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Comments

  1. StevoR says

    Ogh you’ve always – well, ok, often and for a long time – been an example PZ! A good one usually. But then you know that already though right? (Grins)

  2. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    PZ, you evil man. Leaving all that space for people to actually think for themselves!

  3. McCthulhu, now with Techroline and Retsyn says

    I would be offended by the lack of credit for talking a lot about something very useful, like biology.

  4. says

    Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity!:

    PZ, you evil man. Leaving all that space for people to actually think for themselves!

    +1

  5. dianne says

    We could set out a list of differences…PZ talks about biology-accurately-a lot, is a lot cuter than Pat Robertson, etc.

  6. Jerry says

    PZ, you missed reality-based educator under your picture.

    What really blows my mind is how some people will read that list full of hatred under Robertson and think those are good things…

  7. Gregory Greenwood says

    I can look at PZ’s picture and think – “there is a distinguished looking, rational gentleman with a rather wonderful beard*”.

    When I look at Pat Robertson’s cheesey grin of fundie inanity, however, the first thought that crosses my mind is – “so that is what pure evil looks like…”

    ——————————————————————

    * Of which I am not jealous at all. Ok, maybe a little bit.

  8. ikesolem says

    Robertson is a nice proof of the claim that the central focus of religious organizations is to accumulate a flock of brain-damaged loyal followers (the sheep) who can be sheared at will.

    For example: Observer, London May 23, 1999, Greg Palast

    “The miracles add up. In 1997, Christian Broadcast Network, Robertson’s ‘ministry’, took in $164m in donations plus an additional $34m in other income.”

    If PZ wants to keep up with that, he’ll have to get more donations rolling in – but unfortunately, faith healing for the skeptical atheist crowd is just not that lucrative. Which is the real reason the likes of Pat Robertson are so upset about atheism, I’d guess.

  9. janine says

    If the righteous would stop insisting that I live according to their various religious codes, I would have no reason to talk about religion.

  10. Sastra says

    When people compare atheists to religious fundamentalists, they usually mean that both groups 1.) think they’re right and 2.) think others are wrong.

    Of course, once you think about this complaint it melts away into meaninglessness. But of course every controversy involves someone thinking they’re right and others are wrong. That’s what a controversy is. Clearly the person wielding the accusation thinks it’s wrong to be like a fundamentalist and right to be more like them. So you have to dig deeper to get at the real problem.

    I think the real problem is that you’re not supposed to criticize other peoples’ religion. You’re not supposed to take any sort of hardline analytical stance and bring in the concepts of debate and argument when it comes to ‘spiritual’ matters — because what people believe about God reflects who they are as a person. It defines what they need to make sense of their lives. If you try to change somebody’s mind you’re therefore attacking their identity. You’re challenging their right to be who they are.

    You’re proselytizing. You’re converting. And that is bad. It’s fundamentalism. They think.

    It’s actually the opposite. Because, unlike the fundamentalists, we don’t use a person’s “faith” as an identifying characteristic of how they measure up to God. The way the critics of gnu atheists do.

    Bottom line, gnu atheists are being compared to people who wouldn’t change their minds no matter what because we’re not willing to agree that believing fact claims for bad reasons is “fine.” And that what we believe about God is a reflection of who we are — as opposed to an empirical conclusion regarding a hypothesis.

    But atheists pretty much have to fight against those ideas — because if believing in God is a matter of identity then every single religion and ‘spirituality’ out there has it that the atheist identity sucks.

    God is supposed to be THE most important thing. Literally. It is the ground of being, the reason and purpose and wisdom and truth behind existence. And yet … We didn’t find God; we don’t relate to God; we don’t appreciate God; we don’t recognize God in the world and ourselves; we don’t respect God; we don’t need God; we don’t think we need God; we don’t worship God; we don’t understand God; we don’t talk to God; we don’t seek God; we don’t want to merge with God; we don’t love God and — worst of all — we don’t think there is any sort of ethical or aesthetic or human imperative that we ought to want to be the kind of person who does. We think it’s an empirical issue. A matter of reason and evidence and following a chain of reasoning with curiosity, clarity, and consistency.

    And they think we think that because we basically suck. Because religion reflects your identity and essence as a human being by showing how much you reflect back God and requires a different approach to knowing things.

