PZ Myers posted Entry 2407 on June 24, 2006 01:36 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2402

In case anyone is interested, there is an interview and article with and about Ron Numbers, historian of science and author of The Creationists, available at the U of Wisconsin. He offers a fairly standard perspective on the creationism wars, one that is commonly expressed here…but I have to confess, I disliked it intensely, and think it represents much that is wrong in the usual conciliatory approach too many people favor.

(Yes! That is an invitation to argue!)

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Comment #107842

Posted by B. Spitzer on June 24, 2006 2:14 PM (e)

You know, PZ, I have a great deal of respect for your work defending evolution (and cephalopods in particular), but I don’t think you understand what religion is. “Faith” does not mean the intellectual acceptance of some set of postulates about the universe. Faith is much more like a perspective, or a wager, than it is like intellectual knowledge.

And, yes, when you make sweeping pronouncements about faiths that you don’t really understand, you come across as arrogant. Is that any surprise? Look, I realized years ago that, without studying someone else’s faith– someone else’s perspective– very carefully and closely, I almost certainly wasn’t going to understand it well enough to critique it.

You’re at a university– go take some basic classes at the religion department. Spend some time listening to people with different views. If you don’t take the time to educate yourself about the nature of religion (and how it’s very different than science!), why should I take you seriously when you make pronouncements on the subject, any more than I should take creationists seriously when they make pronouncements about a science that they don’t bother to understand?

I’d like to remind you that very, VERY few people agree with you– even many self-described atheists concur that there is room for more than their own point of view in this world. Are all those people stupid, or do you need to broaden your views a little?

I’m not particularly interested in a religion-vs.-atheism flame war, so I’ll let that be my final word on the subject. ‘Sides, Lenny’s going to show up any minute to shrug at everybody.

Comment #107858

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 2:28 PM (e)

Lenny is part of the problem.

I think you should read more carefully what I wrote. In particular, that bit where I mention that accusing scientists of arrogance is absurd, when we’ve got plenty of theists spreading arrogance far and wide. I should have mentioned condescension, too – do you think I know nothing about religion? I was brought up in one, I live in a highly religious culture, I get religion chucked at me every single day. I’ve read religious books with far more critical thought than I see from most of the people who demand automatic respect for religion. I see religion day after day, I see people practicing their religion regularly, I get to share my mornings at the coffee shop with the men’s bible study group that meets there…and everyone tells me that none of that is religion.

It gets annoying. Religion, apparently, is some ineffable ideal that floats in a space of perfect perfection, unsmeared by grubby human hands, and no, no one gets to criticize it. It’s too pure. And if you do criticize it, you don’t know anything about it, because if you did, you wouldn’t complain.

Comment #107859

Posted by Corkscrew on June 24, 2006 2:35 PM (e)

And, yes, when you make sweeping pronouncements about faiths that you don’t really understand, you come across as arrogant. Is that any surprise? Look, I realized years ago that, without studying someone else’s faith— someone else’s perspective— very carefully and closely, I almost certainly wasn’t going to understand it well enough to critique it.

I think the basic argument is that:
a) Faith, however defined, is a demonstrably bad way of figuring out how the world works. Science, which bothers to use double-blind tests, is far more effective.
b) Faith is completely unnecessary as far as morality, integrity and Mom’s apple pie are concerned.
c) So what’s the damn point?

For this argument to be valid doesn’t require exhaustive research of every sect of every denomination of every religion on the planet. By their fruits shall ye know them.

Whether you accept the argument is of course a matter of personal choice. I personally can’t see any flaws in it.

Comment #107867

Posted by Gerard Harbison on June 24, 2006 2:54 PM (e)

Look, I realized years ago that, without studying someone else’s faith— someone else’s perspective— very carefully and closely, I almost certainly wasn’t going to understand it well enough to critique it.

I was brought up in the world’s largest religion. I received intensive instruction in it for 15 years, and received consistent outstanding grades in religion class (it wasn’t ‘Catholicism class’: there was one religion, and a huge number of errors). I attended weekly reinforcement sessions, plus ‘Holy Days of Obligation’, biweekly confession, benedictions, etc.. I was, indeed, an altar boy. Do I get to say the entire enterprise is bogus, that the emperor has no clothes, that it’s not just a useless but a noxious world view, and that it wasted a great deal of my time and my emotional energy in my youth, or must I be dismissed as not understanding it, too?

What are the postulates of ‘religion’? What is its nature? B. Spitzer clearly implies there is some commonality to all ‘faith’. Let’s have a clear, unequivocal statement of that commonality. If there is an immaterial, let’s hear how that immaterial interacts with the material world as we know it.

Comment #107869

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 3:19 PM (e)

Time for yet another pointless religious war again, huh.

How, again, does that help us …. . ?

Comment #107870

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 3:21 PM (e)

Lenny is part of the problem.

I guess that’s why the ID fundies love me so much, eh?

(sigh)

Well, PZ, maybe you can hunt me down and drag me before the Inquisition, or whatever the evangelical atheist version of the Inquisition is.

(shrug)

Comment #107871

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 3:26 PM (e)

Once again, I will point out the crushingly obvious:

About half of the US population accepts evolution.

About half doesn’t.

The US population is, at the very most, 15% atheist.

That means that a little over two-thirds of the people who accept evolution and reject ID/creationism, are theists.

And since *nobody* is going to win a political fight with just 15% of the population, then — now pay close attention here —- then you will not win anything WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF THOSE TWO-THIRDS OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ON YOUR SIDE THAT ARE THEISTS.

If you want to beat the ID/fundies, you need the help of those non-ID theists.

Like it or not.

So, shooting people that (1) are on your side and (2) whose support you need, is … well … kind of stupid.

In fact, it’s REALLY REALLY stupid.

Which part of that do you find difficult to understand?

Comment #107872

Posted by Gerard Harbison on June 24, 2006 3:35 PM (e)

So the point is, atheists don’t get to argue about the irrationality of theism because, if we do, theists will get mad and, in retaliation, vote to eviscerate the teaching of science?

Things are worse than I thought.

Comment #107873

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 3:35 PM (e)

The part where you dismiss a substantial part of the community that are already on your side in favor of people who have made up their mind to oppose you, and where you routinely dismiss the scientific evidence as irrelevant to our cause.

I know, don’t even try comprehend it. You can’t.

Comment #107876

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 3:43 PM (e)

Like it or not, you need them. Your 15% of the US won’t do dick.

Get used to it.

Comment #107877

Posted by Bynocerus on June 24, 2006 3:44 PM (e)

Rev Dr Lenny Flank:

“So, shooting people that (1) are on your side and (2) whose support you need, is … well … kind of stupid.

In fact, it’s REALLY REALLY stupid.

Which part of that do you find difficult to understand?”

My childhood experience nearly echoes that of Mr. Harbison. However, there was a very specific moment when I had to choose between accepting the implications of Big Bang Cosmology and Evolution or maintaining some type of cognitive dissonance that would allow me to hang on to my faith.

When Galileo was placed under house arrest for his “heresy,” what was the percentage of the population that believed the earth was the center of the universe? No disrespect intended, Mr. Flank, as I have read your blog and appreciate your insights, but the truth is that the truth doesn’t “need” anything other than being true. How many people believe something is ultimately immaterial, as the truth, no matter how ugly or ill-equipped we are for it, will ultimately come to light.

The ideas of Jesus/Allah/Jehovah/Brahma/The Great Pumpkin are simply incompatible with the reality that nature is unmerciful in the way that species both come to exist and continue to survive, and the sooner we accept that the better. God cannot be omnibenevolent and evolution also be true. Those scientist who believe such have achieved the cognitive dissonance I describe - a willingness to ignore the implications of 3.5 B years of evolution for the sake of a religion they are unwilling or unable to abandon. With or without their help, the truth will ultimately come about, and watering down the message so as not to offend a population that, by a majority, believes in John Edwards, UFOs, faith-fealing and divine direction of our evolutionary history is nothing short of selling out.

Comment #107878

Posted by Gerard Harbison on June 24, 2006 3:51 PM (e)

I think Lenny is underestimating theistic evolutionists. Few of them are unaware that there are bad ol’ atheists out there who not only don’t share their deepest beliefs, but actually think less of them for holding those beliefs – just as atheists are aware that theists largely pity us, and the nicer ones say prayers for us. You don’t get to 50% of the population without joining hands with a lot of people you wouldn’t want to spend more than 5 minutes of your time with. Theistic evolutionists are evolutionists because they understand the scientific evidence, not because atheists have refrained from being rude to them.

One should have more confidence in the science.

Comment #107879

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

Uml, let me remind the apparently-not-very-bright, before they get their anti-theist panties all in a knot, that I do not assert or accept the existence of any gods, goddesses, or supernatural entities of any sort whatsoever, in any form. They are all, without exception, human-made. I hope I won’t need to repeat that, yet again.

I do understand, however, that for the evangelical atheists, this simply isn’t good enough —- I should also be declaring “religion is stupid and nobody should think otherwise !!!!!!!’ at the top of my lungs to all and sundry.

Alas, I guess I’ll just have to live with my heresy.

Sorry.

I guess I just don’t make a very good fundie.

I’ve said all I want to say. If all the evangelical atheists now want to wave their dick in my direction, I’ll be looking elsewhere, sorry.

So Norm, PZ, Popper – go ahead and knock yourselves out. Give us your best sermons.

(yawn)

Comment #107880

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 3:55 PM (e)

Yes, Lenny, I know. That 15% includes the majority of scientists in the country. Your idea of how to win a science argument is to strangle all the godless scientists to curry favor with their critics, and then strip out any of that discouraging discussion of the evidence from any remaining debate. Pointing out that the earth is actually 4.5 billion years old is needlessly abrasive, and might alienate some fence-sitting Christian who would readily jump to our side if only we’d downplay those damnable facts.

You need us, Lenny. There’d be no evolution-creation debate at all if dogma hadn’t been perturbed by freethinking radicals…like, you know, Darwin.

Comment #107881

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 3:57 PM (e)

how to win a science argument

PZ, the “science argument” ended over a century ago.

This is a POLITICAL argument.

Comment #107882

Posted by Caledonian on June 24, 2006 3:59 PM (e)

The constant compromise of priniciple in favor of political expediency is part of what’s responsible for the slow collapse of our society.

Ignoring the truth so that they can say whatever will garner them the most power is a characteristic strategy of the people we’re opposing. What good will it do to become them in order to defeat them?

Comment #107884

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 4:03 PM (e)

That 15% includes the majority of scientists in the country

That’s nice. Have them vote for anti-ID candidates, all by themselves, and see where it gets you, PZ.

Comment #107886

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 4:07 PM (e)

Lenny wrote:

I should also be declaring “religion is stupid and nobody should think otherwise !!!!!!!’ at the top of my lungs to all and sundry.

This is stock straw man stuffing. That is not the argument here. That isn’t even close to the point of the article I linked to: it’s that Numbers, like you, tends to treat people who don’t accept religious dogma as cultural pariahs. Get used to this: the godless are here, they’re growing in numbers, and they’re the people on your side, your most reliable allies. And face it, the truth is that if science overcomes the obstacles put in place by our religious society, the consequences will involve an erosion of faith and decline in religiosity. The creationists and the religious know this; they aren’t stupid, as I said in the article.

People who pretend we can promote more skeptical thinking and greater knowledge of science without making this country far more secular than it currently is are the stupid people I’m berating. Some of them, obviously, are atheists.

Gerard Harbison wrote:

One should have more confidence in the science.

But that’s the problem. Lenny has no confidence at all in the science. His stereotypical “(yawn)” is his standard response to any discussion of the science…although sometimes he’ll be more explicit and tell us it is irrelevant.

Comment #107887

Posted by Bynocerus on June 24, 2006 4:08 PM (e)

(Trying to diffuse the rancor amongst people who are all ultimately on the same side), why is it that creationism/ID is prevalent only in countries of Anglo heritage. My wife, who is French, looks at these people as if they’re f’in crazy. In fact, it is only Australia, America and England that creationism/ID even exists. Does that mean the rest of the world moves on in their research with Yanks, Wankers and criminals dragging up the rear?

Comment #107889

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 4:15 PM (e)

it’s that Numbers, like you, tends to treat people who don’t accept religious dogma as cultural pariahs.

(sigh)

One more time, just for you, PZ:

I do not (NOT, as in N-O-T) assert or accept the existence of any god, goddesses or gods of any sort, or any supernatural entities whatsoever in any way shape or form. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Not a one. At all.

In other words (now pay close attention here, PZ, and I’ll try to say this VVVVEEERRRYYY SSSLLLOOOWWWLLLLYYYY so you can keep up) I do not accept any religious dogma about gods, goddesses or supernatural entities of any sort whateoever. They are all, absolutely all, without exception, human-made.

Is that sinking in, PZ?

Will I need to repeat that YET AGAIN for you, PZ?

Sometimes I think that when you’re busy waving your dick, it cuts off all the flow of blood to your brain. (sigh)

Comment #107890

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 4:18 PM (e)

lenny wrote:

PZ, the “science argument” ended over a century ago.

It’s a miracle! Because the issue was resolved among scientists a century ago, we don’t have to worry about science education anymore, and everyone is born with “evolution is a fact!” encoded in their brains.

Guess what, Lenny? The battle to encourage scientific thinking in our society begins anew with every generation. It doesn’t matter what a bunch of Victorians thought, if we let the science slide now, in the 21st century.

lenny wrote:

This is a POLITICAL argument.

Fine. Now how are you going to resolve this POLITICAL argument while ignoring the evidence and pretending it is unimportant? Does saying it’s a POLITICAL argument mean it is fact-free and we’ll just decide it by who yells the loudest? Do you have such a low opinion of the POLITICAL that you think it means competing teams of grunting Gumbies?

Comment #107891

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 4:19 PM (e)

(Trying to diffuse the rancor amongst people who are all ultimately on the same side)

Some of which refuse to recognize that …

why is it that creationism/ID is prevalent only in countries of Anglo heritage.

Because creationism/ID is the product of Protestant Christian fundamentalism, and, for various political, economic and historical reasons, fundamentalist Protestant Christianity is almost exclusively an American phenomenon.

As Dembski has been recently crowing, the fundies here have indeed made some (mostly unsuccessful) attempts to export their fundie program to other countries (Canada, Australia, the UK) and some of the Muslim nutters aree now aping the Christian nutters (Harun Yahya). But even in those cases, the funding and inspiration all comes from Americans.

Comment #107892

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 4:21 PM (e)

Amazing, Lenny. Now you’ve adopted quote mining! Did you notice that the very next sentence after that bit you quoted was “Some of them, obviously, are atheists”?

I know you are an atheist. I don’t have any illusions that the title “atheist” necessarily confers great intelligence on the bearer. I know a few atheist idiots.

Comment #107893

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 4:23 PM (e)

Do you have such a low opinion of the POLITICAL that you think it means competing teams of grunting Gumbies?

Um, have you by any chance been paying any attention to American politics for the last ten years …. …. ?

Comment #107894

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 4:27 PM (e)

I know you are an atheist.

I didn’t say that.

You were saying something about “reading for accuracy”, PZ …. ?

I don’t have any illusions that the title “atheist” necessarily confers great intelligence on the bearer. I know a few atheist idiots.

Well, PZ, I’m sorry that you don’t like me. (shrug)

Please feel entirely free to call me anything you want to. May I suggest “stupid-ass idiotic turd-eater”? Or how about “heretical atheist who’s not really a True Atheist™©”?

Perhaps you’ll just adopt Dembski’s book entirely, and remove all my comments to never-never-land … ?

(sigh) Apparently, not all fundies are theists.

Comment #107895

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 4:35 PM (e)

No, you just did your condescending moron act, intentionally misreading what I wrote to pretend that I’d missed your frequent testimonials to your credentials as a genuine atheist. You don’t seem to understand that I don’t care: I neither think being an atheist privileges you as being smart and likable and on my side, nor do I think being a Christian means you are stupid and hateful and my enemy.

The incomprehension is entirely on your part.

Here’s what will blow your mind: I’d rather have open-minded, rational Christians on my side than dismissive anti-science types like yourself, who defend evolution as a political game rather than because of any appreciation of the evidence.

Comment #107896

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 4:36 PM (e)

OK, I’m ignoring your dick-waving. (shrug)

Pick a fight with whomever you want. But I’m not playing.

Comment #107897

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 4:42 PM (e)

You’ve made 12 comments here so far…now you declare that you “aren’t playing”? Sure.

You do seem to have a fascination with penis waving. Is your name actually Jeff Goldstein? If you’re going to continue here, could you please keep it in your pants?

Comment #107898

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 4:51 PM (e)

And I am still ignoring PZ’s dick-waving….

Comment #107899

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 5:00 PM (e)

And you’re doing a very good job of ignoring it. You’ve ignored it 13 times now.

Comment #107900

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:03 PM (e)

And I am still ignoring PZ’s dick-waving …

PZ will now wave his dick again.

And I will ignore it again.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

(shrug)

Comment #107901

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:05 PM (e)

This is fun.

Thanks for the invitation to argue, PZ.

Comment #107902

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 5:06 PM (e)

Do you understand the word “ignore”? I don’t think it means what you think it means.

I will assure everyone that as I write this, I am fully clothed and quite demure.

Comment #107903

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 5:07 PM (e)

I don’t think you understand the word “argue”, either.

I think you’re looking for that other room down the hall. The one with the guy in the leather mask who answers to “The Gimp”.

Comment #107904

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:08 PM (e)

Is not.

Comment #107905

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 24, 2006 5:09 PM (e)

PZ, a typical attitude of extremists and fanatics is that when people ask them to be more sensible, they label them as lame. What is really lame, is when fanatism is treated with softness and wrongly protected in the name of sensible things. So given that I think you’re being extremist, I can’t promise I’ll be very soft, but I’ll do my best to be polite.

In first place, don’t you think you are attacking only the obvious? It does not take much science knowledge or anything to notice when someone is being fanatic, like those who pronounce doom and destruction and declare who is evil and who is going to hell. All it takes is a philosopher or a sensible person. And I don’t think anyone needs much convincing that human virgin birth, resurrection and walking on water are not in accord with our scientific understanding. You can point out that these myths are scientifically impossible and feel angry, but can you declare war on religion in general, and declare it all to be mythological, irrational faith and ignorance?
I think specially in the more mystical origins of cultures of the east, religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, do not have this problem. Western religions do have this problem because since the greeks, we have had a rationalist tradition. Therefore, in order to be legit, western religions are continuously trying to dress up with the clothes of rationality and science, and say they can find “scientific proof” of their faith. This is why they always give us so much trouble, constantly showing up where they do not belong.
See the real question is if there is no way any kind of religion can get along with science. You aren’t really dealing with that, what you or Dawkins do, attacking only the worst of religion, is easy and not very impressive, sorry to say.

You say for example

“Skepticism is the antithesis of faith, and a science that encourages people to question is the enemy of a religion that demands people accept.”

Would you encourage people to question evolution? I wouldn’t. Then again it is not a matter of faith, isn’t it? Similarly, if an important thought in the baggage of a religion says “do not do unto others…”, this is an idea that certainly did not stem from a scientific background. It is very easy to be skeptical about its validity. To live by it, you may need a little… well, faith. Optimism, if you prefer, beyond what skepticims may tell you.

You say

“All schemes and systems which thus infringe upon the domain of science must, in so far as they do this, submit to its control, and relinquish all thought of controlling it.

Well you known when a given religious myth says the world was created from the blood of a slain goddess or a squirt from a galactic mammary, I don’t think there is much pretension in these myths on infringing upon the domain of science. They actually don’t have much to clash on science as on the origin of matter, light, gravity or the details of the big bang. You may point your finger and angrily say “No, no, that’s wrong!!!!” if you want, it just strikes me as a very humorous sight. The old stories just symbolize elements of life, what have you. If you delve into hyndu myths, there a thousands (literally) of the craziest things, and they can be interesting to read, because they trigger reflection about how destruction relates to creativity and so forth.

You say
“Tyndall argues that “theology still matters, [and] religion remains one of the world’s most powerful forces.” Well, yeah…ignorance is a powerful force and will remain so”

Religion is just not equal to ignorance. That is easy, unsophisticated and ultimately unfair and false. I will not tire myself out arguing the obvious , just think of the urgent humanitarian things that many people moved by faith do that we don’t because we are so busy thinking on the cartilage-like tissues of invertebrates and such

You say
“Listen, world. Dawkins and Dennett and Tyndall aren’t arrogant: they’re right (…) When I hear people declare that Dawkins is the arrogant one, while they are surrounded by Robertsons and Coulters and Dobsons, I give up on them. They’ve just admitted that they lack any sensible perspective on the world…”

Dawkin’s tyranny of self replicators is hardly science, it is the hallway humorous quip in several evolution labs around the world. Is he the best to represent science and rationality? Lets face it, he has not done much for the field, as he has dedicated himself mostly to riding the ooen horse of fight literalist religious fanatics. People like Gould, you know, Punctuated equilibrium, exptation, ontogeny and phylogeny, constraints, have done much more for science than dawkins, and everyone knows Gould duly pointed out that dawkin’s views on evolution are silly. And Dennet’s shameless functionalism is a sad sight. Few good evolutionary biologists have sympathy for these authors and their simplistic paperback writings. They stand as the crackpots of ultradarwinism. Most of their drag is derived from coaching atheism and their populist cardboard war of “us rationalists against evil religion”. Sorry if that was rude, but it’s true.

You say
“We are going to win people to the side of science and reason by promoting, well, science and reason. Stop running away from it! Stop being ashamed of the fact that the evidence is on our side! We aren’t going to win by engaging in theological debates, or by getting the right legislation, or by winning court battles—the way to win is by taking the ignorant by the scruff of the neck and dragging them outside and showing them that yes, the sky is blue, water is wet, the planet is round, and the earth is old. The science must be the linchpin of our strategy. When we teach people to think, science wins”

ID defenders undoubtedly pee against the wind when they show doubts on common descent and other things in which science shows no ambiguity. I wonder, maybe ID will not bother me that much when it evolves into the next step, total recognition of common descent, as several of them already have. Many will drop out of the movement by disappointmen, because, truly, those remaining will not have much of a conflict left to make a fun war about. This, regarding this particular western intromission of religion in science. Religion in general (not literalists and fanatics, the bigger point you avoid) can be sophisticated and intelligent and will adapt to science good-willingly. Intelligent religion knows it cannot be refuted or confirmed by science.
Now again, if we are going to point out the facts to people, we better be quite sure of everything, and make sure we don’t mix some folklorical mistakes of our own in the name of science and rationalism. Curiously those whose mouth is most full of invocations to rationalism and science are totally certain and forward moving characters like Dawkins and Dennet, who promote an understaning of evolutionary mechansism that is a highly controversial brand of ultradarwinism and genetic reductionism (to me, total BS) . If people see through one of the mistakes you did with total certainty and in the name of science, you manage to smear the name of science.

You said
“As Albert Einstein famously noted, “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind (…) Albert Einstein could be such an asshole.”

If a world without religion is dominated by people who pass off their own mistakes as science and reason without even realizing they do that, and then call those who do not agree with their specific opinions stupid, irrational, or assholes, yeah that world would be totally lame. It would suck bigtime. BTW, Einstein, like Gould, also made very real and important contributions to science. Both of them thought religion and science can coexist (as they undoubtedly will just have to).

“My opinion could change though, because I am experiencing considerable exasperation with the apologists fo religion on the evolution side”

Well I hope that if you change your mind you do it on your own and not out of mere peeer pressure. Glad if I can help.

Comment #107906

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 5:10 PM (e)

“Lenny is part of the problem.”

whoa how! I said something anti-lenny on the last post so I wonder how this is going to work out

1111]]

Comment #107907

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 5:15 PM (e)

“Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 05:08 PM (e) \ Is not.”

I most often agree and I agree here.

theists and religionist are evil warped sacs of flesh and pus and I am really afraid of them.

Rational People = Rationalist, must defend themselves from the other, the believers, the wierd ones.

Comment #107908

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:17 PM (e)

I’m just yanking PZ’s chain to listen to him bark. He reacts the same way the fundies do when THEIR religious opinions are challenged. But he barks lots louder, and it’s much more entertaining.

But any minute now, Popper and Norm will be barking, too. And I’ll yank their chains a few times, as well.

Comment #107909

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:22 PM (e)

If a world without religion is dominated by people who pass off their own mistakes as science and reason without even realizing they do that, and then call those who do not agree with their specific opinions stupid, irrational, or assholes, yeah that world would be totally lame.

Indeed.

I wouldn’t want to live in a world run by Leninists. I wouldn’t want to live in a world run by fundamentalist Christians or fundamentalist Muslims. And I wouldn’t want to live in a world run by PZ.

And all for much the same reasons.

Comment #107910

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:24 PM (e)

Rational People = Rationalist, must defend themselves from the other, the believers, the wierd ones.

Well, maybe we can round them all up and shoot them or something, huh.

Comment #107912

Posted by Matt Young on June 24, 2006 5:25 PM (e)

In fact, it is only Australia, America and England that creationism/ID even exists.

Not Turkey?

Comment #107913

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 5:27 PM (e)

The decomposed corpse of the anti-christ false PHD lenny oid crapster has

ADMITED

that he voted for the facict GEORGE W BUSH

by

NOT

voting against the slimey f.

I am sick

Comment #107914

Posted by vhutchison on June 24, 2006 5:27 PM (e)

I understand both sides of this argument, but I must agree with Lenny on one point. I respect the views on both sides. The battle with ID IS POLITICAL and attacks by scientists on persons of faith who do support evolution are a major impediment in the political process. In Oklahoma we have just escaped creationist legislation for the sixth year in a row. Without the hard work and support of mainline religious people and organizations such as the Interfith Alliances of Oklahoma City and Tulsa and Oklahoma Manistream Baptists, we likely would not have prevented state laws requiring some form of ID/creationism. Members of these groups were far more energetic and active in lobbying the legislature, writing letters, holding press conferences, etc., than were scientists. The attempt to place religious material in the Tulsa Zoo made the national news. The defeat of the proposal was due largely to the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance and an organization, Friends of Religion and Science, the Alliance organized.

The mainstream faith community made a valuable impact and we need these folks, even if we do not agree with their faiths. We may not like the political process, but that is where we will win or lose. The bottom line: as scientists we need all the assistance we can get. I guess that this is like the adage ‘Any enemy of my enemies is my friend’?

Those who have been actively engaged in the political process in other states generally agree, as do many of the national leaders of organizations supporting evolution. I have discussed the need for support from religious groups with these leaders (readers would recognize the names if I listed them). Several are atheists and readily say so, but recognize the value of support from faith-based individuals and organizations.

Comment #107915

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 5:32 PM (e)

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 05:24 PM (e)

Well, maybe we can round them all up and shoot them or something, huh.”

No, by your actions you have accepted the hegomony of the state and we are no longer equiped to defend ourselves.

Comment #107916

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:37 PM (e)

I guess that this is like the adage ‘Any enemy of my enemies is my friend’?

Or, as Winston Churchill put it, “If Hitler should invade Hell, I’d put in a good word for the Devil in the House of Commons.”

;>

Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.

Comment #107917

Posted by Jim Harrison on June 24, 2006 5:41 PM (e)

I think that assertions of the legitimacy of unbelief are important, not because I expect or particularly desire the demise of religiosity among the majority of the population, but because it matters to me that the rational minority keep its chin up.

By the way, somebody was floating the notion that the religions of the East are somehow more intellectually defensible than Judaism or Christianity. In fact, as near as I can tell popular religion is more alike than different where ever you find it. Intellectuals can create a more or less reasonable defense of traditional faith, but the people at large are just superstitious. And the notion that the mystical side of faith is more problematic in the West than the East because “we” are somehow more rational is based on the false premise that Indian and Chinese civilization lack native traditions of critical thought, which is merely false. (Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize winning economist, recently published a book on the rationalist tradition in India, the Argumentative Indian. Graham’s book, Disputers of the Tao, provides the evidence for the Chinese case. Europeans invented the mystic East jazz for their own purposes. It’s crap.)

Comment #107918

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on June 24, 2006 5:41 PM (e)

Whoo hoo! A pointless thread on unresolvable metaphysical questions! Somehow, we usually manage to avoid these.

All I can say is, while (1) I have the utmost scientific respect for PZ Myers, and (2) he and other in-your-face atheists have every right as private citizens to freely promote their views on religion (just like everyone else), the fight with the creationists is primarily about whether or not to teach science in public school science classrooms. Creationists pretend their views on religion are scientific in order to get them into science classrooms. We don’t need the anti-creationists going and mixing their views on religion into their science. In fact, this is probably the surest path to disaster politically and in the courts. Anyone who wants to do this has the right to do it, but it ain’t helpful or particularly smart.

Having a natural explanation for the origin of species is logically no more threatening to, or helpful to, Christianity than having a natural explanation for the weather. IMHO.

Comment #107919

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 5:43 PM (e)

Alexander Vargas wrote:

Would you encourage people to question evolution? I wouldn’t. Then again it is not a matter of faith, isn’t it? Similarly, if an important thought in the baggage of a religion says “do not do unto others…”, this is an idea that certainly did not stem from a scientific background. It is very easy to be skeptical about its validity. To live by it, you may need a little… well, faith.

I do encourage people to question evolution. How else can you do science?

“Do unto others…” may not be a scientific proposition, but neither is it religious. It’s a human idea. Atheists have no problem with it.

Alexander Vargas wrote:

Well you known when a given religious myth says the world was created from the blood of a slain goddess or a squirt from a galactic mammary, I don’t think there is much pretension in these myths on infringing upon the domain of science.

Oh, yes, those are right out. The stories with the world getting created in 7 days, talking snakes, and big boats riding out global floods, though…they’re special. Laughing at those would be rude. They’re symbolic.

Alexander Vargas wrote:

Religion in general (not literalists and fanatics, the bigger point you avoid) can be sophisticated and intelligent and will adapt to science good-willingly. Intelligent religion knows it cannot be refuted or confirmed by science.

Again, we find ourselves wafting across the sky on currents of fantasy. That adaptable religion that willingly steps aside when science comes forward is very nice, and I have no complaints with it; I will endorse it wholeheartedly, and tell everyone uncomfortable with godlessness to join it.

It’s not very realistic, though, is it?

We aren’t plagued with creationists who defer to science, after all, or who are willing to adapt their mythology to fit the best available evidence. We’re fighting rats, and it is amazingly helpful for you to inform us that those sheep over there are also mammals. You’re going to be so useful when someone’s house gets infested with sheep!

Alexander Vargas wrote:

If a world without religion is dominated by people who pass off their own mistakes as science and reason without even realizing they do that, and then call those who do not agree with their specific opinions stupid, irrational, or assholes, yeah that world would be totally lame. It would suck bigtime. BTW, Einstein, like Gould, also made very real and important contributions to science. Both of them thought religion and science can coexist (as they undoubtedly will just have to).

Yes, I know Einstein did good work. I’m saying that his oft-quoted platitudes are often selected for their simplistic moralism rather than any insight or truth. I objected specifically to that one because no one ever bothers to provide any evidence that religion contributes to science in any useful way. Einstein didn’t. Neither did you.

Comment #107920

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:44 PM (e)

No, by your actions you have accepted the hegomony of the state and we are no longer equiped to defend ourselves.

Well, by golly, then the time has come to forget elections and just smash the fascist state.

(big fat evil grin)

NOTE TO THE FBI: I do realize that under our illustrious Leader’s “national security measures”, y’all are probably reading this. So let me make it crushingly clear that I AM ONLY KIDDING. I DO NOT MEAN IT SERIOUSLY. IT IS A JOKE.

Viva George. Sieg heil to the Chief. God save the President. Long may he reign.

Hey, by voting for Nader (in FLORIDA no less), I voted FOR Dubya. Right?

I do of course realize that you federal security-types also seem to have difficulty recognizing the concept of a “joke”, so if that concept is unclear to you, please let me know (BEFORE you drag me off to a secret prison in Slovakia to torture me and then imprison me indefinitely without charges or trial), and I will explain it to you.

Using small words.

Comment #107921

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 5:48 PM (e)

CAN we get back on topic about what a rat and loser Lenny has proven himself to be?

IF you did not vote for ABB you are the cause of our current distress.

If you value science, the environment, privacy or the fact that the state is not supreme in our lives every waking minute of every day then you had to vote against the fuking finger waving freak that fouls our freedom.

and you did not freaking lenny

I would have voted 50 times against that evil basdfaered

Comment #107923

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 5:51 PM (e)

oh so Lenny are you happy?

are you happy with the results of your little fit of angst?

oh oh oh earn it baby!

yes I would line people up….and the Naderites are first…..at least the facisits are honest

Comment #107924

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 5:52 PM (e)

oh and we ca dispense with the fake REV

and

DR….

or what is your divinity and what was your PHD?

rat lying ENABALER!

Comment #107925

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 5:53 PM (e)

Nick Matzke wrote:

In fact, this is probably the surest path to disaster politically and in the courts. Anyone who wants to do this has the right to do it, but it ain’t helpful or particularly smart.

And this is shortsighted and wrong. We’re doomed.

You know that all it will take is ONE victory in the courts for all our work to go straight down the tubes. This reliance on stopgap trials and political maneuvering while ignoring the festering cultural substrate of know-nothing religiosity is the real recipe for certain disaster. What are you going to do if another Dover-like case comes before a Supreme Court packed with Bush appointees, and gets decided the other way? Defer to the wisdom of American justice?

Or will you then appeal to the evidence Flank thinks is irrelevant, and only then notice that what we’re combatting is religion-fueled insanity?

Comment #107926

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:53 PM (e)

CAN we get back on topic about what a rat and loser Lenny has proven himself to be?

I kick my dog, too.

And I *hate* apple pie.

:>

Comment #107927

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:55 PM (e)

It’s “Rev Dr” Flank to you, PZ.

Comment #107928

Posted by Bynocerus on June 24, 2006 5:56 PM (e)

Glad to see Lenny is not the only chicken-shit kow-towing to Der Fuhrer these days. Sheiser en mein Ofnung ein Bush Fuhrer!

Comment #107929

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 5:57 PM (e)

I would have voted 50 times against that evil basdfaered

Well heck, if you worked for Diebold, you COULD have.

;)

Comment #107930

Posted by Corkscrew on June 24, 2006 6:00 PM (e)

Good grief. I leave for a couple hours and there’s 43 post awaiting me.

Lenny, you’re treating PZ like you do the trolls. Which you are of course perfectly entitled to do, except that there are many people here who agree with many of his points and are slightly freaked by a content-free pooh-poohing. Sighing only works when the stupidity is obvious.

A better argument against PZ would have been to point out that, if atheism is indeed the most effective worldview, the best way to promote it is to encourage those who are philosophically closer to embracing it - the moderates - at the expense of the fundies*. Which, incidentally, is why I disagree with PZ’s conclusion, despite broadly agreeing with his premises.

Kevin from nyc: Lenny explicitly said he didn’t vote for Bush. Don’t start any of that “us or them” crap, please, that sort of rubbish is precisely why you poor yanks are stuck with a two-party system. And “accepted the hegemony of the state” is bollocks - IIRC, Lenny has several times proferred the opinion that, if the fundies were to actually take over, we’d be justified in using extrajudicial means to restore the status quo.

* One bonus of this argument is that it only works if atheism is indeed the best worldview, so it’s safe to use round moderate Christians.

Comment #107931

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 6:03 PM (e)

lenny,its as if your dog was a really smart dog and if only we could teach him how to talk he would cure cancer and stop global warming and stuff but you had to go and drop kick him into traffic and have his little head smushed and the guts run out onto the ground.

Comment #107932

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:04 PM (e)

Lenny, you’re treating PZ like you do the trolls

From PZ’s first post:

(Yes! That is an invitation to argue!)

PZ *IS* trolling.

He wanted to pick a fight. He succeeded.

He should thank me for giving him what he wanted. (shrug)

Comment #107933

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:06 PM (e)

lenny,its as if your dog was a really smart dog and if only we could teach him how to talk he would cure cancer and stop global warming and stuff but you had to go and drop kick him into traffic and have his little head smushed and the guts run out onto the ground.

Um, Okaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy …… .

Comment #107934

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 6:07 PM (e)

Kevin from nyc: Lenny explicitly said he didn’t vote for Bush. Don’t start any of that “us or them” crap, please

Sorry Corky, we needed every vote in Florida (in fact we needed more than everyone) a vote FOR Nader was a vote to elect GWB our facist in chief…and Lenny did that….
\

I voted for disfuctional Al and Lying Lurch and my state was in the Correct! column

Comment #107935

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:07 PM (e)

Where are Norm and Popper? I haven’t got all night, ya know ….

Comment #107936

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 6:08 PM (e)

“I kick my dog, too..”

you said it…you did it….

Comment #107937

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 6:11 PM (e)

Um, Okaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy …… .

what you don’t get it? that’s how you treated Al Gore

Comment #107938

Posted by Corkscrew on June 24, 2006 6:16 PM (e)

(Yes! That is an invitation to argue!)

PZ *IS* trolling.

He wanted to pick a fight. He succeeded.

I read “argue” as suggesting an involved discussion rather than an outright flamewar. I have no idea which of us is more accurate but, if my reading were correct, would that change your view of and response to the situation?

Sorry Corky, we needed every vote in Florida (in fact we needed more than everyone) a vote FOR Nader was a vote to elect GWB our facist in chief…and Lenny did that….

In the short term that’s probably true. In the long term, there’s solid grounds to assert that voting independent will do the most to break up the republicrat/democan duopoly, and that doing so would be very good for the US*.

Are you a short-term thinker? Or were you just not aware of the possible subtleties behind Lenny’s position?

* Obviously I have no idea if this is actually Lenny’s motivation

Comment #107939

Posted by Matt Young on June 24, 2006 6:16 PM (e)

I think that Dr. Myers insufficiently distinguishes among different kinds of religious belief. Religious literalism, I will grant, is pure nonsense; no one has an intellectual right to have faith in something that cannot be demonstrated.

But those who hypothesize a god, while in my opinion objectively wrong, are another matter. Those include liberal Christians and Reform Jews, for example. Their religious beliefs are mostly scientifically harmless and fall within the gaps of science. They support a scientific position, and they are our allies in the war against antiscientific creationism. It seems inappropriate and possibly self-defeating to unnecessarily alienate liberal religionists.

Salman Rushdie last night on the tube made an interesting point: that morality and ethics precede religion, and religion is often our expression of morality and ethics. If some people want to express their morality and ethics in a religious motif, who are Dr. Myers and I to argue?

Comment #107940

Posted by Corkscrew on June 24, 2006 6:26 PM (e)

I think that Dr. Myers insufficiently distinguishes among different kinds of religious belief. Religious literalism, I will grant, is pure nonsense; no one has an intellectual right to have faith in something that cannot be demonstrated.

Did you mean “that can be demonstrated to be wrong”? If so, excellent point - freedom of belief is essential to society. As, of course, is healthy debate :)

Salman Rushdie last night on the tube made an interesting point: that morality and ethics precede religion, and religion is often our expression of morality and ethics. If some people want to express their morality and ethics in a religious motif, who are Dr. Myers and I to argue?

That’s an interesting argument. And, if that’s the primary or only goal of the expression, I’d broadly agree with you. However, depending on the choice of expression, it’s possible for the expression itself to overwhelm the motivation. This is true of any such externalisation, but it seems especially destructive of rational thought in the case of the fundies (who are classic examples of the effect). The worry of some, such as PZ, would appear to be that certain classes of expression - particularly those associated with dogma, which are usually religious, have a natural tendency to become ends in themselves in this fashion.

I think I just broke my brain getting that one straight, so I’ll bid you all goodnight.

Comment #107941

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:28 PM (e)

I read “argue” as suggesting an involved discussion rather than an outright flamewar. I have no idea which of us is more accurate but, if my reading were correct, would that change your view of and response to the situation?

PZ and I have had this, uh, “discussion” before. Endlessly.

I’m happy to let him flame away at me. After all, I don’t give a flying fig what he thinks of me anyway. And it prevents him from jumping on the other people here.

Now, where are Popper and Norm? I’m quite sure they will want to get their licks in, too.

Comment #107942

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 6:32 PM (e)

An invitation to argue is not an invitation for someone to start babbling about “dick waving”.

Matt Young wrote:

Religious literalism, I will grant, is pure nonsense; no one has an intellectual right to have faith in something that cannot be demonstrated.

Uh, what? “faith in something that cannot be demonstrated” applies to all religious beliefs, not just literalism. Faith itself is belief in things that can’t be demonstrated. Belief in some vague, undefined deity fits that definition just fine, and I disagree – everyone has a right to believe in whatever they want, no matter how silly.

Comment #107943

Posted by Lurker on June 24, 2006 6:34 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #107944

Posted by Lurker on June 24, 2006 6:36 PM (e)

This is one of the biggest ironies of evolution proponents: most of them actually think that the survival of a self-perpetuating system (in this case a system of ideas regarding evolutionary theory) can be sustained by merely intelligently designing responses against the forces of its opponents. Heh. Ironic.

For the record, I tend to agree with Lenny Flank’s more pragmatic viewpoint. This is a political fight, in which the scientific merits of the arguments are rather toothless – facts bounce off people who simply don’t care. Further, history simply does not support the notion that human society must cease to exist in the absence of knowledge about evolution. Science, consequently, fails to exist outside of a sociopolitical context. For some, this context is to move people towards greater skepticism of religions. For others, this context is to move people towards greater acceptance of a God that is greater than themselves. I simply don’t see anything constructive from the scientists in these dualing sociopolitical contexts than that one must hear the Evidence, Evidence, Evidence. But they forget that for the better part of human existence, nobody heard the Evidence. So _why_ should they start hearing it now?

I suspect that human society will simply adapt to a complete loss of evolutionary theory. It will be traumatic, yes. But it won’t be fatal. In other words, evolutionary theory is not an irreducibly complex component of human society. Viewed in this light, all Lenny and PZ are doing right now is mutating the packaging of evolutionary theory for the masses, believing that somehow they actually know what the future will hold for their preferred solutions. shrug

Comment #107945

Posted by Freelurker on June 24, 2006 6:36 PM (e)

Nick (Matzke)
A pointless thread on unresolvable metaphysical questions!

I agree. Being against religion per se is rather like being against poetry.

Comment #107947

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:37 PM (e)

a vote FOR Nader was a vote to elect GWB our facist in chief…and Lenny did that….

My, such political power. All in my grubby little hands Muaa ha ha ha ha !!!!!!!!

But alas, actually the Supreme Court elected Il Duce. Our votes simply didn’t matter. The popular vote doesn’t mean diddley, and electoral college delegates are under no legal obligation whatsoever to pay the slightest attention to the popular vote. So our votes, quite literally, don’t matter.

But no one appears to be all that upset over it.

If you want to bitch and moan about something, bitch and moan about the fact that the guy who had the most votes, nationwide, didn’t win the election. That sort of thing is only supposed to happen in Mexico or something.

If you bitch and moan about THAT, at least something useful might come of it.

Comment #107949

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:39 PM (e)

I suspect that human society will simply adapt to a complete loss of evolutionary theory.

Waterloo !!!!! Waterloo !!!!!! Waterloo !!!!!!!

I suspect you’re just another in a long string of nutters. And I’m sure you won’t mind if I don’t hold my breath waiting for the, uh, imminent collapse of evolutionary biology.

Oh, and just for you ——-> (shrug)

Comment #107950

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:40 PM (e)

Being against religion per se is rather like being against poetry.

I *hate* poetry.

And pistachio ice cream. I hate that too.

Comment #107951

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 6:41 PM (e)

Are you a short-term thinker? Or were you just not aware of the possible subtleties behind Lenny’s position?

short term in like let’s not let this bad shitte happen to us RIGHT now…..er ya.

its like lets cut our arms so the pain ends…..u know like slice them just a bit.

Comment #107952

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 24, 2006 6:42 PM (e)

You say
“I do encourage people to question evolution. How else can you do science?”

There is no scientific option to evolution, only the supernatural. So I wonder how can you affirm that you expect them to question evolution. What scientific alternative do you have in mind?

“Do unto others…” may not be a scientific proposition, but neither is it religious. It’s a human idea. Atheists have no problem with it.

C’mon, ALL ideas are human. This one DOES happen to have been nurtured and kept alive by religion. It is not specially relevant for biology class. And as I said, it takes a bit of good will. It does not reflect skepticism, which you present as virtue in opposition to faith. Don’t deceive yourself, things are just not as black and white as you think.

You say
“Oh, yes, those are right out. The stories with the world getting created in 7 days, talking snakes, and big boats riding out global floods, though…they’re special. Laughing at those would be rude. They’re symbolic.”

I don’t think any of them are laughable, what is laughable is when people bonk the table with literalist interpretations of them. But with other people, you know, you don’t need to laugh at them (unless you are in doubt and need some communitary, reassuring laughter). They are, you know, anthropologically interesting, the daring prototype ideas on origins of the old folks. And of course I think that all these myths are equally interesting for the same reasons. I have no special treatment for Christianity as you have wrongly tried to frame it.

You say
“Again, we find ourselves wafting across the sky on currents of fantasy. That adaptable religion that willingly steps aside when science comes forward is very nice, and I have no complaints with it; I will endorse it wholeheartedly, and tell everyone uncomfortable with godlessness to join it. It’s not very realistic, though, is it? We aren’t plagued with creationists who defer to science, after all, or who are willing to adapt their mythology to fit the best available evidence. We’re fighting rats, and it is amazingly helpful for you to inform us that those sheep over there are also mammals. You’re going to be so useful when someone’s house gets infested with sheep!”
Well that’s OK, you have many non religious kinds of rats too, believe it ornot, not being religious is not the key to virtue. What I am saying is that all you talk about is rats, to disqualify mammals I general. And how about putting some scientific facts in this debate instead of hot rhetoric? If you study the history of religion you will find that important religions have undergone enormous changes and their mythology can be very adaptable and evolving indeed, responding to human reality. As I say, you only like talking bad about rats? That is simple and easy, PZ. Not very sophisticated or impressive. Don´t make that mistake again, you’d be just preaching to the choir. We all know rats suck.

you say
“Yes, I know Einstein did good work. I’m saying that his oft-quoted platitudes are often selected for their simplistic moralism rather than any insight or truth. I objected specifically to that one because no one ever bothers to provide any evidence that religion contributes to science in any useful way. Einstein didn’t. Neither did you.”

Consider the vitalists. If Roux had been a close minded mechanicist, could it be he may have just decided to trash his experiments of epigenesis as artefactual or irrelevant? Certainly vitalism is not very scientific, but it played a useful role anyhow. Open-mindedness does not axiomatically bless the atheist scientist. The complexities of human activities are not bound to such black and white classifications. There is room for everyone. I have even better historical examples for biologists!

Comment #107953

Posted by Lurker on June 24, 2006 6:44 PM (e)

“I suspect you’re just another in a long string of nutters. And I’m sure you won’t mind if I don’t hold my breath waiting for the, uh, imminent collapse of evolutionary biology.”

And you would be wrong, Lenny. I am simply more pragmatic than you. I don’t think that I need to devote my life to protecting a system of thought, if the system itself didn’t have tremondous fitness. You might say, I have a lot of faith in perpetuity of evolutionary theory, come what may: atheists or fundies.

Comment #107955

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 6:44 PM (e)

My, such political power. All in my grubby little paws”

yes you and the other 5% idiots who elected this …. this…thing. as our president

YOU are responsible for

9/11
IRAQ
torture
death
mayhem
Abramoff

Comment #107956

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:45 PM (e)

For others, this context is to move people towards greater acceptance of a God that is greater than themselves.

I see. So when IDers testified in court that ID wasn’t religious apologetics, they were just lying to us, under oath.

Thanks for clearing that up for everyone. Would you mind travelling to Georgia otr South Carolina and testifying to that, please?

Comment #107958

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:47 PM (e)

YOU are responsible for

9/11
IRAQ
torture
death
mayhem
Abramoff

Wow. I must have been an awfully busy guy.

I think Kevin needs to start taking his meds again.

Comment #107959

Posted by Lurker on June 24, 2006 6:47 PM (e)

“Would you mind travelling to Georgia otr South Carolina and testifying to that, please?”

Why?

Comment #107961

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:52 PM (e)

“Would you mind travelling to Georgia otr South Carolina and testifying to that, please?”

Why?

Think about it.

Maybe ask Billy Dembski to explain it to you.

(snicker) (giggle)

I love fundies. I really do. Every time they shoot themselves in the head, it saves ME the trouble.

Comment #107962

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 6:54 PM (e)

Don’t deceive yourself, things are just not as black and white as you think.

Alas, to a fundie, EVERYTHING is black or white.

Comment #107963

Posted by Lurker on June 24, 2006 6:55 PM (e)

“I love fundies. I really do. Every time they shoot themselves in the head, it saves ME the trouble.”

You continue to labor under wrong impressions. Maybe you would like to reread comment #107953, and go see a doctor about your knee jerks.

Comment #107964

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 24, 2006 6:56 PM (e)

I have not read any of the comments so far as I wanted to express my opnion about the Ron Numbers’s interview fresh from reading it:

As much as I have enjoyed, learned and still recommend “The Creationists,” Numbers had his head buried well into his small intestine during that interview. I hope it is not permanently impacted.

Comment #107966

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 7:02 PM (e)

go see a doctor about your knee jerks.

No time – I’m too busy destroying the world, ya know.

Comment #107968

Posted by Freelurker on June 24, 2006 7:04 PM (e)

Being against religion per se is rather like being against poetry.

I *hate* poetry.
And pistachio ice cream. I hate that too.

I am not a fan of either of those either.

But I am not against them. Neither religion, poetry, nor pistachio ice cream need impact science.

Comment #107969

Posted by David B. Benson on June 24, 2006 7:05 PM (e)

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion … draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises …. in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate.”
— Sir Francis Bacon, ‘Novum Organum’, 1620.

Comment #107973

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 7:12 PM (e)

Or, to put it more pithily,

“A man convinced against his will
Is of the same opinion still.”

Comment #107974

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:13 PM (e)

Wow. I must have been an awfully busy guy.

I think Kevin needs to start taking his meds again

No it is not I who is insane…it is you and your cohort who elected GWB. not I.

YOU wanted it … you got it….are you bent on fratricide?

Comment #107975

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 7:14 PM (e)

You continue to labor under wrong impressions.

Perhaps. I’m just being ornery, after all.

Comment #107976

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 7:16 PM (e)

YOU wanted it … you got it….are you bent on fratricide?

OK, time to ignore the cuckoo clock.

Comment #107977

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 24, 2006 7:19 PM (e)

In this month’s Harper’s Index it is revealed that atheists are the minority which parents would least like for their children to marry a member.

#1! Which, I guess highlights what a racially tolerant society we have become, compared to the fairly recent past, but still, that made me gape for a second. People really hate atheists.

For myself, I try to respect moderate religious beliefs. But I recently read Harris’s “The End of Faith,” and I find it difficult not to concur with most of his thesis, and, thus, be on PZ’s side here.

Lynchmobs will be asked to enter via the side, receiving entrance. First come, first served.

Comment #107978

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:19 PM (e)

OH excuse me!

like you never had your eyes bulge out and your hands shake!

how dare you…..you elected this creationist and then you act surprised…

F U…….fraking dog

Comment #107979

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 7:24 PM (e)

This shouldn’t be necessary, since I linked to the damn thing above…but rather than taking Lenny’s word for what’s in my post, maybe it would be smarter to read it. Try it.

I do not:
1. threaten to shoot all the Christians,
2. call all religious people idiots,
3. suggest that we need to convert all the religious people to atheism, or
4. deny that religious people contribute to science.

I know. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Must have been an off day at Chez Pharyngula.

What I do do is point out that the Numbers article ignores reality (rather blatantly and pathetically) and bends over too far backwards to excuse the contribution of religion to the insanity we confront in this country. To the contrary, it goes the other way and blames the “arrogance” of scientists for the creationism problem…and we’ve also got people here who want to ignore the science and pretend this is just a “political” problem. It equates morality with religion, which is absurd, and goes even further – it equates humanity with religion. Really. Take a look at the end of the article. If you don’t see why non-religious people should be grossly offended, there’s no hope for further discussion with you.

My point is that people are awfully quick to demonize those who don’t believe in gods, and even well known historians of science are prone to that kind of stupid bigotry.

It’s also true of commenters at the Panda’s Thumb.

Comment #107980

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 24, 2006 7:26 PM (e)

Neither religion, poetry, nor pistachio ice cream

Which would be just kind of cute, if it weren’t for the fact that if I share the information that I don’t care for pistachio ice cream, or that poetry has never really done it for me, you will shrug, and note that nothing accounts for taste. But, if I announce my unbelief, all of a sudden you’re hiding your daughter.

Perhaps religion “need not” impact science, but it doesn’t share a set with your other two items, in terms of overall societal impact.

Comment #107982

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:28 PM (e)

PZ

I am ver y very disappointed to hear that you do not advocate to

1. threaten to shoot all the Christians,
2. call all religious people idiots,
3. suggest that we need to convert all the religious people to atheism, or
4. deny that religious people contribute to science.

because you would have been 100% in the right to do so…

Comment #107983

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:30 PM (e)

oh and did you know that LENNY voted to torture
people?

Comment #107984

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 7:31 PM (e)

In this month’s Harper’s Index it is revealed that atheists are the minority which parents would least like for their children to marry a member.

Mothers would prefer their kid to marry a Nazi rather than an atheist?

I doubt that very much.

Want to see some super-duper social outcasting? Tell everyone you’re a commie. (grin)

Comment #107985

Posted by Matt Young on June 24, 2006 7:33 PM (e)

To clarify my earlier remark: I make a distinction between someone who has blind faith in the specific tenets in a particular religion, and someone who hypothesizes a god (whether he or she realizes it is a hypothesis) and says, in effect, “My religious background is the best approximation for me to understand that deity, and yours may be better for you.”

As for having a right to a belief, I carefully said they have no intellectual right. Anyone has a legal right to believe anything as long as harmful actions do not result from that belief, but that is not the same as having an intellectual right. Thus, I must respect the legal right of anyone to believe in some absurd fundamentalist doctrine, but I need not respect that belief intellectually (and I don’t!).

As for liberal religions, I used to have a rabbi who had largely the same beliefs as I did, except that he called them God. I told him he was an atheist; he told me I was not. As far as I was concerned, God was an allegory he used, though I did not think of it in Mr. Rushdie’s terms till last night. My rabbi thought there was more to God than an allegory; I did not. We got on famously, and neither of us ever insulted the other for his views.

Comment #107987

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 7:36 PM (e)

My point is that people are awfully quick to demonize those who don’t believe in gods, and even well known historians of science are prone to that kind of stupid bigotry.

It’s also true of commenters at the Panda’s Thumb.

Reaaaaallllllllyyyyyyy. Um, who?

Oddly, no one here seems to be demonizing ME because I don’t believe in gods ……

So, uh, who is it here that is demonizing YOU for it?

Nice to know that “matryr complexes” aren’t limited to just *religious* fundies.

Comment #107988

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:36 PM (e)

Nice Matt

“and neither of us ever insulted the other for his views.”

did either of you vote for the anti-christ? GWB?

Comment #107990

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:38 PM (e)

UNLIKE THAT RAT LENNY

Comment #107992

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 24, 2006 7:40 PM (e)

Want to see some super-duper social outcasting? Tell everyone you’re a commie. (grin)

On that score, I’m lucky, being at present about .5 mi. from Berkeley.

But you want to see some super-duper lefty social outcasting? Criticize Islam. Or suggest there might be some shades of gray in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Comment #107993

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 7:41 PM (e)

OK, still ignoring the cuckoo clock ….

Comment #107994

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:44 PM (e)

OH so anyone who naysays the great and powerfull “lenny” is crazy? you’ve said many important and meaningfull things on this blog but when you said you voted for the “black hole” I lost any and all respect for you….and I hope everyone sees it MY way! and not yours!

LENNY voted to cut social security and enrich pharmacutical companies!!!1

Comment #107995

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 24, 2006 7:45 PM (e)

Hell’s bells, as my grandfather would say: The fundies who promote creationism think that all Catholics and any Christian who studies evolution are atheists, in exactly the same theological position as P. Z. Myers. We’re in this boat together.

And while we’re in this boat, let’s note that those who follow the (godless) Confucian rule that we would be wise to treat others as we would like to be treated, we’ll get along famously. (Someone put on Stubby Kaye’s version of “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”)

Good science will get done.

Evolution will win in the free marketplace of good and noble ideas.

And if religion fails to work as much as Dr. Myers expects, it will fade away (but not before Christmas 2006).

Comment #107996

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:45 PM (e)

“Want to see some super-duper social outcasting? Tell everyone you’re a commie. (grin)”

or that you voted for or not against the evil george bush the younger.

Comment #107997

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 7:45 PM (e)

Or suggest there might be some shades of gray in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Want some REAL fun? Try that in the White House.

Comment #107998

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:48 PM (e)

“Want some REAL fun? Try that in the White House.”

OH the white house that YOU voted into office?! that one with the Bitch Condi and the Bastards Cheney and Rumsfeld?

the one that you voted into office LENNY in FLA?

Comment #108000

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:52 PM (e)

“Oddly, no one here seems to be demonizing ME because I don’t believe in gods ……”

now now Lenny why would anyone do that? you are just an enalbler of the Bush agenda…somewhat like Specter….yes a ghost an evil ghost of a past life….

Its not your lack of faith that condemds you but your lack of rational thought for you to have voted for that evil rpicd Nader and have given the state of fla to that slasdfa litle hdasee instead of godly alllll gooreeee

you make me sick

Comment #108001

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 7:56 PM (e)

Um, the cuckoo clock is getting tiresome now ….

Comment #108002

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 7:59 PM (e)

YES. Lenny you are a tiresome little twit and you should just SHUT UP or / and admit you were wrong.

are you really happy you elected GWB? and 9/11 and Iraq and bad science and killing trees and no stem cells and everything? are you really able to say that you are satisfied with your choice?

Comment #108003

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 24, 2006 8:00 PM (e)

PZ wrote:

Nick Matzke wrote:

In fact, this is probably the surest path to disaster politically and in the courts. Anyone who wants to do this has the right to do it, but it ain’t helpful or particularly smart.

And this is shortsighted and wrong. We’re doomed.

You know that all it will take is ONE victory in the courts for all our work to go straight down the tubes. This reliance on stopgap trials and political maneuvering while ignoring the festering cultural substrate of know-nothing religiosity is the real recipe for certain disaster. What are you going to do if another Dover-like case comes before a Supreme Court packed with Bush appointees, and gets decided the other way? Defer to the wisdom of American justice?

Or will you then appeal to the evidence Flank thinks is irrelevant, and only then notice that what we’re combatting is religion-fueled insanity?

Of course, one could argue the opposite: if scientific education, and knowledge about evolution in particular, are the most effective way to foster skepticism and rationalism, then it may be strategically expedient to “fly below the radar”, and just do whatever it takes to defend proper scientific education against the fundamentalist assaults.

But ultimately, it is a foolish strategy - even if all atheists agreed to bite their lips from now on, it wouldn’t stop the fundamentalists from attacking evolution as atheistic, and a fundamentalist-dominated Supreme Court from allowing Creationism in schools, if they so chose.

So, personally, I have decided that the louder and more forcefully people like Dawkins and Francis Collins, PZ and Wes express their opinions on this issue, the more the metaphysical pluralism of evolutionary theory comes through. For every fundamentalist getting their breeches in a knot about evolution being synonymous with atheism, we can point to the Vatican Astronomer, and for every mealy-mouthed paean about the Plan of Creation Shining Through Evolution published, we can suggest the reading of “A Devil’s Chaplain”. So keep at it, folks. As crude and inept as it often sounds, this is in fact good for our side.

(As for me, metaphysical discussions bore me to death. I can’t even imagine becoming excited about something like this.)

Comment #108004

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 8:01 PM (e)

Lenny’s choice:

“When a leading psychologist like Harvard’s Howard Gardner calls the president’s science adviser a “prostitute,” it’s a safe bet that all is not well in the realm of government science policy. Indeed, in the past month, the United States has been engulfed by a kind of “science war,” one pitting much of the nation’s scientific community against the current administration. Led by twenty Nobel laureates, the scientists say Bush’s government has systematically distorted and undermined scientific information in pursuit of political objectives. Examples include the suppression and censorship of reports on subjects like climate change and mercury pollution, the stacking of scientific advisory panels, and the suspicious removal of scientific information from government Web sites.

Comment #108006

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 8:02 PM (e)

OK, the cuckoo clock is now haranguing me in private email.

Enough is enough.

Comment #108007

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 8:04 PM (e)

“OK, the cuckoo clock is now haranguing me in private email.”

It was not private … you can publish it….your email is public domain….

Comment #108008

Posted by steve s on June 24, 2006 8:06 PM (e)

I’m an atheist, and I think religion is a mild, limited, and mostly harmless insanity. I agree with lines like

[religion is] the dumb acceptance of superstition

in the Pharyngula article.

I think where Lenny and PZ get their views askew is, Lenny is thinking of this in terms of a short-term political fight, while PZ’s thinking in terms of the medium-term intellectual/cultural fight. Lenny correctly thinks that linking science to antireligiousness would hurt science in the short term. PZ correctly thinks that promoting skepticism, clear thinking, and dismissal of superstition, will make the world a better place in the medium or long run.

Comment #108009

Posted by KL on June 24, 2006 8:07 PM (e)

This thread is making me want to retreat to a corner and suck my (panda’s) thumb.

Comment #108012

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 8:10 PM (e)

As crude and inept as it often sounds, this is in fact good for our side.

I do indeed notice that every time we have our periodic religious war, none of the IDiots from UD ever have the ping-pongs to speak up.

And it certainly does put a very public end to the fundie BS about “evolution is anti-god and is all about atheism”.

Perhaps that explains why the IDiots don’t ever have the ping-pongs to speak up.

Comment #108013

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 8:12 PM (e)

“none of the IDiots from UD ever have the ping-pongs to speak up.”

maybe they regret voting for Bush

Comment #108014

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 8:17 PM (e)

So, shooting people that (1) are on your side and (2) whose support you need, is … well … kind of stupid.

In fact, it’s REALLY REALLY stupid.

Which part of that do you find difficult to understand?

The part where you tell us that we should support John McCain.

LOL!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, Lenny, the bottom line is that with the help of PZ Myers and other folks (like me) who have had all they can take with this country’s obsession with religious garbage, the influence of religion, i.e., “Christianity”, will be eroded.

