I get email


You cannot imagine the volume of stupid that arrives in my mailbox. Here’s yet another example.

Hello Prof,

An atheist 150years ago would have said it is impossible to have a conversation with someone not with you, whom you’ve never seen, or can’t see, but today telephones make it seen very possible.

Have atheist believe that it’s impossible change?

What’s you’re take on this historic and present day disparity?

Thanks,
andre

An atheist 150 years ago would have been thoroughly comfortable with the concept of mail, and would have had many conversations with people they’d never met. Charles Darwin, for instance, carried on extensive conversations through correspondence with people in whole countries he’d never visited. Most people were aware that the world was much bigger than their local village, and read travelogues and articles and saw magic-lantern shows that documented the existence of all these exotic places and people.

So the disparity is nonexistent, and hasn’t been the case for a few thousand years. Telephones merely add greater immediacy to communications around the world. They don’t add any significantly greater evidence that there is more to the world than the small group of people we can see right now.

But OK, Andre is trying to play a particularly idiotic game to justify belief in gods. Tell ‘em to give me a magic phone call, and give me direct evidence of their existence. And just to magnify the stupidity of Andre’s implied argument…what kind of evidence for a deity would it be if my phone rings, I answer, and a voice says, “I am Vishnu. Worship me!”?

Comments

  1. truthspeaker says

    An atheist 150 years ago would almost certainly have been familiar with the telegraph.

  2. Gregory says

    You are being ridiculous, Prof. Myers. Vishnu doesn’t demand worship: he’s happy to wait for an incarnation where you are willing and happy to worship him. Baal, on the other hand….

  3. Gregory Greenwood says

    And just to magnify the stupidity of Andre’s implied argument…what kind of evidence for a deity would it be if my phone rings, I answer, and a voice says, “I am Vishnu. Worship me!”?

    “And, uh, I had to reverse the charges. Vishnu is running a little light in the change department at the moment. So, worship me and send me money!”

  4. Louis says

    Bah, you atheists! I was in the house with my two year old son the other day and a toy car appeared under my bed and I never saw my son put it there so it must be Jesus/poltergeists/both.

    Because the invention of an entirely unobserved supernatural realm to explain everyday occurrences is much more reasonable than to realise I didn’t see my son do something annoying.

    Explain that aethiestss!!!!!111111oneelevenshiftone1111″”””!”!

    Louis

    P.S. Also, PYGMIES and DWARFS? Still nothing. Plus: Hitler.

  5. says

    Not to mention the electrical telegraph.

    150 years ago, it was possible to send messages from one side of the USA to the other, or across the English Channel. Furthermore, the first transatlantic telegraph cables were being laid.

  6. leftwingfox says

    built a Russian nesting doll out of derp.

    I’m taking this statement as damages for the keyboard destroyed by nasal coffee expulsion.

  7. janine says

    Comparing a belief in a non corporal being to that of an physical action.

    Impressive!

    I suppose that andre would also argue that a thousand years ago, an atheist would have argued that it was impossible for a person to be killed by a small bit of lead moving too fast to be seen.

  8. says

    How would a being that is omnipotent actually communicate with us? I think it would head right into an “unto like an amoebae” problem.

    All intelligence that we’ve seen is the result of natural selection for the ability to analyze an environment and solve problems…a being that is omnipotent would have had no need for problem solving and thus would probably lack intelligence as we understand it even if it had consciousness.

    I guess it could just will that it could talk to us, because shutup I’m all powerful, but i can’t get my mind around how it would actually communicate save for basically making an avatar that models human experience/thoughts…which would make any communications not actually talking to it…which…oh I’ve gone cross eyed.

  9. Brownian says

    [Chanted as a mantra.]

    “Freedom of speech is still worth it. Freedom of speech is still worth it. Freedom of speech is still worth it. Freedom…”

  10. says

    The most revolting thing about the whole spectacle, is his assumption that the people of 150 years ago all shared his stilted imagination.

    Attempts at telecommunication go back into ancient history. While long-distance voice communication wasn’t achieved until the 1870s, the concept is almost certainly much older.

  11. Louis says

    My colleagues wonder why, when I nip out of the lab to have an afternoon coffee in front of the computer whilst reading something amusing/edifying, I then come back into the lab and start sniffing the really potent solvents.

    Andre and his chums are why.

    It would be less painful if I took a melon spoon and repeatedly jammed it into my meatus whilst screaming “Help me Jebus!”.

    Louis

  12. chigau (同じ) says

    What does this sentence mean?
    “Have atheist believe that it’s impossible change?”

  13. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    I really hope that English isn’t this guy’s first language, and if it is then he’s about 9yo…

  14. Sastra says

    This line of argument is particularly funny because it’s stolen from pseudoscience. “Ok, maybe there’s no good scientific evidence now that homeopathy/ESP/perpetual motion machines work — but 150 years ago they hadn’t invented the computer yet, and people would have thought one of those couldn’t work. So my as-yet-undemonstrated science-seeming thing might be just like computers — and I’m just ahead of my time.” Anything is possible. Skeptics are closed-minded.

    Yeah, right. Sometimes the opposite of having an ‘open mind’ is ‘being informed.’

    Religion and spirituality are suspiciously like pseudoscience. They not only use the same immunizing strategies and logical fallacies, they follow the same script: “I know something you don’t know because I’m special and a different kind of person than you are — but someday you’ll find out I’m right and then you’ll be sorry.”

  15. dianne says

    what kind of evidence for a deity would it be if my phone rings, I answer, and a voice says, “I am Vishnu. Worship me!”?

    Unconvincing.

