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Feb 10 2013

Atheists are responsible for creationism!

Here’s something that really, really annoys me: clueless idiots who blame atheism for creationism.

I don’t have stats but I strongly suspect that the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence.

That isn’t just ahistorical ignorance: it requires such short-sightedness that they aren’t able to look back even a decade.

The major events in creationism that led to their expansion were the publications of the Scofield Reference Bible and The Fundamentals in the early years of the 20th century, and the publication of The Genesis Flood in 1961. Neither periods were associated with a rise in atheism. The first actually coincides with the third Great Awakening; I don’t want to diminish the importance of Robert Ingersoll and the Golden Age of Freethought, but lets not pretend that these were serious challenges to the ubiquitous association of the church with morality and political power. They were promises of secularism that didn’t threaten the status quo all that much, yet. If you wanted something that was scaring many conservatives of that time, look to the Suffrage Movement. I don’t see many people arguing that women’s rights were responsible for creationism, but I expect they are out there.

The second major event in creationism came after the entrenchment of Christianity in the 1950s as part of the Cold War. Our money was splattered with “in God we trust” and “under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance in the 1950s; where, pray tell, were the loud aggressive atheists who prompted those religious actions in that period? Is anyone seriously going to argue that the era of the gray flannel suit and Ward Cleaver and the Red Menace was a time of high atheist activity?

Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s lawsuit to end the reading of the Bible in public schools was settled by the Supreme Court in 1963. It was not a trigger for widespread public piety, but was a response to that association of patriotism and civil life and religiosity that had been brewing in this country since the end of World War II. American Atheists was founded after “in God we trust”. Finding a causal relationship that pins the blame on atheism has a few temporal difficulties.

The Institute for Creation Research was founded in 1972. Answers in Genesis was founded in 1980. The NCSE was established in 1983, in response to the rising influence of creationism in the schools (and it is explicitly NOT an atheist organization). No one was trying to insert atheism into the schools in the 1960s. No one is trying to do that even now, but we’ve been dealing with efforts to push Genesis crap and faith-based bullshit in the schools for at least 60 years.

The Moral Majority was big news in the early 1980s, and was founded in 1979. I was wide awake and politically aware in the 1980s; there were no big atheist role models making a noise in the public sphere, they were still little more than a despised minority at the time, and most people were surprised to learn that atheists even existed in America.

The recent rise of public atheism can be traced to a number of influential books. Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, by Susan Jacoby, published in 2004. The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason in 2004 and Letter to a Christian Nation in 2006, by Sam Harris. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins in 2006.

It’s been less than ten goddamned years.

And we’ve still got idiots claiming they see a correlation between creationism/public religiosity and outspoken atheists.

Listen, whenever you see someone making that claim, you know you’ve found an idiot talking out of their ass. Give them a look of contempt and walk away.

149 comments

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  1. 1
    raven

    I don’t have stats but I strongly suspect that the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence.

    It is the other way around.

    It was the creationists that drove me out of xianity. I thought they had gone the way of the Flat Earthers. Then I met some wild eyed old guy who claimed that:

    1. Only humans have a 4 chambered heart.

    2. Only humans have muscles in their feet.

    The point being that we are special because we were created by the gods to be special. Of course, it is also wildly wrong anatomy.

    I did a little searching and found out…that they still existed!!!

    Fundie xians, mostly their vaguely toadlike leaders, create more atheists in a day than PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins do in a year.

    And they are demonstrably destroying US xianity. The xians are losing 2-3 million members a year and are on trend to go below 50% in a few decades. And the world will be a slightly better place.

  2. 2
    steve oberski

    Give them a look of contempt and walk away.

    After publicly refuting their claim, and you couldn’t do much better than using this post as the smack down.

  3. 3
    MatthewB

    Wonderful post! I have just one nitpick: It’s Madalyn Murray O’Hair, not O’Hare.

  4. 4
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    This is just the same deplorable tactic that “middle of the road” ers use on any marginalized group:

    “If you weren’t so loud about being gay you wouldn’t provoke this kind of reaction,”

    “If you weren’t so zealous and uncompromising there wouldn’t be so many extreme anti-abortion bills—-can’t you just compromise?”

    Efforts to disenfranchise others, enshrine discrimination and ignorance—these are all just Forces of Nature that Are To Be Expected. Those behind them cannot be held to a standard of responsibility for their awful behavior. No, only the victims.

  5. 5
    Sastra

    The popular trope that “atheists are responsible for creationism” is I think a conclusion derived from the creationists’ insistence that they are against evolution because the theory of evolution contradicts belief in God. So if you could just wave some magic wand and convince these people that no, the theory of evolution does NOT contradict belief in God, then the whole problem would go away. Atheists coming up and reassuring creationists that yes indeedy, “God working through evolution” not only doesn’t fit in with the major tenets of Christianity or Islam but is an unlikely hodgepodge of scientific reasoning with backward faith looks like horrible strategy. It’s telling them they’re right.

    So it’s just common sense that today’s outspoken atheists are fanning the flames of a fire they laid in the first place. Atheists are responsible for creationism because creationism is motivated by a fear of atheism. And the only way you can know about atheism is because there are atheists who talk about it. We’ll never get people to stop being afraid of atheism; we’ll never get people to displace faith with reason: thus, the common sense conclusion is to reassure them that their religion is not threatened.

    Common sense can be deceptive.

    The real reason creationists fear evolution is that it encourages critical thinking about origins. Telling them that they’re right to fear atheism but science is not a threat because faith is a virtue even from a scientific standpoint is not going to work. In science, faith is a vice. Curiosity, clarity, and consistency are anathema to any system based on mysticism. Adding a third ‘c’ of “compartmentalization” doesn’t fit in. And compartmentalizing is not going to be an option for people who want a broad, sweeping, simple answer to everything coming out of a faith commitment.

    What accomodationists are really doing is pitting one religious view against another. Sure, creationists don’t have to give up religion: they only have to give up THEIR religion. But once you’ve agreed that faith = virtue, you can’t do this. There’s no ground to stand on to push one version of God over another because you’re not working within the world and you’re not playing by rational rules.

  6. 6
    Natasha

    It’s interesting how when an oppressed and/or despised group asserts its self it’s immediately blamed for causing the oppression. hat the people pushing this narrative really mean is ‘we used to ignore the things you are fighting against and if you would just shut up we could go back to ignoring these things’. By making them confront the reality of racism, sexism or creationism you are making them uncomfortable. I am all for making people so uncomfortable that things actually change for the better

  7. 7
    atheist

    I don’t have stats but I strongly suspect that the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence.

    The grain of truth is that, as Tom Hayden would put it, movements often create counter-movements. However, as PZ argues, this particular argument (“atheists created creationists”) is not supported by history. Even if it were, I guess my response would be “so what?”.

  8. 8
    PZ Myers

    I would agree that movements create countermovements. However, the polarity is all wrong: modern secularism is a reaction to the increasing religiosity of American politics. Lots of people have said that George W. Bush helped create a generation of atheist activists.

  9. 9
    ramaus

    Listen, whenever you see someone making that claim, you know you’ve found an idiot talking out of their ass. Give them a look of contempt and walk away.

    after handing them a copy of this nice article.

  10. 10
    Area Man

    There was also the bit about the NAS revamping the science curriculum in the wake of Sputnik. They included evolution in the new standards. That set off the creationists big time, and a couple of landmark Supreme Court cases soon followed. Then came the Intelligent Design movement as a poorly conceived method for getting past those rulings.

    Creationism is largely a movement that began, and still exists, as a way to control public school science curricula. The idea that it was a backlash against an atheist movement that hardly existed back then is risible.

  11. 11
    noneternal

    Don’t forget God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by the late Christopher Hitchens (2007), although a few years later

  12. 12
    PZ Myers

    Are you seriously going to suggest that the NAS including evolution in the curriculum is an example of loud, assertive, aggressive atheism?

  13. 13
    colonelzen

    PZ I did not say “atheists are responsible for creationism”.

