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Sep 21 2011

The cool/lame quotient

That Anglican archbishop, Rowan Williams, is complaining about the atheists again.

I’m not avoiding the point that the coolness of atheism is very much in evidence. The problem is it’s become a bit of a vicious circle. Atheism is cool, so books about atheism are cool.

They get a high profile, and books that say Richard Dawkins is wrong don’t get the same kind of publicity because atheism is the new cool thing.

It’s difficult to break into that, but plenty of people are trying.

He’s making a very common error of perspective. I hate to break the news to all of you, but atheism is not cool. It’s not cool at all. It’s the domain of nerds and geeks and sciencey weirdos with beards and snarky women who are way smarter than the guys chasing them. We are not rock stars. We are not fabulously sexy (well, except for Brian Cox). We tend not to have loud movie star personalities (well, except for Neil deGrasse Tyson). Nothing personal, but if you put together a line-up of one of the Kardashians, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Daniel Radcliffe, and Richard Dawkins, and showed them to the average person on the American street, most of our citizens’ eyes would light up in recognition at the first four, and look quizzically at the guy on the end. And no, it wouldn’t help much to swap in Brian Cox for Richard Dawkins.

But that’s the point: cool is a relative thing. Coolness depends on what you contrast it with. And that’s really Rowan Williams’ problem.

It’s not the coolness of atheism. It’s the lameness of religion.

Look at me. I’m moderately popular, and I’m a schlubby college professor at a small college. I’ve got a beard and I wear nerdy ties. I’m nobody. But stand me next to a priest, or a creationist, and the contrast makes me look white-hot and super-cool, even though I’m not. It’s been my cunning trick for years.

So the problem for Williams isn’t that atheism is cool at all — it’s that our cool/lame quotient rockets to stratospheric heights whenever we’re in opposition to old geezy wankers who are chanting antique gobbledygook about magic rabbis and dead people. And those apologists trying break into our schtick? All they are doing is making us look cooler.

There’s only one solution. If the priests just fade away and stop looking like such gomers next to us, then atheism will look much, much less cool. We’ll have to compete with Michael Bay and video games and porn for attention, and then there won’t be anyone chattering about how cool we are any more.

OH NO! I just revealed the secret to making atheism irrelevent — for all the religious folk to disappear into the woodwork. Now we’re dooooomed!

536 comments

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  1. 501
    Anteprepro

    Nigel: It’s because horrorshow is a breath of fresh air compared to David Marshall. Horrorshow seems less dishonest and actually tries to engage. If we hadn’t already been exposed to David Marshall, horrorshow’s internally inconsistent nonsense would not seem as welcome. Once compare him/her to DM’s pompous chest-thumping uttered in lieu of actual argument, and refusal to say anything at length aside from “PZ and the Horde are so stupid and mean, and here’s why!”, it’s pretty clear why s/he doesn’t raise our ire as much. Because at least horrorshow tries.

  2. 502
    Anthony K

    Nigel: It’s because horrorshow is a breath of fresh air compared to David Marshall. Horrorshow seems less dishonest and actually tries to engage. If we hadn’t already been exposed to David Marshall, horrorshow’s internally inconsistent nonsense would not seem as welcome. Once compare him/her to DM’s pompous chest-thumping uttered in lieu of actual argument, and refusal to say anything at length aside from “PZ and the Horde are so stupid and mean, and here’s why!”, it’s pretty clear why s/he doesn’t raise our ire as much. Because at least horrorshow tries.

    Maybe you’re right. I’ll cut him some slack. It’s just when I see such patently stupid shit as his chronicles of Professor Bigdome Labcoat and his handwaving use of Original Sin (“because Jesus didn’t have it, then whatever I say; because everybody else does have it, then whatever I say”) I start wondering where the nearest lion-filled coliseum is.

  3. 503
    Anteprepro

    Oh, don’t cut horrorshow too much slack, Brownian. Although s/he is less dishonest than David Marshall, s/he has said far more profoundly stupid shit than him as well.

    Also, to wax poetic: Just because this thread was filled with the pungent stench of manure so early on, does not mean we need to appreciate the more subtle aroma of rotting garbage later on.

