Mike Dunford posted Entry 3040 on April 5, 2007 04:39 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3030

The latest issue of the journal Science includes a policy forum piece written by Sciencebloggers Chris Mooney (The Intersection) and Matt Nisbet (Framing Science). In the article, they argue that scientists do not, for the most part, use effective communications strategies when trying to defend science. Both Chris and Matt anticipate that this view is likely to be somewhat controversial, and that it is likely to spark a vigorous debate. I think that they are probably right about this, and not just because their article includes at least one paragraph that is likely to set PZ off faster than a lit match dropped into a five-gallon can of kerosene.

As Chris and Matt point out, we scientists tend to act under the assumption that the public will “get it” if we can just get them to understand the science. Larry Moran agrees with that perspective, and points out that people like Gould, Dawkins, and Sagan were pretty good at communicating science just that way. Larry does have a point there, but I think it misses the main point that Nisbet and Mooney were making: it’s also important to communicate concepts to people who don’t give a damn about the science. They also point out that the opponents of good science are very good at framing their views on stem cell research, the environment, teaching evolution, and other areas that fall at the intersection of science and politics.

I think Matt and Chris are right. We do need to spend more time (and thought) on communicating our views effectively, particularly to people who do not care about science.

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Comment #168316

Posted by H. Humbert on April 5, 2007 5:12 PM (e)

Personally, I don’t think the point is made nearly enough that creationists lie. Too many times the creationist “arguments” are addressed as valid concerns, and in doing so are made to appear as merely aspects of an opposing, but legitimate perspective.

But creationism is not legitimate. It is 100% disinformation. It’s not simply a different conclusion based on the same evidence, it’s a cover-up of the evidence, and it needs to be outed as such.

In my opinion, scientists need to start using the “L” word a lot more when explaining creationism to an uninformed public. At the very least, people should come away knowing that scientists don’t feel creationists are merely wrong, but that they lie.

Comment #168320

Posted by Pumpkinhead on April 5, 2007 5:33 PM (e)

When this website uses the word “science” they always mean evangelizing the religion of evolutionism. The evolutionists have a global audience of captive schoolchildren to whom they not only dessimate their degenerate propaganda but make them take exams to make sure they have mastered it.

To further add insult to injury, they control the doors to an increasing number of professions through their Satanic seminaries called univerisities. If you want to become a doctor/lawyer/accountant you must start with four more years stuffing yourself with the rotten goat meat of Darwinism and vomit it up on each exam day–and pay through the nose for this “privilege!”

Juxtapose this with the street corner and internet evangelizing efforts by Christians. We lack the bottomless budgets of taxpayer loot and coersive state power of the evolutionists, yet we’re winning–at least in this country! Only about 9% of Americans believe in the religion of evolutionism according to polls.

Comment #168324

Posted by CJO on April 5, 2007 5:54 PM (e)

Pumpkinbrains:

You must be aware that many scientists in general, biologists, and science educators are Christians, and have no difficulties reconciling their faith with the facts.

Why, in your view, do these individuals go along with this heinous conspiracy?

cui bono

ps. I think the word you were looking for is disseminate?

Comment #168325

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on April 5, 2007 6:01 PM (e)

faster than a lit match dropped into a five-gallon can of kerosene.

Actually, a lit match dropped into a five-gallon can of kerosene would go out. Kerosene needs a wick to light it, and that’s why it was used in those old lamps.

Gasoline, on the other hand…

Comment #168329

Posted by Pumpkinhead on April 5, 2007 6:33 PM (e)

[quote]Pumpkinbrains:

You must be aware that many scientists in general, biologists, and science educators are Christians, and have no difficulties reconciling their faith with the facts.

Why, in your view, do these individuals go along with this heinous conspiracy?

cui bono

ps. I think the word you were looking for is disseminate?

[/quote]

Spelling tends to be the first thing to go when passion runs high.

However, with respect to your second question Satan, as the father of lies has established many fake anti-Christian churches that have formed organizations such as the WCC and the NCC to crush those who preach the true Gospel and sow confusion among the general public.

Comment #168331

Posted by Jedidiah Palosaari on April 5, 2007 6:36 PM (e)

Thank you for this article; it was quite good. But I disagree that this is anything like spin. It sounds to me like simply very good pedagogy. Get a student engaged, get them interested, and they learn more. How do you get them interested? Help them see that what you are teaching relates in some way to what they already know. The public we want to teach is the same way.

Comment #168332

Posted by Jedidiah Palosaari on April 5, 2007 6:37 PM (e)

Pumpkinhead:

Is this another April Fools parody? I can’t tell anymore.

Comment #168333

Posted by Jedidiah Palosaari on April 5, 2007 6:40 PM (e)

Pumpkinbrains:

Is this another April Fools parody? I can’t tell anymore.

Comment #168342

Posted by raven on April 5, 2007 7:56 PM (e)

The facts on acceptance of evolution form polling:
“God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” It’s fair to describe this as the creationist view.

“Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process.” We’ll call this the theistic view.

“Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.” I’ll term this the naturalist view.

Between 1982 and 2006, the number subscribing to the creationist view has ranged from 44 to 47 percent, while those who buy the naturalist take on things account for 9 to 13 percent. The middle-ground theistic position gets 35 to 40 percent of the vote. There’s no clear trend over the 24 years; if anything, the naturalists have gained a few percentage points. Polls by the Pew Research Center and NBC News have found similar support for creationist belief, while surveys by CBS News from 2004 to 2006 and a 2005 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll give it a slim majority, at 51 to 53 percent.

pumpkinhead:
Only about 9% of Americans believe in the religion of evolutionism according to polls.

Ummm, about those lies. According to recent polls, roughly 50% of the US population accepts evolution with or without a deity guiding it. Not 9% as you state. Prelaw and accounting majors are required to take little or no science classes in most institutions. These are humanities subjects. Evolution is not a religion. Most mainstream christian and catholic churches don’t have a problem with it.

If you think satan is the father of all lies, better check your W2 form. Who you think you are serving might be rather different than who you are serving.

Comment #168343

Posted by raven on April 5, 2007 8:13 PM (e)

pumpkinhead again:

“However, with respect to your second question Satan, as the father of lies has established many fake anti-Christian churches that have formed organizations such as the WCC and the NCC to crush those who preach the true Gospel and sow confusion among the general public.”

As Mr. Spock said often, “fascinating”.