    That post presented a hypothesis that the internet as a medium changing significant portion of the mechanisms of how people interact with each other and society at large, causes participants to become more strongly identified with their views and more willing to voice and act upon them … often in opposition to other groups who have likewise gained deeper adherence to their opposing views also by way of the internet.

    Surely creationism antedates Dawkins, yourself et al. And atheism dates back to the ancient greeks as well. The strenghtening of creationisn – the number of people willing to publicly assert it and act upon it is (IMO) a creation of the internet as much as public discussion and advocacy of atheism.

    Please try not taking things out of context. Quotemining for some completely peripheral topic.

    – TWZ

  14. 14
    sundiver

    I don’t think tha’s what Area Man is saying at all. If I’m reading him correctly the christers knew that science education tends to make students questioners, and one thing religion cannot withstand is questioning. It’s not the questions that are embarrassing, the answers are. The bullshit spouted at me when I asked how Noah got aardvarks, penguins and kangaroos on a boat in the Mid-East 4,000 years ago started me down the path to enlightenment.

  15. 15
    sundiver

    That’s, no tha’s.

  16. 16
    anteprepro

    That post presented a hypothesis that the internet as a medium changing significant portion of the mechanisms of how people interact with each other and society at large, causes participants to become more strongly identified with their views and more willing to voice and act upon them … often in opposition to other groups who have likewise gained deeper adherence to their opposing views also by way of the internet.

    You surely didn’t make it clear, at all, that you were only talking about the internet. Even if that were your only actual claim, it is still citation needed, and your claim of quote mining is still unwarranted.

    Surely creationism antedates Dawkins, yourself et al. And atheism dates back to the ancient greeks as well. The strenghtening of creationisn – the number of people willing to publicly assert it and act upon it is (IMO) a creation of the internet as much as public discussion and advocacy of atheism.

    *facepalm*

    This is the claim that PZ’s post refutes. It is not just that creationism predates internet atheism, but that his historic examples of fluctuations in creationism advocacy HAVE NO OBVIOUS LINK with fluctuations in atheist activism. You claim that PZ has quote mined you and attributed an argument that isn’t yours, while repeating elements of the argument you allegedly weren’t making that the post uses evidence to counter. Do you really think arguing out both sides of your mouth like that really makes you come off better?

  17. 17
    sundiver

    That’s, NOT tha’s. I’m going to crash now before I somehow fuck up the power grid or something

  18. 18
    PZ Myers

    Like I said, you’re being an ahistorical twit.

    I’ve been battling creationism since the 1980s. If you think they were in any way less willing to express themselves and provoke before the coming of the internet — and need I point out that your quote correlates atheism with creationism, not creationism and atheism with the internet? — then you’re going to have to look again.

    The modern era of activist creationism begins with The Genesis Flood, and decades of trials in which they try to insert their dogma into the public schools. It has nothing to do with atheism (or vice versa), and long predates the internet. Jebus, the Discovery Institute was founded in 1990…are you going to blame that on the internet, too?

  19. 19
    sundiver

    Given their inability to understand scientific concepts like cause-and-effect, it’s possible.

  20. 20
    Michael

    I noticed that Russell Crowe is currently filming a movie about ‘Noah’. Want to bet a rise in creationists arguing the flood was real after that one comes out?

  21. 21
    Azuma Hazuki

    I think we’re making them panic, not so much responsible for creationism as responsible for scaring seven shades of the rainbow out of them and making them step up their efforts.

    Unfortunately, they’ve got a lot of money and a large chunk of the media under their control. It’s going to be hard to undo the damage.

    Really, as distasteful as the idea is, why not take the “evolution isn’t harmful to religion” approach? Catholics believe it, for example. Why do they insist on refusing to look at reality, instead smacking their God in the face with the KJV and going “No, you didn’t do what you did, you did what we SAY you did?” Bibliolaters, anyone? :)

  22. 22
    atheist

    @PZ Myers – 10 February 2013 at 11:57 am (UTC -6)

    I would agree that movements create countermovements. However, the polarity is all wrong: modern secularism is a reaction to the increasing religiosity of American politics. Lots of people have said that George W. Bush helped create a generation of atheist activists.

    I agree with that. However I think that, on a larger timescale, religious fundamentalism (of which creationism is just a recent expression), is a reaction/counermovement to modernity and Enlightenment values.

  23. 23
    stanton
    I don’t have stats but I strongly suspect that the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence.

    That isn’t just ahistorical ignorance: it requires such short-sightedness that they aren’t able to look back even a decade.

    This is not ahistorical ignorance, or even short-sightedness so severe so as to greatly impair basic, universal bodily functions: this is deliberate stupiditiy so malignant so as to begin metastasizing into fullblown Braindead For Jesus. Seriously, not even the Creationist Trolls For Jesus on Wikipedia are this stupid.

  24. 24
    skepticali

    I learned a new word: panmictic. The internets haz kewl!

  25. 25
    atheist

    @colonelzen – 10 February 2013 at 12:26 pm (UTC -6)

    That post presented a hypothesis that the internet as a medium changing significant portion of the mechanisms of how people interact with each other and society at large, causes participants to become more strongly identified with their views and more willing to voice and act upon them … often in opposition to other groups who have likewise gained deeper adherence to their opposing views also by way of the internet.

    Once again: please provide evidence that people have become more susceptible to ingroup thinking since the advent of the internet.

  26. 26
    Sastra

    colonelzen #13 wrote:

    The strenghtening of creationisn – the number of people willing to publicly assert it and act upon it is (IMO) a creation of the internet as much as public discussion and advocacy of atheism.

    The problem with this statement is that it may not be true. You had also written “So (we) really, really are a vastly more fractured, fractious and willfully hostile society than we were twenty or even ten years ago.” Are we? Are you sure? How do we know the internet isn’t actually making our society less fractured, fractious, and willfully hostile?

    Right now I’m in the middle of reading Stephen Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. What this is doing is putting me in a very skeptical mood when it comes to sweeping statements about how the present is so much worse than the past. We forget so quickly what it really used to be like.

    You may be right. It’s possible. But I think you’re going to have to appeal to more than your own common sense interpretation of your own experience on this one. You’re going to have to come up with some facts and statistics showing that the Young Earth Creationists of the 1990′s (or even the 1920′s) were less assertive and more temperate than today — and that’s this is because the internet has now isolated them into groups.

    I think PZ is right. This is going to be hard because it’s probably not true.

  27. 27
    Sastra

    atheist #22 wrote:

    However I think that, on a larger timescale, religious fundamentalism (of which creationism is just a recent expression), is a reaction/counermovement to modernity and Enlightenment values.

    Does this mean that you think that Christianity was far less fundamentalist during the Middle Ages? How are you defining “fundamentalism?”

  28. 28
    Glen Davidson

    “I don’t have any evidence, but I’m sure anyhow,” is all that the quote really says.

    Rather like creationists, actually.

    Glen Davidson

  29. 29
    stanton

    A twit said:

    Surely creationism antedates Dawkins, yourself et al. And atheism dates back to the ancient greeks as well. The strenghtening of creationisn – the number of people willing to publicly assert it and act upon it is (IMO) a creation of the internet as much as public discussion and advocacy of atheism.

    Except that the Young Earth Creationism movement did not start with the first Christians, and that the Young Earth Creationism movement (its daughter movement, “Intelligent Design Theory”) did not start with the advent of the Internet.

    Furthermore, the first Greek atheists, such as Epicurus, predate Christianity, and they never ever once wrote of even bearing Jehovah of the Jews any opposition or ill will beyond the Epicurans’ blanket dismissal of all gods being irrelevant.

  30. 30
    raven

    The enemy of religion in general and fundie-ism in particular isn’t science, biology, or atheism.

    It is reality itself.

    Before evolution it was the Round Earth theory and Heliocentrism.

    Don’t forget that Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake in 1600 for Heliocentrism and Galileo was almost torched a few decades later.

    Fundie xianity is all due to that uppity earth and sun. If the earth was flat and the center of the solar system, they wouldn’t exist. (Actually, they would. They would just find something else to hate and fear.)

