Fair weather atheists and sunshine skeptics


The bigoted gelato guy has apologized again, and people are falling all over themselves to accept it. He was classy and sincere!

I don’t think so. I reject his apology.

The guy wrote to me to personally apologize. How nice. I don’t care.

I have never met you, but from what I understand you are passionate about the way you feel and I may have offended you. So, I wanted to personally reach out to you and apologize for my behavior. I hope this statement explains (not excuses) the reason I did what I did. I have posted my statement here: http://redd.it/mkw6h

This is what I wrote back.

Apology not accepted. What I see in you is a person who hates me for not believing in the nonsense of your religion; while you may now be in a panic because your actions were unethical and illegal, and you were caught out, and face economic consequences for them, I don’t see any sign that your attitudes have changed in the slightest.

You’ll just have to live with the fact that I won’t be buying your ice cream on the rare occasions I visit your town, while I have to live with the fact that I live in a country where my rejection of your religion makes me a pariah. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to make up for that.

There is an asymmetry here. GelatoGuy lives in one of the most religious countries on earth, in a particularly intensely religious part of that country, and in a moment of smug self-righteousness, felt he could openly discriminate against people who do not respect his beliefs. And now he thinks he can walk away, forgiven, and return to his blithe happy Christian pocket universe, just by saying a few words. And we, of course, will turn around and think he’s a nice , sincere, classy guy.

Meanwhile, we will still be regarded as the least trustworthy minority in the country; we still have to deal with the fact that we are excluded from the political discourse; we still have to walk into courtrooms with the ten commandments on display; we have to watch these nice, sincere, classy people elect gay hating bigots, anti-science know-nothings, and flaming misogynists to high office…but hey, they’ll apologize to our faces when they risk losing our business. And then go back to church to listen to their priests fulminate against the godless, go into the voting booth and vote against civil rights, go to their school board and piously try to ram their faith into our children’s faces.

I don’t give a good goddamn what they say, I care about what they do. And until 150 million Christians rise up and show some respect for common humanity and reason, and apologize to me and every godless citizen in this country, I will not be magnanimous. I do not call for a vendetta, and I’m not demanding that he be punished — it’s a guy selling ice cream — but I do not forgive. I do not forget. I set him aside, I ignore him, but I do not call him ‘friend’ or ‘brother’, I do not call him sincere or classy.

There’s another matter here that has arisen, and that makes me angry. GelatoGuy has explained what incident provoked him to criminal fury: it was Brother Sam Singleton (him, I’ll call brother), who put on a fantastic show, mocking revivalism and making an excellent point: his show was about gratitude, and how the Bible warps it and redirects it and has people shouting praise and thank you to an imaginary tyrant, at the expense of simple human decency to one another. He did it with far more flair and showmanship than most of us atheists can manage, but it was a message reflective of actual atheist attitudes. That’s who we are: we reject gods and faith and magical thinking, and increasingly, we say it out loud.

The response from some members of the atheist community? It must have been Sam Singleton’s fault.

Poor guy made an honest mistake. He seems like a genuinely nice guy. I mean, to be fair, he walked in AT THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME.

Because, of course, the worst possible time to see an atheist and skeptic is when they’re acting all atheistical and skeptical. Poor guy, it’s not his fault, he witnessed someone expressing atheist sentiments, and as we all know, we’ve all unconsciously absorbed as fact the idea that those are bad. Next up, let’s excuse sexual assault, because Lord knows, those women do dress provocatively. Maybe, at his next appearance, we should ask Brother Sam to tone it down a couple of notches, and praise religion a bit, just in case any other believers wander by.

Then there are the appallingly conciliatory suggestions.

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.

Perhaps, on the schedule, we could print little chili peppers next to the titles of the talks? No peppers means it will praise Jesus, five peppers means the content will send any Christian listeners straight to hell?

I find this whole idea far more offensive than what GelatoGuy did — it is atheists and skeptics rushing to self-censor themselves, to mark some of their ideas as publicly shameful, and to acquiesce to ignorant public opinion. I’m not going to support that kind of behavior at all: sure, welcome the public, including delicate Christians like GelatoGuy, to the event, but don’t coddle them. This is who we are. Be proud.

Also consider the unintended consequences. I gave a pure science talk at Skepticon, not mentioning gods or religions at all, and at worst ripping into creationism (it was a one pepper talk). If I were told that I was being advertised as one of the ‘safe’ ones for Christians to attend, if I had been informed that I was going to be used as a showpiece for accommodating believers, I would have felt compelled to drop my planned talk and pull up one that rages against the idiocy of faith, instead. Do not do that to me. I will not be the dancing bear trotted out to appease sappy ignorant believers, and I will stand in solidarity with Sam Singleton (and Dave Silverman and Greta Christina, who also gave ferociously godless talks that would have given GelatoGuy the vapors), and I will cheerfully blister the ears of any faithhead in range.

Then there is this fellow, who thinks atheists ought not to be uncompromisingly critical of religion.

To see that sort of hateful bigoted mockery of his core beliefs would surely cause him to react in an equally hateful and bigoted way. You say that this person wasn’t criticized – just his religion. That’s a little like saying that you weren’t mocking the transvestite – just the idea of gender switching. When we mock another group’s choices, we are guilty of bigotry. The anger and persecution you feel? It’s the exact unwelcoming feeling he felt when he encountered an atheist revivalist at a convention that (if it had lived up to it’s name) should have been promoting science and critical thinking. Hypocrisy!

Right, because whenever I hear Pat Robertson or Michele Bachmann, I run out and punch a Christian in the face. Sam Singleton exercising free speech and saying what he thinks is exactly like a Christian businessman refusing to serve customers who don’t love Jesus. How dare those atheists reject and mock a belief — excuse me, choice — that is antithetical to science and reason? Choosing to believe in a magic sky fairy, choosing to believe in evidence…they’re all perfectly equivalent, after all.

Which brings me to the third point that makes me rage. Skepticon did promote science and critical thinking. The hypocrisy lies in thinking that religion must somehow be exempt from that kind of examination, and I truly, deeply despise the idea that religion must be a walled garden that may not receive the same criticism as any other wacky idea. Dave Silverman summarized my opinion when he said, “You can be a theist, and you can be a skeptic. But if you’re both, you’re not very good at one of them.”

But let us consider this opinion from Jason Loxton, who apparently represents the tired old antique skeptics who strained fervently to formulate their skepticism to avoid tangling with religion. You see, GelatoGuy wasn’t at fault: he walked into Skepticon thinking he’d get a talk about UFOs, and instead got a bunch of people regarding his personal bug-a-boos skeptically. Oh no!

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. :)

And fuck your stupid smiley face too, Jason!

I am so fed up with skeptics who look down on atheists because they apply critical thinking to religion.

I don’t give a damn about your tradition. I call it institutionalized intellectual cowardice. This rationale was a roundabout excuse to tiptoe around the hulking monster of gullibility and foolishness that has dominated the US for so long, to nibble at the margins and pick off targets only supported by a minority. It was safe. It maximized the potential membership of the movement. It actually dealt with real issues in critical thinking and the evaluation of the evidence, I will give it that, and I still regard this limited ‘empirical skepticism’ as a valuable part of the movement, but somehow the old guard has gotten it in their heads that they are the gatekeepers of skepticism, and they get to dictate what may be criticized.

I’m quite sure they did dread Skepticon. It was an honest skeptical conference that wasn’t afraid to address big issues that matter, didn’t compromise on religion, and didn’t shy away from the elephant dancing in the room.

But oh, no, a real skeptic conference is supposed to limit itself to UFOs, and chupacabras, and bigfoot, and ESP. As if we have a gigantic problem with a Republican government diverting vast resources into the search for cryptids and mind-reading, as if our educational system is overwhelmed with demand to teach the controversy about little green men, as if religion is somehow on a completely different plane from beliefs about alternative medicine or quantum vibrations.

And just maybe Loxton should think about the implications of what he said, that “Skepticon was about what it’s name implied” — because he is admitting that he thinks the public should regard skepticism as something safe and toothless and unchallenging. That does deep harm to the skeptical movement — it makes it trivial.

Comments

  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m just telling you what you can’t see from inside.

    Who gives a shit what a fuckwitted accommodationist loser like you thinks. One without the integrity, honesty, and moral character for anybody here to follow. Just noise on the internet listen to themselves say how good they are.

  2. says

    Excellent article, PZ! No religion is out of bounds for the application of criticism and skepticism. Getting offended is no excuse for being a bigot, especially as a business owner.

  3. BWE says

    Accommodationist? Did you copy and paste that or type out all those letters by yourself?

    And that is precisely why your movement and PZ have lost the respect of me and most of the people I know who also used to read pharyngula on a more regular basis. Lots of assumptions on little evidence. The term for that is fundamentalist atheism. Another word for it is narcissistic senses of entitlement developed through exposure to echo chamber resonance.

    Bottom line is you have made yourself stupid by posting kin an echo chamber. I listed specific reasons for PZ to reconsider, have they been addressed?

    You know why they haven’t? Because you dumbfucks have been self congratulating each other for so long you have replaced observation with stereotypes. You don’t actually have the ability to recognize a novel argument aqny more.

    What political party do you think I am? Religion? Type of work? Education level? Other attitudes, etc. I bet you can tell me a lot.

  4. Ted Zissou says

    Interesting post PZ. I avoid any preachy businesses. Interstate Batteries is one that particularly annoys me.

  5. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    BWE: Maybe your “specific reasons” have not been addressed because few people here are taking the trouble to decipher your incoherent rants.

    When I come across irrelevant nonsense, like “Ichthyic, you were my first FB friend…”, I stop reading. Because I don’t give a fuck*.

    Anyway, if you want to have your points addressed, maybe you could present them succinctly without the tortured prose.

    *Not even a small one, and I have boxes and boxes of them that I don’t even plan on using.

  6. illuminata says

    And that is precisely why your movement and PZ have lost the respect of me and most of the and most of the people I know who also used to read pharyngula on a more regular basis

    Translation: NONE of my imaginary friends like you, PZ!

  7. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    No. Actually it is just about a kid selling ice cream that PZ apparently felt entitled to intimidate.

    It could just as easy have been a girl scout selling cookies in front of safeway.

    So the the twenty eight year old owner of a small business is a kid?

    If you cannot even get the details right, why the fuck should any one go over your many points about how PZ has fucked up?

  8. says

    I’m embarrassed about ranting at Ichthyic last night. I shouldn’t let him bait me like that – for one thing, reacting to bullies only encourages them – and I’m sorry to others if it derailed the thread.

    ====

    how, then, do you justify your apparent absolutism? – that compassion to individuals of necessity trumps broader social goods (apologies if I have misunderstood here).

    Yeah, I think maybe I didn’t make that clear. I don’t claim that compassion to individuals must be prioritized over long-term social objectives, or that it is objectively or demonstrably “right” to thus prioritize it.

    Rather, I was just explaining that in terms of my own personal, admittedly-subjective moral sentiments, compassion for the individual being harmed in front of me tends, in practice, to win out over long-term social objectives. Of course those long-term social objectives, if they are good ones, may very well avert or alleviate death and suffering in the future, and so it’s perfectly defensible and coherent to be willing to sacrifice an individual in pursuit of them. I just can’t acquiesce to the idea that it could ever be right de tuer un amiral pour encourager les autres.

    I don’t think my own morality is superior to, or intrinsically more rational than, ahs’ morality; but nor do I think his morality is superior to or intrinsically more rational than mine. I think it just boils down to the fact that he and I have different personality traits and react to situations differently. (Indeed, a great many of what we term moral differences could probably be more usefully analyzed as personality differences, explicable through psychology.)

    =====

    I think a similar effect occurs here. You don’t expect to be able to do much to prevent capitalist-sponsored violence. You learn to accept it as the way of things, bloody tooth and claw. And of course their institutions have hundreds of years of practice now at abstracting the violence so that it’s sometimes hard to call it exactly what it is.

    I see what you mean. And it’s certainly often difficult to get people to recognize, and object to, the kinds of institutionalized violence which are normal and pervasive in our society and to which we have become accustomed. Of course you’re right that capitalism, for instance, rests ultimately on the willingness of the state to use violence in defence of private property, something that few people recognize or acknowledge (indeed, libertarians expressly try to define away this form of violence in an attempt to pretend that their desired social order is “non-coercive”). So too, for instance, most people seem to take it as normal and necessary that one’s right to move across borders should be restricted, and that those who move across borders without permission (especially if they are poor or from an unpopular ethnic minority) can legitimately be subjected to violence by the state. That, of course, is a proposition which I would not accept; immigration restrictions are a form of racist and classist oppression. But it’s hard sometimes even to get the average person to recognize immigration controls as a form of institutionalized state violence, let alone to convince hir that such violence is unjustifiable in principle.

    But when the third-worlder picks up a gun, or a first-worlder defends her choice to do so, then you see an opportunity for your words to have an effect.

    I don’t think that’s an entirely fair analysis: I oppose violence in defence of the established order just as vehemently, and you’re entirely right that that kind of violence is much more pervasive than revolutionary violence is. The violence perpetrated by the criminal justice system and the associated security-industrial complex in our society, for instance, predominantly serves the purposes of the ruling classes and of established power and privilege.

    To be honest, I don’t oppose the idea that movements can be justified, in very extreme circumstances, in using violence to free themselves from a highly-oppressive régime: I can entirely countenance the use of revolutionary force in the context of ending slavery in the United States or apartheid in South Africa, for instance, or a similar situation of violent oppression in which the oppressed class are excluded from any peaceful means of achieving political freedom (of which there are and have been many). In those situations, where the government is actively using violence to suppress the interests of an oppressed class, and the members of the oppressed class have no peaceful means of combating the violence, it’s entirely understandable for the oppressed class to fight back, and I would not criticize them for doing so.

    What I do oppose is the idea that a movement, having achieved power and set itself up as the government, should then, having the upper hand, be justified in using violence to suppress its enemies. Those are the kinds of situations about which we have vehemently disagreed: discussions about whether it’s acceptable for the winning side in a war, or for a movement that has overthrown the previous government, to kill the defeated enemy leaders as an example to others.

    In extreme situations, I can entirely accept the legitimacy of killing one’s current oppressors in a fight to free oneself from violent oppression. But I cannot ever, in any circumstance, accept the legitimacy of killing one’s former oppressors, who are now disarmed, helpless and in one’s power, as a form of vengeance and a deterrent to others. The former is war; the latter, in a moral if not a legal sense, is murder. Nuremberg falls into this category, as would your proposal that the Union should have killed Jefferson Davis after the Civil War as an example to others.

  9. says

    I’m embarrassed about ranting at Ichthyic last night. I shouldn’t let him bait me like that – for one thing, reacting to bullies only encourages them – and I’m sorry to others if it derailed the thread.

    Scratch that. I shouldn’t even have said anything on the subject at all (and intended to remove this bit before hitting Submit, but forgot). Forget I mentioned it.

  10. Carlie says

    No. Actually it is just about a kid selling ice cream that PZ apparently felt entitled to intimidate.

    Are you fucking kidding? No, it was an adult who runs his own actual store, which is big enough that he’s partnered with a couple of other businesses as well. Jeez. Disagree if you want, but not before you get your facts straight.

  11. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    Walton:

    I’m also angry at myself for being so fucking stupid as to let him bait me yet again and for getting involved in this conversation in the first place.

    Don’t be down on yourself. This place has one of the most insanely easily baitable groups of people online I have ever seem. Compared to a lot of people here you aren’t bad. Why there are so many skeptics who fancy themselves internet warriors, who go on and on and on about the most trivial things, in order to “win”, or even worse, engage in a two hundred post insult fest with an obvious troll, is beyond me. Don’t get me wrong, I like PZ’s blog, I like some of the commentary afterwards, I even like it when trolls get their asses handed to them, but the absurdly excessive pissing matches are a head scratcher.

  12. anteprepro says

    BNE sez:

    Lots of assumptions on little evidence.