You really believe most Christian mainstream protestant sects and the Catholic churches are “Satan…has established many fake anti-Christian churches” Seems like this is the majority of the religion. From your tone, we have to add in most scientists seeing as how they accept evolution at much higher levels than the general population. And the atheists of course.

Looks like by your reckoning most of the US population is satanically inspired and really anti-Christian. How do you sleep at night? Is is scary? And who did I leave out of your list? Where do the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, new agers, and so on fit in?

Comment #168351

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on April 5, 2007 9:11 PM (e)

Speaking of “communicating science,” here’s a little ditty I composed in between pizza runs for levi, who posted this snark on the (now-locked) SUCKERED thread yesterday:

April 4, 2007 8:54 PM

uh words……words….hatred….words….so defensive……insults, and yet a chimp is still a chimp and evolutionists still claim origin of life doesn’t apply and you still can’t decide if homolgy is proof of common ancestry or not. what happened to your consensus?

I’m sure one of the egghead science types here could explain this better than a pizza hustler like me, but–

This is a bogus, stupid, and just plain illiterate claim in part because the word “still” assumes that chimps were around before there were people. Sneakily, it even suggests that chimps have always been around, and maybe people just got, uh, poofed into existence sometime quite recently.

But, in fact, chimps have not always been around and they have not remained unchanging.

Once there were neither chimps nor people. Around about five, six, seven million years ago, there were neither chimps nor people. There was a predecessor species that gave rise to both (proto)chimps and (proto)people.

Even after the chimps-to-be lineage and the people-to-be lineage split (maybe some of the egghead types could help with the Linnaean nomenclature; I’m just trying to convey the gist…), neither the chimp lineage nor the people lineage just stayed the same.

Anybody with two neurons to rub together knows that, before the latest homo sap version stepped to the fore, we had all kinds of other relatives–australopiths and homo this and that and even more recent relatives, including the neanderthals (heck, there’s still at least one around, right next door at AtBC: What’s up, J-Dog!).

But what some less-well-read folks may not realize is that the chimp side of the lineage has continued to evolve as well. Not only do the different chimp bands bear different cultures, tool use, and so on–suggesting that, with enough isolation (and a little less habitat destruction and intrusion by us, their close cousins) the chimps could easily be on the way to speciation.

But, even more to the point, the chimp lineage itself has already split at least once since bidding good-bye to our forebears:

With levi in mind, I call this next part of our little lesson “Chimps for Chumps”:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17945008/

Bonobos walk on two legs and are the most humanlike in appearance of the great apes. They have sophisticated language skills…

So, levi, ya maroon, when it comes right down to it, a chimp is not still a chimp.

And if you were expecting a piping-hot virtual pizza when ya saw my name, levi, I’m afraid you’re plumb out of luck. Though if a chump like you really wants a pizza, you could always check the dumpster.

(Out back. The boss is kinda picky about who gets to come in the front door.)

Comment #168358

Posted by minimalist on April 5, 2007 10:29 PM (e)

Jedidiah Palosaari wrote:

Is this another April Fools parody? I can’t tell anymore.

Yeah, sites like UD or FreeRepublic pretty much make satire redundant. I think this guy’s just trolling, as someone who can simultaneously post that “only 9% of Americans believe in the religion of evolution” and that Christianity is some sort of beleaguered grassroots movement only beginning to gain momentum against the atheists’ tyrannical deathgrip on power in the US (*snicker*).

Of course, knowing what I do about wingnuts I can only say I’m about 60% certain Pumpkinhead is a troll. There are no doubt many people who believe as he does, but something about him seems a bit over the top here.

Comment #168369

Posted by LEW on April 6, 2007 1:48 AM (e)

The problem is that scientists are not as congenial as hucksters such as “Dr” Hovind. science isn’t about working a crowd, it’s about specific things that the public has a problem understanding. specialization has made it difficult for the layperson to understand.

Comment #168373

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on April 6, 2007 3:31 AM (e)

their article includes at least one paragraph that is likely to set PZ off faster than a lit match dropped into a five-gallon can of kerosene.

Those flames are yet to be seen. PZ commented on Moran’s blog:

PZ wrote:

I’m willing to listen when these guys offer constructive suggestions on how to better communicate to the public, but I think they crossed the line in a few places where they try to tell us what to communicate (yes, thebrummel, my buttons were pushed). When they suggest that scientists are communicating poorly when we offend the public, they’re missing the point: sometimes we want to offend. In particular, I think what they are requesting is a passive, socially conformist science.

( http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/04/strategically_c.html )

Quite a reasoned reaction, I think.

Jedidiah wrote:

But I disagree that this is anything like spin. It sounds to me like simply very good pedagogy.

I think so too. My first attempt to distinguish the concepts came out as:

TL wrote:

Framing or spin? I’m not sure, but framing seems to mean to offer a context, often implicitly taken to mean social, that suits certain reader groups. The message is presented within the frame. Spin would seem to imply to distort the message to suit the purpose, for example by leaving out existing data.

And i note that a “scientific frame” is a frame too, suitable for some purposes. The original post is somewhat suggesting conflating social frames with others, which I think is confusing.

Comment #168374

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on April 6, 2007 3:49 AM (e)

Sorry. The correct link above is http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2007/04/how-to-communicate-scienc.html#comment-4269514375704885431 .

Comment #168380

Posted by Frank J on April 6, 2007 5:39 AM (e)

H. Humbert wrote:

Personally, I don’t think the point is made nearly enough that creationists lie.

I probably object more than everyone else combined whenever someone implies that “creationists” honestly believe their nonsense, or just don’t “understand” evolution. Yet, ironically I avoid the L-word in favor of “misrepresent,” “mislead” “deceive,” etc. in the rare case that the one spreading the falsehood might himself have been deceived, or suffer a serious case of Morton’s demon.

The key is to stop referring to anyone who objects to evolution as belonging to one big group of like-minded “creationists.” That’s the way most people misunderstand the situation – I did for 30 years – and if we don’t correct that misconception, we reinforce it at our own peril.

First, the public needs to know that there are anti-evolution activists and followers. There’s no hard line between them of course, but one should never confuse a Dembski, who clearly knows that there’s no problem with evolution and thus misrepresents it as “Darwinism,” and the person on the street who just innocently parrots some feel-good sound bites like “the jury’s still out.”

Next, we must stop implying that ID activists are all closet YECs. Maybe Paul Nelson is (I doubt it), but the rest of them know that YEC is nonsense, both as science and as a strategy to promote fairy tales to keep the “masses” from behaving badly. There is a wide range of anti-evolution positions and strategies, and the only reason that there is so little internal debate between promoters (as one would expect if the ideas were truly scientific) is to keep political support.

