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An apology to Skepticon from Gelato Mio

I previously blogged about “Gelatogate” (really? does every kerfuffle have to end in “gate?”) and felt that the business’s apology seemed a little insincere. It came off more as “I’m sorry I offended you because now my reviews on yelp and urbanspoon are plummiting,” not “I’m sorry for what I did because I understand why it was wrong.”

Well, the owner of Gelato Mio just emailed me to let me know he had posted a lengthier apology on reddit. There he describes the situation in more detail:

To the World:

Hello, my name is Andy and I’m the owner of Gelato Mio, a gelato shop located in Springfield, Missouri. There has been quite a lot of buzz and discussion concerning a picture of the sign I briefly posted in my front window Saturday evening. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell my story and offer a heartfelt apology to your community. I messed up, plain and simple. This is NOT an excuse, but how it happened from my perspective.

I decided to welcome the convention downtown by offering the attendees 10% off their purchases at my store. A lot of the group from the convention were stopping by, being very polite and enjoying my Gelato. Saturday night started out as a great night. Once the store slowed down, I decided to walk down the street to learn more about the convention, fully thinking it was something involving UFOs (“skeptics”). What I saw instead was a man conducting a mock sermon, reading the bible and cursing it. Instead of saying “Amen”, the phrase was “god damn”. Being a Christian, and expecting flying saucers, I was not only totally surprised but totally offended. I took it very personally and quickly decided in the heat of the moment that I had to take matters into my own hands and let people know how I felt at that moment in time.

So, I went quickly back to my business, grabbed the first piece of paper I could find, wrote the note and taped it in my front window. This was an impulsive response, which I fully acknowledge was completely wrong and unacceptable. The sign was posted for about 10 minutes or so before I calmed down, came to my senses, and took it down. For what it’s worth, nobody was turned away. I strongly believe that everybody is entitled to their beliefs. I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions. I was wrong.

Guys, I really don’t know what else I can do to express my apologies. I’ve received dozens of calls and hundreds of emails since the incident, and have done my best to reply to each and every one and express my regret for what happened. For the thousands of you whom I’ve offended, I sincerely apologize. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. This is me as a human being sincerely apologizing for my actions.

To those of you who accept my apology, Thank You; it means a lot. To those of you who haven’t, I hope you will. I’m just a 28 year old small business owner who made a big mistake. I hope you see that I have not made any excuses, I’ve owned up to what I did, and I apologize.

For what it’s worth, an Atheist reached out to me to help me work through all of this and contact your community directly. I graciously accepted his offer.

I will give everyone who comes to my store this week 10% off as a token of my apology. Really, what’s more universal than ice cream?

Sincerely, Andy

This seems like a sincere apology, and I personally will say apology accepted. Like I said before, admitting you were wrong is hard, and I respect people who do it.

Comments

  1. markns says

    Seems like a sincere apology. Ironic that it was the goddamn bible that caused the problem (i.e. his taking offense) in the first place.

  2. Randomfactor says

    He failed to make the connection that his beliefs and those of flying-saucer believers are roughly equivalent in terms of evidence.

  3. Laura-Ray says

    I feel bad for the poor guy. I know what that’s like, I have an awful temper, but there are some vindictive people in every community. And this really looks like a good apology and a nice olive branch. WITH ICE CREAM, no less!
    anyways, sincere apologies make me feel happy.

  4. Eric Panzer says

    While his actions were still wrong, when put in this context, they are understandable. Not justified, understandable. His apology and sincerity are commendable.

    I think this kerfuffle and the events that precipitated it pose an interesting question for the skeptical and especially atheist communities—both of which I consider myself a member. Within our own events and conventions, we should of course be free to do what we will and lampoon religion or any sort of unsupported belief.

    Nevertheless, I think it should give us pause when we consider this young man’s response in the larger context of our movement’s goals. Granted, ridicule is an essential tool of the skeptical movement, but when we do not yield it carefully, do we risk alienating the very people we are trying to reach? Yes, there will be some people alienated no matter what we do and, yes, we are entitled to poke fun and be offensive. But might it not be important to consider how our tone communicating within the movement influences our tone and approach when interfacing with those outside of the movement?

    I can’t claim to have actively participated in skeptical or atheist events, and it may very well be that I’m unwittingly beating a dead horse, but I thought it nonetheless worth a mention.

  5. says

    “admitting you were wrong is hard, and I respect people who do it.”

    That’s really awesome. Shows your a bigger person than some. Me, i’m kinda the opposite: with my depression, i’m all too ready to admit i’m wrong, even if i may be in the right…

  6. Izzy Leonard says

    “Really, what’s more universal than ice cream?”

    25-30% of the human race is lactose intolerant in adulthood.

  7. Steve says

    People have probably been too hard on the guy. If that was all he saw, I can understand that he good offended by it. He made an emotional reaction and understood that he made a mistake. He apologized. End of story.

    Anything further is really creating unnecessary drama. If he were “unrepentant”, yeah then further actions may be in order. But this has been resolved

  8. annaigaw says

    I saw the sign in the window and started to laugh at it but the owner inside was glaring at us, needless to say I just kept walking. Earlier that day we ate lunch at the Italian restaurant across the street and he walked in there and looked around, just stood there and looked around at people. At the time I thought he was the manager of the restaurant, but now I wonder if he was checking out “those people”. It seems like his apology is sincere. I wasn’t really upset at the sign just sad that people have to be that way.

    By the way Jen, loved your talk! I don’t know much about biology but I definitely know more now :)

  9. says

    That seems utterly sincere. On top of which, I think it takes a lot of guts to post that to reddit, after the photo of the infamous sign was seen by pretty much every atheist on the internet in the US. If he was insincere, I don’t know why he would invite further attention on himself.

  10. Karl Corwin says

    I’m still not convinced. The apology doesn’t explain why he systematically removed critical posts from his facebook wall and left only supportive posts (some quite bigoted in themselves) before he finally deleted them all.

    Besides, sincere apology or not, what he did was not just wrong, but also illegal.

  11. says

    People are going to be offended when promoting skepticism or atheism. The question who do you think your action/presentation will offend,and is it worth offending them.

    I accept Andy’s apology, and I hope he’ll think about how offensive his ministers seem to us.

  12. Rising Ape says

    I can only imagine the look on the guys face when he walked into Brother Sam’s Revival with 1100 of us yelling “GOD DAMN!”! It must have been priceless. Too bad he didn’t show up during Greta’s talk, that might have been interesting. People get very upset when you challenge their deeply held beliefs. Sounds like he has thought about it and we do want people to think. Knee-jerk reactions are seldom the best, as he found out. Apology accepted.

  13. John Eberhard says

    I hope some of us take him a Skepticon 5 schedule and an invite next year come listen and to give US another chance as our community seems to be giving HIM another chance now.
    It would be good for him to experience some of our speakers whom he would not find so quite so objectionable.

  14. Jason Loxton says

    “Ironic that it was the goddamn bible that caused the problem (i.e. his taking offense) in the first place.”

    I note that this is not the case. The root of the problem was precisely the brand confusion that those of us who have been long active in empirical skepticism, i.e., the classic CSICOP/Skeptics Society side of sketicism, dreaded when Skepticon adopted the term ‘skeptic’ for what is predominately an atheist convention. He thought Skepticon was about what it’s name implied.

    I went to my first atheist convention in 1999. I go to plenty of skeptics conventions too. I wish Skepticon luck (as a conference; I really do hate the name), but on behalf of myself, religious skeptics, and confused individuals like this poor gelato guy, I’d like to remind people again that there’s a decades old tradition in North America of using the term ‘skeptic’ for UFO-busting and other testable claims.

    Clear definitions, like fences, are good for neighbourliness. : )

  15. Rob says

    Apology accepted. No reason to ruin this fucker. We just needed to prove a point with this. Mission accomplished.

  16. Reed E says

    Steve says: “He apologized. End of story.”

    Not exactly. With the Google and Yelp ratings effectively trashed, the story continues with an uncertain future for Gelato Mio.

    Don’t be surprised if there’s no place to buy gelato next year at Skepticon.

  17. says

    I think I’m also beating a dead horse when I mention that perhaps this guy had a reason to be offended. Ridicule has a place, but almost only when it’s pointed. Flat out ridicule like that will only serve to draw deeper trenches.

    I know this has been discussed at length as well, but are skeptic and atheist really synonymous terms? If a Christian admits their faith is just that and is scientifically minded, would you really call them out on not being skeptic-enough?

    I’m sorry but we’re not going to be able to make everyone an atheist. Christians are alright, and plenty of them are on the same moral guidelines as us. We don’t have to tolerate their assumptions, but we can still be friends with them. You know, without being dicks all the time like we tend to be.

  18. Jason Loxton says

    This claim is being made a lot. I don’t think it is true. His sign specifically said ‘skepticon attendees’ weren’t welcome. It didn’t single out any religious or racial group. It was a jerk-y sign, but I think legal.

  19. Karl Corwin says

    If he had just indicated it as his shop, I would agree. But, he labeled it as “my Christian business”. That’s a clear indication that his refusal of service was religiously based.

  20. says

    Say what?

    I wouldn’t read a bible and end the verses with “god damn” in front of my friends and family, so I wouldn’t do it behind their back. That’s all I was really trying to get at.

    The rest is pure speculation and actual inquiry. I know my tone was confrontational! I really wasn’t trying to generalize the entire compliment of Skepticon attendees. Sorry.

  21. John-Henry Beck says

    How, exactly, do you make this fence?

    Atheism is the result of applying skepticism to the god claims. There are plenty of things about religion that skepticism applies to. Trying to claim a special exemption for religion is special pleading.

  22. Jason Loxton says

    Yeah. I don’t know. I am not a lawyer, but it sure is a lot less clear cut than many people have noted. (One person on Yelp claimed that the sign said she wasn’t welcome as a Jew… WTF? Where’d that come from?)

  23. says

    And that simplistic description is not what Sam’s show was, so don’t go judging it yet. I’m including a description in my summary post, which will go up tonight or tomorrow.