    BNE’s next fucking sentences:

    The term for that is fundamentalist atheism. Another word for it is narcissistic senses of entitlement developed through exposure to echo chamber resonance.

    Somebody get Alanis Morissette in here, stat. Or these guys. Seriously, what is it with trolls and their obsession with shooting themselves in the foot, right out of the gate?

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And that is precisely why your movement and PZ have lost the respect of me

    As I said, what part of your inane and insipid opinions do we as a blog care about? Nada, zip, nil, zero, zilch. The rest was teal deer drivel. Egotistical and insipid non-cogent loser if you think we care even a tiny bit about your wrong opinion. Try another blog, like the intersection, as they might care for your massive ego.

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    fundamentalist atheism.

    Oxymoron drivel. The implication is that there is a holy book of atheism that must be adhered to as inerrant. Name the holy book, and cite the passages we are obeying by not listening to your idiocy.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You know you can actually make an environment which is too hot for trolls, without having to ban them.

    That’s why PZ wants us lewd, rewd, and crewd with trolls. It saves him the energy of wielding the banhammer.

  16. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    That’s why PZ wants us lewd, rewd, and crewd with trolls. It saves him the energy of wielding the banhammer.

    Er, ok, but at some point you’re spending far too much energy yourself and are even enabling the troll by keeping the “conversation” going. To stay with the heat analogy, it is like you light your whole living room on fire, in order to scare a pest out of there (or burn it alive). Good on you for getting rid of the pest, but now your living room is a charred piece of garbage. Ah hell, what the F am I doing? Talking about nuance on the internet? Nuance often seems to be a novel concept on the internet. Why so many reasonably intelligent atheists turn into childish imbeciles on here is a mystery. Anyway, carry on your “conversations” absurdly well past their usefulness and utility, go on being so proud of your often completely unneeded and counterproductive relentlessness. All that matters is that you teach those mo-fos a lesson – which is that you can outlast them on the internet. You can write more messages than a rabid troll! Be proud!

  17. Monoid says

    “Christians do blah blah”, “people who so enthusiastically embrace the title of ‘nice’ do blah blah”, “as atheists, we should do blah blah”, “why should WE blah blah when THEY blah blah blah”…

    You guys are fucking idiots. Are you genuinely incapable of stepping outside of this us-vs-them mentality for just one second? This guy is not responsible for what other Christians do – unless he supports their actions, which you simply don’t know – and neither are other Christians responsible for his actions just because they also happen to be Christians. Stop with this ridiculous collective guilt thing and start judging people based on their individual fucking merits.

    So the guy believes without evidence that there is a god. Big fucking deal. (If only everyone could be as rational as you are!) This is more than offset by the fact that he appears to be capable of reflecting on his own actions, apologizing and demonstrating good will towards non-believers. That’s more than PZ Myers, bent on viewing everything through the lens of “the atheist movement”, appears to be capable of.

    “We have to watch these nice, sincere, classy people elect gay hating bigots, anti-science know-nothings, and flaming misogynists to high office…but hey, they’ll apologize to our faces when they risk losing our business.”

    You don’t have the slightest clue who the guy votes for and what he believes (apart from the fact that he’s a Christian), you conceited, judgmental idiot. By all means complain about people electing homophobes and misogynists, but don’t fucking judge people you don’t know the first thing about. Is that too much to ask?

    Personally, I’d much rather associate myself with Christians who treat me as an individual than with atheists who’re incapable of treating me as more than a representative of some social group or another.

    (In before I’m branded an “accommoditionist” or a “wimp atheist” or whatever the latest fashionable label is around here.

  18. consciousness razor says

    Walton:

    Rather, I was just explaining that in terms of my own personal, admittedly-subjective moral sentiments, compassion for the individual being harmed in front of me tends, in practice, to win out over long-term social objectives. Of course those long-term social objectives, if they are good ones, may very well avert or alleviate death and suffering in the future, and so it’s perfectly defensible and coherent to be willing to sacrifice an individual in pursuit of them. I just can’t acquiesce to the idea that it could ever be right de tuer un amiral pour encourager les autres.

    To me this sounds like you’re saying that sometimes one of your emotions outweighs another. There’s nothing true or false about them, they just are. That I could understand, but when you use language that suggests rationality, that there is some form of argument that leads you from one claim to another, or that these are “defensible” or “coherent,” then the whole argument quickly falls apart. You can’t have it both ways, claiming ethics is rational one moment and irrational the next. Not to mention that you also misapply terms like “nihilist” to your position, then strawman others as being absolutist.

    In other words, it’s very confusing trying to understand what you’re saying. I don’t think studying legal philosophy will help you out either. You sort of have to know a little bit about ethics to get anywhere, or else drop the subject.

  19. anteprepro says

    Er, ok, but at some point you’re spending far too much energy yourself and are even enabling the troll by keeping the “conversation” going.

    Except there’s more than one of us commenting, so…what’s the problem?

    Talking about nuance on the internet? Nuance often seems to be a novel concept on the internet. Why so many reasonably intelligent atheists turn into childish imbeciles on here is a mystery.

    You aren’t talking about nuance: You are dogmatically saying we should abide by the rule of “Don’t feed the trolls”. We don’t want to and reserve the right to milk trolls for all entertainment value we can, and to perhaps gain a few teachable moments in the process. Your opinion that we should believe as you do, that there is no benefit at all in addressing trolls, is noted. And not supported enough to merit your condescension.

    Also: You have yet to apologize for using “mongoloid” as an insult in the Pharyngula store thread.

  20. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    This guy is not responsible for what other Christians do – unless he supports their actions, which you simply don’t know – and neither are other Christians responsible for his actions just because they also happen to be Christians. Stop with this ridiculous collective guilt thing and start judging people based on their individual fucking merits.

    You did a great job in missing the point. Andy felt that he could put a sign like that because he was enabled by the free pass that christians assume they have in this society.

    Also, I pointed out a while ago, Andy displayed poor impulse control. We have all been challenged, offended and engaged in heated confrontations. Not everyone resorts to taking the the cheapest of shots or resort to bigoted action.

    So this is the combination of both an enabling christianist culture and one person’s poor decision making.

    And, yes, if I lived in Springfield, it would be long time, if ever, before I would go to that shop.

  21. anteprepro says

    Monoid:

    So the guy believes without evidence that there is a god. Big fucking deal. (If only everyone could be as rational as you are!)

    Nice of you to conveniently forget what he was apologizing for and refusing to note that PZ is addressing atheists bending over backwards to accept the apology, rather than GelatoGuy himself.

    Personally, I’d much rather associate myself with Christians who treat me as an individual than with atheists who’re incapable of treating me as more than a representative of some social group or another.

    Good fucking luck with that one.

  22. says

    Hey, will you people stop the fuck standing up for trolls. We only like it when the goody-goodies get annoyed.

    (And there’s no fucking trounce either, I’m a mother-fucking troll right. I sort of trundle off.)

  23. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    Your opinion that we should believe as you do, that there is no benefit at all in addressing trolls,

    You stupid motherfucker, this is why I made the crack about nuance. When did I say there was no benefit in addressing trolls? I actually said smacking down trolls was good, but that imbeciles here often take it too far, to an absurd degree, to the detriment of the thread. Of course, I shouldn’t expect you to comprehend such an explicit and simple point, because you are a dumb fuck who doesn’t do nuance. Jesus Christ you are dumb.

    We don’t want to and reserve the right to milk trolls for all entertainment value we can, and to perhaps gain a few teachable moments in the process.

    Ha! Yes, you ordered your priorities in the correct order! You want to be entertained, and if the thread doesn’t crash and burn during your fun (which it often does) maybe, perhaps, someone will learn something if they can sift through the bloated “battle of wits” where you and a troll exchange insults. I am SO glad you were honest here. Too many of PZ’s internet warriors think they are fighting some noble cause, which just happens to be fun sometimes. No. A lot of you guys go off the rails in your quest to be entertained or to “win” an internet battle (oftentimes an off topic useless tangent to boot). And that is just sad. Don’t make your selifish thread destroying behavior a virtue. Do however take more than 2 seconds to read a post so you don’t completely miss what people are saying, because I would hate for you to keep looking like a dumb fuck.

  24. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why so many reasonably intelligent atheists turn into childish imbeciles on here is a mystery.

    But you keep posting your idiocy anyway. We don’t ignore trolls here. We feed them until they explode. So buzz off tone troll.

    You can write more messages than a rabid troll! Be proud!

    Notice I’m addressing you tone troll. Your idiocy will be answered. Oh, and don’t quit your day job. You suck weasels at comedy.

  25. Monoid says

    anteprepro:

    Nice of you to conveniently forget what he was apologizing for

    Um, it’s a fucking given that his original action was not appropriate, as he himself admitted (although the comparisons to “no blacks allowed” are ridiculous). What I was “addressing”, if you will, was some people’s infantile reaction to his apology.

    and refusing to note that PZ is addressing atheists bending over backwards to accept the apology, rather than GelatoGuy himself.

    I didn’t notice anyone “bending over backwards” or “being ashamed of atheism” (as PZ Myers claimed). What I saw was people simply accepting the apology (the horror!).

  26. says

    A lot of you guys go off the rails in your quest to be entertained or to “win” an internet battle

    Could you please point to the qualitative difference between somebody who has gone off the rails trying to win an internet battle with a troll here, and your rantings in this thread about what is the proper way to deal with trolls? This way I can be sure I do not displease you while trying to entertain myself. It’s very important to me that I know where WishfulThinkingRulesAll draws the line. Links to and discussion of examples would be best.

    Thank you.

  27. illuminata says

    Why so many reasonably intelligent atheists turn into childish imbeciles on here is a mystery

    Translation: Why so many reasonably intelligent atheists talk about stuff I don’t want to talk about and don’t immediately stop when I declare that they should is a mystery.

    Anyway, carry on your “conversations” absurdly well past their usefulness and utility, go on being so proud of your often completely unneeded and counterproductive relentlessness. All that matters is that you teach those mo-fos a lesson – which is that you can outlast them on the internet. You can write more messages than a rabid troll! Be proud!

    Okay, serious question: are you actually this self-obsessed and dishonest, or are you playing at being a troll to manufacture support for your argument?

    Do you actually think you get to decide when a conversation/debate/argument is past its usefulness? Did you miss the 73,000,000 million times its been explained that trolls are not engaged in order to change the trolls’ minds? Did you actually think anyone cares what you think at all?

    If you don’t like it, don’t fucking read it. Either way, enough with the mealy-mouth whining already. Talk about completely unneeded, counterproductive and worthless.

  28. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    I didn’t notice anyone “bending over backwards” or “being ashamed of atheism” (as PZ Myers claimed). What I saw was people simply accepting the apology (the horror!).

    Yeah, the apology of an enabled bigot.

    Guess what, I do not feel the need to accept the apology of an ass who condemned me for being a dyke.

  29. says

    After the shitstorm the Mio Gelato owner set off with that sign, I think what’s being ignored is that PZ (and anyone else who was offended or hurt by that sign) is under no obligation to accept the owners apology. If it were me, I might be willing to give the guy a chance to prove that his apology is sincere, depending on his future actions, but that’s just my own personal level of comfort that no one else should have to follow. Just because an apology has been given, no matter how sincere it may be, does not mean that the apology must be accepted. We’re conditioned to think that merely making an apology should enough in this culture and that it is always a good thing to accept an apology no matter what because it “makes us better people,” when often an apology is merely lipservice no tangible actions to back it up. The truth is that sometimes an apology can be enough – but sometimes, it isn’t, and we shouldn’t have to act as if it always is.

    PZ and anyone else offended by that sign should not accept that apology, nor feel obligated to promote Mio Gelato’s business, just “to be nice” or “to make the atheist movement look good.” PZ isn’t even calling for anyone else to boycott the business – he’s just stated his own personal desire not to ever buy from Mio Gelato, should he ever be in Missouri again, or promote Mio Gelato’s business on the principle that the owner fucked up , and the reasons why he feels the apology isn’t enough. And frankly, I don’t think he’s wrong to be pissed off.

    Several other commenters have been right in pointing out that what those advocating the “atheists should be nice and give this guy a break” line are missing is how the actions of Mio Gelato’s owner is a textbook display of privilege and socially-codified power:

    GelatoGuy lives in one of the most religious countries on earth, in a particularly intensely religious part of that country, and in a moment of smug self-righteousness, felt he could openly discriminate against people who do not respect his beliefs. And now he thinks he can walk away, forgiven, and return to his blithe happy Christian pocket universe, just by saying a few words. And we, of course, will turn around and think he’s a nice , sincere, classy guy.

    Meanwhile, we will still be regarded as the least trustworthy minority in the country; we still have to deal with the fact that we are excluded from the political discourse; we still have to walk into courtrooms with the ten commandments on display; we have to watch these nice, sincere, classy people elect gay hating bigots, anti-science know-nothings, and flaming misogynists to high office…but hey, they’ll apologize to our faces when they risk losing our business. And then go back to church to listen to their priests fulminate against the godless, go into the voting booth and vote against civil rights, go to their school board and piously try to ram their faith into our children’s faces.

    “Being nice” =/= rolling over and ignoring a long history in which atheists (much less anyone not Christian in the US) have been expected to keep their “offending” opinions to themselves, and apologize profusely for even voicing them, in order to leave the majority Christian population unbothered in their culturally enshrined bubble of superiority. Remember, what set Mio Gelato’s owner off in the first place was that he was offended to find his own religious beliefs were not automatically accepted as a default “rational” position inured from skeptical treatment. The privilege of having his beliefs remain unquestioned and treated with deference was taken away and he reacted like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum. His explanation of what prompted his putting up that sign makes it plain that he (and others) places some of the blame on Sam Singleton’s act – his mea culpa is of the “I’m sorry, but the ebil, mean atheist made me do it!” variety. Now, while I understand why he reacted that way – he can’t have had his beliefs directly challenged often, living in one of the most religious parts of the country – that doesn’t change the fact that he felt he had a right to discriminate against people who didn’t share his beliefs, an action he inherently knows would be excused because he is in the majority.

    Because none of us are mind-readers, we can’t know if his apology was precipitated by a sincere regret for his actions or because he was afraid of losing business/being sued, and in any case, it shouldn’t matter what he thinks as long as his actions as a business owner and a citizen don’t repeat or perpetuate that sense of entitled discrimination again. This is the part that PZ and many others remain skeptical about, and with good reason.

    Atheists are constantly told that “if we were only nicer” or “respected the beliefs” of religious folks more, we’d be more accepted and thought of less negatively. Rarely is it ever advocated by the religious majority that maybe “if they were nicer” or “respected the beliefs” of non-religious folk more, atheists would be less likely to react defensively to displays such as the sign in Mio Gelato.

    No one expects a lone owner of a single gelato shop in Springfield, Missouri, to make up for centuries of religious privilege. But neither should anyone feel obligated to accept the apology of Mio Gelato’s owner “just to be nice” on the off-chance that he’ll form a more positive opinion of atheists.

  30. anteprepro says

    I actually said smacking down trolls was good, but that imbeciles here often take it too far, to an absurd degree, to the detriment of the thread.

    Please, tell us the exact rules about when refuting trolls is “too far” and when exactly troll bashing transitions from good into a “detriment [to] the thread” . We obviously lack the nuanced to know. Give us the exact details, since this obviously a matter of objective facts and not at all just your unsupported opinions.

    Oh, but still no apology for the mongoloid crack, huh, WishfulThinkingRulesAll? Yeah, I think we should actually take WTRA’s advice and stop feeding the troll. And he’s the biggest one I’m seeing right now.

  31. says

    “… what is the proper way to deal with trolls?”

    Can someone please explain exactly what the fuck is going on here? You now expect your trolls to provide evidence for how other trolls work. You’re all fucking morons.

    http://cuttherhetoric.blogspot.com/2011/11/rebecca-watsons-trolls-why-skepchick.html

    You fuckers always create work for people like, and do I get one noncing word of thanks? Do I fuck.