  31. 31
    raven

    And atheism dates back to the ancient greeks as well.

    True but irrelevant.

    Up until recently, there were all but zero atheists and they had about zero influence. The reason is well known. Up until a few centuries ago, it was a death penalty offense to be an atheist.

    In seven Moslem nations, it still is.

  32. 32
    atheist

    @Sastra – 10 February 2013 at 1:06 pm (UTC -6)

    Does this mean that you think that Christianity was far less fundamentalist during the Middle Ages? How are you defining “fundamentalism?”

    Christianity may have been enforced brutally in Europe during the Middle Ages/Renaissance but that’s not the same thing as “fundamentalist”. Fundamentalism actually started as a movement within Protestant Christianity in the 1800s. This Fundamentalist movement was a reaction against the modernist, Enlightenment-influenced Protestant theology that was becoming prevalent then.

    Nowadays we use the word “Fundamentalist” more loosely to describe extreme religion of whatever kind. But the concept’s origin is pretty specific. I think the larger point is that “Fundamentalism” doesn’t make sense except in the context of widespread modernity. Before there was widespread modernity, religion may have been brutal but it was not exactly “Fundamentalist” because it had no counter-narrative that it needed to react against except earlier religions.

  33. 33
    laurentweppe

    Our money was splattered with “in God we trust” and “under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance in the 1950s; where, pray tell, were the loud aggressive atheists who prompted those religious actions in that period?

    In Mother Russia?

    ***

    It’s interesting how when an oppressed and/or despised group asserts its self it’s immediately blamed for causing the oppression

    Remember that the oppressed & the oppressors share adjacent cages: if the oppressed are the prisonners of the violence & the arbitrary of the oppressors, the oppressors themselves are constrained by the fear that, should they become stronger, the oppressed will seek revenge.
    Everytime a miority and/or population forced into submission starts assert itself and to challenge the status quo, their lords and masters react violently because they are already seeing themselves dragued toward the guillotine.

  34. 34
    neutrinosarecool

    I always thought it was the Scopes Trial that played a major role, too. Wiki quite:

    “Darrow used these examples to suggest that the stories of the Bible could not be scientific and should not be used in teaching science with Darrow telling Bryan, ‘You insult every man of science and learning in the world because he does not believe in your fool religion.’”

    Notably modern creationists no longer spend all their time trying to publicly defend biblical stories as scientific fact, a hopeless enterprise – instead, they attack evolutionary science using pseudoscientific strategies. Here’s a good recent example:

    “Are human beings created or evolved?”, Jan 2013 Aljazeera

    The author’s from a London church association. There’s a lot of talk about how religion and science can coexist, very nice in tone, but then comes the plunge off the deep end. First, there is this attempt to separate humans from the ‘lower animals’:

    “Without a doubt there is biological evolution in the world of low-level living beings, including many animals.”

    Reading this, one is pleasantly surprised, although ‘low-level’ raises an eyebrow – but then comes the serious cognitive dissonance:

    “Just because we are physically similar with some primates, I believe we cannot conclude that humans have evolved from them. Yes, gorillas and chimpanzees are biologically closest to humans and their DNA sequences are very similar, but that does not necessarily “prove” that a highly intelligent and spiritual man evolved from them. Even with very close DNA-similarity between two twin siblings we see incredible differences between their personality, ability and creativity.”

    Gaaaaa… There’s also a bit in there about humans being made from clay which became a seed which became lumps which became bones which were then clothed with flesh, voila, human beings. And there is the insistence that it was a unitary god that did this, not say, a pantheon of gods all working together. But, for all other animals and plants, evolution it was? The god(s) couldn’t be bothered? Perhaps one identical twin evolved, but the other was slapped together in the potter’s shed?

    I really don’t understand why creationists have such a hard time with the notion that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor, just as do all mammals (though somewhat farther back). Wy does it hurt so much to admit this?

    But, on a more positive note, how about ol’ Protungulatum donnae?

    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2013/02/Exclusive-Begrudging-Interview-with-Some-Stupid-Ugly-Ancient-Rat-Were-all-Related-To

  35. 35
    Ichthyic

    ^^laurentweppe is right.

    the West most certainly painted the Russians as “godless atheist commies”, regardless of the fact that atheism really had fuckall to do with the Russian government of the middle of the last century. The fact remains that nearly an entire continent was projected to be the “rise of atheism”.

    As PZ mentions, but doesn’t make as much note of, this giant boogeyman was created to indeed help entrench the rubes into ever more authoritarian versions of xianity.

  36. 36
    atheist

    The creationists of the 1970s/80s weren’t really battling “atheists” as such. They were battling American secularism — and even more than that they were battling hippies. It was the societal changes of the 1960s that had gotten them riled up, not some atheists who, as PZ points out, have only had their latest big expression around 2006.

  37. 37
    Azuma Hazuki

    @32/atheist

    This Fundamentalist movement was a reaction against the modernist, Enlightenment-influenced Protestant theology that was becoming prevalent then.

    Yes, and one reason they’re all so hellfire-and-brimstone is that the theology you mention was well on its way to becoming Universalist…which position seems to have been adopted by the majority of the early church fathers! Specifically the schools at Antioch under Theodore of Mopsuestia and Alexandria under Origen.

    It was only the Latin-speaking church at Carthage that taught eternal torment, and the greek-hating Augustine who propagated the doctrine and spread it via the historical accident of the Latin/Roman expansion. If he had never been born, Christianity may have become very different.

    There is a Christian Universalist site, tentmaker.org, that has a lot of scholarly material on the subject. Interestingly, a good chunk of its dates from the late 19th century. The site is fairly evangelical otherwise (anti-evolution, plenty of other standard Protestant tropes) but the research looks good.

  38. 38
    Ichthyic

    no, it wasn’t even “society” in reality that got the authoritarians “riled up”…. it was the deliberate portrayal OF that society by specific intent. It still goes on today, hence the gradual increase in the linkage between neoconservative politics and the religious right.

    it wasn’t strange bedfellows at all, it was a deliberately made match with much foresight.

    you want someone to blame for the rise of creationism? blame your government, who deliberately empowered and encouraged it for decade upon decade.

    authoritarians make the best soldiers, after all.

  39. 39
    atheist

    @Azuma Hazuki – 10 February 2013 at 1:44 pm (UTC -6)

    Interesting!

  40. 40
    Azuma Hazuki

    @39/atheist

    Oh, they’ll never let this out. But it’s the ONLY way the current of Universalism in 19th and early 20th century Protestantism makes any sense. I could not understand how it possibly appeared there without finding this material.

    And it seems like Universalism really was the original belief; the materials there make a fairly strong case that the idea of eternal torment was a pagan imposition on the belief system. Very interesting. I might have stayed Christian had I known this as a girl.

  41. 41
    atheist

    @Ichthyic – 10 February 2013 at 1:45 pm (UTC -6)

    you want someone to blame for the rise of creationism? blame your government, who deliberately empowered and encouraged it for decade upon decade.

    In his most recent piece “The Paranoia of the Superrich and Superpowerful“, Noam Chomsky makes the observation that it is the USA, with its bottomless need for oil, that has long supported the ultra-conservative theocracy of Saudi Arabia. (Incidentally much of the personnel of Osama bin Laden’s group were from Saudi Arabia, including him.)

    In fact, it’s a little ironic, because traditionally the United States and Britain have by and large strongly supported radical Islamic fundamentalism, not political Islam, as a force to block secular nationalism, the real concern. So, for example, Saudi Arabia is the most extreme fundamentalist state in the world, a radical Islamic state. It has a missionary zeal, is spreading radical Islam to Pakistan, funding terror. But it’s the bastion of U.S. and British policy. They’ve consistently supported it against the threat of secular nationalism from Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt and Abd al-Karim Qasim’s Iraq, among many others.

  42. 42
    Sastra

    atheist #32 wrote:

    Christianity may have been enforced brutally in Europe during the Middle Ages/Renaissance but that’s not the same thing as “fundamentalist”. Fundamentalism actually started as a movement within Protestant Christianity in the 1800s. This Fundamentalist movement was a reaction against the modernist, Enlightenment-influenced Protestant theology that was becoming prevalent then.

