know to stay away from our white women.”

    The Imperial Grand Dragon listed further objectives of starting relations with minority organizations, studying the “place” of other races in society and how they can be made to accept it.

    “With this initiative, we would like to help everyone to step out of a poor conception of white supremacy, (and) promote the understanding that the white power movement has scientific dignity” and a founding in nature, he continued.

  90. #91 MAJeff, OM
    February 27, 2010

    In other news, the Imperial Knights of the Klu Klux Klan announced today that it would be seeking greater dialogue with people of colour. At a press conference this morning the Imperial Grand Dragon called on Klansmen to “renew dialogue with men and women of colour who want to move towards a white-power philosophy.”

    He was followed at the podium by Armstrong Williams and Ward Connerly, who acknowledge that the African Americans might be suspicious of the Klan, but that lynching activity today is only make-believe, with the real ropes reserved for faggots.

  91. #92 minimalist
    February 27, 2010

    I move my level 15 thief toward god. I roll to-hit… NATURAL 20! Critical backstab! God goes down like a ton of bricks.

  92. #93 SC OM
    February 27, 2010

    Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O?Connor described a lack of faith as ?the greatest of evils? and blamed atheism for war and destruction, implying that it was a greater evil even than sin itself.

    Several months ago he said atheists are “not fully human.”

  93. #94 Q.E.D
    February 27, 2010

    “For Jesus, the inability to believe in God and to live by faith is the greatest of evils.” – Archbishop of Westmminster (see ‘Tis link at 85)

    Ok so we have established that Pharyngulistas and the rest of our ilk are the “greatest of evils”. Can’t wait to see how the Catliks “renew the dialogue.”

  94. #95 Seifer
    February 27, 2010

    Thus the hubris of the papacy. They believe that deep, deep down everybody really believes that their God exists. From the Catholic’s I’ve talked to, and the Catholic Radio I have listened to, it seems that they define atheist as someone who hates God, not someone who disbelieves.

  95. #96 Aquaria
    February 27, 2010

    They really don’t get us, do they?

  96. #97 David Marjanovi?
    February 27, 2010

    I simply fail to understand the mindset, despite being raised Catholic. The whole point of faith is believing the unbelievable. Why do they appeal to science?

    Because they mean “philosophy” when they say “science”.

    I mean, they still use terms like “doctrine” when talking about science! The Pope did that just a few months ago.

  97. #98 David Marjanovi?
    February 27, 2010

    I’ve been burned at the stake in my past lives. Several of them.

    …?

  98. #99 Aquaria
    February 27, 2010

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”– Mahatma Gandhi

    Hm.

  99. #100 Owlmirror
    February 27, 2010
    Immaculate conception has scientific dignity.

    Cannibalism has scientific dignity.

    A cracker that has been mumbled over by a guy in a fancy dress Transubstantiation has scientific dignity.

    Setting people on fire The Inquisition has scientific dignity.

  100. #101 Josh Rosenau
    February 27, 2010

    Absolutely a cheap shot at Mooney. Is there any evidence at all that he “want[s] to move toward God”? He’s an out atheist who, yes, happens to disagree with PZ and other atheists about the way to communicate and advocate.

    A wise man once said “Don’t fall for their subtle attempts to divide the unbelievers. Religious institutions would love to see atheists continually demonized, even by, especially by, agnostics. It furthers their ends, not ours. There is no meaningful division ? we are all abandoning the old superstitions together.”

    If only that author, one PZ Myers could chat with the author of this post.

  101. #102 PZ Myers
    February 27, 2010

    Did you read Mooney’s last book, Josh? It’s a bit late to tell ME that I’m taking cheap shots.

  102. #103 Sili
    February 27, 2010

    Sort of a cheap shot at Chris Mooney, honestly. Guy’s doing some really nice work with CFI lately.

    “Nice work”?

    I really wanted to enjoy the interview with Paul Offit, but I nearly had to retch when dr Offit started to gush lyrical over Mooneytits’ book. Fuck you, Mooney. If I wanted to hear about your book, I’d find someone interviewing you.

    (Offit rocks! though.)

    I’d like to hear Michael Mann this week, but the prospect of more Mooney ruins it.

  103. #105 Pygmy Loris
    February 27, 2010

    KKBundy,

    You gotta start hanging with the deep deep Baptists sometime. Those people are crazy!

    I do. They’re called my extended family :)

  104. #106 ereador
    February 27, 2010

    There is no path to reality.

  105. #107 Janet Holmes
    February 27, 2010

    Yes there is a path to reality, it’s called the scientific method! If you don’t know what reality is I suggest you go get some anti-psychotics to try and sort things out.

  106. #108 Josh Rosenau
    February 28, 2010

    PZ, I’m not writing to defend anything in Chris’s last book, but two wrongs don’t make a right. If you were sincere and correct in your post quoted above, then this would seem like exactly the time to show yourself to be the better man, to rise above past offenses and ongoing disagreements, and to keep your and your readers’ focus on the issues that you identified as most important.

  107. #109 Tige Gibson
    March 1, 2010

    “[man] cannot want what he wants”
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

    If you “want to believe”, you already do believe, but you are waiting on a rationalization (a defense or excuse, the word people are really looking for when they inappropriately reach for the word justification) before exposing themselves to ridicule. This indicates prior experience being ridiculed for believing in things without understanding anything about them. Having been confronted with a “How do you explain this?” and not being able to answer, and looking stupid.

    It is absurd that there could be a person who does not believe in god but wants to. I want to believe that broccoli tastes like chocolate. I want to believe going to the dentist will not be unpleasant. I want it not to be unpleasant, but I know it will be. Insisting “it will not be unpleasant” is a little thing called denial. Don’t deny us our denial, it’s what makes the dentist bearable!

    “I WANT TO BELIEVE” is a symptom of conspiration. Conspiration is the act of waiting on evidence of conspiracies (high secrets) while ignoring the actual human origin of the conspiracy theory.

    So Jesus, I heard you were looking to get crucified by breaking Jewish law. Good thing for you this is Roman territory.

    Real conspirators are usually too incompetent but if they’re not you wouldn’t even know about it.

    For example, Birfers ignore the human origin of the birth certificate conspiracy and instead appeal (whine) to the conspirators to please pretty please give them the material evidence of their wrongdoings (giftwrapped) thusly confirming their conspirations (self-worth).

    If Birfers were right they would be the last to know it.

    My “favorite” conspirators are end-of-the-world cults. There’s nothing quite like raping the news for evidence that the world is on the verge of Armageddon. Jack Van Impe, Pat Robertson, for them it should be renamed Smarmageddon.

  108. #110 Matt Penfold
    March 1, 2010

    Will Mooney have to declare his fellowship in any article he writes from now on ?