    I’ll really pissed off with you all now, so stuff your own spiky things up your own naughty bits from now on. I’ve had it with you lot.

  32. Amused Observer says

    The younger devout Mormon version of me would of lashed out had I walked into a fake Sermon with someone verbally taking a shit on my religion. I may have posted a sign, I may screamed at the people, I may have done nothing. Current Atheist version of me would shake his head at that young guy acting impulsively. However, I still would accept the apology. Not saying I would go out of my way to post good Yelp reviews or tell all my friends to go to that gelato place, but if I was in the area, I would still stop by If I had the urge for gelato. For those of you who are completely unforgiving assholes, I’m embarrassed to be associated with you. All of you, PZ included, same to have lost sight of the fact that people do stupid crap from time to time. It doesn’t make them bad people, it makes them people. So, fuck you all for being dicks. You don’t represent me. I feel like helping this guy out with positive Yelp reviews just to piss you all off. Best rule in life is “Don’t be a dick.” Most of you fail miserably.

  33. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    We don’t ignore trolls here. We feed them until they explode.

    Hey dumb fuck, I never said to ignore them, but apparently you don’t know how to read. As for feeding them until they explode, are you 10 years old, or just an imbecile? What if the thread explodes far before the troll does? That’s acceptable collateral damage? Is this all about “winning” to you? What if the troll is obviously disrupting the thread with tangents that aren’t remotely related to it? Still going to keep feeding him for days, so lurkers will have to sift through your epic battle of wits? That completely obvious and pathetic troll named Chris did not need 400 comments directed at him in a single thread. That was extreme overkill, a waste. Yes? Surely your position can not simply be “feed them until they explode” because then you would be the stupidiest motherfucker ever to grace PZ’s website. So please, try to work a little nuance into your brain. Every troll does not need to be engaged with for an extreme length of time. In fact most do not – no sense aiding the troll in extreme thread disruption, unless you, like that dumb fuck anteprepro, admit that you are here to have fun first and foremost, everything else be damned.

  34. Gregory Greenwood says

    Monoid @ 525;

    Personally, I’d much rather associate myself with Christians who treat me as an individual than with atheists who’re incapable of treating me as more than a representative of some social group or another.

    Wonderful. You go and do that then, no one here is stopping you. Just be careful not to let the door hit you in the backside on your way out, and remember to collect your free, sustainably sourced, complimentary decomposing porcupine…

  35. anteprepro says

    Amused Observer:

    For those of you who are completely unforgiving assholes, I’m embarrassed to be associated with you.

    Well fuck you too. Since when was forgiveness an obligation? And would you also expect forgiveness of a small community business owner who had similarly discriminated against any other minority group, even if he did so shortly and was regretful about it? Sorry, but I wouldn’t expect those in a similar situation to accept the apology universally, so I don’t know why you (and others) do.

  36. Gregory Greenwood says

    Amused Observer @ 541;

    Best rule in life is “Don’t be a dick.” Most of you fail miserably.

    This has already been mentioned upthread, but it bears repeating. A more important rule is ‘don’t use gendered insults’. You see, associating a body part with a negative character trait does actual social harm – unlike, say, an irrelvancy such as declining to accept the apology of GelatoGuy.

    And no, the fact that the body part in question happens to be male in this instance does not make it OK. The attitude that underpins the casual use of gendered insults is the problem here.

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yeah, I think we should actually take WTRA’s advice and stop feeding the troll. And he’s the biggest one I’m seeing right now.

    It’s been that way for a couple of days now. I think it’s like SS, it just wants to leave unrefuted bullshit on a blog because everybody is ignoring its shit.

  38. Monoid says

    Guess what, I do not feel the need to accept the apology of an ass who condemned me for being a dyke.

    When did this happen?

  39. says

    Not to mention that you also misapply terms like “nihilist” to your position, then strawman others as being absolutist.

    I admitted that I was wrong to apply the word “nihilist”. (As I said, originally my use of the term was slightly flippant.) I have not accused anyone else of being “absolutist”, however, so I’m not sure how that charge comes from. (I certainly don’t think ahs is a moral absolutist.)

    In other words, it’s very confusing trying to understand what you’re saying.

    I know. It’s very difficult for me to explain what I mean. Partly because I’m not very familiar with the vocabulary used by philosophers, and partly because language itself is limiting. And perhaps I’m just not intelligent enough, or good enough at communicating. But I can’t help that; I do not have the luxury of not thinking or talking about the subject (because, as an activist and simply as a human being, I have to justify to myself and to others why I make the political and ethical choices I make) and so I have to do my best, even if what I come out with is not very coherent.

    You sort of have to know a little bit about ethics to get anywhere, or else drop the subject.

    I am not very familiar with meta-ethics (although, as I said, I’m better-read in political philosophy) and do not have the time or mental energy to study the literature on meta-ethics in proper depth. However, I am not able to “drop the subject”, as much as I might like to, because – as a political activist, as a would-be professional, and simply as a human being – I have to make ethical decisions constantly about what I do and what I advocate (as does everyone), and I have to have a coherent justification for making those decisions.

    I also do not buy the idea that one has to have read the writings of moral philosophers in order to have a meaningful opinion about ethics. It’s an exercise in reasoning from first principles, not an empirical science. (Which is not to deny that studying philosophy is useful – of course it is, and I’d be able to communicate what I mean much better if I were more familiar with the vocabulary used by philosophers to discuss these ideas.) Everyone has an opinion about ethics, whether they consciously articulate it or not. There isn’t a choice about that, because every decision we ever make about anything has an ethical dimension. There is no option to remain neutral or to opt out of thinking ethically.

    How about you tell me what your ethical framework is, and what “right” and “wrong” mean to you, instead of just criticizing mine? That would be much more useful. I’m not engaging in this as an abstract intellectual exercise or for fun (in fact, I hate these discussions and wish I hadn’t gotten involved in this one), but, rather, because I have to be able constantly to justify to myself why I think what I think and do what I do. I need to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Being an atheist, and lacking holy books or oracles to tell me these things, I have to figure it out for myself; and I don’t have the luxury of taking a few years out to study the history of philosophy before I decide what to do now.

  40. consciousness razor says

    Here’s me not feeding the troll:

    Comment by Pogsurf blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Comment by Amused Observer blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

    Comment by WishfulThinkingRulesAll blocked. [unkill]​[show comment]

  41. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    We obviously lack the nuanced to know.

    You lack the reading comprehension skills to even get what people are explicitly saying to you. Which sadly, is a defect others here also share. You are a dumb reactionary fuck who isn’t worth my time, seeing as I had one simple point and you couldn’t even follow it.

    Unlike a whole lot of you pathetic losers, I don’t ramble on forever with imbeciles, just because I can. Get a fucking clue, don’t selfishly make the comments section about you and your fun, because oftentimes you ruin it for the folks that actually want to read about the topic at hand. And with that I take my leave. (Luckily I do not have the mental defect which requires me to get the last word and “win” the internets. I eagerly await viewing your victory shot here from lurker-dom. Make it a good one, because winning internet battles is deeply important.)

  42. says

    All of you, PZ included, same to have lost sight of the fact that people do stupid crap from time to time. It doesn’t make them bad people, it makes them people.

    Which would be fine if everything happened in a vacuum, but have you even bothered giving any consideration to the context in which this whole thing happened? You know, the one in which a member of a privileged majority thought that it was perfectly acceptable to openly discriminate against a minority, even if it was for “a few minutes” and how many of us are sick of having to be the ones “making nice” in the vain hopes that the majority will “think better” of us? That’s a very real reason a lot of people were angered by that sign. Yes, he was stupid, yes, he’s likely not “a bad person.” It’s a good thing he apologized, because the way it works, you see, is that the person who fucked up should apologize, but no one who was hurt by his actions is obligated to accept his apology. Feel free to give the guy a chance and forgive him if you want (I’m not making his shop a “must do” on my list if I’m ever in Springfield, but I’m not going to go out of my way to avoid it either), but don’t expect to get off without a serious scolding for telling those who don’t accept the apology that they’re “dicks” for not doing the same as you (and by the way, please quit with the gendered insults).

    You don’t represent me.

    I’m heartbroken to hear it. It’s a wide world and the interwebs is a vast place, I’m sure it’ll be a monumental quest to find another forum that conforms more comfortably to your tolerance levels.

  43. says

    Every troll does not need to be engaged with for an extreme length of time.

    So, for exactly how long should I engage you, then? You like telling us what not to do, but I’m not seeing much in the way of actual suggestions of what we should do. Other than “nuance”.

  44. Gregory Greenwood says

    The Pint @ 538;

    Atheists are constantly told that “if we were only nicer” or “respected the beliefs” of religious folks more, we’d be more accepted and thought of less negatively. Rarely is it ever advocated by the religious majority that maybe “if they were nicer” or “respected the beliefs” of non-religious folk more, atheists would be less likely to react defensively to displays such as the sign in Mio Gelato.

    You have hit the nail on the head here. Atheists are alway being told;

    “If only you were nicer, you wouldn’t be treated like pariahs.”

    And whenever I hear words to that effect, I am instantly put in mind of feminists being told;

    “If only you behaved like women are supposed to, if only you weren’t so darn aggressive and mannish, then you wouldn’t be marginalised/get rape and death threats.”

    Or homosexuals being told;

    “If only you didn’t shove your sexuality down people’s throats by being affectionate in public, if only you didn’t constantly rock the boat by demanding equality, if only you didn’t confront people with the reality of your existence, then homophobia wouldn’t be a problem.”

    Or the Civil Rights movement being told;

    “If only you accepted your proper place in society, if only your rhetoric wasn’t so angry, then racism would just fade away.”

    This argument is always dredged up when socially disempowered groups begin to stand up and demand equal treatment. It seems that there is at least one constant in our society – there will always be apologists for bigotry.

  45. says

    And with that I take my leave.

    Damn. I was hoping for an answer to my very reasonable question in #535. But, as so often happens, I get completely ignored. Usually when I’m trying to be reasonable and polite. And then people wonder why curse and hand out porcupines. Because it’s the only way to get some fucking attention, apparently.

  46. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Unlike a whole lot of you pathetic losers, I don’t ramble on forever with imbeciles,…

    And it goes on from there.

  47. consciousness razor says

    I am not very familiar with meta-ethics (although, as I said, I’m better-read in political philosophy) and do not have the time or mental energy to study the literature on meta-ethics in proper depth. However, I am not able to “drop the subject”, as much as I might like to, because – as a political activist, as a would-be professional, and simply as a human being – I have to make ethical decisions constantly about what I do and what I advocate (as does everyone), and I have to have a coherent justification for making those decisions.

    Well, if you expect your justification to be coherent, then you should probably at least try to understand some of the other positions. I didn’t say you ought to study it in depth. Alternatively, you could just make normative claims without going into meta-ethics at all, as most people do most of the time. That’s what I was referring to when I said you could “drop the subject,” not normative ethics itself.

    But when it’s pointed out you’re saying things that don’t make any sense, then it’s no defense that you don’t have the time or interest to study the issue. And understanding legal philosophy, with the addition of being sincere and caring about doing the right thing, is no substitute for understanding different arguments in moral philosophy.

    How about you tell me what your ethical framework is, and what “right” and “wrong” mean to you, instead of just criticizing mine? That would be much more useful.

    I don’t know what they mean. I’ve considered a lot of different positions and see merit in several, but I don’t pretend to know one way or another. I’m an agnostic on the issue. So for the most part I “drop the subject” as it were. Is that useful to you?

  48. says

    Wow, dug! Thank you for that insight! And here I thought it was just bigotry. But now I know, bigotry from people with ice cream is just dandy. I’m going to go home tonight and tell my daughter she should never question somebody who has ice cream. They never do any harm.

  49. isilzhaveni says

    I can’t imagine why people are so eager to accept Andy’s lame apology. He didn’t really apologize, he tried to blame the people he discriminated against. “See, if those Skepticon people weren’t SO offensive then I wouldn’t have needed to react like I did.” That’s not an apology.

    If it was a sincere apology he wouldn’t feel the need to blame others for causing his actions. Instead, he would recognize that putting a sign in a store window excluding people on religious grounds is not just wrong, but a highly offensive and illegal act. A sign barring people from a place of business has a very long and significant history. To write a sign like that and place it in your business window, well, I think it says everything I need to know about what kind of person he actually is.

    To file a complaint:
    http://labor.mo.gov/mohumanrights/

  50. says

    @Gregory Greenwood

    Exactly. What it seems to me is that the discussion has shifted more from what the Mio Gelato owner did to a larger discussion on how we, as an outlier minority, are expected to react when on the receiving end of an offense given by the majority. We are expected to react in a way that makes the majority feel comforted, not the other way around, as one might logically expect.

    Whether or not one accepts an apology is up to each individual, depending on their personal metric. I don’t think it can repeated enough that sometimes an apology isn’t enough, and that while the person who fucked up should be the one to apologize, those who were wronged by the fuck up are not obligated to accept the apology. Much in the same way that aggressive tactics seem to work for some atheists while others are less comfortable with confrontation, how we choose to react to Mio Gelato’s owner and his apology is up to each person affected by it – the problem arises when someone says “No, you are wrong and a bad person for not accepting the apology!” followed by “But you’re making us look bad by not being nice about it!”

    Anyone who wants to go out of their way to be nice to people like Mio Gelato’s owner, feel free. Maybe it’ll work on some individuals you meet, and if it does, great. But don’t kid yourselves that “being nice” and “inoffensive” is all it’s going to take for the majority religious population to magically decide that atheists aren’t so bad after all and they’ll just happily hand over the privilege which they’ve become so accustomed to.

  51. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    hey guys

    it’s just ice cream

    But is it, dug? I hear that gelato is to ice cream what pancetta is to bacon or prosciutto is to ham. If this is true, gelato is much more important than just ice cream.

  52. says

    What I do oppose is the idea that a movement, having achieved power and set itself up as the government, should then, having the upper hand, be justified in using violence to suppress its enemies.

    But if a workers’ army was successful in overthrowing their oppressors, there’s presumably considerable instability immediately afterwards.

    How else should they stop the enemy from regrouping and conducting a successful counterrevolution, particularly when there are any number of imperialist powers around to aid the enemy in doing so?

    Or are we now to cheer for those new captialist underdogs who wish to reinstall an ancien régime?

    It appears that your moralizing, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor from securing their military gains.

  53. Monoid says

    isalzhaveni:

    I can’t imagine why people are so eager to accept Andy’s lame apology. He didn’t really apologize, he tried to blame the people he discriminated against. “See, if those Skepticon people weren’t SO offensive then I wouldn’t have needed to react like I did.” That’s not an apology.

    He specifically said that this in no way excuses his action, you imbecile.

    You’re only seeing what you want/expect to see.

  54. Hibernia86 says

    # 497 anubis: Your argument seems to be “We atheists would have been treated worse if we had done the same thing”. And that is a fair point. But rather than trying to do the same thing back to the Christians, why don’t we try and focus on treating people fairly. We can make all the ruckus we want when they try to demonize atheists, but that doesn’t mean we should be equally harsh against those who make a mistake and apologize. He was speaking about Skepticon, not about atheism, he apologized, he is seeking to learn. That is what we want: for people to learn. Not just him, but the community. Use this as a teaching moment for the country.

  55. says

    Alternatively, you could just make normative claims without going into meta-ethics at all, as most people do most of the time.

    That’s all well and good, but how does one back up one’s normative claims when challenged on them? I can say that torture is bad because it hurts people, and because it serves no useful purpose that would justify hurting people. I can say that protectionist immigration laws are bad because they cause human suffering, facilitate exploitation and trap people in poverty, reinforce racism and classism, involve the use of institutionalized state violence, and discriminate between people on the arbitrary basis of nationality. But if someone asks me why they should care about the suffering of others outside their own in-group, or why I assume violence, exploitation and arbitrary discrimination to be bad things, I have to have some kind of a foundational justification for why I consider some things to be bad and others good.