    Yes, this is when the term came about — but the reaction to the modernist views didn’t really involve any new ideas on their part. They were just shouting the old ideas louder and in a specific direction.

    Here is a list of the 5 fundamental beliefs which defines a “fundamentalist”:

    The inspiration of the Bible and the inerrancy of scripture as a result of this.
    The virgin birth of Christ.
    The belief that Christ’s death was the atonement for sin.
    The bodily resurrection of Christ.
    The historical reality of Christ’s miracles.

    You said that

    Before there was widespread modernity, religion may have been brutal but it was not exactly “Fundamentalist” because it had no counter-narrative that it needed to react against except earlier religions.

    But those 5 beliefs aren’t a recent development, a “counter-narrative” formed in reaction to people who didn’t agree with them and non-existent without modernity. It’s the original narrative itself! It’s the mainstream view of Christianity before the skeptics came around and started trying to fit it in with modern discoveries.

    I’m not disagreeing with you when you talk about the history of the term. You’re technically correct. But I think it’s too easy for people to assume some version of “atheists are responsible for creationism” like “scientists/secularists/modernists are responsible for religious dogmatism” when the invention of the term is confused with the invention of the actual beliefs. Medieval Christianity wasn’t a warm and open bastion of enlightened tolerance before the Enlightenment went after it and forced it to get all defensive and extreme and dogmatic and fundamentalist. That’s what it already was. That’s what it is when you don’t forcefully filter it through humanism.

    I know you know that. But I still like to point it out because I think there’s a common tendency to get confused on that point. What falls out of that confusion is the idea that the religious conflict with science is the fault of the scientists promoting scientism. No, the conflict comes out of a clash between faith and reality.

  43. 43
    Area Man

    Are you seriously going to suggest that the NAS including evolution in the curriculum is an example of loud, assertive, aggressive atheism?

    Uh, no. I thought I was clear in suggesting the exact opposite.

  44. 44
    Sastra

    Azuma Hazuki #37 wrote:

    It was only the Latin-speaking church at Carthage that taught eternal torment, and the greek-hating Augustine who propagated the doctrine and spread it via the historical accident of the Latin/Roman expansion. If he had never been born, Christianity may have become very different.

    While I’ll grant that religious interpretation is often a game of Calvinball, I think there is some pretty solid textual support in the New Testament for the idea of eternal torment. It’s a little hard to have a religion based on the idea of eternal salvation if there is no such thing as eternal damnation to be eternally saved from.

    Even universalists have to agree that well, yes, that ought to be our fate if not for Jesus. And my guess is that what passed for universalism back in the first few centuries CE is probably not what would pass for it today.

  45. 45
    atheist

    @Sastra – 10 February 2013 at 2:14 pm (UTC -6)

    OK, maybe you’re right. It is true that I have no specific example of religion becoming more extreme since the start of “Fundamentalism” than it already was in the Middle Ages.

  46. 46
    atheist

    @Sastra – 10 February 2013 at 2:24 pm (UTC -6)

    Christ refers to hell, or something that sounds much like it, numerous times in the New Testament: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_times_did_Jesus_mention_hell

  47. 47
    georget

    The rise in atheism correlates very closely with the end of tariffs, and the concentration of American wealth.

  48. 48
    atheist

    @georget – 10 February 2013 at 2:44 pm (UTC -6)

    You are claiming that tarrifs ended at some point? When did that happen? Last I looked we still had plenty in force. As only one example, the US has a tarrif on most Vietnamese catfish.

  49. 49
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    georget improved:

    Atheism is a very rich meditation in the United States.

  50. 50
    atheist

    @georget – 10 February 2013 at 2:44 pm (UTC -6)

    Also, US wealth got very concentrated around 1890-1930, then US wealth got more equal mid-20th-century, until the past couple of decades where it has again gotten extremely concentrated. What time period are you talking about here?

  51. 51
    rork

    “I was wide awake and politically aware in the 1980s; there were no big atheist role models making a noise in the public sphere”
    OK maybe we weren’t making public noises so much, but it was in the air for educated people. Russell is a very old role model. I came to Ann Arbor in 1975, and the philosophy and anthropology profs weren’t going to let your belief systems go unchallenged, and I hope the biologists were no different. I think we believed we didn’t need to make much of a stink, since it seemed obvious that with people being more educated, religion was having it’s last twitches. You don’t need to change anyone’s mind if you are thinking you’ll outnumber them in another 20 years – my erroneous estimate from 1980.

  52. 52
    georget

    Tariffs dropped from a typical rate of 30-40% before World War Two to less than 5% from just after World War Two until today. The change was dramatic. Google ‘Bretton Woods System’ and then think the rest out for yourself.

    Religion and biology are really one and the same. Religion is a component of some strains of human genealogy that facilitates the coordination of its group movements. This can be useful in industry, warfare, maintaining ethical (healthy) behavior, and other important activities.

    In other strains of human genealogy, traditional religion is perceived as a threat for the very same reasons. Atheism, itself a religion, seeks to destabilize traditional society primarily out of greed. The effort also includes a closely corresponding component of group survival strategy.

  53. 53
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    The rise in atheism correlates very closely with the end of tariffs, and the concentration of American wealth.

    There is some Latin thing about this…
    What is that?

    Oh yeah

    cum hoc ergo prompter hoc

    Dumb ass

  54. 54
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Propter stupid fucking iPad auto correct

  55. 55
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Religion and biology are really one and the same

    Yes. They really are.

    Groan

    Faux intellectual technobabble is boring as fuck.

  56. 56
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Fucking ipad

    Religion and biology are really one and the same

    Yes. They really are.

    Groan

    Faux intellectual technobabble is boring as fuck.

  57. 57
    atheist

    @georget – 10 February 2013 at 3:04 pm (UTC -6)

    Tariffs dropped from a typical rate of 30-40% before World War Two to less than 5% from just after World War Two until today. The change was dramatic. Google ‘Bretton Woods System’ and then think the rest out for yourself.

    OK. However, even if one accepts that atheism gained prominence after WWII, then this would contradict the second part of your statement, that concentration of wealth is a driver of atheism in the US. Wealth got significantly less concentrated post-WWII.

  58. 58
    Rob Grigjanis

    atheist @46: “Christ refers to hell”

    Biblical scholars still disagree about what Jesus might have meant. Are the kingdom of heaven, and hell, referring to an afterlife or this life? I don’t think it’s clear. Anyway, the concept of hell has undergone quite the change since then thanks to the church. Damn ‘em all!

  59. 59
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    georget improved:

    The second world war, 5% 30-40% for electronic equipment, has now decided to join Google as Bretton Woods.

    Cover page biology and religion to support family genealogy. Industry information (e. thiqu), can be very useful in the second was a key event in the civil war.

    Father and son of atheism and religion and social stability for the same reasons, I agree with those using traditional two out. In addition, within the framework of this strategy.

  60. 60
    atheist

    I take your point that religion can be a source of social cohesion, but I am less interested in social cohesion than I am in apprehending reality accurately.

  61. 61
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Religion and biology are really one and the same.

    Please, tell PZ that he is actually a priest.

    I would like the laughs.

    Atheism, itself a religion, seeks to destabilize traditional society primarily out of greed.

    I fucked that one up. I did not use my atheism to make me rich.

  62. 62
    georget

    I’ve skated dangerously close to financial sponsors and CrimeThought, and must now leave the discussion. Thanks for your input Janine.

  63. 63
    slowdjinn

    georget

    Atheism, itself a religion, seeks to destabilize traditional society primarily out of greed.

    Oh grow up.

  64. 64
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    georget improved:

    Risks for the providers of the interview and now Crimethough (c), thank you.

    Also, here is a warning. Expect the black helicopters to be hovering over your home in ten minutes.

    Do not struggle.

  65. 65
    georget

    These fuckers have drones now.

