Brains and beaks »« Episode CCCXLVIII: Cyberpunky

Atheists can be idiots, too

Oh, crap. You knew this was going to happen sometime: apparently, some atheists have vandalized a church with pro-“athiesm” messages.

Guys, don’t do that.

At least some atheists with integrity have set up a fundraiser to repair the damage. Chip in; I think lots of small donations would send a clear message that this was something not supported by the greater atheist community.

Comments

  1. dianne says

    Guys, don’t do that.

    Aaaahhhhh!!!!

    Don’t you know that saying “don’t do that” makes you worse than the Stasi and Nazis combined!!! And means you hate all atheists! And that you never want atheists to be allowed to express themselves ever! And Richard Dawkins thinks its shocking that they even complained when there are places in the world where Christians are facing real persecution(tm)!

    Ok, I’ll stop now. Just a bit bitter about…things that already have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that atheists can be idiots too.

  2. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    At least some atheists with integrity have set up a fundraiser to repair the damage. Chip in; I think lots of small donations would send a clear message that this was something not supported by the greater atheist community.

    Sadly, the fact that something shouldn’t be “supported by the greater community” doesn’t mean it isn’t.

    I’d like to point out to those no-true-atheists, that this money could have been spent far better on, say, charity, but now we have to waste in on cleaning up after these fuckers.

  3. julian says

    I’d like to point out to those no-true-atheists, that this money could have been spent far better on, say, charity, but now we have to waste in on cleaning up after these fuckers.

    Way better things. Many of them not even atheism related but there’s no shortage of those either.Hell the time they spent tagging the place could’ve been spent volunteering for a local skeptic’s group, school or library.

    Short on fund otherwise I’d happily donate.

  4. anubisprime says

    I mean it makes eff’ all difference but has it been confirmed that it was actually atheists?…it was just not ‘kewl’ whatever!

    And no doubt whoever did it then the atheists would get the blame anyway by default.

    Although apparently these ‘atheists’ were a little challenged…could not spell ‘Atheist’ apparently.

    Maybe not used to the word in a intimate way…like not visiting and talking about atheist & atheism on various blogs or reading about it etc!

    Funny how a lot of xian stormtroopers have exactly the same problem with that little word…just sayin’!

  5. jackrawlinson says

    Let’s not rule out the possibility that these people may not actually have been atheists. Let’s wait until we actually have some decent evidence before rushing to condemnation, eh? I think perhaps we’ve been a bit too reluctant to do that lately, haven’t we? Or at least, some of us have.

  6. says

    Oh JackRawlinson you never fail to disappoint our incredibly hilariousness high expectations of your dishonesty and idiocy. You’re like the Batman of being a douchebag

  7. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Let’s not rule out the possibility that these people may not actually have been atheists. Let’s wait until we actually have some decent evidence before rushing to condemnation, eh? I think perhaps we’ve been a bit too reluctant to do that lately, haven’t we? Or at least, some of us have.

    Jackrawlinson indulging in a spot of victim-blaming. Well, colour me surprised in the seven fucking colours of the rainbow. That has never happened before…

  8. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    You could of course claim that not only were they no true atheists, but that it actually was a setup to discredit atheism. However, making the assumption would not exactly constitute taking the high road. Then again, some might feel that they are coerced into taking responsibility by what is a deliberate scam. In the end, none of it matters because it is no more and no less than a little act of kindness by the atheist community, and in more blunt terms, a PR investment.

  9. jthompson says

    @anubisprime: I thought the same thing when I heard about this. Weird how those vandalizing atheists spell like Christians.

    I could almost see the twisted logic of spray painting God = Delusion or There is no god if you’re a complete dick. Why in hell would anyone paint “Athiesm” though? It’s not a slogan.

    I think I’m going to wait for more evidence too.

    I did like how the story brought up what was probably a completely unrelated vandalism to push the “Atheists are nazis!” angle, though.

  10. gragra, something clever after the comma says

    Another of looking at it, Jack, is the following: it is unlikely that the culprits will come forward, so we will probably never know for certain. But it’s not exactly an extraordinary claim, that some atheists out there are hot headed enough to do such a thing. After all, lacking a god belief is no guarantee of other qualities in a person, such as having empathy for someone else’s feelings when their personal space or property has been violated?

  11. says

    Just to be clear, from the link to Mehta’s fundraising post:

    I spoke with Pastor Vincent earlier today and he told me they’ve mostly cleaned up the damage. He added that he wasn’t even sure it was atheists who did this — “they misspelled ‘atheism’ in the graffiti!” — but he hopes the vandals stop what they’re doing.

    So here’s what I’m suggesting:

    I’m setting up a fundraiser. The plan is that the pastor and I will figure out a good (secular, non-proselytizing) charity group in his area that could use the donations. Together, we will give that charity whatever we raise.

    It’s a gesture to show that, while we have very serious disagreements about the nature of God, we all want to help our communities and make this world a better place. It’s possible to work together toward that cause. It’s also a slap in the face to the vandals — if they wanted to prove anything, they failed.

    There is no reason to “wait for more evidence” in order to do the right thing by this community.

  12. jthompson says

    @gragra: That’s a good point, I wish your post had gone up before mine, because I probably wouldn’t have posted it. I do feel bad for them that their property was vandalized, and I certainly don’t think they did it to themselves.

    A few years ago I might have disagreed with you, but then women that dared to speak out about harassment got threatening letters and all manner of shit…

    So yeah, it’s not like I can deny we have screaming assholes that would do something like this.

    I’ll make a donation just because I don’t like anyone being victimized, no matter who they are or who did it.

  13. Alverant says

    Remember 4 years ago when a woman claimed some black men carved a B into her cheek? … backwards? Maybe Atheists did it. Maybe it was someone trying to give Atheists a bad name did it. The bias in this story makes me skeptical.

  14. Roving Rockhound, collector of dirt says

    Sili@4 and julian@5: I agree, and so does Hemant. Go read the post. The money is being donated to a local secular charity picked by Hemant and the pastor together – it’s not going towards prettifying the building or towards a proselytizing group.

  15. says

    Chipped in for a symbolic $5. Because I support the way Mehta puts it:

    It’s a gesture to show that, while we have very serious disagreements about the nature of God, we all want to help our communities and make this world a better place. It’s possible to work together toward that cause. It’s also a slap in the face to the vandals — if they wanted to prove anything, they failed. I hope they’re caught and penalized. And I hope the stories about the vandalism talk about how atheists came together with the church to support a local charity, and not how some evil atheist(s) did this awful damage.

  16. mandrellian says

    @7:

    evidencey evidence required, &c.

    Oh, absolutely. Let’s run them through a Voight-Kampff test (atheism variant) and rank them on the Dawkins 1-7 Scale before we call them fuckwits.

    Me thinks this commenter has a news alert for the phrase “Guys, don’t do that.”