  4. 504
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    Since it is Aquinas’s argument that horrorshow finds so compelling (or actually, simply accepts because the RCC accepts it), here it is:

    I answer that, As we have stated, when treating of the defects assumed by Christ, there was true and sensible pain in the suffering Christ, which is caused by something hurtful to the body: also, there was internal pain, which is caused from the apprehension of something hurtful, and this is termed “sadness.” And in Christ each of these was the greatest in this present life. This arose from four causes. First of all, from the sources of His pain. For the cause of the sensitive pain was the wounding of His body; and this wounding had its bitterness, both from the extent of the suffering already mentioned and from the kind of suffering, since the death of the crucified is most bitter, because they are pierced in nervous and highly sensitive parts—to wit, the hands and feet; moreover, the weight of the suspended body intensifies the agony. and besides this there is the duration of the suffering because they do not die at once like those slain by the sword. The cause of the interior pain was, first of all, all the sins of the human race, for which He made satisfaction by suffering; hence He ascribes them, so to speak, to Himself, saying (Ps. 21:2): “The words of my sins.” Secondly, especially the fall of the Jews and of the others who sinned in His death chiefly of the apostles, who were scandalized at His Passion. Thirdly, the loss of His bodily life, which is naturally horrible to human nature.

    The magnitude of His suffering may be considered, secondly, from the susceptibility of the sufferer as to both soul and body. For His body was endowed with a most perfect constitution, since it was fashioned miraculously by the operation of the Holy Ghost; just as some other things made by miracles are better than others, as Chrysostom says (Hom. xxii in Joan.) respecting the wine into which Christ changed the water at the wedding-feast. And, consequently, Christ’s sense of touch, the sensitiveness of which is the reason for our feeling pain, was most acute. His soul likewise, from its interior powers, apprehended most vehemently all the causes of sadness.

    Thirdly, the magnitude of Christ’s suffering can be estimated from the singleness of His pain and sadness. In other sufferers the interior sadness is mitigated, and even the exterior suffering, from some consideration of reason, by some derivation or redundance from the higher powers into the lower; but it was not so with the suffering Christ, because “He permitted each one of His powers to exercise its proper function,” as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii).

    Fourthly, the magnitude of the pain of Christ’s suffering can be reckoned by this, that the pain and sorrow were accepted voluntarily, to the end of men’s deliverance from sin; and consequently He embraced the amount of pain proportionate to the magnitude of the fruit which resulted therefrom.

    From all these causes weighed together, it follows that Christ’s pain was the very greatest.

    There are numerous obvious gaffes in the above – particularly his statement that “… there is the duration of the suffering because they do not die at once like those slain by the sword” (regarding crucifixion). This is true, but JC (supposedly) died in one evening. Other victims of crucifixion survived on the cross for many, many days. And then there is the post hoc rationalization that because Jesus (supposedly) had a perfect sense of touch, he therefore suffered more pain. One doesn’t follow from the other, and the idea that Jesus had a perfect sense of touch originates here anyway (Aquinas has to argue for that too, and his argument is just a bare assertion).

    Note this is not ‘Sacred Tradition’ (as defined, for example, in the catechism of the RCC) – this is just a theological argument made over a millennium after the supposed crucifixion.

  5. 505
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Waffler:

    …this is just a theological argument made over a millennium after the supposed crucifixion.

    Assertions made by someone intelligent enough to recognize the logical problems with his theology, but not intellectually honest enough to follow those logical problems to their logical conclusion.

    Thanks for the extended Aquinas quote. It’s been years since I’d read him. I’d forgotten how egregious his rationalizations really are.

  6. 506
    Anthony K

    Note this is not ‘Sacred Tradition’ (as defined, for example, in the catechism of the RCC) – this is just a theological argument made over a millennium after the supposed crucifixion.

    Well, we’ve already noted that what is sensible to horrorshow must be Sacred Tradition to Catholics, and what he believes is what Christians believe, and what he boils up in a haggis is the very substance of Plato’s Ideal Haggis.

  7. 507
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    Aquinas had (obviously) a limited understanding of human physiology when he wrote this:

    And, consequently, Christ’s sense of touch, the sensitiveness of which is the reason for our feeling pain, was most acute.