Why will it be eroded? Because religious people will learn to shut the their fat faces when it comes to preaching their religious opinions left and right, lest they get slapped in their fat faces.

It’s really a good thing. I mean, aren’t you glad that undilute racist garbage spewers are marginalized in our society? Now it’s time to marginalize the gay bigots. And ultimately folks will learn to keep their religious opinions to themselves – even most politicians.

Then we’ll get the prayers off our coins and out of our schools.

It’s a long road but it has to start somewhere.

Comment #108015

Posted by wamba on June 24, 2006 8:19 PM (e)

And, yes, when you make sweeping pronouncements about faiths that you don’t really understand, you come across as arrogant….
You’re at a university— go take some basic classes at the religion department.

Did someone say arrogant?

Comment #108016

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 8:20 PM (e)

Man, what a nice little spat i missed!

PZ said:

Again, we find ourselves wafting across the sky on currents of fantasy. That adaptable religion that willingly steps aside when science comes forward is very nice, and I have no complaints with it; I will endorse it wholeheartedly, and tell everyone uncomfortable with godlessness to join it.

It’s not very realistic, though, is it?

this might sound simplistic, but really it gets to the heart of lenny’s argument, which by and large i agree with:

So?

I don’t see a problem with Ken Miller, PvM, or Wesley Elseberry.

We have to win “the culture wars” first, and just like the creobots who build overly large tents, for now, it’s politically expedient for rationalists to do so as well. Later, it might be worth arguing about whether religion reflects reality or not in general.

PZ said:

That is not the argument here. That isn’t even close to the point of the article I linked to: it’s that Numbers, like you, tends to treat people who don’t accept religious dogma as cultural pariahs.

This too, is a strawman, PZ. Lenny is simply being politically pragmatic, he doesn’t consider you a cultural pariah, he just doesn’t see how kicking a large portion of the populace out of the tent at this point serves the larger political goal.

It’s a miracle! Because the issue was resolved among scientists a century ago, we don’t have to worry about science education anymore, and everyone is born with “evolution is a fact!” encoded in their brains.

that wasn’t his point, and you know it. the issue HAS been resolved in the realm of science, but scientists make up a relatively small percentage of the population at large. In fact, if it was simply a matter of evidence, and everybody simply accepted evidence on the face of it, we wouldn’t be fighting creationists.

I say take a gander at AFDave over in the ATBC area and see how well evidentiary arguements fare in this “debate”

Fine. Now how are you going to resolve this POLITICAL argument while ignoring the evidence and pretending it is unimportant?

another straw man. I’ve never seen lenny argue against the value of evidence in this fight, but rather argue that it doesn’t always end up being the most important thing in a political battle, and he’s right.

I truly wish the world were such that evidentiary arguments and rationalism would win the day in any argument, political or otherwise, but NOW who’s not being realistic?

Slow down PZ! you’re decades ahead of the game at this point. Currently the battle is about marginalizing those who think that “methodological materialism” is somehow “evil”, and restoring the american political process to something resembling sanity. We can deal with the rest later; including the fact that creationism is NOT an entirely american evangelical xian issue; don’t forget the Muslims.

baby steps. it’s the only way to get things done on the larger scale, short of revolution.

oh, and a minor quibble:

shuuutuup Kevin from NYC! your incessant whining is annoying.

Comment #108018

Posted by steve s on June 24, 2006 8:21 PM (e)

But you want to see some super-duper lefty social outcasting? Criticize Islam.

On liberal blogs I visit, I will occasionally see some criticism of Islam, but it’s hesitant. You’ll find criticism of christianity to be full-throated, but there’s still too much imperialphobia to let them feel free to criticise Islam with proper force. You’ve seen it too. “Well, the muslims shouldn’t have killed people over a cartoon, but, uh, umm, they shouldn’t have been provoked, either.”

Comment #108019

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 8:22 PM (e)

It’s a long road but it has to start somewhere.

Well, good luck with that. (shrug)

When you’re done, maybe you can then stamp out ESP, flying saucers, pyramid power, and the Lost Continent of Atlantis, too.

Comment #108020

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 8:23 PM (e)

Man, what a nice little spat i missed!

Dude, I’ve been WAITING for you to show up.

;)

Actually there’s nothing you haven’t seen before. Repeatedly.

Comment #108021

Posted by Lurker on June 24, 2006 8:25 PM (e)

“As crude and inept as it often sounds, this is in fact good for our side.”

Exactly. There’s nothing like developing (or shall we say evolving) a robust, fit scientific theory… robust to metaphysical challenges, that is… than having it coopted by multiple systems of thought.

Comment #108022

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 8:31 PM (e)

it’s the only way to get things done on the larger scale, short of revolution.

I got no problem with revolution.

:>

NOTE TO FEDS: Again, I AM ONLY KIDDING. Don’t kidnap me tonight and secretly fly me to Gitmo.

Comment #108023

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 8:35 PM (e)

On liberal blogs I visit, I will occasionally see some criticism of Islam, but it’s hesitant.

Well, go to the commie blogs and you’ll see plenty. And it won’t be “hesitant”.

;)

Ironic, I think, since in many ways, fundamentalist Islam provides the same ideological and political role in the “Third World” that Leninism did before the collapse of the USSR.

It’s not a surprise that the US reaction to both has, therefore, been pretty much the same.

Comment #108024

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 8:38 PM (e)

“shuuutuup Kevin from NYC! your incessant whining is annoying.”

oh right so you’re ok that Lenny voted for Bush. I had a hugh argument with my brother about this…

“Don’t kidnap me tonight and secretly fly me to Gitmo.”

why would they do that Lenny? or read your email or review your banking records? YOU’re one of them!

You voted for torture at GITMO!

Comment #108025

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 8:40 PM (e)

The part where you tell us that we should support John McCain.

Lenny was perfectly correct to say that McCain was a moderate, up until about the last year.

He is a well known name in the republican party, made waves in the 2000 election, and has some clout in congress.

However, it is also true that basically as soon as he started his run for the next election, he jumped on the fundy bandwagon.

I don’t blame lenny for saying that if you’re a republican, there isn’t a lot of choice; and McCain for the large part of his career has been a relative moderate.

Perhaps there is a better choice on the Republican side. to early to tell yet; but he wasn’t TOTALLY out of line in suggesting McCain. I disagree with the choice not because McCain doesn’t have a record as a moderate, but because he chose to jump on the fundy bandwagon in order to get support and funding for the primaries.

It pisses me off to no end that we aren’t yet at the stage where a republican can repudiate the religious right and expect to win an election, but there it is. I don’t really know, but at this point, I’d say a moderate who plays at being a creobot is slightly better than one who really IS. there’s always the chance that the election of a true moderate will end up helping to marginalize the fundies in the long run.

Me? hell, I’m from Southern CA., the home of Howard Ahmanson, so of course I’ve voted democrat since I graduated from high school. I just hope this time around we get a democrat who feels there is enough wiggle room to repudiate the fundies and get elected themselves.

we simply might not be there yet, and it’s possible we won’t get there any time soon.

Comment #108026

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 8:41 PM (e)

“Welcome to my twit filter, twit.”

OH I am so abused! at least I did not vote for GWB and drilling in ANWR

Comment #108027

Posted by dan on June 24, 2006 8:42 PM (e)

PZ,
Thanks for the insight.
I concur with your thoughts about what amounts to being true to your own convictions.
It is fundementalist in it’s nature,but that does not disuade my own conviction that if it is truthfull to be athiest, then we must be able to stand up and say so. In this country, at this time, it is not acceptable to be athiest. I have had quite a few discussions along these lines, and if you can’t be true to your convictions on the web, then you are an absolute pussy, in my regard.

Lenny; who is going to win the war you are fighting? Yes, it is practical-minded, but this is a blog - give us your opinion, not your percieved political pragmatasism. I would really like to hear what you have to say on the subject at hand rather than the political anaylasis.
PS. My wife and I are having our monthly not-speaking-evening, so I have time to kill.

Comment #108028

Posted by dan on June 24, 2006 8:44 PM (e)

PZ,
Thanks for the insight.
I concur with your thoughts about what amounts to being true to your own convictions.
It is fundementalist in it’s nature,but that does not disuade my own conviction that if it is truthfull to be athiest, then we must be able to stand up and say so. In this country, at this time, it is not acceptable to be athiest. I have had quite a few discussions along these lines, and if you can’t be true to your convictions on the web, then you are an absolute pansy, in my regard.

Lenny; who is going to win the war you are fighting? Yes, it is practical-minded, but this is a blog - give us your opinion, not your percieved political pragmatasism. I would really like to hear what you have to say on the subject at hand rather than the political anaylasis.
PS. My wife and I are having our monthly not-speaking-evening, so I have time to kill.

Comment #108029

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 8:48 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #108030

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 8:48 PM (e)

Perhaps there is a better choice on the Republican side. to early to tell yet

If there is, I’m all for it. I’m not wedded to McCain. Any nonfundie does just as well for me. Alas, though, the supply of electable non-fundie Republicrats is, well, rather slim. Perhaps Schwarzaneggar (or however the hell ya spell it) — he just told Bush to F off over sending the National Guard to patrol the border. And the fundies hate him.

I’d like the Democans to actually run an *opposition* candidate. Alas, they likely will run Clinton, who is not only NOT an opposition candidate, but is all but unelectable.

So I’m guessing that, unless something interesting happens at the Republicrat convention, the Greens will get my vote again this time around, too.

Maybe after four MORE years of wanna-be-theocracy, the Democans will finally grow themselves a spine, and we will finally have an opposition party that can get elected.

Or maybe not.

Comment #108031

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 8:50 PM (e)

NOTE TO FEDS: Again, I AM ONLY KIDDING. Don’t kidnap me tonight and secretly fly me to Gitmo.

time will tell…

;)

oh, and Kevin?

Lenny didn’t vote for Bush. He voted indy, IIRC.

now please… STOP WHINING already!

Comment #108032

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 8:52 PM (e)

Lenny; who is going to win the war you are fighting?

Forgive me, but I am a little unsure what it is you are asking ….

Whether you intend this to mean “who is going to do the actual fighting in this war you are fighting?”, or whether you intend this to mean “who will benefit from a victory in this war you are fighting?”, the answer is the same:

Anyone who doesn’t want a theocracy.

Comment #108033

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 8:53 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

Slow down PZ! you’re decades ahead of the game at this point. Currently the battle is about marginalizing those who think that “methodological materialism” is somehow “evil”, and restoring the american political process to something resembling sanity. We can deal with the rest later; including the fact that creationism is NOT an entirely american evangelical xian issue; don’t forget the Muslims.

baby steps. it’s the only way to get things done on the larger scale, short of revolution.

Look, the creationists and Christians are not stupid, OK? You’re saying that we need to play it close to the chest and later we’ll demolish their worldview, after we’ve finished sapping their foundations. That’s fine. I’m all for it.

But they already know all about it.

Even if you hadn’t announced the insidious plan right here in plain sight, they had it all figured out ages ago. Dithering now is just playing into their hands. We’re not being clever by pretending science is something it isn’t.

Comment #108034

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 8:54 PM (e)

Lenny didn’t vote for Bush. He voted indy, IIRC.

Dude, Kevin is a cuckoo clock. Since I voted for Nader, Kevin is convinced that I elected Bush and am therefore absolutely responsible for absolutely everything that Bush has done in his entire term in office. So now he’s off his nut over the whole thing.

I think Kevin needs to get back on his meds.

Comment #108035

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 8:58 PM (e)

Perhaps Schwarzaneggar

? perhaps not, unless we changed the constitution when i wasn’t looking.

(he’s a foreign born national, remember?)

yes, he was supported and launched into public office by the neocons in CA, but he learned too much from them in the process;

his “agenda via referendum” attempt to bypass the legislature, well, failed miserably, to put it mildly.

last i checked his approval ratings were lower than Bush’s.

probably why he felt comfortable telling Chimpy McGrin to take a flying leap over the border.

Sometimes i think that his wife would have made a better governor, seriously.

Comment #108036

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 8:58 PM (e)

In this country, at this time, it is not acceptable to be athiest.

Try being a commie.

Comment #108037

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 8:59 PM (e)

So I’m guessing that, unless something interesting happens at the Republicrat convention, the Greens will get my vote again this time around, too.

Why not just vote for yourself, Lenny? Or Bozo the Clown. Same effect.

My previous post got lost but my point was simply that the commenters here who claim to be pro-science but who weep and moan about “evangelical atheists” and the alleged damage they do to the “movement” are off the reservation.

When Dawkins and Myers use the money from their cable TV station and #1 bestselling books to start Atheist University, then complain all you want.

For now, those folks who do not hesitate to articulate their seething contempt for the proud religious liars at the Discovery Institute and elsewhere are doing the most important work in the political sphere. That is because they are slowly erasing the stigma associated with questioning stupidass religion-based beliefs and opinions. This is KEY.

The fundies did not just systematically peddle creationism to Americans for the past ten years. The peddled the belief that religious people are better, smarter and more trustworthy than those atheist materialist homo-loving elites.

The blowback is just beginning. It’s going to be a fun ride. And a long one.

Comment #108038

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 9:01 PM (e)

Since I voted for Nader, Kevin is convinced that I elected Bush

Depends on the state where you voted.

Comment #108039

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 9:01 PM (e)

? perhaps not, unless we changed the constitution when i wasn’t looking.

Well, of course, under the Shrub Administration, that is always a distin ct possibility, but ….

(he’s a foreign born national, remember?)

Ack.

Too much Viking Piss, dude. This thread has been massively entertaining for me. I didn’t even watch “Mythbusters” tonight.

Alas, I don’t have any popcoirn in the house.

;>

Comment #108040

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 9:02 PM (e)

Look, the creationists and Christians are not stupid, OK? You’re saying that we need to play it close to the chest and later we’ll demolish their worldview, after we’ve finished sapping their foundations. That’s fine. I’m all for it.

But they already know all about it.

again i say:

So?

the element of surprise is NOT necessary in order to win a battle.

You do have to at least have equivalent numbers on your side, though, if you aren’t relying on surprise.

Comment #108041

Posted by apollo230 on June 24, 2006 9:02 PM (e)

Every person will be a de-facto atheist until they see “God” face to face.

I don’t care how much religion someone professes-they really are no more an actual believer than Richard Dawkins is until they have geniune EXPERIENCE of the supernatural.

Best regards,
apollo230

Comment #108042

Posted by Mike Dunford on June 24, 2006 9:03 PM (e)

Good grief.

Lenny, you remind me of the John Adams character from 1776 - obnoxious and disliked. You are routinely arrogant, and your in your face rudeness contributes little of value to the forum or the issue as a whole.

In this case, however, you are correct. As it is currently framed, both the evolution struggle in particular and science education in general are political issues more than anything else.

And that is the problem, and that is exactly what we should be fighting against. We should not be saying, “Well, it’s a political issue, so we’ll treat it like one.” We should be getting out there and pushing the science at people - not just the science itself, but the reasons that science is important. We should be talking about the future, and why it is important to prepare our children for it. We should be talking about how important science has become to everyday life. We should be talking about how much we’ve learned, and how much we have left to learn.

The issue might be political now, but that doesn’t mean that we should be treating it as such. It means that we need to find ways of changing that view. It means that we must convince people that this shouldn’t be political.

More importantly, we need to convince people not that religion is compatable with evolution - that is clearly not universally true - but that religion of any sort is irrelevant to the discussion. Many theists think that PZ is going to burn in hell. PZ thinks, at least as far as I can tell, that religion is a bad thing. Lenny seems to trumpet his lack of belief in places, yet object when PZ characterizes him as an atheist. Personally, my own religious views can probably best be described as somewhere between deism, agnosticism, and a constant crisis of faith. None of that is relevant to the scientific validity of evolution.

Religion comes into play, and here I’m pretty sure I’m agreeing with PZ, when a bunch of narrow-minded theists start to demand that their religious views dictate the acceptable content for the science curriculum. Religion is important to their side because it is the driving force behind their objections. Religion is irrelevant to our side because we believe that the content of science classes should be driven only by good science, and you can belong to any or no religion and share that belief.

Let me put it a little more bluntly: we don’t need to go looking to turn into a big tent, you idiot, we are in one already. Anyone who is able to accept the basic concept that science matters in science classes is already here. Anyone who can’t accept that doesn’t belong here.

PZ is right - we need our society to be more secular. Fortunately, there are a number of people out there (Barry Lynn pops to mind) who understand that secular does not necessarily mean anti-religious. It means that religion (or irreligion, or anti-religion, or…) is a personal matter, that different people have different beliefs in these areas, and that the best way to make sure that everyone’s beliefs are treated with respect is to make sure that religion stays the hell away from public policy. Oh, and by the way, that really is something that religious people can fight for just as easily as atheists can.

Comment #108043

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 9:05 PM (e)

Why not just vote for yourself, Lenny? Or Bozo the Clown. Same effect.

Indeed. But then, if the Greens get 15% (or whatever it is) of the popular vote, they qualify for matching Federal election funding. Elections are about money, after all.

Bozo the Clown, unfortunately, won’t get any federal election funds, if I vote for him.

So I’m just doing my bit to help.

Sorry if you don’t like it.

mayeb you should kick the Democan Party in the ass so I can vote for them without holding my nose.

Comment #108044

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 9:11 PM (e)

Depends on the state where you voted.

Actually, it doesn’t. As I’ve already noted, the popular vote doesn’t mean diddley in US presidential elections. It doesn’t matter what state you’re in, your vote literally doesn’t matter. All that matters are the electoral college votes, and they are under no constitutional obligation whatsoever to pay any attention at all to the popular vote.

Anyway, being that I voted in Florida, it’s awfully likely that my vote didn’t even *get* counted, anyway.

Aside from the fact that Bush won a Supreme Court decision, not an election. And alas, I didn’t get to vote in the Supreme Court decision.

Comment #108045

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 9:13 PM (e)

Even if you hadn’t announced the insidious plan right here in plain sight, they had it all figured out ages ago. Dithering now is just playing into their hands. We’re not being clever by pretending science is something it isn’t.

sorry to say, but that’s another straw man. Nowhere did i say that we should pretend science isn’t science. what i did imply was that there are plenty of folks who either:

-practice good science while successfully compartmentalizing the rest.

-are religious but think that the scientific method IS the way kids should be taught both in public and private shcools (check out the ELCA, for example - link below)

-are religious but see the problem even for their own religion that creationism imposes.

before i create a strawman of my own; I have to ask: is it realistic at this point in time to boot all those folks out of the tent, until after we’ve marginalized the fundies?

do you think Ken Miller is part of the problem, in the immediate sense, or part of the solution?

someone above pointed out that these arguments appear to boil down to short term vs. long term strategy.

I think that’s a correct assesment. IF we manage to marginalize the fundy mindset, there will be room to better explore the role religion in general should play in a largely secular society like the US (yeah, i know, someone will say that the majority of americans claim themselves xian, but we both know that by and large, most americans simply don’t give a shit).

Idealistically, I would love to see secular humanism become the norm, but from my perspective, there are a lot of battles to fight first.

Comment #108046

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 9:15 PM (e)

oops; forgot the link:

http://www.thelutheran.org/news/index.cfm?start=51&archive=yes&page_id=66&title=Breaking%20News

see the story titled:

ELCA scholars comment on ‘intelligent design’

Peters says neither intelligent design nor scientific creationism have fertile research programs that can match Darwinian and Neo-Darwinian models of evolution. “The Darwinian models have led to progressive research and new knowledge,” he says. “They also have proven themselves fertile for predicting what we would find in the fossil record, and for predicting random variation in genes that have led indirectly to research on new medicines. The Lutheran understanding of God’s creation leads us to commit ourselves to the best science…. Nothing less than hard-earned empirical truths about the natural world will measure up.”

sounds like progress to me.

Comment #108047

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 9:17 PM (e)

I would love to see secular humanism become the norm

Species-ist.

(grin)

Comment #108048

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 9:19 PM (e)

I don’t care how much religion someone professes-they really are no more an actual believer than Richard Dawkins is until they have geniune EXPERIENCE of the supernatural.

and if you (or anybody) could actually independently verify a supernatural experience of “God”, none of us would be having this discussion.

It’s never happened yet, but hey, you never know.

Comment #108049

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 9:21 PM (e)

Species-ist.

yeah, I’m so goddamn anthropomorphic. ;)

I think maybe I should join Clouser’s crusade to save the zebras from the hyenas.

whee!

Comment #108050

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 9:24 PM (e)

Lenny, you remind me of the John Adams character from 1776 - obnoxious and disliked. You are routinely arrogant, and your in your face rudeness contributes little of value to the forum or the issue as a whole.

With all respect, I’d prefer to be compared to Thomas Paine, the author of the pamphlet “Common Sense” that galvanized popular support for the American Revolution. He was so blunt and so obnoxious that even today there isn’t any officially-sponsored statue of him in Washington. The other Founding Fathers all hated him (particularly since he insisted on popping all their self-righteous hypocritical bubbles on things like slavery, or property qualifications for voting – fewer than 5% of the US population actually had the legal right to vote after the Constitution was passed).

But he was right.

:)

Comment #108051

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 9:27 PM (e)

I think maybe I should join Clouser’s crusade to save the zebras from the hyenas.

We’ll call it “secular organism-ism” or something.

I hear it’s good for our aura.

;)

Comment #108052

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 9:29 PM (e)

sir_toejam wrote:

before i create a strawman of my own; I have to ask: is it realistic at this point in time to boot all those folks out of the tent, until after we’ve marginalized the fundies?

Before you create a strawman? This has gotten beyond annoying: nowhere in my article did I suggest booting the religious out of the tent, or otherwise stomping on their delicate little toes. You really have to stop believing the BS Lenny spews. Did you bother to read what I wrote, or are you just going by the fact that any statement of the atheist disbelief in the supernatural sends certain people here into spastic shrieks of, “you’re planning to send the Baptists to death camps!”

My complaint is about the way Numbers and jerks like Lenny will happily marginalize non-theists, all in the name of somehow persuading the creation-believing theists of the country that the evilutionists really aren’t out to rape their daughters. It’s not about throwing theists out, it’s about atheists forcibly elbowing their way forward and declaring that we’re here, we’re an important part of this story, and you don’t get to pretend that only the religious have morals or are of value or have anything to contribute to society. Most of all, you don’t get to pretend that the godless are not a major force in the science you are supposed to be defending.

Comment #108053

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 9:33 PM (e)

We’ll call it “secular organism-ism” or something.

hmm. how ‘bout “secular beingness”? super creamy with no chunks!

no wait, how bout what it really is at the core: naturalism

http://www.naturalism.org/

don’t agree with everything here, but it does seem to point in a safe and sane direction.

Comment #108054

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 9:35 PM (e)

Anyone who is able to accept the basic concept that science matters in science classes is already here. Anyone who can’t accept that doesn’t belong here.

Well, keep in mind that the fundies have their aim set on a lot more things than “science”. Once the IDers give up and go home, do you plan on going back to your science lab and letting the fundies run rampant in other areas, or do you plan on fighting them in those other areas, too?

In any case, there is a crushing problem with presenting this as simply a “science” fight ——- most people in the US don’t give a rat’s patootie about “science” or “sciecne education”. Heck, most people in the US don’t give a rat’s patootite about education of ANY sort, in ANY subject. We may not like that, but it is a fact of life.

If you plan on fighting ID/creationism with lectures on “pre-biotic polymer chemosynthesis” or “the homology between type III secretory apparatus and the bacterial flagellum”, all you’re gonna do is glaze everyone’s eyes over before you bore them to death.

But then, people aren’t won TO creationism/ID because of science, and they won’t be won AWAY from it because of science, either.

People will organize and fight to stop a fundie theocracy from taking over. They are NOT going to organize and fight to stop somebody from teaching that the bacterial flagellum didn’t evolve from the type III secretory aparatus.

Comment #108055

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 9:45 PM (e)

Before you create a strawman? This has gotten beyond annoying: nowhere in my article did I suggest booting the religious out of the tent, or otherwise stomping on their delicate little toes. You really have to stop believing the BS Lenny spews. Did you bother to read what I wrote, or are you just going by the fact that any statement of the atheist disbelief in the supernatural sends certain people here into spastic shrieks of, “you’re planning to send the Baptists to death camps!”

you’re screaming. stop it. you can discuss this without excessive hyberbole, so can I, and so can lenny. I’ve seen it.

I’ve read ton’s of what you’ve written, both at pharyngula and here, and hundreds of posts in threads just like this one.

I think you are bypassing the point I made, and specifically, this sentence of yours in the contributing post represents what I am attacking:

[quote]…and think it represents much that is wrong in the usual conciliatory approach too many people favor.[/quote]

which goes back to the whole tent idea….or should we just make two large haybales and toss constructed strawmen at each other?

that can be fun too.

realistically, the issues under discussion here won’t be resolved by either one of us, but there is a time for political expediency, and a time for a more introspective approach.

In case you hand’t noticed; until very recently (who replaced Delay?), folks who purport support for the creobot agenda control both houses of congress, and the administration. I’m not sure, but isn’t there one on the Supreme Court now too?

hey, just my opinion, like yours, but it sure seems expediency is favored over instrospection, at least on the national stage at this point.

Comment #108056

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 9:47 PM (e)

Dude, Kevin is a cuckoo clock. Since I voted for Nader, Kevin is convinced that I elected Bush and am therefore absolutely responsible for absolutely everything that Bush has done in his entire term in office

Anyway, being that I voted in Florida, it’s awfully likely that my vote didn’t even *get* counted, anyway.

oh if it was not for GOre is was counted for sure….

face it Lenny … its all your fault….now I voted in NYC so my vote was useless…..but yours…as wasted……

Comment #108058

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 9:51 PM (e)

you can discuss this without excessive hyberbole, so can I, and so can lenny. I’ve seen it.

No I can’t. I’ve had too much beer.

(hic)

Comment #108059

Posted by Mike Dunford on June 24, 2006 9:54 PM (e)

Lenny wrote:

In any case, there is a crushing problem with presenting this as simply a “science” fight ———- most people in the US don’t give a rat’s patootie about “science” or “sciecne education”. Heck, most people in the US don’t give a rat’s patootite about education of ANY sort, in ANY subject. We may not like that, but it is a fact of life.

We may not - do not - like it, but the answer is to change that attitude, not to work around it. That might be the harder solution, but it’s the only one that’s going to lead to anything like long-term success.

We need to convince people that science is important. It is, so that shouldn’t be a completely impossible task.

We also need to fight theocracy, of course, but I already said that. As, I believe, did Paul.

Comment #108060

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 9:55 PM (e)

Oh so the truth is you ARE wasted!

well me too! !

Comment #108061

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 9:56 PM (e)

Did you bother to read what I wrote, or are you just going by the fact that any statement of the atheist disbelief in the supernatural sends certain people here into spastic shrieks of, “you’re planning to send the Baptists to death camps!”

Note that *I* make no secret whatsoever of the fact that I think all gods, goddesses and everything else supernatural are entirely absolutely human-created. And nobody accuses ME of wanting to “send Baptists to death camps”.

Gee, PZ, do you think maybe there’s a reason for that … ?

And I am still waiting for you to tell me who are all these commenters here that condemn you because you don’t believe in gods. *I* don’t believe in gods, PZ, and nobody here has ever condemned ME for it.

Do you think that, maybe, there’s a reason for that …?

Comment #108062

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 9:56 PM (e)

Anyway, being that I voted in Florida, it’s awfully likely that my vote didn’t even *get* counted, anyway.

So Lenny gets points for shamelessness (but we already knew that).

I sort of hoped that all the people who voted for Nader in Florida had killed themselves by accidentally drinking bleach or something.

I guess Lenny got lucky. Damn statistics!

But it’s still odd that Lenny continues to promote McCain as a viable option after McCain clearly signalled his willingness to kiss fundie butt. Yes, that is odd.

I wonder if Lenny is one of those characters who has great difficulty admitting errors…

Comment #108063

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 9:57 PM (e)

We may not - do not - like it, but the answer is to change that attitude, not to work around it.

And of course the fundies will be so kind as to put their plan for theocracy on hold for, say, ten or twenty years, while we go ahead and educate everyone about science.

Right?

Dude, wake up and look around you.

Comment #108064

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 9:57 PM (e)

*I* don’t believe in gods, PZ, and nobody here has ever condemned ME for it.

Do you think that, maybe, there’s a reason for that …?

Yeah. It’s easier to condemn you for voting for Nader and promoting John McCain for President.

Comment #108065

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 10:00 PM (e)

Lenny: No I can’t. I’ve had too much beer.

There we have it. We can blame Florida 2000 on Viking jizz.

Comment #108066

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 10:02 PM (e)

Hyperbole?

lenny wrote:

Well, maybe we can round them all up and shoot them or something, huh.

sir_toejam wrote:

In case you hand’t noticed; until very recently (who replaced Delay?), folks who purport support for the creobot agenda control both houses of congress, and the administration. I’m not sure, but isn’t there one on the Supreme Court now too?

Yes, I’ve noticed. And apparently, the answer to this little problem is to tell the obnoxious atheists to shush up…the religious electorate that put them in office needs to be flattered and pandered to. Yessir, if we’re just nice and friendly and obliging, why, they might just set back and let the government be secular. How naive can you get?

And please. Don’t be a condescending ass and tell me that I am screaming in a thread where Lenny is pulling his “dick swinging” act.

Comment #108067

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 10:02 PM (e)

Lenny continues to promote McCain as a viable option

Only in the Republicrat primary. Unless of course you’d prefer someone like Condy Rice ….?

Nader continues to be the best option, I think. And of course I strongly encourage everyone to vote for him.

:)

I wonder if Lenny is one of those characters who has great difficulty admitting errors…

Well, I *thought* I was wrong once.

But I was mistaken about it.

HA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I KILL ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment #108068

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 10:04 PM (e)

If you plan on fighting ID/creationism with lectures on “pre-biotic polymer chemosynthesis” or “the homology between type III secretory apparatus and the bacterial flagellum”, all you’re gonna do is glaze everyone’s eyes over before you bore them to death.

But surely you realize the intrinsic value of the actual science in this fight, yes?

I don’t reject the value of being concilliatory from a political perspective, and I think including arguments from folks like the ELCA is useful.

However, I also agree with PZ that at the heart of this, it MUST be an evidentiary argument. It might not carry as much polical weight as i would like (which is essentially what I’ve been arguing here), but we always have to be able to point back to the real science; it’s the only independent measure we have. Otherwise, it really is just “he said she said”.

So, while some might glaze over at it (most of us here find it fascinating, but hey, scientists are in the minority), it’s just as important a part of the arsenal as incorporation of “a concilliatory approach” is on the front lines.

I look at it as kind of the banner that represents the basic reason we need to marginalize the fundies to begin with; it’s a physical manifestation of the very idea of reason itself. The very thing that the IDiots DON’T have.

eventually, I would hope that banner would hang high, and represent something far more important to folks who currently “glaze over” when presented a clear evidentiary argument in favor of the evolution of flagella.

I just don’t realistically think we’re there yet.

Comment #108069

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 10:06 PM (e)

There we have it. We can blame Florida 2000 on Viking jizz.

Touch of homophobia there, eh … ?

Alas, I don’t swallow jizz. Though I have friends who do.

Comment #108070

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 10:08 PM (e)

lenny wrote:

Note that *I* make no secret whatsoever of the fact that I think all gods, goddesses and everything else supernatural are entirely absolutely human-created. And nobody accuses ME of wanting to “send Baptists to death camps”.

Which is easily explained. There is one unique asshole here who accuses others of wanting to round up and shoot the religious, and that’s you. I notice that you don’t bother to accuse yourself of the idiocy you invent for others.

Comment #108071

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 10:11 PM (e)

And please. Don’t be a condescending ass and tell me that I am screaming in a thread where Lenny is pulling his “dick swinging” act.

condescending? not applicable.

as to comparing your level of screaming with Lenny’s, is that what you want to do?

I thought you wanted to have an argument?

If lenny was screaming at me, I would have asked the same thing.

I could give a shit for tone and civility.

did you care to argue that your post directed at me did not contain hyperbole? or would you rather actually argue the issues at hand?

if you think it’s about telling atheists to “shut up”, I would conclude you really just want some abuse.

clarify; I’m good at both.

Comment #108072

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 10:15 PM (e)

But surely you realize the intrinsic value of the actual science in this fight, yes?

Of course I do. But if “actual science” were all it took, nobody would be arguing over creationism, global warming, stem cell research, etc etc etc.

These are political fights. They are not scientific debates.

Whether we like it or not.

I don’t reject the value of being concilliatory from a political perspective, and I think including arguments from folks like the ELCA is useful.

It’s more than “useful”; it’s absolutely VITAL. We simply will not win without them.

However, I also agree with PZ that at the heart of this, it MUST be an evidentiary argument.

But it’s NOT an evidentiary argument. If it were, there’d BE no argument taking place.

It might not carry as much polical weight as i would like

Then it’s useless in a political fight.

That is not a value judgement. That is not “the way I’d like things to be”. It’s the way they ARE. Like it or not.

If you want to fight and win in the real world, then you have to fight and win in the REAL WORLD, as it really is. Reality doesn’t care what you (or I or anyone else) would LIKE it to be.

This is a political fight. It is not about science. And we will not win a political fight with just 15% of the population.

That is the reality of it.

Comment #108073

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 10:16 PM (e)

… PZ - if you just want to break out the foam bats, I can understand that too.

How ‘bout we take it to ATBC and have at?

I’ve already made all the substantive points I intend to on this topic, and suspect I would just repeat myself at this point. Might as well move on to a more physical sport and have some fun!

(Yes! That is an invitation to [s]argue[/s] abuse!)

Comment #108074

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 10:20 PM (e)

if you think it’s about telling atheists to “shut up”, I would conclude you really just want some abuse.

Well, when his very first post says “Yes! That is an invitation to argue!”, it’s pretty apparent what he really wants….

Comment #108075

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 10:21 PM (e)

Then it’s useless in a political fight.

whee! I’m in the middle!

no, it’s not.

Think Kitzmiller. When the plaintiff’s atorney dropped that stack of published scientific articles on the evolution of the immune system in the lap of Behe, Behe may have waved them away, but the judge sure as hell didn’t.

Comment #108076

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 10:26 PM (e)

damnit, now what does it mean when i remember Behe’s name, but not Rothschild.

grrr.

Comment #108077

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 10:31 PM (e)

Indeed. But then, ID didn’t die in Dover because it’s bad science; it died because it’s religious apologetics pretending to be science.

It’s not illegal to teach bad science. It IS illegal to teach religious apologetics. And no matter how much they try to hide it, ID/creationism is nothing but religious apologetics.

Indeed, I would argue that this is the ONLY thing that has kept ID/creationism out of science classrooms. All our years of “science education” haven’t done dick. The percentage of ID/creationism proponents is the same now as it was 25 years ago.

Comment #108078

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 10:33 PM (e)

whee! I’m in the middle!

Oddly, no matter where I am, I’m always on the left.

Even in a meeting of Trotskyites.

Comment #108080

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 10:36 PM (e)

This has not been an argument. Lenny jumped in, claiming I’m planning to hunt him down and bring him before the evangelical atheist inquisition, and spewing his usual dim-witted, short-sighted dogma that maligns the evidence. As I’ve said repeatedly, that is not what the post was about: the Numbers article and interview are sloppy hack jobs that promote the simple-minded equation of religiosity with moral and human (!) virtues. This, apparently, is what people mean when they suggest making nice with the Christian majority–to endorse the superiority of religion as a political tool, with conciliation of theists and denigration of atheists.

Hardly anybody, especially you or lenny, have bothered to address the source. Instead, we get more of the nonsensical “fundy atheist” accusations and lenny’s swaggering macho BS.

I’m utterly fed up with this asinine “it’s a political fight” crap. That’s a declaration of surrender. Lenny is fond of declaring that we’re outnumbered as an excuse to abandon science – but the science is our strength. We don’t win by throwing away the whole point of the argument and putting it to a vote or a trial or the outcome of legislation. If that were true, then all the scientists who contribute here ought to withdraw, and we should turn the Panda’s Thumb over to Lenny and people like him, and watch him win the war for us. It’s political, after all. Even a drone who thinks the evidence is irrelevant ought to be able to do the job with his smooth and persuasive political skills.

(Except that he doesn’t have any, unfortunately, and also lacks any competence in science. Why are we listening to him at all, again?)

Comment #108083

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 10:38 PM (e)

I am once again ignoring all of PZ’s dick-waving.

Comment #108084

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 10:52 PM (e)

lenny wrote:

Indeed, I would argue that this is the ONLY thing that has kept ID/creationism out of science classrooms. All our years of “science education” haven’t done dick. The percentage of ID/creationism proponents is the same now as it was 25 years ago.

Good grief. This is like kicking a cripple.

That’s right. We’re getting nowhere. If anything, it’s getting worse. We need to win every court case, they only need to win one. This is, I presume, our wonderfully successful strategy? One that doesn’t work, has never worked, and is eventually going to fail catastrophically? The ONLY thing the forthright POLITICAL warrior can think of to keep crap out of our classrooms is a defensive battle in the courtrooms?

Look to Europe. They think we’re insane. Do they have to resort to courtroom defenses to keep creationism out of the classroom? No? Why not? Could it have something to do with having a secular society that sees religion as something completely inappropriate in a public school, that thinks only a nutcase would believe his personal beliefs about invisible phantasms trumps science? Relying on the enforcement of the separation of church and state to keep crackpottery out of the classrooms is a fool’s hope, one that is only good for the short term.

We softpedal religion, rely on the courts, and the fundies go right beneath you and poison school boards and intimidate teachers. We haven’t had 25 years of science education. We’ve had 25 years of weakening support for education, while the so-called “defenders of science” argue that science really isn’t that important, pander to the sensibilities of the very people quietly working to corrupt eduction, and keep pushing one trial after another.

Your strategy is how we lose.

Comment #108085

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 11:01 PM (e)

Lenny

This is a political fight. It is not about science. And we will not win a political fight with just 15% of the population.

…sayeth the dude who voted for Ralph Nader (!) in Florida (!!) in 2000 (!!!) and admits it (!!!!!!).

C’mon Lenny. It was a stupid thing to do. Just admit it.

And just to be clear, Lenny: is it your position that pandering to tired memes which favor or are biased towards religion is an essential part of the “political fight” you refer to? Do you find anything objectionable in the article PZ refers to in his initial post?

Comment #108086

Posted by dre on June 24, 2006 11:03 PM (e)

i know it’s pointless to try to get a word in here, especially since i don’t pull any weight on this blog, but i’m glad mr. myers said what he said in the post. i’m glad he is willing to point out that some of us feel very strongly that religion in general, not just fundamentalism, is a major problem for science and subsequently for our society. i’m not afraid to say it, and it’s good that somebody with better credentials than me will put it out there.

now, i won’t say i have enjoyed the slap-fight here in the comments, no i won’t. but there’s nothing i can do about that.

there are a lot of people out there who are not willing to give religion credit just because our moms still go to church, or our friends are too afraid to challenge a wrathful god. a lot of those people are not interested in pandering to or placating the religious in order to sneak in a political victory. i am one of those people, and i think mr. myers is, too.

so, thank you, mr. myers.

i hope most sincerely that something, somewhere, sometime soon will happen that will wake up our society and the world to the folly that is religion. however, i think that we will end up having to be happy that the human race will wipe itself out within a few centuries, leaving the world in peace.

until the damned dolphins invent religion.

Comment #108087

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:08 PM (e)

C’mon Lenny. It was a stupid thing to do. Just admit it.

Alas, my only regret is that we didn’t reach the level needed to qualify for federal matching election funding.

If only more people had voted with me ….

Of course, if the Democans field a candidate that I can vote for *without* holding my nose, I’d consider it. But it doesn’t appear as if that will happen this tiem around either. So I will continue to vote against them until they do.

Perhaps a few more years of theocracy will force the Democans to grow a spine.

Comment #108088

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:10 PM (e)

a lot of those people are not interested in pandering to or placating the religious in order to sneak in a political victory.

So you’d prefer a political defeat instead ….?

Comment #108089

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:13 PM (e)

Your strategy is how we lose.

Well, creationism is illegal, ID is dead, “teach the controversy” is going nowhere, the DI is falling all over itself, and the entire creationist movement is now being forced to focus overseas instead of here.

Yeah, I’ll take a few more “losses” like that.

(shrug)

Comment #108090

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 11:13 PM (e)

So this is our savvy master of the political battle? Let the theocracy come, it’ll make the Democrats wise up, it won’t really hurt the country if we’re in a few wars, if the power of the presidency is unchecked, if our economy is wrecked to benefit a few lucky corporations and the obscenely wealthy?

Again, I ask…why does anyone listen to Lenny at all?

Comment #108092

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 11:18 PM (e)

Your words:

lenny wrote:

The percentage of ID/creationism proponents is the same now as it was 25 years ago.

You think that is adequate? Unending conflict, except that where the creationists tweak their game plan now and then, we just keep doing the same thing?

I ask one more time–why should anyone in their right mind pay any attention to you?

Comment #108093

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:23 PM (e)

Um, Hillary Clinton is in favor of sending MORE troops to Iraq, and she refused to vote to censure Bush for the illegal spying and wiretaps (not impeach, not remove from office, just CENSURE, just say “he shouldn’t have done that”).

So, uh, where are all these heroic defenders of peace and democracy that I am supposed to be voting for …. ?

Comment #108094

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:24 PM (e)

I ask one more time—why should anyone in their right mind pay any attention to you?

Don’t. (shrug)

Comment #108095

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:27 PM (e)

By the way, PZ, I really am very sorry that you don’t like how I voted.

Next time, I’ll be sure to call you first and ask your permission.

OK?

Comment #108096

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 24, 2006 11:28 PM (e)

This has not been an argument.

yes it has; abuse issues aside.

face it, you when you dropped this:

Lenny is part of the problem.

you know Lenny well enough to realize that was a ripe, juicy piece of bait, and you knew where it was going to go from there.

Lenny jumped in, claiming I’m planning to hunt him down and bring him before the evangelical atheist inquisition,

in case you wanted to argue you weren’t using hyperbole, that’s hyperbole.

and spewing his usual dim-witted, short-sighted dogma that maligns the evidence.

which specific evidence were you referring to?

As I’ve said repeatedly, that is not what the post was about: the Numbers article and interview are sloppy hack jobs that promote the simple-minded equation of religiosity with moral and human (!) virtues.

but i thought you wanted an argument?

nothing to argue with there, at least in theory, so long as you don’t equate it with religion has not contributed to any moral “virtues”.

How bout we back up a step: From many of your posts previous, I’ve gotten the distinct impression that your position is that religion has no value at all, moral or otherwise. Is this a correct assesment? If not, why don’t you spell it out more clearly, because obviously you haven’t done so yet.

You say this argument tells the atheists to essentially “shut up”.

hmm, let’s take the flip side of that:

Does Wes constantly spout off about the superior worldview his religion represents (note: I haven’t a clue as to what Wes thinks of his religion, only that he is religious)?

I certainly can’t recall a single contribution by Wes anywhere that makes the argument that the way he believes in any way needs to be on the forefront of public debate.

Yet I see you claiming the victim card all too often; as soon as someone points out that you seem to lean towards devaluing religion in general a bit too much.

I’m certainly not telling you to “shut up”, but I don’t see the value at this point in time of “yelling it from the rooftops” (note my use of hyperbole ;) ) either.

This, apparently, is what people mean when they suggest making nice with the Christian majority—to endorse the superiority of religion as a political tool, with conciliation of theists and denigration of atheists.

the fact is, the utilization of religion as a political tool HAS been tremendously successful; just ask the neocons.

I don’t denigrate atheists (I am one), but i also don’t see the reason to denigrate those who believe differently, but are willing to make the effort to fight for good science at the same time.

they can deal with their own compartmentalization issues themselves.

like you said, they’re smart (well, some of ‘em anyway).

Hardly anybody, especially you or lenny, have bothered to address the source. Instead, we get more of the nonsensical “fundy atheist” accusations and lenny’s swaggering macho BS.

don’t lump me with Lenny here; I didn’t see any problems with knocking the article from the intrinsic standpoint of its claiming moral superiority only belongs to the religious side. It’s an ignorant arguement on the face of it. almost not worth the time to even argue against it. Indeed, I just didn’t think that specifically was worth arguing about. hence, I angled in on a related issue.

I’m not Lenny, I’m not you, I’m me; i have a different viewpoint than either one of you on the surface, but suspect we agree on more than we disagree.

that’s kinda the point.

I’m utterly fed up with this asinine “it’s a political fight” crap. That’s a declaration of surrender.

and that borders on being an oxymoron.

Lenny is fond of declaring that we’re outnumbered as an excuse to abandon science —

you may be confusing Lenny’s intent with the wording used here; I don’t think Lenny is any more interested in “abandoning science” than you or I; hence that’s why I chose to ask him point blank.

but the science is our strength.

Yes, and no; it depends on the scale, and the specific battle being fought. The science is the physical manifestion of reason we value so highly, and the very thing that gives us the edge in the “he said she said side of things” but it’s only one tool in the arsenal in this fight, and not necessarily the best one in all battles on this front. It’s the unbreakable diamond tip on the spear, if you will. However, it doesn’t matter how good your spear is if you face overwhelming odds. Then it’s a simple matter of numbers.

If you want to prevent the kinds of things like we saw in Kansas, you have to reach out with a lot more than pure science.

We don’t win by throwing away the whole point of the argument and putting it to a vote or a trial or the outcome of legislation.

no, WE don’t, but often THEY do. Kansas being a perfect case on point. We can maintain the point, for example if the point is science standards themselves, but also have to do more than that besides.

If that were true, then all the scientists who contribute here ought to withdraw, and we should turn the Panda’s Thumb over to Lenny and people like him, and watch him win the war for us. It’s political, after all. Even a drone who thinks the evidence is irrelevant ought to be able to do the job with his smooth and persuasive political skills.

ridiculous, and totally ignores every point i tried to convey.

and this is getting rather repetitious.

like i said, if you have something serious to say, say it. otherwise, I’m happy to break out the foam bats, but I’d rather do it over at ATBC.

(Except that he doesn’t have any, unfortunately, and also lacks any competence in science. Why are we listening to him at all, again?)

Because he’s here? Because he, like the rest of us, occassionally makes sense? Because he’s done a decent amount of work documenting various issues relating to the culture wars over the years on his website?

you pick.

none of us are always right.

one might ask.. if you didn’t want to listen to what he had to say, why did you bait him in the first place?

again, i repeat myself.

I’m done; if you want to whack each other with foam bats, I’m game. just be clear so I know to start a thread over on ATBC.

Comment #108097

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:30 PM (e)

Unending conflict, except that where the creationists tweak their game plan now and then, we just keep doing the same thing?

Of course not, silly. We’ll just tell all those fundies that “religion is stupid”, they’ll all slap themselves in the forehead and exclaim “Lo! I’ve been wrong all these many years!!!” and the whole thing will end right then and there.

Comment #108098

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 11:35 PM (e)

Clinton was not the candidate in 2000. She was not the candidate in 2004. The only people who hope she’ll be the candidate in 2008 are the Republicans…oh, and maybe Joe Lieberman. Unless you live in NY, you haven’t had an opportunity to vote for Clinton.

“Don’t” doesn’t answer the question why anyone should pay attention to your dicta. You’re clearly undiplomatic and inept, you’ve a history of stupid political decisions, and you don’t support science and call the evidence irrelevant. It sounds to me like you’re nothing but a creationist mole, and a rather clumsy one at that.

Comment #108099

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 11:35 PM (e)

Um, Hillary Clinton is in favor of sending MORE troops to Iraq, and she refused to vote to censure Bush for the illegal spying and wiretaps (not impeach, not remove from office, just CENSURE, just say “he shouldn’t have done that”).

All bad decisions on her part. How did John McCain vote, by the way?

But has she given a commencement speech at Liberty University or Bob Jones? Has she given George Bush a big fat smiling hug?

And has anyone else in this thread besides you brought up Hillary Clinton? What is the deal with your fascination?

Comment #108100

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:38 PM (e)

I didn’t see any problems with knocking the article from the intrinsic standpoint of its claiming moral superiority only belongs to the religious side.

Nor do I, though it’s not an argument that is all that central to the ID/evolution fight.

It’s an ignorant arguement on the face of it.

Indeed it is. And, in the evolution/creation debate, a largely irrelevant one.

But if one’s agenda is stamping out religion, well, then I guess it’s something to argue over.

Alas, that is not my agenda.

Comment #108101

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:42 PM (e)

All bad decisions on her part.

No kidding.

How did John McCain vote, by the way?

Dunno. Couldn’t care less. Since I’m not gonna be voting in the Republicrat primaries, I won’t be voting either for or against McCain. Given the choice between any fundie and any nonfundie, though, I’ll take the nonfundie every time. Wouldn’t you?

In the interests of allowing you to contin ue with your, uh, cute comebacks, I’ll refrain from pointing out once again that I’m a commie, and the odds that McCain and I would agree on … well … virtually anything, are pretty close to zero. (shrug)

Comment #108102

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 11:44 PM (e)

PZ

It sounds to me like you’re nothing but a creationist mole, and a rather clumsy one at that.

Lenny’s sense of humor is too developed for him to be a creationist mole.

For the record, I endorse about 95% of Lenny’s comments. The pandering strategery and the McCain business is in the 5% which I can not abide.

Comment #108103

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:44 PM (e)

And has anyone else in this thread besides you brought up Hillary Clinton? What is the deal with your fascination?

Well, you DO want me to vote Democan, right?

And she IS the leading contender right now for the Democan nomination, right?

Or do I misunderstand what it is that you have been bitching about …. ?

Comment #108104

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:47 PM (e)

“Don’t” doesn’t answer the question why anyone should pay attention to your dicta. You’re clearly undiplomatic and inept, you’ve a history of stupid political decisions, and you don’t support science and call the evidence irrelevant. It sounds to me like you’re nothing but a creationist mole, and a rather clumsy one at that.

Well by golly, PZ, then don’t pay any attention to me. (shrug)

Oh wait, it’s not good enough for YOU to not pay any attention to me, you don’t want anyone ELSE to, either … Right?

Typical fundie. (shrug)

Comment #108105

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:48 PM (e)

For the record, I endorse about 95% of Lenny’s comments. The pandering strategery and the McCain business is in the 5% which I can not abide.

For the record, I endorse about 95% of your comments. But I can’t abide your taste in beer.

Comment #108106

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 11:54 PM (e)

Given the choice between any fundie and any nonfundie, though, I’ll take the nonfundie every time.

Unless there’s two non-fundies in which case you’ll chuck your vote the garbage. Right?

In the interests of allowing you to contin ue with your, uh, cute comebacks, I’ll refrain from pointing out once again that I’m a commie, and the odds that McCain and I would agree on … well … virtually anything, are pretty close to zero. (shrug)

Then why did you endorse him in one of these PT threads? I can’t remember your exact words but you clearly implied that he was somehow “different” from his Republican peers in a way that would matter to someone like me.

I assume you haven’t fallen for the “straight talking” “maverick” garbage but if you want to disabuse yourself of that baloney I can direct you to some helpful websites.

I’m not sure if I believe the “commie” business but I’d give five dollars to see you and Tim Sandefur battle it out in one these threads.

Comment #108107

Posted by Registered User on June 24, 2006 11:57 PM (e)

But I can’t abide your taste in beer.

Tecate? Man, nothing beats an ice cold can on a hut summer day.

Comment #108108

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 24, 2006 11:59 PM (e)

Unless there’s two non-fundies in which case you’ll chuck your vote the garbage. Right?

Nope. But if the party I agree with needs 15% of the popular vote to get federal election funding, I’m always game to help out.

Then why did you endorse him in one of these PT threads? I can’t remember your exact words but you clearly implied that he was somehow “different” from his Republican peers in a way that would matter to someone like me.

For years, he was the only prominent Republicrat who was decrying the influence of the fundies on the party.

As noted, I prefer the nonfundie to the fundie.

I assume you haven’t fallen for the “straight talking” “maverick” garbage but if you want to disabuse yourself of that baloney I can direct you to some helpful websites.

I’ve never seen a corporado yet whose “straight talking” crap wasn’t crap. I am in no need of disabusing.

But I still prefer the nonfundie to the fundie.

Comment #108109

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 11:59 PM (e)

I don’t care what Wes’s views of religion are. Whatever they are, apparently my goal is to “hunt [him] down and drag [him] before the Inquisition, or whatever the evangelical atheist version of the Inquisition is.” You say I’m guilty of hyperbole, but that is a direct quote from Lenny, you know.

Seriously, though, it ought to be clear to everyone that I’m not on a crusade to destroy every religious person on the planet unless they are sufficiently nihilistic. It’s not just Wes, either – my mom is a Lutheran. I like my mom, OK?

Sir_Toejam wrote:

I’ve gotten the distinct impression that your position is that religion has no value at all, moral or otherwise. Is this a correct assesment? If not, why don’t you spell it out more clearly, because obviously you haven’t done so yet.

You say you’ve read a lot of what I’ve written. Of course. Religion is morally neutral, conferring no benefit on anyone. To think otherwise is to claim that those who have no religion are morally weaker, and that’s patently false. You’ll also see me argue that atheism is similarly morally neutral.

As I mentioned in passing above, the answer I like is modeled after Europe. We don’t need to ‘punish’ or otherwise get rid of the religious – we just need a more secular society in which people are free to practice whatever religion they want. They just don’t get to expect that religiosity confers special privileges in public policy.

And don’t make excuse for Lenny. If he was ‘baited’, he invited it. This comment is a fairly typical Flankism, and I really don’t appreciate ignoramuses like him barging into a science post and belittling the work. I don’t see anything to distinguish him from the creationists in that regard, other than that he claims to be on our side.

Comment #108110

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:02 AM (e)

I’m not sure if I believe the “commie” business

Well, I see no need to discuss it here (unlike some people, I prefer not to drag any of my non-relevant personal agendas into the ID/evolution fight), but if you contact me at my email address, I’d be very happy to give you a URL that will very quickly disabuse you of that uncertainty.

Or, you could just ask the FBI. They’ve dropped by for a few visits over the years.

;)

Comment #108111

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:03 AM (e)

I am, of course, still ignoring PZ’s dick-waving.

Comment #108112

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:05 AM (e)

They just don’t get to expect that religiosity confers special privileges in public policy.

May I ask which of the evolution-supporting religious people here has said any such a thing as this?

Or are you just as unwilling to answer that as you are to tell me who the pro-evolution commenters here are that have condemned you for not believing in gods?

Comment #108113

Posted by PZ Myers on June 25, 2006 12:06 AM (e)

When Lenny says,

I am, of course, still ignoring PZ’s dick-waving.

it actually means

I am, of course, still ignoring the fact that PZ is kicking my butt.

You can always tell when Lenny is losing by the way he clutches at his crotch.

Comment #108114

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:07 AM (e)

Sorry, PZ, I’m still ignoring your dick-waving.

Comment #108127

Posted by Alan Fox on June 25, 2006 4:50 AM (e)

Hilarious.

PZ Myers wrote:

As I mentioned in passing above, the answer I like is modeled after Europe. We don’t need to ‘punish’ or otherwise get rid of the religious — we just need a more secular society in which people are free to practice whatever religion they want. They just don’t get to expect that religiosity confers special privileges in public policy.

Is is amazing to me that in a technologically advanced country like the States, which prides itself on being the “Land of the Free” that a large slice of the population and the controlling political grouping do not seem to accept that real freedom involves freedom for religion and freedom from religion.

[/schadenfreude]

Comment #108128

Posted by Alan B. on June 25, 2006 5:45 AM (e)

Religion has no place in science, whether that “religion” is Christianity, Islam, or Atheism. Whenever anyone tries to impose his religious views on me, whether that is Jack Chick, Richard Dawkins, or the Jehovah Witness at my front door, I generally stop listening. If you wish to end rational discourse the easiest, fastest, and surest way to do that is to bring in religion. However, if you wish to keep a discussion of science on topic then you need to keep religion out of it. If you want to talk about religion then it should be somewhere that other people aren’t trying to talk about science.

Comment #108129

Posted by PZ Myers on June 25, 2006 7:05 AM (e)

Atheism is a religion like good health is a disease.

The problem we are confronting in the US right now is driven by religion. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. Some think the science is irrelevant; some think the problem is purely political; some like to place the blame on scientists or atheists, especially the ‘arrogant’ kind; some like to tell us that religion has to be kept out of the discussion, but that is like telling us you want an infection cured, but you don’t want to hear anything about bacteria or antibiotics, because it offends you.

Comment #108130

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:20 AM (e)

(wakes up, stretches)

(yawwwwnnnnn)

Oh, my heeeaaadddd …… .

(reaches for a little “hair of the dog”)

(rings bell) OK, now Round Two can begin …

:)

Comment #108133

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:22 AM (e)

Repeating my questions from yesterday, PZ:

They just don’t get to expect that religiosity confers special privileges in public policy.

May I ask which of the evolution-supporting religious people here has said any such a thing as this?

Or are you just as unwilling to answer that as you are to tell me who the pro-evolution commenters here are that have condemned you for not believing in gods?

Comment #108136

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:26 AM (e)

Posted by Alan B. on June 25, 2006 05:45 AM (e)

Religion has no place in science, whether that “religion” is Christianity, Islam, or Atheism. Whenever anyone tries to impose his religious views on me, whether that is Jack Chick, Richard Dawkins, or the Jehovah Witness at my front door, I generally stop listening. If you wish to end rational discourse the easiest, fastest, and surest way to do that is to bring in religion. However, if you wish to keep a discussion of science on topic then you need to keep religion out of it. If you want to talk about religion then it should be somewhere that other people aren’t trying to talk about science.

Posted by PZ Myers on June 25, 2006 07:05 AM (e)

Atheism is a religion like good health is a disease.

Alan, that loud “whooshing” sound you may have heard, was the sound of your point going right over PZ’s head.

(snicker)

Comment #108142

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:35 AM (e)

The problem we are confronting in the US right now is driven by religion.

Correction — the ruling group in the US is driven by a very specific type of religion, fundamentalism, which is rejected by the majority of other religions, and is, as we have already seen, actively opposed by large numbers of religious groups within the US.

“Fundamentalism” =/= “religion”

Alas, the ideological fanatics like PZ seem unable to recognize that simple distinction.

Comment #108144

Posted by Lurker on June 25, 2006 7:41 AM (e)

“that is like telling us you want an infection cured, but you don’t want to hear anything about bacteria or antibiotics, because it offends you.”

Yet there is nothing surprising about this aspect of close-mindedness when it comes to science policies. People like to have an energy policy independent of oil, yet they don’t want to hear about nuclear energy, because it offends them. People like to solve cancer, yet they don’t want to hear about anti-smoking tobacco bans, for all the offense that causes. People like to know if homosexuality leads to bad parenting, yet they don’t want to hear out any homosexuals, for all the offense they cause. People like to know if we can reduce global warming, but they don’t want to be told how to run their cars, or to be fired from the pollution factories.

What we have learned over time is that it is quite possible to ignore science and scientists. What scientists and science policy makers have not figured out is how to make people listen. You all talk about this problem, none really talk about a feasible solution. Some like to think scientists are the mouthpiece of all that is true. Some like to think scientists are the mouthpiece of Satan, spreading all that is false. In the end, having a scientist merely speak is not at all the solution. It is, like Lenny says, pragmatically a political problem. After all, we don’t have time to have a social scientist methodically figure out the right approach. So most of the time, we’re all taking flying leaps of faith on various policies.

Personally, although I hate to say this, it seems to me that in the Creation-Evolution battle people like Ken Miller are more valued weapons than people like PZ. Why? Not for the differences in scientific knowledge either possesses. Rather, I suspect there is a reason for having one present at a trial, or speak to a bunch of Christians about evolution than the other. And when this person speaks, do you think people are actually paying attention to the science? or to the fact that he is Christian speaking about science?

Face it people. All the church-goers in this country get weekly continuing education sessions. Scientists cannot even dream of having that kind of audience on a regular basis. Yet that’s exactly the audience they need. Not a political problem? Ha.

Comment #108147

Posted by Ron Okimoto on June 25, 2006 7:49 AM (e)

Nick wrote:

Whoo hoo! A pointless thread on unresolvable metaphysical questions! Somehow, we usually manage to avoid these.

Whoop dee doo too!

Why doesn’t someone start a thread where we can discuss Johnson’s backtracking and back stabbing of the ID movement. In D’Agostino’s Berkeley Science Review Article.

You can bet that won’t get significant air time in the creationist forums, but junk like the comments on this thread get more than their share.

http://sciencereview.berkeley.edu/articles.php?issue=10&article=evolution

I’m surprised that someone hasn’t commented on Johnson’s new outlook on life. D’Agostino seems to be skeptical of Johnson’s view changes.

Anything has got to be better than this.

Comment #108148

Posted by Corkscrew on June 25, 2006 7:50 AM (e)

PZ wrote:

I’m utterly fed up with this asinine “it’s a political fight” crap. That’s a declaration of surrender. Lenny is fond of declaring that we’re outnumbered as an excuse to abandon science — but the science is our strength.

You’re talking at cross purposes. This is precisely what Lenny is saying - the scientific fight is over, we won that, now we just need to convince the faceless masses that the scientific fight was indeed the most effective way of getting at the truth of the matter.

To you, this next step is so reflexive that you have trouble even thinking of it as the political or cultural battle it could legitimately be described as being. Lenny isn’t arguing with you over what needs doing, though, he’s just characterising it slightly differently.

Comment #108149

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:01 AM (e)

D’Agostino seems to be skeptical of Johnson’s view changes.

So am I.

But then, it’s the very same sea change that all the creation “scientists” made after they lost in Arkansas and Louisiana. IDers are STILL not doing anything that hasn’t already been done decades ago by the creationists.

But I did like this quote from Johnson:

“I think the fat lady has sung for any efforts to change the approach in the public schools…the courts are just not going to allow it. They never have.”

Ding ding ding. Give that man a cookie.

Ya see, even an earthworm is capable of learning from bitter experience. Apparently IDers *do* have the smarts of an earthworm. After all, even Dembski has given up on ID “science” and has, uh, “returned” to his first love, apologetics.

As an effective political movement, ID is dead. Dover killed it. And the IDers know it.

Time for the fundies to now come up with a plan C.

And, if they insist on preaching, they will need a plan D, and plan E and a plan F.