  16. FilthyHuman says

    @Brownian

    “Freedom of speech is still worth it. Freedom of speech is still worth it. Freedom of speech is still worth it. Freedom…”

    Freedom of speech is always worth it.

  17. congaboy says

    Andre makes a perfectly cromulent argument. I feel embiggened by his keen insight.

  18. marcus says

    Louis@4 Please remit the amount of $56.24 to cover the cost of replacing one (1) and standard keyboard and one (1) large mocha latte to ROFLMAO United, we’re on the webs. Thanks very much.

  19. says

    The time to accept a claim as true is when it’s currently justified by sufficient evidence.

    What the writer is unaware of (thanks to availability bias) is the untold millions upon millions of things people thought were possible/true, that weren’t.

    Hindsight is 20/20.

  20. datasolution says

    I really hope that English isn’t this guy’s first language, and if it is then he’s about 9yo…

    Actually, I observed that it is far more likely that such people are Americans. “You’re” is especially a giveaway, Europeans simply don’t make such mistakes.

  21. Sastra says

    chigau #13 wrote:

    What does this sentence mean?
    “Have atheist believe that it’s impossible change?”

    It means “Do atheists think they already know everything?” Or, in other words — “You guys must think you’re so smart.”

  22. Louis says

    Brownian, #10,

    Are you rocking backwards and forwards whilst mentally going to your “happy place” whilst you chant that?

    If not it won’t work.

    Louis

  23. Louis says

    Datasolution, #23,

    …Europeans simply don’t make such mistakes.

    That is some spectacularly poor trolling. Bad troll! No! No! F Triple Minus. Must try much harder.

    Please wait whilst someone comes along to remind us you are a rape apologist with a convenient link, then slink back into the bandwidth in the most oleaginous manner you can manage.

    Louis

  24. Brownian says

    My colleagues wonder why, when I nip out of the lab to have an afternoon coffee in front of the computer whilst reading something amusing/edifying, I then come back into the lab and start sniffing the really potent solvents.

    I do that too, but replace ‘lab’ with ‘office’, ‘start sniffing’ with ‘have no goddamn choice but to huff like a security guard being chloroformed in a B-grade thriller’ and ‘potent solvents’ with ‘cheap mixture of ‘mallard musk and mustard gas that colleague bought in a 2 litre bottle mistakenly labelled as perfume’.

    Sorry for that OT rant. It’s hard to keep focussed with these blistering lungs.

  25. FilthyHuman says

    @Brownian

    Is that the mantra you chant?

    Nope, it’s my standard response to anyone who believe that freedom of speech is not worth it.

    Put it another way, do you want a world where PZ is not allowed to express his view, while Ken Ham is perfectly okay at spewing his idiocy?

  26. Louis says

    Ms Daisy Cutter, #26,

    I think I’ve seen that clip on RedTube.

    1) I can only apologise on behalf of my sex and my species.

    2) I am trying very hard to not go and look for that video*. I realise that Rule 34 exists, but…well…one doesn’t have to go and LOOK for stuff.

    Louis

    *And given where I am I wouldn’t be able to find it even if I wanted to. Which I don’t. I want to make that abundantly clear!

  27. Larry says

    I don’t get this. Is andre’s point “The telephone, therefore, god”? And he thinks he’ll win over unbelievers with it?

  28. Brownian says

    Are you rocking backwards and forwards whilst mentally going to your “happy place” whilst you chant that?

    I don’t have a happy place. I compensate by making others miserable. That’s close enough.

  29. says

    Because atheists didn’t believe in electricity, you know.

    Actually, Galileo recounted a case where some guy claimed that he had something like what we now call the telephone, and Galileo just said, great, show how it works. Set up your equipment so that we can talk between rooms at a decent separation. The guy said, no, it won’t work so closely, but you could talk between Egypt and Italy, just not between a couple of rooms separated by a few feet.

    Galileo told him that he’d be interested when it would work across a few feet, and until then he’d take his chances that the guy really might not have something that works between Egypt and Italy.

    But of course Galileo was a theist, so why would he doubt such a thing?

    Yeah yeah, gee, I wonder if any atheists accept the presence in our universe of dark energy and dark matter? Now if they were creationists, the phenomena that pointed in the direction of dark matter would just be proof that science doesn’t work, while real scientists understand physics and its limits.

    Funny how believing in an all-powerful force behind unknowns rarely yields any results, while both atheists and theists who don’t suppose that God is the proximate cause do all of the science.

    But what right do you have to suppose that God isn’t a proximate cause in any unknown, smarty-atheist pants? That’s just your prejudice (while mine is that invisible magic unicorns aren’t the proximate cause).

    Glen Davidson

  30. says

    Sastra “but 150 years ago they hadn’t invented the computer yet”

    Not that it messes up your argument, but actually I think that it was almost exactly 150 years ago that Babbage got the idea.

  31. FilthyHuman says

    @Louis

    I can only apologise on behalf of my sex and my species.

    What’s wrong if there are people who gets off on stabbing in the meatus with a melon spoon while screaming “Help me Jebus!”

  32. otrame says

    The genuinely sad part about communications like this is that Andre heard somebody, maybe a preacher, say that, and thought it was so cool, and so convincing that he just had to send it to PZ.

    Andre, the very fact that you know who PZ is means there is hope for you. Stay and watch a while. You might learn something.

    —–
    Louis, if you are going to be so bloody funny, would you mind doing it when I don’t have a full bladder?

  33. Brownian says

    Put it another way, do you want a world where PZ is not allowed to express his view, while Ken Ham is perfectly okay at spewing his idiocy?

    Uh, no? How come Ken Ham gets to talk no matter what? Can this work for anyone? Let’s try a few more combinations:

    Do I really want a world where Glenn Beck is allowed to express his view while Jon Stewart cannot? No.