  24. Karl Corwin says

    When you come across a sign indicating people aren’t welcome to a “Christian business”, it’s a pretty good indication that they aren’t welcome if they aren’t Christian. That would extend to Jews, Muslims, Buddhist, etc. as well as atheists.

  25. says

    If the owner’s account is true, his reaction was to mockery, which is predictable.

    If one of the goals of skepticism is persuasion, then mockery is to be avoided.

  26. Jason Loxton says

    This has played out on the web in thousands of comments, so I won’t rehash in depth here. The term ‘skeptic’ has had a dominant usage-based definition in North American critical thinking circles for decades. That definition is based not on special treatment of religious claims, but on the exclusion of non-empirical claims in general. (Plenty of religious claims *are* testable, and rightly under the purview if science and empirical skepticism, but plenty, including the claim “an immaterial god exists,” are not.)

    Given that all the major publications with ‘skeptic’ in their names reflect this usage (and have for 30+ years), as do flagship programs like the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, it seems odd to introduce what can only be confusion when perfectly good (and more accurate) terms, such as ‘non-theism’, ‘anti-theism’, ‘secular humanism’, ‘rationalism’, and ‘critical thinking’, exist already.

  27. isilzhaveni says

    At least his apologies are improving. However, the sign wasn’t just wrong and unacceptable. It was illegal and a violation of the Civil Rights Act. He’s not apologizing for that. It would be a good idea for him to at the very least take a training class on Civil Rights offered by the Missouri Commission on Human Rights.

  28. MCJB says

    I have to say that was very big of him to do so. Where I live a christian would probably rather die than to apologize for an act done because of their religion being offended.

  29. Ticktock says

    Greta Christina describes his show as “a take-no-prisoners atheist rant that makes Christopher Hitchens look like a vanilla cupcake”.

    I’m looking forward to the show’s full description which will explain how that sort of satire is appropriate for anything other than a convention solely for atheists. This goes beyond a branding problem because that would imply that it’s the perception outside the community that is at fault. We invite criticism and further discrimination when we shout “god damn” in unison as if it were funny to mock our friends, family, and acquaintances. Whatever. I’m sure it was a hilarious show.

  30. Karl Corwin says

    The reaction to mockery or being offended should never be discrimination. Even if predictable, it should never be excused, for any reason.

    Mockery and satire are legitimate forms of criticism, especially in areas where reason is not the base currency.

  31. Rob says

    Joe Nickell nailed it on Sunday when he said that you must be tactful and respectful when challenging people on their beliefs. I can understand why someone from a religious background might have a harsh reaction to some speakers. (Hey guys, there’s a church service going on next door! GODDAMN!) Doesn’t excuse the subsequent banhammering of Skepticon participants from delicious gelato, but it does at least give us some insight.

  32. kelly says

    Uh, he says that, “an Atheist reached out to me to help me work through all of this and contact your community directly.”

    He is being advised by someone. He doesn’t really realize what he’s done. What is “your community”? The community of people offended by him (vs. those that support him)?

    This Jr. Achievement just got a lesson and realized that his opinion isn’t what people are buying at his gelato shop. In fact, they are paying to NOT have his opinion.

  33. says

    Aargh. Here we go: some atheists are acceptable, others are not.

    Hey! I know! Next time we meet a racist, let’s introduce him to some light-skinned blacks and hide the dark ones in the basement. That’ll work.

  34. says

    The “dominant usage-based definition” is wrong and craven. It’s an unacceptable attempt to exclude the absurdity of religion from critical evaluation.

  35. says

    If his yelp ratings are trashed, those who accept his apology as sincere could do well by submitting positive reviews to counter OUR impulse reaction to activate the internet salvo.

  36. says

    I can’t follow PZ anymore, he’s been getting crankier lately, and now he’s just plain being irrational.. he’s the Michael Moore of atheism now.

  37. says

    Again, this is pandering to religion. We are atheists. We shouldn’t fall into the trap of suggesting that atheists who are softer on religion are ‘better’ than the hard ones.

    Nickell is wrong. Some of us will refuse to be tactful and respectful of lying bullshit, and that’s the way it should be.

  38. says

    This makes literally zero sense.

    PZ is trying to say that what Gelato-guy is missing is the fact that atheists have a right to ridicule religion regardless of whether it is offensive or not. That’s not irrational.

  39. jongoldman says

    Being a Christian, and expecting flying saucers, I was not only totally surprised but totally offended. I took it very personally and quickly decided in the heat of the moment that I had to take matters into my own hands and let people know how I felt at that moment in time.

    The real problem here is that no Christian seems to acknowledge that the same level of offense is what I take when:
    – A preacher in the subway is yelling how I’m going to hell unless I listen to what he has to say and live by it.
    – A 19 year old “elder” of the Mormon Church tries to tell me how women are evil and my rightful place is in dominion over them.
    – I’m walking down the street with my 17-month old daughter and have to endure the constant “oh she’s so precious, god bless her,” and “what a gift from god she is.”
    – Any politician whatsoever uses the word “god” when talking about anything to do with the government or the job I am paying them to do.
    And much, much more.

    How would he have felt if there had been a sign on the door at Skepticon saying: “Christians are not welcome to our skeptic conference.”

    Don’t accept Andy’s premise that no matter how bad he felt after his business started to get ruined, it somehow excuses the underlying actions that made bigotry ok for even a quarter of a micro-second. Ask yourself if you would be quick to forgive if instead of “Skepticon” it said:
    – Blacks
    – Jews
    – Muslims
    – Asians
    – Irish
    – Italians
    – Mexicans
    – Indians
    – Arabs

    Or what if it had simply had a swastika, or the Klan shield on it?

  40. says

    Sam Singleton’s performance was a pointed satire. It had a theme: he talked about the hypocrisy of a Christianity that demands thankfulness to an imaginary being and damned little of it towards our fellow human beings.

    But that doesn’t matter. “Flat out ridicule” of the ridiculous has its place.

  41. says

    Yeah, I didn’t agree with Joe at all. Mockery has its place. I don’t give a fuck if gelato guy was offended or not, I just want him to not discriminate. And it seems like he understands why what he did was wrong, so I’m willing to move on.

  42. says

    As far as I can tell, PZ hasn’t made any comments about Andy’s most recent apology. His comments are all directed at people who either wish to cut off religion from sceptical enquiry or who wish to tone down ridicule and mockery of religion out of misplaced respect.

  43. says

    I don’t quite remember gelato guy saying how atheists shouldn’t ever be allowed to ridicule. Can you point that out to me?

    If we’re allowed to offend, he’s allowed to be offended.

  44. Jason Loxton says

    PZ, I support atheism. I support skepticism. The latter has traditionally meant a different thing than the former in our little community. That’s not craven, it is a matter of historical record.

    Conflating two terms with common usage doesn’t do anything but hold the potential to sow confusion (as this episode shows).

  45. says

    No, I can’t point it out because it’s missing from his apology.

    Regardless of whether we think it’s appropriate for atheists to act this way, or whether it makes a person a better atheist or not, atheists have a right to sit down and say “god damn” while reading the bible.

    What I was saying is that PZ seems to be pointing out that this guy doesn’t get that.

    You’re right, he has a right to be offended, but he shouldn’t have closed his shop off like he did. I feel like we’re all arguing and agreeing at the same time.

  46. Jason Loxton says

    Jen: That doesn’t really make any sense. If a term has an agreed upon technical usage, it is by definition used correctly.

    It might actually be that we’ve lost this semantic war to the Web generation. I don’t know… But, that term has been used in a less expansive form for a long time. I genuinely don’t see the advantage of redefining it, rather than using a neologism or a term that already applies, e.g., rationalist. Especially since there are clearly people, like Gelato guy, who are interested in belonging to the ‘skeptic’ community with its restricted definition.

    (In the case of arbitrary things like language, history is a plenty good reason to stick to things. Language requires shared understanding of what terms mean.)

  47. says

    I must disagree with PZ on this one. It is not “some atheists are acceptable and others aren’t”. It is “there is more than one way to catch a fish”.
    I do have a right to mock and offend. It doesn’t mean I have to use it. As far as I can perceive from Andy’s communications, his apology is sincere, and maybe we can gain more from him by showing him other, gentler, sides of atheism / skepticism.

    I can quite understand his feelings at the Sam Singleton act. And I perceive he recognizes he did wrong. That is enough for me.

  48. Ticktock says

    Let’s introduce the racist to Martin Luther King Jr. instead of the Black Panthers. These aren’t superficial differences between the speakers, they are fundamental differences between approaches (bigoted mockery as opposed to intelligent discourse).

    Why not avoid this problem in the future and make events like Sam Singleton a paid option? That way you don’t have to screen everyone who attends as to whether they will appreciate satirical bigotry. Never mind. It’s free speech. Just don’t be surprised when a potential convert feels alienated in the future – the same way we felt alienated by Andy’s sign.

  49. says

    Who agreed to your technical usage? Not me. It’s hypocritical and inconsistent. Arguing that “tradition” allows you to flout reason sounds like a religious claim rather than a skeptical one.

    We must be critical of all claims without evidence: you don’t get an escape clause because your claim is so freakin’ absurd that there’s no way anyone could ever find supporting evidence for it. That just means it’s even more wrong.

  50. Ticktock says

    What about the bigotry that he felt with a room full of people blaspheming god and mocking his personal beliefs? He felt just as unwelcome at skepticon with the show that he witnessed as many of us felt by seeing his sign. It’s hypocrisy to think we are justified in our bigotry when it’s open, but that he is condemned for his bigotry when it’s discriminatory.

    I know we exist in an insular bubble of atheism, but there are many good people who are christian who don’t deserve to have their beliefs openly mocked at a convention founded on the social movement advocating science and critical thinking.

  51. says

    Especially since there are clearly people, like Gelato guy, who are interested in belonging to the ‘skeptic’ community with its restricted definition.