The third thing that must change – and no one will do it if we won’t – is to take a cue from Dembski and stop “taking the bait.” Everyone loves to defend evolution, but many times doing so is just what the activists want. It takes the focus off of the fact that they have nothing but weasel words and a dichotomy that they know is false, and gives them more juicy facts to misrepresent and an opportunity to “Gish gallop.” Instead, we must drum it in to people how these scam artists increasingly evade even providing even a rough outline of “what the designer did and when,” let alone test anything that could qualify as a theory. That’s the exact opposite of what one would do if one truly thought he had a better scientific explanation than evolution.

Comment #168384

Posted by Paul Flocken on April 6, 2007 6:27 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead wrote:

Juxtapose this with the street corner and internet evangelizing efforts by Christians.

Last year 4000 people attended an intelligent design conferencechurch rally in Florida. That must have been some street corner.

We lack the bottomless budgets of taxpayer loot…

Well I have no doubt that you have no trouble making it up with the taxfree, bottomless collection plate. All the anti-science organizations have budgets of millions and access to wealthy fundy supporters looking for charity deductions.

Did I mention that they held that church rally at the Florida SunDome. I wonder how much it cost to rent that?

…and coersive state power of the evolutionists, yet we’re winning–at least in this country! Only about 9% of Americans believe in the religion of evolutionism according to polls.

I am not surprised that Americans have such trouble understanding good science because the anti-science forces have utilized the coercive power of intimidation to force out the teaching of good science wherever they can.

Insincerely,

Comment #168392

Posted by nunyer on April 6, 2007 7:37 AM (e)

pumpkinhead = JAD?

Comment #168401

Posted by Pumpkinhead on April 6, 2007 8:44 AM (e)

Well I have no doubt that you have no trouble making it up with the taxfree, bottomless collection plate. All the anti-science organizations have budgets of millions and access to wealthy fundy supporters looking for charity deductions.

Did I mention that they held that church rally at the Florida SunDome. I wonder how much it cost to rent that?

Oh, the irony! Christians rent a building from the evolutionists’ university to have a conference. While the Christians shell out their money to preach the Gospel of Christ for one day the evolutionists who run the university teach their doctrines in classes day in and day out to students who are paying a whole lot more for that charade than the price of tickets to this conference.

Let’s reverse the roles, shall we? What if Christians could establish as a prerequisite for entering all the professions that now require a college degree a detailed knowledge of the Bible for which people would have to pay five-figure per semester sums to churches to lecture and administer exams on this topic? What if the churches also rented their buildings to evolutionists once in a while for one day conferences to increase their bottom line? What would you think of that?

Comment #168403

Posted by Pumpkinhead on April 6, 2007 8:56 AM (e)

Ummm, about those lies. According to recent polls, roughly 50% of the US population accepts evolution with or without a deity guiding it. Not 9% as you state.

Well, check out this poll! In 1991, only 9% were confirmed believers in the religion of evolutionism. The theistic evolution group are a bunch of confused thinkers bamboozled by Darwinian propaganda from the schools and their “churches”–a la Ken Miller. They don’t know what to think.

Comment #168404

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on April 6, 2007 9:01 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #168405

Posted by Pumpkinhead on April 6, 2007 9:03 AM (e)

Prelaw and accounting majors are required to take little or no science classes in most institutions. These are humanities subjects. Evolution is not a religion.

Penn and Teller’s stock phrase applies here. Evolutionism dominates the whole curriculum. Darwin’s disciples, Marx and Freud, inform the humanities the same way the godfather himself informs the natural sciences.

Comment #168406

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on April 6, 2007 9:03 AM (e)

A distinction needs to be made between promoting science education and USING science as part of front for a political/religious agenda, in the manner of Dawkins, Sam Harris (who claims to be working on a Ph.D. in neuroscience but won’t say where) and PZ Myers.

Now you are making things complicated, because both Dawkins and Myers (I don’t know much about Harris) is promoting science education as well.

But the main reason they use what they know best, science, to analyze, discuss and attack religion is because of anti-science consequences as I understand it.

After all Dawkins tries to tell us most of the “best” scientists are atheists

I believe it is statistics and examples that tells us that, not Dawkins.

they want much more than that; to label religious people as delusional, child abusers, etc, with most likely an eventual goal…were they to achieve actual political control…of caging religion and seeing it preserved only in zoos. (Dennet, Darwins Dangerous Idea)

I haven’t read Dennet either, but you seem to conflate his ideas with the others.

What I recognize is the common labeling of religious ideas as delusional and that Dawkins argues to label a child accordingly to the surrounding society, specifically its family, amounts to child abuse. The former isn’t controversial (or at least it shouldn’t be, since there are no facts to back them up), and the latter seems rather fair as well - a child should not be abusively labeled.

Comment #168418

Posted by raven on April 6, 2007 10:20 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead again and for the last time.

“were confirmed believers in the religion of evolutionism.”

raven: evolution is not a religion, it is a scientific theory.

“Evolutionism dominates the whole curriculum. Darwin’s disciples, Marx and Freud, inform the humanities the same way the godfather himself informs the natural sciences.”

raven: You’ve never been to a university for more than 5 minutes. Universities generally reflect the society they are part of. Marx and Freud are about as important in universities these days as they are at Walmart.

You never did address your claim that roughly half of the US population is satanically influenced, those mainstream protestants and Catholics plus whoever else makes your demons list. Why are you wasting time on a scientifically oriented board when you could be trying the Pope for witchcraft or whatever?

This is some sort of extremist fundie fanatic who is closed minded and seems out of touch with reality. Most of the US churches are “Satan established fake anti-christian churches”, universities are dominated by Marxian/Freudian thought, Marx and Freud were disciples of Darwin the godfather, evolution is a religion, and on and on. Who is also trolling and adding nothing worthwhile. Way off topic for this board and I’m, at least, not going to waste any more time.

Comment #168419

Posted by Glen Davidson on April 6, 2007 10:21 AM (e)

Oh, the irony! Christians rent a building from the evolutionists’ university to have a conference. While the Christians shell out their money to preach the Gospel of Christ for one day the evolutionists who run the university teach their doctrines in classes day in and day out to students who are paying a whole lot more for that charade than the price of tickets to this conference.

You know what they’re teaching? Evidence. You wouldn’t understand, it’s a science thing.