    Mechanoreceptors (responsible for sensations of touch) =/= Nociceptors (responsible for sensations of pain)

  8. 508
    Anthony K

    Aquinas had (obviously) a limited understanding of human physiology when he wrote this:

    And, consequently, Christ’s sense of touch, the sensitiveness of which is the reason for our feeling pain, was most acute.

    Mechanoreceptors (responsible for sensations of touch) =/= Nociceptors (responsible for sensations of pain)

    Moreover, there is nothing in the concept of ‘perfection’ (whatever that’s suppose to mean) that entails higher sensitivity to pain, or, if it does, how Christ’s sensitivity to pain wasn’t so acute that all and any touches were unbearable.

    Let’s assume Christ’s hearing was similarly ‘perfect’, using horrorshow’s use of the word (which clearly does not mean what he thinks it means, if he thought about it at all, which seems doubtful.)

    What was the range of Christ’s hearing? On average, most humans can hear sounds between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. Could he hear sounds of 10 Hz? Could he hear infrasonic elephant calls? What about sounds as high as 30 kHz? Is that reasonable? What is the cut off in either direction? What’s the ‘perfect’ range of pitch? Is it infinite? If not, why not? Or is it, like one facet of general attractiveness of human faces, a mathematical mean? One standard deviation greater than the mean? One SD less than the mean?

    Similarly, was Jesus the perfect height? If so, how tall was he? 1 m? 1.75 m? 2 m? 5 m? 5,000 km? If not, then why wasn’t he perfect in that respect? Did Jesus like cilantro? Could he smell asparagus in urine? Could he taste 6-n-propylthiouracil?

    So what the fuck does ‘perfect’ mean in any of these traits, besides a word you think absolves you of having to think at all? I know it’s tempting to fap all over Aquinas because that’s what people born to be servants need to do to sequester that cognitive dissonance, but at least give some tacit lip service to the idea that you’ve explored the fucking implications of handwaving idiocy like “Jesus felt pain more acutely because he was perfect.”

  9. 509
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Brownian:

    Could he smell asparagus in urine?

    From 413 meters away! He tested it once.

    He had perfect hair. All the stylists fought over him when he showed up at the salon.

    He was a perfect kisser. At least, that’s what Judas reported.

    His penis was of the perfect length. (Of course he was a man. He was perfect, was he not?)

    His taste in wine was exquisite. None better. And when it came to cursing uncooperative vegetation? Why, he was the fucking best. And don’t get me started about his ability to overturn tables in anger!

    Jesus was, in fact, the perfect storm.

  10. 510
    Anthony K

    He had perfect hair.

    But did he ever drink a piña colada at Trader Vic’s? Doot!

  11. 511
    Kel

    01. Jesus’ tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.
    02. Jesus counted to infinity – twice.
    03. Jesus does not hunt because the word hunting infers the probability of failure. Jesus goes killing.
    04. If you can see Jesus, he can see you. If you can’t see Jesus you may be only seconds away from death.
    05. Jesus sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Jesus roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn’t stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.
    06. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Jesus.
    07. Jesus built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK assassination. As Oswald shot, Jesus met all three bullets with his beard, deflecting them. JFK’s head exploded out of sheer amazement.
    08. Jesus has already been to Mars; that’s why there are no signs of life there.
    09. They once made a Jesus toilet paper, but it wouldn’t take shit from anybody.
    10. A blind man once stepped on Jesus’ shoe. Jesus replied, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Jesus!” The mere mention of his name cured this man blindness. Sadly the first, last, and only thing this man ever saw, was a fatal roundhouse delivered by Jesus.

    There is no chin behind Jesus’ beard. There is only another fist.

    In fine print on the last page of the Guinness Book of World Records it notes that all world records are held by Jesus, and those listed in the book are simply the closest anyone else has ever gotten.

    Jesus is ten feet tall, weighs two-tons, breathes fire, and could eat a hammer and take a shotgun blast standing.

    Jesus made Ellen Degeneres straight.

    Jesus can touch MC Hammer.

  12. 512
    Anthony K

    Is that more Aquinas, Kel? Or have we hit C.S. Lewis territory? (“Liar, Lunatic, or Kickboxer Extraordinaire?”)