At least until Howie closes his checkbook.

Comment #108150

Posted by Lurker on June 25, 2006 8:03 AM (e)

Kevin Padian wrote:

They don’t understand the first thing about relativity. If you tell them that the universe is 15 billion years old they go “Oh” and they don’t have to deal with it anymore. And in fact there are a lot of physicists who as you know are very much engaged in cosmological metaphysical questions, many of which have completely non-scientific dimensions that they take very seriously. But the problem here is that once we start talking about how life changes through time it’s getting closer to everybody’s backyard. And people don’t want to hear that they are animals, that they are mammals. They don’t want to hear what they share with a gorilla….
Well, scientists really don’t go out in the world talking about how stupid religion is. It isn’t that they couldn’t, it’s just that they don’t. When pressed, you’ll get people like Richard Dawkins, who’ll say that it’s just superstition and all of the claims it makes for its good works and uplifting effects are just balderdash, and he can point to evidence for this. This is nothing new. And no, I don’t think it’s the scientists’ fault about that. I think the scientists are at fault for not explaining our disciplines more clearly to the public so that they can’t be misconstrued. If our level of scientific literacy were higher in this country we might not have this problem. But you see, these people have been working for 85 years so that we don’t even get to teach this.

Once again, we have identification of the problem. But no viable solution. Americans are rather pragmatic people. Science that doesn’t affect them on a day to day level is simply not relevant. This is more so for the fundamentalists, who would all much rather have _one_ source of information, that is _not changing_ over time. How should science advocates deal with this besides talking the problem to death?

Comment #108151

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:04 AM (e)

You can bet that won’t get significant air time in the creationist forums

Has it already gone through the post/removal cycle at Dembski’s little cyber-empire?

And has DI’s Ministry of Propaganda already released a, uh, “press release” complaining all about it?

Comment #108162

Posted by k.e. on June 25, 2006 8:14 AM (e)

Damn, I decide to do some work and miss the biggest fight on PT, blood and everything. Lenny goes to sleep and sobers up…..Rats.
Who won BTW?

Comment #108163

Posted by jeffw on June 25, 2006 8:15 AM (e)

I favor the pragmatic approach too, but I dunno, religion is getting pretty scary these days:

“End Times’ Religious Groups Want Apocalypse Soon.”

“For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it.”

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-endtimes22jun22,0,7902314.story?track=tothtml

Comment #108164

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:16 AM (e)

Lenny goes to sleep and sobers up…..Rats.

Give me a few hours, and I can correct that.

:)

Who won BTW?

Nobody. Just as in ALL pointless religious holy wars.

(shrug)

Comment #108165

Posted by Lurker on June 25, 2006 8:18 AM (e)

I’ll add another reason to Padian’s own why biology gets less respect than other scientific disciplines. It is presented at the precollegiate educational level as almost an entirely descriptive science, or a gigantic history lesson spanning the ages. What you learn are the various names for the structures found in living organisms. You learn when they lived, how they lived, and why they went extinct. You learn about functions. And, essentially, you learn about blueprints.

Unlike most sciences, biology is not presented formally as a predictive enterprise, at least not in anything that is as controlled as mixing two reagents to get a quantifiable product, or writing three physical laws to solve for a state variable. Have a student do bacterial transformation experiments, and you can’t even ask him to predict the rate DNA is acquired. Get him to do gel electrophoresis, and rarely does he actually understand why a band moves as far as it does. Have him look at an E. coli under a microscope, and what else does the teacher want him to notice? Well, that is shaped like a rod, that it has flagella, that it moves, that is changes colors when treated with dies, that it makes circles when grown on media, that it dies when treated by drugs… Biology is presented as mushy science. It is no wonder that it gets treated as such.

Comment #108166

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:24 AM (e)

I favor the pragmatic approach too, but I dunno, religion is getting pretty scary these days:

Which one? They’re, uh, not all the same, ya know…

“End Times’ Religious Groups Want Apocalypse Soon.”

“For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it.”

One of these groups works in the same building as me. “God’s News Behind the News”, run by some fruitball named Van Koevering. His schtick is that he raises money to pay for any American Jew who wants to go to Israel. His notion is that Jesus won’t come back until all the Jews are living in the Promised Land, so he’s doing his bit to help. Once all the Jews are in Israel, Jesus will come back and end the world.

Nutters.

But then, the nutters have been predicting the imminent end of the world throughout human history. (shrug)

Comment #108167

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 25, 2006 8:40 AM (e)

I find it funny that Lenny, who in another thread here in recent days supported his two votes for Ralph Nader on the grounds that Nader was the best man for the job, despite having no chance of winning, now wants Myers to get on the faith bus because of its plurality. I guess Lenny thinks his conscience (which contributed materially to electing an idiot) is more important than everyone else’s. (Shrug, my ass)

Comment #108168

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:42 AM (e)

Once again, I am very sorry that you didn’t like my vote.

Next time, I will call you and ask your permission first.

OK?

Oh, and just for you ——-> (shrug)

Comment #108170

Posted by jeffw on June 25, 2006 9:16 AM (e)

I favor the pragmatic approach too, but I dunno, religion is getting pretty scary these days:

Which one? They’re, uh, not all the same, ya know…

The fundie christian one - you know, the one that gives us so much entertainment in the courts? I’m fortunate enough to belong to family of them. There such nice people, when the’re not scaring the hell out me.

Nutters.

But then, the nutters have been predicting the imminent end of the world throughout human history. (shrug)

Yeah, but now they actually want to make it happen.

Comment #108171

Posted by KL on June 25, 2006 9:27 AM (e)

“Once again, we have identification of the problem. But no viable solution. Americans are rather pragmatic people. Science that doesn’t affect them on a day to day level is simply not relevant. This is more so for the fundamentalists, who would all much rather have _one_ source of information, that is _not changing_ over time. How should science advocates deal with this besides talking the problem to death?”

I agree that this is the major problem. Americans (other than those who make their living in science, science-heavy areas or science education) don’t even think about science or science education unless it is thrown at them. Unfortunately, it is often the pulpit that brings the subject up. However, many Americans don’t attend church, or attend a church that doesn’t think this is an issue. Another place where this would be brought to public attention would be political web sites and publications. However, given the voting record of the American public, I am not sure many read these either. I think of my various family members as typical Americans; the only time science is even a topic of discussion is when I am around, being the only one in my extended family who gives two hoots in hell about the subject (other than my scientist husband). I wonder if speaking often, loudly and energetically, using every media outlet available, will get the public’s attention. Otherwise, investments, health care, gas prices, Walmart sales, “Sex and the City” and “Brangelina” will fill their days.

Comment #108173

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 9:29 AM (e)

Yeah, but now they actually want to make it happen.

They’re welcome to try. (shrug)

Comment #108175

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 9:35 AM (e)

Otherwise, investments, health care, gas prices, Walmart sales, “Sex and the City” and “Brangelina” will fill their days.

It is indeed frightening that citizens of the US, the most powerful nation in human history, are by and large an utterly pig-ignorant uneducated uncaring apathetic uninvolved lot.

In any modern European country, if the leader took power with a minority of the popular vote, began an illegal war, spied on political opponents, rounded up people based on “secret evidence” obtained through torture and held them indefinitely without trial or charges, there would be riots in the street and the government would fall.

In the US, though, we just yawn and go back to watching “American Idol”.

Note to the rest of the world — PLEASE stop us before it is too late. We are collectively incapable and unwilling to stop ourselves.

If you don’t do it, nobody will.

Comment #108176

Posted by Spinner on June 25, 2006 9:37 AM (e)

This battle is NOT only about knowledge vs. ignorance. It’s also about trust vs. paranoia. Let me explain.

“Fundies”, obviously, believe in God. Whats often overlooked is that they also believe in a real “devil” entity. They believe the devil has controlled the world since our “fall from grace” and will continue to control it until the return of Christ.

Think about that for a minute.

In the mind of a Fundie, the goal of the devil is to decieve Humanity. The power and intelligence of the devil is second only to God, and crafting a long-term, plausable, detailed, scientific paradigm capable of decieving Humanity is well within his abilites. And is in fact predicted by the Bible. (The great deception)

So, Fundies are wary. Cautious. They put their trust in the Bible, and anything that goes against it is dismissed as part of the devils elaborate deception. This is a responce born in paranoia, not ignorance.

Comment #108177

Posted by Lou FCD on June 25, 2006 9:38 AM (e)

The Reverend Doctor wrote:

It is indeed frightening that citizens of the US, the most powerful nation in human history, are by and large an utterly pig-ignorant uneducated uncaring apathetic uninvolved lot.

In any modern European country, if the leader took power with a minority of the popular vote, began an illegal war, spied on political opponents, rounded up people based on “secret evidence” obtained through torture and held them indefinitely without trial or charges, there would be riots in the street and the government would fall.

In the US, though, we just yawn and go back to watching “American Idol”.

Well said.

Comment #108178

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 25, 2006 9:42 AM (e)

Lenny,

My post in this thread wasn’t about your vote, it was about your hypocrisy. You seem to think that people like Myers shouldn’t express their views because it’s not politically expedient to do so, but in your own voting, you don’t seem to care much about the ramifications, so long as you can make your own little (impotent) statement.

Comment #108179

Posted by PennyBright on June 25, 2006 9:47 AM (e)

Having faith is not incompatible with practicing science, just as knowing how to speak German is not incompatible with knowing how to speak French.

But you can’t do both simultaneously.

That being said - I agree with PZ that the push to ‘make nice’ with the religious is at best excessive, and at worse downright offensive.

I also agree with Lenny that if we want to win the political and cultural conflict between science and religious fundamentalism, we need to not alienate religious moderates. Force people to choose between science and faith, and far too often science will lose. Just look at the Christian Scientists.

Really the main thing to do is to try and encourage religious moderates to be comfortable and strong enough in their faith and moderacy at they don’t feel threatened by vocal non-theists, and *can’t* be alienated by them. And that must come from within the religious community itself.

Comment #108180

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 9:54 AM (e)

You seem to think that people like Myers shouldn’t express their views because it’s not politically expedient to do so

I said no such thing.

As I have already noted, I myself, me, don’t accept the existence of any gods, and have said so, repeatedly, out loud. And I have no problem whatsoever with anyone who does so.

Yet, when I express those views (the very same views held by Dr Myers, I might add), I don’t alienate the religious moderates who are on our side by doing so.

Mostly because, unlike PZ and the other evangelical atheists, I don’t make any effort to belittle those moderates or attack them for their beliefs, I don’t unthinkingly lump them together with the fundie nutters, and I don’t treat them as the enemy. They are, after all, NOT the enemy. They are, after all, fighting with us AGAINST the enemy.

Extremist fanatics like PZ, of course, can’t see the difference. Like the extremist fundies, PZ and the other evangelical atheists simply can’t tolerate anyone having a religious opinion different from theirs.

In a coalition-based political fight, “intolerance” is not a virtue.

Comment #108182

Posted by Ben on June 25, 2006 9:58 AM (e)

In any modern European country, if the leader took power with a minority of the popular vote, began an illegal war, spied on political opponents, rounded up people based on “secret evidence” obtained through torture and held them indefinitely without trial or charges, there would be riots in the street and the government would fall.

I don’t know, here in Britain we’re pretty much already in that situation.

Comment #108183

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 10:03 AM (e)

in your own voting, you don’t seem to care much about the ramifications

Au contraire, I voted for the guy I thought would produce the best ramifications. I’m tired of “choosing” between Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, and a third party is, I think, our last best hope.

It’s not MY fault that the Democans can’t run anyone who can beat George Bush. (shrug)

Maybe instead of assuming that the Democans automatically are entitled to my vote, you should kick the Democans in the ass, produce a real opposition party, produce a candidate that I can vote for without holding my nose, and have them EARN my vote and recieve it willingly.

Or is that too much to ask?

Comment #108184

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 10:05 AM (e)

I don’t know, here in Britain we’re pretty much already in that situation.

That’s what you get for becoming the 51st state.

;)

But you, uh, do have streets, right?

And you, uh, do know how to riot, right?

Well, what the hell are you waiting for?

Comment #108185

Posted by Caledonian on June 25, 2006 10:08 AM (e)

Rev. Lenny wrote:

I said no such thing.

Ah, the subtleties of language.

It’s true that you never once used those words. The whole meaning of your previous statements, however, has centered around that idea.

You chastized PZ for being publically antagonistic towards religion, you emphasized that evolution is no longer a scientific position but a political one, you suggested that it would be impossible for the political battle to be won without the aid of theistic evolutionists, and then said that it was stupid to annoy those allies that were needed to win a political struggle.

Like a jigsaw puzzle, we don’t need to possess a missing piece if we possess all the pices around it. From that information alone, we can determine the shape of the piece we don’t have, because it is defined by its surroundings.

The clear and obvious implication of your entire chain of reasoning is that rationalists should refrain from pointing out the irrationality of religious belief in order to stay on good terms with theistic evolutionists, with the explicit goal of obtaining their assistance in a psychomarketing campaign against the theistic creationists.

Your denial strikes me as duplicitious in even the most forgiving interpretation.

Aside from its doubtful validity, your argument overlooks some very important points. For example, one pays a price for engaging in psychomarketing. For another, there are benefits to be accrued by remaining reality-based, both in a purely pragmatic and in a psychological sense. It is not at all clear that the current neoconservative strategy is sustainable over the long-term; there will likely be a backlash.

Comment #108186

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 10:10 AM (e)

You chastized PZ for being publically antagonistic towards religion, you emphasized that evolution is no longer a scientific position but a political one, you suggested that it would be impossible for the political battle to be won without the aid of theistic evolutionists, and then said that it was stupid to annoy those allies that were needed to win a political struggle.

In case you haven;t notivced, I also don’t accept the existence of any gods or goddesses, and have said so out loud, repeatedly.

That is not the problem.

Like a jigsaw puzzle, we don’t need to possess a missing piece if we possess all the pices around it. From that information alone, we can determine the shape of the piece we don’t have, because it is defined by its surroundings.

Then you need to rearrange the pieces. You don’t have the right picture.

Comment #108187

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 10:15 AM (e)

It’s true that you never once used those words. The whole meaning of your previous statements, however, has centered around that idea.

It is not PZ’s “beliefs” that are the problem. It is his intolerance. PZ doesn’t just say “I don’t believe in gods” (which, after all, *I* say too) – he follows that up with “and you’re stupid if you do”.

See the difference?

It doesn’t help us. It *does* hurt us.

Comment #108188

Posted by Jim Wynne on June 25, 2006 10:18 AM (e)

Lenny wrote:

Au contraire, I voted for the guy I thought would produce the best ramifications.

Do you mean to say that of all of the constitutionally eligble people in the country, you think that Ralph Nader was the best qualified? Or were you limiting your choices to those who were actually on the ballot? If the former is true, we have nothing (except your hypocrisy, an issue you keep trying to evade) to discuss. If the latter is true, then you really weren’t voting for the best person for the job, were you? If you want to use your vote to make a personal statement without regard for the consequences, that’s your right, but when you turn around and criticize an outspoken atheist for not putting his ideals in his pocket when you think it’s appropriate to do so, you’re talking out your poop chute.

Comment #108189

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 25, 2006 10:21 AM (e)

If societies tend to be favorable to religion as a moral authority, it is because religion is (or was) all about patterning and organizing the lives of people in society. I myself am glad that science can be much more idealistic and is not concerned with these mundane things. I agree that this function of religion has become increasingly complemented by other nonreligious approaches along history, and I agree the state should not favor “religion for religion” but should take into careful consideration what religions do. Favorable tretamnet, for example, should relate directly to humanitarian activities and such. This is not the case now and of course this should change as there certainly are evil and vacuous religions out there. It does have to do with religion still been held as “generally virtuous”. More non-religious, proficient alternatives are needed to truly change this sentiment. Probably, more nonreligious humanitarian and altruistic enterprises is the only way.

I agree that atheists must not be apologetic, and one way of making that easy is not attacking religion or denying tht fact that it can do good, while showing high standards of civil and moral conduct ourselves (yes, NEVER insult or abuse your powers, for example). This will demonstrate that we are not arrogant, dogmatic or devoid of morality. IF that is true. Hopefully yes, but in reality we’re doing a crappy job, even at something as simple as refraining from insult and violent language, which is truly NEVER ok and thus utterly damaging to our own cause.

This being said, it is important that this social reality and current politic events, however dislikable, must not cloud the philosophical issue if REALLY all religion and science are to be opposed or if they can find ways to coexist. The bad things in our current situation, and whether we must hide or atheism or not for political reasons, does not truly amount to solving the issue, but they do flow downstream from it. The answer is NO, of course we should not be apologetic, but equally obvious is that we must no be demeaning and insulting. I think it is crucial that we atheists realize that in fact religion and science are NOT forced to butt heads. This means we can take the first step as sincerely respectful people who are NOT thinking everyone should be an atheist like us.

Comment #108190

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 10:21 AM (e)

you emphasized that evolution is no longer a scientific position but a political one

This is flat-out wrong, and not what I said.

It is the OPPOSITION to evolution that is a political position, not a scientific one.

And I find it dumbfounding that anyone would disagree with that.

Comment #108191

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Do you mean to say that of all of the constitutionally eligble people in the country, you think that Ralph Nader was the best qualified?

Yes.

Do YOU mean to say that of all the constitutioanlly eligible people in the country, you think that the guy YOU voted for was the best qualified?

If not, why the heck did you vote for him?

Comment #108192

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 10:26 AM (e)

you suggested that it would be impossible for the political battle to be won without the aid of theistic evolutionists, and then said that it was stupid to annoy those allies that were needed to win a political struggle.

If you have a method for 15% of the population to win a political fight, without using guns, I’m all ears.

Do tell.

Comment #108193

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 10:31 AM (e)

people who are NOT thinking everyone should be an atheist like us.

There’s the problem.

Comment #108194

Posted by k.e. on June 25, 2006 10:50 AM (e)

Caledonian KICKS A GOAL !!!!!

the whole teams jumps for joy and runs over and (insert favorite sporting analogy)

…….with the explicit goal of obtaining their assistance in a psychomarketing campaign against the theistic creationists.

BINGO!!

…Known thine enemy.

Take a leaf out of Ahmansons Prayer Book’s

Sun Tzu “The Art of War” .(And quick bone up on the other messiahs of modern politics Goebbels and Orwell)

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

I. LAYING PLANS

*The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept.

*This is called, using the conquered foe to augment
one’s own strength.

*. It is a matter of life and death, a road either
to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry
which can on no account be neglected.

*. All warfare is based on deception.

This ones for the DI…..SUCKERS!!!!

*. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder,
and crush him.

This one is for Lenny and PZ

*. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to
irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.

Comment #108195

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 10:56 AM (e)

It is not at all clear that the current neoconservative strategy is sustainable over the long-term; there will likely be a backlash.

A big one, I hope.

But we should be careful not to equate the “fundies” with the “neocons”. Although there is some overlap between them in both members and goals, they are not at all the same thing. Indeed, exacerbating and aggravating the differences between them is, I think, a key tactic to take in beating them both. Corporados don’t like theocracies – theocracies are bad for business.

The problem, though, is that the, uh, “opposition” party in the US is embracing most of the neocon agenda and accepting it as a “given”. The neocons, in a nutshell, want the US to dominate the world, politically, militarily and economically. And the Democan leadership does not reject that goal – they simply disagree with the neocon methods of implementing it. The Democan leadership does not oppose the Iraq war – it simply thinks Bush is bungling the job, and they want to send MORE troops to, as they put it, “get the job done”. The Democan leadership doesn’t oppose the globalization (read “Americanization”) of the world economy – they simply think the neocons are clumsily implementing it and provoking too much hostility and resistance, where a “kinder, gentler” approach is required. To both Democans and Republicrats, the very idea that perhaps the US has no inherent right whatsoever to run the world as it sees fit, is met with the very same incomprehending blank stare.

Both share the same goal — it is only in their preferred methods of implementing that goal that they differ.

I reject the goal right from the start. And, alas, neither the Democans nor the Republicrats are compatible with that.

Comment #108197

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 11:10 AM (e)

Well, now that this thread has wandered through religion and politics, what else should we argue over?

I think that baseball is an idiotic sport. Anyone disagree?

:)

Comment #108198

Posted by Lou FCD on June 25, 2006 11:17 AM (e)

Hockey Rules!

Comment #108207

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 12:10 PM (e)

Lenny

It is the OPPOSITION to evolution that is a political position, not a scientific one.

It’s political for the professional promoters and the wannabes on the second tier.

But the typical rube who opposes it does so because “they stoopit.”

Which reminds how much this debate resembles similar debates here about the “appropriateness” of pointing out how sadly ignorant a huge portion of Americans are and how that problem is getting worse as we speak. It’s been mentioned numerous times that telling Americans that their government is letting them down and providing them with a substandard education that leaves them susceptible to snake-oil selling liars is bad because it “alienates” those people. Apparently only religious preachers are permitted to engage in scorn and ridicule (they figured the effectiveness of this approach thousands of years ago).

I’ve got the preacher Kenneth Copeland on the TV right now. He’s on all Sunday morning. This guy preaches essentially that if you believe in Jesus you’ll be “prosperous” but you have to give first in order to receive. I have little doubt that he gets most of his money from old stupid people.

Now, here’s one of my goals: in the near future, I should be able to turn my channel and find a TV show which mocks Kenneth Copeland explicitly, by taking segments of his show and debunking their vapidity and/or simply laughing at the utter theatrical bullshXt of it all. In addition to “This Week in Religion” on PBS we’ll have “Stupidest Religious Moment News” which documents the atrocities.

As it stands now, the only high visible direct commentary against religious baloney and the indoctriation of children with religious baloney comes from our countries musicians and artists and comedians. Why is that?

Answer: it’s because of all the people who believe, like Lenny, that criticizing religion will come back to bite you in the ass.

PZ thinks it is time to end the charade. So do I. So do a whole lot of other people.

Get used to it. Get used to defending your religious beliefs until the day comes when, in fact, your religion isn’t being used on national TV to justify wars and bigotry. When that day arrives, the need to point out the stupid absurdities inherent in organized religion (i.e., Christianity mainly) will be diminished.

Or you can just leave your religion on the side of the road to wither and die. Rational folks do that by the boatload every freaking day.

Comment #108208

Posted by Corkscrew on June 25, 2006 12:14 PM (e)

Footie all the way. Go England!

And mint choc chip is heaps better than all the other flavours except lemon.

Comment #108209

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:14 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #108210

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:18 PM (e)

Get used to defending your religious beliefs

For those who aren’t memory-challenged, let me say, yet again, one more time, that I do not assert or accept the existence of any god, gods, goddesses or any other supernatural entity whatsoever, in any way shape or form. They are all, without exception, human-made.

As I said before, I *do* understand that for the evangelical hyper-atheists, simply not believing in gods is not enough. Apparently, I must also do my part to stamp out the belief in gods in EVERYONE ELSE, as well.

And I’m not sure even THAT would make them happy. After all, fundamentalist ideologues are NEVER happy.

And if PZ didn’t want a fight, he should not have picked one. (shrug)

Comment #108212

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:28 PM (e)

It’s political for the professional promoters and the wannabes on the second tier.

But the typical rube who opposes it does so because “they stoopit.”

I suspect that is true of many political movements. Most of the rank and filers, deep down inside, haven’t the foggiest idea what they are really working towards.

Particularly in the US, where most of the population as a whole is, well, stoopit.

Comment #108213

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:31 PM (e)

Rational folks do that by the boatload every freaking day.

Waterloo !!! Waterloo !!!!! Waterloo !!!!!!

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

;)

Comment #108214

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 12:31 PM (e)

For those who aren’t memory-challenged, let me say

I’ll continue to ignore Lenny’s dick waving.

(shrugs)

Comment #108215

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:33 PM (e)

except lemon

Ewwwwwwwwwwww.

Comment #108216

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:37 PM (e)

I’ll continue to ignore Lenny’s dick waving.

Awwwww, damn.

(hangs head, slinks off to corner to sulk)

Comment #108217

Posted by Alan B. on June 25, 2006 12:37 PM (e)

I have no problem with anyone who wishes to criticize religion for any reason whatsoever. That is what freedom of speech is about. But I do resent anyone who deliberately confuses his beliefs with those of science. Science should have nothing to do with religion. Those who conflate the two end up diminishing respect for science and do little to support their playground brawls.

Comment #108218

Posted by Keith Douglas on June 25, 2006 12:38 PM (e)

I dare say that from what I have heard Numbers gets the bit about Galileo wrong - I understand he was shown the instruments of torture. Moreover, it is very disingenious for him to say there was no science-religion strife duing the 17th century. The founders of the scientific revolution were almost to a man heretical. Also, why does he think that the Royal Society agreed not to discuss religion if it was so harmonious? Additionally, the folks he mentions as being religious and open to evolution aren’t, at least not completely. Grey - I will simply take his word on that - is a creationist. Numbers reports that he felt that evolution did not give rise to humans and to eyes. That’s creationism, like Pope John Paul II’s variety. Sure, it isn’t as extreme as Morris or even perhaps Dembski, but so what? Finally, to say that no scientists were put to death may be true, but there are certainly those who died because of dissent viewpoints on other subjects, such as Bruno.

—-
Matt Young: You assume that morals and ethics are not cricitisable. Sure, someone can base their ethics on religion if they want to, but that just renders them subject to whatever protoanthropology, philosophy of mind, etc. that comes with the religion. Which, of course, renders the ethics a sitting duck for a secular ethical system informed by scientific research, the current situation, etc.

Comment #108219

Posted by Steve S on June 25, 2006 12:42 PM (e)

Comment #108052

Posted by PZ Myers on June 24, 2006 09:29 PM (e) | kill

This has gotten beyond annoying: nowhere in my article did I suggest booting the religious out of the tent, or otherwise stomping on their delicate little toes.

Comment #108187

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 10:15 AM (e) | kill

It is not PZ’s “beliefs” that are the problem. It is his intolerance. PZ doesn’t just say “I don’t believe in gods” (which, after all, *I* say too) — he follows that up with “and you’re stupid if you do”.

Lenny, could you give us some evidence for that? Calling someone stupid would definitely be stepping on their toes, I would think.

Comment #108220

Posted by FL on June 25, 2006 12:46 PM (e)

:-)

Comment #108221

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:50 PM (e)

Lenny, could you give us some evidence for that?

Sure. Just read PZ’s posts.

To quote my good friend Caledonia:

“Ah, the subtleties of language.

It’s true that you never once used those words. The whole meaning of your previous statements, however, has centered around that idea.”

Comment #108222

Posted by Bob O'H on June 25, 2006 12:51 PM (e)

Footie all the way. Go England!

I assume you wrote that before the match. Or are you expecting us to bore the opposition to death?

Bob

Comment #108223

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:52 PM (e)

Hey FL, can you figure this one out?

|
,,|,
[ ]’

Comment #108225

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 12:53 PM (e)

Hmm.

Lenny goes off to sulk in a corner and then FL suddenly appears.

Lenny Flank = LF = ….. FL????

Good Lord.

Maybe Great White Wonder was a sock puppet for Sal Cordova.

Comment #108226

Posted by Barley Zagner on June 25, 2006 12:54 PM (e)

I’ve read lots of his posts, I’m just wondering, what would you say is the strongest case against PZ’s claim that

“This has gotten beyond annoying: nowhere in my article did I suggest booting the religious out of the tent, or otherwise stomping on their delicate little toes.”

Comment #108227

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 12:55 PM (e)

Maybe Great White Wonder was a sock puppet for Sal Cordova.

Heck, I’ve always thought that YOU were a socikpuppet for GWW.

;>

Comment #108228

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 25, 2006 12:56 PM (e)

LENNY is proud to have elected George Bush president and is happy that we went to war in Iraq and that we want to declare a fetus a legal person and he supports drilling in ANWR and anywhere else the oil companies damm well please.
—————————-
Official Florida result: George W Bush - 2,912,790; Al Gore - 2,912,253. Bush majority 537.
—————————-
If 240 538 Lenny’s had voted for Gore…..

Comment #108229

Posted by Steve S on June 25, 2006 12:56 PM (e)

I’ve read lots of his posts, I’m just wondering, what would you say is the strongest case against PZ’s claim that

“This has gotten beyond annoying: nowhere in my article did I suggest booting the religious out of the tent, or otherwise stomping on their delicate little toes.”

Probably where he says that

“Of course, Einstein’s arrogance has nothing on the author’s, who believes that religion is the source of our humanity, and that we need absolute certainty to find satisfaction in life. If that’s the case, I gladly renounce humanity, if humanity means ignorance and the dumb acceptance of superstition. I’ll happily embrace uncertainty, provisional truth, and a method that guarantees a lifelong search for new knowledge over the false certainty given by the liars for gods.”

Comment #108230

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 1:00 PM (e)

I’ve read lots of his posts, I’m just wondering, what would you say is the strongest case against PZ’s claim that

“This has gotten beyond annoying: nowhere in my article did I suggest booting the religious out of the tent, or otherwise stomping on their delicate little toes.”

Well, let’s just ASK him, eh?

Hey PZ, do you think religion is stupid? Do you think it’s dumb to believe in gods? Do you think that faith is based on ignorance?

Of course, I didn’t say that PZ wants to kick religious people out; I said he DRIVES religious people out. PZ doesn’t mind if they stay – as long as THEY don’t mind him telling them occasionally that they are stupid and ignorant (shrug).

Comment #108231

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 1:02 PM (e)

Oh, Christ, now the cuckoo clock is back ….

(sigh)

Comment #108232

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 1:06 PM (e)

The core of PZ’s post was this:

When I hear people declare that Dawkins is the arrogant one, while they are surrounded by Robertsons and Coulters and Dobsons, I give up on them. They’ve just admitted that they lack any sensible perspective on the world.

People who value religion – for whatever reason – would be wise to focus on the psychos above and not worry about statements by Dawkins or Myers or any other atheist who has had it up to his nose with mass-marketed religious baloney mixing with our political discourse.

Whether you agree with Dawkins or Myers in their assessment of religion (no different from the conclusion that millions of others have reached after learning to become skeptical of their parental units) the arguments supporting their conclusions about the ill effect of mass-marketed religion and religious indoctrination in our society are far more solid than any argument supporting, say, some dude rising from the dead after 3 days, walking around for a while, then ascending up to a mysterious cloud paradise. Or whatever is supposed to have happened.

This, in my opinion, is the real reason that religious people hate to have the discussion: it’s a losing gambit for them because at the end of the day they simply have to admit that for their own personal pleasure they have decided to subscribe to a mass-marketed psychotherapy that is directly and indirectly responsible for our country turning into a craphole of ignorance and mindless script-reciting.

Comment #108233

Posted by Corkscrew on June 25, 2006 1:08 PM (e)

I assume you wrote that before the match. Or are you expecting us to bore the opposition to death?

I confess to not actually having watched the match. Spent the time trying to get to grips with microarrays. It sounds like this meant I had a far more entertaining time than the footie fans out there…

Comment #108234

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 1:08 PM (e)

People who value religion — for whatever reason — would be wise to focus on the psychos

People who don’t value religion, of course, would be wise to do the same.

Rather than wasting time on the non-psychos who are not causing the problems.

Comment #108235

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 1:13 PM (e)

Flank

Of course, I didn’t say that PZ wants to kick religious people out; I said he DRIVES religious people out.

He drives religious people out of where exactly? Do you have any evidence that otherwise rational person would be willing to accept the opinion of virtually every one of the world’s authorities on the subject of evolution BUT FOR the words of PZ Myers?

I would like to see that evidence, Lenny.

In lieu of that, it would be nice if you stopped spouting your “atheists should shut up and let the theists speak” baloney. PZ’s already explained to you why that’s a doomed strategy. If you have some counterargument besides “good luck with that” then let’s hear it.

Comment #108236

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 1:17 PM (e)

Lenny

People who don’t value religion, of course, would be wise to do the same.

Uh, Lenny, PZ Myers does focus on Coulter, Robertson, Falwell and their ilk on a regular basis. His withering criticism of those folks is widely appreciated.

On the other hand, we have you promoting John McCain, who happily kisses the butts of those psychos.

So once again, Lenny, you’ve left your corner but not before laying a hypocritical turd. Why not clean it up?

Comment #108237

Posted by Sean Walker on June 25, 2006 1:20 PM (e)

I don’t see that there is a big fight among scientists about what religion (or lack there of) is better or that stamping out religious scientists will somehow make science better (pardon the strawman & I know no one said this). Are atheists more productive than their theist counterparts? Do they produce papers with higher impact factors? Heck I don’t know and I don’t care. It wouldn’t matter to me if Dembski got a paper published in nature (no one spew their beer all over the screen) as long as it was good science (again no one spew their beer on the screen). I guess the point is that the religion or lack there of practitioners of science does not really matter for either the ID’ers or the science folks.

There’s only a war between science and religion when people make one. I don’t think there should be any backing off with regard to keeping religion out of science and out of schools. However, I don’t think projecting an assumption about ones metaphysics and/or my poofy sky fairy did this or that on others is a good idea. There’s no evidence to talk about here except waving hands and saying my assumption is better than your assumption. (insert arguments about rationality here ha ha)

If you’re going to defend science, defend science with boatloads of evidence. If you’re going to defend metaphysical positions let’s go get a beer and have a good time and make good arguments.

Comment #108239

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 1:24 PM (e)

we have you promoting John McCain

That’s pretty funny.

Comment #108240

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 1:26 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #108241

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 1:27 PM (e)

we have you promoting John McCain

That’s pretty funny.

Comment #108242

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 25, 2006 1:29 PM (e)

A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES.

Comment #108243

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 1:29 PM (e)

Uh, Lenny, PZ Myers does focus on Coulter, Robertson, Falwell and their ilk on a regular basis.

As do I.

His withering criticism of those folks is widely appreciated.

Glad to hear it. So why doesn’t he stick to that, whcih is at least useful, rather than ranting on all the religious people who are NOT Coulter, Robertson, Falwell and their ilk, and who in fact OPPOSE Coulter, Robertson, Falwell and their ilk?

On the other hand, we have you promoting John McCain

That’s pretty funny.

Comment #108244

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 1:31 PM (e)

Why don’t you give us YOUR holy opinion, Carol … ?

What would Landa do?

Comment #108246

Posted by Matt Young on June 25, 2006 1:40 PM (e)

Keith Douglas writes,

Matt Young: You assume that morals and ethics are not cricitisable.

How on earth did he draw that inference from any remark of mine? Here is what I actually wrote:

Salman Rushdie last night on the tube made an interesting point: that morality and ethics precede religion, and religion is often our expression of morality and ethics. If some people want to express their morality and ethics in a religious motif, who are Dr. Myers and I to argue?

Mr. Douglas’s inference is, at best, hard to fathom.

Comment #108247

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 25, 2006 1:41 PM (e)

I know what you’re up to, Lenny, in inviting me in here. But I want to enjoy what you want most to resist - a flame war between atheists. Go on, keep it up folks! Call each other names! And bring in that other pillar on PT, SIR toeJam, for added insult!

Comment #108248

Posted by Ben on June 25, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

“And you, uh, do know how to riot, right?”

When it comes to football riots, we’re world class (shame we’re not world class on the pitch though).

Comment #108249

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

Lenny, what’s funny is that you pretend that you never promoted McCain here. But go right ahead and keep pretending.

Registered User: Uh, Lenny, PZ Myers does focus on Coulter, Robertson, Falwell and their ilk on a regular basis.

Lenny: As do I.

Your readership is probably less than 1% of PZ Myers’ so I could care less frankly except to note that patting yourself on the back in this context is a conceited way of dodging the point of my comment: that Myers is thoughtful and consistent in the application of his political strategy while science-supporters and/or liberals who are critical of Myers and Dawkins (i.e., folks like you) are not.

So why doesn’t he stick to that, whcih is at least useful, rather than ranting on all the religious people who are NOT Coulter, Robertson, Falwell and their ilk

That’s been explained to you, Lenny. I guess your glib quips take more time for you to conjure up than one might expect.

Comment #108250

Posted by Lou FCD on June 25, 2006 1:49 PM (e)

Dear Dr. Clouser,

I’ve been wondering, since it came up in AFDave’s thread at AtBC,

From the original clay tablets, should we transliterate the Ascended Beings’ names as “Auri” or “Ori”?

Wiki, SciFi Channel, and Tacitus prefer the latter, and that would seem to be correct, but I wanted your take.

Funny you should show up right at this moment.

Just wonderin’

Comment #108251

Posted by Corkscrew on June 25, 2006 1:52 PM (e)

I know what you’re up to, Lenny, in inviting me in here. But I want to enjoy what you want most to resist - a flame war between atheists. Go on, keep it up folks! Call each other names! And bring in that other pillar on PT, SIR toeJam, for added insult!

In the interests of balance, I should mention that at least one of the atheists here is also thoroughly enjoying the discussion. I don’t think I’ve ever watched PT actually try to have a flamewar before, and it’s heartening to note how absolutely terrible you are at it. You keep trying to resort to rational discourse with each other mid-flame. Hilarious.

Comment #108252

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 25, 2006 1:53 PM (e)

I basically agree with PZ’s position and so after reading the article by Deborah Blum, I focused on one point he had not mentioned. (I realize this will be lost in the flame wars).

When Kansas convened public hearings to discuss the merits of intelligent design, most scientists stayed away, thinking that if they refused to testify, it would be obvious that the idea wasn’t even worth discussing. They were shocked when the decision went so clearly against them.

This is absolutely wrong. Because the results of the so-called hearings were a foregone conclusion, science education professionals encouraged scientists to boycott the pretended “hearings.” Instead, scientists and educators were made directly available to news media representatives to offer factual counter arguments to the claims made by the creationist controlled “hearings.”

At the same time, Elliott Sober hopes the next generation of scientists will learn to better communicate what they do and what it means. “Scientists didn’t show up in Kansas, and they now realize that was a mistake,” he says. “There’s a growing awareness in the scientific community that they need to better communicate with the public, do a better job of explaining. They need to show up and make the case.”

Again this is not supported factually. There would have been no other result from the so-called hearings if scientists or education professionals had appeared. This second guessing and revisionism is as needless as it is irritating. In fact the creationist far right were furious that they had been blocked and that their creationist testimonies were so effectively skewered by the careful questioning of Pedro Irigonegaray.

I would have hoped that a Pulitzer Prize winning science writer/reporter such as Deborah Blum might have done a little background work. Particularly as this is neatly laid out by The National Center For Science Education.

Comment #108253

Posted by Red Mann on June 25, 2006 2:15 PM (e)

RE: Comment #1077887 and its follow-ups about Islam’s take on evolution. Check this out:
http://www.islam-online.net/English/Science/Science/NaturalSciences/2006/06/01.shtml

Islam is definitely anti-science since everything must be supported by the Quran.
Here is one of the “Science” web sites:
http://www.science4islam.com/

Islam is a totally fundamentalist religion, at least as it is interpreted by all of the leading Islamic “schools”. Unlike Xtians view of the bible, which, for most, is open to interpretation, since it was supposedly transcribed by men with divine guidance (right Carol?); the Quran is the direct word of Allah. As such it can never be subjected to any interpretation. Muslims believe that it was written long ago, in heaven, and passed to humans via Muhammad.

As to the religious war that is raging on this thread, I think it’s quite silly for the main supporters of science on this thread to get involved is such a screaming match. What’s the problem? Is ID so dull and dead that you all have to turn on each other? Religious beliefs are very personal, and even though I find them to be quite silly, people are free to believe them. They just have nothing to do with science. All you religious types who get so upset over any criticism of your particular brand, calm down. Although we generally respect the right for people to believe in some religion or other, we don’t have to respect their particular beliefs. So if someone says they think your beliefs are foolish, that’s their right. Not even Lenny’s pizza boy’s religion has the right to be exempted from criticism.

Comment #108254

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 2:24 PM (e)

Lenny, what’s funny is that you pretend that you never promoted McCain here.

That’s pretty funny.

In case you forgot, I’m a commie. McCain and I wouldn’t speak to each other if we were in the same room.

But I do prefer a nonfundie to a fundie.

How about you? Which would you prefer?

Comment #108255

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 25, 2006 2:24 PM (e)

You keep trying to resort to rational discourse with each other mid-flame. Hilarious.

exactly the reason I proposed we take the flame war section over to ATBC.

The problem we are confronting in the US right now is driven by religion.

…and PZ is still horribly mistaken about that.

unlike PZ, I actually provided evidence directly on point to argue that it has nothing to do with religion, per sae.

It’s these kinds of blanket statements by PZ that attract the moniker of “fundamental atheist”.

Hey, I can clearly make my argument based on evidence, but PZ can only shout epithets.

and on the idea of shouting epithets… I can make a thread over on ATBC, if anybody is interested?

Comment #108257

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 2:28 PM (e)

Myers is thoughtful and consistent in the application of his political strategy

“Religion is stupid”.

Yep, I gotta admit, he sure is consistent about it.

Doesn’t strike me as much of a political strategy, though.

Comment #108258

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 2:29 PM (e)

Hey Toejam, were you aware that I voted for Bush and campaigned here for McCain?

(snicker)

Comment #108260

Posted by Tom Curtis on June 25, 2006 2:34 PM (e)

PZ has invited us to argue. I’m not interested, but I will comment just once.

I am an atheist. I accept the overwhelming evidence for evolution, and find creationism abominable. I have also, for all intents and purposes retired from the creation/evolution debate.

The reason is simple - fanatics like PZ.

Lenny has quite sensibly pointed out that in a battle between creationism and science; making enemies of the two thirds of science supporters who happen also to be theists is absurd. It is a recipe for defeat; but that is not my main objection.

My main objection is that I am interested in defending science against creationists. I am not interested in a battle against religion - and if you try to recruit me for one, you will, effectively have already lost me as an ally. My reaction to rants like PZ’s is to say a plague on the houses of all fundamentalists - fundamentalist atheists like PZ just as much as fundamentalist Christians or Islamists.

Comment #108261

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 2:34 PM (e)

Islam is a totally fundamentalist religion, at least as it is interpreted by all of the leading Islamic “schools”.

That’s not exactly true — there are indeed just as many nonfundie Islamic “denominations” as there are nonfundie Christian. But since we prefer to think that Muslims are legitimate targets for illegal wiretaps and surveillance in our, uh, “war against terror”, no one ever hears much about them.

The jiahdists, like the reconstructionists, are tiny but loud minorities.

Indeed, in any religion, the extremists are just a tiny but loud minority.

Including atheism.

Comment #108263

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 2:36 PM (e)

Not even Lenny’s pizza boy’s religion has the right to be exempted from criticism.

Um, he’s infallible, ya know.

;>

Comment #108264

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 2:42 PM (e)

I don’t think I’ve ever watched PT actually try to have a flamewar before

Then you haven’t been here very long, have ya.

;>

Comment #108266

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 2:47 PM (e)

Lenny keeps trying to revise history to suit himself:

That’s pretty funny.

In case you forgot, I’m a commie. McCain and I wouldn’t speak to each other if we were in the same room.

That’ll never happen, of course, because you’re about as relevant to McCain as a pimple on my butt.

How about we just stick to the facts, Lenny?

Are you defying me to produce the money quote, Lenny?

Go ahead, Lenny: make my day.

If I produce the quote where you promoted McCain will you apologize and (for once) admit error?

Or will you just keep it up with your self-promoting “I’ve fought more political battles than you” arrogant hypocritical crap?

Comment #108267

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 2:51 PM (e)

Lenny

Indeed, in any religion, the extremists are just a tiny but loud minority.

Including atheism.

I think the number of atheists who agree with PZ’s assessment of religion and its role in our society is far from a “tiny minority.”

And atheism is not a religion, of course. But you already knew that, Lenny.

Comment #108268

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 2:52 PM (e)

But since we prefer to think that Muslims are legitimate targets for illegal wiretaps and surveillance in our, uh, “war against terror”, no one ever hears much about them.

And in a similar vein, Americans are also led to hold the notion that Muslims are all Middle Eastern extremists, despite the fact that fewer than half of all Muslims, worldwide, live in the Middle East. Bangladesh, all by itself, has nearly as many Muslims as the entire Arabic Middle East, and if we throw in non-Arabic Iran, the total still doesn’t reach that found in the single nation of Indonesia.

Comment #108269

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 2:53 PM (e)

Are you defying me to produce the money quote, Lenny?

Please do. In its entirety.

Comment #108270

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 2:55 PM (e)

And atheism is not a religion, of course. But you already knew that, Lenny.

As I’ve already noted, apparently one needn’t be religious to be an evangelical fundamentalist.

Comment #108271

Posted by Bob O'H on June 25, 2006 2:56 PM (e)

I confess to not actually having watched the match. Spent the time trying to get to grips with microarrays. It sounds like this meant I had a far more entertaining time than the footie fans out there…

You’ll be seeing spots!

Bob

Comment #108272

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 3:05 PM (e)

Lenny

Doesn’t strike me as much of a political strategy, though.

What doesn’t? Refusing to cow down and recite the scripts of those in power is not a political strategy? Providing a forum where like-minded people can speak their mind and amplify their message is not a political strategy?

Gosh, Lenny, you seem sort of out of date. Like an old-timer who has ceased to be relevant but keeps on repeating the same garbage over and over and over.

Let’s see if others share Lenny’s opinion of what constitutes an effective political strategy:

BIDEN (on Cheney): He has no credibility. It’s ridiculous.

ATRIOS (on Biden): That’s a good response from Biden, and it’s the same response Democrats should be making not just for anything that comes out of Dick Cheney’s mouth but anything which comes out of George Bush’s mouth. Dems seem to generally lack the understanding of how effective general dismissive disdain and contempt can be. Bush has been in the 30s for about 4 months now. No one except the people who write The Note listen to him or think he has any credibility. He is, indeed, ridiculous.

Atrios’ blog, Eschaton, is one of the most widely read progressive blogs on the Internets. Along with Daily Kos and a few other progressive blogs which are noted for their withering merciless assaults on conventional wisdom Atrios is succeeding in creating an alternative to the religion-pandering mainstream media by teaching people why that media is full of crap.

So like it or not, Lenny, PZ’s political strategy is working. That is why you can find Daily Kos and Eschaton linking to PZ’s site and that is why those folks are not aware of your existence.

Get it, Lenny? I hope so. In the battle over whose views are going to be heard and considered by the folks who hold the most compelling progressive megaphones, PZ wins and you lose – big time.

There is a good reason for that, Lenny, and it has to do with not kissing John McCain’s “non-fundy” behind and not obsessing about Hillary Clinton and the “Democans” and not voting for Ralph Nader in a contested state like Florida.

Maybe consider retiring, Lenny. Your glib defeatist crap is a sign of old age.

Comment #108273

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 3:16 PM (e)

Lenny wrote

The Democans will nominate Hillary Clinton, who is unelectable. So I think that leaves Republicrat McCain as our best hope —- he has no love for the fundies.

Here’s hoping that the McCain-ites will finally be able to marginalize the fundie nuts within the Republicrat Party and reduce them to a screaming gesticulating crowd of ignored whackos.

This was AFTER McCain gave his speech to Falwell University.

Go ahead, Lenny. Spin away. Make me laugh.

Comment #108274

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 3:17 PM (e)

If you say so, RU. (shrug)

Comment #108275

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 3:19 PM (e)

Go ahead, Lenny. Spin away. Make me laugh.

OK. Here is every statement I’ve ever made at PT regarding McCain.

I think any reasonably bright ten year old can quickly figure out what I’m saying about him.

Comment #105703
He needs their money and their votes. He can’t get the Republicrat nomination without them (or at least without

their non-opposition). He’s pandering. (shrug)

Comment #102515

And, more importantly, the fundies control all the party apparatus (at every level), where the all-important

PURSE STRINGS are held.

The fundie apparatchiks refer to their not-enthusiastic-enough fellow GOP’ers as RINO’s (Republicans In Name

Only), and their avowed intention is to remove them from the party. And that is why everyone from Guliani to

McCain kisses fundie ass. They have no choice. No ass-kissing, no party money.

Apparently the fundies have read their Lenin (“Better Fewer, But Better”).

Comment #102528

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on May 26, 2006 07:46 PM (e)

have you given up on McCain at this point?

Well, I was never a fan to begin with. I’m a commie, remember? ;)

The only chance of removing the fundies from the Republicrat Party, though, lies with the RINO’s (Republicans

In Name Only — the fundie term for the “moderate” Republicrats who don’t like them). McCain, Guliani,

Schwarzeneggar (or however the hell ya spell it).

Of those, McCain seems to me to be the only one with any realistic shot at gaining real power within the party, a

toehold from which to dislodge the fundies and take the party back.

hmm, i guess the underlying question is:

Does McCain’s recent kowtowing to the religious right reflect a real policy bent on his part, or just lies to grab

funding?

Lies to get funding. He has no choice.

either way, isn’t it damaging enough? It certainly doesn’t represent leadership on the issue that would be

conducive to getting the current GOP from sucking fundy *ock, does it?

It’s the only realistic chance the Republicrats have to leverage the fundies out of the party. If the RINO’s can’t

do it, then it simply won’t get done. Whether they CAN do it, remains to be seen. If they can’t, then I see them

bolting the Republicrats and joining the Democans. Then, the Republicrats will truly be, through and through,

God’s Own Party.

Wll it have to be the dems themselves that help lead the opposition party out of the wilderness created by

the fundies??

Pffft. The Democans couldn’t organize their way out of a wet paper bag. And they are too busy falling all over

themselves trying to out-Republican the Republicans.

The only thing that will remove the fundies from power is … well … for them to lose elections. And KEEP losing

them.

And for anti-fundies within the Republicrat Party, that means voting against the fundies EVEN IF IT MEANS

THAT THE REPUBLICANS LOSE A LOT OF ELECTIONS.

If the Republican rank-and-file keep voting for the fundie-backed candidates (because they jsut can’t hold their

nose and vote for the Democans), then the fundies will keep winning and they will NEVER GO AWAY.

Want to take your party back? Then vote against the fundies. **No matter what**.

It’s your only choice.

And no, before anyone gets their partisan panties all in a bunch, I am not a Democan. Indeed, as my pet names

for the two parties indicate, I can barely tell the difference between them — except one. The Democans tell the

fundies to go to hell. The Republicrats don’t.

Comment #102746

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on May 27, 2006 09:41 AM (e)

McCain has failed. period.

That is indeed more than a possibility.

The RINO’s, alas, are the only non-fundie power base (or potential power base) remaining within the

Republicrat Party. If they fail to dislodge the fundies, then inevitably the RINO’s will either leave voluntarily or

(more likely) be forced out by the fundie party leadership. At that point, the Republicrat Party becomes totally

lost, totally dominated forever by the fundies. It will truly be Hezballah, the Party of God.

And we all know where *that* leads ….

The Democans, meanwhile, should just adopt the jellyfish as their party symbol.

I have little hope that EITHER political party will stop the creep to fundie fascism. My only hope is that “we the

people” will stop it, ourselves. By any method that becomes necessary.

Comment #95228

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on April 6, 2006 06:22 PM (e)

Those of us who consider ourselves pro-evolution conservatives are quite well aware of, and are disgusted

by, the influence of the religious right on the GOP.

And, more importantly, are in a position to actually do something about it, unlike the Democans.

McCain is our best chance to remove the fundies from their position of dominance.

I suggest we take it.

Comment #95330

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on April 7, 2006 07:24 AM (e)

I think George Bush is the worst president in the history of this country and anyone who voted him for was

clueless or deluded. Just my opinion.

Couldn’t agree more.

Now, you can boo hoo hoo hoo about that or you can stop for a second and realize that half the country

agrees with me and the an overwhelming majority of the country thinks the guy stinnks.

Indeed, two-thirds of more of the country (1) disagrees with the Gulf War, and (2) disagrees with the illegal

warrantless use of wiretaps.

Yet, when some brave soul introduced a measure into Congres to censure Bush for it — not impeach him, not

arrest him, just CENSURE him, just say “he shouldn’t have done that” —- no one, absolutely no one at all,

Democan or Republicrat, had the balls to say so out loud.

Half the country, simply isn’t being represented at all. By anybody.

The GOP in 2006 is virtually synonymous with the “religious right.”

The McCain wing has been the only force to challenge the domination of the fundies in the Republicrat Party

and the government. Or even ATTEMPT to challenge it.

The Democans haven’t done diddley. They rolled over and played dead every time.

They should adopt the jellyfish as their new party mascot.

If your conservative and disgusted by the fundies then you’re a typical DEMOCRAT.

Alas, nobody being offered by the Democans is electable — least of all Hillary Clinton. Quite aside from the

fact that the Democans have done virtually nothing to distinguish themselves from the Republicrats.

That leaves McCain.

If we focus on the Democans in the next election, then we will lose. Again. We need to split the Republicrat

Party and force it into internal civil war. The McCain wing can do that (indeed, it’s the only hope to do that). We

need to have the fundie nutters start COSTING the Republicrats elections. Until that happens, we will never be

able to remove them from power. And the Democans have demonstrated that they are quite unable to do this

on their own. They need the McCain wing.

Comment #95332

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on April 7, 2006 07:28 AM (e)

However small the chance, Lenny does have a point. McCaine HAS been rather wishy washy in his support

of the far right. If you are a republican, this is your best chance to promote the dissolution of this political

right-wing lovefest.

I think that has about as much a chance of happening as Hillary being elected president, which is to say very

small, but still possible.

Small chance, yes. But currently the ONLY chance.

And even if it fails this time, it lays the foundation for further growth and a bigger chance in the future.

There is (and always has been) an anti-fundie faction in the Republicrat Party. It needs to be supported.

Particularly since the Democans have proven themselves utterly impotent.

So Ralph Nader won’t get my protest vote this year. John McCain will.

Comment #95407

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on April 7, 2006 05:37 PM (e)

So I think McCain, is not the answer, but sadly no, I do not have a better answer.

Neither do I.

Which is why McCain is the answer.

Comment #95409

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on April 7, 2006 05:46 PM (e)

Honestly, this notion that McCain is going to get the GOP nod is silly. I’m not saying he won’t, but it sure isn’t

inevitable. Given that the party apparatus is STILL doing everything it can to smear him in public (just follow

Drudge and his hard on for dissing McCain), I think his chances of getting the nomination aren’t so hot.

Well, I couldn’t care less if Daffy Duck got elected, as long as he helps to remove the fundies from power.

(shrug) And of course, the very reason why McCain is getting so much opposition within the Republicrat Party is

that the fundies don’t want him, and vice versa.

Given The Shrub’s latest, uh, approval ratings, this election is the Democan’s to lose. I sincerely HOPE that

they discover a backbone somewhere deep inside them.

But alas, I won’t hold my breath waiting.

Comment #95435

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on April 7, 2006 08:56 PM (e)

The answer is no Republican at all.

Well, good luck with that. (shrug)

Me, I’d rather have McCain running against any Democan.

That way, the fundies lose no matter what.

Comment #99373

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on April 29, 2006 03:15 PM (e)

There are a lot of Republicans on the same side as you on this issue. Hyperbole like “worst administration

ever” doesn’t help our common cause.

Yes it does. Bush is firmly in bed with the fundies. As long as Bush is in power, the fundies are in power. And

as long as the fundies are in power, creationism/ID can run rampant.

Bush’s fundamentalist ideological crusade is the primary reason WHY it is the worst administration ever.

Republicrats who want to do something to stop the fundies, need to stop the fundie wing of the Republicrat

Party that controls Bush (and who want to control Bush’s replacement). McCain is one of the very few

Republicrats who have spoken out against the domination of the party by the fundie nutters. So, vote McCain. If

the next presidential race consists of McCain versus any Democan, the fundies lose no matter WHO wins. And

that outcome benefits us all.

As long as the Republicrats keep winning elections by supporting the fundies, they will continue to support the

fundies. The only solution is to make the Republicrats LOSE elections if necessary, and KEEP losing them,

until they repudiate the nutters.

And before you get your partisan panties all in bunch, no, I am not a Democan. Not a Republicrat, either.

Comment #99644

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on May 2, 2006 07:19 AM (e)

I’d like to see your evidence that not a single leftist

“Leftists”? We have “leftists” in the USA? Where?

Ohhhh, they just mean “anti-fundies”.

who reads this blog noticed that some republicans are anti-ID.

Indeed, as I have already pointed out, there is a large faction within the Republicrat Party who object to having

their party hijacked by the fundie nutters. McCain is one of them, Schwarzenegger (or however hell ya spell it) is

another. The fundies have already targeted them for removal, calling them RINO’s (Republicans In Name Only).

They need to be supported within the party. The RINO’s are the only hope of removing the nutters from power

within the Republicrat party. Until then, the GOP will remain “God’s Own Party”.

Maybe they can change their name to “Hezballah” (which means the same thing).

Comment #99816

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on May 2, 2006 05:53 PM (e)

Lenny, you need to catch up. McCain is showing signs of getting into bed with the fundies.

He HAS to, if he wants any chance of being elected. EVERY Republicrat candidate has to kiss fundie ass if

they want to get elected. The fundies control the entire Party machinery. No candidate has any chance at all

without, if not the support of the fundie wing, at least not its active opposition.

But to think that the RINO’s are friends of the fundies, is quite mistaken.

And the fundies know it.

Comment #88882

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on March 24, 2006 08:08 AM (e)

It will be quite interesting to see what comes next.

The fundies will be in retreat. Under Dubya, they had the best chance they ever WILL have of reaching their

goals, and they couldn’t do it. They controlled the White House, the Senate, the House, and the courts —- and

they STILL couldn’t pass a single portion of their social agenda.

The Democans will nominate Hillary Clinton, who is unelectable. So I think that leaves Republicrat McCain as

our best hope —- he has no love for the fundies.

Here’s hoping that the McCain-ites will finally be able to marginalize the fundie nuts within the Republicrat Party

and reduce them to a screaming gesticulating crowd of ignored whackos.

Comment #84793

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on March 7, 2006 07:14 PM (e)

IOW, Fletcher did nothing except pander to his political base, and the newly appointed republican state

school board members will not adopt an ID policy.

Well it *is* an election year, after all ….

If you’re a Republicrat and you want to get elected, you simply MUST kiss ass with the nutters so the

contributions and votes keep coming. Just ask McCain.

The guys who introduce these bills *know* that none of them will pass — most of them won’t even get out of

committee. That isn’t why they introduce them.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement on my part, I’d say.

Comment #108276

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 3:22 PM (e)

What’s the matter Lenny? Cat got your glib tongue?

Lenny: Republicrat McCain [is] our best hope —- he has no love for the fundies.

Consider that quote in the context of this image:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1393272/posts

I dunno, Lenny. I think you need to reformulate the Viking Piss so it includes some memory enhancers or maybe lay off the alcohol for a while.

Comment #108277

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 3:23 PM (e)

Well, sorry that the formatting didn’t come through on that.

Comment #108278

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 3:24 PM (e)

What’s the matter Lenny? Cat got your glib tongue?

You were, uh, saying ….?

(snicker)

Comment #108279

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 3:25 PM (e)

Lenny

OK. Here is every statement I’ve ever made at PT regarding McCain.

Go ahead and flood the stage, creep.

Pathetic.

I just handed you your freaking ass, dude. I’m not surprised that you refuse to thank me or admit your mistakes. You’re incapable of that, remember?

Comment #108280

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 3:27 PM (e)

Read it all that quickly, did you … ?

Comment #108281

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

Go ahead and flood the stage, creep.

Just the facts.

ALL of them.

Sorry you don’t like it. (shrug)

Comment #108282

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 25, 2006 3:31 PM (e)

So like it or not, Lenny, PZ’s political strategy is working. That is why you can find Daily Kos and Eschaton linking to PZ’s site and that is why those folks are not aware of your existence.

several times RU has hinted at blog popularity being correlated with successful political strategies.

all i have to say to that is:

are you serious?

talk about pimples on butts.

Comment #108284

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 25, 2006 3:41 PM (e)

as to McCain…

RU, perhaps you might want to take a look at McCain’s politcal position for the last 20 years, not the last 2?

not that it’s particluarly topical here, but I’d be happy to start a thread over at ATBC where everybody interested could explore the political history of McCain to see just how much of a fundy he really is(‘nt).

I decry the fact that the political base for the republican party has become so heavily dependent upon the fundies, and I agree that leadership within that party is needed to wean them away from dependence on the fundies, but I really don’t blame McCain for pandering to the right in order to gain political and financial support to make it through the primaries.

What president in recent memory (other than Carter, maybe) didn’t pander to religious right in one fashion or another?

Clinton?

lol. nope. He played the religious like a shiny flute, at least to get elected.

there’s the ideal, and then there’s the reality.

again, I’d love to see McCain, or any republican running for pres., stand up to the fundies.

reality is, it’s just not going to happen before the next primaries.

Comment #108285

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 25, 2006 3:46 PM (e)

meh, strike that. carter at the time played to the fundies too.

He since has gone to battle against them though, in a big way.

again, another example of someone who’s religion doesn’t interfere with his ability to see the irrationality of the fundies, and fight against them.

Comment #108286

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 3:48 PM (e)

Speaking of RINO’s, check out:

http://www.gopwing.com/index.php

Comment #108287

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 3:51 PM (e)

I really don’t blame McCain for pandering to the right in order to gain political and financial support to make it through the primaries.

That’s nice. What else won’t you blame him for down the road, I wonder?

several times RU has hinted at blog popularity being correlated with successful political strategies.

If you have an argument with something I said, please quote what I said and address the point with a logical rebuttal. I know you can do it, Sir TJ.

And bear in mind that I do not agree that “blog popularity is correlated with successful political strategies” nor am I even sure what on Dog’s Dirty Earth such a phrase actually means.

The blogs I referred to are *successful* for a reason. And I submit that the reason is not that they are clever at pulling punches in their attempt to appeal to the broadest possible base.

Comment #108288

Posted by Mike Dunford on June 25, 2006 3:51 PM (e)

Lenny wrote:

Of course, I didn’t say that PZ wants to kick religious people out; I said he DRIVES religious people out. PZ doesn’t mind if they stay — as long as THEY don’t mind him telling them occasionally that they are stupid and ignorant (shrug).

So he should keep quiet about religion, but anyone who is religious and on our side should be able to talk about how they feel about atheism?

Yeah, that will work real well.

Lenny, get a bloody clue. We’re fighting against people who think that religious pluralism is a bad thing, and that their own particular religious views should dictate the public policy for this country, and you think that the best way to do this is to stifle the diversity of religious views (and views on religion) within our own group. Great idea. Really. That’s not in any way counterproductive. At all.