  66. 66
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Going old school on your pathetic ass.

  67. 67
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Georget

    Both your trolling and blatant stupidity are boring.

    Seriously, there’s got to be an MMA match or an episode of jersey shore on somewhere.

  68. 68
    georget

    Your obsession with overbearing wanna-be authoritarian males is disturbing Janine.

  69. 69
    Ichthyic

    I’ve skated dangerously close to financial sponsors and CrimeThought, and must now leave the discussion.

    yawn inspiring inanity.

  70. 70
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    georget improved:

    C m Mani and arrogant autoritair

  71. 71
    atheist

    I do consulting work for the NWO from time to time. Unfortunately, they insist on paying me in ameros.

  72. 72
    Ichthyic

    These fuckers have drones now.

    tiny, tiny drones.

    watching you… right now.

    RUN!!!

  73. 73
    Ichthyic

    The effort also includes a closely corresponding component of group survival strategy.

    you fail authoritarianism 101.

    try again?

  74. 74
    Ichthyic

    Wealth got significantly less concentrated post-WWII.

    up until the 1980s, anyway.

  75. 75
    Ichthyic

    In other strains of human genealogy

    this is clueless babbling, and makes NO SENSE.

    seriously, if your goal is to demonstrate your ignorance by misusing jargon, mission accomplished!

  76. 76
    LykeX

    Religion is a component of some strains of human genealogy…

    Are you trying to sell the idea that religion is a result of genetics?

  77. 77
    ck

    The ridiculous sophistry of georget’s posts reminds me of comradebob. He liked to wrap his ridiculous ideas in an elaborate cloak of verbiage, too, but his ideas were usually just racist. Neither are as clever as they like to believe themselves to be.

  78. 78
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Ichthyic, I think it is troll performance art.

  79. 79
    PZ Myers

    Georget is too suspiciously like ComradeBob, and his creepy taunting of Janine is grounds for concern anyway. Banned.

  80. 80
    neutrinosarecool

    Well, there’s a genetic basis to language, that is the ability to speak and make complex sounds with your vocal cords, and without language, one can’t tell stories, and religion is based on stories that were made up by human beings – creative writing, fantasy literature, etc. – so you could say there is a genetic component to the ability to tell stories, at a very basic level. However, there isn’t any genetic basis to any particular language – children born to Japanese-speaking parents but raised by English-speaking foster parents tend to speak English, not Japanese, correct? Hard to see much genetics involved in the stories made up in those languages, either.

    People do seem to have an innate drive to understand and explain the phenomenon around them, but science is the best tool humans have come up with for that. People only tend to turn to supernatural explanations when they don’t understand phenomena – once, thunder and lightning were due to the gods fighting in heaven, now we explain it using physical concepts like electrical potential and electrical discharge. Once, epidemics like the Black Plague were seen as a punishment from the gods, now we understand them in terms of viruses and bacteria, and accept (well, most people accept) that they can be treated by appropriate use of vaccines and antibiotics. (It’s worthwhile to read 19th century accounts of priests raging against the vile practice of vaccination, which subverted divine authority over who lived and who died… yowza).

    Maybe, what you want to say, georget, is that people who’ve been brainwashed by religious cults tend to be good followers who do whatever they’re told by the religious authorities – such as hand over 10% of their income to them, or march off to invade the infidel lands when they’re told to, and that this somehow benefits human society?

    That’s some pretty weird fascist-communist type thinking, isn’t it? Social Darwinism gone full circle? It’s pretty hard to see how religious warfare over the course of human history ever benefited human society in any way.

  81. 81
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    PZ, I have to be fair and admit to taunting georget.

  82. 82
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    PZ, I have to be fair and admit to taunting georget.

    If one considers interpreting troll word salad into something us mere mortals can comprehend taunting.

  83. 83
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Some of those translations of word salad became even more incomprehensible. But I admit to being amused by the results.

  84. 84
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    First: Not my blog

    But I was hoping for more

  85. 85
    luslustigtig_

    @LykeX

    Religion is a component of some strains of human genealogy…

    Are you trying to sell the idea that religion is a result of genetics?

    I think it may be cloaked anti-Semitism.

  86. 86
    slowdjinn

    I was getting a whiff of racism there too, but the whole thing was too incoherent to be certain.

  87. 87
    brucegee1962

    Getting back to the original topic…

    This just in. Abolitionists are responsible for slavery!

  88. 88
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    *snort*

  89. 89
    raven

    Georget is too suspiciously like ComradeBob, and his creepy taunting of Janine is grounds for concern anyway. Banned.

    Good call.

    I ran his comments through my Gibberish to English translator. It didn’t work.

    All that came out in English was…more gibberish.

  90. 90
    raven

    This just in. Abolitionists are responsible for slavery!

    Slavery is responsible for the GOP and Tea Party.

    The Tea Party is a reaction to the North winning the civil war. They’ve never gotten over that.

  91. 91
    colonelzen

    The modern era of activist creationism begins with The Genesis Flood, and decades of trials in which they try to insert their dogma into the public schools. It has nothing to do with atheism (or vice versa), and long predates the internet. Jebus, the Discovery Institute was founded in 1990…are you going to blame that on the internet, too?

    Will you please read what I wrote rather than what you expect it to mean?

    I did not assert that modern atheism has anything to do with modern creationism … I am without guess as to which way if at all any net causalty would run between them. I asserted that both movements found additional strength and succor through the internet – barely even arguable.

    I additionally hypothesized that as part of that mechanism the opportunity to indulge in self validating behavior and the results of such validation on individuals made for more and more intransigent individuals on any side of any dispute … including as one case atheism and creationism. The net result being a more fractious and fractured socieity.

    As Sastra above points out it may not be true. It was offered as a hypothesis, with what I had hoped were adequate qualifiers, as a partial explanation of an observation that I offered.

    Now I happen to think it true, and see what I consider that mechanism in play everywhere daily. But yes I could be wrong. I’m your age give or take a year or two, and I grew up in “gods country” – central Pennsylvania. Growing up there were certainly a lot of people hostile to evolution. But they were reticent about saying so as they understood that science was arrayed against them. With the internet they found others back their voice and grew more confident … even as I, in those younger and more isolated days would have been reticient of publically expressing my atheism.

    But yes, I could be wrong.

    But as somebody said, I don’t have the stats. But on the other side it wasn’t offered in a scholarly journal, nor even as an essay. Nor on some youtubieism you seem so horrified of. It was offered as a casual tie in, hypothesized explanation for something I considered distasteful among the commentators here (and many, many other sites as badly or worse).

    Now the discussion that I may be wrong, Great! Maybe I am. Have at it all! Maybe I will learn something. Possibly somebody will come up with something that will change my mind.

    But will you please stop trying to tie me to views on issues which are NOT mine. No I am not a creationist, and I despise many accomodationists more than I do creationists … at some level most accomodationists really do know better. Most creationists got where they are honestly (talking everyday people, not “leaders”).

    Exactly how seriously should rational people take a blog where you invite commentary on your posting policy and one well meaning and not particularly hostile poster subseuqently winds up being tagged as a creationist poster boy?

    – TWZ

  92. 92
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Will you please read what I wrote

    Yep, you are ignorant of history.

    I additionally hypothesized

    Without evidence, which you haven’t presented no hypthesis exists. It is an idea or less.

    But yes, I could be [am] wrong.

    Fixed that for you.

    Maybe I will learn something.

    I doubt that. Your mind is closed to the idea you are wrong, even if you claim it is open. Your history here says it is closed.

  93. 93
    Christoph Burschka

    the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence

    but how does that even

  94. 94
    iainr

    “the entrenchment of Christianity in the 1950s as part of the Cold War … where, pray tell, were the loud aggressive atheists who prompted those religious actions in that period”

    They were in Russia. They weren’t doing rational scepticism and rejected theism as a rival to their own irrational cults but atheism was still a thing associated with communist Russia – probably more in the minds of Americans than reality but still. The atheists being reacted to were the communists.

    They weren’t rational sceptics but they did reject gods and so were dictionary atheists and the Cold War entrenchment of Christianity was surely a reaction to that.