  13. 513
    chigau (())

    If Jesus ate a hammer, what would the sacred, perfect *ahem* look like?

  14. 514
    'Tis Himself

    But did he ever drink a piña colada at Trader Vic’s?

    Does he like being caught in the rain? Is Jesus into yoga? Does he have half a brain? Does he like making love at midnight in the dunes of the cape?

  15. 515
    Waffler, of the Waffler Institute

    But did he ever drink a piña colada at Trader Vic’s?

    I’ve had a piña colada at Trader Vic’s. No Jesus, or werewolves, spotted.

    From 413 meters away! He tested it once.

    It is a well established part of Sacred Tradition that if Caesar farted in Rome on a Monday, Jesus could smell it in Galilee by Thursday. Weather permitting.

  16. 516
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Brownian:

    But did he ever drink a piña colada at Trader Vic’s?

    But of course! A perfect piña colada.

    Though he was never in London.

    And my hair? Well. Very, very greasy. (Just to make this reference even more obscure.)

    Waffler:

    It is a well established part of Sacred Tradition that if Caesar farted in Rome on a Monday, Jesus could smell it in Galilee by Thursday. Weather permitting.

    You had me at “farted.” You had beer out my noise at “weather permitting.”

  17. 517
    Kel

    Is that more Aquinas, Kel? Or have we hit C.S. Lewis territory? (“Liar, Lunatic, or Kickboxer Extraordinaire?”)

    I just thought that if it was okay to completely talk out of one’s arse about Jesus, then some Chuck NorrisJesus Facts would be a vital addition.

  18. 518
    John Morales

    [Fuck, it's sad when all the meaty bits are gone and we have to scrap for scraps.

    Hey goddists: MOAR st00pid, plz]

  19. 519
    chigau (違う)

    John Morales
    I think this thread is dead.
    But if it helps:
    I will pray that dog gGod will touch your heart and lead you Home.

  20. 520
    John Morales

    chigau, thanks.

    It does help!

    That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons death may die

    (Iä! Iä!
          Cthulhu Fthagn!)

  21. 521
    John Morales

    horrorshow, get it right: Jesus wept as he wanked.

    (so it is written)

  22. 522
    Kel

    It’s not like one can make the Christian story of Jesus any more silly than it is. God impregnates a woman to give birth to himself only to die as a sacrifice for a talking snake that he created telling the truth to creatures he made ignorant of right and wrong. It’s very fucking silly shit, and it’s fucking hilarious that people get so serious about such silly shit.

    It’s fucking nonsense, utter fucking trite nonsense, and we’re meant to take that on as a serious intellectual proposition? The only way one can take it seriously is as mythic storytelling, and there it is empowered by its symbolism and cultural significance. But it has to be something more, something special, and all we do is spend time arguing over whether Han shot first. At least with Star Wars fans, they understand what Star Wars is…

  23. 523
    Anthony K

    It’s not like one can make the Christian story of Jesus any more silly than it is.

    Sure you can. Mention that over 2 billion people believe it as literal truth.

    Now, that’s absurd.

  24. 524
    Kel

    Well, there you go…

    Though I would hope that a good majority of those only sort of believe something vaguely approximating a loose commitment to “Christianity”.

  25. 525
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Still no evidence for your imaginary deity Horroshow, or that the babble isn’t a book of mythology//fiction. Which means all your theology is mental masturbation. And you got your hands dirty and failed to clean up after yourself.

  26. 526
    Anteprepro

    Suppose a secret serial killer chooses the ‘good’ option during the tests to fool Prof Labcoat? You see, he many not wish people to find out about his hobby (… one may smile, and smile, and be a villain” – Shakespeare).

    Which assumes that those kind of people actually know what the “good options” are. That might true in some cases, but sociopaths lack empathy and may miss the mark on more subtle issues of “good”.

    Have you read any of that “old literature”? Just askin’.

    Again, fucking dodging. Fantastic. I’ve read Shakespeare, and have only read paraphrases of Homer and Dante’s Divine Comedy. Which makes me more knowledgeable regarding the names you’ve cited than you apparently are of psychology and empiricism.

    What onus? To prove what exactly? Unlike you, I don’t claim scientific proof is a useful concept in talking about these matters. Nor would most people who don’t have green blood.