    (Piltdown is very fond of playing this game with me when I argue with him; whenever I assert an ethical position on any issue, from criminal justice to vegetarianism, he just points out that I’ve never explained satisfactorily where my ethical convictions come from in the first place, or how I can claim that the values I hold – nonviolence, equality, the universality of compassion, and so on – are objectively right. And I don’t have a particularly satisfying answer to that objection.)

    I don’t know what they mean. I’ve considered a lot of different positions and see merit in several, but I don’t pretend to know one way or another. I’m an agnostic on the issue. So for the most part I “drop the subject” as it were. Is that useful to you?

    Then how do you know what decisions you should make, or what political positions you should advocate? How do you decide whether wars, or the death penalty, or torture, or universal healthcare, or tax increases or tax cuts, or abortion, or border controls, say, are good or bad? Maybe you’re agnostic on all these issues too, but I doubt it; most people have a moral opinion of some kind or another about at least some of these questions, and of course refraining from weighing in on the subject is itself a value-judgment (as ahs rightly says, both action and inaction involve sacrificing someone’s interests). Or perhaps you just go with your own gut instinct, and don’t pretend to have a foundational justification for your positions; but in that case, how do you go about convincing other people that your position is the right one? (And again, if you don’t try to convince other people, you’re making an implied moral judgment that these issues aren’t important enough to you to be worth your while trying to change.)

  56. Gregory Greenwood says

    The Pint @ 560;

    We seem to keep running into this perverse ‘victim culture’ among the privileged and empowered in our society. It is like a school yard bully being upset that, while his victim didn’t fight back physically, they also didn’t say “thank you, sir, may I have another?” The imperative now seems to be to make the bigot feel good about their bigotry so long as they go through the empty social ritual of mumbling an apology (or, more often, some form of not-pology(TM) that manages to blame the victim for the bigot’s own behaviour, as demonstrated by GelatoGuy) at some point, even when they don’t go on to amend their problematic behaviours.

    For some reason, bigotry can be waved away with a few hollow words, but it is absolutely unforgiveable for the target of that bigotry to say that hollow words aren’t enough – that all will not be forgiven and forgotten until the actual bigotry itslef and the attitudes that inform it are tackled. The trouble is that self-awareness and the recognition of one’s own privilege, and in particular the long term self-transformation required too genuinely mend one’s ways, takes time and effort. It isn’t the same kind of easy, neat quick-non-fix that is offered by a meaningless apology, which lets the bigot, and the other members of their privileged group, brush the whole affair under the carpet and pretend it never happened.

    That is all that this fixation on the supposed lack of ‘etiquette’ inherent in not accepting a hollow apology amounts to – a silencing tactic.

  57. isilzhaveni says

    Nice name-calling, Moron…I mean, Monoid.

    This is what Andy is saying:

    “He said it he was surprised and offended when he heard disrespectful comments about Christianity.

    “There was this guy who made very vulgar comments about my faith,” Drennen said. “He was just really disrespectful. Very, very disrespectful toward my Christian views.”

    See, if those Skepticon folks weren’t so VULGAR and VERY, VERY DISRESPECTFUL then he wouldn’t have been led to violate their civil rights.

  58. illuminata says

    hey guys
    it’s just ice cream

    I’m not a guy, so clearly you weren’t talking to me, but it’s italian ice cream. Therefore, its safe to assume that, like 90% of all italian food, it tastes like ass grease covered in slime with some parsley on top.

    You’re only seeing what you want/expect to see.

    As opposed to you, who of course has absolutely no issue with bias or blindness, because . . . . . uh . . . . . . Well, you’ve already made up some magical reason, I’m sure.

  59. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But rather than trying to do the same thing back to the Christians, why don’t we try and focus on treating people fairly.

    We are treating him according to the golden rule. He didn’t treat atheists fairly, so we aren’t obliged to treat him fairly. He also didn’t obey local, state, and federal laws that prohibit blatant discrimination based upon religion (as far as the law is concerned, atheism is treated as a religion for such rulings). Nobody must accept his apology, and they aren’t immoral by not accepting it. Notice everybody is moving on except GG and his apologizers.

  60. Monoid says

    isalzhaveni:

    very witty.

    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.

    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.

    Your paraphrase is disingenuous.

  61. Pteryxx says

    I hear that gelato is to ice cream what pancetta is to bacon or prosciutto is to ham. If this is true, gelato is much more important than just ice cream.

    Gelato’s supposed to be far more than just ice cream. However, now that it’s gotten trendy and popular, most “gelato” places just charge much more for tiny servings of what’s essentially ice cream with a fancy name. Personally I wouldn’t take my business to any so-called gelato shop without a thorough taste-testing.

    My exemplar is an authentic gelato shop on the Pike Place Market hill climb in Seattle: (link) They made ALL their flavors fresh on-site, and a sample of raspberry or lemon the size of a fingertip would explode in your mouth and flavor your breath for an hour afterwards. Ice cream tastes like the milk runoff from breakfast cereal in comparison.

    (There may, perhaps, be a parallel to how seriously I would consider the referenced owner’s apology.)

  62. says

    Or perhaps you just go with your own gut instinct, and don’t pretend to have a foundational justification for your positions; but in that case, how do you go about convincing other people that your position is the right one?

    I can’t speak for CR, but I want to pretend this was addressed to me.

    I try to ignore meta-ethics and instead use appeals to the person’s own better angels—their preferred ideal of themself—by methods like the common humanity prime and Haidt’s elevation.

    We have an easy start because people aren’t just universal Turing machines who need to be convinced of why they ought to be Three Laws Safe. That is, we don’t have to write meta-ethics from scratch and install it in everyone’s heads. The evolution of social apes has already provided a publicly-available API.

  63. says

    I can’t imagine why people are so eager to accept Andy’s lame apology. He didn’t really apologize, he tried to blame the people he discriminated against. “See, if those Skepticon people weren’t SO offensive then I wouldn’t have needed to react like I did.” That’s not an apology.

    He specifically said that this in no way excuses his action, you imbecile.

    That still doesn’t change the fact that he put that sign up, or that he included his being offended by Sam’s act as the motivation for his actions as an appeal to mitigating circumstances. Given how often we’ve seen this kind of interplay in which a religious person blames his or her bad behavior on being offended by an act like Sam’s (much less the fact that atheists even exist at all) and expects that reason to render the action “excusable,” it’s understandable that many people are receiving the apology with a degree of skepticism (pun not intended). Again, NO ONE IS OBLIGATED TO ACCEPT THE APOLOGY. Obviously there are plenty of people who have and he’s not going to be hurt by losing business from people like PZ who don’t even live in the same state – frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if his business ends up getting a boost from the perception that teh ebil angry atheists are “picking on him.”

    Some lessons are harsh. His action was wrong – it was thoughtless and bigoted and deserved to get called out as such. It may be that he’ll walk away from refusals to accept his apology thinking that atheists are mean and his actions were excusable. Or it’s possible that he’ll see these refusals to accept his apology and learn that sometimes an apology isn’t enough when you’re just one more person out of a long line of many who’ve kicked those in a less privileged position than yourself and that there’s something to think about when there are more people willing to stand up for your hurt feelings, despite being a member of the majority, than there are for those who were hurt by your actions and justifiably angry.

  64. isilzhaveni says

    This is NOT a paraphrase. It’s a quote from Andy in a news article. He is still blaming others for his actions. See, when they weren’t being offensive, it was OK. However, when he saw them being VULGAR and VERY, VERY DISRESPECTFUL, then he had to find some way to oppress them, punish them, deprive them of their civil rights.

    http://www.news-leader.com/article/20111122/NEWS01/111220345/0/NEWS01/?odyssey=nav|head

    “Everyone that came through the door was nice,” he said. “They were really nice people.”

    Around 8 p.m., when the traffic slowed in his store, Drennen said he stepped out to learn more about the group.

    That was when he heard disrespectful comments about Christianity, Drennen said.

    “There was this guy who made very vulgar comments about my faith,” Drennen said. “He was just really disrespectful. Very, very disrespectful towards my Christian views.”

  65. Monoid says

    Well, certainly, no-one is obligated to accept the apology. That’s kind of the defining feature of an apology, and I in no way implied that anyone is.

    What I was commenting on is the whole collective guilt thing (blaming one Christian for what other Christians did rather than judging him based on his own individual merits) and the willingness of some people, including PZ Myers, to judge people they know virtually nothing about and associate them with homophobes, misogynists etc.

  66. Monoid says

    isalzhaveni: I was referring to this paraphrase of your:

    I can’t imagine why people are so eager to accept Andy’s lame apology. He didn’t really apologize, he tried to blame the people he discriminated against. “See, if those Skepticon people weren’t SO offensive then I wouldn’t have needed to react like I did.” That’s not an apology.

    which is disingenuous in light of the apology I quoted. He explained why he acted the way he did (it’s because he found the comments offensive), but specifically stated that it in no way excuses his actions.

  67. illuminata says

    which is disingenuous in light of the apology I quoted. He explained why he acted the way he did (it’s because he found the comments offensive), but specifically stated that it in no way excuses his actions.

    IOW, what isilzhaveni is completely correct and you’re arguing just to troll.

  68. says

    ahs, I didn’t remember that post of yours. This:

    I’m having a hard time remembering what it was like to be ethically satisfied, though I can read some of my oldest comments here and recall that I was…

    As I said recently, I just don’t think most people can uphold rational arguments for these sort of things [fairness and equality before the law]. They can assert them just fine, but if they’re pressed to give justification for those assertions, they’re going to reach a point of moral dumbfounding very quickly.

    The more I read moral philosophy, the more I include myself in that indictment. You may not have noticed, because I use a lot of arguments like “if we assume this value then this other stuff follows”, but in truth, I don’t believe in fairness as a basic principle, nor equality, before the law or otherwise. I can’t seriously argue for those things foundationally. The one thing I do have that’s still functioning is group identity. So I believe in fairness because I am in solidarity with people who demand fairness. I believe in equality because I am in solidarity with people who demand equality. That’s the best I can honestly do, and ultimately it’s all I’ve ever really been doing.

    …actually sums up my own feelings pretty well. You expressed the dilemma I feel better than I have, thus far.

  69. says

    Walton: if you click my “try to ignore meta-ethics” link, you may find it tangentially useful to click through on “As I said recently” as well, and llewelly’s reply at #687. After that, it’s rapidly diminishing returns.

  70. consciousness razor says

    Then how do you know what decisions you should make, or what political positions you should advocate? How do you decide whether wars, or the death penalty, or torture, or universal healthcare, or tax increases or tax cuts, or abortion, or border controls, say, are good or bad?

    Well, how do you, if you have even less of an idea what you’re talking about than I do? You could just use your gut and pick from among the possibilities you can stomach, as you’re already doing, without ever pretending as if you do have good reasons and know what you’re talking about when it comes to meta-ethics. That’s not so hard to do.

    I’ll quote ahs, because at least on this we basically agree:

    I try to ignore meta-ethics and instead use appeals to the person’s own better angels—their preferred ideal of themself—by methods like the common humanity prime and Haidt’s elevation.

    We have an easy start because people aren’t just universal Turing machines who need to be convinced of why they ought to be Three Laws Safe. That is, we don’t have to write meta-ethics from scratch and install it in everyone’s heads. The evolution of social apes has already provided a publicly-available API.

    Also, trolls like Pilty should just be ignored, or fed until they explode. Your choice. They aren’t interested in meta-ethics or any rational argument either, just in feeling like they’re right. Therefore, Jesus. It’s pointless, so unless that entertains you don’t bother.

  71. isilzhaveni says

    And the quote from him in the news article negates what he claims in his apology. He wants to really emphasize just how vulgar and very, very disrespectful those people were against his christian views. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s still trying to justify his actions based on just how super offended he was by what he heard/saw.

    Posting a sign like that has significance beyond just a hasty action made in a moment of anger. He has not acknowledged that he has obligations as a business owner to not violate public accommodation laws and the civil rights of others. For me to accept that his apology is sincere, Andy would have to acknowledge that and at least take a class/training on what his obligations are as a business owner.

  72. says

    What I was commenting on is the whole collective guilt thing (blaming one Christian for what other Christians did rather than judging him based on his own individual merits) and the willingness of some people, including PZ Myers, to judge people they know virtually nothing about and associate them with homophobes, misogynists etc.

    What you seem to be missing is that there’s a very real parallel to be made in what Mio Gelato’s owner did, and the reasons he thought it would be ok to do so (regardless of whether it was in the heat of anger or not), and how other marginalized groups have been treated. We don’t have to know people like Mio Gelato’s owner on an individual basis to judge how their actions are reflective of a larger scale of systematic marginalization and abuse of those not occupying the privileged spaces of the majority.

    Please see Gregory Greenwood’s posts at 553 and 566 for a very clear explanation of why that sign was so repugnant and why calls for “being nice” and accepting that apology at face value without any criticism are being refuted.

    Even if Mio Gelato’s owner eventually realized why putting that sign up was wrong – that his personal offense was no excuse to blatantly discriminate against a group of people – the fact that he even for a moment thought it would be ok to do so, that his sense of offense at having his own sacred cow subjected to the same ridicule with which he seemed perfectly ok with applying to beliefs like ESP or UFO-sightings, was justification enough for putting up that sign, perfectly demonstrates just how much of an imbalance exists between the treatment of the religious and the non-religious in our culture.

  73. says

    I just want an answer.

    Perhaps the Unitarians and similar religious progressives are the people with the best handle on this: they use their religion as a vehicle for promoting progressive values as matters of faith and conscience. If you ask a UU about gay and transgender rights, or pacifism, or environmentalism, or equality for immigrants, xe will typically reply that xe believes in these things as a matter of faith, as an integral part of hir commitment to living hir religion in daily life (notwithstanding that said religion is not theistic in the conventional sense, and does not have holy texts or a belief in absolute religious truths). And, with the privileged position that faith and faith-based values are given in our society, this formulation exempts those values from the cold rational scrutiny which we typically apply to values that are asserted on purely-secular grounds. If someone asserts an ordinary political belief, we normally expect them to justify it; if someone asserts a moral belief as a matter of faith, we normally view it as an intrinsic identity-trait

    Perhaps, in this regard, atheist and secularist activism are actually wrong, and harmful to society – because if we demand that everything in life be questioned a

    So should we all be Unitarians?

  74. says

    Shit. I did not intend to post that last post. I wrote it out and realized it was bollocks, and then pressed Enter at the wrong time and submitted by mistake. Ignore #584 completely. It was me trying to set my thoughts in order, not a representation of what I actually think. Please don’t reply to it.

  75. says

    Well, how do you, if you have even less of an idea what you’re talking about than I do?

    That’s not relevant. I’m trying to ask you how you resolve these issues, because it’s not very helpful that you’ve been pulling apart my thoughts without offering an alternative. Everyone who tries to make any kind of moral argument about anything, ever, needs an answer to this question (even if the answer is that there is no answer). So what is the answer? How can we resolve moral questions in our own minds?

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What I was commenting on is the whole collective guilt thing (blaming one Christian for what other Christians did rather than judging him based on his own individual merits) and the willingness of some people, including PZ Myers, to judge people they know virtually nothing about and associate them with homophobes, misogynists etc.

    Trouble is, bigots tend to be multi-natured in their bigotry, especially if they think that their imaginary deity condones it. As far a GG goes, I have no idea of how sincere his apology is, as I’m not interested enough to read it. But from what others have indicated, GG is being two-faced about the situation. Trying to blame skepticon to one group, while lamely apologizing for his actions to the skeptics. GG needs to get one message and stick to it. Until then, there is no need to accept any meaningless apologies.

    Oh, and atheists have been under the heels of theists for centuries. Think about that before you respond with more accommodation shit.

  77. isilzhaveni says

    Another point is that nothing even happened in his shop. He admits that the people he had met were very nice. Nothing happened to him personally except he went outside his shop and heard people exercising their right to free speech. He responded by trying to exclude them from his shop and violate their civil rights. He thought he had the right and the power to do this.