    Do I really want a world where Paul Simon is allowed to express his view while Nickelback cannot? Getting warmer.

    Do I really want a world where undead Carl Sagan is allowed to express his view while Pat Robertson lay buried alive, thinking over his ill-spent life as his oxygen slowly runs out? Yeah, I really kinda do.

  34. Louis says

    FilthyHuman, #35,

    Nothing at all, live and let live sayeth I. However a gentleman does not put such things on RedTube. It’s an entirely inappropriate venue.

    Especially when hackers exist and can put such things on the Westboro Baptist Church site…

    …allegedly.

    Louis

  35. Louis says

    Ms Daisy Cutter, #38,

    A BUTTER KNIFE!? BEFORE LABOR DAY!?

    Well that explains everything! As per my previous remark to Filthy Human, clearly this videographer is no gentleman, and thus is free to publicise his videos anywhere without regard for remaining a preux chevalier.

    Louis

  36. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I don’t have a happy place. I compensate by making others miserable. That’s close enough.

    Proximity relative happiness.

    If you get close enough you can get a contact happiness from their misery.

  37. Louis says

    Otrame, #37,

    I would apologise, but it would probably only get into a discussion about posting videos. And no one wants that.

    Louis

  38. Brownian says

    Proximity relative happiness.

    If you get close enough you can get a contact happiness from their misery.

    Nah. Just practicing the forager tradition of insulting the meat.

  39. says

    Back in New Testament times the wind was often one of the phenomena to which preachers pointed as being invisible and unknown, yet definitely a force with which to be reckoned:

    The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

    John 3:8 NIV

    See, that’s held up so very well as a great mystery. Must be a God after all–and life looks so very designed, too, if you ignore all of the evolved stuff that’s either just weird or, at the least, somewhat subpar.

    Glen Davidson

  40. Randomfactor says

    how it would actually communicate save for basically making an avatar that models human experience/thoughts…

    Careful–you’ll get the Christers saying “EXACTLY!!!”

  41. karlwithakay says

    The emailer seems to not realize their line of thought works against them. Let’s re-phrase that a bit:

    A theist 150years ago might have said that it is impossible to have a conversation with someone not physically present with you, whom you’ve never seen, and can’t see, except through the power of god, but today telephones make it very possible without divine intervention.

    What’s you’re take on this historic and present day disparity?

    The realm reserved to the divine has been pushed back and re-defined as technology and our scientific understanding of the universe progress.

  42. karamea says

    I would bet internet cookies that this is a sad attempt to prop up the idea of religious visions; e.g. I can get an unwanted phone call from someone I’ve never met before trying to sell me something, therefore it is equally likely that somebody really did see the Virgin Mary appear to them/hear the voice of god.

    The part where one involves a physical system seems to escape them. (Then again, mobile phones don’t have wires so they’re probably like magic to these types).

    If the person on the other end of the line says they want to talk to me about changing my electricity supplier, it is no great leap of faith to assume that I am talking to a human being who works for an electricity company (and then hang up on them). If they say they’re from my bank and need some information about my account, I can still assume I’m talking to a human being but I should exercise more caution regarding their true identity. If I get a phone call telling me that I’m talking to my deceased grandfather, the spirit of Blackbeard, the ruler of the Martian Empire or God Herself, I can assume I am talking to a human being who is lying to me.

    To get someone like Andre to spin in circles, ask how you could be sure that you were communicating with a good spirit and not an evil one.

  43. Brownian says

    A BUTTER KNIFE!? BEFORE LABOR DAY!?

    I’ve used that joke on people in a hospital wearing white lab coats in mid-September. They didn’t get it. All day long I had to put up with concerned health records nurses coming up to me: “What’s this about wearing white after Labour Day? We’re supposed to buy new lab coats? Was there a memo or something?”

    Clearly, I’m doing penance for my iniquities in past lives.

  44. says

    The genuinely sad part about communications like this is that Andre heard somebody, maybe a preacher, say that, and thought it was so cool, and so convincing that he just had to send it to PZ.

    And given its garbled, semi-coherent qualities, I suspect it didn’t get passed on with 100% accuracy.
    Sort of like “andre” is playing…wait for it…the telephone game.
    Fuckin’ electromagnetics, how do they work?

  45. demonax says

    Suspect it will be Siva who answers rather than Vishnu.He is more telephone friendly and works for several Indian telephone companies to judge by his portrayals on their calendars.

  46. datasolution says

    Please wait whilst someone comes along to remind us you are a rape apologist with a convenient link, then slink back into the bandwidth in the most oleaginous manner you can manage.

    You are a fucking idiot, reminding people that women often lie about being raped so as to not appear slutty before their parents and peers and to seek revenge and climb social ladders due to blackmailing is a responsible awareness thing.

  47. Louis says

    Brownian, #50,

    Clearly, I’m doing penance for my iniquities in past lives.

    Indeed. Just as clear is that the poltergeists in my house are moving toy car to under my bed. Especially the really annoying noisy ones that go off late at night for no apparent reason.

    These are facts. Proper facts. Not pub facts. I demand a grant, some subordinates and some of that big fat atheist liberal research money* I hear so much about.

    Louis

    *Used to abort change, prove climate babies, institute state evolution, propagandise for communism in science classes, support the married agenda, and force people to be gay. Or something.

  48. Louis says

    Datasolution,

    LOL, yeah, clearly it’s ME that’s the fucking idiot.

    {slow clap}

    Louis

  49. Brownian says

    reminding people that women often lie about being raped so as to not appear slutty before their parents and peers and to seek revenge and climb social ladders due to blackmailing

    See, FilthyHuman? This is exactly what I’m talking about.