Let’s reverse the roles, shall we? What if Christians could establish as a prerequisite for entering all the professions that now require a college degree a detailed knowledge of the Bible for which people would have to pay five-figure per semester sums to churches to lecture and administer exams on this topic?

The reason you want to “reverse roles” is that indeed such a course would be a violation of free thought, the marketplace of ideas, and the constitution. Now vegetable-head, that is exactly why science is taught instead of religion. Your shrill herd-bleating notwithstanding, evolution is far from being a religion—I’m sure that you’d supply honest evidence for it if it was, instead of intellectually dishonest repetition of the same tired IDiot nonsense.

What if the churches also rented their buildings to evolutionists once in a while for one day conferences to increase their bottom line? What would you think of that?

That would be theocracy. What we have now is a republic, while you wish to do all that you can to force your theology into the institutions of learning and honest research.

Your thinking is decidedly second-rate, or you’d realize that we’re trying to prevent everything you “warn us” about, the takeover of honest science by religion. Your “role reversal” is exactly why we oppose ID and its attempts to manipulate science for theology.

If you respond, finally provide something more than bald-faced lies. The fact that you can’t back up your accusations is enough reason to dismiss them for now and until you actually bring forward some meaningful evidence in context. See, we care about honest evaluations of evidence, and must oppose your mindless rants which avoid any hint of data or evidence.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #168420

Posted by Glen Davidson on April 6, 2007 10:30 AM (e)

Well, check out this poll! In 1991, only 9% were confirmed believers in the religion of evolutionism. The theistic evolution group are a bunch of confused thinkers bamboozled by Darwinian propaganda from the schools and their “churches”–a la Ken Miller. They don’t know what to think.

And yet Ken Miller can discuss all of the relevant subjects, and you haven’t given us any cause to believe that you can discuss theology, science, philosophy, or even common-sense notions of evidence. You’re just a street-ranter, with your firm denunciations of everything you don’t understand.

“Michael Martin” troll? Neither he nor you could ever discuss anything but your own prejudices, and neither of you could never supply any reason why we’d want to believe your narrow bigotry. Indeed, you supply all of the evidence of what is wrong with creationism, it’s inability to address evidence in any relevant manner. You also show that reaching many of you with sense will be forever impossible.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #168422

Posted by harold on April 6, 2007 10:46 AM (e)

Raven and Pumpkinhead -

Putting aside the obvious parody nature of Pumpkinhead’s comments, those polls about human origin understate the US public’s acceptance of evolution. I’m sorry not to have a link, but the percentage goes way up when people are asked whether plants, bacteria, insects, or the like evolved or were created in their present form.

There is a well-known bias in polling (among many others) which is sometimes refered to as “social desirability bias”. It probably explains the reluctance of Americans to admit that humans evolved. It is obvious that in American popular culture, images of hominids, pre-historic “cavemen”, and the like are widespread and provoke little or no negative reaction. So implicitly, Americans seem to accept that humans evolved, but be reluctant to admit this to pollsters.

Here’s a related old link that suggests that Americans over-report religiosity in polls -

http://ffrf.org/fttoday/back/survey.html

Larsson -

“Delusional” is best used as a clinical term, and clinical defitions of it correctly exclude widespread cultural beliefs. It most certainly does not mean “holding any belief for which there is no evidence”. If it did, we would all be delusional, and the term would have no meaning.

The definition of a delusion in the most recent DSM, which is widely available in many public venues, is…

“A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everybody else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture.”

Of course, the term can be used colloquially, as an insulting way of describing another person’s beliefs or attitudes. It is common for words from psychiatry and psychology to be appropriated as playground taunts, and in the case of some adults, especially those who seek to gain publicity by making exaggerated, outrageous, insulting comments about large groups of people, we see persistence of this behavior.

(Incidentally, I am not now, have never been, and have never claimed to be either a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental health counsellor of any sort.)

Comment #168423

Posted by harold on April 6, 2007 10:52 AM (e)

All -

Hopefully I haven’t started a Dawkins war. If so, I surrender in advance.

It’s worth noting that “Pumpkinhead”, were he not a rather entertaining parody poster, would probably meet even a stringent definition of “delusional”.

Comment #168426

Posted by CJO on April 6, 2007 11:23 AM (e)

Well, sure, you can’t have “Religiosity” in the DSM.

But try another venue. Supposing a witness on the stand made continual reference to “God’s will” and “God’s plan for [the defendant]”

How hard would it be for opposing counsel to discredit that testimony, even if every single individual in the courtroom was a convinced theist?

So, I would say that belief in God, per se, couldn’t be called a delusion under the DSM, but that a wide range of beliefs about God could be. In a nutshell, modern society coddles belief, as long as you don’t think the Big Omnipotent Dude can actually do anything. Or, perhaps more accurately, as long as you don’t think that you’re a reliable detector of Deific activity.

Which just makes belief even more pointless, but that’s me.

Comment #168431

Posted by harold on April 6, 2007 11:52 AM (e)

CJO -

I don’t understand your point.

If you’re saying that a religious comment would necessarily negate otherwise credible court testimony, I disagree. If a person states that events that they witnessed (and accurately describe) must have been due to the will of Allah or karma or the like, that would tend to be irrelevant, but would not necessarily negate the testimony. In some cultures, making such a statement would be considered the norm. In fact, witnesses in court take an oath on the Bible.

If you’re saying that some religious views can meet the DSM definition of delusional, of course that’s true. What I said was “it is not true that all religious people are delusional (it is not true that all men are Greeks)”. I did not say “no religious people are ever delusional (no men are ever Greeks)”.

If you’re trying to say that in your opinion, it is reasonable to state that all religious people or beliefs are delusional, why don’t you come right out and say so? I’ve already explained why I disagree with that.

Comment #168432

Posted by Pumpkinhead on April 6, 2007 11:53 AM (e)

You know what they’re teaching? Evidence. You wouldn’t understand, it’s a science thing.

You mean like the Phallus at Occidental College or Taking Marx Seriously at Amherst? Evidence my arse! The whole system is just an untreated septic tank of Darwinian drivel.

Let’s reverse the roles, shall we? What if Christians could establish as a prerequisite for entering all the professions that now require a college degree a detailed knowledge of the Bible for which people would have to pay five-figure per semester sums to churches to lecture and administer exams on this topic?

The reason you want to “reverse roles”

Read for comprehension. I never said I wanted to reverse roles. I am merely illustrating absurdity by being absurd. You think having Christians as gatekeepers to many decent jobs would be some violation of freedom of thought and the marketplace of ideas. Well, that is how Christians view the current system.

that is exactly why science is taught instead of religion.