    Also, he didn’t even write that sign in haste. He had to first walk back to his shop. So he had a bit of time between hearing something he found VULGAR and VERY, VERY DISRESPECTFUL and getting back to the store, finding cardboard and marker, and writing, then posting the sign.

  78. Monoid says

    If your reaction to some ice-cream guy putting up a sign and then apologizing for it is that “atheists have been under the heels of theists for centuries”, then your perspective is seriously skewed and I’d suggest devoting less time to internet atheism. With that, I log off. (Good riddance etc.)

  79. consciousness razor says

    I’m trying to ask you how you resolve these issues, because it’s not very helpful that you’ve been pulling apart my thoughts without offering an alternative.

    I did offer an alternative: you could try to fucking study the issues yourself. Wouldn’t that be helpful? Of course, you have to help yourself with that.

    The other alternatives are: (1) saying nothing about what you don’t know, or (2) dishonestly saying something anyway. I don’t like the second alternative. Perhaps you do. Fine.

    I’m not even going to attempt to explain my approach in a comment or two. I’ll give you two reasons, which I submit without any grand metaphysical or epistemological justifications: (1) I probably don’t have a consistent approach, and (2) I have to leave in a couple hours to visit family for Thanksgiving.

  80. Amphiox says

    If your reaction to some ice-cream guy putting up a sign and then apologizing for it is that “atheists have been under the heels of theists for centuries”

    Missing the point, FTW!

  81. Pteryxx says

    Monoid says:

    What I was commenting on is the whole collective guilt thing (blaming one Christian for what other Christians did rather than judging him based on his own individual merits) and the willingness of some people, including PZ Myers, to judge people they know virtually nothing about and associate them with homophobes, misogynists etc.

    I feel no obligation to trust someone who’s just betrayed my default presumption of good faith by showing their bigotry, even briefly. Particularly when they displayed affiliation with a group known for oppressing people like myself. Any such individual will have to earn back my regard before I even give them my default level of good faith again.

  82. I didn't see nuthin says

    This is really a stupid rant. Petulant fucking whingers. Personally, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what the guy ‘really’ thinks. I came in for an icecream. I’d rather have an insincere “Have a nice day”, than a sincere “Fuck off”.

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I feel no obligation to trust someone who’s just betrayed my default presumption of good faith by showing their bigotry, even briefly. Particularly when they displayed affiliation with a group known for oppressing people like myself. Any such individual will have to earn back my regard before I even give them my default level of good faith again.

    QFT.

  84. says

    If your reaction to some ice-cream guy putting up a sign and then apologizing for it is that “atheists have been under the heels of theists for centuries”, then your perspective is seriously skewed

    Are you saying that atheists have not “been under the heels of theists for centuries”, or at least, are no longer? I’m just not sure how somebody going out of their way to violate our civil liberties shouldn’t remind us that we’ve been under their heel for centuries.

  85. says

    Walton:

    It was me trying to set my thoughts in order, not a representation of what I actually think. Please don’t reply to it.

    I must. But I shall treat it as a thought experiment, not your committed beliefs.

    Perhaps the Unitarians and similar religious progressives are the people with the best handle on this: they use their religion as a vehicle for promoting progressive values as matters of faith and conscience.

    I believe that in fact they have been the most effective—although I think the progressives within the larger churches like the Presbyterians and Episcopalians were more effective than the Unitarians—throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the USA, and at least up until the early twentieth century in Europe.

    But in the more socialist nations there has already been an economically-driven shift, giving up a condition that requires illusions; religious identity-trait appeals have lost much of their resonance.

    I think something else is happening in the United States. It’s not obviously economically driven, since the gap between rich and poor continues to widen. But there is an atheist aesthetic that has begun to take hold; all the cool kids are doing it.

    In both cases a new social identity arises. In Europe it appears to me that these began as nationalist sentiments—liberté, égalité, fraternité—which have congealed into a pan-European form. In the United States it appears to take on a generational flavor; since the hippies’ rejection of earlier conformist aspirations we have more or less seen a period of permanent cultural revolution, and the internet now brings cosmopolitanism even to the small towns.

    One way another, the nails are being driven into God’s coffin. Religious identity appeals become slightly less effective with each passing year.

    But there is no evidence to suggest that people are going to become any better than they already are at upholding rational arguments for their values.

    It is up to us to craft new intrinsic identities, by mocking “dictionary atheism” and pronouncing our moral aesthetics as the future. We can and must speak confidently enough that one day the very notion of a “right-wing atheist” will provoke confusion, just as the mention of a “left-wing libertarian” does now though it didn’t a century ago.

    I look forward to this common dialogue:
    “But why do you believe we need more welfare funding?”
    “Because there is no God.”

  86. scriabin says

    …wow – I echo Brownian’s comment waaay above @90 that, as someone who does not live in the U.S. (I’m in a very “godless” country), this thread has been enlightening as to the continental cultural divide.

    My first thought upon reading the column was “pffft – bit of an overreaction to a jerk, eh?”.

    I was, apparently, wrong.

  87. Lourdes says

    What is interesting to me is that at first Andy *advertised* his business in the Skepticon program. Since he clearly thought that the conference was about a-Bigfoot-ism and the like and NOT about atheism, my thoughts are that he was probably at least as mortified at the thought that his Christian peers would find out that he was catering to this group as he was offended by the anti-religious rhetoric he heard when he went to check out Skepticon himself.

    I believe his primary intention when he put up that sign was actually to let his Brothers in Christ know that, now that Andy understood who the Skepticonites REALLY were, he was distancing himself from them double-quick.

    So I do believe that he was trying to cover his ass first from any fallout from his Brethren, and then only subsequently from financial repercussions from bad publicity to his business, which I believe occurred to him only after the fact.

    His apology thus killed two birds with one stone: showing his Christian peer group that he is practicing the Christian concept of asking forgiveness for transgressions (all while he gets to still make the point how offensive to his solid Christian values what he heard at Skepticon was–“See, guys, I *am,* I really AM one of you–a Christian!”); and also doing damage control in the community to keep people coming in to patronize his business.

    His offer of a 10% discount to Skepticonites does reinforce the impressions I have of a sort of calculated, manipulative capitalistic impulse behind the whole thing.

    So, yeah, I’m a little bit skeptical about Andy and his motivations. His apology *seems* noble until you look a little deeper.

    But still, I would accept his apology and move on.

  88. Carlie says

    /And the quote from him in the news article negates what he claims in his apology. He wants to really emphasize just how vulgar and very, very disrespectful those people were against his christian views. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s still trying to justify his actions based on just how super offended he was by what he heard/saw.

    And he also then says:

    “I have to live with my mistake,” said Drennen, who hopes his community support and prior reputation will carry him through the crisis.

    As for any lesson learned, the 28-year-old entrepreneur said:

    “Think through clearly, and everybody is entitled to his opinions.”

    That to me says he’s acknowledging that people don’t have to agree with his views.

  89. Wally says

    If the Skepticon was full of people like the guy who posted this and some of the comments, all he had to do was have the sign say “we do not serve bitter, smug, self-righteous assholes.” It would have served the same purpose without the controversy.

  90. Brownian says

    If the Skepticon was full of people like the guy who posted this and some of the comments, all he had to do was have the sign say “we do not serve bitter, smug, self-righteous assholes.”

    Good thinking.

    But he also identified as a Christian ice cream shop, so who would be left to go in?

    Sanctimonious dildos like you?

  91. Wally says

    I know! Christians are smug, superstitious, sanctimonious morons who– wait, what do you mean I can’t buy ice cream in your store? STOP OPRESSING ME

  92. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But still, I would accept his apology and move on.

    Fixed that for you. PZ and those of us here have moved on, or would if the accommodationists would let us…but they keep posting fuckwittery.

  93. Lourdes says

    “Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says:

    Fixed that for you. PZ and those of us here have moved on, or would if the accommodationists would let us…but they keep posting fuckwittery.”

    Fuckwittery? Gee, and here I thought I’d contributed a decent post that actually brought in a new thought to the whole debate regarding the guy’s motivations. I guess you skimmed it.

  94. Brownian says

    wait, what do you mean I can’t buy ice cream in your store? STOP OPRESSING ME

    Is this you being non-smug or non-self-righteous? Because to be the former would involve using something other than sarcastic ridicule to make your point, and to be the latter would be to think to yourself “Eh, not everybody needs to agree with me, so I’ll just say nothing and let them feel however they want about it.”

    Looks like you got a little too excited and jizzed all over your leg, Junior.

  95. Brownian says

    Fuckwittery? Gee, and here I thought I’d contributed a decent post that actually brought in a new thought to the whole debate regarding the guy’s motivations. I guess you skimmed it.

    I appreciated your perspective.

  96. John Morales says

    Lourdes,

    But still, I would accept his apology and move on.

    As far as I’m concerned, accepting an apology only entails believing it’s genuine; it doesn’t entail forgiving — that requires other factors.

  97. says

    Ichthyic (@455):

    Thanks. Peace.

    CR:

    To me this sounds like you’re [i.e., Walton is] saying that sometimes one of your emotions outweighs another.

    To me it sounds like he’s saying his emotional perception of what’s right sometimes outweighs pure unalloyed rationality. That, it strikes me, is the essence of the human dilemma. I doubt it has a true resolution… but generally speaking I trust that people who worry about it are more likely to behave, on net, morally than those who couldn’t give a rat’s.

    OTOH, people who worry about it too fucking much risk falling into well-intentioned moral paralysis… so give yourself a break every now and again, won’t you, Walton?

  98. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Fuckwittery? Gee, and here I thought I’d contributed a decent post that actually brought in a new thought to the whole debate regarding the guy’s motivations. I guess you skimmed it.

    Nope, you repeated a dozen posts if you had bothered to read the whole thread…New. Only in you delusional and egotistical mind.

  99. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    The Pint #538

    Atheists are constantly told that “if we were only nicer” or “respected the beliefs” of religious folks more, we’d be more accepted and thought of less negatively. Rarely is it ever advocated by the religious majority that maybe “if they were nicer” or “respected the beliefs” of non-religious folk more, atheists would be less likely to react defensively to displays such as the sign in Mio Gelato.

    This is the point the accommodationists keep ignoring.

    I have personally been adversely effected by my atheism. I’m estranged from my brother because of it. I’ve had a job offer withdrawn because of it. I’ve suffered other social and professional problems and embarrassments because of my atheism. Am I supposed to just accept these expressions of bigotry because I’m an atheist untermensch who deserves what I’m given because I don’t believe in The Big Guy In The Sky™?

    When my brother graced Pharyngula one thing he kept harping on was “why are atheists so nasty?” Let’s turn that around and ask why are goddists so nasty? I wouldn’t trust Gelato Guy not to hawk a goober into my cup of amaretto if I announced my atheism to him. And if he did it and then bragged about it to his church buddies, how many of them would sneer at him and how many would offer to buy him a beer?

    We shouldn’t take Christian bigotry any more. If that gets the accommodationists all upsetipoo, that’s too fucking bad!

  100. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nice diagnosis. That’s got to be worth a week or two off work.

    Not from my employer. Vacations days are grudgingly given. Oh, and I am “off” this week. Which means I’m being the slave of Redhead, instead of my employer, per usual.

  101. says

    ‘Tis:

    When my brother graced Pharyngula one thing he kept harping on was “why are atheists so nasty?”

    Yes, he did. Unfortunately, he never managed to ask himself why he was so nasty to many people here. It was a no win game – the presumption was “if they don’t accept what I say, they are nasty, so I have the perfect right to be nasty from the outset.”

  102. says

    @ ‘Tis Himself #612

    Has your brother ever read Greta Christina’s excellent piece on why atheists are so angry? If not, I’d highly recommend giving it a shot. http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html?cid=86589950

    I’m sorry to hear that your openness about being an atheist has caused so much unwarranted strife in your life. I’ve heard atheists make the “Well, I’ve never been subjected to prejudice or bigotry as a result of being an atheist, therefore it must be atheists overreacting/being offensive/too aggressive/etc.” argument before – in other words, if they’ve never experienced it themselves, it must be the fault of atheists doing *something* to make theists react so negatively toward them. They say it’s wrong for atheists to the same kind of bigotry which theists dole out towards atheists on an almost casual basis – and while it is wrong for atheists to do so because bigotry in any direction is unacceptable, that argument completely ignores that there is, as PZ put it, an imbalance of power inherent in that relationship that makes the comparison unequal. There’s no acknowledgement of the special privilege afforded religious belief and that the power structure in our culture is skewed very heavily toward favoring theism over atheism, and there is little acknowledgement that oftentimes a theist will react as if the mere mention of someone’s atheism is a personal affront or attack on their belief.

    And it can’t be said enough that pointing out the existence of such privilege =/= an accusation that the recipient of that privilege is consciously abusing it. That’s the point about privilege – if you have it, you don’t even have to think about how it’s benefiting you; it’s only when someone tries to take it away that you become intensely aware of it, or at least aware enough to react defensively, such as accusing the person calling you out for having it as “angry” in a dismissive attempt to de-legitimize the marginalized person’s anger.

    So no, no atheist should have to sit back and “take the higher road” when subjected to bigotry for a lack of belief in a deity, much less the particular Christian deity embraced by the majority of Americans. Calling attention to how atheists are marginalized as a matter of course is not being disrespectful or rude, and it’s a damn good reason for us to be angry.

  103. Ing says

    A common psychological tragedy, this. For you see, it allows no out; once negative consequences become plausibly apparent, the offender is assumed to be acting only in the interest of self-defense. And there is absolutely no way for them to demonstrate otherwise to those who think like you.

    A more interesting phenomena is how you apparently seem convinced to read into my fucking motives and don’t listen to what I say.

  104. Richard Eis says

    For those of you who are completely unforgiving assholes, I’m embarrassed to be associated with you. All of you, PZ included, same to have lost sight of the fact that people do stupid crap from time to time. It doesn’t make them bad people, it makes them people.

    Tell it to the wife with a second black eye because she forgave the first. Been in that kind of situation, recognised society’s (and your) “be nice” solution for what it was. A non-solution to a problem you have never experienced. Daytime tv, cartoon happy families crap that everyone is nice if you all pretend to get along and don’t rock the boat.

    28 is too old to be doing “stupid crap”. It’s what i expect from 10 year olds… and immature ones at that.

  105. says

    A more interesting phenomena is how you apparently seem convinced to read into my fucking motives and don’t listen to what I say.

    More interesting still is how you think you can say whatever the fuck you want and no one is supposed to interpret it any other way than you want them to.

    Ing, it is just a fact that you have allowed the guy no out.

    I asked what are your demands; you don’t have any. Therefore there is nothing he can do to demonstrate to you that his apology is sincere. You are absolutely intractable.

    If you don’t want to be absolutely intractable on the matter, then you have to provide some kind of out.

    Some people’s demands are implausibly high, in my opinion—”just that he really is looking at the (il)logical underpinnings of his bigotry. If his imaginary deity got him into the problem, might it not be the cause. He may conclude otherwise, but he should look at WHY he said what he did”—but at least they are demands. They provide options.

    You allow no way out.

  106. BWE says

    So the the twenty eight year old owner of a small business is a kid?

    If you cannot even get the details right, why the fuck should any one go over your many points about how PZ has fucked up?

    In this context, yes. You warthog faced buffoon. PZ is not 28. The kid in this case is.

  107. says

    Bill Dauphin,

    To me it sounds like he’s saying his emotional perception of what’s right sometimes outweighs pure unalloyed rationality.

    That is not how he typically phrases it. I suppose it depends on what mood he’s in. But his typical argument is not obviously grounded in emotion: he says the executions of Muammar Gaddafi and Adolf Eichmann begin a slippery slope of sacrificing individuals for the good of the community.

    I believe that Walton, consciousness razor and I all hold that our emotional inferences (evolved social heuristics) about morality should have some veto power.