    Yes, you don’t claim that scientific verification for the premises of philosophical arguments is “useful”. Because you are a dimbulb who hasn’t really thought the matter through. You know the distinction between valid and sound arguments in philosophy? How else can you determine that the premises of an argument are true (and thus that the argument is sound) than with empirical evidence (often obtained via science)?

    What I dispute is that it is possible, based on that general truism, to make sweeping generalisations and universal applications in particular cases as if they were axiomatic truth. To wit: “Injustice wouldn’t make you feel fear/pain by an order of magnitude greater than certain knowledge of life after death would make you feel less fear/pain. “

    You are a profound moron. In the very next part, which you cite, I explain that part of the reason I made this assertion is an indication that you did the same fucking thing:
    “And I’m saying the same thing about your fucking harebrained idea that injustice increases pain, and pointing out that you are being inconsistent. But you are too fucking thick, so it hasn’t sunk in yet.”

    To which you respond: <blockquote cite=""But I’m not saying that it is an immutable law that injustice increases pain. I’m saying it it did in Jesus’ case and probably would in most cases involving those of us who are members of the neurotypical community.

    Or, in other words: “I’m not saying it’s an immutable law, I’m just saying that most normal people would suffer more pain from injustice.” In what way is what I said an “immutable law” but what you said is not? You’re quibbling and shooting yourself in the foot because you did a piss-poor job of it. Your claim that most normal people would suffer more pain in cases of injustice can be empirically verified. Where is the fucking evidence?

    LOL! ” [T]he ways that humans think that deviates from what would be expected if humans acted/thought perfectly logically and unselfishly” sounds like a pretty good definition of liberalism to me.

    Yeah. “Human” sounds like a good definition of liberal to me as well. If you’re going to resort to inane little insults in lieu of addressing content: How is supporting the world’s largest child-rape protection racket going? Feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that some of your money is being used to keep the holiest of child molesters out of prison?

    You have? Must have missed it.

    Mark 15:44 onward. Someone else mentioned it: Jesus died over the course of six hours, and Pilate remarks at how soon he died. People can take days to die from crucifixion.

    I don’t assume that it does. I’m saying it can do so and did in Jesus’ case.

    Really? Because in this same response, you said that this “probably would [occur] in most cases involving those of us who are members of the neurotypical community.” Which is a bit different from saying that “well, it could possibly happen, so…”.

    and getting you to concede that “perfect” doesn’t actually mean anything except what is needed for Aquinas to spin his yarn.

    You did?

    Sigh, sigh, sigh, look at me sigh:

    Original concession:

    If the Catholic theological understanding of Jesus’ physical perfection – its definition of what ‘perfection’ means in this instance – is completely arbitrary, then your definitions (less susceptible to pain, more likely to endure longer) are equally arbitrary. On the face of it, neither is more obviously likely or “makes more sense” than the other, since neither you nor I have any direct experience of what such perfection actually entails. So why do I choose to accept the traditional teaching? Well, for one thing, because I am a Catholic who believes St Thomas Aquinas is far more holy and intelligent than you.

    Yes, you conceded that what is considered “perfect” is arbitrary and the only reason you accept what is considered “perfect” in your regurgitated argument is because it is dogma.

    ” In this case, there are measurements for morality based on psychological evaluation. No fancy-shmancy brain imaging equipment needed. Run a battery of psychological tests, evaluate the responses, and blamo!, instant morality measurement.”
    You’re serious, aren’t you? Fucking hell.

    What exactly is the problem? You don’t understand psychology at all, do you?

    On the methodology (in psychology and philosophy): http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-psych-emp/#ThoExpMetEth
    Example experiment 1: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/xge/93/1/35/
    Example 2: http://www.jstor.org/pss/1130495
    Example 3: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027705001435

    See also: Trolley problems, Heinz dilemma. See also: antisocial personality disorder.

    Horseshit. Monitor these sorts of responses in a man or woman in the presence of his or her spouse of thirty years; then monitor them in the presence of a sexually attractive young member of the opposite sex. Your tests might well show that the subject became more physically excited and agitated in the presence of the latter, but it wouldn’t mean he or her loved the latter more than his or her spouse, merely that he or her found him or her temporarily more “desirable”.
    No wonder you put the word “love” in scare quotes.