This is a distinction without a difference. All scientific “facts” are interpreted in the light of religious presuppositions. Whether one accepts the presuppositions of Jesus or Darwin determines the conclusions you will come to in science and everything else.

Comment #168436

Posted by Pumpkunhead on April 6, 2007 12:17 PM (e)

It’s worth noting that “Pumpkinhead”, were he not a rather entertaining parody poster, would probably meet even a stringent definition of “delusional”.

Granted the presuppositions of Darwin, those who believe in the presuppositions of Jesus are delusional. This is what psychology is about–defining beliefs contrary to the Darwinian worldview as medical conditions. What if Christians controlled the mental health profession and called atheism a mental illness? How would you like that?

Comment #168437

Posted by harold on April 6, 2007 12:23 PM (e)

Pumpkinhead -

I agree, it has been a bit dull around here since the creationists gave up.

“The whole system is just an untreated septic tank of Darwinian drivel.” :-).

That may be the best line I’ve ever seen on PT (or perhaps even the internet, for that matter).

Comment #168438

Posted by harold on April 6, 2007 12:29 PM (e)

Looks as if we’ve got a Pumpkinhead and a Pumpkunhead.

“This is what psychology is about–defining beliefs contrary to the Darwinian worldview as medical conditions”

Not bad, but “The whole system is just an untreated septic tank of Darwinian drivel” is a tough act to follow.

Comment #168439

Posted by ben on April 6, 2007 12:29 PM (e)

You mean like the Phallus at Occidental College or Taking Marx Seriously at Amherst? Evidence my arse! The whole system is just an untreated septic tank of Darwinian drivel.

Here’s the description of the “Taking Marx Seriously” class:

(PT) Should Marx be given yet another chance? Is there anything left to gain by returning to texts whose earnest exegesis has occupied countless interpreters, both friendly and hostile, for generations? Has Marx’s credibility survived the global debacle of those regimes and movements which drew inspiration from his work, however poorly they understood it? Or, conversely, have we entered a new era in which post-Marxism has joined a host of other “post-“ phenomena? This seminar will deal with these and related questions in the context of a close and critical reading of Marx’s texts. The main themes we will discuss include Marx’s conception of capitalist modernity, material and intellectual production, power, class conflicts and social consciousness, and his critique of alienation, bourgeois freedom and representative democracy. We will also examine Marx’s theories of historical progress, capitalist exploitation, globalization and human emancipation.

A) What does this have to do with ‘Darwinian drivel?’ and B) Are you suggesting that the best way to deal with the writings of someone who had such a major historical impact (good or bad) is to pretend they don’t exist?

Comment #168442

Posted by CJO on April 6, 2007 12:40 PM (e)

If you’re trying to say that in your opinion, it is reasonable to state that all religious people or beliefs are delusional, why don’t you come right out and say so?

harold,

I’m trying (apparently feebly) to make the point that the “socially acceptable” God (in the sense of the DSM) seems fairly powerless. i.e. when someone claims reliably to know just when God has acted (Pat Robertson comes to mind), he is looked at askance, even by his (more moderate) co-religionists.

Comment #168443

Posted by Glen Davidson on April 6, 2007 12:44 PM (e)

Well, you neglected the evidence, predictably. But anyway…

You mean like the Phallus at Occidental College or Taking Marx Seriously at Amherst? Evidence my arse! The whole system is just an untreated septic tank of Darwinian drivel.

That is a science course? Course not, you’re just changing the subject because you’re dishonest, stupid, and incapable of backing up anything you say.

Read for comprehension.

I read to understand. I don’t care “what you said”, the fact is that you want to force religion into the science, so it doesn’t even make sense to say “reverse roles” (I could only utilize your pathetic term with you, as it is senseless beyond your misconceptions). One is just unevidenced myth and instruction, the other is science. You wouldn’t understand, nor would you understand how we know that you want to “reverse roles” as you mendaciously put it, as any forcing of religion into the “objective” studies is a reversal of the standards that Americans profess.

I never said I wanted to reverse roles.

What you say is primarily lies, and I care more about what you are than what lies you tell.

I am merely illustrating absurdity by being absurd. You think having Christians as gatekeepers to many decent jobs would be some violation of freedom of thought and the marketplace of ideas. Well, that is how Christians view the current system.

No, they don’t. Some Xians view it that way, and those Xians are wrong. You haven’t begun to show that they’re right, and we’ve shown over and over how they’re wrong.

This is a distinction without a difference.

To the cretins who haven’t even begun to understand what others know.

All scientific “facts” are interpreted in the light of religious presuppositions.

Which explains why Buddhists, Christians, atheists, Muslims, and Hindus can all agree about evolutionary theory, I suppose. What religion unites them?

Oh, that’s right, what you wrote is just sound and fury, told by an idiot, signifying nothing.

Whether one accepts the presuppositions of Jesus or Darwin determines the conclusions you will come to in science and everything else.

You have the mindless chatter of the ID propagandists down well. Now why don’t you learn something, assuming that you are capable of anything but parroting what your masters tell you to.

You know, even relatively ignorant people receive intelligent responses here, if they’re doing more than just telling outrageous lies and making false accusations. So far we can’t respond substantively to anything you’re written, for it contains no substance at all.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #168448

Posted by Glen Davidson on April 6, 2007 1:16 PM (e)

Enough playing with the shill, for now.

We only have excerpts (except for those with subscriptions), but I fail to see anything new or different in the piece. Do Nisbet and Mooney think that framing is not done, that scientists don’t emphasize where their research concerns people, or even that funding isn’t filtered through some kind of framing?

And this:

The authors point out that when scientists discuss science-related policy questions in technical language, many members of the public tune it out.

Do they know anybody who doesn’t know this? There are two problems which will not go away: One is that scientists aren’t typically well trained in communications, the humanities, or whatever else might make them more relevant in speaking to the public. The other problem is that scientists are often striving for accuracy and so tend to utilize language and caveats which don’t work effectively in communicating with the public.

Moreover, even while continuing to employ traditional modes of communication, scientists themselves have come under increasing attack for being too atheistic, too self-interested and/or too liberal.

They come under attack for those reasons. What is that supposed to mean? That the attack is justified?