Comment #108289

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

What president in recent memory (other than Carter, maybe) didn’t pander to religious right in one fashion or another?

Clinton?

All this is irrelevant to the fact that Lenny promoted McCain as exceptional which is patently bogus.

But keep moving the goalpost. Then utter some glib defeatist garbage and shrug it off. That appears to work for some people.

Comment #108290

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 3:57 PM (e)

Hey Toejam, I notice that every time I’m talking about McCain, RINO’s and the Repugs, it’s always YOU I’m talking with.

Why is that … ?

;)

RU, perhaps you might want to take a look at McCain’s politcal position for the last 20 years, not the last 2?

What you need to look at are the RINO’s, the “Republicans In Name Only” — the “soft” Republicrats that the fundies themselves have identified as their enemies and targeted for removal from the Party.

McCain was listed as a RINO for years. For most fundies, despite McCain’s recent ass-kissing, he still is. So are Guliani and Schwarzenegger (or however the hell ya spell it). Specter is too.

The RINO’s are the only non-fundie power base remaining in the Republicrat Party. If anyone is going to leverage the fundies out of power within the party, it will be a RINO that does it. After all, if the fundies themselves identify someone as an enemy to be removed, I’m, uh, pretty sure that person probably isn’t a supporter of the fundies.

So anyone within the Republicrat Party who wants to help remove fundie control of the party must support the RINOs. And unless Guliani or Specter or someone else makes a serious bid, that means McCain.

There simply is no current alternative within the party, other than allowing another fundie to run the show.

The next election looks like it will the Democans’ to lose.

And, given the faith I have in the Democan Party, I’m quite sure it will indeed find a way to lose it.

Comment #108291

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 4:00 PM (e)

you think that the best way to do this is to stifle the diversity of religious views (and views on religion) within our own group.

Um, no.

In case you have forgotten, I do not accept or assert the existence of any gods, goddesses, or any other supernatural entity. At all.

Comment #108292

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 4:01 PM (e)

All this is irrelevant to the fact that Lenny promoted McCain as exceptional which is patently bogus.

Well, I invote everyone to read through all the comments I have ever made at this blog about McCain, instead of RU’s carefully selected quote-mine.

Then decide for yourself what I’m saying about McCain.

Comment #108293

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 4:03 PM (e)

And, given the faith I have in the Democan Party, I’m quite sure it will indeed find a way to lose it.

Or Lenny folks like you can just help them lose it by voting for a third party candidate in a closely contested state.

But you know that already, Lenny. It’s just that admitting stupidity on your part isn’t in any of your scripts. That’s a pity, especially when your ass has been handed to you on a plate and preserved in the archives here for handy reference.

Try flooding the stage again, Lenny. I don’t think your earlier attempt to evade the facts took up enough bandwidth.

Comment #108295

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 4:07 PM (e)

Well, RU, as I said before, I really am very sorry that you don’t like how I voted. (shrug)

When I need your permission, I’ll certainly be sure to ask for it.

In the meantime, would you mind terribly asking your party to nominate someone who I *can* vote for, without holding my nose?

earlier attempt to evade the facts

That’s pretty funny.

Comment #108296

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 4:08 PM (e)

Lenny

Well, I invote everyone to read through all the comments I have ever made at this blog about McCain, instead of RU’s carefully selected quote-mine.

Hilarious. I didn’t “mine” your quote. I took your whole damn comment about McCain and his alleged lack of “love for the fundies” and posted it.

If you’ve made other comments that contradicted your earlier comment that just proves my point: your comments about political strategery are best ignored.

Of course, if you would simply admit that you effed up and you were wrong about “straight talkin’” John McCain, the “maverick,” then we could proceed again.

I’m very forgiving. We all mistakes, Lenny (although voting for Nader in Florida in 2000 may take me a couple years to forget).

Comment #108297

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 4:13 PM (e)

Where are Popper and Norm? They’re pretty good howlers too, and I haven’t had the opportunity to yank THEIR chains, yet ….

Comment #108298

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 4:14 PM (e)

Well, RU, as I said before, I really am very sorry that you don’t like how I voted.

No you’re not. But you should be sorry that you voted for Nader in Florida in 2000 if you gave a crap about the status of science in this country.

But you’re incapable of acknowledging the stupidity of that maneuver, it seems.

By the way, Lenny: if you expect people to avoid criticizing you for the way you vote, then keep your voting record to yourself. Duh.

Unless you believe that, like religion, we’re all supposed to pretend that one’s voting choices are sacred and beyond criticism.

And now cue up the Republican commenters here who will whine and complain that if I don’t kiss their butts they are going to start supporting intelligent design instead of science.

Comment #108299

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 4:16 PM (e)

They’re pretty good howlers too, and I haven’t had the opportunity to yank THEIR chains, yet

Talk about projecting, Lenny.

I yanked your chain and you were so full of crap that you ended up flooding the stage.

How quickly we forget …

Comment #108300

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 4:20 PM (e)

if you expect people to avoid criticizing you for the way you vote

Oh, by all means, go right ahead. I said I was sorry you didn’t like it. I actually don’t give a rat’s patootie what ya think about it. (grin)

Comment #108301

Posted by Registred User on June 25, 2006 4:28 PM (e)

I said I was sorry you didn’t like it. I actually don’t give a rat’s patootie what ya think about it. (grin)

More dick-waving from Lenny. He doesn’t care what I think. Except when he does and he feels the need to flood the stage with baloney rather than admit his mistakes.

Comment #108302

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 4:32 PM (e)

(sigh)

Yeah, right, whatever.

Comment #108303

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 4:38 PM (e)

carter at the time played to the fundies too.

It was more like they played to him …

At the time, the fundies were just becoming “political”, and were looking around for a politico to hitch their wagon to. And by golly, there was Carter, talking to reporters about his faith and about being “born again”. The fundies thought they found their guy, and gave him what meager political support they were capable of at the time.

Alas for them, once Carter took office, they found out quickly that he, uh, wasn’t their type.

That ended the fundie hopes that they would be able to ride on the coattails of (what was left of) the Southern Democrats. Fortunately for them, by the time Carter’s term was coming to a close, the wingnut branch of the Republicrat Party was already looking for a political base … fundie met Repug, and a marriage was made in Heaven.

Even today, most of the leading GOP nutters are the product of that marriage. The bastards.

Comment #108305

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 25, 2006 4:57 PM (e)

.Is ID so dull and dead that you all have to turn on each other?

Uh, yeah. That’s about the size of it.

Comment #108306

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 25, 2006 5:02 PM (e)

Lenny,

I really do not want to interfere with this all-out war of the atheists that I am enjoying, but I cannot resist correcting your misconception about extremism within Islam being just a tiny, loud minority. This dangerous misconception is shared by many other liberal minded folk who just cannot imagine how such unmitigated evil could get around so far and so fast.

Sure the actual jidahists are a minority within Islam. But if you consider their supportes and fans, the numbers swells into the millions. Fact - millions of Moslems demonstrated in Pakistan calling for Salman Rushdie’s head. Fact - millions demonstrated and are boycotting Danish products all over the world for the “sin” perpetrated by a comic strip. Fact - millions joyfully celebrated the aftermath of 9/11 and the deaths of thousands of inocents. Fact - millions supported Zarqawi financially and consider him a martyr (as reported recently by interviewers in many countries). Fact - millions are taught in the “educational” system in Saudi Arabia to hate all non-muslims.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We need to be clear-headed about the threat facing civilization and not shilly-shally around the naked truth and be lulled into a false sense of security fostered by the erroneous impressions you are pushing.

Comment #108307

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 5:09 PM (e)

Yes, Carol — and they don’t like Jews, either.

Comment #108308

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 25, 2006 5:43 PM (e)

Isn’t fratricide wonderful?

I have to tilt toward Lenny’s comment here:

Lenny Flank wrote:

Time for yet another pointless religious war again, huh.

How, again, does that help us …. . ?

Indeed, nothing has been gained. Flank and Myers have rubbished each other when they could be taking shots at IDiots.

I do get somewhat tired of Flank telling us that anti-evolution is merely political, not scientific at all. For, even though that is the case, I think that boosting science is the best thing we can do, letting religion decline as the result of positive evidence and the rational mindset. PZ can say and write anything he likes, of course, but I have yet to see that his anti-religion posts do anything other than gratify atheists and antagonize religious folk. He seems to be pleasing the secular core, while doing little to change minds. In that sense, of course, Lenny is right to point out that anti-evolution is political, since PZ evidences no skill at massaging the “polis”. In the sense of suggesting that science arguments don’t matter, they’re crucial to knocking the wind out of Dembski and DaveTard, though it doesn’t stop them at all (but so what if RMagruder is impressed? No one intelligent and learned will be, and I don’t know how to prevent dunces from liking anti-science).

Numbers, however, faults people who really don’t need to be faulted. Dawkins goes out of his way to antagonize the religious, while Sagan did not. True, he didn’t mince words, but read his books and watch his programs, he does not attack religion as either Dawkins or Myers does. He was more politic than both of those, and Dennett, while generally demonstrating well the superiority of science.

Numbers is wrong, as PZ gleefully points out, about the majority of scientists believing in God/religion. What is worse for him, I have read that biologists are among the least believing of scientists. I’ve read figures of only 10% of biologists being believers, but don’t quote me on that. It appears that nothing is less evident than “design” in biology (and the “gaps” in physics are much more mystifying than the simple lack of full knowledge of the evolution of the flagellum is), and that little room seems to exist for god in the life sciences.

He perhaps forgets why religion and science weren’t much “at odds” earlier than the 19th century. In part it was because it was very difficult to deny that science and religion didn’t mesh, or at least to suggest that they might not ultimately mesh. The universities were dominated by religion (Darwin himself had to be trained as a cleric, even though he had long been a skeptic), so that people who would deny compatibility between science and religion tended not to get onto a podium from which they could make that claim.

And yes, Bruno was burned at the stake. If partly it was because he had crackpot heretical ideas about aliens on other worlds, I don’t know that one can separate these ideas from his heliocentrism as the “reason” for the flames surrounding his charring body.

Numbers seems to be suggesting a compatibility that seems unlikely to exist in reality.

He’s also being more than a little absurd in claiming that anti-evolutionists are pro-science just because they “like science”. Sure they do, if what they like can be called “science”, but de facto they continue to be anti-science. Perhaps to some extent I am just arguing about words? OK, but we have no reason to concede that certain people “like science” when they adhere to apologetics which deny actual scientific inference in favor of their dogmas. If we call that being “pro-science”, how can anybody ever be said to be anti-science.

PZ has plenty of reason to fault Numbers’ claims. What I don’t understand is why he thinks he has to point out to people who care more about religion than about science that in fact the two are not compatible–at least in many cases. Sagan managed to largely avoid such direct attacks upon religion without censoring himself, mainly because he was too busy promoting science to engage in the negative activity of attacking religion. PZ and Dawkins may say anything they wish to, but I have yet to see where their attacks on relgion are actually helpful to science.

I should note that I don’t especially care what PZ and Dawkins say, though, when it comes to their own statements. Creos will always find someone to exemplify their statements about “godless science”, so let it be Myers, Dawkins, Dennett, etc. My real concern is that if others adopt their tactics as if they were really effective in promoting science and a more enlightened society, since in fact it is more likely that their tactics would be counter-productive if duplicated en masse.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108310

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 6:22 PM (e)

Sagan managed to largely avoid such direct attacks upon religion without censoring himself, mainly because he was too busy promoting science to engage in the negative activity of attacking religion.

It’s Glen D! You forgot to mention whether you were convinced by Lenny’s stage-flooding with respect to the New Hope, that “maverick” John McCain.

Also, I hope that everyone’s favorite windbag and creationist coddler Professor Allen McNeill is reading this: he recently claimed over at the Cornell Creationists blog that Sagan was a deservedly forgotten footnote.

Comment #108311

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 6:27 PM (e)

Creos will always find someone to exemplify their statements about “godless science”, so let it be Myers, Dawkins, Dennett, etc. My real concern is that if others adopt their tactics

What “tactics” are you referring to, Glen?

Be specific. Other than speaking his opinion and justifying his arguments with plain English sentences, I’m not sure what other “tactics” Dawkins or Myers are guilty of promoting.

For what it’s worth, Sagan was key in helping me understand why religions are crap and why they are so popular. I’ve no doubt that PZ Myers is performing the same service, probably on an international scale wherever his blog can be read.

But I’d like to hear more about these “tactics” you refer to. It all sounds so subversive and clever. What did you mean exactly?

Comment #108312

Posted by PZ Myers on June 25, 2006 6:27 PM (e)

Tsk, tsk. I’ve been away all day, and poor Lenny’s obsessive-compulsive disorder and coprolalia have been getting their exercise. Oh, and his poor impulse control and need to slander. I’ll just address one thing:

lenny wrote:

It is not PZ’s “beliefs” that are the problem. It is his intolerance. PZ doesn’t just say “I don’t believe in gods” (which, after all, *I* say too) — he follows that up with “and you’re stupid if you do”.

And he asks me to answer whether any of that is true. Unfortunately, Lenny is too busy “ignoring” me to actually read anything I’ve written, or he’d know I’ve already replied, repeatedly, to that particularly dishonest accusation. I expect there’s no point in reminding him, but the rest of you can look to see how true his accusation is here, here, here, here, and of course, here. It seems I don’t accuse the religious of being stupid at all. Weird, huh? It’s just part of Lenny’s usual slimy tactics – say a lie often enough, and maybe everyone will start believing it. It sounds awfully Republican to me; along with quote-mining and indifference to science and incompetence, I guess swiftboating is another tool in his repertoire.

Aw, heck…maybe it was an honest mistake. He was just drunk, and all them letters on the screen start runnin’ together when you’re that bleary-eyed. When you can’t read and can’t comprehend, you just have to make shit up.

Since I clearly don’t think Christian’s are necessarily stupid, he’s going to have to come up with some new slander, just wait for it. I think if I leave this thread for a while, I can come back tomorrow and learn that I eat Christian babies for breakfast. I’m so looking forward to it. Be sure and include recipes!

Comment #108313

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 6:30 PM (e)

Glen

Isn’t fratricide wonderful?

It’s almost as wonderful as hyperbole.

Yes, Lenny loves to laugh at the “circular firing squad”. This time he got hit in the crotch with some shrapnel –oops! That’ll happen when one waves one’s dick around.

Comment #108315

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 25, 2006 6:51 PM (e)

For what it’s worth, Sagan was key in helping me understand why religions are crap and why they are so popular. I’ve no doubt that PZ Myers is performing the same service, probably on an international scale wherever his blog can be read.

But I’d like to hear more about these “tactics” you refer to. It all sounds so subversive and clever. What did you mean exactly?

Well, you’re good at reading a lot into a term. “Tactics” are used by everybody, and I, of course, only mean using “tactics” that target religion, rather than sticking much more to boosting science, the tactics of Sagan. If I thought Myers was doing more than straight-, if impolitic, talking, I’d have said so.

Absolutely Sagan was good at showing why religions are useless at best, primarily because he covered the histories of both religions and of science. That is, just explain both religion and science, and science will have more appeal to those not already committed. No need to say “religion is crap” if you simply show how useless it is, using actual historical examples. Sagan popularized science. Popularizing anti-religion is not possible at this time and in this country.

And yeah, I just love McCain. He’s like, so interesting. Actually, I just don’t vote for the two parties. Voting exists to gain support for the system, as if it really matters more than a little if the Tories or the Whigs win. The ruling parties only shift power between segments of the establishment, never giving us a real alternative. I didn’t vote in 2000, voted Nader in 2004. It was not a vote lost to Kerry, since I’d probably have voted Libertarian otherwise, if at all.

If you think that Lenny is vulnerable to attacks, I agree. Myers has his little list of Lenny’s excessive rhetoric, while he seems to be more careful. I just don’t know why he thought taking on Lenny was worth his while. Does he think that it was?

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108316

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 25, 2006 6:53 PM (e)

Let’s get it straight. Einstein, Sagan, and Gould, were not just “being political”, please! They were RIGHT in not going out of their way to attack religion. People like Dawkins or PZ have it just WRONG. There is no such thing as fundamental clash of science and religion, as if science defined itself by opposition to religious concepts. The biggest problem is to think that the natural world revealed by science (for example, evolution or the big bang) disproves god and religion. Nonsense. To do so is to admit that science COULD actually prove the existence of god and the validity of religion (we just don’t have the evidence), when the point is that invoking the supernatural is of no use to scientific explanation. Not understanding this point fuels a false, pernicious debate. In reality, science will NEVER confirm or refute god & religion, because they just do not intersect, and as a result, any one of them simply CANNOT be used discard the other. Anyone trying to do so will quickly meet huge roadblocks as he will actually pursue the irrational.

Comment #108318

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 6:59 PM (e)

My goodness, so many dicks waving at me at once now ….

Comment #108319

Posted by Red Mann on June 25, 2006 7:02 PM (e)

I really hate to say this, but *gulp* I have to agree with Carol – just this once. Lenny, you are vastly underrating the threat that western civilization is facing from Islam. Islam, like any tiumphalist religion is more about politics than salvation. It is not just in the Middle East where this is going on. Infidels are killed daily in Muslim countries around the world. Try holding Christian church services in most Islamic states.

The only reason the Xtians in the west are not still running around burning people at the stake is because of the secularism brought forth by the Enlightenment. The Reconstuctionalists would cheerfully overthrow the Constitution and replace the law of man with the law of god (of course it would be their god).

Islam is driven to overthrow Dar al Harb (House of War, that’s us) and replace it with Dar al Islam (House of Peace, that’s them) by whatever means required, that’s Jihad; which includes the slaughter of as many as it takes. In Europe they are succeeding using the jihad of population. Democracy, since involves humans making laws, is blasphemy against (put your gods name here) since it puts man’s law above god’s law.

Carol, while we are under a great threat from a very determined enemy – they’ve been at this for 1400 years, more religion on our part is not the answer. More religion will only make things worse. Only more secularization and separation of religion from state can help. Otherwise we will slide into another Dark Age which will make the mediaeval one look like a picnic. Oh yeah Lenny, they do hate the Jews (and us) and have for 1400 years.

Comment #108322

Posted by normdoering on June 25, 2006 7:05 PM (e)

I, of course, agree with PZ Myers and his posts pretty much save me from having to respond – PZ says it better than I and, unlike Lenny, I do know what the word “ignore” means.

If you can’t absorb PZ’s insights, there’s no point me jumping in.

However, I would like to point out that Ron Numbers is a fairly tame tip on a much larger iceberg of distortion when it comes to liberal Christians trying to “own” evolution and liberalism through the use of lies and distortions. On the HuffPo, here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-seery/ann-coulter-has-a-point-_b_23672.html?p=2#comments

Someone calling themselves seasalt wrote this:

It’s not Darwin vs. Christianity–Darwin was in fact a Christian until the day he died. He was an open-minded, inquisitive, thinking Christian and scientist. It’s not either/or. It’s both/and. He would have laughed at the idea that one can be a Christian or a scientist, but not both. Another False Dichotomy.

It is, of course, a blatant lie to call Darwin a Christian and easily exposed by pointing out those passages in Darwin’s writings where he denied belief in God.

The question is – who do you want pointing out these lies you might actually believe, people on your side or people on the other side of the creation and evolution debate?

That’s all PZ really did to Ron Numbers, point out an evasion and a distortion.

It is not wise to take that kind of stuff personally.

Comment #108323

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 25, 2006 7:05 PM (e)

Thinking that a world devoid of religion will be much improved or “rational” is quite charmingly naïve.

Comment #108324

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 7:06 PM (e)

Glen

The ruling parties only shift power between segments of the establishment, never giving us a real alternative.

Yeah, Gore or Bush. No “real” alternative.
Kerry or Bush. No “real” alternative.

Spoken like a true man.

Comment #108325

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:07 PM (e)

Come on, Norm . . you want to pile on.

You KNOW you do ….

Come on …… .

Comment #108326

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on June 25, 2006 7:08 PM (e)

I’d like to express my delight at the discussion offered here. This has been one of the most compelling threads I’ve seen at PT in a long time.

I especially impressed by PZ’s restrained and respectful tone in the midst of some nasty comments being directed his way from Rev. Flank.

Regarding Rev. Flank, despite the fact I sense his rising unpopularity at PT, I would hope PT would continue to welcome his prolific participation as it adds to PT’s unique character. I can’t imagine a Panda’s Thumb without a Lenny Flank.

Regarding Number’s, I think PZ has a point about the poll numbers. I think Numbers has his numbers backward in interpreting the poll mentioned by nature. Although I think with the rise of ID, these numbers will eventually change. There are rising numbers of pro-ID biology majors in the nations schools.

I would expect those trends in general to continue. It is an interesting poll question, we will see.

I do not think however the dissent from Darwinism is rooted in pure politics, I think it is rooted in the serious challenges the theory is facing scientifically.

Comment #108327

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:08 PM (e)

It is not wise to take that kind of stuff personally.

Well, ya know, we were invited to argue.

(snicker)

Comment #108328

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 25, 2006 7:09 PM (e)

allow me to be the first to say this sal:

Nobody cares what you think.

Comment #108329

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:10 PM (e)

I’d like to express my delight at the discussion offered here.

Hey Sal, I have a few questions for you that you never answered.

Are you game?

Time to run away again, Sal ….

Comment #108330

Posted by Lurking for years. on June 25, 2006 7:10 PM (e)

I agree with Sal. That wasn’t even that hard to say. Except for the last sentence of course.

Comment #108331

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:11 PM (e)

I think it is rooted in the serious challenges the theory is facing scientifically.

Why don’t you tell a judge all about your serious scientific challenges, Sal.

Oh, wait, you already DID, huh.

How’d that, uh, work out for you, Sal …. . ?

(snicker) (giggle)

Comment #108332

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:13 PM (e)

Rev. Flank

By the way, Sal, it’s “Rev DR” Flank.

I paid eight bucks for both degrees, and I want to make sure I get my full money’s worth.

Comment #108333

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:16 PM (e)

I really hate to say this, but *gulp* I have to agree with Carol

Ewwwwwwwwwww.

Wash out your mouth.

;)

Comment #108334

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:18 PM (e)

Uh oh, now the cuckoo clock is gonna be going after Glen ….

PLEASE tell him that you don’t live in Florida …. .

Comment #108335

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:21 PM (e)

Voting exists to gain support for the system, as if it really matters more than a little if the Tories or the Whigs win. The ruling parties only shift power between segments of the establishment, never giving us a real alternative.

If elections could really change power relationships, they’d have been outlawed long ago.

;)

Comment #108336

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 25, 2006 7:22 PM (e)

Glen

The ruling parties only shift power between segments of the establishment, never giving us a real alternative.

Yeah, Gore or Bush. No “real” alternative.
Kerry or Bush. No “real” alternative.

Spoken like a true man.

It’s idiots like yourself that prevent there being a true option. Too stupid to see the establishment for what it is, you resort to lying put-downs. You speak like a true partisan, an appallingly stupid lackey of the ruling parties (well, your lickspittle is reserved for the masters of only one party–which suits the desires of the other party, which has its own lickspittles).

If you were anything intelligent you’d note that I tried to avoid the nastiness of little cretins like yourself, and agreed substantially with the meat of PZ’s criticisms. That’s what we’re here for, not for dullards like yourself to blather on in your self-righteous support of the bourgeoisie.

That’s one reason why I put in some good words for Lenny Flank, because he has roots in a time and a movement that actually wanted to change the system, and not simply to take it over for themselves, as the boomers eventually did.

And now I’m probably going to ignore you like the stupid and uneducated person that you are. There are people who are worth discussing things with, so why should I bother with someone who thinks that the two parties offer a choice worth taking? So it goes in a country without a left, the cretins stake their hopes on the feudalists who promise the best bread and circuses.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108337

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 7:23 PM (e)

Uh oh, now the cuckoo clock is gonna be going after Glen ….

You can stop waving your dick, Lenny. It’s over. You lost.

Comment #108338

Posted by Moses on June 25, 2006 7:23 PM (e)

Comment #108260

Posted by Tom Curtis on June 25, 2006 02:34 PM (e)

PZ has invited us to argue. I’m not interested, but I will comment just once.

I am an atheist. I accept the overwhelming evidence for evolution, and find creationism abominable. I have also, for all intents and purposes retired from the creation/evolution debate.

The reason is simple - fanatics like PZ.

Lenny has quite sensibly pointed out that in a battle between creationism and science; making enemies of the two thirds of science supporters who happen also to be theists is absurd. It is a recipe for defeat; but that is not my main objection.

My main objection is that I am interested in defending science against creationists. I am not interested in a battle against religion - and if you try to recruit me for one, you will, effectively have already lost me as an ally. My reaction to rants like PZ’s is to say a plague on the houses of all fundamentalists - fundamentalist atheists like PZ just as much as fundamentalist Christians or Islamists.

That’s a blithering load of crap by another fearful surrender monkey.

There is absolutely no evidence that the religious people who are supporting science in schools (or are actually preventing other denominations/religions to which they don’t subscribe to get a foothold) are driven out by the opinions of PZ Myers or any other atheist. Sure, there is a big movement to get these particular individuals to the back of the bus with the rest of the niggers. But you know what, they don’t have to go to the back of the bus, no matter how much they offend you, me or the Pope.

Comment #108339

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:24 PM (e)

shit

Hey PZ, isn’t this against the posting policies?

Should we be talking to the thread initiator about this?

Comment #108340

Posted by normdoering on June 25, 2006 7:25 PM (e)

‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank wrote:

Come on, Norm . . you want to pile on.

You KNOW you do ….

Come on …… .

You wish.

I’ll just watch and learn while PZ utterly demolishes you in ways I couldn’t… yet.

Comment #108341

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 7:25 PM (e)

Now Glen starts boo hoo hooing:

Too stupid to see the establishment for what it is, you resort to lying put-downs.

Oh tell us Wise Master, what is “the establishment”?

And then tell me where I lied, gasbag.

Comment #108342

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 25, 2006 7:26 PM (e)

Uh oh, now the cuckoo clock is gonna be going after Glen ….

PLEASE tell him that you don’t live in Florida …. .

Nah, I’m blue state, Washington. It’s not enough to get the morons off your back for aiming for real change, but at least they can’t blame me de facto for the mess that Bush graced us with.

Comment #108343

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:27 PM (e)

That’s one reason why I put in some good words for Lenny Flank, because he has roots in a time and a movement that actually wanted to change the system, and not simply to take it over for themselves, as the boomers eventually did.

Um, did you just call me an old fart … ?

;)

Comment #108344

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:30 PM (e)

Nah, I’m blue state, Washington.

People’s Republic of Seattle?

It’s not enough to get the morons off your back for aiming for real change, but at least they can’t blame me de facto for the mess that Bush graced us with.

Nah, they’re too busy blaming ME for that.

Oh well. Goes with the game, ya know. And as long as they’re piling on me, they won’t be bothering anyone else. (shrug)

Comment #108345

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:31 PM (e)

Where’s Popper? He’s late to the party ….

Comment #108346

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on June 25, 2006 7:31 PM (e)

normdoering,

Hey, are you the Norm Doering who visit our humble IDEA meeting in February when Caroline Crocker spoke?

Sal

Comment #108347

Posted by Red Mann on June 25, 2006 7:33 PM (e)

Thinking that a world devoid of religion will be much improved or “rational” is quite charmingly naïve.

Thinking that religion can improve the world is quite charmingly foolish. Ask the millions of slaughtered people that religion is directly responsible for.

Comment #108348

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:35 PM (e)

surrender monkey

heee heee heeeee

Sorry Moses, you know I like you, but I had to laugh at this one. That is a phrase I haven’t heard in quite a while.

How do you feel about “Freedom Fries”? Or “Victory Cabbage”?

Makes me wonder what people are calling “hummus” and “babbaganouj” now …. .

;)

Comment #108349

Posted by normdoering on June 25, 2006 7:35 PM (e)

Salvador T. Cordova asked:

are you the Norm Doering who visit our humble IDEA meeting in February when Caroline Crocker spoke?

Guess. I’m not telling.

Comment #108350

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:37 PM (e)

Ask the millions of slaughtered people that religion is directly responsible for.

Like, ya know, the Soviet Union.

Or Cambodia.

Comment #108351

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:38 PM (e)

Come on everyone, all at once now:

“Religion is stupid !! Religion is stupid !!!”

Hey, you in the back, a little louder. Be proud, for pete’s sake.

Comment #108352

Posted by non-angloamerican on June 25, 2006 7:40 PM (e)

You guys are all about fighting and nothing about thinking. Most of you are not really interested in evolution but as a tool to fight religion. That is why the truly evoutionary posts get almost no comments, and thats why you wander off so easily into fighting about politics, who voted for who or whatever stupid detail of contingency. Evolution is not your field, thpugh tyhat would be the hope for “the panda’s thumb”. You guys are not even able to make good arguments about social sciences. Your only field is fighting. You guys dont want to hear your debate is useless, even if its true. Yoo just want ot figure out who is winning. And who cares? Who’s watching that matters? Keep on playing the three stooges, “american intellectuals”

Comment #108354

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 25, 2006 7:44 PM (e)

Btw, Lenny, John Kenneth Galbraith also writes similar things about the “freedom” to vote, though he’s more inclined to point out what I did, the reason commies made people vote, so they’d be invested in the system.

I’d like to express my delight at the discussion offered here. This has been one of the most compelling threads I’ve seen at PT in a long time.

Yes, I’m sure you think so. It’s a wonderful example of how orthodoxy on our side eats into the promulgation of science.

I especially impressed by PZ’s restrained and respectful tone in the midst of some nasty comments being directed his way from Rev. Flank.

PZ has attacked where he’s not had to, and has changed some of Lenny’s remarks to fit his own preconceptions. I think that he has been more restrained, once he had initiated the squabble, but he’s not entirely pristine.

Regarding Rev. Flank, despite the fact I sense his rising unpopularity at PT, I would hope PT would continue to welcome his prolific participation as it adds to PT’s unique character. I can’t imagine a Panda’s Thumb without a Lenny Flank.

I can’t either, even if I’ve been less than happy with him several times. More importantly, he’s not even close to having committed any banning offense.

Regarding Number’s, I think PZ has a point about the poll numbers. I think Numbers has his numbers backward in interpreting the poll mentioned by nature. Although I think with the rise of ID, these numbers will eventually change. There are rising numbers of pro-ID biology majors in the nations schools.

Gee, Sal, how many? I don’t doubt that you have found people too prejudiced to be swayed by the evidence, but I doubt that it reaches any level of significance, a number that can be noticed in the statistics.

Btw, why do you care that the numbers will change? ID isn’t about religion, remember?

I would expect those trends in general to continue. It is an interesting poll question, we will see.

What trends, the trend upward in biologists’ belief that there isn’t any room for God in explaining biology?

Biologists’ belief in God probably has sunk about as low as it is likely to go (under the 40% for all scientists, I am confident), but I’m not looking for it to rise much.

I do not think however the dissent from Darwinism is rooted in pure politics, I think it is rooted in the serious challenges the theory is facing scientifically.

Actually, I seriously doubt that you do. Your opposition is purely religious/political, and at some level you know this. You also support your fellow religionists’ attempts to dissemble the matter, and I can think of no way in which you can justify it except for your adherence to a certain Western religion. You never justify similar tactics by Muslims.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108355

Posted by normdoering on June 25, 2006 7:45 PM (e)

non-angloamerican wrote:

You guys are all about fighting and nothing about thinking. Most of you are not really interested in evolution but as a tool to fight religion. That is why the truly evoutionary posts get almost no comments, and thats why you wander off so easily into fighting about politics, who voted for who or whatever stupid detail of contingency. Evolution is not your field, thpugh tyhat would be the hope for “the panda’s thumb”. You guys are not even able to make good arguments about social sciences. Your only field is fighting. You guys dont want to hear your debate is useless, even if its true. Yoo just want ot figure out who is winning. And who cares? Who’s watching that matters? Keep on playing the three stooges, “american intellectuals”

I tend to agree with that comment.
And I’m learning to stay out of the pissing matches.

Comment #108356

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 25, 2006 7:47 PM (e)

Clouser, “Fact - millions are taught in the “educational” system in Saudi Arabia to hate all non-muslims.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We need to be clear-headed about the threat facing civilization and not shilly-shally around the naked truth and be lulled into a false sense of security fostered by the erroneous impressions you are pushing.”

Frank, “Yes, Carol —- and they don’t like Jews, either.”

Carol forgot to mention the Taliban were from Pakistan, and funded by the Republican USA CIA. IN the USA, the Taliban are called “home school groups” and “Christian Academies.” They are just the Republican (AKA: Religious Right) Taliban. These fundies are all the same; deadly and barely constrained. The burning and slaughter are never more than a moment away.

Even PT hosts people who are devoted to the death of species, and the destruction of civil government. Look up the Pacific Law Foundation: they are a pack of deadly supporters of species extinction, clear cutting and death. Tim Sandefur for these pigs and earns his living working to clear cut forests and eliminate protection of endangered species. Ed Brayton is his self-professed “libritarina” soul mate. They are scum that should not be entertained as “science” presenters or supporters. They can not be trusted further than they can be kicked. The Republican Jihad is nothing different from those creatures killing in the rest of the world.

Their effort to cover over, and support the physical and political attacks against scientists and anti-fundamentalists was why I ended my participation as an active contributor to PT. Brayton made a big deal when he was trying to protect the Mirecki
attackers
about his imaginary role as a “founder” of PT and how this precluded me from criticizing him, but as Wesley has documented, PT was largely my idea while the development was done by others. Jack Krebs hinted about “secret” information from “background” sources that made Mirecki a bad person to support. Matt Brauer was lying about the case even as I expressed it on PT. (I have archived the all the emails and webposts off-line, Matt. Scientists who lie as you have should never be trusted. You are now merely in the class of von Sternberg and the other creationists).

This inappropriate “tolerance” by liberals of the latest generation of right-wing witch burners has gone beyond any functionality. As long as Liberals persist in allowing the libertarian, fundamentalist, Republican crypto-facists to promulgate their lies out of some asinine sense of “fairness,” we will be doomed.

PZ is forthright opposing these assholes, and sadly, Frank seems willing to play “patty cakes.”

Frank is in the company of Ruse, Numbers, and Sober. Ordinarily this might be good company, but we are on the brink of disaster and these accommodationists are just as dangerous as their fundamentalist allies. They want us to “play nice” with global warming deniers, HIV deniers, species extinction deniers, ozone depletion deniers, professional antiscience huxters and con-men.

Paul Gross hates the social sciences and actively tries to deny that they are sciences at all. No creationist has a lower opinion of anthropology than Paul. He is also a strong, even fervent Republican who would rather vote for any evil (particularly the evil named Bush)than any non-Republican. Profesionally junior PT contibuters were afraid to contradict his rightwing positions becasue he could harm their careers. Jack Krebs was a Republican County Chairman, a position I equate with a Gruppen Fürer.

The Republican attack on the environment and even Life on Earth was presented decades ago by Ronnie Raygun’s Secretary of the Interior James Watt, “My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus Returns.” –James Watt to the Wall Street Journal as quoted in “James Watt & the Puritan Ethic.” By Colman McCarthy. Washington Post, May 24, 1981. PAGE L5

These swine and their supporters like Gross, Krebs, Brayton, and Sandefur have no supportive role to play. They are the party of fanatics and death. They are the faults in the foundations, and a probable back channel source to our enemies. They can not be trusted. I strongly recommend that anyone concerned about the future at least read:

American Theocracy Kevin Phillips, 2006 New York: Viking and

The Republican War on Science Chris Mooney 2005 New York: Basic Books.

There can be no doubt what so ever that the Republican Party and its base have abandoned the Constitution (particularly the First Amendment) and are actively attacking freedom, science and reason itself.

Comment #108357

Posted by Brian Ogilvie on June 25, 2006 7:47 PM (e)

As a metacomment on this brouhaha, I’ll offer the following remark by Freeman Dyson, from a recent issue of the New York Review of Books:

“There are two kinds of atheists, ordinary atheists who do not believe in God and passionate atheists who consider God to be their personal enemy.”

Comment #108358

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:49 PM (e)

Btw, Lenny, John Kenneth Galbraith also writes similar things about the “freedom” to vote, though he’s more inclined to point out what I did, the reason commies made people vote, so they’d be invested in the system.

Indeed, since they certainly were not ECONOMICALLY invested in the system. People need baubles, to keep them from looking around.

In the US, we call it “TV”.

;)

Comment #108362

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:55 PM (e)

Carol forgot to mention the Taliban were from Pakistan, and funded by the Republican USA CIA

As was Bin Laden in the 80’s.

Comment #108363

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 7:57 PM (e)

They want us to “play nice” with global warming deniers, HIV deniers, species extinction deniers, ozone depletion deniers, professional antiscience huxters and con-men.

Um, I don’t know who “Frank” is, but if this is referring to me, it’s pretty darn funny….

Comment #108365

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:00 PM (e)

There can be no doubt what so ever that the Republican Party and its base have abandoned the Constitution (particularly the First Amendment) and are actively attacking freedom, science and reason itself.

And they’ve done it with virtually no political opposition whatsoever.

(Excepting a bunch of anarchist street kids in Seattle and elsewhere.)

Comment #108369

Posted by Shalini, BBWAD on June 25, 2006 8:04 PM (e)

[I do not think however the dissent from Darwinism is rooted in pure politics, I think it is rooted in the serious challenges the theory is facing scientifically.]

So, where are all these so-called ‘serious challenges’?

Comment #108371

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:11 PM (e)

These swine and their supporters like Gross, Krebs, Brayton, and Sandefur have no supportive role to play. They are the party of fanatics and death. They are the faults in the foundations, and a probable back channel source to our enemies. They can not be trusted.

Dude, I think you, um, need to switch to decaf.

Comment #108376

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 25, 2006 8:22 PM (e)

Red Mann,

“I really hate to say this, but *gulp* I have to agree with Carol – just this once.”

Everyone here either agrees with me or will eventually agree with me, on everything I say, it is just a matter of time. I know this because common sense and the truth ultimately emerge victorious.

I am not sure what exactly you mean by “more religion” being or not being the answer. Whatever one thinks about the veracity of any particular religion, every religion has in fact become an instrument in the hands of human beings, to use for good or evil. It all depends on what we make of it. So far, in my opinion, the overall record of all religion on earth has been very decidedly negative. But certain religions and their adherants have a much better record than others. One religion in particular stands out in this regard.

Since we cannot stamp out religion, no matter how hard PZ tries, the alternative is to change the instrumentation. We need to teach and preach, yes in the public schools, a religion of tolerance, ethical behavior, respect for human rights and understanding of human limitations, humility, and the limits of science AND religion, among others.

We begin by making an example on this thread of not insulting each other. Folks are getting downright testy here. It’s the wrong direction to take, friends.

Comment #108377

Posted by Registered User on June 25, 2006 8:29 PM (e)

Tim Sandefur [works] for these pigs and earns his living working to clear cut forests and eliminate protection of endangered species. Ed Brayton is his self-professed “libritarina” soul mate.

“I’m a lumberjack, yessirree …”

Comment #108378

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:31 PM (e)

One religion in particular stands out in this regard.

Lakota shamanism?

Comment #108379

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:33 PM (e)

We begin by making an example on this thread of not insulting each other. Folks are getting downright testy here. It’s the wrong direction to take, friends.

Relax, Carol.

We’re all just junkyard dogs that bark like mad at each other, but are all harmlessly chained at the neck.

Comment #108381

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 25, 2006 8:39 PM (e)

Gary,

There is no such thing as the “Republican USA” or the “Republican CIA”. There is only the USA and the CIA.

Comment #108382

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 25, 2006 8:44 PM (e)

Gary,

“….works for these …. and earns his living working to clear cut forests and eliminate protection of endangered species……. is his self-professed “libritarina” soul mate.”

So? All this is perfectly justified by evolution. We humans are a species and we are more “fit” than those lowly creatures in the forest. We eliminate them and we survive. It’s the way of the world, been going on for billions of years and will continue for billions more. Right? You reap what you sow!

Comment #108383

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:45 PM (e)

Gee, Carol, I didn’t think you were THAT stupid.

It’s because of that whole “dominion over the earth” thingie. God wants us to kill things. After all, we’re the Chosen Ones.

Comment #108384

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:47 PM (e)

There is only the USA and the CIA.

Ain’t THAT the truth …. .

Worldwide.

Comment #108385

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 25, 2006 8:49 PM (e)

Everyone here either agrees with me or will eventually agree with me, on everything I say, it is just a matter of time.

except when it comes to those vicious evil hyenas, eh?

I know this because common sense and the truth ultimately emerge victorious.

funny, isn’t that exactly what the creobots always say?

Comment #108387

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 8:55 PM (e)

See, all we need to instantly unify ourselves is a good target from the other side…. .

Thanks, Carol.

Want to borrow my asbestos underwear?

Comment #108388

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 25, 2006 9:02 PM (e)

Hey, Lenny, I’m just taking your own advice;

you don’t like siding with the nutters, right?

that’s what the real issue is, it’s psychology that makes a fundy, not religion; the religion just provides an acceptable framework for them to spin out of control.

and Carol represents that psychology as well as any fundy I’ve seen.

well, short of AFDave over on ATBC.

still surprised you haven’t paid a visit to that looney bin yet.

I’m sure you’d get a kick out of ol Dave.

Comment #108390

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 9:21 PM (e)

I’m sure you’d get a kick out of ol Dave.

I had the pleasure already, very briefly, when he was out here in the general population.

Comment #108392

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 25, 2006 9:25 PM (e)

Hey, Lenny, I’m just taking your own advice

You’re voting for Nader?

Good for you !!!!!!!!

;>

Comment #108393

Posted by AD on June 25, 2006 9:34 PM (e)

I find this thread personally disgusting. The vast majority of posters should be ashamed of yourselves. I have seen better behavior and more intelligent discourse from the kindergarten level classes that occasionally toured the campus where I used to work.

You have all managed to convince me of only one thing - that no matter which side wins, we have all lost regardless if this is how people think and interact with each other.

I will not be visiting this site again nor, I think, fighting this battle.

Comment #108394

Posted by Lou FCD on June 25, 2006 9:46 PM (e)

You know, I’ve been pretty much sitting here on the sidelines watching two posters for whom I have a great deal of respect absolutely bash each other with verbal baseball bats. It’s been a bit distressing.

I see where the Reverend Doctor is coming from. Right now, we really do need the non-fundamentalist theists in our cause. They’re kinda silly, but as long as they’re not trying to put their silliness into my kids’ classrooms, I guess I can live with that.

But I also see where PZ is coming from. We shouldn’t have to tip-toe and pander to silly ideas like sky-daddys, nor should it be necessary to coddle the folks who believe in the toothfairy all the damned time.

So I’m sitting here somewhere in the middle, pretty much accepting that we’ll have to coddle the silly people for a while longer, until they out grow their need for such things,

And Carol opens her yap.

Myahhh feed ‘em to the lions.

Comment #108401

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 25, 2006 10:16 PM (e)

I just have one thing to ask AD:

does that stand for “attention deficit”?

Comment #108405

Posted by KiwiInOz on June 25, 2006 10:33 PM (e)

Would the candidates in the ritual disembowelment sideshow please clean up their entrails before the main event!

Comment #108412

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 25, 2006 10:58 PM (e)

Would the candidates in the ritual disembowelment sideshow please clean up their entrails before the main event!

awww, but the guts is the bestest part!

shucks.

Comment #108418

Posted by KiwiInOz on June 25, 2006 11:14 PM (e)

That’s just offal.

Comment #108424

Posted by Wheels on June 26, 2006 12:08 AM (e)

I dunno, I found it interintestin’

Comment #108431

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 26, 2006 12:58 AM (e)

I have discovered that I am as disgusted by Lenny Flank’s bullshit “Rev.” and “Dr.” as I am by “Rev. Dr.” Kent Hovind. There really is no difference between their false claims of achievement. Hovind had never earned a doctorate, nor to my knowledge has “Rev. Dr.” Lenny. Lenny has even less claim for the title “Reverend.” Even less than Hovind.

I earned my doctorate with great difficulty and physical and personal sacrifice thirty years ago. I demand that it is no longer debased by frauds like Flank and Hovind.

Mr. Flank, I am done with your false pretentions. You have not managed any academic achievement greater than Hovind. Your contributiions are not any greater than the creationists you attack.

Stop debasing honest work. Go away.

Comment #108435

Posted by Registered User on June 26, 2006 1:38 AM (e)

Glen D

And now I’m probably going to ignore you like the stupid and uneducated person that you are. There are people who are worth discussing things with, so why should I bother with someone who thinks that the two parties offer a choice worth taking?

This “argument” for tossing one’s vote away was barely credible before the 2000 election. For someone to repeat it in 2006 with a heaping tablespoon of condescension on top is nothing short of bizarre.

But again: if you’re a straight cowboy, it’s a much easier argument to make.

Is Lyndon LaRouche running this year?

Comment #108447

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 26, 2006 2:23 AM (e)

Lenny,

“It’s because of that whole “dominion over the earth” thingie. God wants us to kill things. After all, we’re the Chosen Ones.”

If this is your understanding of the Biblical concept of “dominion” and “chosen” your “Rev.” title must be a sham, as Gary says, and you ought to return the degree and stop advertizing yourself as such. For you know NOTHING of the Bible or religion, certainly nothing of any real substance. And if your claimed Rev. title is bogus it is likely that the same is true of your “Dr.” title. I think these are bannable offenses on PT.

Comment #108448

Posted by Registered User on June 26, 2006 2:26 AM (e)

Carol Clouser

I think these are bannable offenses on PT.

My irony detector just shat a brick.

Comment #108452

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 26, 2006 3:35 AM (e)

“My irony detector just shat a brick.

I am so grateful that at least one other person knows the proper conjugation of the verb to “shit.”

Sorry about the Irony Meter, but they can be replaced.

Comment #108455

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 26, 2006 4:20 AM (e)

Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 07:28 PM (e)

PZ

I am ver y very disappointed to hear that you do not advocate to

1. threaten to shoot all the Christians,
2. call all religious people idiots,
3. suggest that we need to convert all the religious people to atheism, or
4. deny that religious people contribute to science.

because you would have been 100% in the right to do so…

Comment #107983
Posted by Kevin from nyc on June 24, 2006 07:30 PM (e)

oh and did you know that LENNY voted to torture
people?

Where these posts (and your other similar ones) written while drunk?

I think you are over-reacting and a tad hysterical. In one post you are bemoaning killing (not quoted) and in another (quoted above) advocating it.

Comment #108462

Posted by ben on June 26, 2006 5:54 AM (e)

if your claimed Rev. title is bogus it is likely that the same is true of your “Dr.” title. I think these are bannable offenses on PT.

What about telling a bald-faced lie in your very first post on PT? Is that a bannable offense Carol? Or does Judah Landa have a gloss on the word “lie” that allows you to pretend that telling us you just stumbled across his book on Amazon, when in fact you were employed by the publisher of that book–him–is not a lie?

Doesn’t the fact that Lenny puts quote marks around ‘Rev Dr’ clue you in to anything? Maybe we should ban the people who append “FCD” to their names, because unless they are at least 135 years old, they cannot really have been “friends of Charles Darwin.”

Everyone here either agrees with me or will eventually agree with me, on everything I say, it is just a matter of time

Very similar to your assertions re: the bible. “Everything I/the bible say(s) is true, even the parts that contradict other parts.” War is peace, freedom is slavery, eh? Have you figured out what to do about the Nazi tactics of hyenas yet? Free the zebras!

Comment #108468

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 7:16 AM (e)

I have discovered that I am as disgusted by Lenny Flank’s bullshit “Rev.” and “Dr.” as I am by “Rev. Dr.” Kent Hovind. There really is no difference between their false claims of achievement. Hovind had never earned a doctorate, nor to my knowledge has “Rev. Dr.” Lenny. Lenny has even less claim for the title “Reverend.” Even less than Hovind.

Which is, of course, exactly my point.

See those quotes around them, Gary? Ever wonder why they are there?

Comment #108470

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 7:23 AM (e)

It was rather a silly thread, wasn’t it.

And I’m sure it will be a long time before PZ picks another fight and starts another one like it.

Comment #108473

Posted by Jack Krebs on June 26, 2006 7:47 AM (e)

Man, I have no idea how I was dragged into this, but Gary Hurd is absolutely wrong when he writes,

Jack Krebs was a Republican County Chairman, a position I equate with a Gruppen Fürer.

I’ve never held any such position, or any position at all, in partisan politics.

Comment #108475

Posted by Philip Bruce Heywood on June 26, 2006 7:58 AM (e)

Thanks, folks - I’ll still be laughing this time tomorrow. Now to put you boys to bed or to get you up or whatever happens in your part of the world at this time - here’s a little something from my site - the one where origins science gets a mention and monkeying is non gratia: drink this in and reeelax;

I sat and gazed into a pond
In whimsical and vacant mind;
Methought I saw a chemi-bond;
Organo-molecules, combined!

On Saturn’s finest Titan moon;
At Timbucktoo, in Africkee;
Where’ere my whimsies lead me on;
So many little ponds, I see!

Ponds in ferment; lightning striking;
Organic molecules are combining!
Oh! These things I am not liking!
When, lo! Before my widened eyes,
Ten slimey ninja turtles rise!
And now - who says there’s no surprises?
Dread Franckenstein, himself, arises!

Substituting certain people’s names for terms such as “Franckenstein” or “Slimey Turtle” is permissible.

This poor attempt at rhyme is titled, Ode To A Warm Little Pond. I’m tempted to re-name it, Ode To A Page At TalkRecurring”. Say it slowly, it should help with the sleep process. Sweet dreams!

Comment #108477

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 8:15 AM (e)

Hey Heywood, you are blithering again.

Comment #108478

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 8:16 AM (e)

No doubt about it, Jack, Gary *definitely* needs to switch to decaf.

Comment #108480

Posted by Lou FCD on June 26, 2006 8:21 AM (e)

A thought experiment:

If someone fed Carol to the lions, and the lion shat a brick, and a poet took some artistic license and called it “bullshit”, how would that be translated from the original Hebrew by Judah Landa?

A. Lion Shit
B. Bull Shit
C. Carol Shit

and how much would it weigh on Titan?

Comment #108481

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 8:25 AM (e)

Lenny has even less claim for the title “Reverend.” Even less than Hovind.

Actually, this part is mistaken. I do indeed hold a “shidoshi” license in Tantric Buddhism, which is the equivilent of a Christian ordained minister. So I do indeed have the legal right to refer to myself as “Rev”.

However, since I find the whole idea of someone being more “reverend” than anyone else silly, I don’t.

Unless I am making fun of creatiokooks and their phony “credentials”.

Comment #108482

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 8:31 AM (e)

For you know NOTHING of the Bible or religion, certainly nothing of any real substance

Yes, yes, yes, Carol – Judah Landa is the only human who knows the Bible, and we should all just shut up and read the book.

We heard you the first thousand times.

Comment #108483

Posted by Lou FCD on June 26, 2006 8:42 AM (e)

Clouserbot wrote:

your “Rev.” title must be a sham,

Oh? And who decides, Carol? You? Because Lenny wasn’t ordained by the Right Reverend Landa he can’t hold the title of Reverend?

Is there some sort of rule that one has to study the Original Hebrew Version As Translated by JL Publications in order to know anything about religion?

Or is there a certain number of ministerial acts one must accomlish?

I too am an ordained minister. I’ve even performed two weddings. I too think you’re a pandering, lying, self-serving lemming. I too feel it’s just silly that one person is any more “reverend” than anyone else. Yet I fulfilled all the requirements of the ordaining church and was granted the title. Is my title no good because you said so?

I find your comments offensive, arrogant, and basically another load of ClouserShit.

Translate that from the original Hebrew.

Comment #108484

Posted by FL on June 26, 2006 8:47 AM (e)

Man, I have no idea how I was dragged into this

C’mon Jack, this is Darwinism at its comedic best. PT should charge admission for this kind of floor show. Don’tcha want your fair share of the limelight?

FL

Comment #108488

Posted by k.e. on June 26, 2006 9:51 AM (e)

F.L. are you a ‘Rev Dr.’?
I’m glad you are enjoying intelligent people have a good old bar room brawl.

The only reason they are, is that ID is as dead as the Dodo and nobody likes fighting extinct bags of bones.

Or the likes of you and your fellow stupid moronic culture hackers. They hardly put up any resistance at all, pretty hopeless really. What are you going to do next time? Oh that’s right whine about activist Judges.

I actually think it’s a pity ID isn’t on it’s way to the Supreme Court I could do with a good laugh, but you lost in Dover.

Remember?

Comment #108490

Posted by Keith Douglas on June 26, 2006 10:07 AM (e)

Matt Young: You seemed to be saying that we shouldn’t criticize the basis of someone’s ethical system. “Who are [we] to argue …” and all. One criticizes important intellectual mistakes regardless of where they occur, which is not to say at every given time.

Tom Curtis: My point (and I believe it to be PZ’s and a few others’) is that the “science supporters” on the theist side are continually making exceptions for their pet beliefs - e.g. Pope John Paul II denying the evolution of psychological characteristics of humans. We should criticize these antiscientific attitudes also, because they also lead to trouble. Now, this is not to say they are nearly as noxious as out right denial of evolution simplicter, or of “macroevolution”, but that only says that error comes in degrees.

Glen Davidson wrote: “political, not scientific at all” or words to that effect. Lenny’s mistake is assuming that the political should not be informed by scientific research, I think. My greatest issue in all of this is the bootstrapping problem - how do you educate people to think critically without the relevant infrastructure in place, and how do you build that without having enough critical thinkers to begin with.

Incidentally, this bit about whether PZ considers the religious stupid reminds me about what an Inuit friend asked me what I thought of the depiction of her kin after I saw Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. I said that they were portrayed as intelligent, resourceful, and deeply superstitious - and she agreed with that assessment. One can be both intelligent and superstitious - some say certain sorts of intelligent people are more prone to superstition because of the danger of self-rationalization. Perhaps that is at work in certain forms of religion in general.

Comment #108492

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 26, 2006 10:15 AM (e)

We need to teach and preach, yes in the public schools, a religion of tolerance, ethical behavior, respect for human rights and understanding of human limitations, humility, and the limits of science AND religion, among others.

Yeah, just telling the truth isn’t enough, at least not for most literalists.

We begin by making an example on this thread of not insulting each other. Folks are getting downright testy here. It’s the wrong direction to take, friends.

It was set by the first blog post, for better or worse. Maybe it’s even good to get some hostilities out in the open (PZ looks like he was sitting on some of this stuff for a while), and blow them up in a sad little fight.

Meanwhile, I can’t ignore the ludicrous Registered User, who can’t even keep election years straight:

This “argument” for tossing one’s vote away was barely credible before the 2000 election. For someone to repeat it in 2006 with a heaping tablespoon of condescension on top is nothing short of bizarre.

Uh huh, if you ever reach sanity, at least set your calendar straight, then.

And sure, this is just blather, since this thread has barely been serious at all. I did write one serious post, my first on this thread, but it appears that all of the righteous types who primarily complain about others simply take their shots and run, rather than contribute or comment on the few serious posts. Thus they add hypocrisy to an already sorry collection of diatribes and fratricide.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108494

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 26, 2006 10:24 AM (e)

Keith Douglas wrote:

“political, not scientific at all” or words to that effect.

No, I wrote this:

I do get somewhat tired of Flank telling us that anti-evolution is merely political, not scientific at all. For, even though that is the case, I think that boosting science is the best thing we can do, letting religion decline as the result of positive evidence and the rational mindset. PZ can say and write anything he likes, of course, but I have yet to see that his anti-religion posts do anything other than gratify atheists and antagonize religious folk. He seems to be pleasing the secular core, while doing little to change minds. In that sense, of course, Lenny is right to point out that anti-evolution is political, since PZ evidences no skill at massaging the “polis”. In the sense of suggesting that science arguments don’t matter, they’re crucial to knocking the wind out of Dembski and DaveTard, though it doesn’t stop them at all (but so what if RMagruder is impressed? No one intelligent and learned will be, and I don’t know how to prevent dunces from liking anti-science).

Numbers, however, faults people who really don’t need to be faulted. Dawkins goes out of his way to antagonize the religious, while Sagan did not. True, he didn’t mince words, but read his books and watch his programs, he does not attack religion as either Dawkins or Myers does. He was more politic than both of those, and Dennett, while generally demonstrating well the superiority of science.

Sagan tackled the bootstrapping problem in about as effective a manner as he could. It is not something that most of us can copy very well, though.

Basically I just wanted to set the record straight, since I agree with the rest of what Douglas wrote.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108497

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 26, 2006 10:55 AM (e)

Ben,

“What about telling a bald-faced lie in your very first post on PT? Is that a bannable offense Carol? Or does Judah Landa have a gloss on the word “lie” that allows you to pretend that telling us you just stumbled across his book on Amazon, when in fact you were employed by the publisher of that book—him—is not a lie?”

Your repeating this canard is a grand lie in itself and you know it, liar. I never lied in any post here, from my first to the last. I never said that I “just stumbled across” Landa’s book on Amazon, I said that I “found” it there (sometime in the past), which was and is the truth. I repeat, I IN FACT FOUND that book on Amazon one nice day. And the point at the time was that so can you, if interested. The only valid criticism some folks here made at the time was that in the interest of the doctrine of “full disclosure” I should have disclosed, in advance, my relationship with the book before saying anything about it. Despite the fact that that is ia questionable ethical or legal requirement in this case, since I have no direct financial interest in the book, I accepted that criticism.

Now we will see if you, BEN THE LIAR, will be as forthcoming as I was and apologize for your baseless accusation.

Lou,

“I too am an ordained minister. I’ve even performed two weddings.”

Wow. You have performed two weddings! Congratulations! And you probably are as much a minister as Lenny. Have you, Lenny, performed any weddings?

More importantly, your performing two weddings clearly demonstrated your acute understanding of the nuiances and subtleties of Biblical and religious doctrine, equal to Lenny’s demonstrated understanding of the concept of “dominion”. I am duly impressed.

Comment #108501

Posted by Lou FCD on June 26, 2006 11:07 AM (e)

Dearest ClouserBot:

You seemed to have missed the preceding question. Here it is again..

…Or is there a certain number of ministerial acts one must accomlish?

I too am an ordained minister. I’ve even performed two weddings…

Just trying to determine your criteria for ordination.

Is honesty a part of that?

Before you answer the honesty question, perhaps I might refer you to a golden oldie:

ClouserBot’s first appearance at PT

Comment #108503

Posted by Moses on June 26, 2006 11:16 AM (e)

Comment #108376

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 25, 2006 08:22 PM (e)

Red Mann,

“I really hate to say this, but *gulp* I have to agree with Carol – just this once.”

Everyone here either agrees with me or will eventually agree with me, on everything I say, it is just a matter of time. I know this because common sense and the truth ultimately emerge victorious.

Someone ran out of tinfoil if she thinks that people are going to agree with her wackier-than-usual religious opinions and bizzaro land logic.

Comment #108516

Posted by ben on June 26, 2006 12:10 PM (e)

Now we will see if you, BEN THE LIAR, will be as forthcoming as I was and apologize for your baseless accusation.

Not a chance. You ‘found that book on Amazon one nice day’ the same way I just happen to “find” my desk when I walk into my office each day–by knowing exactly where it is and going there on purpose. You wanted to create the impression that you’d stumbled across Landa’s eternal truths by chance and simply found them too compelling to ignore, the same way you, once there, “reviewed” the book by posting a puff piece on it sans disclosure that you had a role in publishing the book and hence a stake in it selling (much like I have a stake in my company’s products selling–I don’t get a cut, but if they don’t sell I don’t have a job). Of course it doesn’t sell, despite your tirebrainless efforts here and no doubt elsewhere, and despite your own inability to understand the Amazon statistics which demonstrate this fact. You don’t seem to be able to locate a clue, but at least you seem to have found your caps lock key.

And now back to Carol “Everything-in-the-Bible-is-Literally-True-Except-the-Stuff-I-say-Isn’t-Literal-All-According-to-My-Own-Personal-Singular-Definition-of-Each-Individual-Word” Clouser’s irrelevant judgements on who is rightly a “reverend” and who isn’t…

Comment #108521

Posted by JS on June 26, 2006 12:36 PM (e)

Lenny has even less claim for the title “Reverend.” Even less than Hovind.

Huh? Not to take the flamewar off in a new direction (although maybe that wouldn’t actually be such a Bad Idea…), but it was my understanding of the doctrine of Common Priesthood (or whatever it’s called in English), that all Lutheranian versions of Christianity held that everyone was a priest by virtue solely of his faith.

*Dons asbestos suit*

- JS

Comment #108522

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 26, 2006 12:37 PM (e)

Not a chance. You ‘found that book on Amazon one nice day’ the same way I just happen to “find” my desk when I walk into my office each day—by knowing exactly where it is and going there on purpose. You wanted to create the impression that you’d stumbled across Landa’s eternal truths by chance and simply found them too compelling to ignore, the same way you, once there, “reviewed” the book by posting a puff piece on it sans disclosure that you had a role in publishing the book and hence a stake in it selling (much like I have a stake in my company’s products selling—I don’t get a cut, but if they don’t sell I don’t have a job). Of course it doesn’t sell, despite your tirebrainless efforts here and no doubt elsewhere, and despite your own inability to understand the Amazon statistics which demonstrate this fact. You don’t seem to be able to locate a clue, but at least you seem to have found your caps lock key.

And now back to Carol “Everything-in-the-Bible-is-Literally-True-Except-the-Stuff-I-say-Isn’t-Literal-All-According-to-My-Own-Personal-Singular-Definition-of-Each-Individual-Word” Clouser’s irrelevant judgements on who is rightly a “reverend” and who isn’t…

It was one of those misleading statements that literalists often make. The thing is that what Carol wrote is not literally false, and the fact that it is more than a little misleading is not all that important to many literalists.

Really, they think that way. I know this from Xian literalists, who played these games often while I was growing up.

You can see how it is that a “literalism” such as that is much better at avoiding inconvenient facts than it is at tackling them.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108523

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 26, 2006 12:42 PM (e)

This thread has been interesting to me. I am a tad amazed at some of the attacks on “Lenny”.

IMO Lenny makes some of the best arguments against ID/Creationism I have read here.

His questions to creationist posters have never been answered by an ID/Creationist supporter IIRC. Isn’t that a good thing?