  95. 95
    Ichthyic

    They were in Russia. They weren’t doing rational scepticism and rejected theism as a rival to their own irrational cults but atheism was still a thing associated with communist Russia – probably more in the minds of Americans than reality but still. The atheists being reacted to were the communists.

    btw, if anyone bothers to read the history of Europe in the late 1800s, early 1900s, you will see the EXACT same techniques being used by the robber barons of the time to try and squash the rising empowerment of workers.

    read Richard Evans’ books on the period; He does an excellent job documenting all of it.

  96. 96
    golkarian

    This is a problem I have with Kenneth Millers’s work (besides the Christianity period). But I still love “Finding Darwin’s God” because it fills a gap in “Why Evolution is True” (even though it was published before it). Coyne does a great job presenting the evidence for evolution, but Miller is great at debunking creationism, and Ih think there is a difference, because Coyne just brings up (important) evidence, but Miller shows how creationists have distorted the evidence and how concepts like IC don’t pan out.

  97. 97
    Ichthyic

    on the evolution of religion….

    some good studies on cultural transmission:

    http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~henrich/Published.html

    studying the psychology of religion (with some implications for genetic components):

    http://www.psychwww.com/psyrelig/

    there are also many papers that have used twin studies and similar to examine genetic components to religious behavior, like this one that came out a few years back:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7147-genes-contribute-to-religious-inclination.html

  98. 98
    pensnest

    TWZ/colonelzen @ #91, what you said may not be what you meant, but what you said was:

    I don’t have stats but I strongly suspect that the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence.

    That was the opening of your statement in the thread about commenting. I think a reasonable reader would deduce from it that you think modern atheism and modern creationism have, well, quite a lot to do with one another.

    It has been pointed out that the rise of creationism does not appear to correlate in any meaningful way with the surge in prominence of atheism. In other words, you were mistaken. Furthermore, in response to your comment at #91, I have not noticed anyone trying to accuse you of being a creationist.

    You went on to assert that “repeititive and interactive ongoing interaction with others of like mind” binds groups more tightly into their own particular points of view, and that the internet is responsible for making us a “more fractured, fractious and willfully hostile society”.

    Well, yes. We do get validation of our views from people who share them.

    And yet… How about another way of looking at it? As I see it, we all live in our own sets of self-chosen worlds, like multi-dimensional Venn diagrams. We prefer the company of other people whose worlds overlap with our own, and are less comfortable with people whose worlds—ie whose opinions, choices, preferences etc—are different.

    Sure, it’s easy to find other people who live in the same world(s) when you look on the internet. And living in your chosen world does tend to mean you assume other people—Reasonable People—live in it, too. It becomes surprising when you meet people in one of your worlds who don’t live in all of them—atheists who don’t like Sondheim, say, or vegetarians who oppose equal marriage rights.

    Actually, though, it would be perfectly reasonable to argue that because of the internet, we are exposed to a far greater variety of opinions, of ‘worlds’, than we ever were before (unless, perhaps, we were omnivorous readers). Does the internet really make that much difference in reinforcing existing opinions? Let’s face it, if someone wants, oh, say, his rampant sexism validated, he doesn’t need AVfM, he can just go to the golf club, or the nearest bar. A creationist using the internet is a lot more likely to stumble across contradictory evidence—something to think about—than a creationist relying on church and friends.

    I don’t think you’re wrong to suggest that people can reinforce their own beliefs by finding a like-minded community, whether that’s on the internet or anywhere else. But can we really assume that that’s the only, or even the most important, thing going on? Isn’t it also possible that the internet is broadening people’s worlds? Without some kind of evidence to support what you’re saying or what I’m saying, it’s all just assumptions.

    PS Apologies if the paragraphs are smushed. I’ve tried to separate them properly, but preview does not seem to be my friend, and I can’t tell whether it has worked.

    PPS Off to bed now.

  99. 99
    Azuma Hazuki

    @atheist and Sastra

    Sorry for the late replies, I had to work.

    Re: Jesus mentioning Hell a lot, you need to go back to the Greek texts and also read some of the surrounding secular and priestly material to get the point I’m making. A lot of it has to do with the use of aionios and kolasis versus aidios and timoria, but more important are the early church fathers and their beliefs.

    Origen was an unabashed Universalist. So was Theodore of Mopsuestia. Each of them had two schools which were, following them, Origen’s basis at Alexandria and ToM’s at Antioch. There was the church of Asia Minor which was annihilationist, and the Carthaginian center which was Latin-speaking and advocated eternal torment.

    Early Christian graves show very little of the symbolism we’ve come to associate with it. Bunches of grapes, the ubiquitous fish symbol, and a young shepherd boy with a sheep over his shoulders, yes, but no hellish imagery.

    And so on and so on. None of this is anything you could learn without doing a lot of heavy research, sometimes into subjects jealously guarded by the custodians of knowledge at a given institute. The Internet is really helpful for this.

  100. 100
    atheist

    @Azuma Hazuki – 10 February 2013 at 8:49 pm (UTC -6)

    Certainly interesting history, and not well-known. I would imagine that trying to get an accurate picture of religious belief, and changes in that belief, is challenging.

  101. 101
    colonelzen

    TWZ/colonelzen @ #91, what you said may not be what you meant, but what you said was:

    I don’t have stats but I strongly suspect that the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence.

    That was the opening of your statement in the thread about commenting. I think a reasonable reader would deduce from it that you think modern atheism and modern creationism have, well, quite a lot to do with one another.

    It has been pointed out that the rise of creationism does not appear to correlate in any meaningful way with the surge in prominence of atheism. In other words, you were mistaken. Furthermore, in response to your comment at #91, I have not noticed anyone trying to accuse you of being a creationist.

    Firstly pensnest thank you for being a sane voice in what has been s surrealistic day.

    It’s evident that many people did read my words as invoking some kind of push-pull relation between atheism and creationism even though I thought it *should* have been quite plain that I was asserting they were both beneficiaries of a common element, the internet.

    It wasn’t that big a post. I don’t know how I could have made it much clearer.

    It is ineed possible that atheism got a much bigger boost from the internet than creationism. While fundamentalist christian sects have been around, basically forever as I count my life, in my early years literalist creationism was background noise. In rural Pa, my HS science teacher said something like “I don’t care what you believe, this is what science says, and what I’m going to teach. You don’t have to believe it but to pass this course you better understand it and know how and why science says so.” and did a very good workmanlike job of pumping the basics of what evolution into young minds. To the best of my knowledge there wasn’t a peep of protest.

    The eighties and nineties saw “The moral majority” and a resurgance of religion as a political force in the US …. but even then I don’t recall creationism being more regarded than as a hillbilly band of crackpot camp followers.

    It could be that I just wasn’t paying attention elsewhere but I didn’t hear anyone taking creationists seriously until the late ninties to early aughts. Since then it seems to me that it was as much an internet creature as anything can be.

    A *lot* of creationism followers don’t argue well, even with a not-very-critical audience and seem quite lost without the ability to tag-team (and distract, and other gimmicks the internet enables). Most followers, one on one seem like they would be lost without the internet.

    But again, I could just be looking at the wrong place. It’s possible that the internet has been the greater boon to atheism as a movement than to the creationists.

    But if so it doesn’t really alter my point, rather than to dilute the example: that the structural way people interact with the internet makes trolls and echo chambers among people who otherwise wouldn’t be prone to such behaviors. And that offered as a hypothesis to explain hopefully become part of a tool for managing echo chamber effects here and elsewhere.

    As for being considered an creationist, well yes it is somewhat hyperbole on my part, but PZ’s title on this thread makes it sound like I’m rationalizing or justifying creationism and a couple commentors have said things like “just like creationists”.

    As I said, surreal.

    – TWZ

  102. 102
    PatrickG

    @colonelzen

    With all due respect, I feel you’re relying far too much on personal observations.