  17. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    Alverant,

    that black letterfull stuff above your post, that’s called the comment thread containing previous comments by other commenters, in which certain issues relevant to your post may have been discussed. Reading it before posting is sometimes advisable.

  18. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    @mandrellian

    Very good idea! We show them a turtle lying on its back in the desert and ask them to pray for it to make God turn it around. And then they shoot everyone or their heads explode!… right?

  19. says

    My tax money already subsidizes that church so there’s no point in me giving money until they reimburse the taxpayers for the services they leeched from the community for free. Then I’ll chip in some cash.

  20. joed says

    wow @18 those people are sickos. violence really is self-defeating.
    Like The Mahatma said: “Nonviolent refusal to cooperate with injustice is the way to defeat it”
    Videos like that @18 are not healthy.
    Like Kilgore Trout said: “We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane”.

  21. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    I don’t have a problem with Metha or the pastor. I have a problem with the idiots who vandalism is a good use of time.

  22. says

    a3kr0n
    Wait a minute… didn’t you express your disgust towards this blog and fuck off weeks ago?

    Hey wait… What if this is a ploy by the church to get our money?
    Crap!

    Protip: there are links, you can follow them to know more.

    I’m setting up a fundraiser. The plan is that the pastor and I will figure out a good (secular, non-proselytizing) charity group in his area that could use the donations. Together, we will give that charity whatever we raise.

  23. raven says

    crosspost from Dispatches FTB:

    I’m willing to double my donation as a bet that this one done by one of the kids in the youth ministry.
    That can happen.

    1. Someone burned a fundie church to the ground in my area. It was the teenage son of one of the members who had some sort of issues with the church.

    2. In Utah, a few years ago, a Mormon church was vandalized. By the kids who went to the church who somehow were sick and tired of being Mormon. I don’t think it was a good idea but I can understand being sick and tired of being raised Mormon. They have something like confession for kids where you are supposed to tell the Bishop (a lay member who frequently has a brain the size of a walnut) about your life of sin.

    3. The Baptist churches in Texas were torched by young adults who…were Baptists. They never explained why. I suspect they just wanted to burn buildings for fun.

  24. pinkey says

    I chipped in a symbolic $5 too, on the assumption that these are “real” athiests (though the thought had crossed my mind that they’re publicity-seeking christians making a bad name for us.)

    You CAN BE a good person without (or with) God. Same applies for being a jackass.

  25. thetalkingstove says

    at the risk of stating the extremely obvious:

    The video in post 18 is supposed to be humorous.

    It’s not particularly great, but it’s not a real organisation.

  26. raven says

    Crosspost Dispatches FTB:

    LDS Church Vandalized
    ww.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2619059/posts

    1 Nov 2010 – Four Utah County teens are being accused of vandalizing an LDS ….
    the kids that vandalized that church were children of member families, too.

    and

    2 teens arrested for Santaquin church blaze | ksl.com
    k slcrm.
    bonnint.net/index.php?nid=148&sid…2…santaquin…

    17 Dec 2011 – Arson suspected in Mormon meetinghouse fire in Santaquin … The stake center was built in the 1940s and was one of the oldest churches in Santaquin. Part of …..

    deseret news comments:

    it may not be a hate crime. When the Santaquin stake center was torched everyone assumed it was a hate crime, but as soon as they found the arsonists, the arson and coverage of it was hushed up. It turned out to be teens- probably Mormon teens because their was no angry calls for justice, just an article in Santaquin’s online news asking that the kids be forgiven.

    Just reading Google, it seems vandalism of Mormon churches is common. It is often done by Mormon kids. Doesn’t look like being a Mormon kid is all that fun.

  27. simonsays says

    I’m all for taking responsibility (not to mention accurate spelling!), but does the church know Hemant is raising money for them? A similar incident happened last year at a different church and they told him no thanks they didn’t need the money.

  28. raven says

    From Google and personal recollections, church arson and vandalism is common.

    Quite often it is either people with some issues with the churches or people, usually kids, that actually go to the church.

    There is a lot of history on this point and I’ve seen it in my own area.

    Could it have been atheists? Sure, since we don’t know, it could have been Bigfoot or Tinkerbell.

    Is it likely? Based on past history, not really. The fact that they misspelled atheist as athiest doesn’t make it look too likely either.

    In any event, I hope they catch them. Violence like this is alway counterproductive. If they are really atheists, they would do us a favor by joining a church.

  29. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    @raven

    Although I don’t advocate vandalism, I’m not sure I’m so quick to judge. Young people or kinds who are basically forced to attend this church by their parents, who are for example nonbelievers, might easily feel or actually be psychologically abused for not believing. It’s not such a far out idea, and while I don’t want to engage in victim blaming here, since you started to speculate, I think it needs to be said…

  30. forgotmygingko says

    Allow me a moment to play *cough* Devil’s advocate…

    But given the vandalism is in places that aren’t overly emotionally significant (i.e. ON Jesus, or the cross, or… wherever… ) this looks a little bit like an inside job. At least, not done by someone who really wanted to be mean about it. The misspelling of Atheism, overall lack of creativity, and general classlessness sorta strikes this atheist as being either iffy.

    I will happily chip in and help – this is repulsive – but, I’d be interested to see what the forensic evidence shows.

  31. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Maybe they’re socially awkward.

    *Scroans, then hands over complementary favorite swill*

  32. says

    Tyrant al-Kalām:

    Dear lard, people, read the fucking thread before commenting.

    Then we wouldn’t be able to make embarassingly uninformed comments. And really, where’s the fun in that?

  33. says

    Churches are vandalized and set fire to quite often because they are large buildings that are empty a lot of the time. They also catch fire a lot because they tend to have homemade electrical systems. If the church is specifically targeted it’s probably by someone who was forced to go there by his parents, or someone who used to go there.

    I’d put my money on “young drunk jerk who happens to be atheist and found the church an easy target” but it doesn’t really matter. The atheists can help clean up and everyone will feel better about it.

  34. says

    Weed Monkey @35 – Fuckin’ elephant memory, that’s what you have!
    Yes, I did express my disgust towards this blog and fuck off weeks ago. I realized later that I relate to PZ more than anyone else in this world, so I have to think about why I said what I did because I was probably, er…
    wrong.

  35. consciousness razor says

    Could it have been atheists? Sure, since we don’t know, it could have been Bigfoot or Tinkerbell.

    Poor raven. Reality is hard sometimes, isn’t it?

    Is it likely? Based on past history, not really. The fact that they misspelled atheist as athiest doesn’t make it look too likely either.

    Because bad spelling is more likely from theist vandals than atheist vandals? Based on comparing Dawkins’ and Hitchens’ spelling with a random selection of internet godbots’, I think you may be onto something here.

    In any event, I hope they catch them.