    No. It’s because it IS an empirical issue.

    I know what it would take to change my mind. It would not require my becoming more human — or ‘discovering’ that the damned are human too.

    Don’t confuse passion with dogmatism. And don’t confuse our thinking that other people are wrong with Pat Robertson thinking they’re damned to Hell. Religion is inherently divisive — and the critics of the gnu atheists are a part of the problem. They are not the solution.

  11. bunnycatch3r says

    I hope you folks realize that you’re ridiculing a man to whom God revealed the next president of the United States.

  12. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    You forgot to put a few things under Robertson:

    Wants political enemies assassinated

    Blames gays, feminists and liberals for 9/11

    Blames gays for “acts of God”

  13. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    I hope you folks realize that you’re ridiculing a man to whom God revealed the next president of the United States.

    True, but, in all fairness, he’s not allowed to tell what gods revealed until after the election, so, in this case, ridicule is not only allowed, but downright necessary.

  14. Moggie says

    …has financial ties to kleptocratic African dictators

    Blamed Haitians for their 2010 earthquake, because they “swore a pact to the devil”

    Advocated an act of nuclear terrorism against the State Department

    Described non-Christians as “termites”, and advocated “fumigation”, in language eerily reminiscent of that used against Tutsis before the Rwandan genocide…

  15. Randomfactor says

    I hope you folks realize that you’re ridiculing a man to whom God revealed the next president of the United States.

    Kinda like the old astronaut joke. “First of all, he’s black…”

  16. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    … also, you’re both carbon-based lifeforms. So there.

    True. But Pat Robertson seems to be filled with a specific gaseous carbon compound: CH4. Whereas PZ uses the carbon atoms in a more normal life-form way — he may produce CH4, but it is not 90% of his mass as it is for PR.

  17. interrobang says

    Pat Robertson also has weird-looking ( shapes where his eyes ought to be. I suspect this is because he’s actually an alien, and his human costume doesn’t fit him very well anymore.

  18. says

    You know, from now on that particular subset of agnostics who sneer at us atheists for being so fundamentalist and so sure of our position, etc., will be referred to as “agnostic fundamentalists”. I like the sound of it.

  19. anchor says

    “I swear, some atheists are just as bad as Christian fundamentalists.”

    Yah, ok, so PZ once nailed an innocent cracker-deity to a wall. How cruel, hateful and insensitive. Oh the horror.

    Pat Roberston inflicts his face on national TV almost daily for decades scaring puppies to death and which has an effect on elderly devotee viewers not unlike that produced by a preservative such as formaldehyde, who will happily endorse Pat while handing over their money to him.

    Or is the effect on them more like a form of parasitism?:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Black_fly.jpg

  20. kreativekaos says

    Sastra @ #16:

    Sas,… I appreciate your analysis: insightful and thoughtful.

    Commenting on it….

    Sastra: ‘It defines what they need to make sense of their lives. If you try to change somebody’s mind you’re therefore attacking their identity. You’re challenging their right to be who they are.’

    — This is certainly true in terms of a deeper aspect of their collective (or personal)reaction empirical challenges to religion and the supernatural.
    But I think there is also a more generalized cultural aspect: the idea that religion is somehow a necessary part of a larger social contract that serves as a ‘glue’ of social cohesiveness which is threatened by those who would endorse and promote–and educate our youth in–a more a impartial, skeptical mindset.

    Also…

    Sastra:
    ‘I know what it would take to change my mind. It would not require my becoming more human — or ‘discovering’ that the damned are human too.’

    — Frankly, I’m not sure what, if anything, would change MY mind.
    As Dawkins has indicated (as well as Michael Shermer and others), humble agnosticism in the face of what we don’t know, but a practical, ‘live your life by’ form of reality-based, reason-guided atheism/non-theism in the face of what we DO know about the world seems to me to be the most open and honest.
    As far as what might change my mind,… I can’t think of anything that would be convincing or empirical enough to trump other possibilities (…the old Occam’s Razor approach; even whimsically stretching the possibility, as I believe even Dawkins had suggested and CERTAINLY Arthur C. Clarke had intimated in his often-repeated observation about a sufficiently advanced technological civilization being indistinguishable from magic.
    In other words,… what empirical approach, what evidence, what tests, what confirmation would it take for one to ‘prove’, confirm or accept the reality of a supernatural deity over some other more natural,reasonable explanation for phenomenon in the natural world,… or for that matter as a basis on how to conduct a society???