  50. says

    What underlies this particularly idiotic missive is the usual, the supposed notion that atheists say “there can’t be a god,” “magic can’t happen,” or similar denial of whatever other damn-fool thing theists claim happened. Well, you can’t rule out a God, miracles, life after death, after all, can you, “prof. superior atheist?”

    Uh, no, we can’t, and never claimed that we could. You made the claim, we asked for reason to believe said claim, and you didn’t meaningfully back up your claim. That’s what it’s all about, not denying every possibility that might be raised.

    But that’s how the stakes are laid out by preachers in a whole lot of stupid little churches. Supposedly, the atheists say that something “couldn’t be” or “couldn’t happen,” and they’re proved wrong by whatever, ergo they’re not worth a hearing. So Andre thinks he’s made a good point, when all he in fact did was to show that he hasn’t a clue what the typical atheist in science actually holds or claims.

    Glen Davidson

  51. Dave, the Kwisatz Haderach says

    Sorry, but I can’t let it slide, Ing @#36, the leader of the Unseen University is the Archchancellor, not the “Archcouncilor”. I hate to correct you Ing, I have much respect for ya, but if you’re going to get Discworld trivia wrong, I don’t have a choice.

  52. says

    You are a fucking idiot, reminding people that women often lie about being raped so as to not appear slutty before their parents and peers and to seek revenge and climb social ladders due to blackmailing is a responsible awareness thing.

    Saying shit like “women often lie about being raped,” without quantifying how often, or how it compares to the percentage of rapists who are ever punished, is complete bullshit.
    And having had this conversation before, I know you’ve been exposed to the numbers. What did you do with them, sprinkle them on your breakfast cereal?
    The reason we use statistics is to get a clearer picture of the whole situation. The reason you avoid such things is to muddle the picture.
    Grow some goddamn empathy, and maybe someone, someday, will have some for you. For now, here’s a question: fuck you, isn’t it?

  53. jaycee says

    Not only would “the athiest” be concerned about having a conversation with someone who can’t be seen, but if he has any sense, he would be equally concerned with a conversation with someone who I can’t even hear, or writing letters to someone who doesn’t write back. I guess god is just not much of a conversationalist huh?

  54. Dave, the Kwisatz Haderach says

    @Louis, #56,
    What a coincidence, at my friend’s house (who, mysteriously, also has a 2-yr old), the toy cars magically appear underfoot, in the dark, on the stairs. I always leave his house limping, clearly that’s a miracle.

    And just shut the hell up already, datasolution. No one wants to hear whatever vile filth you are going to spew out next.

  55. Agent Smith says

    Andre and his ilk : carrying out conversations with someone they’ll never meet for well over 150 years.

  56. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    datasolution,

    Would you do us all a great favor, if you can fit it in your busy schedule? Please fuck off. On behalf of normal human beings, I thank you.

  57. crocodoc says

    150 years ago, while atheists and scientists denied the possibility of a telephone, christian pioneers figured out how to use electromagnetics wave to transmit written words, a voice or a picture. They developed the microphone and the loudspeaker, modulation techniques, all kinds of power plants, space technology to place satellites in earth´s orbit, LCDs, codecs to reduce required bandwith and flash applications to take advantage of the now unused bandwith. They came up with a model that allowed to calculate relativistic effects on satellites. They studied the bible and found astonishing effects in quantum physics that atheists simply wouldn´t believe. For many of them their very life was at stake (literally) because atheists used violent methods to keep them from research and observations that constantly revealed new wonders and new questions and were a danger to the close-minded scientific view of the world. It´s really a shame that atheists now even abuse this christian™ technology to spread their filthy word.

  58. says

    datasolution:

    You are I am a fucking idiot, reminding people that women often obsessively fixating upon a tiny, unrepresentative minority of cases where women lie about being raped so as to not appear slutty before their parents and peers and to seek revenge and climb social ladders due to blackmailing is a responsible awareness thing disgusting misogynistic tactic to smear all rape victims as liars.

    Fixed that for you.

  59. Louis says

    Dave, the Kwisatz Haderach, #64,

    1) Honoured to meet you. I mean the Kwisatz Haderach….wow!

    2) Poltergeists. Bastards get everywhere. Luckily I have me my trusting poltergeist gun. I’ve been shooting anything I think is a poltergeist for nigh on 20 years now, man and boy. So far I only have a 99.9999% error rate. Bagged me a postman last week. 50th one this year.

    Louis

  60. janine says

    Cupcakesolution, go google a blog called ERV. The regulars there would be more receptive to your wisdom.

  61. Louis says

    ‘Tis, #66,

    Oh come now, that really is a high bar to set. I mean, Datasolution will have to find some off, catch it, subdue it and then fuck it. Really that sort of ability is beyond him. When it comes to fucking I reckon he should stick to what clearly is the only thing he knows: himself.

    ;-)

    Louis

  62. says

    Actually, I observed that it is far more likely that such people are Americans. “You’re” is especially a giveaway, Europeans simply don’t make such mistakes.

    Yes, we do. Also, what Louis said. Now fuck off.

  63. Sastra says

    Glen Davidson #60 wrote:

    Supposedly, the atheists say that something “couldn’t be” or “couldn’t happen,” and they’re proved wrong by whatever, ergo they’re not worth a hearing.

    Right. The ever-popular Argument from Analogy. Always a bad, inappropriate analogy, and often expressed in the form of “You know that situation where one side was wrong and the other side was right? Yeah? Well, you’re being like the guy who was wrong and I’m like the guy who was right. So I win.”

    It’s bad enough when this is considered a defeater to skepticism. But I think a lot of people use it to convince themselves of a bad idea. If believing in God is like believing in love … then I must already believe in God. It’s faith, but it’s a reasonable faith.