    Then why was your first inclination to rant about goddists who’ve done shit like this (here and at Dispatches)?

    Violence like this is alway counterproductive.

    Property damage isn’t violence; but anyway, I personally don’t much care about your assessment of what is counterproductive.

    If they are really atheists, they would do us a favor by joining a church.

    Who’s “us”? That wouldn’t be any kind of favor to me. It would be nice if people stopped doing bad shit, however they identify themselves, which would include thinking like a tribalistic dipshit.

  36. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    I do not want to vandalize nor burn burn any churches. I want them to close up shop because they to not have enough followers to support them.

  37. says

    In the news report embedded in Hemant’s post, the pastor says “that with God’s help that we’ll be able to get through it.”

    You might get through it a little easier with some atheist help, but I don’t think that divine intercession is really necessary. The graffiti has already been rendered unreadable. Let the healing begin!

  38. 'Tis Himself says

    I threw in some money.

    Incidentally and anecdotally, I have problems spelling atheist, but then I’m a bad speeler. Fortunately I have a speel chequer installed on this compewter.

  39. meursalt says

    I realize that the majority here are not saying this, but I’ve seen several posts both here and on Dispatches suggesting that the vandals are most likely Christians or family of church members. Folks, isn’t it a bit premature to start victim-blaming with no evidence other than a misspelling, even if the victims are “them?” Isn’t this the sort of rhetoric that we find frustrating when the other side does it? Do we really want to sink to their level of discourse?

    Kudos to PZ for discouraging it. With the information we’ve been given so far, we should take the vandalism at face value and assume the town in question has some idiot vandals who happen to self-identify as atheists (or at least as “athiests”).

  40. raven says

    CR the troll:

    CR: Poor raven. Reality is hard sometimes, isn’t it? Gibberish which has nothing to do with anything I posted.

    Raven: Violence like this is alway counterproductive.

    CR: Property damage isn’t violence; Yeah, it is.

    CR: but anyway, I personally don’t much care about your assessment of what is counterproductive.Which is why you wrote and posted several paragraphs of incoherent babbling? You are clearly a liar.

    Raven: If they are really atheists, they would do us a favor by joining a church.

    CR:Who’s “us”?

    Atheists who are bright and normal people. That isn’t you so don’t worry about it.

    CR: That wouldn’t be any kind of favor to me.

    You are a religionist? That explains a lot. Don’t you have a meeting of your xian terrorist group or a Mosque or family planning clinic to bomb or something?

    CR: It would be nice if people stopped doing bad shit, however they identify themselves, which would include thinking like a tribalistic dipshit.

    Bad shit like wasting electrons and photons on the internet with mindless personal attacks and incoherent babbling like you just did? Bad shit like trolling for kicks, like you just did? Bad shit like lying that you just did? Being dumb like you are?

  41. sw says

    Yeah, in the absence of evidence that this was done by theists, I kind of think we have to own this one. And a simple “sorry, I’ll remind everyone on this side of the argument not to do that sort of thing” is all that’s really required.

    That being said, if you really, *really*, REALLY feel the need to do something like that, check you fucking spelling first. Jesus.
    You know what, just to be safe, use a stencil. You can spend days crafting your message perfectly and put it up in seconds.

    I mean, if it were something like http://data.whicdn.com/images/9039345/tumblr_le25y6ZqEA1qftyfpo1_500_thumb.jpg
    or http://cakeheadlovesevil.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/2926632153_c7e2ba9a51.jpg?w=529
    or even http://sevenred.net/wp-content/images/church.jpg
    you might get a bit of a laugh before people tell you to stop painting other people’s shit. Don’t graffiti churches, but if you’re going to do it anyway, at least do it right.

  42. sw says

    setting up a fundraiser by atheists to clean it up is classy as fuck though, and above and beyond the call of duty, so well done to them

  43. Brad says

    That week’s sermon was about not vandalizing buildings, and how tired buildings get of being vandalized all. the. time.

  44. raven says

    AE:

    Yeah, it is.

    No, it isn’t.

    Violent Storms Hit East Coast .
    ews.google.com/newspapers?nid=2245&dat…id…sjid…

    Violent storms hit East Coast . By United Press International Violent thunderstorms spiked with 80 winds roared through parts of Virginia, causing extensive …

    Who knew thunderstorms had been granted personhood? I suppose if corporations can be persons, so can storms.

  45. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gee, if I was so stoopid as to trash the churches within a half mile of the domicile and work (1 3/4 miles from the domicile) and points in between, it would involve 25-30 churches, and not that far from law enforcement buildings. Not even worth trying to give them the middle finger salute in passing. Have to save that for the bicyclists on the wrong side of the street/blowing through traffic control signs/lights, and pedestrians jaywalking.

  46. raven says

    @Raven

    CR is not a troll, get off it

    CR was a troll. That was a rather mindless and incoherent personal attack that had little to do with the thread or what I posted.

    Was because it is now in the killfile with Heddle and a few others. I’m glad it wrote it though. I don’t ever have to waste valuable seconds reading anything that dumb from it again.

  47. combat says

    Raven, this is moronic. CR said nothing irrelevant or gibberish in his post. Quite frankly if you find his post incoherent that shows more about you than him.

    We stand no benefit from them joining another group, that’s just fucking stupid. They’re not in our community, you will never speak to them, it is irrelevant. I like how your mind is so tribal, so primitive, that you can’t even comprehend the idea that someone just doesn’t care if someone who did something bad has a trait in common with them. What, you don’t care if these vandals are atheists? You must be a theist in that case! No, he must be a remotely intelligent human being.

  48. combat says

    CR was a troll. That was a rather mindless and incoherent personal attack that had little to do with the thread or what I posted.

    One can not pay for comedy like this.

  49. consciousness razor says

    Which is why you wrote and posted several paragraphs of incoherent babbling? You are clearly a liar.

    So if I didn’t respond to you at all, would what do you think that would imply? That I’m honest?

    Also, does that look like several paragraphs to you? And what exactly do you think was incoherent about any of it?

    You are a religionist? That explains a lot. Don’t you have a meeting of your xian terrorist group or a Mosque or family planning clinic to bomb or something?

    Where the fuck did you get that idea? Don’t you call yourself a pagan, by the way? I consider paganism (of whatever kind) a religion, yet strangely enough, that doesn’t mean I’d expect you to be a terrorist.

  50. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Given that any lingering doubt I might have had about no small number of atheists being regressive, misogynist assholes has gone out the window over the last few months, that they could also be the sort of idiot who’d do this sadly doesn’t surprise me much at all.

  51. Hurinomyces bruxellensis says

    Chip in; I think lots of small donations would send a clear message that this was something not supported by the greater atheist community.

    Respectfully, no. I show that I don’t support church vandalism by not doing it. Helping them rebuild their brainwashing center is going too far in my book, and IMO it isn’t likely to lessen the ill will toward atheism in the christian community anyway.