Attacking his voting is foolish. Why should anyone vote for somebody they do not like? The 2 party argument does not wash. It makes a mockery of the idea of democracy. I hardly ever vote now. Not because I don’t care, because nobody represents my views.

Attacking his scientific credentials. Why? His posts are normally informative or just fun.

Oh, Registered User, your attacks just sound spite-full. As a fairly neutral observer, you did not “hand him his ass on a plate” you sounded like a quote miner who called “foul” when Lenny showed his entire posts.

Comment #108532

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 26, 2006 2:14 PM (e)

C’mon Jack, this is Darwinism at its comedic best. PT should charge admission for this kind of floor show. Don’tcha want your fair share of the limelight?

the difference between PT and UD is we actually KNOW when we’re putting on a show, and the show’s content actually IS comedy, rather than farcical attempts at elucidating evidence from nothingness.

Both you and Sal correctly reveal your clownish nature by commenting on the conflicts among scientists and supporters of the ToE today, and then will do a 180 and claim we’re all in “lockstep” tommorrow.

care to try and deny that?

I bet not.

Comment #108536

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 26, 2006 2:26 PM (e)

More importantly, your performing two weddings clearly demonstrated your acute understanding of the nuiances and subtleties of Biblical and religious doctrine, equal to Lenny’s demonstrated understanding of the concept of “dominion”. I am duly impressed.

but Carol, we thought you said you had a PhD in physics, not theology…

Comment #108541

Posted by Andrew on June 26, 2006 3:07 PM (e)

I just want to toss in my two cents in support of Lenny, one of the clearest and most effective voices out there.

Comment #108544

Posted by Daniel Morgan on June 26, 2006 3:39 PM (e)

Oh god, that was a good read. I laughed out loud more than a few times.

Lenny, where can I get those mail order “Rev Dr” degrees? Oh boy…that was some good stuff. Whew…

Some people taking themselves way too fucking seriously.

Comment #108554

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 4:36 PM (e)

Have you, Lenny, performed any weddings?

Actually, yes, I have.

Two lesbian friends of mine couldn’t find a Christian church that would do a ceremony for them. So I did.

As I said, I do have a legal ordination in an organized religious group, and that does indeed give me the legal right to perform marriages.

And funerals, too – but I haven’t done any of those yet. Can’t wait to give a nice rousing Kali-Ma speech.

;>

Comment #108555

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 4:41 PM (e)

Lenny, where can I get those mail order “Rev Dr” degrees?

Just go to:

http://www.ulc.org

:>

Looks like the prices have gone up though since I got mine. Oh well. Widow’s mite, and all that.

Of course, if you want a shidoshi in Tantric Buddhism, that’ll take a lot longer (though it probably won’t cost you anything, unless you want it to). Took me three and a half years.

Comment #108556

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 4:48 PM (e)

the difference between PT and UD is we actually KNOW when we’re putting on a show

Well, I freely admit that my entire aim throughout this whole thread was to yank as many chains as possible and get all the dogs barking at once.

That accomplished three things: (1) it allowed me to flip the bird at PZ and thus return the favor, (2) it allowed everyone who wanted to, to jump all over me, get it all out of their systems, and leave everyone else alone in the meantime, and (3) it filled this whole thread with such ridiculousness (ridiculosity? ridiculanity?) that I’m betting it’s a long long long time before PZ or anyone else makes the attempt to pick a similar fight again.

And, by golly, I had an awfully good time doing it.

:>

Comment #108557

Posted by Jack Krebs on June 26, 2006 4:53 PM (e)

FL writes,

C’mon Jack, this is Darwinism at its comedic best. PT should charge admission for this kind of floor show. Don’tcha want your fair share of the limelight?

This has nothing to do with “Darwinism.” People are arguing, as far as I can tell, about politics and personalities. You can find this kind of behavior of many forums throughout the internet.

One thing that is significant is that supporters of science do range across the political spectrum, so sometimes when other issues come up, dissension breaks out. At KCFS (as an organization, as opposed to our discussion forum) we made a decision long ago to keep focused on science and science ed and avoid hot button topics that are tangential to our mission. In fact, we lost a supporter once when a discussion veered over to the Palestinian issue.

It is a sign of a major misconception, one that is sadly exploited at times, that FL equates what’s going on in this thread with “Darwinism.” Even if FL really means evolutionary theory, it was many, many comments ago in this thread that anything having to do with science was being discussed.

Comment #108558

Posted by Jack Krebs on June 26, 2006 4:56 PM (e)

P.S., re an earlier comment: I hope Gary Hurd reads my remark about not ever holding any kind of political office, much less a Republic whatever he said I’d held. I’d just like to set the record straight with him, because I don’t like being the target of unwarranted hostility based on factually incorrect information.

Comment #108559

Posted by Jack Krebs on June 26, 2006 5:00 PM (e)

And another P.S. to Gary, who praises Pedro Irigonegaray’s “careful questioning” at the Kansas “science hearings”: I was Pedro’s assistant and at least co-responsible for that questioning. Pedro and I were in contact throughout the questioning by various wireless means, and we colloborated on what to ask and what not to ask - another “for the record”.

Comment #108560

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 5:03 PM (e)

So, now we’ve established that PZ doesn’t like me, B Spitzer doesn’t like PZ, Kevin from NYC doesn’t like me (and is a cuckoo clock), Alexander doesn’t like PZ, Registered User doesn’t like me, Norm doesn’t like me, Popper doesn’t like me either but he never showed up at the party, Registered User doesn’t like Glen, nobody likes Sal, nobody likes Carol, and Gary doesn’t like anybody.

I, of course, still love everyone. :>

Now then, is there anyone else out there who doesn’t like someone here, and wants to tell the whole world all about it? Here’s your chance ….

Comment #108561

Posted by PZ Myers on June 26, 2006 5:06 PM (e)

lenny wrote:

I’m betting it’s a long long long time before PZ or anyone else makes the attempt to pick a similar fight again.

From this I take it that you believe that making a spastic, content-free spectacle of yourself is a defensive strategy? And that I and others should be intimidated because if we call you on your nonsense, you’ll pee your pants in public again?

That’s so sad.

I’m afraid you’re completely wrong, too. When the situation calls for it, I won’t hesitate to point out that you’re nothing but an insubstantial noisemaker.

Go ahead. Freak out some more. Pretend that you’re the one “pulling the chains” while you dance, dance, dance.

Comment #108562

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 26, 2006 5:10 PM (e)

I abhor FL and Don M.

I hate fire ants…and dontchya just hate it when…

Comment #108563

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 5:11 PM (e)

The only reason they are, is that ID is as dead as the Dodo and nobody likes fighting extinct bags of bones.

Yep. We’re a room full of highly motivated well-trained big-game hunters armed with large-caliber weapons, who suddenly find themselves without a live target. So we begin to fidget a bit, glance sideways at the person next to us and say, “ya know, I never *did* like the way that guy looks at me ….”

Blam blam blam.

And then Carol, FL and the Blithering Idiot walk into the room.

Comment #108564

Posted by Lou FCD on June 26, 2006 5:12 PM (e)

I don’t like AFDave.

I also don’t like Carol the lying, pandering book publisher, but you already mentioned that.

Hmmm…

Dubya comes to mind.

Oh, and hyenas. They torture zebras.

And spiders. They do bad things to defenseless flies. (just kidding PZ, I LOVE spiders)

And Priors of the Ori. They’re just dumb.

And you know that one guy on that one TV commercial? I don’t like him either.

And Howie Ahmawhatsits. He’s a bonehead.

Comment #108565

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 5:13 PM (e)

I am of course ignoring PZ’s dick-waving.

Comment #108568

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 5:17 PM (e)

And another P.S. to Gary, who praises Pedro Irigonegaray’s “careful questioning” at the Kansas “science hearings”: I was Pedro’s assistant and at least co-responsible for that questioning.

And at this point, I must interrupt the chain-yanking and make a serious observation — it was not Dover that really killed ID, it was Kansas. Up until the Kangaroo Kourt, the “liberal press” was treating our fundie friends with the softest of kid gloves. It was during the Kangaroo Kourt, when the IDers were forced for the very first time to put out their best case in public, that they fell flat on their holy little asses. The kid gloves dropped. It was the death of ID, even before Dover put a bullet through the stinking corpse’s head.

I thank Jack and all the other Kansas folks. We all owe much to them.

Comment #108569

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 26, 2006 5:20 PM (e)

fyi lenny, for future reference, saying you’re ignoring somebody isn’t exactly ignoring them.

Comment #108570

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 26, 2006 5:23 PM (e)

Well, I’d like to say that PZ, along Carl Zimmer, has what is probably one of the two best blogs in all the internet in providing well informed hot evolutionary news, and I really appreciate that. Moreover he is more onto evo-devo than Carl, and thats very cool. It is this that makes me want to engage specially HIM in conversation (rather uselessly, Im afraid he is too busy getting angry and figthting his enemies). Otherwise, really, I would not even care. I think its too bad he delivers good science alongside a majority of sensationalist, simplistic content, insulting even science-friendly religious people. He gives too much credit to those who want to use religion to refute science, he should only poitn out that that is a mistake but he makes thing symmetrically wrong by saying that science refutes religion.
Then again, it is possible he is too entrenched in the lifestyle and is not interested in ever changing.

Comment #108572

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

fyi lenny, for future reference, saying you’re ignoring somebody isn’t exactly ignoring them.

But it sure yanks their chain, doesn’t it.

;)

Comment #108574

Posted by Lou FCD on June 26, 2006 5:38 PM (e)

OOOOO! GoP just insulted the muppets. He just made the list. He’s a butthead.

Just in case anyone was wonderin’.

Comment #108575

Posted by Matt Young on June 26, 2006 5:44 PM (e)

Keith Douglas writes,

Matt Young: You seemed to be saying that we shouldn’t criticize the basis of someone’s ethical system. “Who are [we] to argue …” and all. One criticizes important intellectual mistakes regardless of where they occur, which is not to say at every given time.

I beg your pardon. All I meant was who are we to criticize them if they want to express their ethics and morality in a religious motif? Someone who commits what we think is an ethical mistake is fair game. I am not sure if this is what you meant, but I do not think that an act is ethical merely because the person committing that act thinks it is ethical. If that were so, then it would be OK to stone people to death for adultery, as long as you thought it was OK.

Comment #108576

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on June 26, 2006 5:50 PM (e)

Likeable Leny:

So, now we’ve established that PZ doesn’t like me, B Spitzer doesn’t like PZ, Kevin from NYC doesn’t like me (and is a cuckoo clock), Alexander doesn’t like PZ, Registered User doesn’t like me, Norm doesn’t like me, Popper doesn’t like me either but he never showed up at the party, Registered User doesn’t like Glen, nobody likes Sal, nobody likes Carol, and Gary doesn’t like anybody.

I, of course, still love everyone. :>

Now then, is there anyone else out there who doesn’t like someone here, and wants to tell the whole world all about it? Here’s your chance ….

Sir_Toejam:

I abhor FL and Don M.

I hate fire ants…and dontchya just hate it when…

Lou FCD:

I don’t like AFDave.

I also don’t like Carol the lying, pandering book publisher, but you already mentioned that.

Hmmm…

Dubya comes to mind.

Oh, and hyenas. They torture zebras.

And spiders. They do bad things to defenseless flies. (just kidding PZ, I LOVE spiders)

And Priors of the Ori. They’re just dumb.

And you know that one guy on that one TV commercial? I don’t like him either.

And Howie Ahmawhatsits. He’s a bonehead.

[Choking up a little]
Fortunately for Pizza Woman and myself, almost everybody likes pizza!!!
[/choking]

(Although it’s always possible that’s the result of intelligent design by the FSM, may His Noodly Appendage always be al dente…)

And, I gotta admit, it has been a while now since we received an order from Carol Clouser.

Comment #108577

Posted by Lou FCD on June 26, 2006 5:54 PM (e)

We love you Pizza Guy!!! And Mrs. Pizza Guy…eh Mrs. Pizza, too.

But Ghost of Paley is still a butthead.

Comment #108580

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 5:57 PM (e)

I, of course, still love everyone. :)

Fortunately for Pizza Woman and myself, almost everybody likes pizza!!!

Well, of course, I especially love Pizza Woman.

Comment #108581

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 26, 2006 5:59 PM (e)

OK, group hug. Everyone gather round ….

Come on over here PZ, ya big lug…. .

Comment #108584

Posted by Lou FCD on June 26, 2006 6:51 PM (e)

It’ll probably get lost in the comments here, but I wasn’t sure where else to stick this.

There’s a great article over at Stanford Medicine Magazine on Evolution and the Intelligent Design Creationism Hoax. Seems well laid out, well supported and argued. The comments are pretty sad, though. Even our old friend Larry Farfarman spouted his usual claptrap.

(sigh)

Anyways, check it out, it’s a good read.

Comment #108585

Posted by Lou FCD on June 26, 2006 7:01 PM (e)

Oh, and Hat tip goes to Dr. Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy for the link on that.

Comment #108586

Posted by Adam on June 26, 2006 7:07 PM (e)

Lenny wrote:

So, now we’ve established that PZ doesn’t like me, B Spitzer doesn’t like PZ, Kevin from NYC doesn’t like me (and is a cuckoo clock).

Well, Lenny, I like you. I didn’t read the thread until it had over 100 posts, and you pretty much made all the arguments I would have made, only with a much better wit. Plus, I’m no good an yanking chains. Thus I decided to sit back and watch and allowed myself to be entertained. Good show, man!

Comment #108598

Posted by KiwiInOz on June 26, 2006 9:18 PM (e)

Right. Is that all out of everybody’s system? Yes, yes. You over in the corner? Yes, no? Still some vestige of resentment? Spit it out man. That’s better.

PZ AND Lenny - we still love ya both. Now focus on the common goal and keep the brawling for the ring at ATBC.

It was fun though.

Comment #108600

Posted by Kenneth Baggaley on June 26, 2006 9:35 PM (e)

What a pointless waste of time.

Gentlemen, can we get off this thread and on to news about new discoveries and/or the political attack (posing as religion) that we must continue to expose?

Thanks, both of you, for your great PT contributions in the past. Can we have some new ones now…please?

- K.

Comment #108604

Posted by PZ Myers on June 26, 2006 9:48 PM (e)

What? You didn’t get the memo? New discoveries are unimportant. Science is irrelevant. This is a political fight, so we’re going to turn PT over to the lawyers.

Comment #108610

Posted by KiwiInOz on June 26, 2006 10:41 PM (e)

Stop it PZ, or I’ll send you to your room!

Comment #108617

Posted by Popper's ghost on June 26, 2006 11:22 PM (e)

Popper doesn’t like me either

Why, because I pointed out that you misuse language, like saying you believe in no deities but are not an atheist?

But you’re right, I don’t like demogogic bullies, and I think those who have defended your tactics in this thread should be ashamed of themselves.

Comment #108618

Posted by Popper's ghost on June 26, 2006 11:24 PM (e)

What a pointless waste of time.

Only because Lenny set out to make it so, as he has admitted several times.

Comment #108621

Posted by Popper's ghost on June 26, 2006 11:31 PM (e)

Im afraid [PZ] is too busy getting angry and figthting his enemies

He’s angry about being lied about … wouldn’t you be?

Comment #108628

Posted by k.e. on June 27, 2006 12:16 AM (e)

Ahem….

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146

Comment #108630

Posted by Popper's ghost on June 27, 2006 12:23 AM (e)

So should people just let monsters hijack their threads?

Comment #108634

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 12:47 AM (e)

You only get angry about lies if you think they are believable.
When people insist on pushing literal interpretation of the details of their religions on science, of course evidence is relevant, and will effectively prove them wrong. But science will never prove or disprove god. Actually, when you wrongly say evolution means all religion is nonsense, some people will inmediatley feel there is something fishy in such a wholesale denial, even if only because they have had positive experiences through religion. So you practically invite them to think “This person looks like he only wants to deny religon. Are all evolutionists like this? Maybe all that evolution thing is BS”. Thye will naturally reject evolution if you falsely equate it with godlessnes.
Therefore you fuel the very problem you moan about so much. AND it is only “their” fault.. why? Becasue they are… “stupid”. Veeeery nice.

Comment #108635

Posted by k.e. on June 27, 2006 12:55 AM (e)

Hijack?
PZ if I understand him, was miffed that his hard (science) work is compared to the low art of Politics, while he stooped to add insult to injury.

Lenny, I imagine, was cheered by Theists who accept science and would like to keep their deeply held beliefs apart from cold reality.

Funny game, politics, you make the rules up as you go along.

In any case, to vaguely quote some American revolutionary fighting the redcoats (and losing).

“We do not have to win any battles, the people will decide who have won”

So if the Viet Kong had pissed off all their support base would they still have won? I think not.

Being right is much better with icing on top.

Comment #108637

Posted by Registered User on June 27, 2006 1:02 AM (e)

Lenny

Registered User doesn’t like me, … Registered User doesn’t like Glen

Yo Lenny I still like you. I am only disappointed you didn’t cop to your McCain promoting baloney. Admit error! Admit error! It’s not a big deal.

As for Glen, he’s a self-important windbag and a shameless blogwhore but hardly the worse offender in either category. I also agree with much of what he says but his reaction when I called him on his Democrats=Republicans bullcrap was beyond childish.

I don’t like “the system” either. But until I know that I’ve got an army behind me to execute the coup, I’m opting to change the system from within, Ebola style.

Comment #108642

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 1:10 AM (e)

If you guys go around saying “science has proven there is no god” then you must specifiy what scientific evidence would have proven the alternative hypothesis, that there IS a god. As simple as that.

Comment #108652

Posted by k.e. on June 27, 2006 2:22 AM (e)

Lenny said

Yep. We’re a room full of highly motivated well-trained big-game hunters armed with large-caliber weapons, who suddenly find themselves without a live target. So we begin to fidget a bit, glance sideways at the person next to us and say, “ya know, I never *did* like the way that guy looks at me ….”

Blam blam blam.

He he good analogy, it brings to mind a long forgotten hunting trip…ah Lenny… remind me NEVER to go hunting with you, and if somehow I do end getting dragged into traipsing across the Savannas with you, I get the gun with the hair trigger. That way I’ll be safe, I don’t know about you though.

Comment #108659

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 27, 2006 2:58 AM (e)

k.e.,

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you - Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146”

The Talmud said it much more poignantly about 1500 years before Nietzsche. “He who wrestles with a filty one, becomes filty like him.”

Ben,

“Not a chance.”

Why am I not surprized?

“You ‘found that book on Amazon one nice day’ the same way I just happen to “find” my desk when I walk into my office each day—by knowing exactly where it is and going there on purpose.”

I certainly knew where to look on Amazon. But I didn’t put it there and therefore could not know that it was there. Therefore?

“You wanted to create the impression that you’d stumbled across Landa’s eternal truths by chance and simply found them too compelling to ignore,”

Now you are reading my mind. If words can be interpreted in a variety of ways, some negative and others not so, the general procedure for decent folk is to give the person the benefit of the doubt and interpret positively. Or ask a direct question. But you are just interested in lying. I have no doubt that had the book I “found” on Amazon been in total agreement with your views, you would have been inclined to interpret positively.

“the same way you, once there, “reviewed” the book by posting a puff piece on it sans disclosure that you had a role in publishing the book and hence a stake in it selling (much like I have a stake in my company’s products selling—I don’t get a cut, but if they don’t sell I don’t have a job).”

Only the author and publisher have a stake in a particular book. I am not even a steady employee of the publisher, but a freelance editor currently working on certain projects for them and others. It is standard practice in the industry that editors remain in the background (unless the author chooses to thank them and then needs their permission). As a human being I am therefore entitled to express my opinion on Amazon just like anyone else, and this is within the boundaries of Amazon’s rules. As a book’s editor I am in an even better position to discuss its contents than most reviewers who don’t even bother to thoroughly read the book they are reviewing.

There are major college science textbooks used around the country on which I served either as the sole editor or as a member of a team of editors, and nobody knows or should ever know.

“Of course it doesn’t sell, despite your tirebrainless efforts here and no doubt elsewhere,”

To sell a book by talking about it on a blog like this is preposterous. The mere thought of it can only come from a moronic, ignorant brain such as yours. And the odds are that you do not earn in ten years what that book has already earned in the year since it appeared. And not by selling to PTers. And I still work for that publisher.

“and despite your own inability to understand the Amazon statistics which demonstrate this fact.”

So YOU purport to tell ME how amazon statistics work. What a joke.

“You don’t seem to be able to locate a clue, but at least you seem to have found your caps lock key.”

Go ahead, throw insults. See my comment above to k.e.

Glen,

“It was one of those misleading statements that literalists often make. The thing is that what Carol wrote is not literally false, and the fact that it is more than a little misleading is not all that important to many literalists.”

The key issue is, did I intend to mislead? You know my response.

May I also add that literalism is to be equated with honesty. To arbitrarily take problematic verses in the Bible, for example, and eviscerate their words from their ordinary meaning just to save them from conflict with the facts, is dishonest. Which is why I would rather abandon the Bible than adopt such an approach.

Lou,

You have gone from addressing me as “Dr. Clouser” to “ClouserBot”. And you expect me to respond to your questions?

Comment #108660

Posted by k.e. on June 27, 2006 3:05 AM (e)

Carol…. old chinese saying

“Don’t wrestle with pig, you get dirty, and pig enjoys it”

oink!!

Comment #108661

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 27, 2006 3:07 AM (e)

Now you are reading my mind.

It’s easy to read your mind, Carol. Heck, it pastes itself on the page quite nicely.

So YOU purport to tell ME how amazon statistics work. What a joke.

Why not? several people corrected your misunderstanding on that very issue, right after you first posted about it, remember?

go back and take a look in case you had forgotten.

gees, you act as though you wrote the code or something.

did you invent the internet too?

blowhard doesn’t begin to describe you.

The key issue is, did I intend to mislead? You know my response.

I thought we couldn’t read your mind?

Lou,

You have gone from addressing me as “Dr. Clouser” to “ClouserBot”. And you expect me to respond to your questions?

some people learn quicker than others.

Comment #108662

Posted by steve s on June 27, 2006 3:12 AM (e)

WOOOOOHOOOOOO! Post # 500! WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Comment #108678

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 27, 2006 6:36 AM (e)

Hey Popper, I *knew* you would show up, if I just waited long enough.

Bark for us, would you?

Maybe that will be good for another 500 posts.

Comment #108679

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 27, 2006 6:38 AM (e)

ah Lenny… remind me NEVER to go hunting with you

Or with Dick Cheney.

(giggle)

Comment #108681

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 27, 2006 6:52 AM (e)

I think those who have defended your tactics in this thread should be ashamed of themselves.

Ok, so you not only don’t like me, you don’t like people who DO like me, either.

Got it.

Are we done now, or do you still have some dick-waving to do yet?

If you’re done with your frowny-face, can we get back to the group hug?

Comment #108682

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 27, 2006 6:53 AM (e)

Yo Lenny I still like you.

Well then come on over here and join the group hug, ya big lug.

Comment #108684

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 7:07 AM (e)

Alexander Vargas wrote:

If you guys go around saying “science has proven there is no god”…

Alexander Vargas wrote:

AND it is only “their” fault.. why? Becasue they are… “stupid”.

That’s not even a good caricature. No one is saying that science has disproven gods, or that religious people are stupid.

Well, except for Lenny. He’s repeated that canard about stupid religious people a few times. Maybe you should take it up with him.

Comment #108686

Posted by GT(N)T on June 27, 2006 7:19 AM (e)

Fun thread. It’s a shame it degenerated to the point it has.

Two friendly comments:

Lenny, I love your wit and prose dude, but you were way out of line here.

PZM, You’re an intelligent man, you should have known where this was going.

Now, let’s all wait for the next dumb statement from the Creationists so we can all be on the same side again.

Comment #108691

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 27, 2006 7:26 AM (e)

PZM, You’re an intelligent man, you should have known where this was going.

He did.

I just gave him what he wanted.

(grin)

Comment #108692

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 27, 2006 7:29 AM (e)

Out of curiosity, how long has the longest thread in PT history been? Maybe we can take this one all the way up to 666, with me and PZ both vying for that magic number.

He, uh, doesn’t like me, in case you didn’t know.

;)

Comment #108693

Posted by Lou FCD on June 27, 2006 7:29 AM (e)

Dr. Clouserbot wrote:

Lou,

You have gone from addressing me as “Dr. Clouser” to “ClouserBot”.

Only with the most extreme derision, Dr. Clouserbot. I know that’s difficult to infer from text, but take my word for it - Had you heard my comments as they were intended, they would have melted your ears. Sort of like when I addressed you as “Dearest”.

You are deserving of each and every drop of disdain, derision, and disgust aimed at you. You are a liar, boldfaced and unapologetic. That puts you in the same sewer as William Dembski and Dave Scott Springer, regardless of who’s “side” you claim to be on. You appeared on this board barely a week after I first stumbled here, and immediately began your duplicitous endeavor to sell a book in which you had a vested interest, and acted as though you had simply stumbled across said pile of bound bullshit. You were soon enough caught out, and have yet to apologize for your deliberate deceit.

Here is the evidence of my assertion, cued up to your very first comment.

With apologies to the Reverend Doctor on whose paraphrased lines I am about to step,

Your ancient book of plagiarized fairy stories is irrelevent to science, in any language, in any translation.

And so are you.

Comment #108694

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 7:32 AM (e)

Right, as is my duty as a synthetic chemist, it’s time to pour diethyl ether on the flames followed by some acetic acid (which burns nice and hot) and watch the thread reignite.

Of course, since y’all have already started the love in, I might just grease on up and join in. Hell, it’s lunchtime, I’ve had a quadruple espresso and my chemistry is going well, who know’s where this will take us?

1. PZ et al are totally 100% correct. There is too much pandering to religion in general in an automatic “respect” kind of way.

2. Lenny et al totally 100% correct. There is FAR too much name calling and “stupid theist” “atheist baby rapist” bullshyte from both “sides” in this equation.

Are these positions mutually exclusive?

Nope.

However it would appear that neither camp is guilty of the rampant strawmen of which the other camp accuses them, and is busy beating the shit out of. I know all our weapons are hanging about and fully loaded (to use someone else’s analogy) but dudes, the bar’s this way, guns are left in the rack outside. Grab a cold one and tell lies about the size of game you hunt.

I am an atheist. I disagree that theism is in any technical sense rational (it isn’t). It *might* be rational in a colloquial sense under certain given circumstances (an unnecessarily extreme e.g. if you are a heathen in a society of people who perform human sacrifices on heathens, then claim you believe. A LOT!). I think that belief in the “supernatural” (whatvever that might be) is deluded or at best misguided. I think that belief for belief’s sake is a massive engine of societal problems. I deplore the “magical thinking” that infects us humans (myself included) on occasion. And guess what? So fuhucking what! I am also capable of admitting a plurality of viewpoints, just like PZ and Lenny have both said they are, VERY clearly. My “ideal society”, my utopia, does NOT contain people of just one “group”. That would be exceedingly dull. I know the two gents mentioned agree.

YES we should try to improve basic education so we can teach kids HOW to think, not just to rote memorise factoids and vomit them onto an exam paper. YES we should start critical thinking classes a la Sagan. We need the Sagans for one job, we need the Millers for another and we need the Dawkins for another. Whatever you think of each of them and their tactics they appeal to some and not to others. A modern army doen’t only have infantrymen in it. Different tools for different jobs and all that.

I can see how some theistic evolutionists would be upset by Dawkins’/PZ’s/my comments. So guess what, I don’t ram these comments down their throats unless they damned well need it! And we all have to admit that on occasion there are those that do need it. We also only ask for the same courtesy, don’t ram your theism down our throats. Be EQUALLY unramming! Don’t preference one group over another in this matter.

What PZ is saying VERY clearly is that we atheists/agnostics/secularists shouldn’t be forced into the background so we don’t scare the fawnlike, tender theists from the clearing. In fact I find such a view patronising to theists, and discriminatory to atheists etc. Where are the suggestions that theistic evolutionists should be silent about their faith so that the atheists don’t skitter away like frightened bunnies?

Theistic evolutionists, or better in my opinion Deistic evolutionists are not my “enemies”. Their religious views are simply irrelevant to the science. As are mine. What matters IS the science full stop. Science works for ANYONE. Gravity pulls on black and white, gay and straight, male and female, and atheist and theist in exactly the same manner. Not because I SAY so, but because I can DEMONSTRATE so. Nullius in verbia, anyone?

Those theists who apart from their theism have a technically rational world view are our friends. While it’s a good idea not to piss off your friends, it’s also a good idea to have honest and reasonable disagreements. Friends don’t have to be homogenous. Not once have I seen PZ suggest that theists should shut up totally/be shot/ etc etc. All PZ wants is exactly what I want, an equal voice, and equal place at the table, and an opportunity to build a society on reason to the best of our abilities to do so. The people of whatever stripe who want to turn the world away from the ethical, political and above all scientific values of the Enlightenment are the one’s we must resist. No one else.

I know that most of this is pie in the sky, an ideal to be striven towards but never achieved or achievable. Humans are believing machines. We are never going to be without the Dembskis, the Johnsons, the Falwells. There will always be demagogues that seek to exploit our natural limitations and fears to further their own ends. There is only one force that can minimise their effect: education.

While the creationists are fighting a purely political “hearts and mind” battle we also have to fight one. Of course the science is relevant, Lenny doesn’t say differently. Like someone above mentioned the stack of papers that we’re dropped in front of Behe at Dover were a bloody good illustration of what a dishonest/naughty little ball sack the man was being. What Lenny is very correctly saying is that the science battle was fought over a century ago, “we” won. End of story. The evidence is in, the fat lady has sung, and everyone is now in the bar with a gin and tonic. THAT is what we need to communicate. Science is far from irrelevant, it’s our most potent weapon. All the spin, bluster, rhetoric and politicking we can muster is effectively equalled by that of the creationists, for they can do exactly the same. What we can do that they cannot is point to a huge mound of evidence and a proven track record of massive success. They don’t have this, not one tiny shred of it. Granted they have prejudice on their side, but we have things vastly more powerful like reason, evidence, openness, honesty. We also can appeal to the profit motive. Psychics and creationists find no oil and cure no cancers. We do. For all the ills that our use of science as technology has brought us, think of the good it has brought too.

What we need to do now is also win “hearts and minds”. Granted, the hearts and minds that matter, those of the scientists doing the work are already won. That’s because we care about little things like evidence. To expect the general public of any nation to be able to grasp, or even care about, the detail of science is highly patronising. It’s as if we are saying that if you don’t comprehend or get passionate about this stuff then you aren’t worth a dime. Now I KNOW no one is saying that, that’s why I said “it’s AS IF…”.

What we need to do is show that under our big tent ANYONE is welcome, and always has been. We need to show science works for anyone (and we have, but people are born and people die, it’s an ongoing job). We need a continuing process of demonstrating the power of reason by it’s use.

So tactics ARE important, again no one is saying they’re not. Endless rounds of “deluded theist” and “buttfucking atheist” don’t do the job. I have no problem standing beside Miller and saying “Despite our differences, on THIS we agree, the evidence is in” and especially as long as Miller is willing to do the same.

What theistic evolutionists should NOT do is shush the atheistic evolutionists behind the curtain and tell us to shut up. We need to vocally celebrate the VAST amount we have in common as opposed to the few details we don’t.

What atheistic evolutionists need to do is calmly debate the theism/atheism stuff as a very clearly seperate issue from the evolution/creationism pseudo-debate. Granted the theists of a certain stripe on the opposite team keep bringing up their chosen invisible buddy, but all we need to do is ask them how it is relevant. When they try the old atheist/materialist/communist/ reductionist bias bullpoopy, we whistle up our good chums from the theistic bench and vice versa.

Other than this, I am sick to death of all the strawmen flying about. Dudes, we NEED that straw. Donkeys like Dembski need something to feed on.

To paraphrase Bill Hicks (badly):

[In reference to creationists/IDCists]

I’ve never seen an issue so divisive. Some of my firends think these creationists are evil fucks. Some of my friends think they are annoying idiots.

Brothers, Sisters, can’t we all come together and agree that they’re annoying evil idiot fucks?

Louis

Comment #108695

Posted by jeffw on June 27, 2006 8:01 AM (e)

I can see how some theistic evolutionists would be upset by Dawkins’/PZ’s/my comments.

I can’t understand why they’re so upset with Dawkins. They make him out to be some satanic arch-angel of hell, but his writing always seems well-mannered and conciliatory to me. Maybe I’m reading the wrong stuff.

Comment #108696

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 8:10 AM (e)

That’s an interesting summary, Louis, and I agree with most of what you say. However, you miss the lesson of this thread.

As you noted, I did not say theists are stupid, let alone that they should be shot – I commented on a very poor article about Ron Numbers that associated religion with humanity, among other absurd gaffes. It’s basically an anti-atheist article, and I criticized it for that.

So look what happened: the political brigade led by arch-idiot Lenny decides that criticizing the bigotry of a theist is the same as saying all Christians are stupid, and oh, no…the precious support of the theists is imperiled. They rushed to slime the unrepentant atheist who would dare argue that being an atheist does not make you inhuman.

I expected that would happen.

PT tries so hard to avoid antagonizing the sensitive (and entirely hypothetical) flowers of Christianity that it has become another haven of anti-secular bigotry. Hey, we don’t make them ride in the back of the bus – we pretend they don’t exist and don’t let them get on the bus at all unless they hide the color of their opinions, and we’ll just make sure we’ve got a crowd of happy lily-white Christian folk front and center.

You want political? That’s political. Christians aren’t stupid. They can learn that atheists aren’t planning to rape their babies if they’re exposed to them, and I don’t think the sensible, intelligent ones are going to run off and join the creationists because people with different religious beliefs are in the same tent with them. The ones who do run away aren’t the ones we can persuade anyway. But the political mistake we make and that ninnies like Lenny promote is that the atheists are our terrible shame, they must be hidden away, and they must say only nice things about religious belief. The Lennies here work very, very hard to turn an asset into an embarrassment.

It’s going to be very interesting in the fall. Dawkins’ new book is going to be like a cannon fired into the apologists’ chicken house – there will be squawks and feathers flying everywhere. It’s going to be great fun.

Comment #108700

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 8:18 AM (e)

Dawkins is a threat because he is powerfully persuasive and so darned right. The only way to defeat him, as we see here in this thread, is to put words in his mouth that are false and will sufficiently antagonize the persuadable that they won’t read him.

It’s a POLITICAL fight, remember? That means we ignore the actual evidence and say whatever we feel like.

Comment #108701

Posted by Keith Douglas on June 27, 2006 8:43 AM (e)

Matt Young: Fair enough. I consider the matter closed.

Comment #108704

Posted by k.e. on June 27, 2006 8:57 AM (e)

Oooops

3rd person alert!

PZ said PZ asserts

geez bring on Chekov.

lemmme buy you guys another round.

BTW Frau dSS if you got this far UD is not ANTWHERE near as amusing PT even on a BAD day!!!

F.L. go frig yourself. And Carol PLEASE go have a long hot bath and DONN’T call.
\
Ding!
next round

Comment #108706

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 9:12 AM (e)

PZ, some people (a lot) call religious people stupid, others like you just substitute for “ignorant” or “irrational”. Not a world of difference, huh?
You want to watch exactly how do you invoke “the evidence”. Because you are so ill-mannered with religion, it does not seem to me you have any clarity at all that refuting intromissons of religion on science does not imply science can prove there is no god. You and Dawkins think there is “this inevitable clash” of religion and science. And now you go and say with a stiff face you’ve never mean to say that science disproves god??? Then why do you sneer at all religious people, even those who accept evolution? That is simply no good, and I don’t mean for merely political reasons.

Comment #108707

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 9:15 AM (e)

And “bright” Dawkins is silly, arrogant and wrong.

Comment #108708

Posted by k.e. on June 27, 2006 9:16 AM (e)

Bah! Chekov=Anton Chekhov ( a minimalist)
and more particularly his American counterpart
Raymond Carver
and his story about the fat guy who speaks about himself in the third person (the basis of which was a description by his waitress wife of her encounter with a customer).

Sorry to those living in a post literate age (NOT!)

Comment #108709

Posted by k.e. on June 27, 2006 9:22 AM (e)

Alexander Vargas what the Hell is wrong with you?

hi diddley ho there

Just because some really smart guys say “god” doesn’t exist. Or God doesn’t “exist” you get all hot and bothered.

What ever happened to “turn the other cheek”.

AND don’t moon me.

geez.

Comment #108710

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 9:27 AM (e)

k.e. wrote:

PZ said PZ asserts

Huh? Are you sober?

Alexander Vargas wrote:

And now you go and say with a stiff face you’ve never mean to say that science disproves god??? Then why do you sneer at all religious people, even those who accept evolution?

No, not that I never meant to say it – even stronger, I never said it. Science doesn’t disprove god. It can’t. There’s no testable hypothesis there.

I sneer at religion, which asserts that not only is there a valid hypothesis there, but that it has been demonstrated as truth.

DaveScot wrote:

Myers thinks Flank is harming the cause because Flank refuses to agree that theists need to be lined up and shot

Nice to see that Lenny and DaveScot are on exactly the same wavelength, with about the same level of honesty.

Comment #108711

Posted by jeffw on June 27, 2006 9:33 AM (e)

And “bright” Dawkins is silly, arrogant and wrong.

You may think he’s wrong, but “silly” and “arrogant” are adjectives that just don’t fit. They do apply well to creationists, ID’ers, and some religious folks, tho.

Dawkins is one of the finest science writers out there. Twenty years ago, The Blind Watchmaker got me into evolutionary & genetic programming, and I’m sure it was a big influence for many others as well.

Comment #108712

Posted by ben on June 27, 2006 9:35 AM (e)

Myers thinks Flank is harming the cause because Flank refuses to agree that theists need to be lined up and shot

Oh please. PZ never said to line them up first.

Comment #108713

Posted by k.e. on June 27, 2006 9:41 AM (e)

Bugger!!

PZ I misread PT tries so hard to avoid antagonizing the sensitive

as

PZ tries so hard to avoid antagonizing the sensitive

And yes Down Under it is 10:30 PM and I am NOT sober.

SO humble apologies sir.

I do not however, take back my reference to Chekhov or Carver (Berlinski might be reading this) , I do take back any literal connection with you (PZ) though.

Cheers. (snicker)

Comment #108715

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 9:45 AM (e)

You should have known I never try to avoid antagonizing the sensitive, so your interpretation made no sense.

Comment #108716

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 9:47 AM (e)

Religion may hold that god is “true”, but this does not imply an invasion contrary to science, nor does it justify your rabid behavior. I still think you are confused. For instance, you have said

“I do encourage people to question evolution. How else can you do science?”

There is no scientific option to evolution, only the supernatural. So I wonder how can you affirm that you expect them to question evolution. What scientific alternative do you have in mind?

Comment #108717

Posted by k.e. on June 27, 2006 9:52 AM (e)

Ah well, PZ of course, logically, but I’m only getting to know you.
Again Cheers.

Comment #108719

Posted by k.e. on June 27, 2006 9:57 AM (e)

Let me just correct you there Alexander.

invasion contrary = invasion country

please continue.

Comment #108725

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 10:04 AM (e)

Alexander Vargas,

Being ignorant is not a slur or a crime. I am ignorant of about a billion things I could name, and more billions of things I can’t name. I admit my ignorance, and I damned well try to change it in the limited time I have available to me. That’s what being a scientist is pretty much all about.

Being irrational is not a slur or a crime. “Irrational” in the TECHNICAL sense means “not based on reason” in rough shorthand. How many things do you and I do on a daily basis that aren’t based on closely worked empirical reason? Quite a few I imagine. Irrational in the COLLOQUIAL sense means something quite different, and I guess you and I are both that on occasion too.

No one is, or should be, singling any group out as particularly irrational or ignorant in any sense of the word. What we CAN do is demonstrate that certain ideas are less rational (technically) than others, and certain people hold these ideas. (Again neither crime nor slur). We can also demonstrate that certain people are ignorant of certain basic facts,pieces of evidence and data. Hell, I bet you could demonstrate my ignorance on several topics in about 30 seconds and vice versa. (Again neither crime nor slur).

We can demonstrate that certain ideas that are demonstrably less rational (technically) are prevalent in groups of people that are demonstrably ignorant of certain data. We can also demonstrate a correlation with certain religious beliefs. That expressedly DOES NOT mean that these religious beliefs automatically equal ignorance and irrationality (although in some cases they do). What we want to do is NOT condemn these people, or point and laugh or anything like it, we want to educate and enlighten them. Being wrong is not a bad thing. I do it on a daily basis, I’m sure you do too.

As Dawkins said, there are four types of people who deny evolutionary biology: the mistaken, the misled, the ignorant and the dishonest. Only the last one is derogatory or perjorative in any way. The first three are easily correctable by expose to the data. After all a baby is born ignorant of evolutionary biology (and a whole lot else) do you really think we are standing about pointing and laughing at babies because of their ignorance? I don’t expect people who have not encountered evolutionary biology in education to accept or understand it. I’m curious as to why anyone does. However, when they have encountered it, that’s a different matter.

Please read none of this as an insult, a slur or in anyway as a derogatory commentary on anyone’s religion. I could make those comments, but this is NOT one of them.

Cheers

Louis

Comment #108727

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 10:34 AM (e)

Well, you can try blaming ignorance for people that deny common descent in favor of special creation. But I think you don’t need to know that much of the evidence on evolution, to understand that invoking the participation of god does not add up to much of a scientific explanation. It is an appeal to the supernatural. I believe most people can realize that, easily.
So even if ignorance is not necessarily and insult, it is not cogent to invoke it, or in pilatus fashion state it “just happens to cluster within religion”. I don’t think it is the problem. The real problem is the false equation evolution=godlessnes, which is paradoxiclly agreed upon by extremists at both sides.

Comment #108730

Posted by GT(N)T on June 27, 2006 10:50 AM (e)

PZ:
“I do encourage people to question evolution. How else can you do science?”

Alexander Vargas:
“There is no scientific option to evolution, only the supernatural. So I wonder how can you affirm that you expect them to question evolution. What scientific alternative do you have in mind?”

You’re right, there is no scientific alternative to evolution. You can, however, question the details within the theory of evolution. Punctuated equilibrium? lots to question there. The role of stochastic processes? Lots of questions. The relationship between Neanderhals and modern man? Still a few questions unresolved.

Every answer raises new questions. Evolutionary theory has provided a mass of answers. The questions that remain are fascinating. Dr. Myers is right to encourage his students to question evolution. The answers they provide will only strengthen the theory.

Comment #108731

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 11:05 AM (e)

PZ,

Thanks for your comments. I don’t think I did miss your point about the “hiding” of atheists by theistic evolutionists, but perhaps I didn’t make my self clear.

I agree with you that this happens and that the apologists for mild-mannered “Clarke Kent” religion with his bumbling ways, cheeky smile and cowlick seem to forget that “Clarke Kent” religion sometimes takes off it’s trousers, puts it’s tight red pants on the outside of it’s nice blue shorts and becomes “Superman” religion that can sweep all in it’s path. The two “religions” are one and the same, you don’t get one without the other. Oh sure you do in specific individuals, but I mean in groups. By necessity there are going to be people at the other end of the secular-religious bell curve. No news to an evolutionary biologist!

I also agree with Sam Harris, Dawkins, Wolpert and Dennett (to name a few I have read recently) that this overwhelming apologism and tolerance of MODERATE (and harmless) religion by people does pave the way for tolerance of EXTREME (and harmful) religion.

The thing you, I, the theistic evolutionists on this board, the vast majority of theists across the planet have in common is not one of us wants EXTREME religion to take ahold. This also applies to extreme applications and adherence to other dogma like certain types of communism or facism. Again, as I know you know, what unites us is far more significant in every sense of the word than what divides us.

What has always amused me about religion is that it is so touchy. In a limited way, it’s a hobby. Not a particularly offensive one at that. I used to keep snakes (a fact that will no doubt warm Lenny’s heart). Most people recoil in horror at the very idea, at least in Europe where snakes are comparatively uncommon. My love of all things snake is akin in some limited ways to someone’s love of their religion. Granted this is only in a limited sense. I don’t get all defensive when someone has a pop at my snanke keeping, I don’t understand why someone would get so mortally offended at someone having a pop at their religion. After all, different strokes for different folks. And any religionists that think my analogy is bonkers, why are there so many different and mutually contradictory religions in the world, all claiming to have the truth?

Religion’s a social phenomenon, nothing more. And that doesn’t cheapen it one tiny bit. Why do I like snakes and why do some not? Why do I not have religious faith and why do some do? Well there’s more to it than simple preferences obviously. Conditioning, education, background, and quite probably genetics all play a role.

Like all social phenomena that are adhered to passionately by large groups, religion has a massive power. That power has been and is occasionally used for great good, it’s also used for great evil. So what? The same can be said of bath soap. This says nothing about religion per se. What DOES say something about it is the evidence. A different story for a different day perhaps, and certainly not germaine to the evolution of organsisms on earth, unless someone has some evidence….

…..and isn’t that where we came in?

Bill? Mike? Phil? Nobody?

Hmmm, I thought as much.

Louis

Comment #108733

Posted by normdoering on June 27, 2006 11:11 AM (e)

PZ Myers wrote:

Nice to see that Lenny and DaveScot are on exactly the same wavelength, with about the same level of honesty.

Lenny is becoming our DaveScot: An embarrassment to the site.

Comment #108734

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 11:36 AM (e)

For example, Louis, Dawkins is not a man that is ignorant about the facts of evolution. Yet he explicitly maintains that evolution implies godlessness and thus has contributed greatly to the problems we are currently facing.

Comment #108735

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 11:37 AM (e)

Alexander,

You and I both heartily agree that evolution=/=godlessness. Evolutionary biology, like all of science, has nothing to say on, and nothing to do with god or gods in general.

Specific gods with specified attributes and claimed properties that have empirically testable consequences are a different matter.

The only reason evolutionary biology is singled out by religious fanatics is because it neatly demolishes the core of the teleological argument for a deity. Which historically has been a lynchpin argument used by the religious. This expressedly does not mean that “evolution disproves god” or anything remotely like it.

Reason is the antithesis of faith however. Again, this does not mean people with faith cannot use reason or people of reason cannot have faith. Just that as epistemological methods they are the antithesis of one another. As we humans are want to do, we use what we have to hand at the time and fits the bill, i.e. a little of each. No great harm in that.

Science and religion are in conflict precisely because religion makes testable claims that science has tested and found to be not representative of reality. Since religion is at its core based on faith and science on reason, there is a fundamental tension set up. That tension is what underlies the evolution/creation pseudo-debate. Creationists don’t want to change their faith, and the evidence is not going to dissuade them very often because to them it’s not the evidence that matters, it’s the adherence to a percieved doctrine of faith. More moderate religious people are basing their outlook more on reason and evidence, and so own along the spectrum to atheists.

I have to say in all honesty that I find the use of reason by creationists starkly hypocritical, however. They deny it’s power but benefit fully from its use and products. Does one fly a plane based on faith alone? Or even just buy a second hand car on faith alone? I doubt very much that any religion is based on faith alone, but it certainly has no empirical evidence to support it. What it does have is reems of social and anecdotal evidence, which while they aren’t rational (technical, epistemological sense) certainly are rational (colloquial sense) and are certainly compelling for billions of people. I don’t see any value in deliberately insulting those people, but then I also see no value in hiding the facts away because some of those people find them uncomfortable.

One last word on offense. People often forget two things about offense. 1) Not everything that offends you (or me etc) is INTENDED to be offensive. Tolerance again is king. 2) The person offended rarely considers what offends the person who has offended them.

I was once told off by a Jehovah’s Witness who I normally invited in for a polite chat because when he came calling one morning he got a load of verbal abuse from my highly annoyed self as he stood at the front door (opened by my embarassed wife) and I sat on the couch eyes glued to the TV. He wasn’t to know that he had rung the doorbell in the 79th minute of normal time of the 2003 Rugby World Cup (a tense moment as any Englishman or Aussie will tell you), which mortally offended me because it disturbed, briefly, my concentration on this important game.

As I said, I was rather overexcited, and I believe I shouted “I don’t care if it’s the fucking Nobel committee come to give me the prize. Tell whichever inconsiderate wanker is at the door to fuck off!”. Obviously my candour offended him, and (luckily in the gap between extra time and normal time. Luckily for his kneecaps that is) he preceded to berate me. I pointedly explained to him that over our many conversations he knew I was an ardent rugby fan and England supporter. He also knew the rugby world cup final was on when he called. Had he ever considered that this might be important to me, and that his disturbing me at a crucial moment was highly inconsiderate and offensive?

He went away subdued.

Louis

Comment #108736

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 27, 2006 11:44 AM (e)

PZ’s still going on about this as if it were a matter of “rights”. He has a “right” to say what he wants, and apparently if Lenny or others disagree with PZ on PT, Pandasthumb is thereby “another haven of anti-secular bigotry.” Actually, it is such frothing that invited commenters to use their freedom of expression in the first place to dare to disagree with him.

By the way, Louis, “ignorant” today frequently connotes “stupidity”. Vargas isn’t too far off in his comments, if perhaps not dead-on.

I’ve noted that PZ was writing less hyperbolic statements than was Lenny on this thread, but I also mentioned who picked the fight. And PZ did not characterize the Lenny’s post that he quoted and linked entirely fairly:

Myers wrote:

I often see a related attitude in the comments at the Panda’s Thumb, too, and I’m beginning to find it wearing thin. The flip side of assuming a false virtue in religion is the denial of the power of science.

Lenny wrote:

Alas, much as I enjoy hearing about the latest scientific findings, I also recognize that they are, in the evolution/creation “debate”, utterly irrelevant. The “debate” simply isn’t about science. IDers weren’t won to ID because of science. And they won’t be won away from it by science, either.

The quote doesn’t support PZ’s opening volley upon Lenny’s statement. Lenny had put in modifiers which limited his claims about “science’s power” in the evolution/creation “debate”.

I think that Lenny minimizes the importance of science in these “debates”, as it happens, for although I know that there are many who will never accept science and its standards when these conflict with their religion, a number are at least somewhat open to it. Furthermore, we would have a much worse conflict on our hands if Dembski et al didn’t continually fail to deliver the goods, and if we didn’t point out that they have nothing. To some extent at least, I believe that we are keeping theists on our side with the science.

Nevertheless, in the dispute with PZ, Lenny did not deny the power of science in the general sense that PZ portrayed him as doing. PZ continues right after the Lenny quote to again exaggerate Lenny’s position that science is “irrelevant” (in the evolution/creation “debate”):

PZ Myers wrote:

There is a strong cultural aspect to this struggle that is independent of the facts, I won’t deny that. But calling the science “irrelevant” is throwing away the sharpest tool in our toolbox. We are going to win people to the side of science and reason by promoting, well, science and reason. Stop running away from it! Stop being ashamed of the fact that the evidence is on our side! We aren’t going to win by engaging in theological debates, or by getting the right legislation, or by winning court battles—the way to win is by taking the ignorant by the scruff of the neck and dragging them outside and showing them that yes, the sky is blue, water is wet, the planet is round, and the earth is old. The science must be the linchpin of our strategy. When we teach people to think, science wins.

Yes, I mostly agree with that. But what would suggest that Lenny is ashamed that the evidence is on our side, or that we’ll win by gaining the upper hand in theological debates?

As I said, I have never agreed with Lenny that science is irrelevant to the evolution/creation “debate”, but that is one thing, and PZ’s implications regarding Lenny are quite another. Which doesn’t exactly excuse Lenny’s hyperbolic retorts and suggestions that PZ is out to persecute, of course.

PZ Myers wrote:

But back to Ron Numbers and this annoying article. Here’s how the author wraps it up.

But Numbers is a realist, and he recognizes that the bigger problem for science is something that John Tyndall never considered: if it came down to an either-or scenario between science and religion, the ultimate loser may be our own humanity. For all its illuminating power, scientific knowledge rarely leads to absolute certainty, and few of us would be satisfied with strict facts alone to help us comprehend our existence. As Albert Einstein famously noted, “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” If, as scientists argue, accepting intelligent design is choosing blind faith, is the alternative something more than lameness? “The will to believe is so strong,” says Numbers, “that it can trump any empirical evidence.”

Yes, this is quite pathetic. Einstein didn’t have a religion per se (he was vaguely Spinozist, much more on the order of “spiritual” than religious), hence Numbers’ quote is out of context. What is more, turning to Einstein as the source of “facts” about religion is just another turn to authoritarianism, no matter who the “authority” is.

Beyond that, what is his point about absolute certainty? Why is it supposed to be necessary, and why shouldn’t people learn not to demand absolute certainty? Besides, why is science being caricatured as “strict facts alone,” when it encompasses almost the entire range of the human intellect? Spirituality itself is certainly compatible with science, while religion is the phenomenon that has a dicey relationshipo with science.

PZ Myers wrote:

Albert Einstein could be such an asshole.

Could he be? Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if he could be, but that is an amazingly violent reaction to Numbers’ quote-mining.

This is exactly why we exercize our freedom of speech to disagree with PZ’s overwrought pronouncements against the religious, and anyone who reacts with more a measured response toward the religious.

PZ Myers wrote:

Why should I, or anybody, accept such a silly assertion? Religion adds nothing to science, let alone sight.

You shouldn’t accept that statement (even in context it isn’t particularly profound or supportable, I’ll wager). Yet the statement, bare as it is, does not claim that religion adds something to science as science. I rather suspect that Einstein meant something like; science has to be guided in its use (he disagreed with certain uses of science), much as PZ gives as an “alternative” below:

PZ Myers wrote:

If he wanted to argue that we need to add ethics or social awareness to properly integrate the execution of science into culture, sure, I’d agree…but there’s a big difference between a proper perspective on societal issues and religion, and I find it extremely annoying that people so blithely and stupidly equate religion with morality and due regard for culture. Look way back at the beginning of this article; most scientists are operating sans religion, and to suggest that it’s only the ones indoctrinated into some religious dogma who are leading the way is (heh) arrogant.

And I know of no point at which Einstein said or implied that only those indoctrinated into religious dogma are able to lead the way.

PZ Myers wrote:

Of course, Einstein’s arrogance has nothing on the author’s, who believes that religion is the source of our humanity, and that we need absolute certainty to find satisfaction in life.

Einstein’s arrogance again. I’m not one who believes in St. Einstein, but I fail to see where Einstein’s platitude reveals any arrogance at all.

PZ Myers wrote:

If that’s the case, I gladly renounce humanity, if humanity means ignorance and the dumb acceptance of superstition.

Well, no doubt PZ is going to be offended again by somebody disagreeing with him, but to characterize religion as “ignorance and the dumb acceptance of superstition” attacks the intelligence of many on our side who don’t conform to that particular mischaracterization. Wes and Pim deserve better.

PZ Myers wrote:

I’ll happily embrace uncertainty, provisional truth, and a method that guarantees a lifelong search for new knowledge over the false certainty given by the liars for gods.

So will I.

Not all believers are liars for God, however. And people disagreeing with PZ on PT do not turn it into “another haven of anti-secular bigotry.”

Yes, Lenny should have responded more like I did now, rather than using glib retorts, hyperbolic remarks about PZ lining up the religious and shooting them, and his non-ignoring of PZ by repeated claims that he will ignore PZ’s “dick-waving”.

I am not about to concede PZ’s specific claims about Lenny, Einstein, or statements that PT is “another haven of anti-secular bigotry.” He needs to take responsibility for his own rash comments, and quit blaming others for reacting against them.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108737

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 11:45 AM (e)

Alexander,

Sorry but Dawkins does not equate evolutionary biology with atheism. What he actually said was that evolutionary biology allows one to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. He said this in specific reference to the argument from design (teleological argument), which as I said has historically been a powerful argument in favour of the existence of a deity.

Atheists prior to evolutionary biology had little or no explanation for the diversity and complexity of life around them. They had no mechanism and little data, and little to no coherent theoretical framework. Note that I did not say before Darwin, but before evolutionary biology.

The teleological argument was often used as a knock down argument against atheists. Honest atheists had to admit a certain degree of intellectual discomfort at this argument because they had nothing but vague rejoinders. However, with the advent of evolutionary biology, the teleological argument was shown to be flawed not only on philosophical grounds (which had been done before), but also on factual grounds. Here were mechanisms that could produce that diversity and complexity, and here was evidence to support the existence and operation of those mechanisms.

That’s what Dawkins explicitly means, and if read in context this is obvious, when he says that evolution permits one to be an intellectually fulilled atheist, and I agree with him. But I would go further, all branches of science permit one to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, for they close those gaps in our ignorance into which people often slot a stop-gap deity or supernatural explanation.

Louis

Comment #108738

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 27, 2006 11:47 AM (e)

Posted by normdoering on June 27, 2006 11:11 AM (e)

PZ Myers wrote:

Nice to see that Lenny and DaveScot are on exactly the same wavelength, with about the same level of honesty.

Lenny is becoming our DaveScot: An embarrassment to the site.

Bloody hell! Are you serious? If so, how?

You normally back up statements with evidence. What has changed?

Comment #108739

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 11:47 AM (e)

Alexander,

Sorry but Dawkins does not equate evolutionary biology with atheism. What he actually said was that evolutionary biology allows one to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. He said this in specific reference to the argument from design (teleological argument), which as I said has historically been a powerful argument in favour of the existence of a deity.

Atheists prior to evolutionary biology had little or no explanation for the diversity and complexity of life around them. They had no mechanism and little data, and little to no coherent theoretical framework. Note that I did not say before Darwin, but before evolutionary biology.

The teleological argument was often used as a knock down argument against atheists. Honest atheists had to admit a certain degree of intellectual discomfort at this argument because they had nothing but vague rejoinders. However, with the advent of evolutionary biology, the teleological argument was shown to be flawed not only on philosophical grounds (which had been done before), but also on factual grounds. Here were mechanisms that could produce that diversity and complexity, and here was evidence to support the existence and operation of those mechanisms.

That’s what Dawkins explicitly means, and if read in context this is obvious, when he says that evolution permits one to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, and I agree with him. But I would go further, all branches of science permit one to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, for they close those gaps in our ignorance into which people often slot a stop-gap deity or supernatural explanation.

Louis

Comment #108741

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 11:51 AM (e)

GT, I guess you realize that I say that evolution is a scientific fact, and that any alternative to common descent is unscientific. So when PZ presents himself as an eclectic chap that encourages to question evolution, I don’t think he really does. To question evolutionary mechanisms and specific topics is totally fine, necessary and exciting, and really, biology could use more of that (too many hard-headed leftovers of the ultradarwinian synthesis of the 50’s are out there) . I guess you understand the difference between the fact of common descent, and the discussion within full ackowledgment of this fact on the mechanisms of this descent with modification.

Comment #108743

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 11:58 AM (e)

Glen,

I think that the use of “ignorant” is entirely justified provided that one clearly defines how one is using it. The sense in which I used it still appears in the dictionary, and it is still used in this sense in modern parlance. I clearly stated what I meant by the use of that word, I clearly stated that I meant no insult by it’s use.

I think it’s a little uncharitable for people to pull a Humpty Dumpty and say “A word means precisely what I choose it to mean” despite having it quite clearly pointed out to them that, in the several available senses a word can be used in, it is expressedly not being used in the one they might otherwise think it is. While ignorant=stupid in some contexts, ignorant does not always=stupid. Given the average level of intellect here is VASTLY above average, I would expect that this is a simple concept to grasp for anyone.

And given that the word a) has the meaning I use it in, b) has expressedly not been used in a perjorative manner, and c) is a bog standard English word frequently used in that context, I am a little perturbed that anyone is so ready to see “enemies” or “insults” where none exist, and to resort to equivocatory nonsense in order to support this assumption of hostility and persecution. If anyone gets hostility or insult from anything I’ve written, then they were a) looking for it, and b) assuming it was there from the start and are damned well going to find it whether it is there or not.

Honestly, if we have to debase the language and bowdlerise ourselves because people can’t stand to be told there is stuff they don’t know then we are fucking well doomed.

Louis

Comment #108744

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 11:58 AM (e)

Louis, Dawkins lives in the 21st century. Its not like he lived through an era without scientifi explanatiosn on evolution and dawned into the next (hopefully, haha) He can step aside from history and realize that, well, atheism or theism doesn’t REALLY have nothing to do with evolution.

Comment #108745

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 12:04 PM (e)

and Dawkins certainly has said maaaany things in the lines leading to evolution=godlessnes, even though he may thereafter try to water down his nonsensical core messages by hanging a few disclaimers. That is just SO Dawkins. Remember his Necker’s cube?

Comment #108746

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 12:15 PM (e)

Alexander,

Yes he does live in the 21st century (although it was 20th when he made that remark) but that’s utterly irrelevant. He wasn’t talking about his experiences alone, he was discussing the historical relevance of evolutionary biology to atheist philosophy.

Like I said, the context of his comment is exceedingly relevant, and it clarifies his meaning absolutely. The canard about Dawkins claiming evolution implies atheism is nothing more than an urban myth based on silly quote mines. I know for a fact that he would be annoyed to be misrepresented in this way.

Louis

Comment #108747

Posted by George on June 27, 2006 12:16 PM (e)

As a theist, I agree with almost everything Louis has said so far. The most sensible posts here I think.

What I would disagree with is:

PZM wrote:

PT tries so hard to avoid antagonizing the sensitive (and entirely hypothetical) flowers of Christianity that it has become another haven of anti-secular bigotry.

Haven of anti-secular bigotry? Come on now. I don’t think martyrdom suits you.

PZM wrote:

But the political mistake we make and that ninnies like Lenny promote is that the atheists are our terrible shame, they must be hidden away, and they must say only nice things about religious belief. The Lennies here work very, very hard to turn an asset into an embarrassment.

Real exaggeration here again. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think the only need for caution on this front is to not confirm the creationist myth that evolution = atheism. Many lukewarm creationists who are creationists simply because everyone else around them is really believe this. There would be much less trouble about teaching evolution in schools if this myth were demolished. And to be honest, some utterances by Dawkins and others simply don’t help. I’m not saying “go hide behind a curtain”. I’m saying “don’t go streaking down Main Street.” There is a big difference, you have to agree.

PZM wrote:

It’s going to be very interesting in the fall. Dawkins’ new book is going to be like a cannon fired into the apologists’ chicken house — there will be squawks and feathers flying everywhere. It’s going to be great fun.

And this will help keep creationism out of schools how?