    Yeah, that’s another reason I despise that old-school tradition the modern skeptical mafia promotes. You think you can court the public by refusing to challenge the big issues that matter, like religion, while puffing everyone in your movement up as big wise intellectuals because you chase chupacabras and UFOs…stuff that doesn’t matter, except in the broadest possible sense of being in defiance of reason and science.

    Why do you want a skeptical community that tolerates anti-science and absurdity?

  52. says

    …You just killed so many brain cells with The Stupid that I cannot reply. I’m going to bed. Someone else will fill you in on what the word “bigotry” means, or maybe you can open a dictionary.

  53. says

    I disagree with PZ too. I look at what I can see of what occurred and what Andy says in the apology(ies) and see evidence that he does actually “accept that non-Christians can freely mock Christianity”.

    First, *on his own* without any prompting or trashing of his business online, he took down the sign that he made in haste. This indicates that either a) he realised that the mockery, though a personal affront to him, was permissible and he wasn’t right to turn anyone away OR b) his desire for customers overcame his sensibilities in a very short span of time. The fact that he was so upset as to write the sign in the first place suggests the former.

    Second, not once since did he exhibit any sign of maintaining the bigoted attitude, which we are accustomed to expect. Not even his first apology placed the blame on the offended (which might be more likely had he “not accepted that non-Christians can freely mock Christianity” and was doing the apology thing just to stave off the shitstorm).

    Third, he accepted the assistance of an atheist to try to help him out of the mess. Bigoted people are usually much more standoffish. He could have ignored all the e-mails etc. and just got some of his church friends to counteract the atheists’ online campaign on review sites etc. (most of his business is probably local foot traffic, not reliant upon web reviews and the like in any case).

    Fourth, in his latest apology he says that he “had no excuse” for his actions. He was reluctant until now to even divulge the “event” that had caused his initial outburst. He could have played it up, going on about how persecuted as a Christian he felt, blah blah blah. But he didn’t. He says he acted on impulse and had a “wrong and unacceptable response”.

    All evidence leads me to conclude that he probably doesn’t have a problem with atheists per se, probably rarely encounters mockery of his beliefs in person, reacted badly in the heat of the moment because he felt helpless and outnumbered, thought better of his reaction once he started to calm down, and acted accordingly.

    Eum absolvo.

  54. Karl Corwin says

    I’m not sure I get this. We shouldn’t mock or make the bigots uncomfortable? Do we need to be nice and polite to intolerance?

    Do you not understand the difference between mockery/satire and discrimination? Or for that matter, between bigotry and discrimination? I’ll give you a hint – one of them is illegal.

    If you’re really interested in promoting critical thinking, then you don’t put any topic or belief as off limits. Like it’s been said many times; If you don’t want me pointing out how silly your belief are, then quit having such silly beliefs.

  55. isilzhaveni says

    OR…what if someone told him that the sign violated public accommodation of the civil rights act and Andy was at least smart enough to realize that he had no choice, but to take down the sign? From that perspective his actions don’t seem to be a sign of real contrition.

    All we know is that he did post that sign and that such a sign is illegal. As an owner of 2 businesses, Andy should have known this. At the very least Andy needs to take a course in civil rights laws for business owners.

  56. Jason Loxton says

    PZ, I don’t disagree on the greater importance of religion and morality over Chupacabra. I just want to keep a long-used term for people who look at things like Chupacabra. What’s the issue?

  57. Lynda M O says

    Apology accepter. Most people will not even admit to being wrong. Andy said he was wrong and he apologized sincerely enough for me.

  58. David Hart says

    “I just want to keep a long-used term for people who look at things like Chupacabra. What’s the issue?”

    The issue is that ‘skeptic’, broadly defined, means (roughly) someone who doesn’t take claims at face value, but requires a reasonable standard of evidence. An atheist is just a particular sub-category of skeptic – one who doesn’t take claims about gods at face value. A chupacabra-skeptic is also a particular subcategory of skeptic. If ‘skeptic’ is to be reserved only for those who are skeptical about UFOs or chupacabras, but not those who are skeptical about gods, then we’ll need to invent a new overarching term for people who are skeptical about all these things, and we shouldn’t have to, because ‘skeptic’ ought to cover it. If a sub-category of the definition has come to crowd out the overarching definition, that is unfortunate, but we should not just abandon a perfectly good word as a result.

  59. says

    Now I see it. At his website his apology was so vague that didn’t seemed like an apology at all.

    Still, isn’t a little bit ironic that he got offended by a sermon? Lot’s of sermons offends atheists, by saying they’re going to hell and what not. He saw a mock one and pratically lost his shit. Maybe he’ll come to understand atheism a little better from that.

  60. says

    It’s generally legal for you to discriminate based on your own religious, political, or aesthetic beliefs. Exceptions arise when legal scrutiny applies to the targeted group. So for instance if he put up a sign saying “based on my Christian beliefs, I will not serve people who have procured or performed abortions,” that would be legal, because people who’ve procured or performed abortions are not specified in the law as a protected group.

    The limited targeting of Skepticon attendees is sufficient to insulate him from legal action, especially because skeptics are understood to be a group which potentially spans all religions. Considering the business owner’s interest in hearing someone speak against belief in UFOs, he might even imagine himself a skeptic.

    If the convention had instead been organized and advertised explicitly as an atheist convention, then the legal issue becomes fairly unpredictable. I’m sure there are some competent lawyers who’d consider it worth a shot. One could claim that it doesn’t discriminate against local atheists who aren’t attending the event. But it seems likely that anyone discriminating against the attendees of a large Christian revival (attracting out-of-town Christians mostly of a certain sect), could plausibly be said to be denying accomodation to people of a particular religious identity. Such a case would be even more plausible if the sect was a minority in the local area.

    TL;DR: Jason Loxton’s argument above is correct.

  61. says

    You have just compared free speech (by Sam) to discrimination (by Andy), and suggested that the answer to the conflict is to restrict free speech.

    No thanks.

  62. Ticktock says

    “We shouldn’t mock or make the bigots uncomfortable”

    Congratulations! Your training is complete. You’ve found a way to paint an entire group of people as bigots. Just because a person is a christian or an acupuncturist or a UFO believer doesn’t mean that they are any less worthy of respect and kindness. Don’t act like a cultural bully and then be so shocked to see that behavior reflected back at you.

    Yes,I do understand the difference between the illegal discrimination of gelato store and the perfectly legal implied discrimination of the comedy show. “You are not welcome in my christian establishment” vs. “You are welcome to attend our evidence-based skeptics convention, but you will be mocked and teased rather than challenged with thoughtful arguments”.

  63. says

    I live in the area and tomorrow, when I’m off work, I plan to go in and check out that “10% discount” and find out if he seems as sincere in person. I’m going to go in and say, “Hi. I was at Skepticon this past weekend and I heard about your 10% discount this week.” Then place an order, if he continues to be friendly. I’ll go in looking and acting like an every day local, which I am of course, just so he can get an idea what a(n) humanist/atheist face looks like. If his attitude suddenly changes, despite looking like everyone else, then we’ll definitely know he was not sincere. If he treats me like everyone else or better, then we can assume there is some authenticity to his apology. Then I will come home and blog about my experience. Of course he may think I represent everyone from Skepticon, but meh… If he thinks that well then who cares. We won’t be worse off and if I get the same service as everyone who walks into his establishment, then my “friendly neighbourhood atheist” face might show a different view from the character he saw on stage. From the way his apology read, he saw an actor playing Brother Sam, which is not a real person and not Roger Scott Jackson, even though Roger plays Bro. Sam. So he will see a real human being, not acting.

  64. Ticktock says

    Are you denying that this guy felt that the Sam Singleton show was intolerant to his beliefs? Because that’s the usage of the term “bigotry” that I intended, and that seems to be appropriate here. But, by all means, sick your dogs on me with a personal attack on my intelligence. That’s the behavior I’ve come to expect from the new and improved skeptical movement.

  65. Ticktock says

    Maybe I’m spoiled by TAM, which offers a variety of comedy shows for a separate price. They don’t have Eugenie Scott followed by the catholic priest pedophile mime… the comedy was saved for it’s own appropriate context and not part of the official schedule. That seems like a reasonable suggestion, but I understand why it would be ignored for various reasons. Whatever.

  66. says

    TickTock, that is part of my point in paying him a visit. He dropped in on our little party, unannounced and ignorant of what Skepticon is. He saw an actor playing a part and not reality. To find out if he is sincere, it would only be fair to show him reality.

  67. Cory Albrecht says

    So I guess it’s not possible in your world to criticize someone’s opinion and beliefs without being insulting?

    But, hey, that’s not suprising, really. Whenever somebody mentions that some religious claims are testable – and therefore amenable to skeptical inquiry – and that some claims are not testable, you immediately raise your favourite strawman that the person wants to completely exclude religion from examination. You did it to Daniel Loxton in these comments when it was clear that he was not saying that religion should be exempted completely.

    Why do you keep raising this strawman?

  68. Jason Loxton says

    David: My brother Dan has written on the history of the term at length over at skepticblog, but going back to the beginning of the modern skeptic’s movement (under Kurtz, Randi, etc. in the 1970s), there was a conscious decision to separate out empirically investigatable claims from philosophical claims. The term ‘skeptic’ was (and mostly still is) used to define the former (e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_scepticism).

    As for an alternative to describe the broader skepticism you describe… Here’s a great one: Freethinker/freethought. When we created a combined humanist/skeptics national student organization in 1999, that’s the term we choose. I also note that, despite his bluster, that’s actually the term PZ now blogs under.

  69. Somite says

    This is obviously not true when you consider that the skeptics of the 70s, Randi, Clarke, Asimov, Sagan and others, were clearly atheists and the philosophy permeated their writings. The separation of skepticism and atheism is a new phenomenon that as Richard Dawkins points out can only be for “funding purposes only”.

    Before you bring up Martin Gardner and his weird religiosity consider that he was the first to admit to his fellow skeptics he had no good reason or explanation for it.

  70. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Your implicit assumption is that mockery and persuasion are mutually incompatible. I submit that your assumption is baseless and probably false.

  71. says

    We reject his beliefs. We say they are wrong. We do not respect them. We mock them.