There’s reason for the public to be concerned about the possible biases of scientists, of course, but what do they want them to do, convert to religion, become conservative, and to give up the almost ineradicable self-interestedness of humanity? Mostly, they are what they are, they’re not going to change, and they’re already not working to publicize the facts that they tend to be liberal and non-religious. A few trumpet the latter, and the much larger portion who do not are thorns in the sides of the PZ Meyers’s and Dawkins’s because they don’t follow their examples.

Scientists usually wear their science hats and are as elitist as one would expect from their corporate or academic positions. That’s how it is. Most scientists do try to frame their results for whomever the audience is, journals, the public, funding agencies, and their success with each audience depends upon what they know about communicating with the various constituencies. Perhaps better training in dealing with the public is in order, but I gather that isn’t the thrust of their article.

They also point out that the opponents of good science are very good at framing their views on stem cell research, the environment, teaching evolution, and other areas that fall at the intersection of science and politics.

This may be, but many of the opponents in many of these controversies (and the stem cell issue ought not to be lumped in with the others, as it is understood by intelligent members of both sides to involve issues of morality amd ethics, while too many try to claim that it’s “just science”. Evolution is “just science”, stem cells are not, whatever your position on the matter) don’t have their hands tied by science ethics or even the sense that evidence needs to rule. Where we have to state things in terms of probabilities (for many issues) and include the proper caveats, they can just utilize absolutist language, demonize the opposition, and trample the rules of evidence.

I don’t know how anyone can compare the successes of the anti-science side with the successes, or lack thereof, by the science side. We have nothing if we don’t have integrity, we can’t even promote science without insisting on integrity, so there is no question that any “framing” we might do has to be done differently from the tactics of the anti-science side.

Like I said, I don’t see anything new in the bits and pieces I’ve seen, unless they’re suggesting that scientists ought to radically change their worldviews, or that they ought to frame issues in as despicable a manner as the IDists do.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #168451

Posted by harold on April 6, 2007 1:27 PM (e)

CJO -

A reasonable point, although I would point out…

1) Robertson is regarded by many, including me, as either severely mistaken or dishonest, with regard to the statements you mention. It is possible that he suffers from a delusional disorder (and it would be unethical for his doctors to release that private information without his consent), but there is no evidence that he does, beyond his making of these controversial statements.

2) There are many instances where claiming to know the intentions of God would be regarded as delusional, but also many instances where it is not so regarded.

3) It’s easy to forget that the dominant religions of rich European and North American countries aren’t the only religions in the world.

Comment #168452

Posted by harold on April 6, 2007 1:41 PM (e)

Glen Davidson -

Everything about Pumpkinhead suggests, to me, a (successful) humorous parody. Including that fact that he seems to have picked out the most comically over-the-top course descriptions he could find (yes, I know, they’re real courses), without regard to their relationship to evolutionary biology.

I seem to agree with you with respect to the article that this thread is actually about. Just another “scientists should be better salesmen” load of tripe.

Reality is almost the exact opposite of what the authors imply. The politically and financially motivated machinations against stem cell research, climate science, evolutionary biology, and the like are either widely disliked and disdained (the first two) or politely ignored by the vast majority (ID and creationism, and if you don’t believe me, ask a few regular people in the street about them).

Real science, on the other hand, is quite popular. There’s a range of broadcasts, web sites, and publications devoted to providing news about science. There tends to be a spectrum of sophistication levels, ranging from things that present science almost at the level of an actual graduate course (some of the sites linked here) to more oversimplified presentations (which are not necessarily a bad thing in every case).

Comment #168456

Posted by Glen Davidson on April 6, 2007 2:00 PM (e)

Harold, you may certainly be right that our darling little punkinhead is having some fun. The only problem with that is the fact that there would be any number of creos who’d nod their heads in agreement, even if he’s just funning everybody.

Real science, on the other hand, is quite popular. There’s a range of broadcasts, web sites, and publications devoted to providing news about science. There tends to be a spectrum of sophistication levels, ranging from things that present science almost at the level of an actual graduate course (some of the sites linked here) to more oversimplified presentations (which are not necessarily a bad thing in every case).

Good point, certainly. Americans by and large are considered (and polls suggest) that Americans think well of science, tend to credit it with authority, and perhaps are even marginally more knowledgeable about it than Europeans are.

In fact, that’s why ID wishes to be taken as science, even beyond the education issue. Not a new observation, of course, it’s just that the complexity of the picture appears not to be addressed in the piece, for Americans’ general respect for science can be co-opted by charlatans of all stripes.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #168466

Posted by Narazemono on April 6, 2007 3:01 PM (e)

Once again, a creationist resorts to insults, lies, and polling of a dangerously uneducated public. Did you know the southern states make up the lowest test scores when it comes to education? And that is the area where creationist have the strongest foot hold. This is the awesome link of statistics many here have been quoting:
http://www.jtsa.edu/research/finkelstein/surveys/evolution_results.shtml
You can see there is a direct correlation between the lower the education level, and the higher belief in creationism. Acceptance in evolution goes up as education does. Its true that most medical schools look down on applicants applying from most (but not all) christian colleges (especially the southern ones). But that is due to the fact that most of the graduates have a below average education, lower comprehension, and a much lower ability to accept people that are different. Which is crucial to take that wonderful oath that doctors take to help EVERYONE, not just those that believe what they do. And yes, I’m from the south so I know. You want to talk about oppression? How about being fired from a job for being Buddhist? Yes, that does happen in NC, A LOT. You want to see book burnings, ranting fools, and the KKK walking around free? Come to the south. Don’t talk to me about oppression Pumpkin. You obviously haven’t experienced it first hand.

Comment #168468

Posted by Jedidiah Palosaari on April 6, 2007 3:20 PM (e)

Okay. That phallus class at my alma mater is a bit weird.

Comment #168484

Posted by Pearl on April 6, 2007 6:17 PM (e)

Pumpkinhead says: You mean like the Phallus at Occidental College or Taking Marx Seriously at Amherst? Evidence my arse! The whole system is just an untreated septic tank of Darwinian drivel.