    I have lately expressed this by quoting Hume—”reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions”—and previously in long-winded form:

    “keep in mind that checking in on one’s emotional cues does not necessarily constitute a fallacious argument from emotion. The experience of empathy, for instance, partly functions to impart guidance from our evolutionary past about what works and what doesn’t in interpersonal arrangements. Apes whose feelings of care for one another allowed them to form stable communities became our ancestors; those who were not so compelled to stick together died out and are lost to history.

    So if you find yourself about to say something that shocks the conscience, consider that that may be a sign that what you’re saying is actually wrong. Wrong, so far as wrongness is taken to mean nonfunctional and not conducive to a stable societal arrangement. And while you or I wouldn’t take stability to be much of an end in itself, there’s little opportunity for freedom or the pursuit of happiness without it.”

  108. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    The Pint #615

    I don’t know if my brother has read Greta’s excellent piece on atheist anger. It’s something I’ve got bookmarked.

    Being an atheist is part of who I am. I’m also balding. My atheism should have as little effect on people as me being bald. Unfortunately this isn’t true.

    I’ve heard atheists make the “Well, I’ve never been subjected to prejudice or bigotry as a result of being an atheist, therefore it must be atheists overreacting/being offensive/too aggressive/etc.” argument before – in other words, if they’ve never experienced it themselves, it must be the fault of atheists doing *something* to make theists react so negatively toward them.

    Some people don’t seem to realize that certain goddists find the mere existence of atheists to be offensive. Our signs and billboards get vandalized, cars with Darwin fish get keyed, we get anonymous threats, etc., etc., etc. And many of the accommodationists play the blame-the-victim game instead of acknowledging goddist bigotry. I’m getting tired of goddist bigotry and accommodationist patronizing. Reminds me of the line from the movie Network: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”

    If you’re nice to me then I’ll reciprocate. If you’re an asshole then I can be an asshole. And if you blame me for someone else’s bigotry then I’ll really be an asshole.

  109. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    BWE 619

    In this context, yes. You warthog faced buffoon. PZ is not 28. The kid in this case is.

    And you must be 12 going on 6. A 28 year old is an adult. Supposedly mature. But you wouldn’t know, because maturity is something completely foreign to you.

  110. John Morales says

    [meta]

    BWE:

    You warthog faced buffoon.

    You don’t understand grammar well; that should be ‘warthog-faced buffoon’ for it to correctly express your intended meaning.

  111. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    In this context, yes. You warthog faced buffoon. PZ is not 28. The kid in this case is.

    The kid is 28. IIRC, the age of majority is 21. And your insane point is….

  112. echidna says

    Tell it to the wife with a second black eye because she forgave the first. Been in that kind of situation, recognised society’s (and your) “be nice” solution for what it is.

    QFT.

    Tolerating bad behaviour only encourages it. Any parent or teacher knows this. It is even more true when you are not in a position of power: tolerating bad behaviour encourages it.

    Being “nice” for the sake of peace is almost always a mistake. Not giving an inch is a much better approach. Been there. It’s not just at an individual level either: you need to watch it on a society level as well, or else authorities go out of control, as no one dares appear “disrespectful”.

  113. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Pogsurf, you’ve just joined the conversation to ask if anyone joins the conversation.

    (Very stupid, that is)

  114. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Can anyone join this conversation, or is it only for experts?

    When do people become full adults in your country Pogsurf? That was my point. Calling somebody who is legally an adult for several years a kid is nothing but lying and bullshitting. What is your excuse fuckwit?

  115. says

    I think you can be legally held responsible for a crime at age 10, get married with your parents’ or guardians’ consent at 16, drive a car at age 17 and vote, make contracts, stand for parliament and be legally regarded as an adult at age 18. Traditionaly ‘coming of age’ parties are held on someones’ 21st birthday.

    What exactly is a full adult, fuckwit?

  116. echidna says

    I feel like helping this guy out with positive Yelp reviews just to piss you all off.

    Feel free. No skin off my nose.

    But you’ve missed the point, which is that Andy doesn’t appear to have realised that Christians are the ones who are being vindictive against people who are outside their group, when they say atheists are immoral, atheists should not hold public office, atheists are corrupt and can do no good, atheists should be run out of town, or that they won’t give this guy a job because he is atheist, and atheists will go to hell anyway.

    Sam Singleton’s show is designed to help former fundies throw off the shackles of their previous faith (so I believe, anyway). Andy was indignant that his religion could be treated so lightly. There is no sign that he has seen the light. He’s only looking at his wallet.

  117. says

    Yeah PZ great argument. I had bought form him earlier in the day and he was quite happy to give me a discount. I thank him for his service, but not his actions.

  118. David Marjanović, OM says

    I think you can be legally held responsible for a crime at age 10, get married with your parents’ or guardians’ consent at 16, drive a car at age 17 and vote, make contracts, stand for parliament and be legally regarded as an adult at age 18. Traditionaly ‘coming of age’ parties are held on someones’ 21st birthday.

    In which country?

    Over here, you can be legally held responsible for a crime at age 14 (…10? What the fuck?), drive a car at age 18 (now 16 under guidance), drink wine and beer at 16, and all the rest comes at 18; and there are no “coming of age” parties, traditional or otherwise.

  119. says

    Some people don’t seem to realize that certain goddists find the mere existence of atheists to be offensive. Our signs and billboards get vandalized, cars with Darwin fish get keyed, we get anonymous threats, etc., etc., etc. And many of the accommodationists play the blame-the-victim game instead of acknowledging goddist bigotry.

    It is extremely frustrating, isn’t it? That double-standard seems so blatantly obvious, and yet getting people to acknowledge it is like pulling teeth.

  120. Lourdes says

    Who is this Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls “fuckwit”? She/he/it appears to have an anger management problem. Is it a friend of PZ’s or just some troll?

  121. says

    Well I live in England, but the jurisdiction strictly speaking is England & Wales.

    If you google up Jamie Bulger you’ll find an utterly tragic case where a two year old was murdered by two 10 year olds. Other events in the world can take a different prominence when events like this are taken into consideration.

  122. says

    As an accused atheist in a child custody situation, sometimes I wonder if stereotyping is worsened by “strong atheists” like Brother Sam. But when you think about it, stereotyping is done by people too intellectually lazy or just plain prejudiced. Being nice has to be natural, appropriate response to a given situation. I am often described as “nice”, and if in a rare moment of frustration I let a cuss word slip some people are quick to highlight it as if I have some sort of swearing habit.

    I think of the atheist movement that way too. You can obsess on being nice walk on pins and needles hoping to be palatable and thus accepted by everyone or you can realize that a few people will never make an effort to get to know you. Its like the circus trick trying to keep plates spinning perfectly balanced. You could keep them spinning beautifully and perfectly for days. The minute one inevitably falls, that’s what is remembered. Why should we be magnanimous until it hurts to those very few people who we never were going to impress, and actively want to see us fail in order to bolster their worldview and protect their privileges?

  123. says

    Ing, it is just a fact that you have allowed the guy no out.

    I asked what are your demands; you don’t have any. Therefore there is nothing he can do to demonstrate to you that his apology is sincere. You are absolutely intractable.

    I have no demands because it’s not quantifiable. I said what’d it take.

    How about you lay off my fucking ass and stop being a self rightous asshole?

  124. says

    Some people’s demands are implausibly high, in my opinion—”just that he really is looking at the (il)logical underpinnings of his bigotry. If his imaginary deity got him into the problem, might it not be the cause. He may conclude otherwise, but he should look at WHY he said what he did”—but at least they are demands. They provide options.

    You allow no way out.

    I said a pattern of behavior that illustrates earnestness. You know like how when someone fucks up you forgive them but are cautious until they build back up that trust? Yeah that. Granted I have no contact with the guy so it’s really a hypothetical.

  125. sandiseattle says

    Lourdes: both, when he does it right.

    and nite all. Xfactor next, so hoping Astro is booted tonight.

  126. says

    Carlie:

    Well, apparently 28 is too young to see a child being raped and do anything about it besides call your daddy for advice, so I guess BWE is just going by that standard.

    Going by some people, you’d think 28 was the new 5.

  127. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Traditionaly ‘coming of age’ parties are held on someones’ 21st birthday.

    What exactly is a full adult, fuckwit?

    And there you named the age, 21. GG is 28. How is a 28 year old a kid, who must be forgiven, compared to full adult, who is totally responsible for his behavior? We are waiting for your evidence that a 28 year old isn’t a full adult.

  128. says

    Ing

    I have no demands because it’s not quantifiable. I said what’d it take.

    You said what it would take if you knew him personally. You don’t. Therefore you allowed him no out.

    How about you lay off my fucking ass and stop being a self rightous asshole?

    There are some here who are so competent that I am unable in debate to take any ground from them upon which to plant my flag of self-righteous assholedom.

    I wish you luck.

    Granted I have no contact with the guy so it’s really a hypothetical.

    Indeed, you’ve now made my own argument from #483; turns out I was correct in effect.

    It is a common psychological tragedy. I find it lamentable.

  129. says

    Fuck off with your witless demands that other people trot about fetching you evidence, shitarse. Can’t you see I busy getting everyone’s ice-cream orders in?

    And hand back your Molly back on the way out, you’re not even fit to push a broom round here.

  130. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Pogsurf:

    Still, better get back to me trolling.

    Nah, you’re piss-poor at it, and it’s a stupid endeavour anyway; you’re better off contributing, as you did @625.

  131. says

    David:

    there are no “coming of age” parties, traditional or otherwise.

    There are, actually, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and Quinceañeras, which celebrate the move from childhood into adulthood. Strictly speaking, though, they aren’t “coming of age” parties. Such things are cultural, not universal and vary greatly from one culture to the next.

    The only “coming of age” celebrations which are regularly seen in the U.S. are the “hey, you’re 21, let’s get drunk!” type of things and those really aren’t all that, as most people can easily manage to get drunk long before they are 21. (And, it shouldn’t need saying, but legal drinking ages vary wildly from place to place.)

    By the time someone is 28, they are well into adulthood and no excuses should be made on the basis of age.

  132. says

    Most neuroscientists seem to be saying that the brain reaches peak mass at around age 25, though I’m seeing some saying up to 27.

    Those processes of mental sophistication we call maturation continue throughout life, though, such that a non-senile 75-year-old typically has more maturity than a non-senile 65-year-old.

    I don’t think anyone would suggest a 65-year-old isn’t an adult, though, so the continuing maturation is apparently not what we mean by adulthood.

    If adulthood is the stage immediately after late adolescence, then I’d confidently say adulthood occurs around the ages of 22 to 25. Common language can be very ambiguous on this, though; “young adult” novels are targeted at 14-year-olds, are they not?

    So I guess the error bars extend from 14 to 27.

  133. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Fuck off with your witless demands that other people trot about fetching you evidence, shitarse. Can’t you see I busy getting everyone’s ice-cream orders in?

    Oh, I have to show, beyond showing that the age of majority in every state is 21, that a 28 year old isn’t an adult full responsibilities of one? Oh, my, the trolls have lost their senses, and know they are wrong, but can’t shut the fuck up being the lying and bullshitting losers they are…

  134. Carlie says

    Going by some people, you’d think 28 was the new 5.

    No kidding. By the time I was 28 I had two children of my own. Guess I didn’t realize I was still supposed to be in diapers myself.

  135. Carlie says

    If 28 isn’t old enough to control one’s temper, why was it old enough for him to get a loan for many thousands of dollars to open a restaurant, and the correct permits to do so, and allowed to sign the lease, and allowed to have employees, etc. and etc.? I would think that being able to own a business implies some amount of presumed ability to act as an adult.

  136. says

    What a dip-shit evidence boy is. Even I know that the age of majority is 18 in most states. How can a proper troll do his work when some loon of the internet is trolling himself?

  137. says

    ahs:

    So I guess the error bars extend from 14 to 27.

    Some people remain immature for their whole life, some people mature at a young age and some people can be an asshole their whole life and people can fuck up any ol’ time.

    28 is young, however, most people are adult enough at that age to be set on their chosen career path a/o have families of their own.

    I would consider someone who owned their own business to be an adult, so it’s not just the question of being 28. I did have the thought that GelatoGuy expected to be somewhat excused on the basis of being 28, which I find to be ridiculous.

  138. says

    Trolling was the only work I could find, you know, with the recession and all that. I wish I could find another job, perhaps as a whinging atheist. This would be more suitable to my skillset, and shorter hours.

  139. says

    I would consider someone who owned their own business to be an adult, so it’s not just the question of being 28. I did have the thought that GelatoGuy expected to be somewhat excused on the basis of being 28, which I find to be ridiculous.

    This is an important point. It’s almost like he’s saying “I’m not old enough to be doing what I’m doing. Somebody please take it off my hands.”

    So by my suggestion of bankrupting him, we might even be doing him a favor!

  140. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Pogsurf:

    Trolling was the only work I could find, you know, with the recession and all that.

    <smirk>

    Trolling is what the village idiot does, and your recompense is commensurate with your contribution: people pay attention to you, but it’s derision and laughter that they provide.

    And you’re second-rate at even this endeavour!

    (Sad specimen, you are)

  141. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    . Even I know that the age of majority is 18 in most states.

    You have to be 21 to drink in most states. 18 is for voting. You aren’t a full adult until you are of age to drink alcohol. Still doesn’t make your and other trolls point that a 28 year old is a kid who deserves a break. He is a full adult with the responsibilities that come with being an adult, including keeping his temper and not breaking anti-discrimination laws with inane and stupid signs.

  142. Pteryxx says

    There’s a commentor in Jen’s thread who’s planning to visit the gelato shop, identify as a Skepticon attendee and see how the owner reacts: link to comment

    I’ll be interested to hear about it, because if I were local, that’s about what I would have done to gauge this guy’s sincerity and open-mindedness.

  143. John Morales says

    Pogsurf pleads from its bed: “Fuck me”

    No need — you’re already well-and-truly fucked.

  144. John Morales says

    [meta + OT]

    Pogsurf, you just did, and anyone who is jealous of your wankery would have to be even more pitiful than you.

  145. Thomas_T says

    I see both points. The thing I like the best is that I can accept the bigots apology as sincere and forgive him, without having a moral dilemma like those fucked up adherents would have. I have PZ, Jen, Sam, , JT, Hemant and many others to bounce things off.

    The way I see it, actions should have a consequence. I have been told that when I have asked for forgiveness enough times. So, I will not say if you want to act one way or the other, you are right or wrong. I will decide for myself. Not that I would have gone in the shop anyway this weekend.

    Andy will get what he deserves and I will neither support or attack him, as things stand now.

    But many points have been made, good points, on both side of this issue of the apology.

    But at least we can accept that the jerk over reacted and based upon that action alone, I have no respect for him, regardless of his sincerity.

  146. jsnb says

    Here is a recent newspaper article. Should put a littler perspective on the whole forgiveness thing.

    Slade

    CALGARY —Minutes after tearfully reading her victim impact statement, detailing how her life was destroyed when she was pulled off a Calgary street and raped by a stranger about four months ago, the assailant wept as he apologized.

    Then, she unexpectedly forgave him in provincial court.

    “I’m really, really sorry for what I did to you,” Nigel Stimson, 19, told his victim after pleading guilty to sexual assault.

    “I have problems with alcohol and I shouldn’t have been drinking that night. It was one of my probation conditions. I don’t even remember you or what happened. I’m really sorry. I know I hurt you, I know I hurt your family. It hurt me, too.”

    The woman, then back sitting in the gallery, burst out crying again.

    “I’m sorry, too,” she replied. “I forgive you. Get some help. Thank you, Nigel.”

    Earlier, the woman told court the greatest impact on her life from the attack, which occurred shortly after she had a chance encounter with Stimson at a city light rail transit station after attending a concert and drinking with friends, was that she lost her 10-year relationship.

    “My partner can’t get over the thought of someone else being inside me,” she said. “I can’t think of sex without thinking of this.

    “This has affected my trust. I feel dirty and unworthy. I’m always thinking of what people might think of me. . . . I see the hurt and pain in my family. . . . I never knew people were capable of these things. I sometimes feel he just should have finished the job.”