    But we do tolerate them.

    Intolerance would be, for instance, if he had been thrown out of Skepticon when it was discovered he was a Christian. Intolerance would be Skepticon posting on their website that no Christians would be allowed. It would be intolerance if I announced that I was not going to ever allow any of his children to attend my university.

    You don’t know what tolerance means.

  72. longstreet63 says

    This here is a Bully’s Apology.
    It’s the apology of someone who didn’t realize that you can fight back.
    His frequent references to being a small business owner also point out that his motivation here is to stop the damage to his bottom line.
    In short, he hasn’t changed his opinions in any way, he just found them too expensive. We’re not easy targets.
    I’d bet that if we’d been accommodating, that sign would still be up and he’d be standing by it, because that sign expressed his preference once he found out that people who disagreed with him were about.

  73. Christopher Petroni says

    TickTock, the guy tried to exclude all non-theists from his store. You’re not seriously going to suggest that he’s not a bigot, are you?

  74. Christopher Petroni says

    Whoops, I didn’t read your post very carefully before posting mine. I do find your argument odd, though. Can you articulate what was discriminatory about Sam Singleton’s show? In context, it was clearly about a certain brand of Christian hypocirsy. Out of context it may seem like something worse, but Sam shouldn’t have to account for the risk that people will crash his show in the middle and not take time to learn what it was about.

  75. says

    Hmm. Is it likely that someone said that to him in the few minutes he had the sign up? Even if it did happen that way, he still realised that he was in the wrong.

    Moreover, IANAL nor an expert in American Civil Rights legislation, but I don’t think that his sign actually contravened the law. He said Skepticon attendees weren’t welcome at his business. Participants in this or that event, as far as I know, are not entitled to protection. In other words, he wasn’t discriminating on religious grounds: Christians attending Skepticon were prohibited and atheists not attending Skepticon were still welcome. His problem, for as long as it lasted, was “people who were participating in mocking my religion”. Still wrong and bigoted (as PZ points out), but I don’t think that’s against the law.

  76. Besomyka says

    I agree with Jen. I try to “be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted.” People make mistakes.

    While I wasn’t there, as a self-identifying member of the community that the sign was directed at, I did take it as a slight an felt insulted. He seems sincere and wants to make amends. His explanation is believable and I can understand – if not agree – with his impulsive response.

    So for myself, I am content. Apology accepted.

  77. Sas says

    Ok, since you seem to expect attack, I’ll say this without vitriol.

    A huge difference in the “bigotry” expressed by the atheist performer and audience and the Christian gelato seller is power. In the US in particular, christian bigotry is supported by a huge part of the population, government, media, and lawmakers. Despite their claims of persecution, Christians are the vast majority and society bends over backwards for them. By contrast, atheists are a small minority who cannot count on protection in much of the US. We all know stories of atheists losing jobs, kids, and family if they’re outed.

    A marginalized minority has a right to get pissed off at a dangerous majority that makes their lives difficult. The majority class complaining that the minority isn’t properly polite is petty and vindictive since the minority lacks the power to actually threaten the majority in a real way. It’s a classic silencing tactic; when a person of color complains about white bigotry, a woman complains about sexism, a gay person complains about straight bigotry, a trans person complains about cis bigotry, or an atheist ( or other minority religion) complains about christian bigotry, all the majority person has to do is claim that the minority is also bigoted. It halts discussion and draws a false equivalence between the majority/minority groups.

    Marginalized minorities have a right to blow off steam about the majority. They werent going out and shoving a hateful message in people’s faces as Christians often do, they were at their own event. The Christian gelato guy put a blatantly discriminatory sign out in public. The best thing a majority person can realize when they have hurt feelings over a pissed off minority rant is, if it aint about you and your own behavior, don’t try to make it be about you.

  78. isilzhaveni says

    He singled out a group and made it about religion when he stated “christian business”. That is what makes the sign illegal.

  79. Igakusei says

    I’m comfortable with his apology to give him the benefit of any doubts, especially considering that he took the sign down long before this blew up. I also agree it would be a good idea for anyone who HAS accepted his apology to try to correct some of the online review damage that was done when we overreacted at the beginning.

  80. Cory Albrecht says

    Depends on whether the target of the mockery and target of the persuasion are the same. The issue is a little more nuanced than what you seem to imply.

    Scenario 1: If they are the same, then mockery is likely to come across as insulting and thus unlikely to work. If somebody insults you, how likely are you to change your opinion on something? And please, don’t just give me a trite “Well, if their data is good, blah blah blah” response – neither you nor I are Spock of Vulcan. We’re human beings who have emotions and if we’re honest about it we’ll admit that it’s really easy for our emotions to cloud our reason.

    Scenario 2: If the target of the mockery is is not the same as the target of persuasion then it might very well work. You set up the target of mockery as being a person undesirable to imitate, they are making a bad decision, that’s their acting venialy or whatever. It’s not exactly persuading on the basis of the evidence, as we skeptics would love, though this “mockery anecdote” gives us a psychologically powerful story in which to add the evidence and be even more persuasive.

    But one of the problems with Scenario 2 is if the target of your persuasion identifies too closely with the target – then your mockery will backfire for a result more like Scenario 1.

    As I said, there are nuances here and as such I feel that mockery needs to be used thoughtfully, not as a default like many passionate atheists people do.

  81. john says

    You have made a big mistake in accepting his apology. We need to stand in unison against gelato man and all those like him. We should boycott all gelato stands everywhere. Gelato be damned. It is unAmerican. Down with Italy!

  82. Karl Corwin says

    His sign implied a direct link between Skepticon and atheists by using an antithetic description of his business as “Christian”.

    If you can imagine a racist business owner who discovers that an convention is being held called “United”. When he goes to check out the convention, he finds that a large contingent of their members are black. He goes back to his store and puts up a sign the reads “United is not welcome in my white business.” Would you not infer that he was discrimination on the basis of race? Or would you defend that as legal since he only specifically named the organization?

  83. Placibo Domingo says

    I disagree with PZ on this one. I think there’s too much piling on this guy for the sins of all of the fundamentalist right wing. We need to remember that challenging someone’s deepest beliefs is felt as an attack on who they are and how they see reality. Not to say that we shouldn’t do it, but to remember that people will naturally be defensive. This guy felt attacked, was pissed for like 15 minutes, then realized he needed to take a step back. If our goal is to educate and change the thinking of people who have had little exposure to the atheist community, I think it will work best if we accept the apologies of those who are willing to listen and to change.

  84. LawnBoy says

    I think the different reactions people are having might come down to whether one feels more empathy for Andy (the Gelato guy) or feels more anger for ones cause.

    I’m looking at this from Andy’s perspective. I found out something I’d signed up to sponsor was not what I thought it was. In a moment of anger, I did something stupid. I regretted it as soon as I cooled down, but I’m caught in a shitstorm.

    What would I do in that case? Probably what Andy has done. I don’t really see that there’s anything more.

    So, I’m thinking about Andy as a person and can accept his apology and move on.

    It seems that J.T. and PZ aren’t viewing Andy as a person, but as a representation of something they’re fighting. From that perspective, there’s no reason to accept Andy’s apology – the root evil from which Andy’s action came still exists, so forgiving and forgetting means losing a good example for debate.

    So, do you look at the apology and see Andy, the person, or do you see “Gelato Guy”, the gift that will keep on giving?

  85. says

    Thanks. I’m a little concerned, but his rating is so bad right now, that if he denied the 10% and took an attitude with me, he’d have less than 0, as well as witnesses, if he decided to be an ass.

  86. says

    You’re right PZ, but I don’t think it would be wrong to show him who his “friendly neighbourhood atheist” is. I don’t bite and I am willing to find out if he is truly sorry for his bigotry and prejudice, even if I do mock his beliefs. The reality is, despite the fact I mock and criticize his beliefs, I am a friendly and polite person.

  87. says

    I agree, but if he treats local atheists who test his sincerity, his rating could go down even further and he might be out of business. If he wants his business, it behoves him to drop his intolerance. He doesn’t have to accept my beliefs or anyone else’s, he just needs to be more tolerant of the fact that not everyone agrees with him.

  88. Karl Corwin says

    I don’t see it as an either/or reaction. I see Andy as a person. A person who exposed his true bigotry through an act of discrimination. I’m unconvinced of his sincerity. That he gave an apology in no way makes me obligated to accept and forgive. And it doesn’t imply that I don’t see Andy as a person.

  89. says

    Hoo boy. No. I see a person.

    A person I don’t like very much, particularly since half the internet seems to think I am supposed to be nice to him. Nope. Not gonna happen.

  90. Investigator says

    Why on earth do the opinion of others on the internet influence how you think about this man and his apology?

    Sorry, PZ, but your thinking on this is uncharacteristically sloppy. You seem distracted and incoherent. Which is totally unlike your usual exhibited thought process.

  91. Cory Albrecht says

    Karl, I hope then that you never make mistakes like Andy has and have your apologies fall on deaf ears like yours.

    He’s doing a difficult thing and owning up to his mistake. Cut him at least a little slack.

  92. Eric RoM says

    PZ may be an idol here, but his douchetasticness is increasing.

    What goes around comes around, and I anticipate his meltdown then.

  93. Hawk one says

    It’s more like “Hey, maybe one should not let the first impression someone gets of a skeptical group be, one of a bunch of dickheads that does nothing but mockery”.

    Of course, in that case, we must ensure that Myers is never the first person a newcomer sees when casually attending such a convention. ;)

  94. Hawk one says

    Well, from what I can see from certain commenters here, you certainly don’t need religion to act like a fanatic.

  95. john says

    Don’t try and make Cracker Boy make up with Gelato Guy. Let him takes his toys and go play elsewhere. Perhaps Elevator Girl is available.

  96. Karl Corwin says

    No, he’s doing the only thing he can do to try to wash his actions away and save his business. And let’s be clear about one thing. What Andy did was morally wrong and illegal. It was not a mistake. He knew exactly what he was attempting to do and did it purposefully. He simply miscalculated the outcome and consequences.