    I’m going to donate the $25 to camp quest instead. I’ll “pray” for the christians.

  52. says

    Frankly I really do not care who did this, be they atheists or theists. Either way they are asses, though perhaps for slightly different reasons depending on their motivation. I have met plenty of people that were stupid and said they were atheists (and probably would have misspelled that word as well), and while I thought their ideas were incoherent I am not willing to play the No True Atheist card. I gladly condemn these actions and have no urge to play the Christian conspiracy game.

  53. meursalt says

    To play devil’s advocate on the issue of whether vandalism is violence, a case can be made that some types of property damage are a form of violence, using a loose definition of violence. This would include the sort of damage that is committed with a violent motion, such as swinging a baseball bat into a window. However, I think including spraypainting would be a pretty big stretch. Not to mention that to use the word “violence” in reference to property seems to me to be trivializing the really bad kind of violence, you know, against living things and stuff. I think this latter point would take precedence over the looser definition among most of the commentariate here.

    @raven re: the thunderstorm example, you seem to be confusing the perpetrator of violence with the object of the violence. Forces of nature don’t need personhood to be violent by either definition; they only need to be capable of injuring living things, or to involve forces strong enough to be considered “violent” in the looser sense.

    CR’s rebuttal looked spot-on to me. I can see how one might take exception to the “reality is hard” statement, but this was in reference to the apparent assertion by raven that vandalism by atheists is less likely than the existence of Bigfoot. Raven, was this really what you meant to claim?

  54. says

    Spray painting something requires it be repaired, ie it is violence since it is damaging property. Stop being pedantic dicks about it just because it’s a church.

  55. meursalt says

    @Ing, care to explain how “pedantic dicks” is not a gendered insult? I’m new at this stuff, and it’s apparently more complicated than I thought…

    ;)

    I’m not seriously offended, but since you took me to task over simply using the word “slur” in its widely accepted definition, you know I couldn’t just let that slide.

  56. meursalt says

    @Ing, and you’re a class act for admitting it. I know I’ve been nothing but argumentative with you so far, but please don’t take it wrong. I generally appreciate the quality of your posts. From here on out, I’ll just call bullshit on the rare occasions I see it.

  57. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    So… why does it matter who the perpetrators were, except perhaps to the church affected, or perhaps the local authorities if they’re involved?

    Something nasty was done by someone in the ‘name of atheism’. Who the perpetrators were is of no consequence – the correct and socially progressive response is to help clean up.

    This way, not only are we showing the idiots who did this that their little stunt wasn’t representative of what we stand for but we also get to show we’re not the callous monsters that we’re often portrayed as.

    Win-win. Of course, fundie minds could also take this as an admission of guilt, but we all know full well that anything we do at this point will be an admission of guilt to someone who’s been that thoroughly brainbleached.

  58. says

    Re misspelling: FWIW, there was a car with the plate “ATHIEST” in the parking lot of the American Atheist Convention hotel in DC. I have no idea whether the owner is just a lousy speller, or trying to make some obscure and ironic point or what. But I doubt he was a Christian ;-).

  59. says

    @Pitz

    TY

    Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.[2] This definition associates intentionality with the committing of the act itself, irrespective of the outcome it produces.

    Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable.[1] The term also includes criminal damage such as graffiti and defacement directed towards any property without permission of the owner.

    So comparing and contrasting vandalism can be violence. I’m sure that the church would argue that the psychological harm from the damage makes it qualify.

  60. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    So comparing and contrasting vandalism can be violence.

    No, your quotes do not support that interpretation.

  61. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    So comparing and contrasting vandalism can be violence.

    No, your quotes do not support that interpretation.

    (And you are minimizing violence.)

  62. Hurinomyces bruxellensis says

    @PZ

    NO. Take responsibility. What are you going to do, say that these weren’t True Atheists™?

    I don’t actually care that much whether this was done by atheists, but I think its worth pointing out how superficial the evidence is. Its probably also worth mentioning that this town also apparently has a gang of Nazis running around who like vandalizing churches:

    Between 11 p.m. May 11, and 8 a.m. May 12, unknown suspects vandalized the St. Johns Lutheran Church property at 1028 St. Johns Road.

    The suspects spray painted the church parking lot with “DF 10.”

    The church’s basketball court backboard had a swastika painted on it and alcoholic beverages were left on the parking lot.

    http://irmo.patch.com/articles/suspects-sought-in-2-irmo-church-vandalisms#photo-first

    Church vandalizing athiest nazis? Church vandalizing atheists and unrelated nazis? Teenagers doing mildly destructive, inflammatory things for the lulz?

    I don’t know exactly what is going on in Irmo SC, but I could come up with several reasonable hypotheses that don’t involve the local chapter of CFI.

  63. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Violence is committed against people: “against oneself, another person, or against a group or community”.

    Vandalism is committed against stuff: “in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable. The term also includes criminal damage such as graffiti and defacement directed towards any property”

  64. says

    @Ixchel

    No I’m not. For example I think we can agree that cross burning would be both vandalism and violence due to the

    psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.

    in how it targets a community.

  65. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    No I’m not. For example I think we can agree that cross burning would be both vandalism and violence due to the

    No, I would not agree. Cross-burning is a threat of violence.

    Yes but you can target a group of people via targeting their property.

    You can “target” them but it doesn’t follow that you’re committing violence against them.

    People are not their property.

  66. ChasCPeterson says

    cross burning would be both vandalism and violence

    Depends on who owns the cross, I guess.

  67. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Burning a cross bears a threat of violence and is not just an act of vandalism.

    Scribbling my name on a bathroom stall on the other hand bears no such threat.

    Whether the vandals intended such a threat, or if the congregation perceived one, I suppose is an open question.

  68. ChasCPeterson says

    I mean, it’s hardly ‘vandalism’ if a few ol’ boys decide to burn their own cross on their own private property.
    Or even on somebody else’s property.

  69. says

    Burning a cross bears a threat of violence and is not just an act of vandalism.

    Scribbling my name on a bathroom stall on the other hand bears no such threat.

    Whether the vandals intended such a threat, or if the congregation perceived one, I suppose is an open question.

    Fair enough.

    You can “target” them but it doesn’t follow that you’re committing violence against them.

    People are not their property.

    Ok sorry if I’m not getting this, but by this definition if someone took a sledge hammer to your car that wouldn’t be violence?

  70. says

    I mean, it’s hardly ‘vandalism’ if a few ol’ boys decide to burn their own cross on their own private property.
    Or even on somebody else’s property.

    I’d argue that the burning itself could damage someone’s lawn but then I’d be being pedantic so point conceded.

  71. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Or even on somebody else’s property.

    That’s going to ruin the grass.