    Nice try. Sexual arousal may be a confound there. But there is one physiological measure of actual non-Eros romantic love: oxytocin levels. To wit:
    “Oxytocin’s role in social bonding was first discovered in the prairie vole, a Midwestern rodent that mates for life. The animal’s rare monogamy traces back to oxytocin receptors embedded deep in the pleasure center of its brain. The hormone is released during sex, and the resulting bliss seems to forge a bond between male and female. Montane voles, a prairie vole cousin, don’t share this brain circuitry or the prairie vole’s monogamous lifestyle. Even injections of straight oxytocin can’t stop montane voles from bed-hopping.
    Studies on humans have found that, like voles, our oxytocin receptors are situated in pleasure areas of the brain. Oxytocin is released during childbirth and breastfeeding, as well as during sex and hugs with loved ones. Even playing with your dog can boost oxytocin levels, especially if you make eye contact with the pooch, according to a 2009 study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior.

    All of these studies have cemented oxytocin’s place as a bonding hormone. But the story isn’t straightforward – even in voles. A 2008 study published in the journal Animal Behavior found that prairie voles actually cheat on their partners frequently. The animals stay socially bonded to one partner, but often seek out something purely sexual on the side, the researchers concluded.

    “Somewhat ironically,” the researchers wrote, “this distinction between prairie voles and other monogamous rodents, the dissociation of social and sexual ?delity, leads us to suggest that prairie voles are even better models of human attachment than has been appreciated.”"

    (http://www.livescience.com/12833-love-hormone-oxytocin-dark-side.html).

    In addition, one could just compare the responses to the spouse and to other women, basically using other women as a control group, using nigel’s original tests.

    Granted, I think pointing out that nigel forgot to mention controls was relevant. But that wasn’t what you were doing: you were attempting to suggest that the confound of sexual attraction eliciting similar responses meant that no investigation was possible. And with that, again, you fail to understand psychology.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rann9SLUZyw

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRMBxnxWiNQ&feature=related

    Isn’t its clinical practice determined or at least influenced by the results of research? See here, from the BBC news site:

    Not often enough. And you realize that is the opposite direction of influence (researchers affecting APA) than what you imply in throwing out the whole of psychological research because you don’t like the APA?

    - A study due to be published in the journal of the American Psychological Association attempted to measure the effects of the Internet on users’ wellbeing. Research was carried out over two years on a broad group of people, probing the psychological and social effects of spending time in cyber space. Most participants said they used the Internet for social purposes – sending email and using chat rooms. Researchers claim to have found that levels of unhappiness increase in proportion with the amount of time participants spent online.

    Note the banality of these “findings” by the “experts”.

    Yeah. Assessing the long-term impact of childhood stress? So banal. Who gives a fuck about development?

    Finding the older population is more satisfied with life than the close proximity to death would suggest? Such a waste of time. We all knew that already, using the incredibly reliable scientific method of anecdotal observations.

    Verifying that people who don’t cheat have a better empathy and more courage than cheaters? Pffft. It’s not like the fact that cheating is a common occurrence in colleges reflects poorly on society in general. Why bother looking into the matter? Why bother showing that people who refuse to commit even a victimless crime have more empathy than those who do?

    Showing the impact of sexist media portrayals on women? I don’t care, cuz wimmens ain’t shit.

    Showing a correlation between amount of time using the internet and unhappiness? That has no relevance at all in our increasingly technology dependent, plugged-in culture.

    You are an incredible fuckwit, horrorshow. Stop while you’re ahead.

    <blockqoute cite=""(BTW, remember the APA declassified homosexuality as a mental illness after a lobbying campaign back in the ’70s? Nope, no slippery slope there …)

    Statement on the matter from the APA (http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/discrimination.pdf): “Homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social and vocational capabilities; further, the American Psychological Association urges all mental health professionals to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientation”

    They removed its classification because it doesn’t meet the definition of mental illness in that it isn’t an impairment. But your slimy “slippery slope” allusion is noted, and disgusting.

    “Perfect” in each case would be whatever God thought best.

    (Which apparently included hypersensitivity to pain.)