Now you should read all of the above in the context of evolution vs creationism. On the wider issue of how atheists are viewed in the US (which I think is what’s really fuelling the fires here), I’ll leave the debate over the best tactics to use to someone else.

Comment #108748

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 27, 2006 12:19 PM (e)

Louis wrote:

And given that the word a) has the meaning I use it in, b) has expressedly not been used in a perjorative manner, and

Yeah right. I documented where PZ did just that. You can deny it all you like, but this is a pejorative use of the word “ignorant”:

PZ Myers wrote:

Of course, Einstein’s arrogance has nothing on the author’s, who believes that religion is the source of our humanity, and that we need absolute certainty to find satisfaction in life. If that’s the case, I gladly renounce humanity, if humanity means ignorance and the dumb acceptance of superstition.

Learn how to spell “pejorative”, don’t use “expressedly” for “expressly”, and quit making false claims.

Yes, you can say whatever you want, but you ought to be called on your incompetent remarks.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108749

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 12:28 PM (e)

Sorry Glen, I thought we were referring to MY use of the word “ignorant”, after all you addressed me by name. My bad.

I do know how to spell pejorative, I must be having a mindfart, thanks for correcting me.

Fuck it! I appear to have mindfarted on expressly as well. Cheers on that one. Always happy for it to be pointed out when I’m wrong.

And erm, which false claims have I made?

Louis

Comment #108752

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 12:31 PM (e)

Louis, you are evidently deceiving yourself. It would not be necesary to look too far to find several staments of dawkins on how evolution realtes to godlessnes, and veeery few, if any, stating anything like “evolution does not imply there is no god”. I won’t look it up, anyone can. I just wish to make a call to sincerety.
Many get their minds a little clouded over their love for this Dawkins guy. You only have to side with Dawkins and a flock of religion-haters of all sorts will come to show their support. But not too many evolutionary biologists.

Comment #108753

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 12:31 PM (e)

Oh and P.S. I don’t read PZ’s use of “ignorant” there as anything other than the sense I used it in (i.e. lack of knowledge about something etc). However, I am happy to admit that YMMV.

IS that so difficult to understand?

Comment #108754

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 12:32 PM (e)

Wait a minute…you found a quote where someone is saying religion is the source of our humanity, and you call me to the carpet for pejoratively referring to religion as a superstition?

That’s just screwed up, man.

Comment #108755

Posted by Steviepinhead on June 27, 2006 12:33 PM (e)

I think we got up to somewhere in the 900s on some long thread or other, one that somehow involved Farfarfrombright, as best I recall.

But the last few hundred comments were getting pretty strained and silly.

Of course, the same might well be said of a fair few of the first several hundred comments here…

Which is no reason not to go for a record.

Maybe we could start nominating hunting parties: kinda like the missionaries and cannibals trying to get across the river (or foxes and geese, or however you learned it): you’d have to carefully sort out the party members to make sure that no one splinter group of hair-triggered hunters had a clear numerical advantage over the members of the other factions.

And, of course, the overlapping and cross-cutting alignments, alliances, and schisms just make the hunting party-composition game all the more comples (=fun).

Let’s see: does Lenny go into the same party as PZ, or should we split them up?

Nah, same group definitely, makes it much more interesting.

But I’m gonna go into whichever group gets Lenny’s Pizza Guy (I’m supposing that Lenny is gonna try to lure Pizza Woman into his group with the promise of plenty of Viking Piss, but Pizza Guy’s been around longer, and I value long-term performance when it comes to fast delivery of hunting-party essentials like piping-hot pizza…).

Hmmm, now where to put Carol?

Comment #108756

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 27, 2006 12:34 PM (e)

Sure, who really cares about that stuff by now? I don’t.

I just wish that PZ would understand that not all complaints are really attacks on his right to say what he wants.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108757

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on June 27, 2006 12:35 PM (e)

Flame wars at PT remind me of burning man.

Some people unprepared for the desert. They are found wandering around naked, baked red, and without water, when any self respecting desert rat would be out of the midday sun dressed in long sleeves, wearing a hat, and carrying water. Others though are prepared for a flame war. Burning man attracts people with strange views on religion, the comment section is filled with bizarre encounters and less we forget IDs role in these flame wars, space aliens always show up. Like Burning man, flame wars culminate in a grand explosion of fireworks and the ritual burning of the man.

Everyone then slowly packs up what’s left of their vocabulary, cognitive skills, and slowly wanders off. Going home sunburned, dehydrated, exhausted. It seems to be an exercise in venting and ritual more than anything else.

I hope you’ll return next year when PZ will wave his dead chicken, and Lenny’s karma will be abused. Along with various other participants who will join in the fray steering the thread into new and unexpected directions. Hopefully it never becomes an exercise in this.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #108758

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 27, 2006 12:35 PM (e)

Dawkins lives in the 21st century. Its not like he lived through an era without scientifi explanatiosn on evolution and dawned into the next (hopefully, haha) He can step aside from history and realize that, well, atheism or theism doesn’t REALLY have nothing to do with evolution.

Look, most atheists, including Dawkins, take a position that I will informally call ‘rationalist.’ That is, they want to have reasons based in facts for what they will accept as true, and they expect the same of others. Most moderate religionists here in the 21st century really don’t have reasons for believing in gods, in this loose rationalist sense. (Meaning, they have reasons, but not that relate to facts: unless you grant “I was raised Christian” or some such historical fact about the individual.)

So, it’s not what atheism or theism “have to do with” evolution, or scientific facts in general, it’s that everything “has to do” with one’s position re: theism. I mean this in the sense that, in the past, one could appeal to facts (the lack of facts, perhaps) as a reason why god(s) must exist. Otherwise, how can we possibly explain (X)? This state of intellectual affairs left atheists “unfulfilled.” They couldn’t answer that kind of question. Now we can, and so atheists can assert, “I see no (rational) reason to believe in god(s), and so I don’t.”

To construe this as ‘science has disproved the existence of god(s)’ you have to add a premise that I don’t think is there, that the rational stance tells us everything there is to know about consciousness, spirituality and the mystery of existence. I don’t believe that, and I don’t think Dawkins does either.

Comment #108759

Posted by Mats on June 27, 2006 12:39 PM (e)

For example, Louis, Dawkins is not a man that is ignorant about the facts of evolution. Yet he explicitly maintains that evolution implies godlessness and thus has contributed greatly to the problems we are currently facing.

..and we thank God for Richard’s honesty in saying the obvious. I wish other Darwinists would “come out” and reveal their true feelings.

————-
“Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” - Francis Crick

Comment #108760

Posted by Steviepinhead on June 27, 2006 12:44 PM (e)

Ummm, I appreciate the piping-hot and long-term performance accolades, I think.

But the boss–reliably profit-motivated in almost all circumstances as he is–does not allow us to deliver to, ahem, hunting parties.

Any more than we are allowed to deliver to known neighborhood meth houses, crack houses, or the like…

So, by all means have fun, bang away with vim and vigah, and all that, but PW and I can’t come out into the boonies and play with y’all this time around.

Needless to say (and, no, boss, you don’t need to keep tugging on my elbow, I do have a certain amount of profit motivation myself, low-tipping Lenny not to the contrary), we will continue to deliver all individual orders from PT regulars to their usual addresses–or any other “safe” address–with our usual alacrity.

Comment #108761

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 12:44 PM (e)

Alexander,

That’s nice, I bend over backwards to accomodate everyone, to be polite to you and all concerned and get told I am decieving myself. So apparently I am some intellectually subnormal irrational idiot because I have the temerity to disagree with your august self. Should I be offended?

Well I’m not, don’t worry. Unlike many here, I don’t see insult where none is intended, and I assume you intend none.

However, I challenge you to provide me with a quote in which Dawkins says that evolutionary biology relates to godlessness in anything other than the sense I mentioned above. I have read pretty much everything Dawkins has written, and to be honest I don’t remember such a comment. That might, I admit, be a product of my fallible memory, but I’d like you to demonstrate the link you claim exists. Thanks.

Also, could you provide some evidence that other evolutionary biologists somehow revile Dawkins and his work, that has not been my experience either at university or in my dealing with various evolutionary biologists the world over, when I have met them online or in person. Sure, there are some who do this, but by no means many or all. Again, only in my limited experience, I’ll happily bow to superior knowledge.

I have noticed how, like you say Dawkins tends to be a focus for some of the less than savoury people that claim to be both theists and atheists. I’ve also noticed his remarks are often taken massively out of context and assumed to have meanings they clearly (expressedly Glen ;-)) don’t have. Like this thread many readers bring their ideas to the table and inflict them on the unsuspecting words of the person they are arguing with. I have to say that if Dawkins DID say those things then I would cheerfully disagree with him. As far as I am aware he hasn’t said them, and I’d be happy to see evidence that he had.

Appeals to “we all know” etc don’t work. Oh and I’ve done a quick google or two and can find nothing of the sort, perhaps you know where these mythical quotes and comments exist.

Cheers

Louis

Comment #108763

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 12:52 PM (e)

George wrote:

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think the only need for caution on this front is to not confirm the creationist myth that evolution = atheism. Many lukewarm creationists who are creationists simply because everyone else around them is really believe this. There would be much less trouble about teaching evolution in schools if this myth were demolished.

Evolution and science are not necessary causes of atheism. However, any fool can look at the end result of an education in science and see that it does predispose individuals to abandon faith. At the very least, they end up with a much more liberal, less fundamentalist faith than those who don’t get that education. And it’s not because professors are proselytizing for atheism, but because they insist on critical and evidence-based thinking.

In other words, the myth can’t be demolished, because it is not a myth. It’s the way things are.

Rather than closing our eyes and ignoring reality, maybe it would be better if we worked to persuade people that abandoning religion isn’t so bad. Keep it if you want, lose it if you want, but theist and atheist can still be good people.

Why do you assume its OK for people to be bigots and fear freethought?

Comment #108764

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 27, 2006 12:54 PM (e)

PZ Myers wrote:

Wait a minute…you found a quote where someone is saying religion is the source of our humanity, and you call me to the carpet for pejoratively referring to religion as a superstition?

That’s just screwed up, man.

Well, that was a quote you found. And if the pejorative remarks were only aimed at Numbers, and not at religionists and religion in general (in order to counter Numbers with your version of what religion is) rather than to the true offenders, I’d not have had a problem with it.

Nothing wrong with being pejorative, but many religious folk don’t deserve as much as you give when you’re attacking it in the general sense (you can claim otherwise, but I am free to give my take on it as well). And Numbers’ quote-mining of Einstein (which Numbers used to prop up his comments about “religion and humanity”) didn’t call for the harsh comments about him.

What are you saying that you weren’t putting down religion? If the concern is that I didn’t fault Numbers, well, I in fact did, and would have gone further if you hadn’t already given him hell. I think his remarks were poor at best, while Einstein’s were probably platitudinous in context, but nothing worthy of the remark that he could “be an asshole”.

I made additions to your list of Numbers’ failings, in my first post on this thread, PZ. I just remark that you go too far, and that you are not made into a martyr by the give and take on PT.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108765

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 27, 2006 12:58 PM (e)

PZ Myers wrote:

Wait a minute…you found a quote where someone is saying religion is the source of our humanity, and you call me to the carpet for pejoratively referring to religion as a superstition?

That’s just screwed up, man.

Well, that was a quote you found, though it doesn’t say so as directly as you did above. And if the pejorative remarks were only aimed at Numbers, and not at religionists and religion in general (in order to counter Numbers with your version of what religion is) instead of to the true offenders, I’d not have had a problem with it.

Nothing wrong with being pejorative, but many religious folk don’t deserve as much as you give when you’re attacking it in the general sense (you can claim otherwise, but I am free to give my take on it as well). And Numbers’ quote-mining of Einstein (which Numbers used to prop up his comments about “religion and humanity”) didn’t call for the harsh comments about him.

What are you saying that you weren’t putting down religion? If the concern is that I didn’t fault Numbers, well, I in fact did, and would have gone further if you hadn’t already given him hell. I think his remarks were poor at best, while Einstein’s were probably platitudinous in context, but nothing worthy of the remark that he could “be an asshole”.

I made additions to your list of Numbers’ failings, in my first post on this thread, PZ. I just remark that you go too far, and that you are not made into a martyr by the give and take on PT.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108766

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on June 27, 2006 1:01 PM (e)

Yo, pinhead!

I’m a busy guy, so I don’t really care if you want to talk to yourself all day long. Knock yourself out…

But, as I’ve told you before, I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t take my name in vain in your imaginary conversations.

Now, I recognize that your comment # 108760 wasn’t actually posted under my name. But I get the distinct impression you were trying to comment using my “voice.”

I don’t usually get up on my high horse about it, but I do have a certain economic investment in my moniker, which–my lawyers assure me–amounts to a “natural” trademark.

And, as I think was made clear in the whole Far-Far foofarah, Panda’s Thumb will eventually take action to prevent multiple-identity postings (maybe that’s why you didn’t actually post under my name, but a casual reader would certainly get the impression that that was me talking).

I’m not complaining to the management at this point–in part because most of what you conjectures about my management forbidding us from making deliveries to obviously-dangerous locations happens to be true.

And I’m not convinced your occasional habit of posing as me is maliciously-motivated.

Yet. But, fair warning: don’t overdo the funny business.

Comment #108767

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 27, 2006 1:02 PM (e)

I’ve just been flipping through a couple of his books, looking for a ‘money quote’ other than the “intellectually fulfilled” one.

The best I can do is
“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bootom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” River ouut of Eden p.133.

This is in response to a priest, quoted in the newspaper as saying, regarding “the problem of evil” in the context of a story about a schoolbus that mysteriously crashed:

“…we do not know why there should be a God who lets these awful things happen. But the horror of the crash, to a Christian, confirms the fact that we live in a world of real values: positive and negative. If the universe were just electrons, there would be no problem of evil or suffering.”

Again, Dawkins just says that atheism is consistent with the world we observe, that there are no big mysteries that god, and only god, can clear up for us. I’m still not getting “science has disproved god” out of that.

Comment #108768

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on June 27, 2006 1:04 PM (e)

Posted by Steviepinhead on June 27, 2006 12:44 PM (e)

Ummm, I appreciate the piping-hot and long-term performance accolades, I think.

But the boss—reliably profit-motivated in almost all circumstances as he is—does not allow us to deliver to, ahem, hunting parties.

Any more than we are allowed to deliver to known neighborhood meth houses, crack houses, or the like…

So, by all means have fun, bang away with vim and vigah, and all that, but PW and I can’t come out into the boonies and play with y’all this time around.

Needless to say (and, no, boss, you don’t need to keep tugging on my elbow, I do have a certain amount of profit motivation myself, low-tipping Lenny not to the contrary), we will continue to deliver all individual orders from PT regulars to their usual addresses—or any other “safe” address—with our usual alacrity.

Has Steviepinhead inadvertently revealed his superhero alterego as Lenny’s Pizza Guy?!!!!!!!!!

Comment #108769

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on June 27, 2006 1:07 PM (e)

Or is he just channeling?

Comment #108773

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 1:14 PM (e)

I LOVE the commentary over at UD btw. They seem to be relishing in the conflict between Lenny and PZ. What they forget is that, in a fight between a lion and a tiger, it doesn’t matter if the lion wins or the tiger wins, the rabbit always loses!

Louis

Comment #108774

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 27, 2006 1:15 PM (e)

Sorry for going O-T, but has anyone else followed the track-back to UD?

Could anybody imagine that a thread such as this could exist over on that back-slapping site?

DaveScot, now try and convince people evolutionists (read science appreciators) are in some mouth-closing conspiracy.

Comment #108775

Posted by Steviepinhead on June 27, 2006 1:25 PM (e)

Uh, whoops! Lenny’s Pizza Guy is a hard-working young Florida business-person. I’m an evolution defender from Seattle. So, self-evidently, we can’t really be the same person…

So, first, my abject apologies to LPG. I was just trying to inject a little humor, and lend some semblance of reality to my proposed “hunting party composition game.” But, however entertaining LPG’s interactions with Lenny may be, that gives me no right to take a free ride on that entertainment value.

In retrospect, my “posing” as voice-of-Lenny’s Pizza Guy (even if I didn’t actually use his name on the post) was obviously improper. That my intent was non-malicious and “humorous” is plainly no excuse.

Though many of us commenters post under “screen names” for obvious reasons, our credibility is one of our strongest weapons against the IDiots. As LPG has properly reminded me, that credibility should be carefully cherished, and not lightly squandered.

Sorry, folks.

But, uh, how about that hunting party composition game, huh?

Comment #108778

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 27, 2006 1:34 PM (e)

O'Brien wrote:

Again, Dawkins just says that atheism is consistent with the world we observe, that there are no big mysteries that god, and only god, can clear up for us. I’m still not getting “science has disproved god” out of that.

What I fail to understand is how an appeal to god “cleared up” anything previously.

I can understand that, previous to the development of formal logic and scientific concepts, people might just take spirits or the gods to be “the causes” as a convenient explanation for what they saw–and from that develop religions.

What I don’t understand is any excuse for resort to the gods once reasonably good rules of evidence were worked out in the courts. After all, not even Renaissance courts were much inclined accept “Satan made me do it,” or “God specifically told me to do this.”

They knew very well that such claims were worthless, or at least most of the educated did. Atheists began appearing around this time, no doubt partly because they knew how to take the process to its logical conclusions (partly probably because for once there were some openings for expressions of doubt).

Also, the Age of Exploration demonstrated to the better educated that the claims of foreign religions could as easily be considered to be “true” as the claims of your own religion, based on logic and the evidence. To be sure, one could fall back to Deism (like IDists essentially do, formally), but that wasn’t very different from acknowledging that we don’t have all of the answers.

I just don’t see that evolution properly has the role that Dawkins ascribes to it. Laplace and many of the other French scientists and philosophes knew that they did not need the god hypothesis, despite the fact that life’s origins were not well understood then. What would they “need” that hypothesis for? Do they need a myth where their understanding fails?

Practically, of course, evolution’s triumph did tend to diminish religion. But that’s due to a fault in human understanding, whereby many will default to a cause that cannot be demonstrated whenever a gap in knowledge occurs. What does that have to do with “intellectual fulfillment,” though?

I don’t in the slightest believe that evolution is much responsible for anyone’s being an “intellectually fulfilled atheist.” Unknowns persist, especially in ultimate origins–cosmology. I realize that filling the gap in biological knowledge reduces anxiety, perhaps intellectual anxiety, yet shouldn’t a truly “intellectually fulfilled atheist” recognize that god was never the answer for any question?

I realize that I am not responding to your point, O’Brien, except for this: I do think that Dawkins overstates the meaning of evolution to atheism/theism. It isn’t scientific discovery that leaves god out as an explanation, it is the scientific attitude, the insistence upon evidence rather than a “leap of faith” for any thorough conclusions.

If one has the scientific attitude, then god is a failed hypothesis at best, no matter how many phenomena remain unexplained. If one does not have the scientific attitude, the belief that God “explains the gaps” will allow for theism/deism, etc. within their own minds This is because we still have gaps.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108779

Posted by Mats on June 27, 2006 1:36 PM (e)

Science is never the cause for atheism. And as for the “critical thinking”. I thought that “critical analysis” was the same as “creationism” ? Or is it creationism when the critical eye is upon Darwinism ?

Comment #108781

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 1:45 PM (e)

Glen,

I believe I explained why Dawkins’ comment was accurate above. Of course no one’s compelling you to agree with me!

Dawkins’ comment was framed in both a personal and historical manner, as is expressed by the context from which it is taken. He explains the personal “secular road to Damascus” journey he had when he began to understand evolutionary biology, and thus its personal significance to him. He also explains its importance as a factual (as opposed to merely philsophical) refutation of the teleological argument for the existence of a deity. As you correctly pointed out, many other people had explained that there were perfectly adequate logical refutations of teleological arguments for a deity. Evolutionary biology is one of many facets of science, and it’s important not to underestimate how important a facet, that neatly refuted specific claims made by prevalent religions.

Louis

Comment #108782

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

C’MON, Louis, good grief. Everyone knows that Dakwins wanst to come off as a hero of rationalism by fighting evil religion. You obviously deny the man’s essence. How about this?

“The more you understand the significance of evolution, the more you are pushed away from the agnostic position and towards atheism”
– Richard Dawkins, from The New Humanist, the Journal of the Rationalist Press Association, Vol 107 No 2

More pearls right here
http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/dawkins.htm

Comment #108784

Posted by Lou FCD on June 27, 2006 1:51 PM (e)

Glen Davidson wrote:

Yes, Lenny should have responded more like I did now, rather than using glib retorts, hyperbolic remarks about PZ lining up the religious and shooting them, and his non-ignoring of PZ by repeated claims that he will ignore PZ’s “dick-waving”.

But then, wouldn’t he cease to be, well,
Lenny?

I can’t imagine a world without Lenny.

There must be a Lenny, otherwise the world would be Lennyless.

If I were walking on a beach, and found a pizza, I could then deduce that there is a Pizza Guy, which wouldn’t make much sense without a Lenny.

If there were really no Lenny, then where did the pyramids come from?

I can feel Lenny in my heart, therefore Lenny exists.

I once heard about this guy whose pet pizza was trapped under a burning car, and the guy lifted the car up and saved the pizza. It must have been Lenny.

Lenny was not killed in the World Trade Center, so therefore Lenny must exist.

If there were no Lenny, what would be the point of My Dearest Dr. ClouserBot?

There is no way the bacterial flagellum could have evolved, therefore Lenny must exist.

Unless it could have evolved, in which case Lennydidit.

But the probability of the world existing without Lenny is vanishingly small, so Lenny must exist.

In fact, since Lenny exists, that probability approaches 1.

Who would wave Lenny’s dick if there were no Lenny?

Who would ignore anyone else waving their dick, if there were no Lenny?

I for one am glad we have Lenny. I love him just the way his is, too. In a purely platonic way, of course. Not that there’s anything wrong with loving Lenny in any other way. As long as it’s consentual.

Lou
Content free since 1701 BCE

Comment #108785

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 27, 2006 1:54 PM (e)

Science is never the cause for atheism. And as for the “critical thinking”. I thought that “critical analysis” was the same as “creationism” ? Or is it creationism when the critical eye is upon Darwinism ?

Oh, please. “Critical analysis” is the same as creationism when it’s harnessed to stale creationist talking points for the purpose of insinuating them into public school curricula.

Glen D, I take your point about the distinction between a scientific outlook in general and a given set of discoveries as far as “intellectual fulfillment.” But we expect that outlook to produce results, and when it does, when “gaps” close, decade after decade, the cumulative result grants a kind of justification of belief that no purely metaphysical stance can otherwise enjoy.

Comment #108786

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 27, 2006 2:00 PM (e)

Lou FCD wrote:

There must be a Lenny, otherwise the world would be Lennyless.

I am chastened, and bow to your wisdom. For I cannot refute the truths that you have related of Lenny, notably the awesomely-radiant doctrine written above.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108787

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 27, 2006 2:03 PM (e)

Agreed, CJ.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108789

Posted by George on June 27, 2006 2:09 PM (e)

PZ wrote:

Evolution and science are not necessary causes of atheism. However, any fool can look at the end result of an education in science and see that it does predispose individuals to abandon faith. At the very least, they end up with a much more liberal, less fundamentalist faith than those who don’t get that education. And it’s not because professors are proselytizing for atheism, but because they insist on critical and evidence-based thinking.

In other words, the myth can’t be demolished, because it is not a myth. It’s the way things are.

I’ve no problem with the first paragraph. A good education in science (and other subjects like history and geography that expose students to other cultures and ideas) will definitely wean students away from a fundamentalist faith. This is a good thing both for the progress of science and for society in general. But the second paragraph doesn’t follow from the first. Are you really saying that in your opinion if you accept the theory of evolution, you must be an atheist? That’s what I mean by evolution = atheism. That if you buy into one, you must also buy into the other? That is pure myth. As loads of people have pointed out, science cannot disprove God. Loads of lukewarm creationists I knew back home in Tennessee really believe that somewhere in the theory of evolution is a statement saying “Therefore, God does not exist.” That is the myth that must be demolished if creationism is ever to be really put to bed. (That or convert everyone to atheism, which is your preference I’m sure, but not realistic in the medium-term.)

PZ wrote:

Why do you assume its OK for people to be bigots and fear freethought?

You didn’t get very high marks in reading comprehension did you? Where did I say anything remotely like that? Are you really saying that all religious people are bigots and fear free thought? I would really like an answer to this one. I think your opinion of religion is formed almost entirely by the fundamentalist fringe. Understandable in today’s political climate, but still wrong.

Comment #108790

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on June 27, 2006 2:13 PM (e)

Lou FCD:

Who would wave Lenny’s dick if there were no Lenny?

Who would ignore anyone else waving their dick, if there were no Lenny?

I for one am glad we have Lenny. I love him just the way his is, too. In a purely platonic way, of course. Not that there’s anything wrong with loving Lenny in any other way. As long as it’s consentual.

What is this, pick-on-the-pizza-kid day?

If my manager see’s any more of this kind of stuff, Lenny’s gonna need a new pizza delivery service.

Now, maybe the lack of non-tips wouldn’t do much damage to my bottom line, but how’s depriving Lenny of high-quality hot-when-he-wants-it pizza gonna serve the forces of Evolution against the rascally ID-yots, huh?

Let’s leave the speculation about Lenny’s sexual proclivities to some other blog. Little kids–and pizza delivery managers–read this one.

(Although Pizza Woman could probably tell a few tales, she doesn’t talk out of school.)

Comment #108792

Posted by Lou FCD on June 27, 2006 2:24 PM (e)

Lenny's Pizza Guy wrote:

What is this, pick-on-the-pizza-kid day?

If my manager see’s any more of this kind of stuff, Lenny’s gonna need a new pizza delivery service.

Now, maybe the lack of non-tips wouldn’t do much damage to my bottom line, but how’s depriving Lenny of high-quality hot-when-he-wants-it pizza gonna serve the forces of Evolution against the rascally ID-yots, huh?

Let’s leave the speculation about Lenny’s sexual proclivities to some other blog. Little kids—and pizza delivery managers—read this one.

(Although Pizza Woman could probably tell a few tales, she doesn’t talk out of school.)

No offense to you or anyone else intended, LPG. I was simply waxing philos…phil…I was thinking about a world without Lenny, and I didn’t like what I saw.

Glen Davidson wrote:

I am chastened, and bow to your wisdom. For I cannot refute the truths that you have related of Lenny, notably the awesomely-radiant doctrine written above.

I knew you would. It’s very simple logic, really.

Comment #108793

Posted by George on June 27, 2006 2:25 PM (e)

Over on the other side…

A UD Toady wrote:

Makes me feel privileged to have Uncommon Descent. The contrast is amazing.

Comment by Atom — June 27, 2006 @ 11:36 am

Ah yes, what a contrast. A place where you can enjoy the “privilege” of being a sycophantic lickspittle with the absolute freedom to toe the party line.

If this were a UD thread, it would’ve vanished into the ether long ago and half the attempted posters would be banned.

Comment #108794

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 27, 2006 2:30 PM (e)

Yeah, screw you Dembski.
We’re just havin’ us some street theater.

Comment #108795

Posted by Lou FCD on June 27, 2006 2:31 PM (e)

george wrote:

I am chastened, and bow to your wisdom. For I cannot refute the truths that you have related of Lenny, notably the awesomely-radiant doctrine written above.

And after all our comments would be intelligent bold face remarks, like

How’s this for a toe to lick? You’re outta here, homo. -dt

Comment #108796

Posted by Louis on June 27, 2006 2:35 PM (e)

Alexander,

I am not denying that Dawkins is an ardent and outspoken atheist. He is. Nor am I arguing that he loves all religion. He doesn’t. Note that not liking religion very much and being an outspoken atheist does not equate to atheism=evolution or any such thing.

The whole quote, not just the sentence you like, is:

“I suspect the reason is that most people … have a residue of feeling that Darwinian evolution isn’t quite big enough to explain everything about life. All I can say as a biologist is that the feeling disappears progressively the more you read about and study what is known about life and evolution. I want to add one thing more. The more you understand the significance of evolution, the more you are pushed away from the agnostic position and towards atheism. Complex, statistically improbable things are by their nature more difficult to explain than simple, statistically probable things.”

Now given that, as Dawkins expresses with his comments about the best euphanism for atheist being non-theist (not anti-theist you’ll note), the definition of atheism he is clearly (and correctly using) is “one who lacks a belief in a god or gods”, I think this quote doesn’t mean quite what you appear to think it means. But like I say, I’m happy to be wrong.

An agnostic claims that the existence of god or gods is unknowable, that is what the word agnostic means, as Dawkins well knows. He even alludes to this in the full quote by mentioning complexity and the difficulty of explanation etc. What Dawkins is saying, IMO, is that evolutionary biology is pushing one away from thinking that the existence of god or gods is unknowable to thinking that the existence of god or gods is unknown. I think, like Glen, that this is too limited, and I would agree that Dawkins is singling out evolutionary biology here. Science, the methodology of science in particular, is the enemy of faith, and religion is the most obvious manifestation of faith.

Again, I see nothing in that quote that isn’t contained in the discussion of teleology above. I am happy to admit however that I can see how you might read it the way you did. I simply disagree that this is what Dawkins meant.

Cheers

Louis

Comment #108797

Posted by King Aardvark on June 27, 2006 2:57 PM (e)

Just doing my part to push the number of comments over 600…

But as long as I’m here, this thread reminds me of an annoying teacher I had in elementary school who hijacked our english classes to wage war on various prejudices: racism, sexism, anti-gay, etc. Her problem was she was on a witchhunt, finding enemies everywhere. She even went so far as to attack a great ally for equality as being racist: Star Trek. Her beef was with an early TNG episode where they visited a planet populated by black people with strange, seemingly barbaric customs. If she had paid attention for more than the 5 minutes it took for her blood to boil over in hatred, she would have realized that this was an anti-racism episode.

My point? To PZ and Lenny: when you’re on a crusade, try to not sack Constantinople on the way to Jerusalem.

Comment #108799

Posted by Scott on June 27, 2006 3:10 PM (e)

Good gracious! You kids are a mess.

Love,

Scott from UD

Comment #108801

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 27, 2006 3:14 PM (e)

PT tries so hard to avoid antagonizing the sensitive (and entirely hypothetical) flowers of Christianity that it has become another haven of anti-secular bigotry.

I’m gettin pretty sick of the contributors deciding they want to air their dirty laundry out on PT itself, rather than taking it to an OT rant on ATBC, where it belongs.

first Hurd, now Myers.

I guess Myers now considers PT the place where he can dump his more wearisome rants that would otherwise pollute his personal blog. So does Hurd.

grow the f*ck up.

both you AND Hurd.

and Lenny, you aren’t doing anybody any favors by continually pulling chains either.

Enough of this crap. Really.

You know it’s become wearisome when there is not one but TWO trackbacks to UD, and neither one has anything to do with the posted topic.

Your efforts to turn PT into a garbage bin are not commendable in any way. Pathetic, more like.

Comment #108806

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 27, 2006 3:35 PM (e)

Awwwww, C’mon Sir T-J. It has been quite good fun. As for…

Posted by Scott on June 27, 2006 03:10 PM (e)

Good gracious! You kids are a mess.

Love,

Scott from UD

Stick around Scott. Post some more. You will find you are far more free to post dissent here than at Uncommon Dissent.

Don’t expect people to stay polite though if you refuse to back-up what you say. Everyone is free to post their views here, not just backscratchers.

Comment #108809

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 27, 2006 3:43 PM (e)

Charles Darwin must be turning over in his grave at the caliber of intellect claiming to be his “friends”.

Comment #108810

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 27, 2006 3:44 PM (e)

Scott,

Street Theater!!! Street Theater!!!

btw, your vacuous comment (on UD) regarding PZ’s assertion to the effect that the science is on our side was singularly unimpressive.

Scott bootlicking at UD wrote:

PeeZee, do share how facts like:

- Digitally encoded information along the spine of the DNA molecule with all of it’s error protection safeguards, etc… etc…
- Irreducible cellular machinery with complex interlocking components assembled to accomplish a specific function
- The abrupt appearance of fully formed and distinct body plans and subsequent sudden bursts of biological novelty in the fossil record

…demonstrate that science is on the side of the Darwinian Materialist.

I’ll be waiting along with the chirping crickets.

I’ll chirp in, smart guy.
For starters, isn’t it interesting that all that “digitally encoded information” shows clearly the common heredity of all life forms?
Regarding your regurgitated Behe-speak, can you define “irreducible” for us? How about “complex”? Bonus points for explaining why we should not expect a mechanism like natural selection to “assemble” “components…to accomplish a specific function”?
Finally, what would a partially-formed, indistinct body plan look like?

(chirp chirp)

Comment #108812

Posted by Lou FCD on June 27, 2006 3:50 PM (e)

My Dearest Dr. ClouserBot wrote:

Charles Darwin must be turning over in his grave at the caliber of intellect claiming to be his “friends”.

Nah, too easy. It’s not sport when you set yourself up like that Carol.

Comment #108813

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 27, 2006 3:52 PM (e)

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 27, 2006 03:43 PM (e)

Charles Darwin must be turning over in his grave at the caliber of intellect claiming to be his “friends”.

Oh Carol. Please be a tad more specific. Despite some vitriol this thread is fairly amusing to read. Show me a creationist/ID site that allows arguments like this.

I seriously doubt that you can. Says a lot about the “conspiracy” theories so beloved of creationists.

So who exactly is most censorial?

Comment #108814

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 27, 2006 3:53 PM (e)

Sir TJ wrote:

I’m gettin pretty sick of the contributors deciding they want to air their dirty laundry out on PT itself, rather than taking it to an OT rant on ATBC, where it belongs.

first Hurd, now Myers.

I guess Myers now considers PT the place where he can dump his more wearisome rants that would otherwise pollute his personal blog. So does Hurd.

Not that I don’t generally agree with your post, but PZ did post the accusations on his blog first. I assume that Lenny could have met him there, but I don’t think he frequents Pharyngula.

As you say, though, it belongs more on AtBC than here.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #108815

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

C.J. O'Brien wrote:

Finally, what would a partially-formed, indistinct body plan look like?

Actually, there has been a lot of confusion in the past (OK, and still is) about which phyla some of the Cambrian fossils belong to – and the pre-Cambrian fauna are even more confusing. So we do know what some body plans shortly after their divergence from a common ancestor would look like, and they’re sort of like what we see in the fossil record. More analysis and more data usually helps resolve any ambiguity, of course.

Scott’s claim is the usual creationist argument from ignorance, coupled to bald assertion. “All body plans arose in the Cambrian!” is conflated to something analogous to “Every species appeared suddenly in the fossil record!”

Comment #108817

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 27, 2006 4:06 PM (e)

PZ,
Yes, I have yet to see a creationist say something coherent about the fossil record in general, much less about the Cambrian explosion.

I was sort of parodying the straw-man version of what we’d expect a “transitional” form to look like.

Comment #108818

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 4:13 PM (e)

PZ, you describe how in American society evolution helps atheism, to actually say that evolution=atheism is not a myth, but “the way things are”. If we manage to isolate ourselves from this specific american scenario of cultural war conflict, you will have to acknowledge that, philosophically, evolution=atheism is an aberration to both faith and science. When you try to overlook this by stating this is just “the way things are” you are being condescending to a false concept by invocating some sort of pessimistic “staunch realism”.This is just totally misleading. We must not conform to “they way things are” when these things simply should not be.

You’re basically playing into the artifacts of the specific history and society of America and can’t seem to pull away from it. Step aside and take some fresh air. The reason why you guys have this relation between evolution and religion, is because in first place even religious people in America want to feel they are backed up by science and reason. Exactly so: the veneration of rationalism (a persisting problem) was and still is a defaut condition of American society and this is what has confused religious Americans into arguing their beliefs are dictated by reason or scientifically demonstrable. So it is important to point out that this has not happened in other cultures. How many more people have abandoned Buddhism in japan because of evolution? I doubt buddhism ever had much need to disguise itself as a science. Religions posing as science is quite an American, XIXth century thing, think of the dispensationalist calculations, etc. So of course, here in America, dissapointment on the religious intromissions in science result is atheism, but it is a merely social-historic phenomenon. Not all religions are like this, others may have been like this but have painstakingly tried to adapt, like Catholicism for example.
So no man, evolution=atheism is by no means “just the way things are”.

Comment #108821

Posted by Mike Dunford on June 27, 2006 4:23 PM (e)

Alexander,

There is a difference between evolution predisposes people towards atheism and saying that evolution equals evolution. I don’t think that saying that evolution predisposes people towards atheism is entirely unreasonable. I don’t know if there are any studies that would support the assertion, but I think that a decent argument can be made that this is the case - and I think it’s definitely a point that’s worth discussing.

At the same time, I think that it is also entirely reasonable to point out, as PZ did, that evolution does not necessitate atheism. That is a myth that creationists love to use, and I think it can reasonably be called just that.

Comment #108822

Posted by David B. Benson on June 27, 2006 4:36 PM (e)

HO, HO, HO, HO, HO, HO, Hoo, HO, HAW, ho, sputter, gasp, snort! Wow! Giggle…

Comment #108823

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 4:44 PM (e)

Mike Dunford wrote:

There is a difference between evolution predisposes people towards atheism and saying that evolution equals evolution. I don’t think that saying that evolution predisposes people towards atheism is entirely unreasonable. I don’t know if there are any studies that would support the assertion, but I think that a decent argument can be made that this is the case - and I think it’s definitely a point that’s worth discussing.

We’ve got a strong correlation: more education, especially in the sciences –> greater likelihood of irreligiousness. We’ve got lots of personal accounts, too, that atheism and agnosticism arise out of increasing skepticism. I don’t think it’s just evolution, though, that predisposed people to freedom from faith.

One corollary to that, of course, is something that is going to screw up people’s misinterpretations of my stance something awful. If religion is important to you, the fear that sending your children off to get educated about science will lead to apostasy is a rational conclusion. Making the argument that religion is compatible with science is actually an irrational and unjustifiable interpretation of what creationists can actually see. When we simultaneously tell people that they should accept the facts of evolution because the logic and evidence are strong, and that they should ignore logic and evidence when we say the science doesn’t risk leading them away from religion, we’re undermining our own message.

It’s like when you were a kid, getting a shot. There were 1) doctors who’d say, “this isn’t going to hurt a bit,” and 2) doctors who’d say, “this is going to sting for a moment.” Doctor 1 was a lying SOB I’d never trust again. Doctor 2 was right, even if both of them were causing me the same amount of pain.

We should be honest. Science is going to make people question their beliefs, every time. Sometimes it’s going to sting. But it’s all OK, and contrary to some people, leaving faith behind doesn’t make you a bad person.

Comment #108825

Posted by Lurker on June 27, 2006 5:05 PM (e)

“If religion is important to you, the fear that sending your children off to get educated about science will lead to apostasy is a rational conclusion.”

Fear is hardly always rational and acting upon it hardly ever leads to rational conclusions. This is true especially of fear in the absence of knowledge. This is therefore the reason why we must promote compatibility of science and religion.

And Dr. PZ, correlation is not causation. No one has really knows the primary cause of irreligiousness of educated people in the sciences. One can surmise that it is an education, but then when we generalize to the other educated people in the non-sciences, we find trend doesn’t really hold. It could be a self-selective process in which religious people find other endeavours more important than natural sciences. Let’s not jump to premature conclusions.

Comment #108826

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 5:19 PM (e)

lurker wrote:

Fear is hardly always rational and acting upon it hardly ever leads to rational conclusions. This is true especially of fear in the absence of knowledge. This is therefore the reason why we must promote compatibility of science and religion.

We can state the situation without using the word “fear.” If you think A is important, and people who do X tend to believe in not-A, then it is rational to avoid X. I think secularism is important; people who get drawn into cults tend to reject secularism; it is rational for me to want to keep my kids away from cults.

Your conclusion doesn’t address the problem. If fear of what they don’t know is the problem we have to confront, and they are afraid their kids will become atheists, then we should let them get to know atheists. Get rid of the fear.

Science and religion are not compatible. Individuals can partition their beliefs – science in the lab, religion in the church – but they do not work together and cause major problems when you mix them up. As I said above, telling people lies is not the way to win them over to your side…at least not unless you’re willing to go whole hog and engage in wide scale, church-like indoctrination. I’m not.

Comment #108827

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 5:20 PM (e)

It’s going to sting only if you’re brought up in a religion that poses as rationalist. And instead of loving the way things are, so we can form bands, fight and insult, we should try untangling the ugly confusion. I sincerely don’t think evolution leads to atheism!!! It doesn’t depend on evolution, it depends on what does your religion think of evolution.Religious people can certainly realize that the best thing about religion is not thumping the table with literalist interpretations on the details of nature’s origin. And religious parents can tell their children evolution is real and cool, and really, they won’t drop out the faith about it. These are the messages that we must get through. Clash-enhancing attitudes like Pz’s (insults and constant sneering included, let’s not forget since he sounds so peaceful right now) are no help at all. They just reinforce the persistent lie evolution=golessness and spin the clash of religion and science into a self-fulfilled prophesy.
I don’t like metaphors as they can lead to passional distortion but I think that PZ is not the doctor saying “this will sting a bit” His angry attitudes are more in accord with a doctor that says “This will knock you out”.

Comment #108828

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 27, 2006 5:21 PM (e)

Posted by Uncommon Descent on June 27, 2006 12:51 PM

DaveScot beat me to the punch (see previous post). Just so you don’t have to wade through the 515 (and counting) comments on the Ron Numbers thread (if you must consult it, go here), here are some highlights. It is heavily edited, of course, but …

No surprise there then.

Comment #108830

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 5:32 PM (e)

“Individuals can partition their beliefs — science in the lab, religion in the church — but they do not work together and cause major problems when you mix them up”
Exactly, they do not intersect and a such can totally avoid bumping into each other. Thye only bump when you make the bad mix and isnist on it as crucial. This is why you are wrong whenare condescending with the notion that “evolution=atheism”, searching for ways of making it valid. This notion makes the bad mix of taking science, to prove a religious point. Not fair to science or religion.
By the way I’m glad that the guys of uncommon descent keep showing their usual troll behaviour of repeatedly pasting the same two paragraphs at the bottom of the page over and over again. It proves they are all about propaganda. No honest thinking there.

Comment #108831

Posted by Mike Dunford on June 27, 2006 5:35 PM (e)

I’m not sure that a basic education in scientific realities is all that big of a predisposing factor toward atheism. For most people, unfortunately, the scientific method and what actually goes on in science class are not very well linked.

A better case could be made for a link between graduate education in the sciences and atheism, but even there I think there is a bit of a chicken and egg question - is it the scientific method, with it’s semi-structured skepticism that predisposes people toward atheism, or are people who are already predisposed toward skepticism also predisposed toward going into the sciences?

Comment #108832

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 5:35 PM (e)

Alexander Vargas wrote:

I sincerely don’t think evolution leads to atheism!!! It doesn’t depend on evolution, it depends on what does your religion think of evolution.Religious people can certainly realize that the best thing about religion is not thumping the table with literalist interpretations on the details of nature’s origin. And religious parents can tell their children evolution is real and cool, and really, they won’t drop out the faith about it.

That’s touchingly naive. Remember, though, we’re dealing with religion that says a book is the word of God, and that is true of even liberal Christianity. And I think even with this optimistically open-minded religion you’re inventing, there are still going to be people like me, who thought their church was a nice place full of nice people, but when you got right down to it they could provide no rational reason I should believe in their god.

You’re reminding me of what someone else said, though:

Carl Sagan wrote:

How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant’? Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.

Isn’t it curious how the major religions can’t meet Sagan’s expectation, and that his ideal of a religion that focused on the real world hasn’t emerged*?

*No doubt because teaching a person about the magnificence of the universe makes god redundant, and those people tend to leave religion for agnosticism and atheism.

Comment #108833

Posted by Lou FCD on June 27, 2006 5:37 PM (e)

Ack,

My apologies to both george and glen for the cut and paste quote gaffe In this comment

The quote should have read

george wrote:

Ah yes, what a contrast. A place where you can enjoy the “privilege” of being a sycophantic lickspittle with the absolute freedom to toe the party line.

and my comment was:

And after all our comments would be intelligent bold face remarks, like

How’s this for a toe to lick? You’re outta here, homo. -dt

I’m sure you can all figure it out.

If not, then you can’t read, and then you’re illiterate. You’re still outta here you illiterate homo -dt

Comment #108834

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 5:40 PM (e)

Mike Dunford wrote:

A better case could be made for a link between graduate education in the sciences and atheism, but even there I think there is a bit of a chicken and egg question - is it the scientific method, with it’s semi-structured skepticism that predisposes people toward atheism, or are people who are already predisposed toward skepticism also predisposed toward going into the sciences?

But skepticism is the common link there, and skepticism is learned. Or are you suggesting that skepticism is a fixed property, and that all we’ll get with more science education is more credulous people who think they are scientists?

That would be depressing.

Comment #108835

Posted by Mike Dunford on June 27, 2006 5:50 PM (e)

PZ wrote:

But skepticism is the common link there, and skepticism is learned. Or are you suggesting that skepticism is a fixed property, and that all we’ll get with more science education is more credulous people who think they are scientists?

I’m suggesting (or perhaps hoping might be a better word) that improving science education will produce a public that is better informed about science, and understands enough science to be able to make informed decisions when faced with science-related policy issues. I’m not expecting most of them to major in the sciences or to become scientists.

When we are talking about people who are not involved in the sciences full-time, I’m not sure that they will spend enough time using the tools of science to learn all that much skepticism.

Comment #108836

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 27, 2006 5:57 PM (e)

Well, I’m only saying how things should be, what we should aim for, untangling things out. Call it naive, your way of thinking only perpetuates old chestmuts that should be dead, both to scientists and religious people and keeps us submerged is in a a dead-end situation.
And all this nonsense of science=skepticism is sooo silly I don’t even want to talk about it. Or to think there is no rational elements in religion (several of which science rarely cares to deal about). science=rational truth delivered on a silver platter , religion = mindless insistence on myths, yeah right blablabla
Such dichotomous thinking is quite boring, predictable, and repititive. As detestable as worn out TV ads. Not much challenging subtleness there, no smart solutions either. Totally unatractive. Just a perpetuation of the mindless war of sneers and insults until one of the two is dead. Let’s hope it will not be evolution, and that a more peaceful situation may be achieved, at least in some other part of the world.
I think I will leave it here for now

Comment #108837

Posted by George on June 27, 2006 6:00 PM (e)

Lou, it was brilliant as it was! I thought it was a dig at how anti-ID posts at UD often get mangled beyond recognition. Besides, I’m seriously considering joining the Reformed Church of Lenny…

Comment #108838

Posted by Lou FCD on June 27, 2006 6:02 PM (e)

Hey, I wonder at what point this one thread will pass the number of comments of the entire Uncommon Dipsticks blog.

We should have an office pool.

Takers? We could bet insults and cheap shots. A whole thread of insults that… oh wait.

Comment #108841

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 6:07 PM (e)

People, you may not have noticed, but the thread has taken a major upswing in seriousness. Don’t derail it.

And yes, that means no Lenny allowed.

Comment #108842

Posted by Lou FCD on June 27, 2006 6:08 PM (e)

Brilliant???? Brilliant????

In that case I take it back. I meant to post it exactly like I posted it.

I’m brilliant and you’re outta here, dipstick - dt

Comment #108843

Posted by Lou FCD on June 27, 2006 6:09 PM (e)

Aww. Sorry PZ. It was kinda hard to tell after 600 posts of nonsense.

See you in the funny papers.

Comment #108844

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 27, 2006 6:13 PM (e)

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 06:07 PM (e)

People, you may not have noticed, but the thread has taken a major upswing in seriousness. Don’t derail it.

And yes, that means no Lenny allowed.

Cheap shot!

Comment #108853

Posted by George on June 27, 2006 6:31 PM (e)

PZ wrote:

Science and religion are not compatible. Individuals can partition their beliefs — science in the lab, religion in the church — but they do not work together and cause major problems when you mix them up.

Now that I agree with. Science and religion are like apples and hammers- they’re made of completely different materials to be used for completely different purposes.

PZ wrote:

Alexander wrote:

I sincerely don’t think evolution leads to atheism!!! It doesn’t depend on evolution, it depends on what does your religion think of evolution.Religious people can certainly realize that the best thing about religion is not thumping the table with literalist interpretations on the details of nature’s origin. And religious parents can tell their children evolution is real and cool, and really, they won’t drop out the faith about it.

That’s touchingly naive. Remember, though, we’re dealing with religion that says a book is the word of God, and that is true of even liberal Christianity. And I think even with this optimistically open-minded religion you’re inventing, there are still going to be people like me, who thought their church was a nice place full of nice people, but when you got right down to it they could provide no rational reason I should believe in their god.

How is that naive? It happens every day. It happened with me. Certainly I believe the Bible is the word of God, but the word of God as understood and interpreted by people who make all sorts of mistakes, who lived in a completely different time and culture and who explained lots of things using stories and myths. The creation myth in Genesis is simply a myth. As I said before, you really need to understand that not all religious people are fundamentalists.

Example: I live in Ireland, where the vast majority of schools are run by the Catholic church. The course material and final exams for the equivalent of 9th and 12th grade are set by the state. This includes evolution. And the church-run schools teach it.

Religion =/= fundamentalism.

I know you understand this in a sort of superficial way, but most of what you’re saying shows that you really believe deep down the opposite. Science in general and evolution in particular is no threat to a large number of religious people.

And as for finding rational reasons to believe in God, that’s like trying to find a phillips-head golden delicious.

Comment #108858

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 6:41 PM (e)

George wrote:

As I said before, you really need to understand that not all religious people are fundamentalists.

As I’ve said before, I know. They still have to believe wacky things. Christians, for instance, will believe that Jesus was the son of God whose death saved the world. No problem, go ahead and believe that silly stuff, but it’s not rational.

You might also be shocked to hear that I’m all for religious education in the public schools here. I think a comparative world religions course for everyone would really help.

Of course, I think of it as comparable to an inoculation…

Comment #108859

Posted by Lurker on June 27, 2006 6:42 PM (e)

“Science and religion are not compatible. Individuals can partition their beliefs — science in the lab, religion in the church — but they do not work together and cause major problems when you mix them up.”

Yet, that is in of itself a method of reconciling science and religion. In your proposed form of NOMA, science and religion are as incompatible as orange and A-flat. We don’t coherently use sounds to represent colors, nor do we use colors to represent sounds. But they are not incompatible, in that we must have one sensation in the complete exclusion of the other.

“If fear of what they don’t know is the problem we have to confront, and they are afraid their kids will become atheists, then we should let them get to know atheists. Get rid of the fear.”

Fine with me. But I highly dislike the notion of introducing one novelty (atheism and atheists) by misrepresenting another (science). Your reality of science eroding religion is not provably necessary. What you are doing is hyping the fear of others. In particular, you are exploiting someone else’s fear of science to promote atheism. I find that this is undesirable both for atheism and science.

Comment #108861

Posted by Lurker on June 27, 2006 6:52 PM (e)

I’ll put this another way. There is another group who feeds on fear: the fundamentalist theists. Their fear is truly irrational. And what they like is something to keep that fear growing.

Unfortunately, their strategy works presently. Why? Because they currently hold more political power than the rational people in the world. If many moderate Christian theists are presently on the brink of fundamentalist irrationality and secular rationality, I would imagine that the best scenario those nut cases can hope for is another political storm that pushes people over to one side. Do you think fear of atheism will lead people to secular rationality?

Fear. It is a potent double-edged sword.

Comment #108863

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 7:00 PM (e)

That’s not NOMA. NOMA claims non-overlapping magisteria, that religion has some particular authority in a domain excluded from science. I say religion has no power at all, that in its benign forms it is a harmless superstition.

lurker wrote:

But I highly dislike the notion of introducing one novelty (atheism and atheists) by misrepresenting another (science). Your reality of science eroding religion is not provably necessary. What you are doing is hyping the fear of others. In particular, you are exploiting someone else’s fear of science to promote atheism. I find that this is undesirable both for atheism and science.

Science eroding religion is an empirical observation. It happens. You can argue about why it happens – I think it’s because learning science teaches people critical thinking, which makes religious beliefs difficult to hold – but hey, so what? The end result is the same.

I’m not suggesting that we promote atheism. It’s the other way around – I’m saying we need to get rid of the fear of atheists so we can promote science. People don’t need to convert to Judaism to learn that it’s OK for their daughter to marry a Jew, you know.

Comment #108864

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 7:07 PM (e)

Lurker wrote:

Do you think fear of atheism will lead people to secular rationality?

No, quite the opposite. So one of our goals should be to defuse that fear, removing one more barrier to achieving secular rationality.

Comment #108865

Posted by Lurker on June 27, 2006 7:23 PM (e)

“Science eroding religion is an empirical observation. It happens.”
Ah, but, science coexisting with religion is also an empirical observation. It also happens. We can disagree on how it happens (whether it is because of a general illiteracy of selective sciences, or because individuals actually _work_ at methods of reconciliation, or if they are just generally clueless about how untenable their theistic position is), but we should not discount those data points. Especially, we should not discount based on philosophical considerations such as religions being completely nonexplanatory that are not even universally shared.

“I’m not suggesting that we promote atheism. It’s the other way around — I’m saying we need to get rid of the fear of atheists so we can promote science.”

I agree we should reduce a fear of atheism. However, I think we can reasonably disagree on how best to get rid of the fear of atheists. I also think we can reasonably _agree_ that we should not hijack the promotion of science for a platform on atheism promotion *given the political climate*. In my view, I say we should not promote the concept that science *necessarily* leads to atheism as a means of reducing fear of atheism. No doubt you can try. But, I just think the resulting victory will be Pyrrhic.

Comment #108866

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 7:30 PM (e)

Oh, no…here we go again. I wish people wouldn’t project their strange ideas of what atheism means on me. Nowhere did I say that atheism is a necessary consequence of science education. I explicitly denied it.

If religions are not completely nonexplanatory, I wish someone could tell me one thing that they actually explain. And no, just making up an answer is not an explanation – if I could swallow that, I’d still believe in Santa Claus.

Comment #108867

Posted by jeffw on June 27, 2006 7:52 PM (e)

If religions are not completely nonexplanatory, I wish someone could tell me one thing that they actually explain.

Asking that question is like asking what new species explain. Religions explain, in a rather complex cryptic way, their own social environment. You will never win the battle against religion, at least not in your lifetime. It provides an important social and “spiritual” outlet for many millions of people and will be present hundreds of years from now, if not longer. The best you can hope for is to defang it, and I believe that is possible over time.

Comment #108868

Posted by Mike Dunford on June 27, 2006 8:11 PM (e)

I’m not sure that anyone could ever present you with a question that religion answers without “making things up.” That doesn’t mean that religion doesn’t present them with answers that they are comfortable with. Some people find religion to provide comfort in times of need. Other people think that type of comfort is a crutch. The value, when it comes to religion, is entirely in the eye of the beholder. Two people might look at exactly the same things, and come away with completely different feelings.

In my own case, I’m unable to describe myself as either an atheist or a firm agnostic because I have a very hard time accepting the idea that everything that is, was, or will be was the result of a gigantic cosmic accident, without any meaning other than the ones we provide. I can find absolutely no rational reason to believe that the universe is anything but an accident, yet the concept still leaves me feeling acutely uncomfortable. Perhaps that is just a sign of intellectual weakness on my part. Perhaps my ego is unable to accept that I am really that insignificant. I don’t know. I’m not even sure that my beliefs are firm enough to call religious. What I do know is that I am finding it impossible to be a “spiritually” (for lack of a better term) fulfilled atheist.

Comment #108869

Posted by Lurker on June 27, 2006 8:38 PM (e)

OK. So we agree that science education does not necessarily result in atheism. But then you write,

“If religions are not completely nonexplanatory, I wish someone could tell me one thing that they actually explain. And no, just making up an answer is not an explanation — if I could swallow that, I’d still believe in Santa Claus.”

I just don’t get how you plan to reduce fear of atheists/atheism with remarks like these: Science erodes religion. You as an atheist find religions to be completely nonexplanatory, unlike science. Further, according to you, acceptance of atheism is prerequisite to promoting science.

I think there are problems with this strategy of conditioning science acceptance on tolerance of philosophical viewpoints, especially those views that are opposed to the views of current majority and to the pervading political climate. It is simply confusing. If people observe science eroding religion, and there is a fear of eroded faiths leading to atheism, and atheists cannot accept any explanatory purpose to religion, then the solution is to get people to accept atheism?

Well, it is possible. I’ll admit it. But I don’t think it is likely. The word that comes to mind is: radical. History is full of radical ideas.

Comment #108870

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on June 27, 2006 8:41 PM (e)

HO, HO, HO, HO, HO, HO, Hoo, HO, HAW, ho, sputter, gasp, snort! Wow! Giggle…

Santa? Santa? Is that you?

Santa, I would like a new NIH grant, a new NSF grant, a new Professor Steve Steve stuffed toy, and a new keg tap.

I’ve not been in any fights, eaten all my vegetables, and tested all my hypotheses. My manuscripts have been neatly written, I’ve not faked any references, recycled old data, or misinterpreted others work. I’ve promptly answered all reviewers questions and made recommended changes to my manuscripts. Please bring me my gifts and see that my friends also get their hearts desire, whether it be world domination or a simple testable scientific hypothesis.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #108872

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 8:54 PM (e)

I do not consider atheism a prerequisite to promoting science. I’m saying it sure would help if people didn’t gawp and call for the smelling salts when they notice all those godless freethinkers roaming the halls of science.

I will say it always surprises me when people express shock that atheists see no explanatory power in religion. We’re atheists, remember? Do you think we’re all sitting around admiring the lovely religious edifice that we have no desire of entering?

Comment #108874

Posted by Lurker on June 27, 2006 9:18 PM (e)

“I’m saying it sure would help if people didn’t gawp and call for the smelling salts when they notice all those godless freethinkers roaming the halls of science.”

Yeah, so I just don’t know how you’re planning to accomplish this acceptance. As I said it is certainly possible, but I just don’t think it is necessary or likely. I find it as plausible as advocating that less atheists roam the godless halls of science…

Certainly, I don’t see how you do it without antagonizing theists at every step. Personally, I’d just rather divorce science promotion in the current political climate from discussions of minority philosophical viewpoints altogether. If I had my way, I’d prefer not having to discuss theistic acceptance of science – because it is really a bad distraction. However, I’m a pragmatist. If it helps to show how one may reconcile God with science so that morons can take it easy, then so be it. I could also talk about how Science takes God out of the picture. But, if doing so pisses people off so that I may lose research funding, or my life may be endangered, or that children will be subject to worse science education, then my pragmatism demands that I seek other talking points.

“I will say it always surprises me when people express shock that atheists see no explanatory power in religion. We’re atheists, remember? Do you think we’re all sitting around admiring the lovely religious edifice that we have no desire of entering?”

When atheists and theists both wonder why I am an atheist, I guess I must be doing something right =). Actually I see explanatory power in religion, just as I see how abstract art can be intellectually stimulating, or how raw fish might be tasty. I just have no preference for them. In the grand total of how much both theists and atheists _do not know_, they are both equally nonexplanatory. So whatever. I am fairly confident in my worldview not to require the complete decimation of other alternatives to adhere to it.

Comment #108875

Posted by Shinobi on June 27, 2006 9:21 PM (e)

George said:
Example: I live in Ireland, where the vast majority of schools are run by the Catholic church. The course material and final exams for the equivalent of 9th and 12th grade are set by the state. This includes evolution. And the church-run schools teach it.

I believe that earlier in the thread, PZ discussed the European model as the kind of model of scientific-religious co-existence that he preferred.

One of his quotes was:

Could it have something to do with having a secular society that sees religion as something completely inappropriate in a public school, that thinks only a nutcase would believe his personal beliefs about invisible phantasms trumps science?

PZ, you are aware that a large number of European countries - Poland, Italy, Ireland, among others - are significantly religious? That the majority of European citizens believe in some form of spiritual existence beyond the physical?

I would be curious to know if you have lived in Europe, for any length of time. I have, and George has, and I would say my experience of Europe was better described by George than your view.

Statements such as:
If religion is important to you, the fear that sending your children off to get educated about science will lead to apostasy is a rational conclusion.
are not supported by the evidence, as observed by myself (and George) that many religious schools in Europe (and Australia for that matter) also provide a comprehensive scientific education.

The people of Europe are, in the majority, religious, and in the majority, trust science to describe the physical world. There’s plenty of atheists around, and they generally don’t have to pretend to be otherwise, but they co-exist with religion rather than displacing it.

Comment #108877

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 9:26 PM (e)

No one is arguing for the complete decimation of other alternatives. If the frequency of the godless stays at 5-15%, it’s no problem…as long as the other 85-95% stop freaking out and assuming they are amoral monsters.

There’s short-term and long-term pragmatism. Staying silent may help now, for a little while…but if it feeds a growing bigotry, if it lets the others continue to assume and become more certain that the godless are amoral monsters, you aren’t doing us or yourself any favors.

Comment #108878

Posted by steve s on June 27, 2006 9:30 PM (e)

UD has now left three trackbacks to this thread. I think they’re just all shocked at what real debate looks like. Here, of course, is how the entire comment section would have looked on UD:

3 comments:

#1

Praise Jesus and pass the bible oops I mean the biologey textbook cuz Intelligent Jesus I mean Intelligent Design Theory has obvoisly obletetra uh oblatrrat uh oblitura uh ruined Darwinian Religion which is NOT SCIENCE it is a NEW AGE RELIGION and the high priests of Darwinianism Sternberg Anthony Flew Gallileo.

Comment by SomeEngineerWhoseFamilyThinksHe’sAKnowitallAsshole — June 27, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

#2

Jesus I love Jesus I dont’ undurstand why them sientistz ain’t accept that creationism ain’t abuot religon It’s about THE TRUTH and they don’t wanna see taht because they is all athiestses good night and GOD BLESS.

Comment by GodsWalkman — June 27, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

#3

You are too arrogant, and you’re going to turn off religious people.

I have a right to be arrogant. I read Scientific American. You’re banned. And comments are closed. -pzm

Comment by lflank — June 27, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

Comment #108881

Posted by Lurker on June 27, 2006 9:39 PM (e)

“There’s short-term and long-term pragmatism. Staying silent may help now, for a little while…but if it feeds a growing bigotry, if it lets the others continue to assume and become more certain that the godless are amoral monsters, you aren’t doing us or yourself any favors.”