  97. leftwingfox says

    Man, what the hell.

    Has anyone who has NOT accepted the apology demanded an organized boycott, or a campaign of harassment, or a continued attempt to ruin the guy’s business? I’ve seen a bunch of people who say they have accepted the apology say they still won’t go to the shop. So what does it matter to anyone if you accept the words at face value?

    Dude caused a shit-storm. The people affected by his actions are not a monolith. Why should we all march in lockstep in response to his reaction?

  98. Karl Corwin says

    Please point out the what you consider fanatical in these comments. Not accepting an apology because it’s not convincing to some? Defending mockery and satire as acceptable forms of criticism?

    Let’s see if you know what that word means.

  99. Kate from Iowa says

    Or the silly insistance from nearly every public figure and political official whenever anything unfortunate happens (or is fails to rain and the state’s on fire or what have you) that we all pray to thier blasted diety for forgiveness/rain/the souls of the lost/the pain of raped childres/etc. etc. etc. ad naseum.

    Doesn’t feel so good when it’s you, huh? Imagine what it’s like for us.

  100. says

    Nice reply, TickTock.

    I doubt your ‘friends’ will get it.

    A guy like PZ Myers and his minions are so emotionally arrested—you ain’t gonna’ get through to them.

    A fossilized nerd like PZ plays the warrior, plays atheism’s hero—but he’s basically a lily-livered coward. That’s easily established. Proven for all to see. He mocks Christianity, but wouldn’t dare mock Islam in the same open, and vocal way. He takes advantage of the general accommodating behaviour of Catholics and other Christians.

    However, when you mock Islam and they know you by reputation for that, watch how they deal with you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUmvKhpihsc

    PZ Myers is chickenshit. And he’ll always be chickenshit.

    TickTock can you please explain to me how a Skepticon event could be evidence-based? There is no evidence to support macro-evolution or the non-existence of God.

  101. Hawk one says

    At its very base, fanaticism is about putting principles ahead of basic respect.

    I mean, seriously, you and PZ Myers are basically acting pretty much like some fundamentalist Christians do whenever someone says “happy holidays” instead of “merry xmas”. You’re just a bunch of whining crybabies that continues to make a mountain out of a molehill just in order to make atheists look more persecuted than they really are. Right now, and I’m speaking as an atheist, I have far more respect for Andy who did an actual apology.

    “But it wasn’t sincere enough” Yeah, right. I call bullshit on that. Obviously the only kind of apology that’s good enough for your ilk now is that he’s on his knees renouncing his religion publicly, and then closing shop, so that we can’t suspect him of doing even the renouncing as some sort of publicity stunt.

    And let’s not forget all those people who put up those fake reviews on the website. How many of those have apologised even once for -their- libel and slander? How does downright lying help any cause that proclaims to be a good cause? It doesn’t. It just doesn’t. It’s the lowest form of bullying tactics, the mob bullying, done when you’re all safe and sound amongst the crowd, doubly anonymus. And they will most likely never apologise, because they’re lying “for a good cause”, and that of course justifies it all.

    Mockery and satire has its place in the world, sure. Realising that they can go awry also has its place. In fact, knowing that proper satire and mockery is damn difficult to pull off (the whole “reading the bible and shouting goddamn” falls rather short of what I consider good satire; a rather juvenile and crude performance without the wit), and therefore needs constant supervision from those performing it, that has definitely got its place. In short, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

    I’m not a fair-weather atheist, nor a sunshine skeptic. Heck, thanks to a fair amount of prominent persons in the atheistic and skeptic communities – people who -claim- to be working for making it easier for atheists and skeptics to “come out”, so to speak – it’s becoming more difficult for me to present myself as such. But I guess Myers is proud for doing his best to drive me away from wanting to have any association with his little mouth-frothing movement. Because he sure as hell won’t apologise for it, I can tell you that.

  102. Andrew says

    I’m an atheist and I agree with Hawk. Some (not all) people in this debate are acting fanatical, by which I mean they’re more interested in being right than in having a productive discussion. They keep repeating their own points over and over, and so it ends up with the two sides either shouting past each other, or setting up strawmen, knocking them, and yelling “see how right I am!” I saw it happen in the Elevatorgate arguments, too (agree with Jen on the “gate” suffix, argh). Atheists can be every bit as fanatical as theists.

    As for my own opinion, PZ Myers has a point: we have a right to free speech, and Sam Singleton has a right to be a dick. But freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. If you start mocking people’s beliefs, don’t be surprised when they get pissed off and don’t want to engage with you. Obviously the Gelato owner had an angry moment, then realized he took his reaction too far and took the discriminatory sign down. He’s not apologizing for being offended by Sam Singleton, nor should he. Part of the right to free speech is the right of others to be angry about what you say.

  103. says

    Nice reply from above, TickTock.

    I doubt your ‘friends’ will get it.

    A guy like PZ Myers and his minions are so emotionally arrested—you ain’t gonna’ get through to them.

    A fossilized nerd like PZ plays the warrior, plays atheism’s hero—but he’s basically a lily-livered coward. That’s easily established. Proven for all to see. He mocks Christianity, but wouldn’t dare mock Islam in the same open, and vocal way. He takes advantage of the general accommodating behaviour of Catholics and other Christians.

    However, when you mock Islam and they know you by reputation for that, watch how they deal with you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUmvKhpihsc

    PZ Myers is chickenshit. And he’ll always be chickenshit.

    TickTock can you please explain to me how a Skepticon event could be evidence-based? There is no evidence to support macro-evolution or the non-existence of God.

  104. Investigator says

    I don’t care one bit if the apology is accepted or not. I’m just surprised that PZ’s though process is so fuddled. It’s not typical. He’s usually pretty sharp. But in this case, he’s admitted that his decision is influenced by what people are telling him to do, instead of what he’s deduced is right. It’s weird to see him addled.

  105. Karl Corwin says

    Thanks. Now that I know that you have no concept of the meaning of fanatic and it has nothing to do with respect, but about being uncritical. Neither PZ or I have insisted that everyone must refuse Andy’s apology. Neither PZ or I have insisted that every atheist must always be mocking and confrontational. What we have done is stated our position and defended that position. We’ve also done is be critical of points we disagree with. And if you still think that behavior is fanatical, then accept my apology for thinking that you might be reasonable.

  106. Karl Corwin says

    Having a discussion and/or disagreement does not equate to fanatical behavior. It is possible for people to come to different conclusions, especially when there is a subjective element involved.

    And speaking of setting up strawmen, I don’t seem to recall PZ or myself claiming that Andy should have been upset or that he should apologize for being offended. Please correct me and show where that happened.

  107. Torbjörn Larsson, OM says

    “Plenty of religious claims *are* testable, and rightly under the purview if science and empirical skepticism, but plenty, including the claim “an immaterial god exists,” are not.”

    This is a theological claim, making your argument a fallacy of begging the question.

    There are many reasons, some beyond reasonable doubt as they can be well tested, why there no gods of any kind.

    – Physicalism is the simpler theory, excluding everything from immaterial gods to material gods.

    – You can directly test that physicalism is valid, to more than 3 sigma. (I can walk you through a simple test if you ask for it.)

    – Since universes are zero energy, you can have them either from within a universe by multiverse mechanisms, from without by tunneling or having them eternal. Tunneling is recently claimed to be excluded, so it remains that the multiverse is eternal.

    An eternal inflationary universe is unlikely to find itself at its stationary fixed point (inflating multiverse), but that can be fixed by anthropic selection. Hence universes can’t be created by agents that destroys such selection; they just exist.

    But even if none of those claims were problematic for superstition, even if they didn’t show that your claim aren’t based in empiricism, we have to use our skepticism on blatant religious claims as the one you rely on and the fallacy they continue.

    Otherwise we accept religious special pleading.

  108. Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) says

    @Karl: Let me try a different tack.

    Have you ever let your emotions get the better of you and said or done something stupid for which you needed to apologize? When that happens, how do you hope that people treat you? That they take your apology at face value or that they judge you as insincere and only trying to mitigate the negative consequences?

  109. Andrew says

    Forgive me; in that case, I’m confused as to what exactly you all want. It seems like Andy did two things: he saw Sam Singleton and was offended, and then in his outrage he put up a sign. He realized the latter was wrong and apologized for it. What more do you want from him, if you agree that he does not need to apologize for the former?

  110. Karl Corwin says

    I hope you look up, Andrew, since there was no reply link under you last comment.

    I don’t need anything from Andy and wasn’t expecting anything. All I’ve done is assert that I find his apology unconvincing and don’t accept it.

    Since you asked, I would have liked to see Andy address his underlying bigotry. I would have liked to see some explanation for his actions (and inaction) on facebook. I would have liked Andy to indicate that he realized that what he did was not only wrong, but also illegal.

    And please don’t mitigate the impact of his actions by casually saying he “put up a sign.” He illegally discriminated against a class of people.

  111. LawnBoy says

    PZ is chickenshit for not attacking Islam? You mean when he desecrated a page of the Quran along with the consecrated wafers? Or when he buried a Quran in his garden?

    Agree or disagree with PZ, one thing he isn’t is chickenshit.

    And no evidence for macroevolution? Why don’t you start here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/ and let us know when you come up for air.

  112. j bbell says

    We need a better hierarchy for faux pas, gaffes, and general missteps.

    “-gate” should be reserved for career-ending shenanigans. I nominate “-fuffle” for things of this order, thus “gelatofuffle.”

    The elevator thing seems to fall between the two. “-thing” is good, actually, because it indicates an area where “I probably have an opinion on this but if I don’t have it sorted exactly right I might lose a limb over something I don’t actually feel all that strongly about. “Elevatorthing.” Yeah. I’m diggin’ it.

  113. says

    I wish folks would stop mistaking ‘nice’ for ‘doormat’.

    I’m sure you would be perfectly nice if you encountered him. You wouldn’t walk up and start screaming at him, you wouldn’t take a swing at him, you wouldn’t flatten the tires of his car, or shoot at him, etc…

    I just don’t get the ‘he apologized now we must all pretend it is okay’ mentality.