    Let it be on the record that I gave horrorshow far too much credit. His stupidity is far greater than I could ever guessed, and his bigotry is now rushing to the surface. His transformation into full-fledged troll is accelerating, and I can’t believe I defended him as better than David Marshall. Because at least David Marshall had the decency to not respond when he didn’t have an answer. And at least David Marshall was smart enough to not discard an entire scientific field for ideological reasons. Stop now, horrorshow. Just leave. Fuck off. Vamoose. Amscray. You are shooting yourself in the foot more and more with every response. You are showing yourself to be an even dumber and uglier beast each time. Stop and spare everyone, including yourself, a full reveal of just how much you hate the gays, how much you disdain (and are ignorant of) science, and how little you have supporting your belief system.

  27. 527
    PZ Myers

    Horrorshow is Piltdown Man. Purged.

  28. 528
    Anteprepro

    Ugh. I lost my longer response to horrorshow. I’ll try a new approach. Oh, and let me start out by saying: I was wrong, Brownian. Horrorshow is as loathsome as his name suggests, more and more so with each response, and I fear the worst is still beneath the surface. I said that at least he is more honest than David Marshall: Well, the problem, he is showing himself to be far more stupid and anti-science than I would’ve assumed to begin with, and he insists on “responding” to things that he never adequately addresses. David Marshall at least had the decency of ignoring most of the things that he wouldn’t bother to actually answer.

    For those keeping score, the verdict on horrorshow’s latest:

    -Still without supporting evidence for his propositions, horrorshow asserts that he doesn’t need scientific evidence to verify that the premises of his Not-Argument are true, and he goes on to say that injustice “probably would [increase pain] in most cases involving those of us who are members of the neurotypical community.” He boldly reasserts the truth of his bald assertions, in the face of admitting that he is no support for them.
    -His responses are as dense as ever, still showing he is ignorant of the points I’ve already made and still ignorant of the fact that his objections to my arguments parallel my objections to his.
    -He dodges like fucking crazy, as mentioned above. He “responds” to something with just an inane joke four different times, and “responds” to another with a non-sequitur at least once.
    -He doesn’t understand how one could test moral reasoning by testing their answers to hypothetical situations.
    -He counters nigel by bringing up a confounding variable of sexual attraction to men/women in general when testing physiological responses to a spouse as an indicator of love. In this “gotcha” response, he fails to realize that we could examine the difference, using response to non-spouses as a control condition. We could also look at oxytocin levels for a similar insight into non-Eros love.
    -What he considers “banal” in the field of psychology is telling. It shows that he doesn’t doesn’t give a damn about abused children, young women, and the elderly, and doesn’t care about the effects of internet usage, in the internet era.
    -His comment about the “slippery slope” of no longer calling homosexuality a mental illness suggests he is a homophobe (he’s a conservative Catholic, so who would’ve guessed!?).
    -He again basically says that “perfect” is a meaningless term. “Perfect” means whatever a silent and mysterious being says it means.
    -He doesn’t understand why the distinction between mechanoreceptors and nocioceptors is relevant to debunking the idea that a perfect sense of touch entails super-sensitivity to pain. That fact is only a “quibble” and not a fact that completely undermines the argument.

    So, he has doubled down on his ignorance regarding psychology, and managed to show hints of being a homophobic bigot to boot. Stop while you’re ahead, horrorshow. You’re digging deeper and deeper with each attempt.

  29. 529
    Anteprepro

    Oh, and here I thought we were encountering a new stupid, conservative, homophobic, anti-science Aquinas worshiping patron of the World’s Largest Child-Rape Protection Racket. Turns out it was just an old, musty one taking a romp on a shiny new website. What a waste of time, attempting to talk with someone who was already proven to be as intelligent as a brick, and half as capable of being educated.

  30. 530
    PZ Myers

    Again, horrorshow=piltdown man, a loathsome troll with a long history here, who frequently morphs his name to get past his absolute and irrevocable banning. He will NEVER be allowed to post here: he sneaks by sporadically, but as soon as I catch up with him, all of his comments are deleted.

    There is no point to engaging him.