Well, I am not advocating silence. I am advocating restraint, and less radicalism. My long term pragmatism is to side with the majority on interest that we both share. In this case it is science education, unadulterated by fundamentalist ideologies. I personally have placed the well being of the scientific enterprise above my political status as an atheist. For me, it is the one common ground on which I can relate to my other fellow man.

Comment #108882

Posted by PZ Myers on June 27, 2006 9:41 PM (e)

By comparison, European countries are godless paradises. As I just wrote, I am not suggesting we need to replace the religious, or even become a majority – we need to get to the point where atheism is seen as just another choice, and where, for instance, not being a member of a church doesn’t mean you can’t get elected to any public office.

I know that Europe has not eradicated religion, which is why I’m really baffled at how people interpret an admiration for the tolerance of a European society that does not strongly discriminate against the irreligious as a call for a pogrom to line up and shoot the Christians.

I’m afraid that in the US the idea that universities are places that are feared for their power to turn people into wicked, hedonistic atheists is real. I’ve had parents say as much to me. Private religious colleges that teach nothing but sectarian nonsense are rather popular.

Comment #108884

Posted by Shinobi on June 27, 2006 9:59 PM (e)

Staying silent may help now, for a little while…but if it feeds a growing bigotry, if it lets the others continue to assume and become more certain that the godless are amoral monsters, you aren’t doing us or yourself any favors.

But I’m not sure how your comments actually address this issue. That the godless are ‘amoral’ or not is a philosophical question that has little or no tie to science. And broadly criticising the arrogance of religion doesn’t strike me as a useful step in combatting this bigotry, considering that the people you are seeking to sway are religious in some way or another.

Comment #108885

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 27, 2006 10:02 PM (e)

a) Jack, if I only misremembered that you were a Republican Party “elected” hack then I am surprised at my ability for drunken recollection. I have run through my files and found that you were central in denying that PT should have supported Professor Mirecki. His physical abuse was the least of his injuries. You did send Emails related to this attack which cautioned aginst supporting Mirecki. You justified this by refering to your pending political hook-ups. These anti-Mirecki emails were cited by several PT contributers as reason to abandon Mirecki. You finally admitted that you had no valid information about this attack. Your anti Mirecki position was merely and totally political- you were personally afraid to oppose the Republican machine in Kansas.

Ed Bryton, and others refered to your “cautions” about Mirecki and you never demurred. Matt Brauer insisted that since PT had “inside information” from Krebs, we could not support Mirecki, and then he also wrote for non-PT readers that, “… we don’t have any inside information.” Scientists are only trusted until they are known to be liars. Sadly Brauer has lost this credibility. He has demonstrated a willingness to lie for political advantage. This obviously could extend to manuscripts, peer reviews of publication manuscripts and grant proposals. A liar is a liar. I could never believe anything pubished by Brauer.

b) I am glad that you claim you provided the direction for Pedro Irigonegaray. I’ll believe it when he acknowledges your inspiration and direction.

Comment #108886

Posted by Henry J on June 27, 2006 10:14 PM (e)

Re “Finally, what would a partially-formed, indistinct body plan look like?”

It’d have two half eyeballs, and two half-wings. Obviously. :)

Henry

Comment #108888

Posted by Shinboi on June 27, 2006 10:20 PM (e)

I know that Europe has not eradicated religion, which is why I’m really baffled at how people interpret an admiration for the tolerance of a European society that does not strongly discriminate against the irreligious

It’s probably because a fair number of the comments on these threads make value judgements on the validity of certain aspects of religious belief. In terms of evolution versus ID, this is more of an issue, and it’s certainly a good issue to discuss anyway, but if you’re trying to make atheists more accepted in the community, it’s not going to help. How do other groups that are victims of bigotry convince the greater community to stop their bigotry?

Comment #108893

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 27, 2006 10:28 PM (e)

3 comments:

#1

Praise Jesus and pass the bible oops I mean the biologey textbook cuz Intelligent Jesus I mean Intelligent Design Theory has obvoisly obletetra uh oblatrrat uh oblitura uh ruined Darwinian Religion which is NOT SCIENCE it is a NEW AGE RELIGION and the high priests of Darwinianism Sternberg Anthony Flew Gallileo.

Comment by SomeEngineerWhoseFamilyThinksHe’sAKnowitallAsshole —- June 27, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

#2

Jesus I love Jesus I dont’ undurstand why them sientistz ain’t accept that creationism ain’t abuot religon It’s about THE TRUTH and they don’t wanna see taht because they is all athiestses good night and GOD BLESS.

Comment by GodsWalkman —- June 27, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

#3

You are too arrogant, and you’re going to turn off religious people.

I have a right to be arrogant. I read Scientific American. You’re banned. And comments are closed. -pzm

Comment by lflank — June 27, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

Oh, my irony meter …. …. …… .

BWA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment #108898

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 27, 2006 10:45 PM (e)

People, you may not have noticed, but the thread has taken a major upswing in seriousness. Don’t derail it.

And yes, that means no Lenny allowed.

Cheap shot!

How is that a cheap shot when Lenny said that his intent here was derailment?

It seems that not only religion but even talking about religion undermines rationality.

Comment #108899

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 27, 2006 10:59 PM (e)

I’m gettin pretty sick of the contributors deciding they want to air their dirty laundry out on PT itself, rather than taking it to an OT rant on ATBC, where it belongs.

This was a legitimate post about the interview with Ron Numbers, intentionally derailed by Lenny. You should be more sick about never apologizing for your claim that PZ was being hyperbolic when in fact he simply quoted Lenny’s inanity.

Comment #108900

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 27, 2006 11:07 PM (e)

My point? To PZ and Lenny: when you’re on a crusade, try to not sack Constantinople on the way to Jerusalem.

This thread is an excellent example of the effectiveness of DI’s “controversy” strategy. Many people see a dispute and treat the disputants as equally valid or equally at fault, even when it should be obvious that one is creating a disturbance in order to prevent the other from being heard.

Comment #108901

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 27, 2006 11:15 PM (e)

I just wish that PZ would understand that not all complaints are really attacks on his right to say what he wants.

Poof! Your wish is granted, since that wasn’t the case in the first place.

Comment #108902

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 27, 2006 11:30 PM (e)

You only get angry about lies if you think they are believable.

Like so many of your statements, that’s a rather stupid one. Of course many of the lies here about PZ (including yours) are “believable”, but that doesn’t make them any less lies.

Comment #108905

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 27, 2006 11:37 PM (e)

Hijack?

Has half the population of PT had lobotomies recently? Yes, k.e., hijacked:

Well, I freely admit that my entire aim throughout this whole thread was to yank as many chains as possible and get all the dogs barking at once.

That accomplished three things: (1) it allowed me to flip the bird at PZ and thus return the favor, (2) it allowed everyone who wanted to, to jump all over me, get it all out of their systems, and leave everyone else alone in the meantime, and (3) it filled this whole thread with such ridiculousness (ridiculosity? ridiculanity?) that I’m betting it’s a long long long time before PZ or anyone else makes the attempt to pick a similar fight again.

Comment #108908

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 27, 2006 11:39 PM (e)

Posted by Popper’s Ghost on June 27, 2006 11:07 PM (e) …
This thread is an excellent example of the effectiveness of DI’s “controversy” strategy. Many people see a dispute and treat the disputants as equally valid or equally at fault, even when it should be obvious that one is creating a disturbance in order to prevent the other from being heard.

Oh bull shit! This thread has nothing what so ever to do with the interesting and active controversies in biology, or the other sciences. Contorversy is not a fault in science, it is the strenght of science. When IDiocy or other cretinism’s are presented they are logically and factually destroyed.

Comment #108909

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 27, 2006 11:46 PM (e)

Lenny, I love your wit and prose dude, but you were way out of line here.

PZM, You’re an intelligent man, you should have known where this was going.PZM, You’re an intelligent man, you should have known where this was going.

So he should have allowed himself to be bullied? What exactly should he have done, given this knowledge of “where this was going”? And when exactly should he have known this? Before he wrote his article? When B. Spitzer wrote “Lenny’s going to show up any minute to shrug at everybody”? Or when PZ wrote “Lenny is part of the problem”? Should he have not written that, despite the fact that he believes and, well, it’s true, because he should have known just how “out of line” Lenny would go?

So many lobotomies.

Comment #108910

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 27, 2006 11:48 PM (e)

Oh bull shit! This thread has nothing what so ever to do with the interesting and active controversies in biology, or the other sciences.

Gary, have you been drinking again? I referred to a strategy employed by both DI and by Lenny, a strategy that, indeed, has nothing to do with controversies in biology or science.

Sheesh.

Comment #108911

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 27, 2006 11:53 PM (e)

When IDiocy or other cretinism’s are presented they are logically and factually destroyed.

Yes, they are logically and factually destroyed, but that doesn’t mean that everyone stops giving them credence. Have you forgotten everything you wrote in response to Michael Balter and his talk of public debates?

Comment #108912

Posted by CJ O'Brien on June 28, 2006 12:00 AM (e)

Jeez, Gary.

I remember your outrage/flameout over Mirecki. I remember agreeing with you, for what it’s worth, but also sensing that the ‘official’ caution around here was about a little more than personal ass-covering.

I don’t know you, but I do know Jack Krebs (via the ether). Your vitriol is misplaced. Your continued fixation on the Mirecki incident, seemingly to the exclusion of all else, speaking as someone who, in the past, has been sympathetic to your views, makes you look a little unhinged right now.

Jack is very solidly on our side. Why do you feel the need to have it out with him in public, to the extent of calling him a liar?

Comment #108923

Posted by Louis on June 28, 2006 2:11 AM (e)

Good morning all,

It’s a bright British morning here in my lab. I see no one responded to the substance of my posts overnight. Ah well we can all hope for such anonymity!

PZ, gotta say it, you’re right on the money with this one. I see the straw has been cleared from the floor around you and people are noticing that what you want is eminently reasonable, i.e. tolerance of atheists/non-theists in public life and discourse, and not a secularist pogrom.

I wonder, by use of a not entirely perfectly apt analogy, what people would be saying if we were discussing the “hushing up” and “hiding behind the curtain” of…oooh let’s say black people, women, handicapped people or homosexuals? I can see the posts now:

“Look, for fuck’s sake, if you blacks/women/handicapped people/homosexuals stand up and announce clearly that you are what you are you’ll offend the huge number of KKK members/misogynists/disability bigots/homophobes that are out their. Those KKK members/misogynists/disability bigots/homophobes all understand that evolutionary biology is the best explanation for the diversity and development of organisms on earth. If you offend them you’ll defeat our purpose of successfully demolishing the REAL enemy, the creationsts.”.

Now before high horses are reached for I want to make it perfectly clear that in that analogy you could substitute “theist” OR “atheist” at any point in that analogy. I.e. “Look, for fuck’s sake, if you atheists stand up and….” or “Look, for fuck’s sake, if you theists stand up and…”. I am also expressedly NOT accusing anyone of, nor likening anyone to, the KKK, homophobes, misogynists, etc. I am merely making the point that this sort of justificaton is used by many different and vastly less savoury people than the erudite crowd here.

The point PZ is making excellently is that if we have to stick ANYONE behind a curtain or tell them to hush then we are promoting, at least by complicity if not by action, the prejudice against that person or group of people. That’s why, like I said before I, an atheist, will more than happily stand shoulder to shoulder with Ken Miller, a theist, and say “Despite the things we disagree on, on THIS we agree: the evidence is in, evolutionary biology is the best explanation we have for these phenomena.” if he will do the same, which I am certain he will should the opportunity ever arise.

Luckily, I live in PZ’s roughly secular Europe, granted in the UK which harks after the US a tad too much on occasion, so this prejudice against atheism is pretty non existant and is subsumed into the standard British prejudice against anyone who passionately expresses any firm conviction!

The science vs faith debate is germaine to the evolution vs creationism pseudo debate because the differing “sides” are using different methods. The science side have to show that the religion side are making claims which their evidence does not support and why.

This is why PZ is not saying science education=>atheism, because it doesn’t. Nor is PZ saying skepticism=>atheism. What PZ IS saying is that in an environment where evidence based thinking is paramount reason with by neccessity take precedence over faith, and thus a higher proportion of people in that environment will lose their faith in certain religious claims. The facts support this argument, it really AIN’T controversial.

Where people are getting this “there’s no practical reason in religion” or “there’s no practical faith in science” strawman bullshit from I don’t know. Or “atheists deserve an equal voice and not to be discriminated against for their lack of religious faith” somehow equates to “VE MUSSEN KILL ALL DER THEISTS UND VE MUST LINE ZEM UP AND SHOOT ZEM UND ZER LIDDLE KIDDIES AND BURN CHURCHES AND INFECT EVERYVUN VIZ EBOLA!!11!!one!!!”.

Try reading what’s there, not what you think is there. Cor, that almost sounds like a scientific principle!

Louis

Comment #108924

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 28, 2006 2:16 AM (e)

Well, I see alliances emerging with folks attacking or supporting other folks for no other reason than that they uttered a good or bad word about another member of one side or the other. Sort of like pre-World war I.

Next, one side’s favorite prince will be “assassinated”, that is, publicly humiliated, and the “shooting”, that is, never ending vitriolic attacks, will commence. And that will be the war to end all wars.

Anyone sensible ready to step in here and become alessed peacemaker? Elliott?

Comment #108925

Posted by dogmeat on June 28, 2006 2:49 AM (e)

I have a hard time with creationists claiming scientific “arrogance” when the entire concept of creationism is arrogant. An invisible man, in the sky, one we can’t comprehend, beyond all of our understanding, created us … but did so to create us as “lords and masters” of all other creation. Men are created to rule over women. We are created in “God’s” image, etc. etc. etc. et al ad nauseum.

I’m sorry, but traditional religions are the height of arrogance. For two thousand years they’ve wiped one another our because their enemy’s invisible man in the sky isn’t “quite right.” Jews, Christians, and Muslims trace their roots to the same bullshyte collection of patriarchal documents created 3000 years ago to dominate people and force them to procreate, produce, and be fruitful, within limitations.

My question remains for the religious … if God can do all, he/she can do ANYTHING … can he/she create a rock that he/she can’t lift?

Comment #108926

Posted by Louis on June 28, 2006 2:50 AM (e)

P.S. By the way, I should make the point that Lenny and others are also making a very excellent point. Specifically that of “abuse rarely wins anyone over”. We have to be very careful that we are clear about the meanings of certain words we are using so that we don’t distract from our points by pissing people off, whether or not those people are right to be pissed off.

Good tactics that.

P.P.S. Clouser, as someone I have no compunction pissing off, do stop gleefully rubbing your hands over what is nothing more than a tiny spat. When we have no silly creationists and literalists (in whatever langauge) available to bounce about the bar can get a little rowdy. I personally think it’s all the people drinking Stella Artois, after all it is known colloquially as “wifebeater” in the UK. An unpleasantly accurate sobriquet for a vile lager.

Comment #108928

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 28, 2006 4:40 AM (e)

Yes, they are logically and factually destroyed, but that doesn’t mean that everyone stops giving them credence. Have you forgotten everything you wrote in response to Michael Balter and his talk of public debates?

Did you fail to understand every thing I wrote re: Balter?

The problem is not the factual basis of the argument, it is the venue and presentation.

Scheesch. Why bother?

Comment #108930

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 28, 2006 5:42 AM (e)

CJ O’Brien on June 28, 2006 12:00 AM (e)

Jeez, Gary.

I remember your outrage/flameout over Mirecki. I remember agreeing with you, for what it’s worth, but also sensing that the ‘official’ caution around here was about a little more than personal ass-covering.

I don’t know you, but I do know Jack Krebs (via the ether). Your vitriol is misplaced. Your continued fixation on the “Mirecki incident, seemingly to the exclusion of all else, speaking as someone who, in the past, has been sympathetic to your views, makes you look a little unhinged right now.

Jack is very solidly on our side. Why do you feel the need to have it out with him in public, to the extent of calling him a liar?

Dandy. Mirecki was beat-up. So what? Right? Hell, people are being killed because of Republican fascists, why sweat one sissy academic slapped around? But, this was just a prelude. Plus, there was nearly a month of emails over the Mirecki case that you don’t know about. As a scientist, I have a very rigid view of truth telling- you tell the truth, or you don’t. Jack pointed out that I had made one error- he was not a party County Chairman. I was wrong in that instance, and I apologize. If anyone missed it, I was wrong. I apologize. Jack was not an elected Republican Party officer. I should have read a few years of archived emails.

Jack did wave the PT list away from supporting Mirecki and cited some pending political meetings as justification for his personal avoidance posting to PT abut the case. At other times he cited being a loyal Republican Party member and conservative when we discussed the left/right-theist/atheist aspect of creationism issues. Hey, if Jack has joined with a few rational former Republicans in Kansas, I say Hurray! That still won’t mean that I can now trust him on any significant issue- ie. science. I recall that Jack recieved a BA in anthropology and is a high school teacher. Fine. He at least has a personal understanding of what real teaching is about. This is also largely missing in the PT line up. But again, based on my personal experience, I would not trust him any more than say John Baumgardner, or Ken Hamm. At that, I think better of Jack than Tim Sandefur, a legalist anti-environment, anti-science whore. The “pacific legal foundation” really belongs in the DI, or in hell.

Frankly, my wife and I are planning to get out of the USA as soon as possible.

Comment #108944

Posted by Louis on June 28, 2006 6:45 AM (e)

Gary,

I’m sure all this bile is due to somethings I am unaware of, but is it all really necessary?

Care to enlighten us unenlightened many? I followed the Mirecki story on PT, and I know there were some behind the scenes wranglings. But what the hell is going on? Given the standards of “debate” in this thread and the talking past one another and the deliberate strawmen, I can only assume that the wranglings were of similar “quality”.

Louis

Comment #108950

Posted by Lurker on June 28, 2006 7:18 AM (e)

“The point PZ is making excellently is that if we have to stick ANYONE behind a curtain or tell them to hush then we are promoting, at least by complicity if not by action, the prejudice against that person or group of people.”

I find that this is the gigantic strawman, constructed by the hardline atheists, that has the potential to distract from promoting good science. I doubt anyone is telling the atheists to hide behind a curtain in _all_ circumstances. A request for moderation in a politically sensitive topic has somehow turned into an active agendae to censor atheists everywhere? I don’t think so.

Still, atheists have this insatiable need to coopt science agendae for the sake of promoting atheism. When atheists feel the need to use science as a currency for selling their atheism, when atheists feel the need to have their atheism accepted _before_ their science can be, you get exactly the sort of reaction that you see in the ID movement. Namely, you have idiots trying to filter out science with objectionable philosophical implications, as promoted by atheists, and a general backlash against atheistic scientists. This is an undesirable outcome, the sort of outcome as, say, when Phelps and his cronies go to military funerals to lambast homosexuals, or Ann Coulter picks on 9/11 victims to lambast libealism. For each cause, there is simply an inappropriate forum.

I don’t understand why it is so hard for the hardline atheists to discuss the science in the absence of any reference to atheism? Nor do I understand why there are so little other fora for atheists to promote atheism. Seriously, now. Everytime I visit a blog, I find the science ones to be jam packed with vocal atheists. Is there really nothing else going for atheism than science? How about moral issues? political issues? cultural issues? other non-science intellectual issues?

Comment #108971

Posted by PZ Myers on June 28, 2006 7:59 AM (e)

Lurker wrote:

Still, atheists have this insatiable need to coopt science agendae for the sake of promoting atheism.

I don’t suppose there’s any point to saying it again, since it doesn’t seem to sink in, but no…none of this is about coopting science to promote atheism. It’s about getting people to overcome their revulsion at atheism so we can promote science.

Why do we need to do that? You’ve noticed it yourself.

Lurker wrote:

Everytime I visit a blog, I find the science ones to be jam packed with vocal atheists.

That’s not entirely true (Rob Knop, for instance, is a religious scientist with a blog), but it is the case that you’ll find huge numbers of agnostics and atheists among scientists, and relatively few members of the kinds of religions creationists favor. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just the way things are.

What is wrong is the inappropriate comparisons you make. The atheists are not telling people they’re going to hell for being gay, or that they need to conquer countries and convert them to godlessness. You say there is a backlash, but there is no justifiable reason for a backlash, other than that some people are bigots who want an excuse to hate.

Comment #108972

Posted by k.e. on June 28, 2006 8:25 AM (e)

Hmmm, there is a new Myth here, in it’s making.

Narcissus.

Live and let die, for thou may end the trail on a broken old horse charging windmills à la the quixotic Dembski.

By all means state what can be proved and express deeply held personal beliefs while at the same time not discounting others beliefs. They are after all, just beliefs.

Any rational person who is not purely objective ( which unfortunately will only lead to a totalitarian world where subjectivity is a worthless currency ) must allow for relative measuring of values.

In other words.

In heaven, all the interesting people are missing. Friedrich Nietzsche

Comment #108975

Posted by Louis on June 28, 2006 9:16 AM (e)

Lurker,

Mmm nice, quote someone out of context and accuse THEM of the strawman, then for extra brownie points, disappear up a rat hole of your own making whilst ignoring what was actually said by anyone. Good show! Way to raise the bar.

Since we are discussing the evolution vs creationism pseudo-debate, and the relevance of the atheism vs theism debate, and since PZ’s original post is about the fact that the Numbers article (and many like it) are overtly pandering to theist sensibilities, I think it’s perfectly relevant to bring it all up. Of course you are free to disagree.

Note that I never said anything about cesnoring all atheists everywhere, that has come only out of your own mind. Again, way to raise that bar.

Perhaps you don’t know that atheism is the lack of belief in god or gods, not the belief of lack in god or gods. Lack of belief =/= belief of lack. There IS a subset of atheists who go so far as to BELIEVE that no god or gods exist, but I for one don’t go so far. I, and other atheists, merely say that there has been no reliable, reproducible evidence to suggest that a god or gods exist, therefore we take the position that this claim remains unproven. Nothing more.

The agnostic position is simply the belief that we CANNOT know if a god or gods exist, which is a different thing altogether. Of course there are many subtleties in these descriptions that a brief description can’t encompass, but I hope you’ll get my drift.

As for coopting science to promote atheism, well atheism, like science is based on rational, evidence based thinking at it’s very core. The methodology of science and the epistemology of science when applied to religious claims shows the vast majority of those religious claims (especially what might be considered the “supernatural” ones) to have no basis in demonstrable fact. Now you and I both know we could have a long, ultimately pointless argument about not being alble to measure the supernatural using science etc, but that’s not the point. The atheist, like the scientist, like the skeptic, when faced with a claim says “Where’s the evidence and how good is it?”. Since we are discussing an evidence based debate, it is this aspect of atheism on which we are concentrating.

Like PZ has said several times, which hasn’t sunk in it would appear, science and atheism are not necessarily causally related. They CAN be causally related in certain individuals, but this is not NECESSARY. Please read what people are REALLY saying, NOT what you THINK they are saying.

As for atheists and morals, cultural issues, political issues etc, what the fuck do you think the creationism vs evolution pseudodebate is? It sure as shit isn’t about the science, the science was settled long ago. It’s our most potent weapon precisely BECAUSE it isn’t in doubt and is so established. The creationism vs evolution pseudodebate is entirely political, moral and cultural. If only because we as members of the evidence based community (be we theist or atheist) should be very vocal about people who lie to support their agendas (creationists), who are trying to dominate a pluralistic culture with their false claims (creationists), and who are trying to do this by usurping the political mechanisms of their nations (creationists).

Moderation is not the problem, no one has said anything immoderate. That some people don’t like the fact that others don’t share their beliefs is a moot point. The point being that science works for anyone, like I said above. These people will only stop being “politically sensitive” to atheists if they meet them and find out, hey, we’re good people too!

I would enjoy it very much if you re-read your own post again, this time substituting the word “atheist” for the word “black” or “woman” or “christian”.

Cheers

Louis

Comment #108976

Posted by k.e. on June 28, 2006 9:26 AM (e)

Of course you are free to disagree.

Too easy Louis, tell that to the Americans who were chopped down by their own countrymen because they wanted to to join British General and colonial governor Charles Cornwallis while he was chasing the Continentals.

War is just a game, Louis, if you die, you were too trusting.

Comment #108977

Posted by Lurker on June 28, 2006 9:52 AM (e)

“It’s about getting people to overcome their revulsion at atheism so we can promote science.”

I think the link between revulsion at atheism and science promotion is tenuous. For me, it’s like arguing that Americans have to work on the international revulsion towards American policies in order for us to promote any scientific discoveries. There’s nothing inherently atheistic or American about the current state of science. People get it. I just don’t see the need for a case to be made that modern science is predominatly done by atheists or in America. There are likely multiple factors that have led up to this current demographics, but the final makeup is not necessary. People get it.

So, I think you honestly have to believe that theists of any stripe have an irrational aversion to anything an atheist does or says. If that were the case, then the only possible solutions I guess are radical ones. You can’t kill them all. So you’re left jabbing them with pointed sticks. All of them. I guess it could work. Maybe some will decide that they don’t want to be jabbed any longer.

“What is wrong is the inappropriate comparisons you make. The atheists are not telling people they’re going to hell for being gay, or that they need to conquer countries and convert them to godlessness. You say there is a backlash, but there is no justifiable reason for a backlash, other than that some people are bigots who want an excuse to hate.”

Backlashes, as political phenomena, require no rational reasons. The backlash against the Japanese-born Americans during WWII was irrational. The backlash against gays for seeking marriage accomodations is also irrational.

My comparisons are a bit of hyperbole, but they are apt in so far as that atheists who use charged words to elicit irrational responses should be told to stop. There is a difference between constructive dialogue on controversial subjects and offensive screeds that serve only to inflame. In the end Coulter and Phelps used only words. But, words are effective given the right audience. So what is the hardline atheist’s audience supposed to be? Theists? or other hardline atheists?

Comment #108978

Posted by Lurker on June 28, 2006 10:08 AM (e)

“As for atheists and morals, cultural issues, political issues etc, what the fuck do you think the creationism vs evolution pseudodebate is? It sure as shit isn’t about the science, the science was settled long ago. “

You know, Louis, the funny thing is that I believe this is exactly what Flank and Matzke said, the same damn thing… I happen to agree, and I thought that sentiment was what got PZ all fired up for the first 400 posts (Read from the top up to Comment #107925, e.g.).

“The methodology of science and the epistemology of science when applied to religious claims shows the vast majority of those religious claims (especially what might be considered the “supernatural” ones) to have no basis in demonstrable fact.”

Yes, well, good for the scientist. But a priori assumptions of epistemological frameworks are not themselves subject to scientific verification. A theist could very well assume a God that is not open to testing via science, and still propose other methods of understanding of God. That you and I find them unappealing is not in of themselves evidence that this epistemology is flawed. But this is my last word on this subject. I am not a theologist, and this is not a thread about theology.

“I, and other atheists, merely say that there has been no reliable, reproducible evidence to suggest that a god or gods exist, therefore we take the position that this claim remains unproven. Nothing more.”

No, there’s quite a bit more. Fellow atheists also routinely claim that theists are intellectually dishonest, ethically challenged, and irrational. They also blame a lot of social issues, including scientific illiteracy, on religion. If it were merely a constructive dialogue on religion, most of us wouldn’t be calling for moderation. Dawkins for instance calls religion a virus of the mind. He recently published a video that called religion the root of all evil. I mean come on.

Comment #108979

Posted by k.e. on June 28, 2006 10:13 AM (e)

-oh and for all dead soldiers.

If you died, you were a Martyr.

In the real world, Generals just award medals instead, its a lot easier.

Except if you were Napoleon, you got to die on an Island, alone.

Comment #108980

Posted by Erasmus on June 28, 2006 10:15 AM (e)

the calm before the SATANIC STORM….

Comment #108981

Posted by Lurker on June 28, 2006 10:28 AM (e)

One final point, Louis, then I have to go.

You write,

“The atheist, like the scientist, like the skeptic, when faced with a claim says “Where’s the evidence and how good is it?”. Since we are discussing an evidence based debate, it is this aspect of atheism on which we are concentrating.

Like PZ has said several times, which hasn’t sunk in it would appear, science and atheism are not necessarily causally related. They CAN be causally related in certain individuals, but this is not NECESSARY.”

Yet, you also write,

“The methodology of science and the epistemology of science when applied to religious claims shows the vast majority of those religious claims (especially what might be considered the “supernatural” ones) to have no basis in demonstrable fact.”

So the methodology of science has consistently disproved religious claims, according to the atheist. Yet science does not necessarily cause atheism. Yet, you don’t complete the argument. Why, if science continually disproves religious claims, does science not necessarily lead to atheism?

This is, btw, a perfect example of what I mean by inapproriate discussion about science in the context of atheism.

Comment #108982

Posted by Erasmus on June 28, 2006 10:30 AM (e)

YAYYYYY!!!! 666!!!!

Comment #108983

Posted by k.e. on June 28, 2006 10:45 AM (e)

Blast you Erasmus!

Time to show the instruments of torture.

1. A Comfortable Chair.
2. A fanatical devotion to insert favorite oligarch>
3. The lovely red uniforms

Comment #108984

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 28, 2006 10:49 AM (e)

Posted by Popper’s Ghost on June 27, 2006 10:45 PM (e)

People, you may not have noticed, but the thread has taken a major upswing in seriousness. Don’t derail it.

And yes, that means no Lenny allowed.

Cheap shot!

How is that a cheap shot when Lenny said that his intent here was derailment?

It seems that not only religion but even talking about religion undermines rationality.

Maybe that was too strong so I retract it. But from my reading of the thread:

PZ objected to some comments by Numbers (fair enough). On his own blog, PZ’s rejection of Numbers argument included a link to a comment by Lenny that iritated PZ. PZ claims that science is the answer to refute creationist claims (at least that is what I think he is saying).

Lenny was saying that science is irelevant to the debate because creationists are not objecting to evolution because of the science, but rather from political/religious views.

A rather silly argument ensued and Lenny can no longer reply on this (or any of PZ’s) thread/s.

I just think it would be a tad bad mannered to atack Lenny on a forum thread where he is not allowed to answer. I read (probably in error) the comment here

People, you may not have noticed, but the thread has taken a major upswing in seriousness. Don’t derail it.

And yes, that means no Lenny allowed.

that Lenny is no longer allowed as an atack in view of the substance of the post.

Comment #108987

Posted by PZ Myers on June 28, 2006 11:01 AM (e)

Lurker wrote:

“The methodology of science and the epistemology of science when applied to religious claims shows the vast majority of those religious claims (especially what might be considered the “supernatural” ones) to have no basis in demonstrable fact.”

So the methodology of science has consistently disproved religious claims, according to the atheist. Yet science does not necessarily cause atheism. Yet, you don’t complete the argument. Why, if science continually disproves religious claims, does science not necessarily lead to atheism?

Science refutes the majority of the testable claims of religion. Therefore, religion retreats to untestable claims that science can’t touch.

Was that so hard?

Comment #108999

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 28, 2006 11:52 AM (e)

Hi Louis
Well, I don’t know if your classification is official, but it certainly is unsatisafctory to me. For example, I don’t believe there is a god, I truly don’t. And I’m not talking about the “supreme reality” or what have ya, I mean you know GOD, a conscious intelligent superpowerful entity that cares blablabla. I have a big list of less weird thing I could believe in before we get to that one, hahaha. So I don’t believe in God and therefore I’ve always considered myself an atheist, I sincerely don’t believe. Then you come and say that an atheist is someone who does not believe in god because there just isn’t any evidence. No! no no that’s terrible, because to me it implies that there actually could be scientitic evidence for god. If THAT is being “an atheists” it sucks pretty bad, it legitimates a way of thinking that provides the foothold for “religion scientists” to see religion reflected in evidence and aaaaall the crap we have to put up with. Science has absolutely nothing to do with god, “evidence” will never prove the existence or nonexistence of god. This to me is stating the way thing are. Does this make me and agnostic? I don’t consider myself and agnosticist becuase being totally sincere, I do not believe in God, and just won’t waste two seconds of my time thinking about any chance there is a god. It’s a personal decision, folks are entitled to believe if they want. It is my decision, I’m not telling folks they have to be like me. They should also know that their belief is a decision they cannot push unto others like an obligation imposed by “reason”, as Dembski & co. would have it.
By the way, I disapprove that the Rev Dr has ben banned. Let him say whatever, the worse you thing you can do is honor him with an answer. Maybe he WAS proving something. Really, there was no NEED to ban him. You don’t ban others who add no content, like Popper’s ghost. Just don’t answer to mere provocation. That’s not too difficult, isn’t it?

Comment #109005

Posted by Mike Dunford on June 28, 2006 12:29 PM (e)

Lurker wrote:

“The methodology of science and the epistemology of science when applied to religious claims shows the vast majority of those religious claims (especially what might be considered the “supernatural” ones) to have no basis in demonstrable fact.”

So the methodology of science has consistently disproved religious claims, according to the atheist. Yet science does not necessarily cause atheism. Yet, you don’t complete the argument. Why, if science continually disproves religious claims, does science not necessarily lead to atheism?

I think you’re missing something important here. When it comes to many religious claims, “no basis in demonstrable fact” =/= “disproved.” In many cases, the religious claim is not expected, even by the religious, to have any basis other than faith.

The Roman Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation is a good example of this. The belief is that the substance of the bread and wine are changed to become the body and blood of Christ. There is no expectation that the liquid in the chalice will actually have any of the physical properties of blood, but it is believed to be a real change. This will undoubtedly strike PZ as being a belief that is irrational to or beyond the point of insanity, but the belief is real. It has no basis in demonstrable fact, but it is not expected to have any such basis.

Science has not disproved the claim, it has simply failed to find proof in a case where no proof was expected. There’s a big difference.

Comment #109007

Posted by Louis on June 28, 2006 12:47 PM (e)

Lurker,

You’re wittering. There are no “sides” here, at least with me, I too agree with a lot of what Lenny and others are saying. Stop reading what you want to be there and read what IS there.

As for how science and atheism are not necessarily causally related, easy. One can be an atheist and have no idea of science. One can be a scientist and not an athiest. Ta dah! There are other reasons that one can arrive at an atheist philosophy, for example the logical invalidity of the arguments for theism etc.

As for the appeal or otherwise of potential theist epistemologies, it’s irrelevant. Their appeal has nothing to do with their veracity, their applicability, their universality or their reproducibility. In the end all these theist/supernatural claims rest on assertion and nothing more. I assert supernatural experience that you cannot repeat, end of story. Science doesn’t do that, the very core of science is its independance from the scientist (philsophically speaking of course). I can do an experiment that you can repeat. If you can’t, then the experiment is probably invalid. Atheism works the same way. There’s no predisposition not to believe in something, it’s just that we’d like to see the data please.

As for the behaviour of other atheists, sorry but that’s a red herring. You’re confused. What has the (admittedly deplorable) conduct of some other atheists got to do with the simple philosophical viewpoint of atheism? Nothing. Perhaps you are conflating conduct of individuals with details of philosophical positions. Very different things.

Try reading back over what I have actually written, it might surprise you that (unlike many people who appear to be talking past each other like yourself) I agree with much of what is being said by BOTH parties.

What PZ and Lenny are getting pissed off about is the ridiculous strawmen being thrown around at each other by themselves and others. See through the cloud of straw Lurker! Use the Force Lurk(er)!

Happily both Lenny and PZ both know full well that the debate isn’t ALL politics or ALL science and nothing else. Lenny knows that the science, although settled, is an integral part of the defense/prosecution case against the claims of the creationists. PZ knows that, sadly, the science, although settled, won’t win without some politics. The problem is there’s so much soap opera history and fucking idiocy pounding through this thread that people are cluthing at the nearest availble strawman and giving it a damned good thrashing. Again, like yourself.

If you read the ACTUAL points of both posters, you will find a great deal of sense in both of them. Unfortunately you have to see through the acrimonious bullshit to do so. Go figure!

Louis

Comment #109011

Posted by Louis on June 28, 2006 1:05 PM (e)

Hi Alex,

First, they’re not MY definitions at all, they’re the standard ones. They foten get misused I’m afraid.

If you lack a belief in god you are an atheist. If you believe god does not exist you are also an atheist but of a different sub type. Lack of belief = weak atheism, implicit atheism, soft atheism etc, or more correctly just atheism. Belief of lack = strong atheism, explicit atheism, hard atheism etc, or more correctly antitheism (I prefer anterotheism, but that’s a linguistic issue).

As for you, well you sound like an atheist agnostic, i.e. one who lacks a belief in a god but believes the question of god to be unknowable. That’s all good, there are many shades of grey here etc. Personally I think that evidence for god depends on what sort of god is being claim. If I claim a god for whom the properties are exactly like my desk, then wahay I have proved god. Mind you, it’s a shitty dull god, and proving it created the universe might be a tad tricky! Do you see my point? Science has demonstrated that the descriptions given of certain gods are inconsistent with reality. This is because theists made claims for their god that were open to disproof. As PZ rightly says, theists are mostly learning not to try this anymore. Creationists are lagging behind the times.

HTH, HAND

Louis

Comment #109026

Posted by Lurker on June 28, 2006 2:27 PM (e)

“As for the behaviour of other atheists, sorry but that’s a red herring. You’re confused.”

Not at all. It is the very subject of the last few exchanges between PZ and myself. You know: if you’re an ass towards the target audience, can you be an effective supporter of science? And if the general public perception is already that atheists are asses what do you do to disabuse people of that image?

Well, there are two approaches. One is what PZ called in his opening post, a nonconciliatory approach. I have no idea what entails, but PZ feels strongly that atheists must be accepted publically before they can do promotion of science. The other method is to focus on the reconciliation. Which one should you pick if you people consider you an ass?

Now consider that PZ himself asserts: “Dawkins and Dennett and Tyndall aren’t arrogant: they’re right.”

How can you then say that Dawkins is not relevant to this discussion? How can we dismiss Dawkins’ assertion that religion is the root of all evil?

“What has the (admittedly deplorable) conduct of some other atheists got to do with the simple philosophical viewpoint of atheism? Nothing.”

Logically speaking that is true. Politically speaking, that holds no water. And we both know politics does not work strictly on logic. Unfortunately, Louis, you are not a public figure of atheism. You do write as if you are a True Atheist. But that simply doesn’t cut it. Meanwhile you have the Dawkins, Dennetts, Sagans, and Provines coopting the message that science cannot be reconciled with religion. You have PZ who thinks that religions are completely nonexplanatory to his satisfaction. Suppose even if these people are in the vocal minority of atheists, the unfortunate political situation is that you have vocal minority in a vocal minority. And people will tune in to the more radical messages, and generalize.

So what do you plan to do about it? That’s the unanswered question. Spare me the lecture about True Atheism. That’s simply a nonissue here. The issue is how to stop sounding like an ass.

Comment #109028

Posted by Tom English on June 28, 2006 2:40 PM (e)

Anyone who has had a basic introduction to the philosophy of science knows that science operates under certain crucial assumptions. Those assumptions are not proven, but have emerged over time because they seem to “work.” The present assumption that excludes ID from science is that natural phenomena have natural causes. If ID advocates were to present compelling evidence that, say, information were entering the natural universe from without, scientists would abandon their commitment to methodological naturalism. (ID advocates have given absolutely no compelling evidence to date, and thus science rightly continues to exclude ID.)

Everything discovered in scientific endeavor depends upon the fundamental assumptions of science. Different assumptions would probably lead to different findings. Thus science cannot be considered a way of getting at reality or Truth. Science is a way of forming consensual belief about the universe of phenomena.

Many atheists and all IDists err identically in believing that science discovers reality. The fact is that both groups greatly overvalue science, assigning ontological status to its findings. There is simply no philosophical basis for doing that. Something we all have learned, yet tend to forget, is that all theories are tentative, no matter their support.

In sum, atheists have just as little basis for making reality of scientific results as IDists do in demanding that they be True.

Comment #109031

Posted by PZ Myers on June 28, 2006 3:14 PM (e)

Lurker wrote:

You have PZ who thinks that religions are completely nonexplanatory to his satisfaction.

Exactly right. Also to a Dawkins or a Dennett.

Can you specify any satisfactory explanations from religion that aren’t simply made up? I don’t mean satisfactory in the sense of “I feel better imagining Grandma is in heaven,” but satisfactory in the sense that they explain something in the world in a way that all people, even nonbelievers, can evaluate and potentially agree upon.

I don’t think there are any.

Lurker wrote:

Suppose even if these people are in the vocal minority of atheists, the unfortunate political situation is that you have vocal minority in a vocal minority. And people will tune in to the more radical messages, and generalize.

Nonsense. Look at Christianity: most people don’t generalize to think that Pat Robertson is representative. And at the same time a significant number of people will support him to the point that he could run for president. You can find far more people working as representatives of religion who sound like an ass, far more so than any atheist.

You keep complaining about Dawkins. Can you point to any comment by him that is anywhere close to as repugnant as the long list of things I could cite from Robertson, Falwell, Dobson, Kennedy, Coulter, Ahmadinejad, etc., etc., etc.? Either you’re complaining about the wrong side in this fight, or atheists need to get louder and more obnoxious to compete.

Comment #109037

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 28, 2006 3:40 PM (e)

I agree with Tom English. Cheap rationalism is the problem, both with religion-bashers and creationists. Creationists say the ONLY rational conclusion is that god was inolved, religion-bashers say the only RATIONAL thing to do is to be an atheist. Americans should spend less time forcing others into their own line by vacuously inoking reason, and be a little more sincere on the internal component of reality. Maybe the fact that philosophers and scientists in Europe have been more interested in constructivism has avoided a greater clash between religious and atheist “rationalists” (who are closer to each other than they think).

Comment #109038

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 28, 2006 3:56 PM (e)

PZ Myers wrote:

You keep complaining about Dawkins. Can you point to any comment by him that is anywhere close to as repugnant as the long list of things I could cite from Robertson, Falwell, Dobson, Kennedy, Coulter, Ahmadinejad, etc., etc., etc.? Either you’re complaining about the wrong side in this fight, or atheists need to get louder and more obnoxious to compete.

This is just a minor point, but I don’t think that either science or secularism need to “compete” or to be obnoxious (not generally, anyhow). The reason is that the evidence, as interpreted by generally accepted standards, supports science and the minimal claims of secularists.

John A. Davison and other science cranks have to be obnoxious to be heard–and to some extent it worked for JAD. One should admit that non-cranks with new ideas might also benefit from being obnoxious, but that is largely beside the point in the present science and religious wars, since we’re not fighting for anything of reasonable doubt.

As with JAD’s science claims, Coulter and Robertson have to crank up the volume to be heard, and for those who think that loud voices sound “smarter” to be impressed by their rhetoric. The noise is there because they don’t have the evidence (I have said that I don’t disagree with all that Coulter says (does anybody really disagree with all of it?), but it is difficult to believe that she gets anything right in science or politics based upon sound evaluation of the evidence).

We do not, and should not, adopt the tactics, or even the volume, of the other side. I really don’t suppose that PZ thinks that we should match the other side in anything unless we have some sort of independent basis for doing so, but the quote above might suggest that he does. I’m just pointing out that we aren’t like UD for very good reasons, and that Dawkins (in spite of the reservations I have about his most tactless remarks about religion) and the rest of us have higher standards than the IDiots, which is why we accept the conclusions of science.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #109040

Posted by Louis on June 28, 2006 4:01 PM (e)

Lurker,

You’re simply missing my point. Atheism itself nothing to do with Dawkins etc. I am certainly not a True Atheist or anything like it by the way. Nice strawman AGAIN. The difference is I am sticking to me clear definitions, and several other people are moving theirs about, you included. See the discussion I had re: irrational above for example.

Also not I am not saying that delivery is not important, in fact I am explicitly saying it IS important, as is PZ. We’re ALSO saying that telling atheists to shut up is a BAD idea for our delivery. Philosophically, science is anathema to religion. That does not equate to religious people are anathema to scientists, or that scientists can’t be religious or any of the lovely strawcombinations you keep coming out with.

If we’re dealing with the evolution vs creationism pseudodebate in the sense of communicating facts about evolution/science then I would say that comments on religion or lack of are simply irrelevant. If, however, asked where god fits into the scientific picture the honest answer is that he doesn’t. Do you want people to lie about that?

The simple facts of the matter is that it is NOT the atheists like Dawkins who think that evolutionary biology proves there is no god (it doesn’t), it’s the fundamentalists who cry this foul at every turn. When asked the question, like me, Dawkins et al answer that evolutionary biology does in fact factually demonstrate the invalidity of the teleological argument for god, but then it was already logically flawed to start with. That’s it.

Dawkins’ atheism is a different matter. And yes, as a candidate for the root of all evil (the programme had a question mark after it, the title asks a question) religion fits many of the bills needed, but then so do many things. Which was the POINT of the question.

In theory aspects of religion COULD be reconciled with the findings of science, a testable deity that passed the test would suffice. However, the processes by which they ultimately operate are incompatible (faith and reason) and that cannot change sadly. That doesn’t mean that we cannot use both individually, just that the findings of reason can be reproduced by anyone, whereas the findings of faith cannot.

As for the political strategy, I think, like PZ, that hiding the atheists away or asking them to be quiet about what scientific thought really does to arbitrary faiths is counterproductive. We are simply never going to reach EVERYONE. What we CAN do is show that atheism is not a necessary consequence of science (i.e. atheism can be reached by other routes, which I note you ignored) and atheists are moral, thinking people just like anyone. It’s the kneejerk atheism=bad or atheists=bad that we need to combat. The whole fundamentalist movement in every religion is based on the denial of the subconscious recognition that there is simply no real evidence for thier beliefs, and that evidence trumps all.

We need to show that atheists are not demons or devil worshippers, we just disagree on a specific issue. If we moderate or censor people we are giving the wrong message, that either what they are saying is incorrect (which it isn’t) or that they are somehow a shameful subsection of the group (which they aren’t). Like I said we need Dawkins and Miller front and centre saying very loudly “On religion we disagree, but on evolutionary biology we agree 100%, the evidence is in, end of story.”. That sends a FAR more powerful message than “Pay no attention to the nasty atheists, we’re nice christians like you and we can tell you that it’s evolution all the way baby!”. It looks like a front for a con! Get the atheists up next to the theists and show people that when it comes to the science, that individuals’ beliefs matter not one bit.

Cheers

Louis

P.S. Tom. No one is saying science produces 100% unalloyed TRUTH, certainly no self respecting atheist should say that. Scientific knowledge is provisional. Like evreything else is.

Comment #109041

Posted by Henry J on June 28, 2006 4:03 PM (e)

Re “Creationists say the ONLY rational conclusion is that god was inolved,”

But that has nothing to do with the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the science.

Re “religion-bashers say the only RATIONAL thing to do is to be an atheist.”

See above.

Henry

Comment #109050

Posted by Lurker on June 28, 2006 4:35 PM (e)

You know, Louis your entire post is just nonresponsive. I have never claimed atheism is bad. I have never advocated atheists shut up. And I have never insinuated that we should be ashamed of atheists. Atheists who are so focused on being able to speak for to even think about what to speak. It’s ironic. You reject moderation of the message, and therein we part ways. For instance, I cannot agree with any of the below:

“Philosophically, science is anathema to religion.”

“If, however, asked where god fits into the scientific picture the honest answer is that he doesn’t.”

“The whole fundamentalist movement in every religion is based on the denial of the subconscious recognition that there is simply no real evidence for thier beliefs, and that evidence trumps all.”

“As for the political strategy, I think, like PZ, that hiding the atheists away or asking them to be quiet about what scientific thought really does to arbitrary faiths is counterproductive.”

I don’t even know where to begin. For starters, these statements are so laden with previous philosophical committments, that you are completely oblivious to the point of view of the people they are directed against. And this is exactly the sort of assertions regarding possible realtionships between science and religion that I do not approve of a promoter of science to convey. It is obnoxious. It is vague, if generally untrue. And it is designed to be inflammatory. More importantly, it absolutely requires people _be_ atheists before they can accept this version of “science.”

We should want scientists to speak about the science. This request comes with no recognition about the religious orientation of the scientists. Those who heed the request should recognize the political climate they are entering, and adjust their commentary to best effect promotion of science. Saying things like “Philosophically science is anathema to religion” is simply counter to these goal. It is cooption of a science platform for personal advertisement of a philosophical viewpoint and completely inappropriate.

“We need to show that atheists are not demons or devil worshippers, we just disagree on a specific issue.”

You and PZ say this a lot. But I continue to miss your detailed plans. How exactly do you wish to show people you are not demons or devil worshippers? If to a theist the devil is someone who wishes to persuade that faith in God is irrational, then how do you plan to change their views regarding atheists?

Comment #109052

Posted by PZ Myers on June 28, 2006 4:37 PM (e)

Alexander Vargas wrote:

Creationists say the ONLY rational conclusion is that god was inolved, religion-bashers say the only RATIONAL thing to do is to be an atheist.

Some people say the only rational conclusion is that the world is flat, others say the only rational thing to conclude is that the world is round. Therefore, they both must be wrong.

You do see the problem with your relativism, I hope. Reason and evidence lead in particular directions; that fact does not imply that all possible alternatives are correct if you claim that what you are doing is based on reason and evidence. You don’t get to toss out a rational claim merely because a crowd of kooks claim that their nonsense is rational.

Atheism is a rational conclusion. Religion is irrational. That does not imply that we must go out and convert everyone to atheism – people often make decisions irrationally. It’s OK.

Comment #109053

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 28, 2006 4:47 PM (e)

PZ Myers wrote:

Lurker wrote:

You have PZ who thinks that religions are completely nonexplanatory to his satisfaction.

Exactly right. Also to a Dawkins or a Dennett.

Can you specify any satisfactory explanations from religion that aren’t simply made up? I don’t mean satisfactory in the sense of “I feel better imagining Grandma is in heaven,” but satisfactory in the sense that they explain something in the world in a way that all people, even nonbelievers, can evaluate and potentially agree upon.

I don’t think there are any.

How about religious claims that the world conforms with logical operations and Euclidean geometry?

That is to say, do the Pythagorean/Platonic claims about the world, which were incorporated into Xianity, fail completely to explain the world? Wasn’t science in fact based upon such conceptions early on, conceptually facilitating the work of the highly religious Newton, and the Platonic Kepler?

PZ might think that this is beside the point, however, because of course Pythagoreanism and Platonism are not and were not exclusive to religion. So perhaps he would have done better to ask if any exclusively religious explanations do in fact explain observable phenomena.

And I would say no, as would he.

But I’m not just playing with words here, making the banal point that PZ could have (not necessarily ‘should have’) written more exactly and explicitly. I’m making the point that religion is just another human endeavor, which has not always been wrong and useless, rather it was simply how people did think at one time.

For instance, we might ask if Plato was really ever non-religious, or better, if he was ever non-spiritual in his thinking and writing. I tend to think not.

Then what about Aristotle? He comes closer to a secular view of the world, and yet the “internal drives” in his physics seem closer to animism than they do to modern physics. Nevertheless, his physics is not exactly animism either, even though natural “causes” (aitia) are all “physis” to him, whether in biology or in objects rising or falling.

Xianity adopted Platonic views without any certain line between “religion” and “science”. After an initial reaction against Aristotle, his writings also were later adopted in largely the same way. Both philosophies/sciences had some value to the eventual rise of science, especially Aristotle’s formal logic.

Medieval theologians/philosophers honed logic prior to science, which facilitated science’s rise once the useless parts of religion/philosophy were rejected by Galileo, and especially by a number of Protestant scientists.

What I am saying is that though there is no exclusively religious explanation that truly is explanatory, to my way of thinking that is a false dichotomy. Also, this false dichotomy drives the devaluation of religion, particularly past religious thinking, where there may be no real lines between religious thought and “secular thought”.

The trouble with religion today is that the legitimate explanatory bases that once were tied to religion have been thoroughly adopted by non-religious science and philosophy. Thus the logical, rational view of the world that came from the Greeks and was adopted into Xianity (and other monotheisms) is no longer understood by secularists to be a religious view. This is understandable in the secularists’ conceptual system, yet there is nothing that prevents, say, a Catholic from understanding the world to operate “lawfully” in a unified and logical manner within a thoroughly religious framework.

From just such a mindset one may still consider religious explanations to have traction in this world. There is nothing inherently unscientific in considering the “lawful” operation of the universe to be a religious concept, or as a panentheistic (Spinozan, for instance) understanding of the cosmos. There are legitimate philosophical reasons to discard religious and panentheistic interpretations of science, but I do not know of any scientific reason to reject a theological interpretation of the “lawful”, scientifically-known, universe.

This is one reason why many of us tread more lightly around religion than do some others. We understand that a Platonic/Catholic (for instance) conception of the world as operating lawfully as being perfectly compatible with (at least classical) science. My explanation as a secularist is not scientifically superior to a religious explanation that makes conservative inferences from the evidence as carefully as I would.

Philosophically, on the other hand, the religious explanation of the world is unwarranted. Scientifically, the religious explanation may very well be legitimate, just so long as the religious person is unwilling to make evidentiary and logical exceptions to interpretation.

IDists do make such exceptions, therefore they are unscientific. Many Catholic (and other)scientists do not make those exceptions, for they believe that the lawful operations of the universe provide us with knowledge for which God is ultimately responsible, hence they do good science which is not separate from their “religious explanation” of the cosmos.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #109055

Posted by PZ Myers on June 28, 2006 4:49 PM (e)

Lurker wrote:

But I continue to miss your detailed plans.

Plans? Plans for what? What plans? It’s not as if atheists are sitting around plotting to achieve some nefarious goal (“Tomorrow, we convert Belgium; the day after, we tape a ‘kick me’ sign on a priest”).

All we’re suggesting is that we are going to be forthright and out there, and we’re not going to let ourselves be pushed around. Isn’t that enough?

Lurker wrote:

How exactly do you wish to show people you are not demons or devil worshippers?

Oh, I don’t know…by not worshipping the devil? By explaining to people that we don’t?

Lurker wrote:

If to a theist the devil is someone who wishes to persuade that faith in God is irrational, then how do you plan to change their views regarding atheists?

Honesty and openness are a good start.

You seem to have this misapprehension that we need to be organized and have a grand campaign to achieve some specific end. Why?

Maybe you could help explain what you are looking for by giving us all an example of the kind of plan you would propose. Maybe we’ll adopt it.

Comment #109059

Posted by Louis on June 28, 2006 4:55 PM (e)

Lurker,

I simply think we’re talking past one another. I am trying to dissect the philosophical underpinnings of what people seem to be worried about, you’re worried that we atheists are coopting science for some message that we simply aren’t and that this is a tactical blunder (which if it were what was happening I would agree with you about btw).

You talk about my assumptions and yet seem to miss the context of everything I am saying and seize the bits you think mean I am hostile to religion, which I’m simply not.

So in the interest of furthering the discussion please show me how the method of religious faith and the method of science are compatible, or in any way not diametrically opposed.

Cheers

Louis

Comment #109062

Posted by Chris Hyland on June 28, 2006 5:01 PM (e)

Wow this thread is starting to look like John Davisons blog.

Comment #109067

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 28, 2006 5:10 PM (e)

Well of course I realize that religious literalists are not being rational even if they think they are and they say so loudly. But the particular brand of atheism “a la Dawkins” is hardly rational, too. Things like saying that religion is “the root of all evil”.. sorry, silly generalizations like that do not resist even passing sociological-historical analysis.

Take history seriously. AMERICA has this big problem that stems from the fact that american religions have been unable to get over the XIXth century boom of rationalism. You know, in a time full of discovery, light bulbs, phonographs, daguerrotyes and dinosaurs, several new american religons were springing up, and they naturally wanted to get legimitimacy through science. You got several religions trying to make “biblical science” in calculating past and future prophesy, looking for “proof” . Several religions shared and passed around these and other “scientificist” ideas. So what I’m telling you is that the specific problem with america was, and is the greatly accentuated veneration of reason an science, which is why religion in America has felt forced to disguise itself as science. It is not about a fundamental clash. It’s a specific country with a specificproblem stemming from a specific history and situation leading into great admiration of science an reason, such that even religions (wrongly) claim to be science. Fair to say, America is also the greatest country in science, with an impressive and admirable list of thinkers and achievements in natural history and evolution.
Kind of makes sense, huh?

Comment #109083

Posted by Louis on June 28, 2006 5:47 PM (e)

Alexander,

But that is not what Dawkins actually said. Look I’m no apologist for the man, for the record he says things I disagree with on occasion. The title was “The Root of All Evil?”. See the question mark? It was intended to make a particular point, which as it happened I didn’t think the programmes did particularly well, but that’s a different issue.

I wish that the “Great Satan” Richard Dawkins Theist Hating Motherfucker to the Stars would occasionally be quoted IN CONTEXT for what he DID say rather that what people THINK he said. He’s usually a VAST amount more reasonable that people seem to think, as I can personally attest.

Louis

Comment #109088

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 28, 2006 5:59 PM (e)

Posted by Louis on June 28, 2006 05:47 PM (e)

Alexander,

But that is not what Dawkins actually said. Look I’m no apologist for the man, for the record he says things I disagree with on occasion. The title was “The Root of All Evil?”. See the question mark?

Fair point Louis, but the gist of the programmes did seem to be that he does think religion is the root of all evil (maybe I miss understood).

To be fair, the particular modern religious sects that he highlighted where very intolerant and definately advocated things I consider anti-social at best, positively criminal in some ways.

I can see that evil deeds have been done in the name of religion. Yet when you analyse the motivation of historical (evil) actions carried out in it’s name, there always seems to be some secular advantage to the deed doer (pardon my use of words here). So possibly the motivation was not religious, merely the excuse.

Comment #109091

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 28, 2006 6:16 PM (e)

As I said, this kind of disclaimers or last-minute relativizations are SO dawkisn. I guess that question mark is there to remind us that all he says may well be BS, but he anyway wants to say it. So just *remember* that.

And I anyway get pissed because relativization is an important subject on its own and to be taken very seriously, and should never be used as footline excuse for pushing extremist thinking.

Comment #109092

Posted by Lurker on June 28, 2006 6:23 PM (e)

“I simply think we’re talking past one another. I am trying to dissect the philosophical underpinnings of what people seem to be worried about, you’re worried that we atheists are coopting science for some message that we simply aren’t and that this is a tactical blunder (which if it were what was happening I would agree with you about btw).”

Well, Louis, this is about as close to an agreement as I can find with you. I believe my fears of inappropriate science coption are being realized. And I believe that this is something that requires vigilance. So long as you agree with the need for vigiliance, then you are agreeing with me to some need for moderation. Which is all I was looking for.

As to dissecting philosophical underpinnings of theists, I must respectfully decline. I find this whole “show me the money” game that you and pz are playing to be slightly disingenuous, because no one would ever mistake you for objective evaluators in this discussion. It’s no reflection on your ability to be objective in any number of subjects, but we are discussing about a highly charged philosophical issue in which you have displayed (as I have summarized in your quotes above) strong committments to prior worldviews. And plus, we’re all atheists. So what’s the point?

Comment #109094

Posted by PZ Myers on June 28, 2006 6:29 PM (e)

You haven’t yet made any kind of case that Dawkins or other atheists are at all guilty of this “extremist thinking”. Please give us some examples of this extremism. Is he burning young women at the stake? Flying airplanes into building? Shooting abortion doctors? Sawing the heads off people?

Comment #109096

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 28, 2006 6:36 PM (e)

Posted by PZ Myers on June 28, 2006 06:29 PM (e)

You haven’t yet made any kind of case that Dawkins or other atheists are at all guilty of this “extremist thinking”. Please give us some examples of this extremism. Is he burning young women at the stake? Flying airplanes into building? Shooting abortion doctors? Sawing the heads off people?

Not so far as I can tell he isn’t (take that as a “No he is not” please). Who is? Pretty sure the theistic supporters on this site don’t advocate “any of the above” either.

Comment #109099

Posted by Lurker on June 28, 2006 6:43 PM (e)

“Honesty and openness are a good start.
You seem to have this misapprehension that we need to be organized and have a grand campaign to achieve some specific end. Why?”

I actually have no intention of requiring a formal written manual on how atheists should behave. This isn’t an NIH grant where I need specific aims, and proposed timelines. I merely wanted a sense of how you would generally convey to people that you are not Devil incarnate, or evil people. I mean this is the real political problem, isn’t it?

You mention honesty and openness. Well, Kennedy, Phelps, Robertson, Coulter, etc. etc. etc. all believe themselves to be honest and open people. And they practice their honesty and openness too. Yet, do you find them to be actually honest and open? Or do you actually believe them to be dishonest and closed-minded?

But, if you can’t get people to accept atheists, then from your point of view, science promotion is doomed. I don’t think for a second this is the final word on the matter. There simply has to be another way.

See, all through this discussion there’s been a focus on this self-centered portrayal of how an atheist views himself. This is all damn good. I mean on a good day, I like to see myself the way you see atheists. But we do not live in social isolation. How we are viewed is what I am interested in… in particular, how it affects our ability to promote science.

So, like you, in order to promote science, I like to have scientists accepted socially for what they do, independent of religious issues. On the other hand, you’d like to have scientists _as atheists_ socially accepted for what they do. This cannot be done in a religiously neutral manner (not that many of us like to think we can). And it adds an unnecessary layer to the whole discussion, which in my opinion is distracting.

Comment #109100

Posted by PZ Myers on June 28, 2006 6:45 PM (e)

So now we can start narrowing it down a little bit. What is “extremist thinking”?

Is believing that a super-powerful being who controls everything in the universe is talking to you and telling you that gay people are damned “extremist thinking”?

Is saying that that is a ridiculous load of horse-puckey “extremist thinking”?

Comment #109104

Posted by PZ Myers on June 28, 2006 7:01 PM (e)

Lurker wrote:

So, like you, in order to promote science, I like to have scientists accepted socially for what they do, independent of religious issues. On the other hand, you’d like to have scientists _as atheists_ socially accepted for what they do. This cannot be done in a religiously neutral manner (not that many of us like to think we can). And it adds an unnecessary layer to the whole discussion, which in my opinion is distracting.

We don’t have a problem with scientists being accepted socially. We have a problem with atheists> being accepted socially. We wouldn’t have to worry about this as a problem in science education if those two sets did not intersect…but unfortunately, they do. They intersect a lot.

So what do you want that intersecting set to do? Never, ever mention their disbelief to avoid adding that unnecessary layer?

Comment #109108

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 28, 2006 7:08 PM (e)

Posted by PZ Myers on June 28, 2006 06:45 PM (e)

So now we can start narrowing it down a little bit. What is “extremist thinking”?