    Crown prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood and defence lawyer Adriano Iovinelli jointly proposed a four-year sentence to Judge George Gaschler.

    Both sides agreed Stimson would have to provide a DNA sample, not own or possess any firearms or other weapons, and be registered as a sex offender.

    Gaschler adjourned sentencing until Dec. 13.

  147. John Morales says

    [OT]

    jsnb, that doesn’t provide any perspective, AFAIC — for pretty much any crime one can think of, there’s a worse one out there — and more to the point, that worse things have happened doesn’t mean something is not therefore bad.

    Nigel Stimson’s victim may have forgiven him, but I don’t, now that I’ve read your comment.

    (Also, I don’t for one second believe Nigel; if he was so incapacitated he couldn’t remember assaulting his victim, I reckon he was too incapacitated to have perform that type of assault)

  148. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Here’s what I am doing to make the life of gelato guy hell other than not accepting his apology:’











    *crickets chirring*
    I’ve moved on, why haven’t the trolls?

  149. says

    ahs (@620):

    “Emotional” is a fairly imprecise, open-to-interpretation term, and I grok I didn’t express myself entirely clearly. I understood Walton to be saying to you, waaaaay up thread, that while he acknowledges your moral analysis as rational, he sometimes can’t make himself feel good about following it to its logical ends. That is what I meant as the “essential human dilemma,” and that, if I’m understanding it correctly, is the essence of your quotation from Hume. Suffice it to say that I find almost nothing to disagree with in that quotation, and thus, I assume, almost nothing to disagree with you (nor perhaps with Walton and consciousness razor) about in this regard.

    I suspect if any large fraction of humanity worried even half as much as Walton (among many others here) does about the nature of morally correct action, the world would be a much better place in which to live.

    ***
    All:

    AFAIK in virtually every human jurisdiction on Earth, a 28-year-old person who has not been found legally incompetent to manage hir own affairs is a legal adult. To the best of my knowledge, the only things a U.S. citizen of age 28 is legally prohibited from owing to age is running for the U.S. Senate (minimum age 30) or for president (minimum age 35). By no reasonable definition is a cognitively healthy 28 yo human a “kid.”

    That is all.

  150. Pteryxx says

    Commentor mrianabrinson spoke with the shop owner and is writing up an article to appear on God Discussion soon, aiming for tomorrow: source comment

    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.”

    From comment here: linky

  151. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    So the the twenty eight year old owner of a small business is a kid?

    If you cannot even get the details right, why the fuck should any one go over your many points about how PZ has fucked up?

    In this context, yes. You warthog faced buffoon. PZ is not 28. The kid in this case is.

    I never said that PZ is twenty eight years old. I said that Andy is. That makes him not a kid.

    Fuckface, you were the one who compared him to a girl scout selling cookies.

    This is my advise to you; keep away from bowls of soup. The odds are very good that you will drown in one of them.

  152. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    The first quote is me. The second is the fool calling by the moniker of BWE. the last is mine.

  153. says

    jsnb:

    Should put a littler perspective on the whole forgiveness thing.

    Actually, it puts no perspective on this particular situation nor the “forgiveness thing”. I did not forgive the man who repeatedly raped and tried to murder me. I never will forgive him. Does that piece of information give you any perspective on the endemic problem of bigotry against atheists in the United States? No? I’m not fuckin’ surprised.

    Before you attempt another of these “wowza, this will shock them!” exercises in thoughtlessness, you might want to remember that the readership and commentariat here is a very large one, and there are a high number of survivors of various types of crimes here. Any one of us could have told you that how any survivor copes is on an individual basis. In my work with other survivors of rape, the majority to whom forgiveness is very important tend to be Christian.

    You didn’t think this all through very much, did you, outside of attempting to use one person’s very bad experience to your own benefit (to make what you thought was a dazzling point), which puts you a tad on the scummy side, doesn’t it?

  154. BWE says

    I never said that PZ is twenty eight years old. I said that Andy is. That makes him not a kid.

    Fuckface, you were the one who compared him to a girl scout selling cookies.

    This is my advise to you; keep away from bowls of soup. The odds are very good that you will drown in one of them.

    No. I compared your face to a warthog and called you a buffoon.

  155. Richard Eis says

    Should put a littler perspective on the whole forgiveness thing.

    Not really, the forgiveness thing could be more so she can move on and forget his ugly face. He is still going to get punished with 4 years of prison, being a sex offender for the rest of his life, and he still has to deal with his substance abuse.

    What he doesn’t need to do now that he’s apologised though is make any amends to her for utterly destroying her life. She can let that go, but it is still massively unfair and unbalanced. Especially if she feels she needs to forgive him due to societal pressure, or in the hope that it will make things better.

  156. says

    “Especially if she feels she needs to forgive him due to societal pressure, or in the hope that it will make things better.”

    PSYCHOPATH ALERT: please expel from blog with immediate affect.

  157. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Pogsurf, you will be duly expelled when PZ deems it appropriate, but not upon your request.

    (I see you’ve finished wanking in your bed, and now feel the need to do so online)

  158. says

    There’s a lot at stake here, Moraless, and you think your trite nonsense is helping. Go and tidy your bedroom, or give your nan a ring, instead of getting under everyone’s feet all the time.

  159. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Pogsurf, wassamatta, your trolling not going the way you wish? ;)

    (Self-admitted trolling, at that. Stupid, that was)

  160. John Morales says

    [meta + final]

    Pogsurf:

    And get your shoes polished, they’re filthy.

    <snicker>

    You think you’re feeding me straight lines.

    (Transparent, you are)

  161. Richard Eis says

    “Especially if she feels she needs to forgive him due to societal pressure, or in the hope that it will make things better.” PSYCHOPATH ALERT: please expel from blog with immediate affect.

    I’m not quite sure how that statement makes me a psychopath. I’m also not quite sure why PZ would ban a psychopath on a mere single statement. He has let you dribble on for some time and i’m sure the odd psycho makes for interesting conversation.

    You will have to explain in more detail i’m afraid. You can however use big words if you want. I’m over 28.

  162. says

    Can you explain to me what you think a psychopath is, and then I think we might have the start of a conversation? You can use long or short words and I have no fricking interest in how old you are.

  163. Richard Eis says

    I have no fricking interest in how old you are.

    The joke can be explained by others.

    Can you explain to me what you think a psychopath is, and then I think we might have the start of a conversation?

    I believe wikipedia is useful here : lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness. Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others, and are very disproportionately responsible for violent crime. Though lacking empathy and emotional depth, they often manage to pass themselves off as average individuals by feigning emotions and lying about their past.

    I’m afraid i don’t rate particularly high level for any of those symptoms… neither does my original quote. It may have been somewhat cold and analytical, but not, by definition, psychopathy.

  164. says

    Just in case anyone wants to question my credentials in the field of mental health, I should like to advise you that I do work to try to help end the stygmatisation of mental illness. This has included, for instance, sitting on an interview panel for the recruitment of a Consultant Psychiatrist for my local Mental Health Authority, alongside of people such as the Chief Executive, the Head of Clinical Nursing, a representative from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, another consultant psychiatrist and the head of HR, who was their to watch over us. It is my opinion that the best candidate was chosen, and we were all able to concur on this.

    I have also been trained and have volunteered for Mind, a UK mental health charity, of which I have been a long term financial supporter, as well as sitting on a committee which has oversight over the descision making processes of the Mental Health authority.

    My understanding of mental health comes from experience, not from things I might need to quickly crib up on wikipedia.

    In your original quote you sounded like someone who has never properly apologised for something, and has never shown remorse. No one can be compelled to forgive in any shape or form. It has to come from withhin, it has to be your own choice. Your quoted comment was just fanciful speculation on your part and showed a marked lack of empathy for the women concerned. You invented a scenario in order to advance your argument. You either did this dishonestly, or because you cannot show empathy. Which is it?

  165. echidna says

    pogsurf@697:
    This is the first post where you’ve done more than some Eliza-like reflection. So you might be human after all?

  166. Richard Eis says

    My understanding of mental health comes from experience, not from things I might need to quickly crib up on wikipedia.

    I do not have that luxury, i’m afraid.

    No one can be compelled to forgive in any shape or form. It has to come from withhin, it has to be your own choice. Your quoted comment was just fanciful speculation on your part and showed a marked lack of empathy for the women concerned. You invented a scenario in order to advance your argument. You either did this dishonestly, or because you cannot show empathy. Which is it?

    You can be compelled to forgive by others. I’ve done it myself because not forgiving would have been more trouble and made me look bad.

    You’re right, my comment was speculation, but all it did was opened up other possiblities to a situation. There is nothing dishonest about advancing an argument with a bit of light speculation “based on my own experience…” The way the original post was used to advance the poster’s argument was more jarring than anything i’ve written.

  167. Richard Eis says

    Eliza was an early attempt at using computer algorithms to simulate a form of psychotherapy where the therapist asks questions based on the last thing the patient said.

    The program was simple and could work quite effectively in some scenarios… but was quite mindless and could be easily confused.

    It didn’t take most people long to see through it.

  168. says

    As you say yourself, you cause trouble because you are afraid of looking bad. Perhaps you just need to do some growing up. Are you willing to withdraw the claim you made in the quote which I highlighted?

  169. says

    Richard, thanks. I was always a bit wary of psychologists when I was at Uni. You never knew if they were conducting one of there experiments on you.

    Funny I have been thinking about AI recently. I think the bit that is missing is that no scenario I have ever seen includes the facility to make agreements. You know stuff. I know stuff. But a third type of knowledge is when we each acknowledge what facts we both hold in common. As an example, we have both referred to Eliza, so we are making a common agreement that we can refer to ‘Eliza’ and it means something.

  170. Richard Eis says

    As you say yourself, you cause trouble because you are afraid of looking bad.

    I don’t think that’s how it works. There’s possibly a “not” missing somewhere. Probably…

    I don’t need to withdraw the claim. All I need to do is prove i’m not a “psycho”. Then my claim can’t be written off by you through an ad hominem.

  171. says

    Your quoted comment was just fanciful speculation on your part and showed a marked lack of empathy for the women concerned.

    Not true. I spent years working with survivors, as I noted in my post above, and for the most part, those who felt forgiveness was necessary were religious, and they felt obligated to forgive. In many cases, there was pressure on them from outside to forgive. There are also those who think they won’t be able to move on without finding a way to forgive, so that’s where they put most of their focus. This doesn’t always work out so well when it comes to recovery, which is complex, however, the reasons people forgive are equally complex.

  172. says

    Caine, I beg to differ.

    Richard, you really are a prize berk. You have admitted to making up the thoughts of the women, yet you still cling on to the idea that you have an argument.

  173. says

    You lot really are incorrigible. If I told there was a similar sign in my local newsagent’s window, would you all get so excited?

  174. Richard Eis says

    Caine, I beg to differ.

    Translation: I will ignore your pertinent and right-on-the-money argument because it spoils my nice bubble of rightousness.

    You have admitted to making up the thoughts of the women, yet you still cling on to the idea that you have an argument.

    Well, no. I speculated on other possibilities for her actions given what I know about people and society and in reference to earlier posts. My argument (forgiveness is complicated, rather than your rather simplistic loveydovey from the heart version) is more than backed up by the personal experiences of myself and others. The other person and their experiences that you utterly dismissed rather coldly. Perhaps you think they misunderstood their own experience. Why don’t you go and tell them what they really saw, heard and felt. I’m sure they’ll be appreciative.

    You lot really are incorrigible. If I told there was a similar sign in my local newsagent’s window, would you all get so excited?

    Yes. Otherwise we wouldn’t have talked about this one. Or is there some difference between ice-cream and newspaper sales of which i’m unaware?

  175. says

    Not fine actually. I am acknowledging that I cannot challenge you on the grounds of your experience. I disagree with you and I believe you and I may have a different understanding as to what forgiveness is.

  176. Stacy says

    pogsurf, I don’t understand why you’re accusing Richard of psychopathy. Is it because of this:

    What he doesn’t need to do now that he’s apologised though is make any amends to her for utterly destroying her life.

    Because there he was just pointing out how empty an apology can be.

  177. says

    Just out of interest, why didn’t someone walk in and take down the sign? It would have saved you all getting your knickers in twist.

  178. says

    Pogsurf:

    I am acknowledging that I cannot challenge you on the grounds of your experience.

    Okay. You didn’t say that in your earlier response.

    I disagree with you and I believe you and I may have a different understanding as to what forgiveness is.

    That’s probable. The notion of forgiveness, like most things, is subjective. If you have a highly specific idea of what constitutes forgiveness and also think that forgiveness must go along with a specific set of emotions, you might have a difficult time grokking the complexities of forgiveness in a broader sense.

    That doesn’t mean that what other people, like myself, are attempting to explain to you is wrong. It simply doesn’t apply to you.

  179. Richard Eis says

    Your view of forgiveness within society is too simplistic. What if i forgive, then change my mind? What if i say they are forgiven but am lying to myself? Where do these fall within your “coming from within” belief about forgiving. How do you in fact know that “coming from within” is correct forgiveness and not just some happy-hollywood version that you absorbed through your tv without a second thought.

  180. says

    Caine that doesn’t fit my understanding of what forgiveness is, so I don’t think we are making any progress here.

    No Stacey, I don’t think I have referred to that statement in any shape or form.

  181. says

    Pogsurf:

    Caine that doesn’t fit my understanding of what forgiveness is, so I don’t think we are making any progress here.

    Alright. Can you tell me what your understanding of forgiveness is, on a personal level?

  182. Ariaflame says

    No Pogsurf, he said that people sometimes forgave, or at least *said* they forgave people in order sometimes to not look bad, or in other words, to appease family or friends who are demanding that forgiveness.

    So, is it possible to compel someone to forgive someone? Possibly not without some sort of jedi mind control. Is it possible to compel someone to say that they forgive someone? Absolutely.

  183. Richard Eis says

    Alright. Can you tell me what your understanding of forgiveness is, on a personal level?

    and now we’ll never know…ooooooooh……

    Next!!

  184. says

    Richard:

    and now we’ll never know…ooooooooh……

    No, we won’t. I wasn’t really expecting to get anywhere, because I do think it was along the lines of what I said in #715, but for whatever reason, Pogsurf didn’t want to admit to that. I imagine we would have simply gone around in circles.

  185. Ariaflame says

    I must admit that while I’ve occasionally read in the past, it’s only since the move to the freethoughtblogs that I’ve become a regular reader, and occasional poster.

    Are the trolls always this circular? CJ and some others have shown similar tendencies. How do you stop getting dizzy?

  186. says

    Ariaflame:

    Are the trolls always this circular?

    Generally, yes.

    CJ and some others have shown similar tendencies. How do you stop getting dizzy?

    SIWOTI and keeping the fangs sharp and the coat sniny keeps the dizziness at bay.

  187. Richard Eis says

    How do you stop getting dizzy?

    We take turns!

    Atough pogsurf’s logic wasn’t so much circular, more like a dot.

  188. Anteprepro says

    Are the trolls always this circular? CJ and some others have shown similar tendencies. How do you stop getting dizzy?

    Yes. And we all regularly take dramamine. Helps us to withstand the use of fundie logic as well. And also in case we accidentally enter “no-spin zones” .

  189. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    I see that BWE, instead of admitting that it was a mistake to call a grown man a child, insists on just calling me names.

    It is not surprising why BWE cannot figure out why no one is bothering to address the list of complaints that BWE left.

    BWE is an assclam.

    Yes, I do engage in name calling. But I give a reason why.

    So, BWE; how old does a person have to be in order to be an adult and be able to control their action?

  190. Ariaflame says

    I don’t have any dramamine, but I’ve got some stemazine left over from a bout of labyrinthitus a while back. That might help.

    At the moment though the sore stomach is the main problem (no, not overeating… no thanksgiving here)

  191. John Phillips, FCD says

    The Pint #538 & #551,

    I won’t blockquote both of those posts here for obvious reasons, but imagine I have so that I can simply add;:

    QFFT

  192. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No wonder my spiritual friends keep insisting that “atheism is a religion”

    Spiritual is a null word meaning nothing but self delusion. And you proudly call these self-delusional people friends, which also makes you delusional. Now, why should we take your obviously rabid and delusional thoughts for a cogent argument? Or, are you just another hit and run artist without anything other than bad attitude?