    At the very least they’re going to leave a lot of ashes and probably half-burnt logs behind. I think it’s safe to say this would be vandalism. Also a hate crime in many jurisdictions.

    by this definition if someone took a sledge hammer to your car that wouldn’t be violence?

    No. Why do you want property destruction to be violence?

    It’s still illegal.

  72. says

    That’s going to ruin the grass.

    At the very least they’re going to leave a lot of ashes and probably half-burnt logs behind. I think it’s safe to say this would be vandalism. Also a hate crime in many jurisdictions.

    Lol

    No. Why do you want property destruction to be violence?

    I think you’d know me well enough to know that I’d clearly not WANT it to be so but that I am actually asking a question. You’re being rude when you know I’ll just accept your answer as given.

  73. consciousness razor says

    Violence is committed against people: “against oneself, another person, or against a group or community”.

    I’d also include non-human animals.

    I don’t really care about linguistic pedantry or doing “violence to the English language” (which I’m using metaphorically, in case anyone asks), so if the word is used for property damage, we should at least be clear that these two uses of “violence” are referring to very different concepts. To be honest, I didn’t expect this to be a controversial point.

  74. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I think you’d know me well enough to know that I’d clearly not WANT it to be so but that I am actually asking a question.

    Do I? I know you pretty well but that seems like an exceptionally wonky bit of mindreading. I could’ve told you what SC would think about it because I’ve seen her discuss property damage before. OTOH I’m generally better at predicting Walton’s reactions but I’m not 100% sure what he’d say.

    You’re being rude when you know I’ll just accept your answer as given.

    Sorry, I really did not foresee this.

  75. quentinlong says

    sez eamon knight:

    Re misspelling: FWIW, there was a car with the plate “ATHIEST” in the parking lot of the American Atheist Convention hotel in DC. I have no idea whether the owner is just a lousy speller, or trying to make some obscure and ironic point or what. But I doubt he was a Christian ;-).

    Hmmm… even a vanity plate needs to have a unique character string. Maybe that person was the second one in their state who wanted an ‘ATHEIST’ plate, and what you saw was their second choice?

  76. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Pardon my continued pedantry, but the distinctions between violence, threat of violence, and vandalism are of some utility when assessing the seriousness of a crime.

    So you can make the argument that violence against property is violence of a sort, but it would blur a useful distinction when assessing the crime reported in the OP.

  77. says

    Do I?

    I’d hope you’d notice that I was actually asking for the clarification on the definitions you’re using. It seems to me that presuming some form of stubbornness or malice on my part especially in such a short conversation was rather uncalled for. You don’t appreciate being called a liar after all; I rather don’t appreciate this insinuation that I’m being intentionally thick or trying to minimize violence. After all if the definitional term does minimize violence I’d want to know, which is why I asked.

  78. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    And shitzies. CR beat me to it. I’m all Johnny-come-lately up in here.

  79. says

    So you can make the argument that violence against property is violence of a sort, but it would blur a useful distinction when assessing the crime reported in the OP.

    Thank you! I’m up to speed.

  80. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @eamon knight & quentin long –

    It’s also not out of the realm of possibility for the person setting up the plate in the computer that controls the manufacturing to have simply mis-transcribed it from the paper request of an atheist who does know how to spell.

    Or, this could be the work of Tpyos, again in the paper-to-computer transition.

    But there are quite a few people out there who identify as presbyterians who spell that wrong. Why shouldn’t we assume as null hypothesis that the vanity plate indicates the letters and ordering requested by the vain?

  81. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    You don’t appreciate being called a liar after all; I rather don’t appreciate this insinuation that I’m being intentionally thick or trying to minimize violence.

    I wish I could say that I didn’t appreciate being called a pedantic dick, but this insult has never seem to slow me down much.

  82. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    It seems to me that presuming some form of stubbornness or malice on my part

    Er, sorry. That wasn’t how I was thinking about it. Certainly not malice. I just got the impression you were doing a bit of motivated cognition, is all. Obviously I misjudged. Mea culpa.

    I rather don’t appreciate this insinuation that I’m being intentionally thick or trying to minimize violence. After all if the definitional term does minimize violence I’d want to know, which is why I asked.

    Okay, I understand your frustration now. I apologize.

  83. mythbri says

    @108 consciousness razor

    I agree, thanks for saying it. One can own an animal, but harm done to that animal is not property damage – it is violent animal cruelty.

  84. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    consciousness razor, you are like the biggest troll here, forrealz.

  85. consciousness razor says

    consciousness razor, you are like the biggest troll here, forrealz.

    Au contraire, I thought you were a bigger troll. But who would you say is the biggest, and how am I like him or her?

  86. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Poopyhead Zachary Myers is the biggest troll, and you are like him in that you are fun.

  87. consciousness razor says

    That’s true. I also have a beard, but mine is better and more godless.

  88. rapiddominance says

    Though I dislike atheism just as much as the next theist, I have to admit that atheists simply do not strike me as violent or criminal in the least.

    As I’ve spent time at various FTB sites criticizing your community’s rhetoric (at times a little too harshly) I owe it to all of you to mention that I have found absolutely nothing in your day-to-day language that I believe solicits physically destructive behavior.

    You shouldn’t HAVE to raise funds to sell your near perfect image in regards to non-violence; but I do think that what you’re doing now is kind and conducive to peaceful relations between our camps.

    **********

    Also, the congregation you are helping owes you both gratitude for the aid you’re extending as well as recognition of an existing kindness that you harbor.

    Hold them to an appropriate response.

  89. says

    Though I dislike atheism just as much as the next theist, I have to admit that atheists simply do not strike me as violent or criminal in the least.

    See this is what we in the snark business call “damning with faint praise”

    As I’ve spent time at various FTB sites criticizing your community’s rhetoric (at times a little too harshly) I owe it to all of you to mention that I have found absolutely nothing in your day-to-day language that I believe solicits physically destructive behavior.

    I just want to commend you for being smarter than most of your ilk then for not confusing naughty words with action. I clearly under estimated you*

    You shouldn’t HAVE to raise funds to sell your near perfect image in regards to non-violence; but I do think that what you’re doing now is kind and conducive to peaceful relations between our camps.

    I’d be a lot more greatful for this comment if your ilk didn’t constantly refer to our camp as that of a concentrating variety

    Also, the congregation you are helping owes you both gratitude for the aid you’re extending as well as recognition of an existing kindness that you harbor.

    Hold them to an appropriate response.

    Why? Does this somehow make things ‘worth it?’

    *Oh see I did it too!

  90. cyberCMDR says

    I googled the location of the churches, and they are about one mile apart. About equidistant to each church is a big high school/middle school complex.

    Any guesses where the perpetrators came from?

  91. cyberCMDR says

    That explains the DF10, too. The schools are Dutch Forks Middle and High Schools. 10th grade, perhaps?