    He didn’t even apologize for the right thing, IMHO.

  114. Karl Corwin says

    Of course I have. And I hope people judge my apology by its sincerity and my actions surrounding the apology. And that’s exactly what I’m doing here. I’m not treating this apology any different than I would expect people to treat mine.

  115. says

    His sign implied a direct link between Skepticon and atheists by using an antithetic description of his business as “Christian”.

    It’s like you didn’t read my first or second paragraphs. Here they are again, for your convenience:

    It’s generally legal for you to discriminate based on your own religious, political, or aesthetic beliefs. Exceptions arise when legal scrutiny applies to the targeted group. So for instance if he put up a sign saying “based on my Christian beliefs, I will not serve people who have procured or performed abortions,” that would be legal, because people who’ve procured or performed abortions are not specified in the law as a protected group.

    The limited targeting of Skepticon attendees is sufficient to insulate him from legal action, especially because skeptics are understood to be a group which potentially spans all religions. Considering the business owner’s interest in hearing someone speak against belief in UFOs, he might even imagine himself a skeptic.

    If you can imagine a racist business owner who discovers that an convention is being held called “United”. When he goes to check out the convention, he finds that a large contingent of their members are black. He goes back to his store and puts up a sign the reads “United is not welcome in my white business.” Would you not infer that he was discrimination on the basis of race?

    It’s like you didn’t read my third paragraph. Here it is again, for your convenience:

    If the convention had instead been organized and advertised explicitly as an atheist convention, then the legal issue becomes fairly unpredictable. I’m sure there are some competent lawyers who’d consider it worth a shot. One could claim that it doesn’t discriminate against local atheists who aren’t attending the event. But it seems likely that anyone discriminating against the attendees of a large Christian revival (attracting out-of-town Christians mostly of a certain sect), could plausibly be said to be denying accomodation to people of a particular religious identity. Such a case would be even more plausible if the sect was a minority in the local area.

    Or would you defend that as legal since he only specifically named the organization?

    I’m not defending the law. I’m telling you how a discrimination lawsuit is likely to pan out.

  116. Andrew says

    So we’re now comparing a bunch of people being unable to get gelato for ten minutes with peaceful protestors getting pepper sprayed by the police? Is that what we’re doing?

  117. says

    You know, PZ is entitled to his opinion and his anger. Truth is, he gets to go home where he does not have to live among them. I unfortunately live among them and I have to put up with the sh** almost every day. So do my sons and others who are not Xian. I am forced to keep my mouth shut to keep from being fired or worse, but you know what, this has given me an opportunity to stand face to face with one of them and say, “Hi, I attended Skepticon and I’m a humanist, but if that 10% discount is still good I would like to try your ice cream.” Then, if he is civil, I can say, “BTW, I am the humanist columnist for God Discussion website, a top google news site. I plan on writing about this experience at your establishment and if there is anything you would like me to convey, I would be glad to do so.” Then, if he would like, give him the opportunity to say one more thing, if it is civil. If not, then fine, I will still report on the experience whether it is good or bad. If it is bad, then he’ll just have to receive the consequences of that. If it is good, then at least that would be a start. At worst, I’ll be out to at least one Xian in this Ass of God ran city and trust me, they do try to run it. After all Springfield is the HQ of that A of G and they own about a 1/4 of the city, next to Cox, John Q Hammons, MSU, and maybe one other group. Still Fundamngelicals are the majority of this town and I’m stuck with living among them. I would at least like to find out if he meant what he said and the only way that can be done is to face him.

  118. says

    BTW, John, your use of the word “cracker” shows either one of two things- you do not know the origins of the word or you it is possible you do know the origins of it and have some issues of your own.

  119. Andrew says

    It’s not a strawman when it actually happened– you compared police abuse of power with the gelato shop incident. As others on your side of the debate have pointed out, the worth of an apology depends on the context and the surrounding actions.

    Ergo, it is perfectly valid to believe that the apology in the UC Davis incident is insufficient, while believe that the gelato shop apology is.

  120. says

    If the 10% discount still nets him a profit, sorry, not good enough, it’s just a publicity stunt. Some free advertising. Meaningless. Increases his business, involves no sacrifice on his part. I own a business, a 10% discount is pretty much the standard ‘get you in, get you to spend money, net win for me’ coupon.

    How about he prints out one of the billboard images onto a banner about 6′ wide and hangs it in front of his shop?

  121. says

    Reading comprehension is so not your strong suit, is it? Your ability to deliberately miss the point rivals that of the most intellectually dishonest fundy trolls.

    I apologize for the above remarks.

  122. Andrew says

    I suspect the real reason for all the uproar is that atheists ARE indeed persecuted in society, and we all want to do something about it. But by and large, that persecution is by powerful people and organizations– political parties, congressmen, governments. It’s systematic, and long-term, and not the sort of persecution that can be redressed just by sitting behind a keyboard, unless your audience is big enough– which unless you’re PZ Myers (and then only MAYBE), it’s not.

    So some people see a single incident of persecution (in this case, gelato shop dude) which they CAN redress from behind a keyboard– and so they hold this one guy up as a symbol of the society-wide discrimination against atheism and rationality. But it’s NOT. It’s one guy who got angry and apologized. Yet still you attack him, because as a proud member of the Fighting Atheist Keyboardists, at last you have a chance to strike an actual blow in the fight, even if all it means it that some poor schmuck has to close his gelato shop. But hey, it’s easier than getting pepper sprayed for what you believe in, right?

  123. says

    And in case you still intentionally miss the point, I’ll point it out for the peanut gallery again:

    No comparison was made between the actions. A comparison was made between the utter meaninglessness of the apologies.

    I apologize to anyone who found my use of the word ‘peanut’ to be triggering.

  124. says

    Are you really dumb enough to equate ‘I do not accept your apology’ with ‘I think you should be driven into the ground’?

    Well, actually, based on your posts this far, yeah, you probably are.

    I apologize for the above remarks, they were made in the heat of the moment and I’m really sorry.

  125. Andrew says

    Ha ha, you’re so clever. The fact that you equate your apology with Andy’s (which I suspect you didn’t read) is proof enough that you’re not worth arguing with. But oh well.

    There are people out there getting pepper sprayed, beaten and arrested for their beliefs, but by all means, keep complaining about gelato shop guy.

  126. Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) says

    Why do so any people equate “forgiveness” with “total absolute as if the event never happen and evading of the consequences”?

    If you accidentally swipe your friend’s car while parking in their driveway when you go over for dinner, you apologize and they forgive you, but you still deal with the consequences of paying for the body work.

    We’re talking colloquially here, “to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one’s enemies” rather than “to cancel an indebtedness or liability of: to forgive the interest owed on a loan”. Absolution isn’t part of that first definition.

  127. says

    withinthismind, the 10% discount is not the point. It is his attitude when we go in there and announce to him we went to Skepticon. If he is truly sorry, then we will be treated like everyone else. I don’t want to hurt him financially unless he still wants to have an attitude.

  128. says

    Brothers and sisters, let me tell you one thing right here. You’ve just gotta have faith!

    The guy made a decent stab at an apology. When people tell you things you have to assume good faith. Apology accepted.

  129. says

    The keyword in your post was ‘accidentally’.

    I will accept an apology for an accident. I will still expect you to attempt to make restitution (I may refuse it, but I would expect the attempt to be made).

    But if no attempt at restitution is made, I would not accept the apology.

    However, that is irrelevant.

    His actions were not an accident. As I said earlier, IMHO, he isn’t even apologizing for the right thing. If anywhere in that apology, he had apologized for the actual reason WHY putting up the sign was wrong, I’d be much more inclined to accept the apology.

    But he didn’t.

    I want him to apologize for things like lifetime lack of critical thinking that caused him to take the mocking of a particular belief, when he himself was going to skepticon with the intent of mocking other beliefs, so personally that he thought he needed to retaliate by discrimination. The hypocrisy.

    In short, since the apology doesn’t address the actual issue, why should it be accepted?

    Why should anyone accept an apology that doesn’t actually redress the wrong?

  130. john says

    Maybe you weren’t around when PZ was getting famous defacing catholic Jesus crackers, but I was referring to PZ as Crackerboy.

  131. CC says

    I am a lawyer and it seems like a pretty clear Title VII violation to me. But since it only lasted 10 minutes, it’s not worth suing over.

  132. satan augustine says

    Yes, you have been spoiled by TAM. Skepticon is not TAM and doesn’t try to be or even want to be (James Randi and DJ Grothe are supporters though – they both appeared at Skepticon 3 last year). There doesn’t need to be a charge for those attending a presentation that’s making fun of Christianity and there doesn’t need to be a warning for say, Sam Singleton’s awesome parody of religious revivals. Anyway, Skepticon is free. Why on earth should they start to charge for specific events. It’s all free! In that respect, I’m spoiled by Skepticon. TAM is obscenely expensive, I’m sure the hotel rooms are ridiculously expensive as well, and it’s in Las Vegas (which is what I would expect hell to be like if I believed in such a thing). I’ve also heard anecdotal evidence that TAM does not produce the sense of community that Skepticon does.*

    *(Mind you, I’d like to go, but it is prohibitively expensive [and again, in Las Vegas]. If I had expendable income – like $2,000 of expendable income just for TAM – I’d go and just suffer through the whole Las Vegas thing).

  133. says

    “Jesus Crackers” and “cracker boy” are two different things. Maybe you fell asleep in history class or something, but I hardly see PZ as one who cracks any whip and the way you said it did not clarify it in the manner you were intending. All the words you used were quite insulting and showed a total lack of understanding any of the issues behind all the words you used. First the lack of trying to understand others in this issue and then a lack of comprehending any other issues you referred to, as well as word usage. IMHO, insults are uncalled for, including ones that may have other meanings than the one you intended.

  134. john says

    You are assuming I am American and would know the history of “Crackerboy”. I am not and do not. Thanks for the ethnocentric history lesson.