  64. Happiestsadist says

    Datashitheap: Kindly fuck off, and possibly die. Or merely never communicate with another living creature again, whichever.

    Ms. Daisy Cutter: You sent me that video, I think. Or I sent it your way. We’ve shared so much of the best of the internet over the years. Have you seen the one with the screwdriver in the urethra?

  65. Sastra says

    @ crocodoc #67

    That was evil genius. Wait for that to come up in D’Souza’s next debate. And it will be your fault.

  66. moonbat52 says

    In actuality, 150 years ago, an educated atheist would be familiar with the existence of telephones. She might never have used one, but she would have known about them.

  67. plainenglish says

    My dear young niece married a man with a cell phone who left his wife because his wife just would not accept Jesus’ call. So, with the blessings of the elder telephone users, the first wife had her wires cut, her number blocked. My niece then stepped up (she has cell phone too) accepted her man of telecelestialcommunications, or whatever they call it now… And it suddenly stung me that all my life, my preacher dad told me God could change my life and not my WIFE. You had to keep her! I could a bin sumbuddy…. Jesus can change your wife! Will it be today or delay! Wait the phone is ringing. I have to find something to kill on the altar, quick, to make that ringing stop…

  68. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    You are a fucking idiot, reminding people that women often lie about being raped so as to not appear slutty before their parents and peers and to seek revenge and climb social ladders due to blackmailing is a responsible awareness thing.

    “often”

    fucking weasel

  69. ikesolem says

    Hey, andre’s email has some value, in that it can be used to demonstrate the difference between the scientific perspective and the religious perspective.

    An atheist 150 years ago would have known nothing about quantum mechanics, relativity theory, Hubble’s redshifts (the expanding universe), the nature of genetic inheritance (DNA). Their ‘picture of reality’ – assuming they were up on the science of the day – would have likely been highly deterministic (based on Newtonian physical concepts) – but they would also have known, as we do today, that there was no existing evidence for the objective reality of fairy tales about deities, gods, children of gods, afterlives, etc.

    If you take the scientific approach, then you allow your ‘picture of reality’ to constantly change as new information is received – you might even keep multiple ‘pictures of reality’ in your head, not being certain which one is correct. What you clearly would not do is base that picture on some thousand year old text written down by a guy having visions in a cave, or scribbling away in a monastic cell, or on any similar ‘holy book’.

    This is really the most dangerous aspect of religious indoctrination, in that it labels the ‘multiple working hypothesis’ approach – critical to science – as ‘blasphemy.’ Children saddled with a strict religious upbringing are thus incapable of balanced rational thought – they end up ‘running around with invisible messages scrawled on the inside of their foreheads’ (as William Gibson put it). Aka brainwashed cult victims.

  70. FilthyHuman says

    @Brownian
    #39

    Uh, no? How come Ken Ham gets to talk no matter what? Can this work for anyone? Let’s try a few more combinations:

    Do I really want a world where Glenn Beck is allowed to express his view while Jon Stewart cannot? No.

    Do I really want a world where Paul Simon is allowed to express his view while Nickelback cannot? Getting warmer.

    Do I really want a world where undead Carl Sagan is allowed to express his view while Pat Robertson lay buried alive, thinking over his ill-spent life as his oxygen slowly runs out? Yeah, I really kinda do.

    And can you guaranteed that it is always you or someone to think like you making the decision on who gets the right to speech?

  71. says

    Shit, you mean that was gawd the last time some dodo mispronounced my name on a blocked number call to my cell phone? I thought it was some phone-sales fuckwad with english as a 14th language and I was very rude – sorry gawd!

  72. ikesolem says

    This also illustrates the subjective reality problem. As in

    “I went into the desert and starved myself for days, and then I started hearing voices, which I knew were real – I heard them – and I wrote down what they said, and here it is, divine revelation, everything you need to know, the holy book!”

    They never bring any digital recording devices when that happens, but then, they wouldn’t work because God can talk directly into your head without bothering with biochemical sensory channels. Can’t beat that logic, can you?

    Good luck to andre, but he might have more luck talking to himself with the aid of some powerful hallucinogenic drugs – it’s easier than that starvation & thirst business, if perhaps less ‘morally pure.’ And the visuals are quite spectacular, they say.

    In fact there’s a theory that such naturally occurring plant / fungal compounds played central roles in the evolution of religious belief in proto-human social groups. Funny, isn’t it, how science can explain the rise of religious belief in our ancestral lineage?

  73. Brownian says

    And can you guaranteed that it is always you or someone to think like you making the decision on who gets the right to speech?

    Duh. That’s the whole point of suppressing free speech among my enemies—to concentrate my power and control.

    Have you never thought this through?

  74. ikesolem says

    Try to make a joke, you get taken seriously. Try and make a serious comment, they think you’re joking. Rough world, eh?

  75. ogremeister says

    what kind of evidence for a deity would it be if my phone rings, I answer, and a voice says, “I am Vishnu. Worship me!”?

    One would think it would be stronger evidence for a student/colleague/friend/family member’s sense of humour.

  76. Brownian says

    Try to make a joke, you get taken seriously. Try and make a serious comment, they think you’re joking. Rough world, eh?

    Ikesolem, you have no idea the amount of leeway I am granted by this perpetual state.

  77. says

    P.S. Also, PYGMIES and DWARFS? Still nothing. Plus: Hitler.

    what kind of shitty argument is that Louis? Who is that going to convince? Now if you had said “PYGMIES + DWARFS” it would have convince us…

    (For people new to this blog, I’ll be kind and explain that this is a reference to this old post)

  78. janine says

    Ikesolem, you have no idea the amount of leeway I am granted by this perpetual state.