  193. Bart says

    nerd of redhead is right, I would never even be in the same room as a believer, much less associate with I befriend one. Vince, you are not a real atheist. Just a Xtian posing a an atheist to disrupt the Movement.

  194. BWE says

    There iis truth or religion from which to choose your side. Those who do not choose a side are by default on the side of rligion?

  195. dug says

    @Antiochus

    “But is it, dug? I hear that gelato is to ice cream what pancetta is to bacon or prosciutto is to ham. If this is true, gelato is much more important than just ice cream.”

    Your post just made me drool.

  196. FSM McFaithHead :} says

    I have dabbled but I do not think this is the right time or place to discuss what was probably a complete waste of time for me.

    Anyway do you deny evolution? What is is your alternative?

  197. rm says

    Man, you PZ fanbois should do lack a sense of perspective.

    PZ, seriously, a guy who sincerely believes in things that you don’t took offense to the way people who think like you do were presenting a story that, from his perspective, belittled and mocked his worldview. His reaction was not to set off bombs or spray the mob with machine gun bullets, it was to put a sign in his shop window for a few hours. And when he tries to apologise for an inconsequential act, you throw it back in his face?

    Man, you need to get out more and stop playing coryphaeus to this chorus of fools. I may disagree with the worldview of this unfortunate ice-cream vendor, but on current form, as a human being, he’s a better man than you, Gunga Din.

  198. BWE says

    Heh. I’m not sure what the reference for the ‘it’ you dabbled in is. Regardles, whatever my views on evolution may be, the issue of whether there are only two sides should be unrelated. Unless of course you assume that there are exactly two alternatives and thatby choosing one you are on that side.

    And that the two sides are locked in an epic struggle for supremacy. That there can be only one.

    I see an alternative to taking sides and fighting.a war to defeat the other. That alternative involves critical thinking by individuals and skepticism first of people who claim to offer truth.

    Let’s see where that goes first.

  199. John Morales says

    rm:

    His reaction was not to set off bombs or spray the mob with machine gun bullets, it was to put a sign in his shop window for a few hours. And when he tries to apologise for an inconsequential act, you throw it back in his face?

    Why, yes! That GG felt the need to apologise indicates something, no?

    (Also, you reek of hypocrisy; what PZ did was to write a blog post — where’s your perspective? ;) )

  200. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    And seriously, i would crush your skulls on my belly like a clam.

    No no no, the correct statement is “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down.”

    Incidentally, it’s best to use this only when the victim lives in houses made of straw and/or sticks. Avoid brick houses if at all possible.

  201. says

    Vincent:

    Remember no matter how you attempt to measure it, half the world’s population is below average intelligence…half!

    Mmmm hmmm. Well, if your aim was provide a demonstration of stupidity, I have good news – you excelled at it!

    Now run off and go work on that huffin’ and puffin’, Cupcake.

  202. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Vincent:

    Remember no matter how you attempt to measure it, half the world’s population is below average intelligence…half!

    Only if the probability distribution is symmetric.

    (The average IQ of commenters here might be average, but only because there is a very small minority of really stupid commenters dragging it down; it would be foolish to claim that half of us are below average. ;) )

  203. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Spiritual belief is an ingenious management tactic.

    Spritual is a meaningless word, and really means self-delusion. Ergo, spiritual belief is idjits not facing reality. Just like you. All blather, and absolutely no evidence of what spiritualism is.

    Still not making your point. But then, I don’t think you have the mental power to do so. Find another blog to infest.

    shutup aspie

    Oh, so scared of delusional fools. Look out, I sent the black helicopters after you….

  204. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Bye-bye Vincent. Only PZ can post personal information at this blog. You lose loser.

  205. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Vincent,

    the stats are symmetric no matter how the tests are run

    I don’t know that; can you provide evidence for that claim?

    (My personal opinion, absent scientific evidence, inclines to it being the case that the curve has a longer tail on the right, but a steeper drop on the left. But then, I haven’t researched the issue.)

  206. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Vincent, poor search term, that.

    (All it really tells me is that (a) you’re posting from Canada and (b) you too are basing your contention on vague supposition)

  207. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Vincent, you are creepy, but thankfully, foolish and incompetent.

    (You also stand revealed as a miserable troll)

  208. John Morales says

    PZ, malicious troll alert.

    [meta]

    Vincent, I get you alright.

    BTW — the more you keep your creepy, stupid, annoying, inane, malicious, misplaced and despicable attempted (and off-topic!) personal attacks on Caine going, the quicker it will get PZ’s attention so that you may get the reward you oh-so-richly deserve.

    Bah.

  209. says

    Vincent:

    is your online reputation really that messed up by now?

    No, you idiot. I’ve been Caine on the net for over 15 years. I was Sinister on RnR & TalkRats because that’s the nym I had at IIDB, seeing as someone else already had Caine there. I also explained that about 50 times to the intelligence-impaired like yourself.

    hey sinister are you still living in that creepy second Life character? I remember you defending it so vehemently

    Not me, Cupcake. I’ve never done Second Life. I have friends who do, but I’ve never been interested. Try a little harder.

  210. says

    BTW — the more you keep your creepy, stupid, annoying, inane, malicious, misplaced and despicable attempted (and off-topic!) personal attacks on Caine going, the quicker it will get PZ’s attention so that you may get the reward you oh-so-richly deserve.

    Thanks, John. Apparently, it’s someone who knows of me from RnR and TalkRats, although I don’t remember any Vincent. Oh, wait, there was one idiot named Vince I remember, although he didn’t go by that name then.

    If it’s the person I’m thinking of, they’re a waste of space.

  211. says

    @ Vincent

    Just an observation. She really gets under the skin of particularly repugnant (often MRA) trolls.

    I would be fascinated as to why you, for example, get so riled. You mumble something about second life, but that still doesn’t explain your anger. (Hint:”I’ve never done Second Life.”)

    The rest of your post is just your opinion (my experience has been utterly different). You are telling us a lot about yourself with your tirade, but I am no closer to the real motivation you have for being so angered. Your reactions are also rather overboard, given your “accusations”.

    Contrary to what you say, I think it takes incredible intelligence to pierce so deeply into troll psychs with just a few words.

  212. says

    Whatever it is you do to wind them up Caine, keep up the good work.

    Thanks, Theophontes. Honestly, I have no idea what Vincent’s problem is, nor am I even sure of who he is. I only remember one Vince, who went by the nym Placebo Messiah. That Vince was a right asshole, thought he was the wittiest thing on the planet. It was sad. If this is a different Vince, well, sorry, I don’t remember him.

    As for Second Life, I’ve never even visited the ones my friends have, so I’m clueless on that one. I haven’t logged into RnR in at least a couple years now, and I haven’t logged into TalkRats for at least a year, and even then, it was only because there was a request I run for admin. *shrug*

    Whatever the hell is going on in Vincent’s head, I don’t know. I’m glad it’s not my problem.

  213. says

    Theophontes:

    I’ve been told to use smelly cheese rather than marshmallows, maybe this is where I go wrong?

    Yes! This is what happens when blf and the mildly deranged penguin are missing – there’s a smelly cheese shortage and people resort to marshmallows. Tsk.

  214. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    nobodys riled except you jokers

    If you weren’t riled, you wouldn’t be posting.

    nobodys genuinely angered except the ppl who would evidently choose to censor what’s being said here;

    Who’s censoring anybody? PZ is the only one who can wield the banhammer.

    the op and his defenders of this particular blog post are the analog of racists targeting believers.

    Idjit explanation looking for problems. Explain, fully or go away.

    i am not a believer, but I will always defend them and their desire not to harmonize with shitheads like yourselves.

    Nobody is saying they can’t believe in their delusions. They just can’t force their delusions upon us. Difference fool.

    a good start would be to stop whineblogging about how oppressed you are.

    We are oppressed, prove otherwise with solid evidence. Your turn V. Show us the evidence you are right, not opinion.

    Fuck you atheist zealots suck.

    Opinion. Show us hard evidence on why we aren’t respecting the rights of the religious to discriminate against us. Oops, that’s right, they don’t have that right.

    Sorry vincent, your incoherent fuckwittery of opinion is worthless. Evidence. You need to provide evidence. Put up or shut the fuck up. Only losers, liars, and bullshitters can’t put up and can’t shut up.

  215. says

    @ Vincent

    wtf is an mra troll

    MRA stands for Men’s Rights Activist. Even though you may have a pogsurfian aversion to the Pffft of All Knowledge, you can at least get an overview of such terms there. Linky
    There is a whole category of troll that hides behind the movement to attack feminism and any attempts to bring more equity into male oriented societies. MRAs are very often RWAs, but I’ll leave you to look up that acronym as an exercise.

    wtf are you talking about ‘piercing deeply into troll psyches’ you pretentious douchebag lol

    Aaaah, I am not as bad at this as I thought.

  216. Bart says

    When I discussed my Atheism at a recent job interview, I didn’t get hired. I don’t think that was a coincidence, do you?

  217. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    your following posts are just so schizo, maybe someone else will waste some time debating the batshit

    Pot, kettle, black. Look in the mirror before you make any statements like that. [rhetorical] Why do trolls always complain about the same behavior they show??[/rhetorical]

    lol “prove we’re not oppressed” lol

    Sorry, you are making an unevidenced assertion. Either prove the claim with evidence from here, or retract the claim. Your choice cricket. Welcome to science.

  218. says

    Nerd, it’s just a couple of idjits from TalkRats. There are several people there who think ‘troll raiding parties’ are hilarious. The highest level of discourse you can expect from ‘Vincent’ is along the lines of “lol wut. no u.”

    Play with ‘em all you like, just don’t expect much.

  219. says

    Theophontes:

    A tiddler … just when I thought I had a bite. Oh well, time to rebait.

    If Bart comes back, you might have some fun. Unlike ‘Vincent’, Bart is capable of having a discussion, good ones if he’s in the mood. He’s considerably more creative when it comes to trolling, too.

  220. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Play with ‘em all you like, just don’t expect much.

    Very thin gruel. Playing for the lurkers, not vincent. Since they have been outed, I suspect they will go away.

  221. SlideshowMal says

    Can’t wait for Dawkins to show up and put PZ’s whining in perspective with a sarcastic letter to muslima.

  222. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Is that all there is to a fuckwit?
    Is that all there is?

  223. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    Why, yes it is, fuckwit. You must have the chant book nearby.

  224. InOneEarOutTheOther says

    PZ Myers: “The bigoted gelato guy…”

    It is worth noting the dictionary definition of “bigot”

    a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

    This is a pot and kettle convention. Not only does this whole site epitomize “bigotry” in its purest sense, but the one consistent feature in all the mountains of slander you pile on your fellow secularists that commit the crime of dissenting opinion is the complete absence of any kind of evidence or citation that stands up to scrutiny. Its like the Westboro Baptist Church.

  225. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    InOneEarOutTheOther and you other accommodationists assholes, your fucking concern is noted. If you don’t like it here, then fucking leave and take your whiny faitheism with you.

  226. Janine, Clueless And Reactionary As Ever, OM, says

    And you are the stuff I scrape off the bottom of my shoe.

  227. John Morales says

    [meta]

    InOneEarOutTheOther:

    It is worth noting the dictionary definition of “bigot” –
    a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

    You are confused: lack of agreement with an opinion and disputation of it doesn’t constitute bigotry but rather dissent; when you claim PZ is bigoted by speaking out against such, then you are no less guilty of it by virtue of your very comment (and you therefore should decry yourself no less).

    I also note your careful choice of references; had you chosen Wikipedia, for example, you would have found this:

    The origin of the word bigot and bigoterie (bigotry) in English dates back to at least 1598, via Middle French, and started with the sense of “religious hypocrite”. The exact origin of the word is unknown, but it may have come from the German bei and Gott, or the English by God. William Camden wrote that the Normans were first called bigots, when their Duke Rollo, who when receiving Gisla, daughter of King Charles, in marriage, and with her the investiture of the dukedom, refused to kiss the king’s foot in token of subjection – unless the king would hold it out for that specific purpose. When being urged to do it by those present, Rollo answered hastily “No, by God”, whereupon the King, turning about, called him bigot, which then passed from him to his people.[1]

  228. julian says

    a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

    Opinion?

    So, what, my ‘intolerance’ of racist attitudes and opinions makes me a bigot? That’s stupid.

  229. says

    As a theist, I’d like to apologize to any atheist willing to listen for any of the asshole Christians that have treated you like shit. Hearing stories like this makes me sick to my stomach and ashamed to say that I believe in a God. There are way too many idiots out there that claim to believe the same thing that I do, claim to “do what Jesus would do”, but live their life oppressing anyone who disagrees with them. Few things upset me more. If they could open up their eyes and actually read the Bible that they carry around all the time they would see that Jesus hung out with the social minorities of the day. He had dinner with tax collectors and prostitutes, he touched leapers, and even occasionally reached out to gentiles. But guess who he didn’t get along with, the pastors and religious leaders. Hmmmm. Not much has changed.

  230. says

    James – that’s a nice sentiment, and I appreciate the spirit in which you’ve offered this apology, but I do have a question – have you called other Christians out on the behavior that you’re apologizing for here? In all honesty, I personally would rather never hear an apology from a well-meaning Christian on behalf of xe’s entire faith, if instead that well-meaning Christian made a consistent vocal and activist effort to convince others sharing that faith not to treat non-Christians in a negative way. Change to a faith or set of cultural practices is often far more influenced by those within the faith/culture than those from without. If you are ashamed of the way other Christians have behaved, please, tell them why it’s wrong, often, loudly and consistently – it’ll arguably have a much greater effect on how atheists/non-Christians are treated by those in your faith than a single person apologizing on behalf of an entire faith.

  231. Stephen says

    @Ray Fowler

    “When confronted, it is normal to expect them to respond irrationally. We are all human and all ultimately irrational, so we are susceptible to this kind of reaction.

    It’s how a person responds afterwards that is important.”

    No, the irrational response is important too. For an extreme example, if he had reacted to a satirical comedy routine by flipping out and killing everyone, we would like to take that into account along with the classiness of his apology (“I’m sorry you made me lose my temper”).

    This guy’s irrational, instinctive reaction to seeing something he doesn’t like is to ban the entire group he blames for the thing he doesn’t like from his gelato shop, that’s as small minded as it is power crazed.

  232. sc_f76147415e45ec1a1d9f3d980a237a97 says

    @The Pint

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve done what I can and plan on doing more to persuade fundamentalist Christians out of their ignorance and stupidity. I’m a youth pastor and I’ve talked with my students on more than one occasion about this topic. I’ve also chided adults within my ministry to be tolerant of different viewpoints and even different religions within our church. For some reason Christians all over the world think that it’s their job to defend orthodoxy. Honestly, if God is as big as we believe he is, he can defend himself. It’s not the job of Christianity to fight the world. It’s our job to reach out to the world in love. If that ends up changing somebody mind, cool. Nobody would believe what they believe, unless they think that it’s right. So it’s natural to try and convince others that you are right and that they should join you. If your efforts to extend love and reasonably dialogue with people doesn’t end in “conversion” then you just continue to extend love and dialogue. Their should not be evangelistic pressure put on anybody. Long story short, I’m ashamed but I’m trying to do something about it. Unfortunately I’m young and unknown so the splash I make in the pool of evangelicalism is small for now. My voice is slowly growing though. http://www.goddamblog.com

  233. John Morales says

    sc_f76147415e45ec1a1d9f3d980a237a97:

    Nobody would believe what they believe, unless they think that it’s right.

    Delusional people believe they’re right; they’re still delusional.

    I’ve done what I can and plan on doing more to persuade fundamentalist Christians out of their ignorance and stupidity.

    “Physician, heal thyself”

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