  135. Laurence says

    I don’t think you can really compare these apologies because it doesn’t seem like she’s taking responsibility for her actions. If she apologized and resigned, I’d be more willing to forgive her. But gelato dude has apologized as well as just about anybody could do in his position. He took responsibility and explained what caused him to do what he did. I think that’s all we can really expect from someone. Anything else is really making unreasonable demands.

  136. Andrew says

    My point is that not all apologies are equal. Your point is so buried under logical fallacies that I’m not sure what it is; it seems to be that all apologies are worthless. That’s ridiculous. Some apologies, like yours, are worthless; some, like the incident at UC Davis, are insufficient given the scale of the incident; others, like Andy’s, are thoughtful, worthwhile, and appropriate to the scale of the incident.

    You don’t want to accept Andy’s apology? Fine, we’ll agree to disagree. But your original point appeared to be that the UC Davis apology and the gelato apology were comparable, which is not only ridiculous but also offensive to the people who took a faceful of pepper spray as opposed to getting their Internet Feelings hurt.

  137. Cory Albrecht says

    @Sam Augustinbe: TAM is “obscenely expensive”? Clearly you haven’t been to many other con(-ventions/-ferences) that are intended to be fundraisers for the (non-profit) organization in question. And the rooms in the casino are cheap at $50/night – get a room with two doubles and you can share to split the costs. For TAM9 I spent roughly $1600 which *included* airfare from Toronto which is about 2x as expensive as flying from nearby Buffalo (which I cannot easily get to since I do not drive). The base ticket with no extras and flying from Buffalo would have cost me under $1100.

    As for anecdotal evidence that “TAM does not produce the sense of community that Skepticon does”, well, all skeptics know how worthwhile anecdotes are. :-) However, after two TAMs and hanging out in the Del Mar until almost 2am every night, my anecdotal evidence contradicts yours.

    While I get that not everybody has lots of disposable income, perhaps you shouldn’t talk out of your arse when you clearly do not know what it is you are talking about – con price, room price and feeling of community.

  138. Egaeus says

    For what it’s worth, I’ll make a point to go to Gelato Mio if I make it to Skepticon next year. It takes real guts to very publicly admit that your actions were wrong, and I can’t fault him for being human.

  139. says

    Yawn. Here we go: more tiresome pointless hyperemotional misrepresentations from PZ. Seriously, dude, go to bed — this battle was won without you.

  140. says

    I partially agree. Mockery has its place, but it has to be competent, like humor in general, otherwise it won’t accomplish its stated purpose. I wasn’t there, but from what I’ve heard so far, this guy just sounds like a lame street-performer.

    Also, I have zero respect for people who say stupid, dishonest, insulting or inflammatory things, then try to excuse it all by saying “I was only being humorous” or “I was trying to get a dialogue started.” Evangelical Christian moron Jed Smock did that at UVA, and there was nothing sincere or informative about it — all he did was insult people he knew nothing about, sneer at them for being insulted, and judge his “success” solely by the attention he got. I’m pretty sure he turned ten people away from his religion for every one he (can pretend he) converted. And I also suspect that such tactics have a similar effect for atheists.

  141. says

    I don’t like apologies. They are just words. They don’t change anything.

    I’ll remember that next time you either try to apologize for something, or demand an apology from someone else. Then again, if you’re that immature and vindictive, you’ll probably never do either. How many friends do you have?

  142. Cory Albrecht says

    @WithinthisMInd: Hold on there – “…when he himself was going to skepticon with the intent of mocking other beliefs” – where do you get that from? Are you psychic? All he said was that he went to what he thought would be something about UFOs. He didnt say whether he was pro-UFO or con-UFO so you have no clue at all that he was going with the intent to mock others.

    Also, what “lifetime lack of critical thinking”? I think that you might be reading more into this apology than what is actually there as well as making unfounded assumptions as to what the shopkeeper believes or thinks. If he was a believer in UFOs, Sasquatch, homeopathy, 6000 year old Earth, reiki, PowerBalance wristbands, and all the woo-woo on the planet, then you could say that. But you have no clue – not a one – of what he thinks about alt-med, evolution, whether he’s liberal or conservative and so on.

    Like every one of the rest of us he has some cherished beliefs which he saw being mocked and he overreacted. Just like how, I am sure, every one of us has overreacted about something. He then realized what he did was stupid and inexcusable and he even admits that it was so.

    You’re not being as vindictive as P.Z. Myers who seemingly wants this shopkeeper to suffer for the offences of every religious bigot through out history – https://twitter.com/#!/pzmyers/status/138839176090091520 – but I submit that you’re still being a bit unreasonable in what you expect him to do.

  143. says

    Well, Lawn Boy…Piltdown Man, Lucy, Nebraska Man, etc.…how many more hoaxes or false intermediary links do you want me/need me to believe in?

    Smallish type whales with arms are not intermediaries of the modern whale…they are an entirely different species. That’s my speculative guess.

    Don’t show me three pieces of a million piece puzzle and retrofit it according to your unproven, and unscientific presuppositions.

    Macro-evolution is a mathematical impossibility, if you try to account for undirected randomness. And of course you must.

    The only evolution I will accept other than micro-evolution (change WITHIN a species) is the evolution of divinely revealed religion vs. the stagnation of all other man-made religions.

    One may not believe in Christ Jesus, but it is common knowledge gathered from both the Old and New Testaments that God used a series of SIX COVENANTS with His people, throughout their salvation history, in order to draw His chosen people into His realm of sonship. Starting with Adam (marital), Noah (family), Abraham (tribal), Moses (national), David (kingdom), and ending with the New Covenant (international kingdom) established through the Lord Jesus Christ which is continually fostered, guarded, and maintained by the Catholic Church.

    These ever-expanding covenants were established over thousands of years, and each era was brought forth by a chosen patriarch hundreds of years removed from the previous one. The New (final) Covenant has had a successful succession of ongoing patriarchs who will close out the end of time.

    The six concentric covenants have spanned two religions, and almost six thousand years before the final covenant made its way through to the top, surpassing, and replacing all the previous ones, until it was embraced (with varying amounts of success) by all the existing peoples of the earth. One may not accept Christianity…but its precarious growth, eventual dominance, and subsequent decline—were all predicted by Jesus Christ in both direct statements, and also within his mysterious and somewhat elusive (to outsiders) parables.

    And if you can’t find God, if you can’t put all this together—you have only yourself to blame.

  144. longstreet63 says

    Right.
    (Somebody told you) God said it (Unthinkingly) You believe it (Reality notwithstanding) That settles it.
    Got it.
    The trouble with this particular fairy story is that there’s no happy ending.
    Even if it were true, ‘salvation’ would entail the extinguishment of your ego, i.e. your personality.
    Unless you think you can retain your individuality in the presence of your god–that is to say, have the capacity to think other than that which is thought for you.
    Then, again, it seems you wouldn’t be missing anything.
    /troll feeding

  145. Cory Albrecht says

    @Ibis3: Actually, ISTM that Dr. Myers is just raising his favourite strawman. Any time anybody puts for the the idea that some claims about religion are amenable to skeptical inquiry but other claims are not, he immediately starts accusing them of wanting to take religion off the table when that is clearly not the case.

    Dr. Myers seems to have a hate one for religion to such a degree that he is not amenable to anything resembling reasonable conversation on the matter.

  146. says

    —But your original point appeared to be that the UC Davis apology and the gelato apology were comparable, which is not only ridiculous but also offensive to the people who took a faceful of pepper spray as opposed to getting their Internet Feelings hurt.—

    I apologize for your lack of reading comprehension.

  147. says

    —@WithinthisMInd: Hold on there – “…when he himself was going to skepticon with the intent of mocking other beliefs” – where do you get that from? Are you psychic? —

    No, I actually READ his apology. Did you?

    —Once the store slowed down, I decided to walk down the street to learn more about the convention, fully thinking it was something involving UFOs (“skeptics”). What I saw instead was a man conducting a mock sermon, reading the bible and cursing it. Instead of saying “Amen”, the phrase was “god damn”. Being a Christian, and expecting flying saucers, I was not only totally surprised but totally offended. I took it very personally and quickly decided in the heat of the moment that I had to take matters into my own hands and let people know how I felt at that moment in time.—

    —I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions. I was wrong.—

    My grandfather apologized to my ex for calling him a nigger. My grandfather still thinks black people are ‘lower’ than white people. He, like GG, apologizes for the action, but not the belief.

    When my ex refused to accept the apology, I did not berate him or suggest he was a lesser person for being unwilling to accept an apology that, like GG’s apology, admitted to it’s own meaninglessness.

  148. says

    —-I took it very personally and quickly decided in the heat of the moment that I had to take matters into my own hands and let people know how I felt at that moment in time.—-

    —-I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions. I was wrong.—-

    Did you actually read his apology?

  149. says

    Jen, I’d like to say I really appreciate your post here. Your acceptance of the gelato guy’s apology, and the concurring comments that immmediately followed, serve both the moral cause of reconciliation, and the political cause of taking an opportunity to try to turn an enemy into a neutral, and possibly a sympathetic ally.

    Unfortunately, through no fault of your own, there’s subsequently been a wave of more negative comments that range from petty and unforgiving to downright clueless and infantile. (Apologies don’t mean anything? Really?!) Some of the comments are so ridiculous that they could easily be the work of Christian extremists using sockpuppets to reinforce their indispensible stereotypes of atheists as mean, childish and unforgiving. And the ramped-up axe-grinding is starting to make this thread look a bit like ERV’s “monument” fiasco — something I really don’t believe you would want, and that doesn’t do any good for the atheist movement overall.

    I don’t normally advocate such actions, but in this case, I respectfully suggest that the best thing you can do to mark the dispute with gelato-guy as over and done, would be to close this thread to further comments and not write any more about it, unless new developments warrant it.

  150. Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) says

    @WithinthisMind: Yes, I did read it, and I wonder, too, if you did.

    ‘Once the store slowed down, I decided to walk down the street to learn more about the convention, fully thinking it was something involving UFOs (“skeptics”).’