    I was taught creationism (in the benevolent form of Intelligent Design) in high school. In Silicon Valley. In 1992. Not exactly a “hillbilly band of crackpot camp followers”*. My anecdotal evidence contradicts yours, and perhaps should be taken as evidence that creationism wasn’t confined to the late 90s/early naughts. That, and the fact that policy organizations focused on religious teachings well before the internet existed, should be enough to counter your argument that creationism is a recent development.

    Now, the attention paid to creationists might well be a feature of the internet… and if so, the internet is a wonderful thing. I was taught ID as a youngster, and I got past it, and that’s in no small part thanks to the internet. How else would I have found sites like this?

    Perhaps it’s time to just acknowledge that you made a mistake and got called on it? I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody here who hasn’t messed up once in a while. Hell, even PZ (Blessed be His Tentacles) screws up.

    * You might make distinctions between YEC and ID, but the difference is merely a matter of marketing. GAWD created us whole, or GAWD designed us whole. Po-TAY-to, Po-TAH-to.

  103. 103
    brucegorton

    @colonelzen

    I am going to point out something that praises somebody who became a complete asshole later.

    YouTube.

    If we take YouTube as an example of this, you will see that your statement is utterly full of crap. YouTube’s educational channel was largely creationist when YouTube started off, Thunderf00t popularised a trend of mocking the creationists by presenting facts.

    Now the creationist videos ended up falling by the wayside over time, mainly because more and better people came forward to refute them, and the refutations were fairly devastating, demonstrating where Christians were ‘lying for Christ’ and suchlike.

    But if you look at the ordering of events, the rise of atheism on YouTube was largely a reaction to the early Creationist dominance of the education channel.

    Even in the last ten years your narrative falls apart because even in that time period we can see the causal links going in the opposite direction.

  104. 104
    colonelzen

    PatrickG 102:

    Ok, as a tentative hypothesis I’m willing to accept that my perception of creationism was somehow skewed and that it was more pervasive than I ever believed.

    Let me strenghthen that. Barring evidence that my earlier perception was more correct than what has been presented, I accept that creationism was more widely discussed and accepted than my attention led me to believe. I was wrong. And the internet was not as advantageous to creationism as I considered it.

    Now what? I still **NEVER** said or implied, anything even even remotely similar to “atheism is responsible for creationism”.

    – TWZ

  105. 105
    PatrickG

    @ colonelzen:

    That’s pretty much it for me, in that I offered a counter example, and you acknowledged a flaw in your argument. Works for me. :)

    I can’t speak to PZ’s point (obviously). I didn’t claim that you held that position. My response was limited to asking you to examine personal/anecdotal data.

    That still leaves the question of the internet as a source of polarization, as opposed to a mechanism by which polarization was exposed (or some mix of the two extremes, or some other dynamic entirely)…. It also leaves the trope you reinforced, however unwittingly, for a more indepth conversation (there ARE people who blame atheists for religious extremism, e.g. if those atheists just didn’t blaspheme, they wouldn’t be imprisoned/executed. This is not an uncommon sentiment).

    As to your response to me in particular, I’ll just say again I appreciate you taking my point into consideration, and I’ll check in tomorrow.

    * I haven’t followed the whole thread, and there might be things I missed. I do plan to come back and find things to pounce on you for doublecheck, but it’s late and I’m tired.

  106. 106
    omnicrom

    Now what? I still **NEVER** said or implied, anything even even remotely similar to “atheism is responsible for creationism”.

    Yes you did. You said that, and let me quote you

    I don’t have stats but I strongly suspect that the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence.

    That reads to me like you are saying or at least implying that atheism is responsible for creationism.

  107. 107
    colonelzen

    Now what? I still **NEVER** said or implied, anything even even remotely similar to “atheism is responsible for creationism”.

    Yes you did. You said that, and let me quote you

    I don’t have stats but I strongly suspect that the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence.

    That reads to me like you are saying or at least implying that atheism is responsible for creationism.

    No, that’s what PZ quotemined out of a post which in entirety was:

    What to do about it” seems fairly obvious to me

    Denying a problem doesn’t make it go away. I don’t have stats but I strongly suspect that the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence.

    We wind up with cohorts of people bound *much* more tightly to their views because of repeititive and interactive ongoing interaction with others of like mind. At the same time we have thousands of such separate cohorts.

    Because of the internet enabling communication we have people *vastly* more sure and certain of their beliefs (whether right or wrong) and willing to act upon them because they get massive amounts of validation for them through the internet. Validation seeking behavior is completely natural.

    So really, really are a vastly more fractured, fractious and willfully hostile society than we were twenty or even ten years ago.

    (None of which denies or repudiates any of the *huge* real gains to individuals and society from the internet).

    Which was a direct response to a comment about my preceding post not physically far removed:

    Random thought in isolation from all else.

    Both the troll issue and the echo chamber effect seem to be very real structural byproducts of certain forms on this new (socially over terms of cultural evolution) internet thing. As a society and culture we’re still shaking down trying to find out what works and what doesn’t.

    I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t think anyone does in total. PZ’s policies with Lounge and Thunderdome are part and parcel of our attempt to adapt to this new technology. To the extent they work, they will be accepted and innovated with variation by other sites (just as I’ve seen things like thunderdome elsewhere before).

    If you can read that and assert that I am rationalizing creationism as any kind of response to atheism, your imagination is impressive.

    – TWZ

  108. 108
    ck

    Now what? I still **NEVER** said or implied…

    Never assume that your audience is privy to your intentions or inner thoughts. You may not have intended to say or imply that, but an uncharitable reading of your post gives that impression. Yes, the surrounding discussion was about the internet, but since you didn’t tie that thought directly to the statement (or paragraph), the mention of the correlation without another stated cause can suggest that you think that one caused the other.

    You should always assume your posts may be read uncharitably. Regardless of your profession, learning to be clear will avoid unnecessary conflict and make you a better writer.

  109. 109
    Rob Grigjanis

    omnicron @106: Sorry, but “the strengthening of A with the simultaneous rise of B is not a coincidence” is not even remotely equivalent to “B is responsible for A”. And the context makes it clear (or it seemed so to me) that colonelzen meant that the internet has increased group polarization. Not a very controversial position, I’d have thought. Some discussion here.

  110. 110
    colonelzen

    since you didn’t tie that thought directly to the statement (or paragraph), the mention of the correlation without another stated cause can suggest that you think that one caused the other.

    You should always assume your posts may be read uncharitably. Regardless of your profession, learning to be clear will avoid unnecessary conflict and make you a better writer.

    So am uncharitably righteous to assume that you are arguing that any vexatious quote that can be mined out of context justifies the libel of someone by asserting the most malicious context it will support?

    – TWZ

  111. 111
    PatrickG

    @ colonelzen:

    As someone who should seriously be in bed right now, may I just suggest taking some time off and coming back? You feel misunderstood, obviously, but the internet is not kind to people who post from that perspective. Trust me, I know!

    Just take a break, take ck’s advice, and y’know, you don’t have to say you were wrong about everything. Just say you’re going to take what people said into consideration, and move on if necessary. The internet (and Pharyngula!) are highly contentious places, and it’s always worth questioning whether or not the gain is worth the effort.

    Your mileage may vary. That’s just my 2 cents.

  112. 112
    colonelzen

    PatrickG:

    :-) Good adivce. Have to work tomorrow anyway.

    – TWZ

  113. 113
    PatrickG

    “are/places” should be “is a/place”. Damn parentheses confusing my sense of grammar.

  114. 114
    Rob Grigjanis

    the mention of the correlation without another stated cause can suggest that you think that one caused the other

    It doesn’t say which caused the other, though, especially if they’re simultaneous.

  115. 115
    Genius Loci

    Good god, this horse stinks to high heaven.

    So colonelzen phrased something poorly, was publicly shamed for it, and has spent hundreds of words trying to defend and explain him/herself? Really, this rather reminds me of a witch hunt. You’re all so intent on outing potential trolls that you see them where they don’t even exist. (And consequently end up bringing others out of the woodwork. While I agree that georget had to be banned, his exchange with Janine was hilarious. I do hope she had fun with it.)