    In my case, I swing between the terror of what these people would do to people like me if they had more power and laughing at the incoherence of the thought process.

    I admit that it is a rather strange thing to do.

  79. says

    Glen Davidson — But of course Galileo was a theist . . .

    Not entirely clear. Paula Findlen, in The Nation, reviews two new biographies of Galileo, by John L. Heilbron and David Wootton. The main difference in their evaluation of this person for the ages is the extent to which he may have abandoned faith. Of course he had no choice but to make an outward appearance of piety. The question is whether he ultimately concluded that religion was not consistent with reason. (His public statement on this question, in Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina, was very much like modern accomodationism: that they occupy separate realms and concern separate kinds of truth.

    My feeling from the Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is that he could not possibly have accepted Christian doctrine. He considered the universe to be infinite and to have no center; and he also demonstrated that he was aware of the earth’s great antiquity, although no doubt he greatly underestimated it just as he underestimated the distance to the stars. But it is difficult even for us who have actual knowledge of the vastness and age of the universe to comprehend it. In any event, Galileo was rational enough to know that without the creation myth and the garden and the fall, indeed without there being anything special about the earth and humanity, Christian theology is nonsensical. Yet today, many people happily accept the doublethink needed to avoid this conclusion.

  80. says

    hairychris #14:

    I really hope that English isn’t this guy’s first language, and if it is then he’s about 9yo…

    Oh. God.

    This Andre types, spells and thinks like a South African creationist. Is he South African?

    Am I right? In a country filled to the brim with pure wrong, am I an anomalous blip of accidental rightness in this case?

  81. truthspeaker says

    moonbat52 says:
    6 March 2012 at 11:58 am

    In actuality, 150 years ago, an educated atheist would be familiar with the existence of telephones.

    I doubt it, as Alexander Graham Bell’s patent was issues in 1876. Certainly in 1872 several people were working on inventing the telephone, so an atheist who had some connection to those inventors, either directly or through academic or industry publishing, could have been aware that someone was developing the concept.

  82. Gregory Greenwood says

    datasolution @ 53;

    You are a fucking idiot, reminding people that women often lie about being raped so as to not appear slutty before their parents and peers and to seek revenge and climb social ladders due to blackmailing is a responsible awareness thing.

    You know that whole ‘tell a lie often enough and people will start to believe it’ thing? Sorry, but that just doesn’t work so well around here.

    On the upside, I have a consolation prize for you – your very own decomposing porcupine. I am sure you know what to do with it by now…

  83. says

    Derpsolution:

    BLAH BLAH BLAH SLUTTY BITCHES LIE BLAH BLAH BLAH

    ‘Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool…

    Happiestsadist: Actually, someone posted a .gif from that video in my LiveJournal years ago. I will have to ask him if he still has it lying around.

    Would you mind posting the screwdriver video on FreeRepublic via sockpuppet emailing me a link to the screwdriver video? Thanks much.

  84. antipodeanatheist says

    Only 150 years of long distance communication methods, hah ! I mock your stupidity Andre. Australian Aborigines were using a method called a Bullroarer more than 17,000 years ago to communicate with people they couldn’t see over long distances. Similar communication tools were common in other cultures too in Europe and Asia and date to the Palaeolithic period. Technological advances/science is NOT magic !!!!!!

  85. madknitter says

    @Chigau, #74

    “If datasolution plays only a single note, can it be called a tune?”

    Sure, just like the vuvuzela.

  86. shaundenney says

    To quote the great philosopher Majikthise:
    “I mean what’s the use of our sitting up half the night arguing that there may or may not be a God if this machine only goes and gives us his bleeding phone number the next morning?”

  87. FilthyHuman says

    datasolution, do us all a favour and go chew on some thermite.

    Burning thermite?

  88. says

    what kind of evidence for a deity would it be if my phone rings, I answer, and a voice says, “I am Vishnu. Worship me!”?

    Next time I see an out-of-state number I don’t recognize on my caller ID, I’m so stealing that.

  89. says

    Try to make a joke, you get taken seriously. Try and make a serious comment, they think you’re joking. Rough world, eh?

    That’s why I go for quantum humor. Many things I say are both joking and serious.

  90. benfromca says

    Frankly, I’m surprised that you were able to make any sense of that email at all!

  91. says

    Gregory Greenwood:

    On the upside, I have a consolation prize for you – your very own decomposing porcupine. I am sure you know what to do with it by now…

    It turns out it’s illegal to have intercourse with a porcupine in Florida. Go figure.

  92. ogremeister says

    Next time I see an out-of-state number I don’t recognize on my caller ID, I’m so stealing that.

    “Hello. You have reached the Deity Answering Service.
    For Yahweh, press 1.
    For Allah, press 2.
    For Vishnu or any other Hindu entity, press 3.
    For Odin or any other Norse god, press 4.
    For Zeus or any other Greek god, press 5.
    For Jupiter or any other Roman god, press 6.
    For Cthulhu, seek help.

    For any other deity or spirit, please remain on the line and an avatar will assist you shortly.”

  93. Brownian says

    That’s why I go for quantum humor. Many things I say are both joking and serious.

    Quantum comedy clubs have an event horizon backing the stage rather than a brick wall, otherwise the setup and the punchline of a quantum joke would annihilate each other. What makes it to the audience is called Heckling radiation.

    Huh? Huh? Hoo-boy, tough crowd.

    Fortunately for me, in space no one can hear crickets chirp.

    Y’know, last week I played a set on a neutron star. I came offstage, I told another comic in the green room: “I almost died out there.” He said, “What are you talking about? Your whole set, I heard bursts of applause!” I said, “Yeah, but they were gamma-ray bursts!