    You even quoted that part, yourself. *All* it says is that he went over to the con to see what it was about. Note that it does *not* say, there or *anywhere* else in his apology, that he was going over to mock the attendees. Again I ask – are you psychic?

  151. Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) says

    @WithinthisMind: None of us would apologize for our beliefs, either, and if somebody asked that of us you just know that there’s be a *huge* outcry about being asked to do that. So why are you seemingly expecting the shopkeeper to do what none of us would?

  152. says

    Not sockpuppets. Please don’t tell me they have used sockpuppets. My ears are too delicate to hear about such despicable subterfuge.

  153. At This Point It's Just Silly says

    If you don’t want people to accuse you of making idiotic comparisons, then try to refrain from making idiotic comparisons.

    Also, I’m sorry for whatever meaningless strawman apology you’ll post in your reply.

  154. says

    I spoke with him personally, face to face, and working on the article currently. The man is truly sorry for what he did. Have you spoke with him face to face?

  155. echidna says

    Ah, new data. Nice to know he’s truly sorry. But the burning question for me is whether he understands that people not believing in God is not an automatic affront to Christians. Does he understand that Sam Singleton comedy works because it allows atheists to distance themselves from their evangelical pasts, rather than because it is a red rag to Christians. Does he understand that atheists are often told by Christians that they will go to hell, and that this is not a helpful remark, but actually quite offensive?

    I believe he knows that what he did is wrong, legally and perhaps morally, but that he doesn’t see the general intolerance of Christians toward atheists, as nicely set out in the first verse of Psalms 14 (no, this is not obscure). This is his chance to see his own religion from outside his own skin. Has he taken this opportunity, or is he just trying to calm things down?

  156. says

    Well, echidna, you’ll have to read my write up when I finally post it on the God Discussion, hopefully tomorrow, but we did talk about threats of hell and he sees that as wrong also. I think he does understand that atheism is not an affront to him. If he did, then I do not think he would have sat down and allowed me to interview him. Not once when I talked to him did he impose his beliefs on me. He just stated them as a matter of opinion and belief. In fact, we really did not discuss his religious beliefs very much. He did not preach and I did not mock his superstitions. BTW, he does have a sense of humour concerning some religious concepts that are imposed on others, depending on the circumstances.

  157. LawnBoy says

    So, you’ve rejected the evidence given for macro-evolution despite the strength of the explanations and the fullness of the citations.

    This makes me wonder – what would you consider valid evidence for macro-evolution? Is there anything that would convince you?

    If the answers to those questions are “nothing”, then what you’re really saying is that you refuse to accept the results of the application of reasoned logic to physical evidence. In other words, you reject science.

    If that’s the case, why are you here?

  158. says

    I set myself the challenge of chosing whether to accept the apology or not, and to argue my case on Pharyngula and here. I believe you have to take any sensible apology on trust, an so not choosing is not an option, unless you have very complex reasons.

    I have no particular reason to believe or disbelieve Gelato guy, and I live a long way away, so I chose to accept. Over on Pharyngula I argued my case with as much vigour as I could muster (don’t look if you don’t enjoy swearing), and for my troubles I now find myself banned there.

    I have no particular problem with that, a blog is a bit of personal space where the owner can dictate the terms. If they had asked me politely to leave, I would have done so too, as I believe you should not overstay your welcome when out and about.

    Having given that little short introduction, I hope I am welcome here, and not for any reason linked to my choice with respect to the apology. We can be better than that, and make room for people who have different views.

    Hello from Pog or Pogsurf!

  159. cheron22 says

    Almost every post from you in that thread you professed your trollyness. You practically beg to be banned and then run off to another blog complain about it while telling people NOT to look at what you wrote.

    Keep practicing your trolling, maybe one day you’ll find a bridge of your own to hide under.

  160. says

    Having given out all that waffle above, I have realised I may have made a couple of errors.

    First, I don’t even know Gelato guy’s name. If I met him in the street, I wouldn’t know if it was him or not. It would be very rude of me to meet him and not say that I accepted his apology.

    Second, I’m not exactly sure if the offense was directed at me. I’m sort of assuming that I belong to an atheist tribe, and he was sticking two fingers up at me. Sort of assuming is even worse than plain Vanilla assuming, because it means I have got no idea what I am trying to do. I’ve got to go back and make sure I’ve even got any right to be offended.

    Third (ok, I know I can’t count), if I got number 2 wrong, I’ll have to withdraw the apology, and recognise i have made a bit of a prize arse of myself. It’s happened before, and it will happen again!

  161. Stein says

    I despise you people for trying to make a national mockery of my friend Andy.

    That jerk Singleton set things off.

    KMA you hypocrites.

  162. Stein says

    This is the goddam issue you people come up with?

    Andy left sign up for a short times and you smear him all over the internet.

    And who that JT jerkoff? He’s a libelous little shit.

  163. says

    Who’s “you people”? Some of us, esp those of us who live in or near Spfd have actually talked to him and even accepted his apology. Some us with held giving feedback on Yelp and Urbanspoon before meeting him. Not all of us jumped and gave him a bad review right away. I withheld giving him a review until I met him and saw him in person to see if he was being sincere.

    As for Sam Singleton, that’s not the real person. That’s just the character he place. Not only that, some of us asked Andy to drop in next year to find out what the other speakers talk about- such as science for example. I’m not sure how that fits your definition of hypocrites.

  164. says

    Wow! Such language for a Xian. My relatives would take issue with that and consider you not a Xian and/or a hypocrite, just based on that. Remember when you point fingers, 3 more point back at you. Personally, I’m not sure how to take your comments with all the judgment you’re passing.

  165. John Morales says

    Yah, right:

    I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions.

    Because it’s fine to have such beliefs, it’s merely acting on them that is wrong.

    It would be fine for me to think that you’re a credulous sap — but I wouldn’t dream of telling you that — that would just be wrong!

  166. Cory Albrecht says

    Oh don’t be such a fecking hypocrite. How many of us here would apologize for our beliefs (or lack thereof)? I’d be very surprised if any of us would.

    The way some people have been reacting over “Gelatogate”, you’d think they’d never accept an apology from anybody, ever, carry all grudges forever, and never ever apologize to somebody else.

  167. says

    We are pointing out that apologies don’t mean squat by themselves.

    In that case, “we” are being incredibly simpleminded about human relationships, and perhaps “we” need to get out more.

    (And no, pointing out that that YOU had made a really idiotic analogy is not a “strawman.”)

  168. says

    It’s amazing. You obviously get the point – an apology by itself is meaningless as you admit in your ‘counter’, and yet, you steadfastly refuse to get the point and admit that an apology by itself is meaningless.

    Seriously, it is hilarious.

    Are you a Republican, by any chance?

  169. John Morales says

    Oh don’t be such a fecking hypocrite.

    To what hypocrisy do you refer?

    (Relating to hypocrisy — I take it you mean ‘fucking’, but you think it’s wrong to actually write that, and thus you employ an euphemism, as if that really made a difference.)

    The way some people have been reacting over “Gelatogate”, you’d think they’d never accept an apology from anybody, ever, carry all grudges forever, and never ever apologize to somebody else.

    Who? How?

    Look: it’s clear Andy still considers his belief is (and was) fine, it was his actions that were wrong.

    If one was offended by the belief and not the action, then the apology is hardly applicable, is it?

  170. John Morales says

    You fail to note that Andy admits to carrying a grudge against those he perceives as ridiculing his ridiculous religion:

    Being a Christian, and expecting flying saucers, I was not only totally surprised but totally offended. […] I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions.

    (I’d refer to geese and ganders, but I fear the allusion would be lost on you)

  171. Stein says

    Who said I was a Christian, you idiot.

    Jews are not afraid to speak their mind like like you candy assess. Get over it.

  172. Stein says

    Hey Myers, love the picture of you.

    Makes you look like a flasher pervert.

    Oh, and go fuck yourself.

    (satire)

  173. Stein says

    PZ is such an asswipe. He regularly thows people…atheists included…of his blog.

    Not to mention censoring, deleting, and even changing posts.

    What a douche bag he is to talk about tolerance.

  174. Stein says

    PZ banned you? Hahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! You and literally thousands of others.

    PZ is no “free”thinker…he is a Militant

    And he knows how to hate.

    BE careful of him or he will post your IPs.

    So there!

  175. says

    Stein says:
    November 29, 2011 at 4:02 AM
    Nice example of threatening to Cyberbully him, mrainwhaever.

    Mriana is fine and I wasn’t trying to cyberbully him. I was just stating that I would report whatever happened when I met with him face to face to see if he was really sincere and I feel he is sincere.

  176. says

    Stein says:
    November 29, 2011 at 4:09 AM
    PZ banned you? Hahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! You and literally thousands of others.

    PZ is no “free”thinker…he is a Militant

    And he knows how to hate.

    BE careful of him or he will post your IPs.

    So there!

    You know, while you weren’t talking to me and as far as I know PZ did not ban me from his blog, but somehow I don’t think that is funny, despite being P.O.’d at some of the commenters on his blog. Maybe he is militant, maybe he’s let “fame” go to his head, and maybe he does know how to hate, but the fact remains, he knows Evolutionary science and is good, as well as talented, at teaching it. So, I would at least give him credit for being a good instructor of science. There aren’t many people who are, but then again, I’m not holding a grudge or even anger against PZ.

    However, this dispute on how to react to ALL religious people is nothing new. It’s been going on for centuries or maybe since the 1940s. Whatever the case, it’s nothing new and PZ is entitled to his opinions and feelings. We all are, but I don’t think we need to bash each other in a manner that could be potentially harmful. My personal concern is that the way we are treating each other, esp where the world can see it, will do more harm than good.

  177. says

    No, but I have read his follow up interviews and the like. It makes it pretty obvious that what he is actually saying is ‘I’m sorry I let you guys drive me to do something wrong, perhaps you should reconsider your behavior in the future. I’m sorry I got caught, please don’t punish me for it’.

  178. John Morales says

    My personal concern is that the way we are treating each other, esp where the world can see it, will do more harm than good.

    Deep Rifts!

    (Your concern is noted)

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