Is believing that a super-powerful being who controls everything in the universe is talking to you and 1.telling you that gay people are damned “extremist thinking”?

2.Is saying that that is a ridiculous load of horse-puckey “extremist thinking”?

1. Yes.
2. No,but possibly intolerant. Depending on what you are replying to. If it was to number 1 then you are correct.

You sound angry.

Comment #109110

Posted by Lurker on June 28, 2006 7:10 PM (e)

Well, let’s turn it around, and explore some possible extremist extension of Dawkins’ remarks, which logically follow. If religion is a virus/cancer of the mind, what is the proper antidote? How do we cure people of this disease? And if we can’t, is this disease terminally debilitating? Can we experiment on infected subjects? Or should we just euthanize carriers and be done with it, before the disease spreads further? Also, should we start setting up a quarantine? Catholics can go to zone A, Muslism in zone B, Jews in zone C, so on and so forth? How about vaccinations? If religion is tantamount to child abuse, should we impose forced adoptions of children of infected parents?

I mean this is all meant to be exaggerations, but that’s exactly what carefully chosen inflammatory remarks are meant to suggest. Come on, people, do we have to stoop to _their_ level of rhetoric to get things done?

Comment #109114

Posted by Lurker on June 28, 2006 7:32 PM (e)

“Never, ever mention their disbelief to avoid adding that unnecessary layer?”

No, just do it vigilantly. Here’s an idea (which you are under no obligation to consider). Distinguish between whether you are speaking as a scientist or as an atheist. If the two labels are not necessarily linked, then it helps to minimize the confusion by clearly stating on a particular matter, whether you are pissed off as a scientist, or as an atheist.

If you must say, “Religion is irrational,” I think a theist would like to know if you are speaking as a scientist or an atheist. Scientist: Is irrationality a scientific concept? On what quantitative measure do we evaluate irrationality? Atheist: Why do I reject God premises? Why is materialism a superior philosophy?

If you must say, “Religion is a cancer of the mind,” I think a theist would like to know if you are speaking as a scientist or an atheist. Scientist: What properties do religions and cancers share? What are the undesirable symptoms of a mind cancer? Is the cancer organic or psychological? Atheist: How does religion destroy the mind? How can atheism rescue the mind?

Comment #109115

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 28, 2006 7:40 PM (e)

PZ, you say

“Please give us some examples of this extremism. Is he burning young women at the stake? Flying airplanes into building? Shooting abortion doctors? Sawing the heads off people?”

If you think that Dawkins must do these thing so I may call him extremist, dont you think you are being a little..EXTREMIST??? No Sir, all it takes for me to find that dawkins or anyone (ehem) is being extremist is for him to say something silly and simplistic like “religion is the root of all evil”

It amazes me that someone who has been in the gamee so long would flop into this kind of tabloid shock argument. Sounds more like something Stephen Colbert would say. Only you don’t seem to have been joking. I sincerely hope this kind of mind-clouding is not at the core of your philosophy…although that would certainly explain things…

Comment #109120

Posted by normdoering on June 28, 2006 8:57 PM (e)

Alexander Vargas wrote:

…all it takes for me to find that dawkins or anyone (ehem) is being extremist is for him to say something silly and simplistic like “religion is the root of all evil”

I see your point – that is over simplistic from one perspective. But it’s also provocative in that book selling way Ann Coulter exploits in “Godless.”

But it’s also true : without religion we wouldn’t have the concept of “evil.” Instead we’d have “mistakes,” “opposition,” “tragedy,” “pain,” “harmful intention,” etc. And all those concepts which subdivide “evil” into more functional definitions help us see what’s wrong in this world better than the fantasy picture painted by the term “evil.”

Sorry, in that light it’s just factual to say that religion is, indeed, the root of all evil.

It is only a tabloid shock argument when you don’t understand the argument.

Comment #109127

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 28, 2006 9:49 PM (e)

jeez Norm…

“it’s just factual to say that religion is, indeed, the root of all evil”

You make me feel thankful that Dawkins at least put that question mark hahaha

About your 1 paragraph argument for that… yeah, good luck. Present that to historians, sociologists and philosophers. Yeah you’ll get lots of pats on the shoulder. We wish WE came up with that argument, that’s what they’ll say, for sure. Oh, and I mean real historians and academia, not those people trying to sell as many paperbacks as possible by packing them with silly (“controversial”) extreme thinking.

No excuses Norm, tabloid shock is just that, nothing more elevated than hot air-warming talk. And Dawkins needs to sell his paper backs, like coulter, dennet, and others looking forward to earning a living from a bit of good old war mongering…you see, plain, good science is never THAT rewarding.

Comment #109129

Posted by Shinobi on June 28, 2006 10:11 PM (e)

I find this whole “show me the money” game that you and pz are playing to be slightly disingenuous, because no one would ever mistake you for objective evaluators in this discussion.

Leaving the religious fundies to one side for the moment…

Theists who accept science, believe things that atheists don’t but which don’t conflict with science.

If this is irrational, how do atheists rationally justify the non-scientific beliefs that they hold? A human cannot function without beliefs - what should they do? What is their purpose in life? But these questions are entirely subjective. I’m not suggesting atheists can’t get perfectly fulfilling answers to these questions, but they do so the same way as the theists - by making assumptions.

When it comes to believing things that science shows to be not true, atheists and a large proportion of theists are on the same page. But as this large group of theists would indicate, religion is used by a lot of people to deal with questions that science cannot answer. And if atheists claim this is irrational, I’m curious as to what evidence these people have that their method is any more rational.

Comment #109133

Posted by normdoering on June 28, 2006 10:50 PM (e)

Alexander Vargas wrote:

About your 1 paragraph argument for that… yeah, good luck. Present that to historians, sociologists and philosophers. Yeah you’ll get lots of pats on the shoulder. We wish WE came up with that argument, that’s what they’ll say, for sure.

No they won’t. They’ve all bought into that one dimensional linear thinking promoted by that brain rotting religion which casts everything in black and white terms which gave birth to the concept of good and evil.

Besides, Friedrich Nietzsche beat me to it, see:
http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/beyondgoodandevil_tofc.htm

Comment #109144

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 28, 2006 11:49 PM (e)

Shinobi made a great point there. It seems to me that what both creationists and PZ fail to understand is that the interesting thing about religion is not the attempts to scientifically prove the existence of god or any literal detail of a bible story. This is truly a vacuous, play-around activity. The more interesting parts of religion have to do with the edifice of ideas it has developed to deal with the praxis of complex human existence. In this sense I think it is quite useless to simply ignore the fact that true progress in humanistic thinking has been achieved through religion by true geniuses in human affairs, you know, Buddha, Gandhi, Jesus, and so on. Every old religion has its collection of wise thoughts and teachings. And it is pretty clear that these thoughts are accomplishments, old accomplishments made despite what we could now call conditions of poor scientific progress and great obscurity.
So PZ for example says that religion has not helped to explain anything. Sure, as a way of knowing and describing the natural world, no, thats what science is for. But as or dealing with the more “inner” realities of lving and interacting as humans beings, I’d say many discoveries and achievements have been made within religion. If we throw away the intellectual baggage of religions to the trash as worthless superstition, we would have actually go back several steps in our process of discovering these inner, human realities. T
This does not mean of course that these human realities cannot be discovered by atheists, as has also occurred. Economists, social scientists, historians and philosophers have many a good lesson. But no very enlightening achievements of this kind have come from dedicated creationists or religion-bashers. They are too busy fighting each other, I guess.

Comment #109150

Posted by Registered User on June 29, 2006 12:29 AM (e)

Glen D, the infamous windbag, wrote

That is to say, do the Pythagorean/Platonic claims about the world, which were incorporated into Xianity, fail completely to explain the world? Wasn’t science in fact based upon such conceptions early on, conceptually facilitating the work of the highly religious Newton blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

Nice script, Glen.

I know so-called “historians” and philospher types love to pretend that simple concepts such as the scientific method only recently “evolved.” Horsecrap.

Fricking animals reason through trial and error. And that’s what science is, in a nutshell. It’s a systematic way of learning about the world and removing the gods, gremlins and other garbage from the explanations. People have been doing this since there were people. It’s just that for some less tractable subjects it’s taken people longer to figure out the details.

But the idea that religious beliefs – of any kind – were necessary to discover that the earth orbits the sun is 100% pure apologetic bullcrap.

Glen probably is aware of this but the gasbag is so intent on his pointy-headed attempt to get on PZ’s case that he forgot.

By the way, Glen, up above you called me a liar and I asked you to tell me what you were referring to. You got real quiet all of a sudden. What’s the problem? Were you projecting, perhaps?

Comment #109151

Posted by Registered User on June 29, 2006 12:42 AM (e)

But as this large group of theists would indicate, religion is used by a lot of people to deal with questions that science cannot answer. And if atheists claim this is irrational, I’m curious as to what evidence these people have that their method is any more rational.

It’s not unreasonable to pretend that an invisible protective poodle exists if believing such a thing makes you personally feel better. It’s like meditative chanting “om” or fingering some crystals. Whatever works, dude! Go for it.

What’s irrational is jumping from that bit of self-psychotherapy to the claim that your invisible protective poodle is just as real as the snot in my nose.

If so-called “religious” people actually admitted up front that their religion is nothing more than self-psychotherapy to make them feel happier about themselves, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Religious people seem to really dislike it, in fact, when you point out that from a purely objective standpoint their religion is simply a form of self-psychotherapy. I want to emphasize the word “their” in that statement because when it comes to discussing other people’s religions – especially weirdass religions that hardly anyone practices – religious people are typically very happy to characterize those other self-psychotherapy practicioners as freakazoid cult members or just plain flakes.

The thing is with we atheists is we simply have found ways to cope with living our lives without subscribing to some mental baloney that comes with a whole lot of baloney baggage. Some religions come with a lot less baggage than others but Christianity???? Islam???? Judaism???? Hinduism???? That’s the Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Backstreet Boys of world religions, if you get my drift. Bad fast food.

My advice is to run away from that garbage and start living your life. Shortly after you do so, you’ll understand just how vile these fundie scumbags really are and where their power actually comes from. You will not like what you see.

Comment #109172

Posted by Louis on June 29, 2006 2:30 AM (e)

Stephen Elliot,

Hi mate!

I can see that evil deeds have been done in the name of religion. Yet when you analyse the motivation of historical (evil) actions carried out in it’s name, there always seems to be some secular advantage to the deed doer (pardon my use of words here). So possibly the motivation was not religious, merely the excuse.

I totally agree! Like I said I didn’t agree with a lot that was in the Dawkins programme, in particular the way it was edited to highlight the more extreme/fundamentalist minority sects as opposed to the more rational majority. I though, having read a lot of Dawkins etc, that it was a poor representation of his views. I understood what he was saying, as I am sure did others, but I only did so because I knew the context of his remarks in other media. This is partly why I think waving the Dawkins flag is a red herring, he is renowned as an “atheist bigot” whether or not he actually is (he isn’t). It’s like bringing up Hitler, he’s so famous for one specific things (although in Hitler’s case rightly so) that even if the guy makes sense on some topic, the impression of him (erroneous in Dawkin’s case) is overwhelmingly hostile. So hostile in fact that atheists on this very thread are citing Dawkins as an example of what not to do (wrongly).

Before we get rubbing of hands in glee I’ll clarify! Dawkins is misquoted, often. It is this “Strawkins” that people attack NOT the comments of the man himself. His views are so unpalatable to certain people that they misrepresent them (btw I am NOT accusing anyone of that here) and these misrepresentations are what enter the public consciousness. This is in part why I think tactics ARE important, I just think the “sweep it under the carpet and don’t bring it up” approach is what we have been doing all along, and it hasn’t worked. We need people out in front of ALL groups, showing that we ALL agree no matter how different and celebrating that agreement. IS this clear yet? (I know it is to you Steve, I’m addressing others with that remark ;-)).

Louis

Comment #109179

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 29, 2006 3:56 AM (e)

Posted by Louis on June 29, 2006 02:30 AM (e)

Stephen Elliot,

Hi mate!…

Hi Louis. (I take it you Louis from science just science?)

You know, Prof. Dawkins seemed much “nicer” in person than he did on his programme. I gotta admit I have not read his books. My first impression of him was from “root of all evil?”

Could you recommend 1 of his books as a good introduction?

I find the theist/atheist bashing on this site a tad weird. Personally I don’t give a toss about somebody else’s religious POV; Provided,
a. They don’t want to force it on others,
and
b. It is not destructive/criminal.

Oh BTW, do you have to work such long hours?

Comment #109184

Posted by Owen Phelps on June 29, 2006 4:56 AM (e)

Argh.

Okay, I give up. I’ve been following these arguments from the beginning, and I still don’t think I really understand what everyone is shouting about. The main message seems to be getting lost in all the noise (for me at least). Feel free to ignore me, but I’d really appreciate some clarification.

To whit: what does anyone’s religious belief have to do with evolution, as long as they don’t believe/disbelieve in evolution because of their religion?

If I say: “I am an atheist, therefore I believe in evolution”, that strikes me as just as bad as “I am a Christian, therefore I believe that evolution is rubbish” (or suchlike). Dogmatism is a problem wherever it appears (he asserts dogmatically…).

What matters is the evidence, and the reasoning that follows. If someone can reconcile their religious (or otherwise) beliefs with evolution, then what does it matter that they are religious (or otherwise)?

All this is strictly in the context of evolution, not the irrationality (or otherwise) of religious beliefs in general. Since most people are irrational to some degree about something, I don’t see any point making a fuss about one sort of (potential) irrationality if it doesn’t affect the subject under discussion.

I freely admit I may have missed the point. I welcome correction.

Owen

Comment #109192

Posted by Owen Phelps on June 29, 2006 5:07 AM (e)

Stephen Elliot wrote:

You know, Prof. Dawkins seemed much “nicer” in person than he did on his programme. I gotta admit I have not read his books. My first impression of him was from “root of all evil?”

Could you recommend 1 of his books as a good introduction?

I know you asked the question of someone else, but since I’m on my third Dawkins in recent months I thought I’d chime in.

You have to read one or both of The Blind Watchmaker and The Selfish Gene. I hear a lot about how arrogant Dawkins is, but I defy anyone to say they got that impression from these two books. He is an excellent author, and despite being impressed with the beauty and complexity of the natural world already, after reading each of these books I find I’m literally awestruck by it.

Also, a potentially interesting piece of hearsay. I work in “the media” (sort of), and my sources tell me that “the root of all evil?” was not the title that Dawkins wanted. The fact that there’s even a question mark there at all is a concession he got from the producers. The book that he’s writing on the same topic which is due out this year will be called The God Delusion, which while not exactly neutral, is a bit less inflammatory!

Owen

Comment #109193

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 29, 2006 5:11 AM (e)

Quick question to PZ. Is “Kevin from nyc” banned from your threads? IMO his comments were far more “gutter” than Lenny’s.

Lenny is just rude, Kevin is damn near invoking Godwin’s law.

Comment #109195

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 29, 2006 5:19 AM (e)

Posted by Owen Phelps on June 29, 2006 05:07 AM (e)

I know you asked the question of someone else, but since I’m on my third Dawkins in recent months I thought I’d chime in.

You have to read one or both of The Blind Watchmaker and The Selfish Gene. I hear a lot about how arrogant Dawkins is,…

LOL. Cheers, I will get 1 today or tomorrow. Having actually met (for a very short time) Dawkins, I do not think he is arrogant. But he sure did sound that way on his programme. I realise that the people who control “the media” can make anything sound the way they want it to.

Comment #109198

Posted by Shinobi on June 29, 2006 5:45 AM (e)

Registered User.

The way in which you live your life is just as irrational as theirs. If not - prove it to me. Provide the evidentiary basis for your beliefs.

How do you justify, for example, a belief that murder is wrong? Most people take this as an axiom, held without justification. Others might argue, for example, that it is better for society that people can continue their lives. In this case, why does society matter? Is that an axiom?

You will end up with axioms. Those axioms have just as much rational basis as the gods of theists who accept the rules of science.

Comment #109204

Posted by Louis on June 29, 2006 6:39 AM (e)

Stephen,

Yes I am Louis from SJS. We all need to meet up for beers again I reckon.

Yes on occasion I do HAVE to work long hours like that, the chemistry necessitates it. Such are the joys of research. Of course I’m a bit more….erm….enthusiastic than most of my friends and colleagues on occasion, but it does me good!

As for Dawkins’ books, I recommend them all. If you want his ideas on science and society and on atheism read “Unweaving the Rainbow” and “A Devil’s Chaplain”, and the forthcoming book that Owen mentioned.

“The Selfish Gene” “The Extended Phenotype” “Climbing Mount Improbable” “The River Out of Eden” and “The Ancestor’s Tale” are all more biological, but a real set of eye openers.

BTW I also agree with you about the general lack of caring about someone’s religious beliefs. But hey, gotta have SOME fun! ;-)

Cheers

Louis

Comment #109205

Posted by Lurker on June 29, 2006 6:43 AM (e)

“IS this clear yet?”

“If so-called “religious” people actually admitted up front that their religion is nothing more than self-psychotherapy to make them feel happier about themselves, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.. Religious people seem to really dislike it, in fact, when you point out that from a purely objective standpoint their religion is simply a form of self-psychotherapy. “

So, Registered User, can you describe for us this objective methodology of evaluating religion as psychotherapy. Is it scientific?

Comment #109213

Posted by Louis on June 29, 2006 7:12 AM (e)

Lurker,

Sorry I missed your post in a quick skim of the thread.

You are seriously misrepresenting what PZ and I are saying, both where it is similar and where it is different.

You make vague allusions to axioms/prejudices I simply don’t have. I’ll tell you my two axioms: 1. There is something that is me (my mind, inside my head, whatever you want to call it). 2. There is something that is not me (the stuff outside my head/mind if you like). I have one axiom that is derivative of those two: 1. If I wish to acquire knowledge about the stuff outside my head, then the best place to look is outside my head (i.e. compare what I think is outside my head with observations of what is outside my head). That’s it. End of story. The fat lady has sung on my axioms. These, by the way, are open to change on the basis of evidence.

I think that you think that I think (get through THAT!) theism/theists are “bad” (for whatever sense of “bad” you wish) and deserve to be abused/told they are irrational in the sense that they cannot form coherent thoughts etc. I have never said anything remotely LIKE “religion is a mind cancer”, and nor would I. It isn’t.

I ONLY use the word irrational with respect to theism when I am discussing the technical aspects of the underlying epistemology, which to be blunt is what I was doing above. Whether you want to consider the philosophical aspects of theism or not is moot, I had made it VERY VERY clear that this was what I was talking about earlier in the thread, and in what sense I was using the word “irrational”. After all you don’t think that irrational numbers break down and cry if they don’t get to be used in a sum do you? There IS more than one use of the word irrational, and I took some pains to point out which one I was using. Of course you’d know ALL this having read what I wrote above….right?

So please stop ascribing positions to me that I simply don’t hold. You don’t realise just how much we DO agree, you also don’t relaise that you are quoting me out of context, telling me I am saying something I have not, and that you appear blissfully unaware of what has been written by me in this very thread.

SO to tactics. I think that going up to an overweight person and going “You are fat!” is a very poor way of communicating that it might possibly be healthier for them to lose weight. I also think that going up to a theist and saying “Your theism is irrational!” Is a very poor idea. Get it? They both might be accurate, but in the absence of context they are probably offensive. This is why I urge people to read what Dawkins HAS written not the few quotes and snippets that people recount and what people SAY he has written. Just as an example.

The “irrational” comment has an additional dimension to the “fat” comment. “Irrational” has more potentially applicable meanings in that sentence than “fat” does in its sentence. You are quite right whern you say that it COULD be taken in a derogatory fashion. It could indeed be. It does depend on the context as to how it is intended to be taken, and how it should be taken however. It is THAT context which I think is so vital.

I have had myriad conversations with theists and used the word “irrational” and they have taken no offense whatsoever. Guess why? Because I placed it in its proper context and was extremely careful (like I was above) to show precisely how I was using it and what I meant. Just like the comment “You look a little green” could be taken to mean that you look sick or a bit new to the situation, the context defines which it is. Just like they have used the word “immoral” with respect to atheism and I have taken no offense, because they stated exactly what they meant by that word up front, and no offense was intended.

This is why you and I agree that we atheists DO need to be careful in how we communicate. But we need to be no more careful than anyone else, we just need to make sure that what we are saying is clearly understood. BTW this is why I am getting frustrated with you, because you are claiming I am saying things I am not, especially when you consider the full context of my remarks. I also agree that to debase science for a personal unscientific agenda is abhorrent. I am a scientist first and foremost, and if I have feelings of holiness, then they are about absolute honesty with regards to the method and findings of science.

The reason I was trying to get you to go through the process of theist epistemology was not so I could knock you down, but so that I could make clear what I was saying. I’m not interested in “winning” some silly message board fight, I am interested in being understood. Nothing more. With all your claims of my prior commitment to some highly charged philosophical ideals, you ahve yet to point out what they are, and have only succeeded in quoting me out of context. A conversation or discussion follows an evolution of ideas, not merely the context free repetition or dissection of single, recent comments.

All I ask of theism is that it is demonstrable in an objective sense, like the findings of science are. That is it and no more. I simply couldn’t care either way about a god or the existence of god(s). Until someone shows me something other than special pleading or appeals to prejudice and mystery I will remain skeptical on the matter. This does not mean religion or theism is without value. Of course it has positive values. Simply because something is not demonstrably true, or even demonstrably untrue, does not mean it is useless. Look for example at the illusion of solidity. The gaps between particles in the desk on which this PC stands are FAR bigger than the particles that comprise it, but to me it looks homogenously solid. That illusion is simply untrue when examined in any detail, however it is extremely useful!

I view theism the same way, it doesn’t matter that it has no evidence to support its claims, it’s usefulness is not in how true it IS, but how true it FEELS to the believer, and THAT is a matter of psychology. Not negative psychology either, as in I am NOT saying that theism is a disease.

Is it possible that you get this yet?

Louis

Oh and for the record, I LIKE theists, I have no problem with people believing in anything at all. End of story again. I don’t want my laws based on their unsupported beliefs, but I am happy to have my laws based on their supported beliefs, whatever they might be. I also don’t divide the world into “THEM and “US”, I leave that to other people better equipped for such dichotomous nonsense.

Comment #109218

Posted by Lurker on June 29, 2006 8:11 AM (e)

“This is why you and I agree that we atheists DO need to be careful in how we communicate. But we need to be no more careful than anyone else, we just need to make sure that what we are saying is clearly understood. BTW this is why I am getting frustrated with you, because you are claiming I am saying things I am not, especially when you consider the full context of my remarks. I also agree that to debase science for a personal unscientific agenda is abhorrent. I am a scientist first and foremost, and if I have feelings of holiness, then they are about absolute honesty with regards to the method and findings of science.”

And with that I am in complete agreement.

“All I ask of theism is that it is demonstrable in an objective sense, like the findings of science are. That is it and no more. I simply couldn’t care either way about a god or the existence of god(s).”

Yeah, and so the theist says: who cares about the atheist’s notion of objective reality. There is a god, and I couldn’t care either way what an atheist is.

Then you both stop caring. And then the dialogue ends. Isn’t this how the whole debate started?

If you must evaluate theism, my point has always been that you can’t do it on your own grounds, when those grounds start from a priori assumptions that do not mesh with the theist’s. You do evaluate theism, but you give them no benefit of the doubt. This is why the whole discussion on your technical meaning of “irrationality” is simply … irrational. You cannot be sure that you are actually employing the reasons a theist might.

Objectivity is a such a metaphysically loaded concept. I mean consider a theist who has one more axiom than you: There is objectively something else, beyond me, and beyond what I see that is not me. It’s axiomatic. And technically that means it is not subject to disproof. Either you accept it or you don’t. Then, you have the theist tell you that all he wants is for some materialist to demonstrate that _objectively_ there is nothing else to the physical world. Then what? Then, he applies the terms “irrationality” to atheists loosely without clarifying what he means each time he uses it. It’s a recipe for noncommunication of ideas.

Frankly, the first response to “All I ask of X is…”, why does X care about what you want? And that’s the gorilla in this whole discussion: who cares what a scientist _as an atheist_ wants? That’s why I think bringing science into discussions of “objectivity” and “reality” and “truth”, especially with an atheistic bent, is overly distracting. By all means, as I wrote to PZ, talk about it, if you need to. However, find the right forum and audience. Do it with a lot of vigilance… at least until atheists rule the world. But that ain’t happening anytime soon.

Comment #109222

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 29, 2006 8:55 AM (e)

It does seem that Lenny has been banned from this thread, since he hasn’t posted for quite a stretch.

I strongly protest such action and will not participate in any such thread. No matter how frequently and strongly he and I disagree, to the point that he uses vile and insulting language, banning him is not in the spirit of free inquiry upon which science is based nor upon the spirit of tolerance upon which atheism claims to be based (in contrast to religion, they say). It is based on the spirit of exclusion of undesireable ideas upon which fanaticism is based. And I am surprised folks here are not speaking out loudly against this.

Comment #109227

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 29, 2006 9:04 AM (e)

Posted by Louis on June 29, 2006 06:39 AM (e)

Stephen,

Yes I am Louis from SJS. We all need to meet up for beers again I reckon.

Good idea, I enjoyed the last meet. That pub near Euston was quite a good find.

Posted by Lurker on June 29, 2006 08:11 AM (e)

“All I ask of theism is that it is demonstrable in an objective sense, like the findings of science are. That is it and no more. I simply couldn’t care either way about a god or the existence of god(s).”

Yeah, and so the theist says: who cares about the atheist’s notion of objective reality. There is a god, and I couldn’t care either way what an atheist is…

Why argue about God existing here? Most PT posters require repeatable demonstrable proof before they accept things. Unless you know a way to do that about God, you may as well give it up.

Whether you are a theist or atheist has little/no meaning to the evidence of evolution (or any other branch of science). It is a shame we bicker so much (I am also guilty of it [being called stupid or irrational does elicit an emotional reaction]).

Comment #109228

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 29, 2006 9:10 AM (e)

Posted by Carol Clouser on June 29, 2006 08:55 AM (e)

It does seem that Lenny has been banned from this thread, since he hasn’t posted for quite a stretch.

Lenny is not just banned from this thread, but all of PZ’s threads. Go to “the bathroom wall” on “after the bar closes” to get the details.

It is quite a long thread but you only have to read the last few pages.

I also disagree with censoring.

Comment #109236

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 29, 2006 9:45 AM (e)

I just think it would be a tad bad mannered to atack Lenny on a forum thread where he is not allowed to answer. I read (probably in error) the comment here

People, you may not have noticed, but the thread has taken a major upswing in seriousness. Don’t derail it.

And yes, that means no Lenny allowed.

that Lenny is no longer allowed as an atack in view of the substance of the post.

Probably in error, indeed. Lenny not being allowed to post is not some law of physics, it’s a choice that PZ made – to keep a serious discussion from being derailed. To announce that decision is no “atack” (sic) when Lenny has explicitly said that his intent was to derail the discussion. It wasn’t a “cheap” shot at all – PZ paid dearly for it, through Lenny’s vile despicable disgusting anti-intellectual anti-rational bullying and thuggery, with his repeatedly lying about and mischaracterizing PZ. (Now that is an attack, but it’s entirely true and deserved.)

Comment #109242

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 29, 2006 9:51 AM (e)

P.S. By the way, I should make the point that Lenny and others are also making a very excellent point. Specifically that of “abuse rarely wins anyone over”.

I don’t know where you found that in Lenny’s posts, unless you’re saying that his own abuse doesn’t win many over (although even that isn’t true, it seems). He not only abuses atheists, but also fundamentalists and Americans in general as ignorant rubes and fools.

Comment #109245

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 29, 2006 9:57 AM (e)

Yes, they are logically and factually destroyed, but that doesn’t mean that everyone stops giving them credence. Have you forgotten everything you wrote in response to Michael Balter and his talk of public debates?

Did you fail to understand every thing I wrote re: Balter?

No, I understood it quite well, it is you who don’t understand my comments.

The problem is not the factual basis of the argument, it is the venue and presentation.

Exactly; I referred to the fact that Lenny intentionally created a brawl with someone who was offering a serious argument and a number of people went “oh, it’s just two people fighting” without paying any attention to the content. And DI creates the appearance of a legitimate debate, and a number of people go “oh, it’s two sides disagreeing” without paying any attention to the content.

Scheesch. Why bother?

You’re right Gary, you should just go back to drinking.

Comment #109246

Posted by normdoering on June 29, 2006 10:01 AM (e)

PZ,

Maybe you have spent too much time looking at the IDiots and fundies and you need to broaden your reporting to include things like this:

http://obama.senate.gov/speech/060628-call_to_renewal_keynote_address/index.html

It’s Senator Barack Obama’s speech on religion in politics.

Comment #109252

Posted by Owen Phelps on June 29, 2006 10:16 AM (e)

Popper's Ghost wrote:

Lenny’s vile despicable disgusting anti-intellectual anti-rational bullying and thuggery, with his repeatedly lying about and mischaracterizing PZ.

Weird. In all honesty, I didn’t see any of that. I thought he was making a pretty reasonable point in fairly clear way, albeit with a hefty amount of sarcasm that was so transparently designed to annoy, that I can’t believe anyone allowed it to get to them.

PZ, on the other hand, may well have been making an excellent point but I still can’t say I have a handle on it because I got lost amid all the shouting. I’m hoping someone will put to me in a way I can follow.

I really, honestly, want to understand. PZ clearly knows a shed-load about evolution and anything he says I want to take in. But I have to work harder than I think I should because his style often feels very aggressive.

Owen

Comment #109255

Posted by PZ Myers on June 29, 2006 10:21 AM (e)

Things are getting out of hand again. Stop fretting over who should and who shouldn’t be here.

Yes, Lenny is banned. He doesn’t have to be the last and only one. If you want to carp about evil draconian censors, do it at the bathroom wall.

Comment #109257

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 29, 2006 10:24 AM (e)

Posted by Popper’s Ghost on June 29, 2006 09:45 AM (e)

Probably in error, indeed. Lenny not being allowed to post is not some law of physics, it’s a choice that PZ made — to keep a serious discussion from being derailed. To announce that decision is no “atack” (sic) when Lenny has explicitly said that his intent was to derail the discussion. It wasn’t a “cheap” shot at all — PZ paid dearly for it, through Lenny’s vile despicable disgusting anti-intellectual anti-rational bullying and thuggery, with his repeatedly lying about and mischaracterizing PZ. (Now that is an attack, but it’s entirely true and deserved.)

Yeah, OK.

Now what was the serious discussion? What did “kevin from nyc” contribute?

In the second comment on this thread, PZ’s opening sentence is “Lenny is part of the problem”. Lenny was also linked to on PZ’s reply to Numbers on PZ’s blog (in a negative manner).

Lenny’s behaviour was far from ideal but it was not all, “one-way traffic”.

Comment #109261

Posted by PZ Myers on June 29, 2006 10:35 AM (e)

I just sent a half dozen comments off to the bathroom wall. I could do more, but it would be easier just to close the whole thread.

This is NOT the “Lenny is evil” / “Lenny is good” thread. Nor do you get to substitute some other name in there.

Comment #109262

Posted by Registered User on June 29, 2006 10:36 AM (e)

So, Registered User, can you describe for us this objective methodology of evaluating religion as psychotherapy. Is it scientific?

Provide me with an alternative explanation, consistent with the observed facts about the world’s religious people and their beliefs.

Otherwise, I’m not going to waste my time explaining something that is rather obvious.

Comment #109264

Posted by Registered User on June 29, 2006 10:39 AM (e)

Shinobi

The way in which you live your life is just as irrational as theirs.

Not quite. I don’t pretend there is an invisible sky daddy or some paradise waiting for after I die in order to make my life “more meaningful and fulfilling.”

How do you justify, for example, a belief that murder is wrong?

Are you serious? Here’s a worthy answer to that inane question: “I ask religious people.”

Comment #109271

Posted by Registered User on June 29, 2006 10:48 AM (e)

I’m going to repeat my earlier comment, in part, because of all the boo hoo hooing for Lenny that happened in the meantime:

If so-called “religious” people actually admitted up front that their religion is nothing more than self-psychotherapy to make them feel happier about themselves, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Religious people seem to really dislike it, in fact, when you point out that from a purely objective standpoint their religion is simply a form of self-psychotherapy. I want to emphasize the word “their” in that statement because when it comes to discussing other people’s religions — especially weirdass religions that hardly anyone practices — religious people are typically very happy to characterize those other self-psychotherapy practicioners as freakazoid cult members or just plain flakes.

The thing is with we atheists is we simply have found ways to cope with living our lives without subscribing to some mental baloney that comes with a whole lot of baloney baggage.

Are religious people willing to take the tiny step and admit what they’re up to (I’m ignoring the power-consolidating aspects the huge organized religions)? Or is it the deal that atheists simply must keep their opinions about religion to themselves or risk diminishing the ability a person’s religion to produce its beneficial psychotherapeutic effects?

The way people react to PZ and Dawkins, I suspect the latter. I think religious people should try to concentrate their religous energy into some other form to preserve it. Perhaps a piece of quartzite or something.

Comment #109274

Posted by PZ Myers on June 29, 2006 10:55 AM (e)

FOR THE LAST TIME: COOL IT.

Comment #109278

Posted by Glen Davidson on June 29, 2006 11:16 AM (e)

I don’t actually call myself an atheist (it is difficult to give enough credence to “god” to adopt the privative), but I do think that the following should be addresseded:

Shinobi wrote:

If this is irrational, how do atheists rationally justify the non-scientific beliefs that they hold?

And who says that they justify them? Actually, I do think that many atheists hold to a morality in a manner that can’t be justified, but that’s neither here nor there.

Godless people who understand these matters well don’t attempt to justify irrational beliefs, they recognize that such beliefs, and the sentiments underlying them, need to be accommodated.

Shinobi wrote:

A human cannot function without beliefs - what should they do? What is their purpose in life? But these questions are entirely subjective.

Not entirely subjective. One may work reasonably with the recognition that human emotions, hopes, and dreams are affecting oneself, and thereby allow a reasonable mind to guide one through life.

Shinobi wrote:

I’m not suggesting atheists can’t get perfectly fulfilling answers to these questions, but they do so the same way as the theists - by making assumptions.

What assumptions? One does not need to make “assumptions” to simply deal with one’s own psyche. To be sure, one needs “hypotheses” or something like them, but one hardly needs to “assume” beyond what is evident, psychologically and otherwise.

Shinobi wrote:

When it comes to believing things that science shows to be not true, atheists and a large proportion of theists are on the same page. But as this large group of theists would indicate, religion is used by a lot of people to deal with questions that science cannot answer. And if atheists claim this is irrational, I’m curious as to what evidence these people have that their method is any more rational.

You should read Hobbes’ Leviathan. Hobbes makes a fairly reasonable “social contract theory” out of simply observing human behavior. Now it is true that we’d add a lot of psychological and historical factors into the mix today which he did not know about, but that he was on to something with his philosophy is recognized by most who read him.

The fact of the matter is that if one runs into psychological difficulties, one often has to go through a process of shedding the incorrect beliefs that a person has picked up from religion. Is it not more rational to deal with the psyche as it is observed to be, instead of dealing with the psyche as religion mischaracterizes it to be?

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #109279

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 29, 2006 11:18 AM (e)

Posted by PZ Myers on June 29, 2006 10:55 AM (e)

FOR THE LAST TIME: COOL IT.

Sorry.

Comment #109280

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 29, 2006 11:27 AM (e)

In the second comment on this thread, PZ’s opening sentence is “Lenny is part of the problem”.

I find it interesting that so many people focus on that second comment, ignoring the first comment that is right there at the top of this page. I’ve gone back and read it several times; I wonder if I’m unique in that regard.

Just before B. Spitzer’s comment about Lenny showing up and shrugging at everybody, which led directly to the confrontation we are all so familiar with, he wrote

I’m not particularly interested in a religion-vs.-atheism flame war

with which he managed to frame the discussion as exactly what he wasn’t interested in (no wonder he ducked out after throwing his bombs). So from the very beginning, both the subject was misrepresented – it was originally a critique of Numbers’ interview, but few of the comments have been on that subject – and atheists were misrepresented (as Numbers does), accusing them of not understanding “faiths”, believing that there isn’t “room for more than their own point of view in this world”, and thinking that everyone who disagrees with them over this (a position they don’t generally hold) is “stupid”. All of this is topsy-turvy, when it is atheists who are routinely vilified – the one group that the great majority of Americans cannot tolerate holding political office, and about whom a U.S. President said “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.” When the majority of scientists are non-believers, it shouldn’t be all that hard to understand how this marginalization has unfortunate consequences for the role of science in society.

Comment #109281

Posted by normdoering on June 29, 2006 11:39 AM (e)

Stephen Elliott asked:

Now what was the serious discussion?

Serious points I saw made:

1) In our focus on fundies, right wing politics and IDiots we’ve built up a more negative view of religion than it deserves. Religious people have done a lot of “good.”

2) Religion is inherently irrational, even when it’s doing something “good,” in spite of protests to the contrary.

3) And my point, religion encourages a one dimensional, black and white view of the world where things are either “good” or “evil.” The truth of things is that what is good for me, isn’t necessarily going to be good for you. The world isn’t just black and white or even shades of gray, there are more colors in this rainbow of values.

Comment #109285

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 29, 2006 12:17 PM (e)

In our focus on fundies, right wing politics and IDiots we’ve built up a more negative view of religion than it deserves. Religious people have done a lot of “good.”

Those are two different things. Few would deny that religious people have done a lot of good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that religion has. Certainly people have done good things out of religious motivation – the Catholic Social Worker movement, for example – but perhaps those people would have been motivated to do good even if they had never had any religious training. I see a lot of very similar people among Unitarians – many of them are atheists or agnostics who attend the “church” as a social gathering and networking place, and the “preaching” is generally about social conscience and ethics without metaphysics. It’s not clear to me that religion has done any good that couldn’t have been done by some secular counterpart, especially if it is limited to the sense of belief in the supernatural.

But then, doing good, in any sense, isn’t the end-all and be-all of life. Sometimes we do things just because we wish to, with no weighing of whether it’s “best”. Weighing the goodness of all our actions and customs is itself beyond science, and trying to weed out “irrational” practices leads to the circular fallacy of logical positivism.

Comment #109288

Posted by Louis on June 29, 2006 12:19 PM (e)

Lurker,

But what you are advocating is purest postmodern relativism. I don’t require that the theist agrees with my axioms, but that is in fact what they do. For starters, that extra axiom you give as an example is in no way excluded by my axioms, in fact it’s really just the second one restated. More than that, the theist is making an explicit claim about the universe, i.e. god exists. I make no such claim, and certainly not the negative claim. I think we can both agree that a universe with a god and a universe without a god are different universes.

You appear to be forgetting I neither assume nor believe there is no god. I neither assume nor believe that the universe is totally material. I neither assume nor believe that any observation (not just “seeing” but experiments, measurements, interactions etc etc) is 100% valid. I neither assume nor believe that any knowledge or objectivity is absolute. I am not interested in what is “true” because I know that everything I know and understand COULD be wrong. Even that! All knowledge is provisional. All I care about is what can be reliably demonstrated in as impartial and objective (by ANYONE’S standard, not my own special one) a manner as is possible.

All I DO assume, is as I state above that the best way to get to know that stuff that isn’t in my mind is by interacting with it in the most appropriate fashion. If I choose that “appropriate fashion” to be ONLY meditation, prayer or internal mental reflection then how can we tell between a fraudulent experience and a real one? No matter how passionately I believe/state/claim the experience of my internal mental process/meditation/prayer/revelation is real, no matter what patterns I draw with the world outside my head, if it is not an observable facet of the world outside my head, i.e. observable in the sense that it can be reproduced, then how can anyone tell if it is real or fantasy? This is the conundrum for the theist (and many others).

I don’t claim to have the answers, I don’t claim to know the truth. I DO claim that absolutist claims to knowledge are suspect and should be subject to the same standards of evidence that anything else is.

Why can I say this?

Imagine a theist and an atheist stood by a tree. The athiest says to the theist “Did you know that our father’s both planted this tree together as a sign of friendship”.

“Yes,” says the theist “but do you know what sort of tree it is?”

“Yes,” says the atheist “it is an oak”
(granted they’re fucking terrible conversationalists!)

“Yes,” says the theist “ but do you know that my god inspired them to plant this tree as a sign of friendship? For I know the oak is my god’s chosen tree of friendship.”

“No,” says the atheist “I do not know this.”

“Ah,” says the theist “but I do know this.”

Are the meanings of the word “know”, as in “to have knowledge of”, in that conversation, all the same?

Imagine if it were two theists who believed in different gods. Same basic conversation, but theist A claims the oak is a symbol of friendship (based on the word of his god) and theist B claims the oak is a symbol of hatred (based on the word of his god). The two claims are mutually exclusive (unless both gods exist) and both theists claim their god is the one true god. How can this be resolved? They both “know” they are right based on their belief in a specific god.

The theists would perhaps reach for their holy books and start spouting scripture at each other. Whatever they do, they are explicitly making a play for external corroboration of their beliefs. This is one reason I can say that theists, like the rest of us, use the two basic axioms I mentioned previously.

Another reason would be that nobody (or very few unlucky people) buy a second hand car (for example) on faith alone. Most if not all people, kick the tyres, check the service record etc. Theists, just like atheists, use reason all the time to find out about the world around them. By the way, this is one reason I say that theists are just as reasonable and lovely as atheists, and I get quite irate with kneejerk theist bashing and abuse etc.

Reason is good enough for your car but not for your universe!

Also, if I believe that the law of gravity is optional I don’t simply float off into space or land unharmed after a plummet from the top of a building. It might be that in my swandive I am mystically transported to a magical dimension where all is paradise, but nobody else has anyway of knowing if that is the case or not. However, they can know if the tyres on the car they are about to buy are flat. They can also know just how difficult it is to scrape brains off pavement.

My point is that there appears to be (I cannot claim there absolutely is) something that doesn’t go away no matter how hard I believe it will nor how much really good acid I have taken. Of course I cannot know this for certain, but it appears to be the case. All that one can achieve in terms of knowledge is this “It appears to be the case based on X”.

Now when the theist says “Ah but this appears to be the case based on my faith that it is the case” then we enter into logical fallacy territory. Basically I think the simplest way to regard a statement like that is to imagine if (like my example above) we were faced with two equal but mutually exclusive choices presented by two people who had no corroborating evidence and were asserting the rightness or truth of their choise on the basis of their faith alone. This is a simple assertion, we know one of them must be wrong (the choices are mutually exclusive remember) but how do we tell which one?

So it really isn’t about the axioms, Lurker. It’s about HOW we know what we think we know, and HOW we can demonstrate we know it, and HOW reliable that knowledge appears to be.

Louis

Comment #109293

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 29, 2006 12:39 PM (e)

What I liked about Shinobi’s comment was specially this

“Theists who accept science, believe things that atheists don’t but which don’t conflict with science.
If this is irrational, how do atheists rationally justify the non-scientific beliefs that they hold?”

This I think helped me realize the following: not all our beliefs that are rational, are precisely “scientific”.
Now of course shinobi goes on to argue that we operate on irrational asumptions, which makes sense since there is asbolutely no univocal reason or purpose to existence, as philosophers discover again and again. I clearly understand that rationality must be used you know, “in parenthesis” but we always use reason, paradoxically even to question it or demonstrate its limitaions. there is always a gap, however limited sometimes, in which things can be coherent. So I personally would take the other possible view, that is, to acknowledge that religion has an important rational component. All this about religion being inherently irrational is just the mindless repetition of an old chestnut. As I said before, every old religion has a set of wise teachings which are true discoveries and achievements. It seems to me this is the rational part of religion. To deny it and lump all of religion as merely irrational will therefore come off as something evidently false to anyone who has realized that several things upheld by religions truly DO make sense.

Comment #109299

Posted by normdoering on June 29, 2006 1:11 PM (e)

Popper’s Ghost wrote:

In our focus on fundies, right wing politics and IDiots we’ve built up a more negative view of religion than it deserves. Religious people have done a lot of “good.”

Those are two different things. Few would deny that religious people have done a lot of good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that religion has. Certainly people have done good things out of religious motivation — the Catholic Social Worker movement, for example — …

If religion was in any way their motivation, then religion was contributing to the doing of “good.”

And how do we measure the “good” done? It may turn out that two godless atheists, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet will wind up doing more “good” than all those motivated Catholic Social Workers ever did. Intention is not enough, one has to have the power to accomplish those things intended.

And those mostly godless scientists may be doing more to fix the problems of hunger and poverty without even intending to. If there’s money to be made in creating better farm crops through genetics, they’ll do it for the cash and not just to feed the words hungry, it will just be a side-effect of their “greed.”

… perhaps those people would have been motivated to do good even if they had never had any religious training.

This point is yours. That is starting to look more and more true as Europe goes atheist.

… social conscience and ethics without metaphysics.

This point is also yours. some religious people want to claim the social conscience as religion’s own, and in that they are being dishonest. That is not what I was talking about.

Here is where you actually make my point for me:

But then, doing good, in any sense, isn’t the end-all and be-all of life.

For us atheists, yes. We don’t think we’re here to serve some higher purpose. But for some religious people – No!
And that is one aspect of religion – sometimes the higher purpose is serving others.

Weighing the goodness of all our actions and customs is itself beyond science, and trying to weed out “irrational” practices leads to the circular fallacy of logical positivism.

I would agree up to a point. However, I’m not talking about trying to weed out “irrational” practices. We can’t get rid of all of them – but that doesn’t mean we have to embrace and wallow in irrational ism (something often encouraged by some religions with their elaborate rituals and creeds) and without some attempt at being rational you just might think burning witches, heretics or jews is a good thing.

Comment #109301

Posted by PZ Myers on June 29, 2006 1:25 PM (e)

I’ve replied to some of the sentiments expressed here at greater length on Pharyngula.

Comment #109307

Posted by Caledonian on June 29, 2006 1:40 PM (e)

Lurker wrote:

If you must say, “Religion is irrational,” I think a theist would like to know if you are speaking as a scientist or an atheist. Scientist: Is irrationality a scientific concept? On what quantitative measure do we evaluate irrationality?

You’re kidding, right? That’s like asking whether symbolic logic is a scientific process.

Comment #109314

Posted by Lurker on June 29, 2006 2:36 PM (e)

“Of course, that means the commenter’s question above is completely backwards. Atheist scientists are consistent, and don’t need to announce whether they are speaking as a scientist or an atheist—those two voices are the same. Religious scientists are the ones who have to be careful, because they are the ones who are living with two very different worldviews. They are also the ones with incentives to blur the boundaries, not just to promote preferred religious ideas with the credibility of science, but because groups like the Templeton Foundation pay hefty bribes to get scientists to cross that line.”

So then, the only logical conclusion to this statement is that science has discovered religion to be irrational. For the atheists who proclaim it so are essentially speaking as scientists. And by this logic, as well, there is nothing rational/scientific that is not also atheistic. This means that we must have recently finished a gigantic social experiment and concluded that theists of any stripe have a completely incoherent and unreasonable worldview. If someone can hand me that publication, please let me know.

Until then, I disagree with the above sentiment. Strongly. But I should take my own advice and ask, who cares? Apparently no one. So I’ll take my message elsewhere.

Caledonian, _of course_ I was kidding. But apparently the joke was lost. I was not expecting anybody to be able to respond to the notion that “Religion is irrational” is a _scientific_ assesrtion. But PZ has done it, and in a manner that cut out the more reasonable analogy of religion to a cancer or a virus. There’s this game of last-wordism being played on the blogosphere that I can’t compete with. And PZ knows he’s got the upper hand. He can take any one of my comments and cut it completely out of context, label me as backwards and so forth, and respond with it on an unlevel playing field. So, I think that’s a sign that this discussion is no longer for me.

Comment #109317

Posted by MN Skeptic on June 29, 2006 3:02 PM (e)

Focus on the Family blames atheism and evolution on violence….

http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/6/282006h.asp

…A Christian pro-family advocate is linking youth violence to a godless, Darwinist worldview. Focus on the Family vice president Bill Maier says atheistic beliefs have led to an alarming increase in youth violence. Young people are more aggressive than ever, he asserts, with many participating in fight clubs and posting violent videos on the Internet. But that is what you get from Darwinist evolution, the Focus on the Family official contends. “If we have a prevailing worldview that teaches that, basically, human beings evolved from the slime and we have no intrinsic worth or value or meaning,” he explains, “then naturally we are going to see individuals begin to gravitate toward behavior such as this. It’s basically Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ concept carried to its logical conclusion.” Maier says parents need to help kids learn to distinguish between necessary defense and excessive violence and can do this, in part, by limiting their children’s exposure to media violence. [Natalie Harris]

Comment #109318

Posted by PZ Myers on June 29, 2006 3:20 PM (e)

Lurker wrote:

But PZ has done it, and in a manner that cut out the more reasonable analogy of religion to a cancer or a virus. There’s this game of last-wordism being played on the blogosphere that I can’t compete with. And PZ knows he’s got the upper hand. He can take any one of my comments and cut it completely out of context, label me as backwards and so forth, and respond with it on an unlevel playing field. So, I think that’s a sign that this discussion is no longer for me.

Whoa there…that’s a rather uncharitable interpretation. I thought your comment was interesting and worth talking about at greater length, so I promoted a large chunk of it topside with a link back to the whole thing, and talked about it in context with some other ideas I had. The intent was not to flatten you in an unlevel playing field, but to use it as a jumping-off point.

And yes, I thought your interpretation was backwards, but I’m not calling you backwards. Your contributions here have been thoughtful and interesting even if I disagreed with many of them.

Comment #109320

Posted by Lurker on June 29, 2006 3:39 PM (e)

Well, PZ, I suppose I should be flattered that a highly visible blogger took time to respond to an anonymous poster’s comments to such length. Still, it leaves me in an uncomfortable position of having to address the substance of this thread *plus* the substance of your new thread. At this point, I simply can’t respond adequately to your post (and the hundreds more I am sure that will be coming from your site) in the amount of free time I have.

You know, PZ, I am of the same mind as you on the synergies of atheism and science. But it’s just _too tidy_ of a package to think that they are nearly equivalent modes of thinking. Even if we could attack theology or religion on a scientific basis, the system is so complex that to boil it down to a few pejorative adjectives (‘irrational’, ‘cancerous’, etc.) seems highly unfair, and unintuitive… even for an atheist like me.

So, this is my breaking point (plus real life duty calls). I have no regrets. I am sure this topic will come up again between you and Louis and myself sometime in the near future.

Comment #109321

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 29, 2006 3:47 PM (e)

Wow! I have been on a boat, and I expected that this would have been over by the time I came back.

I just got an “heads up” on Ed Bryton’s wasted electrons: “Gary Hurd’s Lies”. I suppose that this is “off topic” in the sense that it is not directly linked to Ron Numbers. (I might be able to tie it back in).

I have been chastised for quoting from the “private” (How is a 60 member list “private”?) PT email list from last Fall, (safely archived) so most of Ed’s lies will go unanswered. He did piss and moan about PT was his creation, and that as “founder” he could not be criticized. His constant whining that he nearly invented PT particularly reminded me of Al Gore “inventing” the internet, but Gore had a much better claim. At least PZ will remember. I am very surprised by what passes as “science” at Seed Magazine. However,

His real problem is that he’s a drunk, which only makes his fanatical hatred of all things religious and non-liberal that much more unstable and likely to result in him making an ass of himself in public.

Mr. Brayton, where did you recieve your clinical training? I was a Professor of Psychiatry, probably well before you were even a graduate. I considerable research on alcoholism that was highly respected. It is my considered professional opinion that you are an incompetent, both medically and scientifically. Don’t worry, you share this with the likes of Bill Frist and his distant diagnosis of Terri Schiavo.

You also fail in logic. Why have you equated anti-religious with any position I have ever taken? Well, other than your disgusting, mean spirited spite that is. Opposing creationism is not anti-religious. Opposing the far-right is not anti-religious (unless you are now trying to hide your political ideology behind religion?).

I have maintained that public education and science can only be betrayed by people like Brayton who oppose public education and science. Bryton is an active supporter of the Cato Institute. Nuf’ said.

Oh yeah, the personal attacks and creationism. Numbers claims that creationists are not threatening to scientists and scholars, Mirecki is an immediate counter example. And like Ed, Answers in Genesis isn’t fond of me either. I don’t mind being known by my enemies, AiG creationists and Ed Brayton are a great start.

I strongly recommend;

Mooney, Chris
2005 “The Republican War on Science” New York: Basic Books

Phillips, Kevin
2006 “The American Theocracy” New York: Viking Press

A brilliant examinaton of how good people are corrupted is

Lifton, Robert Jay
1986 “The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide” New York: Basic Books.

His book is how I view all so-called “principled conservatives.”

Comment #109328

Posted by Alexander Vargas on June 29, 2006 4:23 PM (e)

Well, It is really no good that you quote someone only to add a long post flattening it and bringing up so many unfair and non-cogent arguments in your post. Lurker simply does not want to tire himself answering to things he has not said at all.
For instance, PZ, you treat us like we are ivory tower scientists who don’t care about the imperiled situation of evolution education, and moreover, you paint us as if we think we should hide our atheism so we don’t alienate people from evolution. All that is plain rubbish. As usual, you let the peculiarites of your war cloud your thinking and avoid the central issue of whether science in general REALLY has to clash with religion in general. Since the answer is NO, you can keep these false and unfair political scenarios to yourself. We basically do not agre with you because you are WRONG at the root.
And yes, PZ, we care, we care a lot and that is why we are baffled when we see your simplistic and false extremist thinking, and angry , vacuos ravings and insulting, mixed with the fair cause of the defense of evolution education. YOU HURT THE CAUSE, PZ you hurt it very bad and then you treat us unfairly for not being like you. Do not be surprised, then, that we do not like you.
I think there is no chance that we get an apology for your misrepresentation. I also feel like I’m talking to a brick wall, so I think I will also leave it here for now.

Comment #109329

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 29, 2006 4:24 PM (e)

Oh, as it should be obvious to the most naive observer, I have not tried to post to Ed’s blog. He and DaveScot are soulmates, and I would only be deleted.

Comment #109333

Posted by Stephen Elliott on June 29, 2006 5:22 PM (e)

Posted by Popper’s Ghost on June 29, 2006 11:27 AM (e)

In the second comment on this thread, PZ’s opening sentence is “Lenny is part of the problem”.

I find it interesting that so many people focus on that second comment, ignoring the first comment that is right there at the top of this page. I’ve gone back and read it several times; I wonder if I’m unique in that regard.

Look. I had not ignored the first comment. In answering you the first comment had very little relation. PZ attacked Lenny in the opening address, then again in his (PZ’s) 1st comment.

No you are not unique. I have also read the opening salvos several times.

Comment #109335

Posted by Alan Fox on June 29, 2006 5:31 PM (e)

@Stephen Elliot

Dawkins’s latest work “The Ancestor’s Tale” is a good investment. I thoroughly recommend it as an antidote to the nonsense on this thread.

@ PZ

I hope you have learned from this. I admire your posts on evo-devo immensely.

Comment #109337

Posted by Non-angloamerican on June 29, 2006 5:48 PM (e)

Most Americans just love being the ones that are right fighting those that are wrong. Once they have chosen sides, they only get more stupid from then onwards.

Comment #109352

Posted by normdoering on June 29, 2006 6:32 PM (e)

Guess who else is criticizing R. Numbers:
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/06/whats_up_with_ronald_numbers_a_2.html

Comment #109398

Posted by Registered User on June 30, 2006 12:55 AM (e)

Lyin’ Luskin (this guy gets more loathesome with every passing month):

And the ID explanation can also yield fruitful insights into biology. Pro-ID biologist Jonathan Wells has suggested in a peer-reviewed ID journal that intelligent design can help us to understand function of Junk-DNA

A peer-reviewed ID journal? That’s hilarious.

The article by Numbers and his co-authors nicely encapsulates the Darwinist metanarrative about ID. A close analysis exposes that this metanarrative–though widely promulgated–is factually bankrupt.

The Darwinist metanarrative? Oy, my stomach feels yucky.

It’s too bad Luskin has squandered the microdrop of credibility he had when he graduated from Jesus Moron High School on “intelligent design” promotion. Karl Rove could use Luskin, I’m sure. For something or the other.

Comment #109401

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 30, 2006 1:36 AM (e)

But then, doing good, in any sense, isn’t the end-all and be-all of life.

For us atheists, yes. We don’t think we’re here to serve some higher purpose. But for some religious people — No!
And that is one aspect of religion — sometimes the higher purpose is serving others.

I know and have known plenty of religiously motivated good-doers, and doing good was not the end-all and be-all of their lives either; their attitude is better captured by (secularist, but that’s not important here) Emma Goldman’s comment, “if I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution”. I don’t see much difference in practice between the religiously motivated good-doers and secular good-doers who often seem compelled by equally strong psychological forces.

I find that, generally, those who are the most earnest about end-alls and be-alls are not activists but judgmental screechers and stone throwers. Or, like Mother Theresa, they are more intent on being seen as doing good than actually doing it (see Christopher Hitchens’ book “The Missionary Position”).

Comment #109403

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 30, 2006 1:48 AM (e)

Karl Rove could use Luskin, I’m sure.

I wonder if Casey Luskin is related to Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin.

Comment #109407

Posted by normdoering on June 30, 2006 2:04 AM (e)

Registered User wrote:

Lyin’ Luskin (this guy gets more loathsome with every passing month)

Be that as it may, (I think Luskin was born loathsome and is not actually getting worse).

It certainly puts R. Numbers in a better light, doesn’t it? It restores some perspective on him. Avoiding the issue of most scientists being more or less godless is pretty minor compared to the realities Luskin is avoiding and Numbers isn’t entirely wrong in his statement that “creationists do not self-perceive themselves as being anti-science,” he just didn’t emphasize enough that it was an erroneous self-perception based on the creationist’s ignorance of science. The IDiots and creationists just don’t understand how anti-science they actually are.

Comment #109413

Posted by normdoering on June 30, 2006 3:16 AM (e)

Popper’s Ghost wrote:

… Emma Goldman’s comment, “if I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution”. I don’t see much difference in practice between the religiously motivated good-doers and secular good-doers who often seem compelled by equally strong psychological forces.

Hey, I’m with Emma Goldman, if I can’t dance (and read novels and watch movies) forget it. And if there are others who want to serve others – good for them, gives me more time to dance. I don’t know what you’ve seen, but the psychological forces in my life don’t have me running off to Africa or do much else besides dancing.

I find that, generally, those who are the most earnest about end-alls and be-alls are not activists but judgmental screechers and stone throwers.

But wasn’t Jesus one of the screechers in the end? He may not have thrown any stones but that whole dyin-fer-yer-sins bit kind of splashed a huge, stinking pile of unnecessary guilt all over the world.

Comment #109423

Posted by Louis on June 30, 2006 5:17 AM (e)

Lurker,

It’s a shame you don’t want to continue what could become an interesting discussion.

Feel free to contact me by email to continue it if you wish.

Let me know if you’re interested.

Louis

Comment #109434

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 30, 2006 6:37 AM (e)

I don’t know what you’ve seen, but the psychological forces in my life don’t have me running off to Africa or do much else besides dancing.

I’ve seen Peace Corps members, and revolutionaries (the latter mostly went to places like South and Central America and, before that, Spain to get shot at). I was talking about secular compulsive good-doers, counterparts to folks like the Catholic Workers and Maryknolls. That apparently doesn’t include you (it certainly doesn’t include me).

But wasn’t Jesus one of the screechers in the end?

As I’m not convinced that any such person ever existed, I can’t answer that. But certainly the mythical legend of Jesus is the fodder upon which the screechers feed. Remember, I questioned whether religion, as opposed to religious people, has ever done any good.

He may not have thrown any stones but that whole dyin-fer-yer-sins bit kind of splashed a huge, stinking pile of unnecessary guilt all over the world.

Quite so. It predated the Jesus legend, being present in the mythology of Mythra and Horus, but the Xtian version is a particularly nasty brew.

Comment #109452

Posted by k.e. on June 30, 2006 8:26 AM (e)

particularly nasty = tickle your @$$ when the projection is turned upside down as those of the opposite (or apostate) view see things.

Comment #111621

Posted by BWE on July 12, 2006 5:26 AM (e)

I think you should read more carefully what I wrote. In particular, that bit where I mention that accusing scientists of arrogance is absurd, when we’ve got plenty of theists spreading arrogance far and wide. I should have mentioned condescension, too — do you think I know nothing about religion? I was brought up in one, I live in a highly religious culture, I get religion chucked at me every single day. I’ve read religious books with far more critical thought than I see from most of the people who demand automatic respect for religion. I see religion day after day, I see people practicing their religion regularly, I get to share my mornings at the coffee shop with the men’s bible study group that meets there…and everyone tells me that none of that is religion.

It gets annoying. Religion, apparently, is some ineffable ideal that floats in a space of perfect perfection, unsmeared by grubby human hands, and no, no one gets to criticize it. It’s too pure. And if you do criticize it, you don’t know anything about it, because if you did, you wouldn’t complain.

Undoubtably, it gets annoying. But PZ, honestly, you really need to go out into the wilderness and spend a day on a hallucinogenic substance- LSD, Psylocobin or mescalline. Ask yourself where the heck you got off. Hold up a mirror and laugh. For quite a while. We are all wierd and we are all muddling through with relatively pitiful information at our disposal. Even you.

I’m sure you’ve forgotten more than I’ll ever learn (there is a point to that) but honestly, what does it get you?

I get the feeling you have a hard time taking criticism. Quality of being is a hard thing to judge and maybe there is less call for putting so much stock in fact that you miss the bull on allegory. Or whimsy. Or lightheartedness.

It is not absurd, accusing scientist of arrogance. I was once a scientist and many I’ve known are actually arrogant and foolish and ignorant of many other things simultaniously. Is it a shock that humans of more than one point of view might share the trait of arrogance?

I would guess that you know more than nothing about religion, but I would also guess that there isn’t much merit to intellectually understanding an emotional issue. And it all boils down to emotions. We don’t do Jack for a “rational”reason. We do it to make money, to feel good, to get laid, to be safe, to eat good food or to increase our own perception of our own social standing maybe.

Making fun is certainly fun but you will find yourself accused of arrogance if you cant laugh at yourself for your viccissitudes and inconsistencies.