  92. Hurinomyces bruxellensis says

    That explains the DF10, too. The schools are Dutch Forks Middle and High Schools. 10th grade, perhaps?

    Wouldn’t be surprising. Nice job unearthing those details.

  93. McC2lhu iz not nu. says

    It doesn’t matter one whit whether or not the cretins who did the vandalism were atheist or not. What does matter is the response of the larger atheist community. Donating to a fund to repair the damages is the best message we can convey. Think of all the times a member of one of the religious groups does something nasty and the greater portion of that same community does nothing, indicating a quiet endorsement of the crime. The charitable fund is exactly the right thing to do.

  94. says

    I googled the location of the churches, and they are about one mile apart. About equidistant to each church is a big high school/middle school complex.

    Any guesses where the perpetrators came from?

    Darwinism class? </Barry Arrington

    Glen Davidson

  95. Hurinomyces bruxellensis says

    It doesn’t matter one whit whether or not the cretins who did the vandalism were atheist or not. What does matter is the response of the larger atheist community. Donating to a fund to repair the damages is the best message we can convey.

    Don’t be silly. There were two distinct incidents of vandalism in this town, and only one of them featured atheist references. Guess which one PZ chose to blog about?

    As for the damages (which included 3 tags on tile and concrete surfaces) the pastor says he has mostly cleaned them up, so this talk about money to ‘repair the damages’ is inaccurate.

    The 2000 or so dollars that they have raised are apparently not going to fix the damage (since 5 bucks for a bottle of turpentine is probably all that it took). The link says they are working with the pastor to find a mutually agreeable charity to funnel that into. Oddly that makes me feel better, since I can feel more confident that this money is not going to be funneled into proselytizing.

    Think of all the times a member of one of the religious groups does something nasty and the greater portion of that same community does nothing, indicating a quiet endorsement of the crime. The charitable fund is exactly the right thing to do.

    A disavowal is sufficient to not be endorsing something. If you think the fund drive is a nice gesture and want to donate to it, then good for you. I disagree with the implication, though, that we have some duty to participate. I’m still not going to donate to any charities that I haven’t vetted prior to donation.

  96. meursalt says

    To support Ing’s claim of “vandalism can be violence” which Ixchel challenged, arson would be a good example of an act which meets all the criteria for vandalism, but is also an act of violence since it has potential for injury or death to occupants or neighbors of the target structure. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive, do they?

    @Antiochus, Banksy is not violence, unless you count his risking self injury from accessing difficult locations. Sorry for the delayed response; it took a moment for the name to sink in.

    Srsly, you guise need to get your groupthought in line. At this rate, you’ll be lucky to operate as an effective fem-IRS.

  97. fredsalvador says

    @28:

    True atheists support minority rights and those being oppressed whenever and whereever it happens.

    True atheists don’t believe in gods. You can burn churches, write nasty words on synagogues, leave pig heads at mosques, commit armed robberies or systematically cause 20 million+ deaths through persecution, arrogance and indifference – none of these things imply belief in gods, therefore you’re still an atheist.

    Tribalism is counterproductive.

  98. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    To support Ing’s claim of “vandalism can be violence” which Ixchel challenged, arson would be a good example of an act which meets all the criteria for vandalism, but is also an act of violence since it has potential for injury or death to occupants or neighbors of the target structure. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive, do they?

    For my definition of violence, arson is borderline as it is difficult for a firebug to be sure that no one will be harmed. But I strenuously object to the characterization of breaking windows, cutting fences, painting walls, or disabling machinery as “violent”. Especially in light of the propensity for law enforcement to broaden the definition of violence at their convenience (sometimes including such Ghandian methods as sitting on the ground and linking arms) to justify actual physical brutality, and the main stream media’s consistent refusal to report on polite, legal protests.

  99. Matt Penfold says

    For my definition of violence, arson is borderline as it is difficult for a firebug to be sure that no one will be harmed. But I strenuously object to the characterization of breaking windows, cutting fences, painting walls, or disabling machinery as “violent”.

    Surely it would depend on the reason for the vandalism ? Are you really denying that vandalism cannot be used to intimidate or coerce ?

  100. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Intimidation, or threat of violence, is not the same thing as actual violence. Actual violence is perpetrated every day against innocent citizens by police in the name of “protecting property”. So please stop with the false equivalence already, it is actively harmful.

  101. Mak says

    Also, the congregation you are helping owes you both gratitude for the aid you’re extending as well as recognition of an existing kindness that you harbor.

    Hold them to an appropriate response.

    They’ve already decided ahead of time that their god’s the one who’s going to help them. I reckon that’ll be who ultimately gets the credit, in the end.

    The vandalism is dumb as hell, but admittedly I’m a little more disturbed at watching the news spin “There is no god” and “Ath[eism]” and “God = Delusion” as messages of hate, and knowing the sheriff thinks spraypainting a church is “the lowest levels” one can stoop. Shitty thing to do, sure, but lowest of the low? Ouch, nice to know tagging a church is just as scuzzy as abusing children or beating up queer people.

  102. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Shitty thing to do, sure, but lowest of the low? Ouch, nice to know tagging a church is just as scuzzy as abusing children or beating up queer people.

    Word. This was juvenile as fuck and whoever is responsible was doing exactly no favors to anyone but let’s have a little fucking perspective.

  103. tweekledamn says

    yeah i know some atheists can be idiots. this one atheist i heard of, got another atheist banned from a blog for expressing an opinion that they didn’t agree with. that atheist probably prides himself for being a free-thinker too!

  104. Matt Penfold says

    Intimidation, or threat of violence, is not the same thing as actual violence. Actual violence is perpetrated every day against innocent citizens by police in the name of “protecting property”. So please stop with the false equivalence already, it is actively harmful.

    So causing psychological harm does not count as violence for you ?

    You are not normally as stupid as this, so what gives ?

  105. Matt Penfold says

    And I would add under English law, deliberately seeking to cause someone psychological harm can, and has been, prosecuted as assault. So on a factual level you are wrong as well.

  106. Hurinomyces bruxellensis says

    And I would add under English law, deliberately seeking to cause someone psychological harm can, and has been, prosecuted as assault. So on a factual level you are wrong as well.

    That’s not “factual” its an argument from authority.

  107. fredsalvador says

    An authority which jails kids for attempted looting. Which is to say, a really shitty authority that enables and protects inequity in society.

  108. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Matt Penfold: I don’t think anyone has argued that causing psychological harm isn’t harm. It can usefully be regarded as a different type of harm than causing physical harm. Even if English law conflates the two, standards of evidence must be qualitatively different in cases in which the plaintiff has been physically assaulted, versus psychologically assaulted.

    Anyway, this doesn’t have much to do with what was being discussed, which was the conflation of harm to property with harm to people.

  109. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    . this one atheist i heard of, got another atheist banned from a blog for expressing an opinion that they didn’t agree with. that atheist probably prides himself for being a free-thinker too!