    Thanks, folks, I’ll be here until heat death of the universe. Please, tip your servers!

  94. carpenterman says

    Ow,ow,ow…The Stupid! THE STUPID! It buuuuurns!!!
    Oh dog, will we ever get rid of The Stupid?

  95. KG says

    Australian Aborigines were using a method called a Bullroarer more than 17,000 years ago to communicate with people they couldn’t see over long distances. Similar communication tools were common in other cultures too in Europe and Asia and date to the Palaeolithic period. – antipodeanatheist

    How much could (can?) be communicated? Was (is?) it a full language. Do you have any good references?

  96. Brownian says

    How much could (can?) be communicated? Was (is?) it a full language. Do you have any good references?

    Since an operator can play and not play, the communication possibilities are as unlimited as any binary communication system, and depending on how much sound modulation is possible, it could be potentially more efficient, though their ever having been used for full language communication is highly doubtful.

  97. says

    KG, bullroarers were mostly ceremonial according to the sources I’ve read (and only handed by men, obviously). Still, it would be interesting to find out whether they could be used to communicate meaningfully.

    I have an uncle who is married into an aboriginal tribe – maybe he can answer that question. It is important, however, to remember that there are many different tribes, and what is true for one tribe, is not necessarily true for another.

  98. upprunitegundanna says

    Well, I googled this “andre” fellow, and it turns out that he’s a giant! Checkmate again, atheists!

  99. Brownian says

    Well, I googled this “andre” fellow, and it turns out that he’s a giant! Checkmate again, atheists!

    You keep using Google. I do not think it works how you think it works.

  100. David Marjanović says

    Actually, I observed that it is far more likely that such people are Americans. “You’re” is especially a giveaway, Europeans simply don’t make such mistakes.

    Those who’re good enough at English do. Giliell did just this morning.

    a country filled to the brim with pure wrong

    Day saved.

    I suspect your testicles only descended in an ashamed effort to get further away from you

    ROTFLMAO!

    You are a fucking idiot, reminding people that women often lie about being raped so as to not appear slutty before their parents and peers and to seek revenge and climb social ladders due to blackmailing is a responsible awareness thing.

    I’m sure you have good reasons for including that “often” in there. One would, however, like to learn more about these reasons. Could you, for instance, direct me to a published study or three? I would be much obliged.

  101. David Marjanović says

    Quantum comedy clubs have an event horizon backing the stage rather than a brick wall, otherwise the setup and the punchline of a quantum joke would annihilate each other. What makes it to the audience is called Heckling radiation.

    That is just awesome.

  102. truthspeaker says

    This is actually a category error I’ve seen other believers make about why atheists don’t believe.

    It’s not that we don’t understand how God performs miracles and communicates with people. There are lots of things I don’t understand that still happen, and I still believe they happen.

    It’s that we don’t believe anyone performed those miracles or communicated with those people who say God spoke to them.

    I can conceive of some extra-universal, thinking entity that can create a universe and interact with its inhabitants. I can conceive of it having the capacity to love the living things it created. I’ve been reading science fiction since I was a little kid. I conceive of weirder things than that every day.

    I just don’t see any reason to believe that such a thing actually exists.

  103. firstapproximation says

    Kinda sounds like an andre we had at the other Pharyngula:

    1.

    i can not reply to Dawkins’s type argument “why would God” we talking science here.Well below some more evolutionist’s speculation abut human and kangaroo common ancestor. This time author says that the “large parts of genome were conserved”. Ha ha ha “conserved” of course by the omnipotent chance for the future vision of upcoming humanity. Do not you people use brain at all? Do you suppose that mice was a common ancestor for all primates? Were primates contemporary to mice at the original ancestry time or were there only mice at the stage?
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1315837/

    speaking of terms of natural selection: it would not “conserve” anything, It would eliminate all unnecessary features in the legendary ancestor because keeping it for the future humanity would be huge energy consuming effort..
    Geeez. Who you call retards?

    2.

    To clarify i am not associated with any church or creationist organization. I am just informed layman.Actually I believe the Earth to be in central position in the Universe as the Scripture says.Some creationists accept Copernicus.If you did not know the Copernican system is still a theory just as evolutionism is.

    Hope it’s the same person. Don’t want two of these morons about.

  104. Brownian says

    This is actually a category error I’ve seen other believers make about why atheists don’t believe.

    Good point, truthspeaker. I’ve encountered this error with paranormalists, new agers, and alt medicine people too.

    They tend to look like you just smacked ‘em with a fish when you respond to their “How do you explain that?” by suggesting that their cousin’s girlfriend’s little brother simply thought he saw a ghost.

  105. Brownian says

    Hope it’s the same person. Don’t want two of these morons about.

    I think your optimism is misplaced. There is most certainly more than two of them, and probably more than we can reasonably swat within our lifetimes.

  106. seditiosus says

    While I appreciate the importance of freedom of speech, I do think the world would be a better place if people would engage their brains and actually think before opening their big mouths and exercising said freedom.

  107. christophburschka says

    Have atheist believe that it’s impossible change?

    What’s you’re take on this historic and present day disparity?

    All I got from that is “how is babby formed?”

    This is staggeringly inane. Is he seriously using the advance of science and technology as evidence in favor of religion?

  108. says

    Attilla the Hun’s communications, to coordinate his several parallel armies, using relays of mirrors or flags, were damn near as fast as radio.

  109. Ubi Dubium says

    …what kind of evidence for a deity would it be if my phone rings, I answer, and a voice says, “I am Vishnu. Worship me!”?