  31. 531
    tushcloots

    PZ Myers says:
    1 October 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Again, horrorshow=piltdown man,

    IOW, he appears human but speaks with the mouth of a primitive(religious) simian, until finally being shown as a fake, I imagine.

    From the LiveScience link provided by anteprepro, “Other studies have shown similar conditional effects, Zak said. Oxytocin tends to make people more trusting of strangers, he said. But if you give someone oxytocin and then describe a stranger as having an unreliable personality, the trust effect disappears.”
    Sounds like empathy; the ability to consider the emotions of others before taking actions(I could swear I just read this, but now cannot find it: empathy/altruism correlates to oxytocin levels)

    One last though. Doesn’t the supposed fact that Jesus was on the cross for only 6 hours suggest that he was probably still alive and only appeared dead? 1.5 days later(3 in Biblical math) he emerged from his coma and stumbled around, which some womans observed. However he wandered off somewhere hidden, succumbed to his injuries, and a dinosaur found his carcass and ate it.

  32. 532
    Anteprepro

    Tushcloots: Apparently, you’re right about oxytocin.

    “In this study, we tested how a polymorphism (rs53576) of the oxytocin receptor relates to two key social processes related to oxytocin: empathy and stress reactivity. Compared with individuals homozygous for the G allele of rs53576 (GG), individuals with one or two copies of the A allele (AG/AA) exhibited lower behavioral and dispositional empathy, as measured by the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” Test and an other-oriented empathy scale. Furthermore, AA/AG individuals displayed higher physiological and dispositional stress reactivity than GG individuals, as determined by heart rate response during a startle anticipation task and an affective reactivity scale. Our results provide evidence of how a naturally occurring genetic variation of the oxytocin receptor relates to both empathy and stress profiles.”

    (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/11/18/0909579106.abstract)

    Also: Jesus actually surviving crucifixion and awaking later is called the Swoon hypothesis. Personally, I think its plausible (definitely moreso than resurrection). Oh, but it’s not that popular among scholars. Wonder why? Well, Wikipedia sez:

    It is said to have been uncommon for a crucified healthy adult to die in the period of time described by the Gospels. The Gospel of Mark reports that Jesus was crucified at nine in the morning, and died at three in the afternoon, or just six hours after the crucifixion….The average time of suffering before death by crucifixion is stated to be about 2-4 days…
    A major reason to doubt this hypothesis is that the Gospel of John states that a soldier thrust a spear in Jesus’ side before he was taken off the cross. The Gospel of John is the latest of the four canonical gospels, and neither of the remaining three contain this story. It is proposed that the thrust spear story is John’s fabrication, intended to refute this precise theory…

    The Swoon Hypothesis has been criticized by many, including medical experts who, based on the account given in the New Testament, conclude that Jesus was definitively dead when removed from the cross. Many others consider it unlikely that Jesus would be capable of inspiring faith in those who saw him after barely surviving a crucifixion, including the 19th century rationalist theologian David Strauss, who wrote:
    “It is impossible that a being who had stolen half dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill and wanting medical treatment… could have given the disciples the impression that he was a conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of life: an impression that lay at the bottom of their future ministry.” ….argue that the death of Jesus in the Gospels could not have been fabricated, as the text displays medical knowledge not available at the time.[dubious – discuss] Haughton wrote that the description in the Gospel of John of the flowing of “blood and water” after the soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear was extremely prescient:
    “… With the foregoing cases most anatomists who have devoted their attention to this subject are familiar; but the two following cases, although readily explicable on physiological principles, are not recorded in the books (except by St. John). Nor have I been fortunate enough to meet with them.” [8][9]
    Medical authorities W. D. Edwards, W. J. Gabel and F. E. Hosmer offer the following analysis in regard to the New Testament Greek and the medical data: “…The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha…”
    Alexander Metherell concurs that, based on the gospel accounts, Jesus was dead when removed from the cross.

    Yeah, they refute the non-miraculous explanation by treating the Bible as a coherent, completely thorough and reliable account, and then saying that Jesus probably was dead when jabbed with the spear. And the religious use this as proof that Jesus must have risen from the dead. Because that is far more consistent with the medical knowledge than the idea that he just fell unconscious [eyeroll]. I really don’t know how the apologists who do this kind of spin-doctoring can live themselves.

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