    At this point, I personally can think of nothing–no test, no observation, no experiment, etc.– that could prove to me, unequivocally, of the existence of a supernatural deity as expressed by any of the major faith players, or the myriad, personal and nuanced variations on those faiths as described and promoted by those championing God and religion.

  21. says

    There’s a building on campus here that houses a bunch of vile, deadly contagions. I always thought it was appropriate that it’s named after the assclown in the picture up top. I just figured out it’s not. It’s named after somebody whose name is really similar, but different, and I’ve just been mixed up this whole time. Oops.

  22. Rich Woods says

    @Randomfactor #22:

    With apologies for the pedantry, but I think that was meant to be “First of all, she’s black…”

  23. Sastra says

    kreativekaos #27 wrote:

    But I think there is also a more generalized cultural aspect: the idea that religion is somehow a necessary part of a larger social contract that serves as a ‘glue’ of social cohesiveness which is threatened by those who would endorse and promote–and educate our youth in–a more a impartial, skeptical mindset.

    I agree. When religious people are surveyed on morality and God they often ascribe different motives to others than they do to themselves: without a belief in God they might still be able to be honest and trustworthy — but others would not. Atheism is far more acceptable if it remains unspoken.

    As you point out, religion doesn’t just make me “me:” it makes us “us” — and not “them.” Tribalism has benefits as well as drawbacks.

    In other words,… what empirical approach, what evidence, what tests, what confirmation would it take for one to ‘prove’, confirm or accept the reality of a supernatural deity over some other more natural,reasonable explanation for phenomenon in the natural world,… or for that matter as a basis on how to conduct a society???

    A good question and, therefore, a familiar topic/debate here. I always advocate the need for a slow, cumulative, step-by-step case built up along multiple lines of objective evidence over a long period of time. Start simpler and clearer than ‘God’: a strong scientific consensus on the paranormal (ESP, PK, etc.) and mind/body substance dualism would I think overcome a major problem with the concept — and at least begin to grant it some plausibility and consistency with the model of reality it has to fit into.

  24. leonpeyre says

    Yikes — being compared to Pat Robertson squicks me right down to the bone.

    Not to worry PZ–the point of this is to contrast you with Evil Uncle Chuckles. I would take it as a point of pride, myself.

  25. kaleissin says

    Well PZ, you look like that grandpa everyone would love to have (it’s the silvery santa-to-be beard that does it as you well know) and wozzisface looks like a used car salesman of the count-your fingers variety. The text is perfectly unnecessary.

  26. says

    Blamed Haitians for their 2010 earthquake, because they “swore a pact to the devil”

    Ah yes, this. Because black people could never beat white people in a war without satanic intervention. Fuck, I’d forgotten about that.

  27. Azkyroth says

    …where was this the last time I had marshmallowheaded “liberal” theists being whining shits about my answering the question “what other [non-supernatural] explanation could there possibly be?” :(

  28. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    With apologies for the pedantry, but I think that was meant to be “First of all, she’s black…”

    Which reminds of the B5 line
    “who do they think I am, the Pope? I look nothing like her!”
    Which is funny for the obvious reason and sad because of the whole RCC still being around in 2260 thing.

  29. says

    Which guy would you rather have read your kids a bedtime story — fuzzy science dude wearing relaxed and comfortable clothing or slicked back fake smiling in boring coat and tie?

  30. Amphiox says

    I hope you folks realize that you’re ridiculing a man to whom God revealed the next president of the United States.

    You know, it’s not really that hard to guess correctly from a field of two (or even, on occasion, 3 or 4).

    Is that all that Robertson’s god can manage?

    Now, if he had predicted the 2008 US president back in 1866, that would have been a little bit more interesting.

  31. birgerjohansson says

    Interrobang:
    “Pat Robertson also has weird-looking ( shapes where his eyes ought to be. I suspect this is because he’s actually an alien, and his human costume doesn’t fit him very well anymore”

    -I think it must be Kang, or the other Simpsons fellow.