    Evidently someone is too stoopid to listen to PZ’s rebutal. How something was said, and the double down stupidity of reaction, not so much what was said, led to the firing. And free thinking, as explained in the video, doesn’t mean swallowing all the tripe that comes along as you idiotically imply. Evidence is in there somewhere, unlike your evidenceless fuckwitted arguments which *poof* can be dismissed as nonsense. That is free thinking in action.

  110. w00dview says

    Thanks tweekledamn for proving the point of the article’s title so succinctly.

  111. Louis says

    Whoever vandalised this church needs a good smack upside the head (metaphorically speaking).

    I’m just nipping over to donate. This bullshit, even if not done by atheists, doesn’t happen in my name. Disgusting.

    Louis

  112. Louis says

    Oh and before anyone misunderstands, yes this bullshit is vastly less disgusting than {insert really disgusting thing here}. And I lose very little by flinging $5 (or whatever) their way, the message is more important, they look like they are adequately compensated for the damage after all.

    Louis

  113. Matt Penfold says

    That’s not “factual” its an argument from authority.

    Er, no, It it how deliberately causing psychological harm can be prosecuted under English law. If you were not aware of that then the fault is yours, not mine.

  114. Matt Penfold says

    Matt Penfold: I don’t think anyone has argued that causing psychological harm isn’t harm. It can usefully be regarded as a different type of harm than causing physical harm. Even if English law conflates the two, standards of evidence must be qualitatively different in cases in which the plaintiff has been physically assaulted, versus psychologically assaulted.

    There is am alarming number of people commenting here who seem to regard physical injury as somehow being more serious, or even different, than psychological injury. People who quite frankly should know better.

    Essentially what you and other are saying is that bullying that does not involve the infliction of physical injury is less serious than bullying that is psychological in nature, and that will not do.

  115. amandac says

    I think the question of whether or not property damage is violence is at base a political one.
    If one believes that property cannot “belong” to a person in the same way that their body “belongs” to them, then an attack on property would not be as serious as an attack on a person.
    A libertarian friend of mine, on the other hand, believes that the only reason that we have human rights is that our body is our property (thereby putting our stuff and our selves on the same footing).

    The question of psychological violence is a different question. Yes, vandalism can be psychological violence in the same way that death threats are. However, vandalism in and of itself is not equal to psychological violence.

    In this particular case, I would say that there was psychological violence involved, since there was an act of vandalism which included an attack on the belief tenets of the congregation of the church.

  116. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Maybe this has become so off-topic that it should be TZTed. But…

    There is am alarming number of people commenting here who seem to regard physical injury as somehow being more serious, or even different, than psychological injury. People who quite frankly should know better.

    I see no evidence of that.

    Essentially what you and other are saying is that bullying that does not involve the infliction of physical injury is less serious than bullying that is psychological in nature, and that will not do.

    I have said no such thing. And please allow me to set this misapprehension right. Tremendous psychological harm can be caused without laying a finger on a person, and this harm can certainly be as grievous as physical assault. The distributions of degree of harm for physical and psychological assaults are diffuse and overlapping.
    But this does not indicate that these two crimes are indistinguishable. Further, I think the distinction is useful. A person who commits an act of vandalism with the intention and effect of causing psychological harm may be charged with two crimes, while a person who commits an act of vandalism without such intentions/effects should only be charged with one. Similarly, a person may perpetrate both psychological and physical abuse against another person, and may rightly be charged with both crimes, whereas a person who commits only physical or psychological abuse should be charged with only one.
    ___________________________________________
    Also, as I mentioned, even by the British standard*, evidence of psychological and physical abuse must logically be qualitatively different. Similarly, assessing the degree of harm must require different standards of evidence.

    *On which I’m taking your word.

  117. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    In this particular case, I would say that there was psychological violence involved, since there was an act of vandalism which included an attack on the belief tenets of the congregation of the church.

    Moreover, a swatsika was left as a calling card. In my experience, Nazis uniformally intend to harm others…a swastika is implicitly threatening wherever it appears.

  118. Matt Penfold says

    I see no evidence of that.

    I give up. I normally think you have worthwhile things to say, but this is obviously a blind spot for you.

  119. ChasCPeterson says

    That’s going to ruin the grass.
    At the very least they’re going to leave a lot of ashes and probably half-burnt logs behind. I think it’s safe to say this would be vandalism. Also a hate crime in many jurisdictions.

    Well, the last goes without saying. The question was about ‘vandalism’ per se. About which you are correct. I’m moving my imaginary ol’ boys back to their own imaginary property then.

  120. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I normally think you have worthwhile things to say,…

    I hold you in the same regard. I have read your comments several times, and am flummoxed. I may well have a blind spot, but I can’t see what it is.

  121. gravityisjustatheory says

    ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ

    12 July 2012 at 9:56 pm

    by this definition if someone took a sledge hammer to your car that wouldn’t be violence?

    No. Why do you want property destruction to be violence?

    It’s still illegal.

    Is this a US vs UK language issue?

    From the Oxford Dictionary of English:

    Violence:
    (1)behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage or kill someone or something. LAW: the unlawful exercise of physical force to intimidation by the exhibition of such force.

    By normal (British) English usage, describing smashing someone’s car with a sledgehammer as violence wouldn’t be a case of “wanting it to be violence”, it would be correct.

    And I don’t see why “violence against the person” being worse than violence against property means that it is wrong or trivialising to describe both as forms of violence. (I presume that’s what people are meaning when they talk about “minimising violence”. In BrEng, “minimising violence” would mean reducing violence).

  122. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    yeah i know some atheists can be idiots. this one atheist i heard of, got another atheist banned from a blog for expressing an opinion that they didn’t agree with. that atheist probably prides himself for being a free-thinker too!

    Hoggle has a blog?

  123. ChasCPeterson says

    Hoggle has a blog?

    is that a question you’d like to have answered?
    think carefully

  124. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I give up. I normally think you have worthwhile things to say, but this is obviously a blind spot for you.

    You may be right.

  125. Hurinomyces bruxellensis says

    Matt Penfold

    It it how deliberately causing psychological harm can be prosecuted under English law.

    It is a fact that the British authorities have decided to consider deliberately causing psychological harm a form of assault. This is a dictate, and has not been otherwise defended in this thread.

    And I would add under English law, deliberately seeking to cause someone psychological harm can, and has been, prosecuted as assault. So on a factual level you are wrong as well.

    It therefore does not follow that dysomniak is wrong on any level for contradicting the opinion of the British authorities. Stating that he is wrong on that basis is an argument from authority.

    I hope my second formulation was clearer.

    There is am alarming number of people commenting here who seem to regard physical injury as somehow being more serious, or even different, than psychological injury. People who quite frankly should know better.