    Phones are too easy! Now when a banana rings, and I answer it, and it’s Vishnu on the line, then they’ll have something.

  110. says

    I don’t understand his argument at all. Can someone clarify? Is is just that things happen nowadays that were inconceivable years ago and therefore we might someday find proof of god(ess)(e)(s)?

    Isn’t God by definition impossible? If we found a scientific way of making Him, then he wouldn’t be God, right?

  111. Jerry says

    Brownian said:

    This is actually a category error I’ve seen other believers make about why atheists don’t believe.

    Good point, truthspeaker. I’ve encountered this error with paranormalists, new agers, and alt medicine people too.

    They tend to look like you just smacked ‘em with a fish when you respond to their “How do you explain that?” by suggesting that their cousin’s girlfriend’s little brother simply thought he saw a ghost.

    Humans are very good at pattern recognition and tracking motion. These are survival traits (evolution). The problem is that when it’s all random noise and there isn’t a pattern, our imagination “finds” one anyway. Hence, shadows become ghosts, and sleep paralysis becomes demonic possession or alien abduction.

  112. chigau (同じ) says

    Ubi Dubium

    Phones are too easy! Now when a banana rings, and I answer it, and it’s Vishnu on the line, then they’ll have something.

    Fuck Yes!
    That would work for me!

  113. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Phones are too easy! Now when a banana rings, and I answer it, and it’s Vishnu on the line, then they’ll have something.

    I don’t know about Vishnu, but there is a documented case involving Ganesha which, in my opinion, is even more convincing.

    “You’re” is especially a giveaway, Europeans simply don’t make such mistakes.

    Those who’re good enough at English do

    Then I pray that I am not good enough, as the frequent abuse of there, your and all they’re approximate homophones gives severe brainpain two me whilst reading.

  114. says

    feralboy12 @ #51:

    Fuckin’ electromagnetics, how do they work?

    A lot easier than you think, as long as you stick to base units and use exponential notation.

    Keep all your lengths in metres (and your areas in square metres), measure all your flux in Webers, irrespective of however insane this may make the numbers, and the answers will come out right.

  115. catnip67 says

    Videos of screwdrivers in urethras? OUCH!

    I physically recoiled at that one!

    Mental images ……:-0 make them stop!

    I didn’t even see any video. Just the thought! Ugh!

  116. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I’m getting increasingly frustrated with this blog.

    My psychic powers are at the cleaners, could you elaborate?

  117. matriarchy says

    Um, ok, re. datasolution. I haven’t actually had contact with a female who is not a relative, so I suppose I’m not really qualified to speak on the subject, but people have told me that false allegations have happened. It’s a small minority, but still. So I think this venom is uncalled for.

  118. KG says

    Markita,

    Thanks for the talking drum link! All these premodern means of rapid long-distance communication are fascinating.

  119. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    this

    I suspect your testicles only descended in an ashamed effort to get further away from you

    Is the funniest fucking thing I’ve read in a long while.

  120. carbonbasedlifeform says

    Actually, I observed that it is far more likely that such people are Americans. “You’re” is especially a giveaway, Europeans simply don’t make such mistakes.

    Even in British English, “you’re” as a contraction for “you are” is perfectly acceptable.

  121. Ze Madmax says

    matriarchy @ #136

    Um, ok, re. datasolution. I haven’t actually had contact with a female who is not a relative, so I suppose I’m not really qualified to speak on the subject, but people have told me that false allegations have happened. It’s a small minority, but still. So I think this venom is uncalled for.

    So you’re not qualified to talk about the subject, but you will do so nonetheless?

    You claim that “people have told you” that false rape accusations happen? And while you agree it’s a small minority, you end with that “but still“. Are you aware of the kind of language you are using?

    Here’s the thing with datacupcake and yourself. You fail to acknowledge the fact that data has shown that false accusations for rape occur at no higher rates than false accusations for other crimes. And unlike other crimes, rape victims face an enormous amount of societal pressure that often keeps them from reporting the rape. So when a scum-sucking creep like datasolution comes around talking about it’s an “awareness raising issue”, what xe is doing is promoting the same hostile environment that makes rape so underreported.

    And your own weasel wording of the issue is doing the exact same thing. So if you think that, despite the fact that datasolution is contributing to a social atmosphere that is actively hostile to rape victims, the venom he received was uncalled for, then you are either a fucking idiot, or really clueless.

    P.S.: “matriarchy” as a ‘nym? Really?

  122. matriarchy says

    Um, ok, I never said that false rape allegations occur at a higher rate than false allegations re. other crimes… actually, I’m sure they don’t. Just that they happen, and since rape is probably the most reviled crime in our culture (moreso than murder, even), it’s important to remind ourselves that we have a court system for a reason. Let them do the work, impartially.

    I will agree, we should probably have more boobs working in the justice system, but that’s a whole nother topic.

  123. chigau (同じ) says

    I will agree, we should probably have more boobs working in the justice system, but that’s a whole nother topic.

    Are you sure you aren’t in the 8th grade?

  124. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    it’s important to remind ourselves that we have a court system for a reason. Let them do the work, impartially.

    Your naivete is cute.

    That or you’re just being an ass

  125. Ze Madmax says

    matriarchy @#143

    and since rape is probably the most reviled crime in our culture (moreso than murder, even)

    Of course. Rape is so reviled that trying to shift the blame to the victim would never happen, like it does with all those instances in which the murdered victim was “asking for it”.

  126. birgerjohansson says

    Ing: “How would a being that is omnipotent actually communicate with us? I think it would head right into an “unto like an amoebae” problem”
    — — — — — — —
    See Stanislaw Lem’s novels “Solaris” and “His Master’s Voice”
    A non-trivial problem, even for a superintelligence.