Pumpkinhead obviously has no use for higher education (perhaps that is the REAL reason why he and others of the same ilk can’t get past the “gatekeepers to many decent jobs”???), and he (or maybe she) implies that the courses mentioned are typical of the majority of courses offered at universities. That is the usual straw-man hogwash type of “evidence” that these types of cranks and wacko conspiracy theorists use. I managed to earn 4 science degrees from 2 well-known and well-respected public universities without ever taking any such courses. No instructor of any class I ever took ever tried to change my religous or political views. Maybe because I was studying science I didn’t have time for frivolous electives. Evolution never seemed controversial to me, because its explanations so well fit the evidence, including what I can experience with my own brain and senses. The Bible contains a lot of good moral lessons, but a literal reading of it just does not fit with my experience of reality. I don’t have any problem reconciling my religous views with my knowledge of science and experience of the natural world, including evolution. Apparently, some Christians do not have enough faith to accept the possibility of God UNLESS the Bible is literally true. Also, the mere possibility of no God scares them s***less, because without a belief in THEIR God, they can’t keep their image of themselves as superior, immortal beings that have a special place in the universe. To such people, who seem to me to have been hopelessly indoctrinated into some sort of religious belief that I cannot begin to reconcile with MY experience of reality or MY sense of what God is, science must seem a terrible threat to their very existence. I suspect there’s no reaching such fearful, willfully ignorant people, no matter how good you are at communicating science.

Comment #168492

Posted by raven on April 6, 2007 6:48 PM (e)

Pumpkinhead says: You mean like the Phallus at Occidental College or Taking Marx Seriously at Amherst? Evidence my arse! The whole system is just an untreated septic tank of Darwinian drivel.

A logical fallacy but this person doesn’t do logic.

Most universities have a class or two that mention Marx or Freud. So this means they are saturated with Freudian Marxists?

Most Universities also have a class or two that mention Christianity, the bible, religion etc. So this means they are saturated with Christianity?

But wait. How can universities be saturated with Freudian Marxists and Christianity?

The answer is that universities are repositories of knowledge and culture that reflect a wide variety of viewpoints and subjects. Everything from fine arts to auto mechanics to cancer research. I’m sure pumpkin never went near one. You’ll never get anything coherent out of that poster which is telling us something.

PS Speaking of mental illness, how did Freud get on the demons list of the creationists? I don’t think some of his theories are particularly correct but his goal was to treat mental illness, something that effects many directly or indirectly with serious negative consequences.

Comment #168493

Posted by Jeffrey K McKee on April 6, 2007 6:55 PM (e)

Matt (who used to be here at OSU) and Chris hit the nail on the head. Evolutionary biologists and paleontologists have not done a good job of public education. The problem is that evolution was deemed “controversial” for the public school system, and was therefore ignored … leaving vast numbers of people in ignorance (hence the poll numbers we get today). Meanwhile, spin-machines such as the DI churn out balderdash and poppycock at an alarming rate, and they succeed in engaging the scientifically uninformed.

I think the tide is changing. Cable TV channels such as Discovery, etc., generally put forth a more objective view of science. Students in most states, thankfully including Ohio at last, are teaching sound evolutionary theory … or at least have the state mandates to do so.

The next generation of Ohioans, and the next generation of adults in many states, will finally have a realistic view of evolution, and the tripe put forth by the DI and AIG and IRC will be distant memories. Meanwhile, we need to do better job of educating the adults who have never been exposed to the truths associated with evolutionary theory.

In other words, those of us who are educators, must educate beyond the classroom, and beyond the like-minded organizations.

Cheers,
Jeff

Comment #168497

Posted by Pumpkinhead on April 6, 2007 7:45 PM (e)

According to an evolutionist, this is oppressive:

You want to talk about oppression? How about being fired from a job for being Buddhist? Yes, that does happen in NC, A LOT.

but this is not:

Its true that most medical schools look down on applicants applying from most (but not all) christian colleges (especially the southern ones).

So it is an act of oppression for mom-and-pop Christian businesses to only hire their own but it’s all right for the Darwinian medical establishment to prevent those who love Jesus too much to even enter their trade at all.

Comment #168529

Posted by Jim Harrison on April 7, 2007 2:08 AM (e)

I don’t know why a Christian would be upset about a class on taking Marxism seriously. After all, cladistically speaking, Marxism is a a form of Christianity in much the same sense that pelicans are dinosaurs. The four great Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Marxism.

Comment #168551

Posted by the pro from dover on April 7, 2007 6:44 AM (e)

You can worry all you want how best to frame science but in the end the single most effective current means of conveying the fact of human evolution in America will turn out to be the Geico insurance caveman ads and all the spinoffs they’re likely to spawn. To me the problem is very basic and really not one of evolution at all. The problem is that Americans (and perhaps others) have no idea what science actually is, even though they have studied these subjects in high school and college. They learn the conclusions not knowing that the conclusons and the resultant theories are tentative and probablistic. Most think that the purpose of science is to explain away the phenomena observed in nature in order to find some “TRUTH” about the ultimate causes of reality and not that theory and empiric evidence guide hypothesis generation and make unique predictions about the outcomes of experiments/observations not yet done. Evolution is singled out because those who detest the scientific method (as being “philosophically materialistic”) correctly percieve it as not being believed as much as the other centrally organizing theories of the other sciences. Most people will not admit that they don’t believe in the atomic structure of matter, even though no one has ever seen an electron, a neutron, a proton, or a force carrying particle that constructs these atoms. There is nothing about evolution that is any more athiestic, materialistic, humanistic, naturalistic or liberal than any other theory in basic science (physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy). BTW its nice to see Lenny’s Pizza Guy again, I kinda missed th’ little dude.

Comment #168552

Posted by Scienceavenger on April 7, 2007 6:47 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead said:

According to an evolutionist, this is oppressive:

You want to talk about oppression? How about being fired from a job for being Buddhist? Yes, that does happen in NC, A LOT.

but this is not:

Its true that most medical schools look down on applicants applying from most (but not all) christian colleges (especially the southern ones).

So it is an act of oppression for mom-and-pop Christian businesses to only hire their own but it’s all right for the Darwinian medical establishment to prevent those who love Jesus too much to even enter their trade at all.

Looking down on someone is not remotely equivalent to preventing them from entering a trade. Let’s not get histrionic. Second, Christian colleges don’t have a reputation for being especially rigorous in the sciences, so it is totally rational to treat them a little more skeptically when admitting students into a science-based curriculum.

Comment #168562

Posted by hoary puccoon on April 7, 2007 7:53 AM (e)

Pumpkinhead is a perfect example of the whole “scientific” creationism movement. Hey, kids! Here’s how you can make easy money while destroying American education in seven easy steps;
1. Make a completely indefensible accusation against legitimate science educators.
2. Wait until you receive a reasoned rebuttal.
3. Scream that you’ve been attacked by the establishment.
4. Ask for contributions from the faithful so you can defend yourself. (Tell the faithful they’ll burn in hell if they don’t shell out.)
5. Cash the faithfuls’ checks. (The most important step, obviously.)
6. Repeat steps 1 through 5 until the scientists trying to reason with you give up in disgust.
7. Claim victory.
Repeat as many times as you like, or until the IRS catches up with you. (Condolences, “Dr.” Dino.)
Try it, kids! It’s easy, it’s fun, it makes sincere Christians look like idiots, and best of all– you don’t have to do your homework!