    Essentially what you and other are saying is that bullying that does not involve the infliction of physical injury is less serious than bullying that is psychological in nature, and that will not do.

    I actually don’t believe that psychological injury is less serious than physical injury, although I think it is undeniably different. Morally it may be the same for me to cut you, and for me to bully you to the point where you engage in self harm, however, the primary phenomena of psychological and physical damage are clearly different.

    The other problem here is that psychological harm entered this discussion as a secondary effect of property damage. While I agree that property damage can bring about psychological injury, dysomniak is right to point out

    the propensity for law enforcement to broaden the definition of violence at their convenience (sometimes including such Ghandian methods as sitting on the ground and linking arms) to justify actual physical brutality,

    as a counterpoint to the idea that conflating these two phenomena is always a good idea.

  126. throwaway, these are not the bullies you're looking for says

    Schadenfreude spurs my desire for the perpetrators to be “practicing” atheists just to see the No True Atheists squirm a bit more to distance themselves. Then I realize that ‘atheist’ is still the least acceptable religious view within many societies. I don’t know if Hemant’s approach is the most effective one, but it’s certainly better than trying to distance oneself via ideological incongruities* or agents provocateur theories.

    *Because there are so many nuances to not believing in gods.

  127. throwaway, these are not the bullies you're looking for says

    *Because there are so many nuances to not believing in gods.**

    **As many or more nuances as there are individual atheists.

  128. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    And I would add under English law, deliberately seeking to cause someone psychological harm can, and has been, prosecuted as assault. So on a factual level you are wrong as well.

    That’s not “factual” its an argument from authority.

    It’s not even a well-formed argument from authority. I can trump it with a better argument from authority.

    “In law, assault is a crime which involves causing a victim to apprehend violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more limited sense of a threat of violence caused by an immediate show of force.”

    And that’s fine, but apprehending violence is not the same thing as violence.

    (Weird shit happens otherwise: if apprehending violence is violence, then apprehending the apprehending of violence is violence, and apprehending the apprehending of the apprehending of violence is violence, and at some level of recursion we’re all committing assault upon each other just by talking about this.

    Ergo I should sue Matt Penfold. I’m going to sue him in England!)

  129. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Is this a US vs UK language issue?

    I don’t know, but I was referring to the World Health Organization’s usage.

  130. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    There is am alarming number of people commenting here who seem to regard physical injury as somehow being more serious, or even different, than psychological injury. People who quite frankly should know better.

    The degree of seriousness really depends on the two instances being compared.

    Some physical injuries are worse than some psychological injuries.

    Some psychological injuries are worse than some physical injuries.

    But they are different. If they were not different then we would not understand what we mean when we say “physical injury” and “psychological injury”.

  131. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    There is am alarming number of people commenting here who seem to regard physical injury as somehow being more serious, or even different, than psychological injury. People who quite frankly should know better.

    The degree of seriousness really depends on the two instances being compared.

    Some physical injuries are worse than some psychological injuries.

    Some psychological injuries are worse than some physical injuries.

    But they are different. If they were not different then we would not understand what we mean when we say “physical injury” and “psychological injury”.

  132. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    If one believes that property cannot “belong” to a person in the same way that their body “belongs” to them,

    Another way of looking at it (commonly espoused here by Jadehawk and I’m pretty sure I agree with her) is that my property belongs to me, but my body is me — the “right of property” to one’s own body is a nonsense which should instead be understood in terms of bodily autonomy.

    For if I own my body, then I can sell my body into slavery. If I am my body, and no one can own bodies, then bodily autonomy precludes indentured servitude in a way that libertarian/propertarian theories cannot preclude.

  133. Rolan le Gargéac says

    SC (Salty Current), OM @81

    Spray painting something requires it be repaired, ie it is violence since it is damaging property.

    Oh, good grief.

    Damage is irrelevant, the root of “violence” is from “viol”, i.e. rape and the essence is “violation”, an uninvited intrusion.

  134. Rolan le Gargéac says

    The Vandals are much maligned; principally because the Romans were hideously embarrassed by the cheeky chaps when they took Leptis Major (I fink, I are a trifle pioused at the moment) by noticing that when the Games were on everybody went to the stadium for the day. Which was outside the city. The Vandals then just walked in ! Most amusing.

  135. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Yes, damage is irrelevant, since it’s possible to hit a person without causing any measurable damage — and the etymology is irrelevant here too, else vehemently violating a verdict is violence.

  136. fredsalvador says

    Er, no, It it how deliberately causing psychological harm can be prosecuted under English law. If you were not aware of that then the fault is yours, not mine.

    The fact English law treats “psychological harm” as assault isn’t suggestive or supportive of anything beyond the fact that English law treats “psychological harm” as assault. You have quoted it in support of your position on psychological harm. That’s your argument from authority.

    The extent to which “psychological harm” is treated as assault under English common law is another thing which needs to be addressed. If by “psychological harm” you mean “fear that force will be used to cause some degree of physical contact”, then that’s the DEFINITION of assault, which is why it’s been prosecuted as such. You won’t be charged with assault for goading someone about their appearance until they develop a psychological complex which eventually drives them to commit suicide – which is the kind of thing most people will think of when they read the term “psychological harm” in this context. So that’s mendacious use of terms.

    In addition, English law is a shitty authority to argue from. English legislature is heavily influenced by political populism, and it’s laws are discharged according to the mummy issues of whatever gin-soaked Old Etonian happens to be presiding (assuming the incompetent constabularies or indolent Clown Prosecution Service haven’t contrived to spike the case before it even gets that far) which means that many laws get passed based not on what makes sense, or what’s right, but rather how swing-voters feel about the crimes in question. Let’s not forget, this is the country where taking two left-footed shoes 50 yards from a looted shop before returning them makes you “a rioter” and lands you with a custodial sentence. It’s the same country where you get more time for running MDMA than you do for gang rape, or being part of a gang that systematically abuses and prostitutes adolescent girls over a period of years. It’s also the country where women who broadcast their sexual fantasies lose the right to pursue charges against men who rape them.

    This is not to say I disagree with you, necessarily. Wether it comes about by force, violence, malice, recklessness, omission, neglect or indifference, harm is bad, and neither physical nor psychological harm is “worse” than the other. Thing is, you made a mendacious argument from (shitty) authority. That’s as many as four tens. And that’s terrible.

    Another way of looking at it (commonly espoused here by Jadehawk and I’m pretty sure I agree with her) is that my property belongs to me, but my body is me — the “right of property” to one’s own body is a nonsense which should instead be understood in terms of bodily autonomy.

    For if I own my body, then I can sell my body into slavery. If I am my body, and no one can own bodies, then bodily autonomy precludes indentured servitude in a way that libertarian/propertarian theories cannot preclude.

    I like this, particularly because it meshes well with the secular idea that there is no “spiritual” or extraphysical dimension to personhood.