Comment #168566

Posted by minimalist on April 7, 2007 8:08 AM (e)

Scienceavenger wrote:

Second, Christian colleges don’t have a reputation for being especially rigorous in the sciences, so it is totally rational to treat them a little more skeptically when admitting students into a science-based curriculum.

Just to clarify, I doubt any medical school will look down on applicants from Notre Dame or Loyola, places with good/great academic reputations. I went to a Lutheran college with a good academic reputation (and a world-class reputation for its music program) and didn’t suffer in the slightest

On the other hand, the country (the South in particular) is dotted with p***ant little Christian colleges – unaccredited by any mainstream organization – which are either completely unknown quantities or have questionable academic reputations at best. How can you trust a 3.9 average at such an institution versus a 3.9 from Princeton or Yale?

In other words, it’s not a matter of religious discrimination, but of competence. Medical schools will also look down on graduates of Maharishi University, I can pretty much guarantee.

Comment #168568

Posted by fnxtr on April 7, 2007 8:32 AM (e)

From the POV of a Canadian layman, I have to say almost everyone I know has heard of Discovery Channel, but almost no-one knows what “Intelligent Design” means. The only time they’ve heard of it is from watching “Man of the Year”.

Including but also beyond evolution sciences, for the most part it seems that the loudmouth wackos spend their time on Bill O’Reilly, while real scientists are just too busy getting the job done. The job that produces results, and not just in biology. Pharmaceuticals and medical treatments, sure, but also energy efficiency, improvements in communication systems, civic environmental testing and cleanup, better understanding of ecosystems interdependence…

Maybe we should just pray the bugs away instead? (shakes head)

Comment #168593

Posted by Pumpkinhead on April 7, 2007 1:23 PM (e)

You can see there is a direct correlation between the lower the education level, and the higher belief in creationism. Acceptance in evolution goes up as education does.

Yeah, and I’m sure belief in the Bible is correlated with frequency of attendance in a TRUE Christian church, and belief in the Koran is similarly correlated with Mosque attendance, etc, etc. What’s your point?

Comment #168597

Posted by Pumpkinhead on April 7, 2007 1:33 PM (e)

Pumpkinhead obviously has no use for higher education (perhaps that is the REAL reason why he and others of the same ilk can’t get past the “gatekeepers to many decent jobs”???)

We Christians are quite capable of paying for the years of emotional sodomy in order to acquire precious sheepskin for the purpose of resume building. That doesn’t mean we like it. If this resume token could be obtained by paying forty grand a year to rent a prison cell with 350-lb. guy named Bubba whom we would have to satisfy in order to “pass” we wouldn’t like it much either, but some of us would probably still do it–although I’m sure the evolutionts here might.

Comment #168604

Posted by Pumpkinhead on April 7, 2007 2:27 PM (e)

If evolution is real, why are there still cavemen making Geico commercials?

You Satanists think you’re so smart!

Comment #168611

Posted by minimalist on April 7, 2007 3:06 PM (e)

Okay, now that’s just carrying it too far. You ruined it. :(

Comment #168614

Posted by The Real Pumkinhead on April 7, 2007 3:16 PM (e)

The last post was by some cheap imitator. I know dang well even if cavemen exist they probably wouldn’t drive.

Comment #168615

Posted by The Realpc Pumpkinhead on April 7, 2007 3:47 PM (e)

The reason that evilutionists can’t communicate science is that they’re cavemen who can’t drive, though they can use cell phones. By cavemen I mean all the humanoids who can’t drive cars but do ride dinosaurs powered by nonphysical energy.

I find that I can communicate my ideas much better by making them up as I go along, since that means that I’m increasing the amount of information, which weighs more than things that aren’t as complex. But only on Thursdays.

Comment #168721

Posted by hoary puccoon on April 8, 2007 12:25 PM (e)

Congratulations, Realpc Pumpkinhead. That’s the most sensible statement by a creationist I’ve ever read.

Comment #184133

Posted by Dr. John Michael Nahay on June 22, 2007 6:45 AM (e)

I am giving my real name. Also, since sarcasm does not “transmit” well through the internet, I will type truthfully:

Christians have absolutely NOTHING in this world to complain about. They never have. Why don’t all those christian churches pay taxes on their property just like everybody else has to? Why don’t all those baptist churches let scientists and atheists in there to speak about what THEY believe and know?

Why don’t you christian discuss and analyze REAL unexplained events in this world:
extraterrestrial visitations, bigfoot, etc? Events which have had hundreds of independent witnesses?

For centuries dumbf*** christians kept non-christians out of universities.

The one great thing about Communist countries like China was to forbid christianity.
Yet, crimimal christians there still decide to break the law there and get arrested.
They deserve to be punished.

I am a proud atheist and mathematician (PhD). Even *I* know the difference among various levels of proof and logical consistency with our everyday world, regardless of my level of belief or disbelief in them. From conjecture (I believe the Goldbach conjecture is true, but have no way to prove it), to loads of indirect evidence (I strongly believe the ET Hypothesis for many UFO sightings; I even more strongly believe astrology is a total load of shit), to

On a related subject, do you dumb subhuman christians ever analyze what it means “to believe” something, from a neurological point of view? Seriously, if someone comes up to me and asks me, “Do you believe Japan exists?”, and I say, “yes” or I say “no” –
1) does either answer really matter to the outside world
2) is one, but not the other, answer somehow “encoded” in my brain?
3) I have personally never been to Japan. I have received only secondhand information.
So, my belief has to be consistent if I replace the question with
“Do you believe many UFO sightings are alien craft?” for which I also have received only second-hand information. If it LOOKS like a craft and ACTS like a craft, then why the hell shouldn’t I call it an (alien) craft?

Now replace that question above with a more emotional equation, such as
“Do you believe the Holocaust against Jews and Slavs and gypsys by the Nazis happened?”
Same analysis has to follow.

Does “belief” ultimately mean some sort of EMOTIONAL response of the brain?

I doubt christians can even begin to ASK these questions.
I’m sorry.. I mean, I KNOW christians are too stupid to think about these questions.