    I would not have used the word “strengthening,” which would imply (erroneously, of course) that there is now more factual support for the creationist argument, and it’s all the fault of those damn atheists. Rather, I would have said that the rise of public atheism appears to have provoked a very vocal and aggressive reaction from the creationists. That, I think, seems to be a reasonably neutral statement. (And I am not arguing for or against this claim, just attempting to paraphrase and clarify what colonelzen said in his original comment. I hope I am not putting words in his/her mouth.)

    In the same vein, one might say that the election as President of Barack Obama, a Black man, has brought multitudes of unreconstructed racists streaming out from underneath their rocks like mutant cockroaches. This does not in any way imply that somehow it’s Obama’s fault that public expressions of racism have increased during his presidency.

    My take–I agree with the commenter upthread who observes that if there really is a correlation, it demonstrates that creationists now perceive the atheist movement as a very real threat to their dominion and are reacting by becoming ever more shrill and desperate. Keep up the good work. But for crying out loud, cut colonelzen some slack and quit eating your own.

  116. 116
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Genius Loci

    [georget aka comradebob jr] his exchange with Janine was hilarious. I do hope she had fun with it.

    Assuming Janine enjoys being cyberstalked? You don’t know enough of the back-story to comment, and yet you do.

    Rather, I would have said that the rise of public atheism appears to have provoked a very vocal and aggressive reaction from the creationists.

    Let us permute creationists: reactionists. It is in their nature to be reationary. Any socially progressive ideas would be attacked, wether or not from atheists.

    [witch hunt] But for crying out loud, cut colonelzen some slack and quit eating your own.

    You missed colonelzen’s #112?

  117. 117
    ck

    So am uncharitably righteous to assume that you are arguing that any vexatious quote that can be mined out of context justifies the libel of someone by asserting the most malicious context it will support?

    I’m saying that even “in context”, you were not nearly as clear about what you thought as you think you were. The context was trolling and echo chambers on the internet and what to do about it, and while you may have thought that the previous post and the rest of that post indicated that clearly the internet was the common cause tying these together, it was not explicit and far from obvious. Any lack of clarity can allow people to insert their biases about what they think a statement means. I can see your interpretation in the statement, but the problem is, I can see Crip Dyke’s and PZ’s interpretation, as well. All you have to do is assume that you were making the (all too common) correlation equals causation mistake.

    I’ve been insufficiently clear when posting myself, and took abuse for it. Worse, I’ve left out important words (like ‘not’) and accidentally said the exact opposite of what I wanted to say. In either case, it was my fault for not communicating properly, not the audience’s fault for being unable to read my state of mind based on the words I wrote. I’ve found “I’m sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear, what I really meant was [insert rephrased version here]” to be more useful than trying to defend my original wording.

  118. 118
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Genius Loci:

    So colonelzen phrased something poorly, was publicly shamed for it, and has spent hundreds of words trying to defend and explain him/herself? Really, this rather reminds me of a witch hunt.

    Your criticism in blog comment threads is just personal opinion, but the criticism of many is witch-hunting.

    (You seriously don’t realise there is just a bunch of commenters, each expressing their opinion)

    My take–I agree with the commenter upthread who observes that if there really is a correlation, it demonstrates that creationists now perceive the atheist movement as a very real threat to their dominion and are reacting by becoming ever more shrill and desperate. Keep up the good work.

    Your take on it demonstrates your ignorance, no more. Its origin was reactance to evolution, not to atheism.

    From Wikipedia (citations elided):

    In the United States some religious communities have refused to accept naturalistic explanations and tried to counter them. The term started to become associated with Christian fundamentalist opposition to human evolution and belief in a young Earth in 1929. Several U.S. states passed laws against the teaching of evolution in public schools, as upheld in the Scopes Trial. Evolution was omitted entirely from school textbooks in most of the United States until the 1960s. Since then, renewed efforts to introduce teaching creationism in American public schools in the form of flood geology, creation science, and intelligent design have been consistently held to contravene the constitutional separation of Church and State by a succession of legal judgments. The meaning of the term creationism was contested, but by the 1980s it had been co-opted by proponents of creation science and flood geology.

  119. 119
    Owlglass

    101, colonelzen wrote: Firstly pensnest thank you for being a sane voice in what has been s surrealistic day. It’s evident that many people did read my words as invoking some kind of push-pull relation between atheism and creationism even though I thought it *should* have been quite plain that I was asserting they were both beneficiaries of a common element, the internet. It wasn’t that big a post. I don’t know how I could have made it much clearer.

    /h5 CZ
    Indeed, and your remark is correct. The internet allows all sorts of groups to reinforce their views. It is described by the cognitive dissonance effect–the actual one, not the prevalent version found in many fora where it somehow means “holding conflicting beliefs”. When people find their views confirmed a lot, they built up a mental guard against conflicting ideas. It is a common trick in marketing that even after you already decided for a product, you get a lot of extra confirmation. “Congratulations for having bought this product! It’s excellent!”–it shows in numbers, as people more likely return the product without such extra confirmation. Cognitive dissonance springs up the moment some other, conflicting view comes along. The dissonance is a feeling that wants to rid of the conflict in some way, in order to keep views consistent (hence it is called a “dissonance”). The higher the bar through confirmations was set, the more likely the dissonance will sweep away the new conflicting view. There a several mechanism, for example rationalization or compartmentalisation. “I can’t reach the apples, but they are probably worm infested anyway” (rationalisation); “Genesis is symbolical and does not conflict with the theory of evolution” (compartmentalisation).
    · · ·
    You are also correct on the meta level: PZ Myers denied it and gumbified my vegetarian example, yet there it is. People are very prone to work with assumptions, then pigeonhole some view into predefined “opponent” slots (typically along the lines of racism, sexism, accommodationism, creationism etc.) so that they have some foil to go against. Own arguments also look better when the opposing view is presented as (obviously) wrong and burns down quickly—the classic straw man. Despite the unfair use of your comment as a foil, I found the excursion into creationist history informative. There is a whole talk on that here: the The Evolution of Creationism.

  120. 120
    Nick Gotts
    So (we) really, really are a vastly more fractured, fractious and willfully hostile society than we were twenty or even ten years ago. – colonelzen

    Are we? Are you sure? How do we know the internet isn’t actually making our society less fractured, fractious, and willfully hostile? Right now I’m in the middle of reading Stephen Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.- Sastra

    I haven’t read Pinker, but I thought he was mainly writing about the long term. There was an upsurge in violent crime in the 1970s and ’80s, in the USA and quite a few other countries, but it’s been falling again since then – i.e., over the last twenty years. The result of this recent rise and fall may well be the rise and fall of lead pollution.

    I don’t think colonelzen can have given much thought to his “twenty or even ten years ago”. Ten years ago we were in the build-up to the invasion of Iraq. The American people were united at that point, were they, colonelzen? And no doubt tomatoes tasted better, TV comedies were really funny, and politicians were honest,

  121. 121
    Genius Loci

    Assuming Janine enjoys being cyberstalked? You don’t know enough of the back-story to comment, and yet you do.

    Peccavi. My apologies. I took the whole interaction at face value, not even aware that there was a backstory. Lesson learned.

    You missed colonelzen’s #112?

    I did. In future, I will ensure that I refresh the thread before posting.

  122. 122
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I was mocking georget for the word salad he tossed. (Biology and religion being the same? Atheists destabilizing society for the sake of enrichment.) Being an idiot, responded the way the many idiots do when they see a female name, he got creepy.

    Not as bad as comradebob, though..

  123. 123
    Glen Davidson

    It’s evident that many people did read my words as invoking some kind of push-pull relation between atheism and creationism even though I thought it *should* have been quite plain that I was asserting they were both beneficiaries of a common element, the internet.

    Why? Your biggest problem here is that the your suspicion in this quote is simply wrong:

    Denying a problem doesn’t make it go away. I don’t have stats but I strongly suspect that the strenghtening of creationism with the simultaneous rise of public atheism is not a coincidence.

    Because there wasn’t really much, if any, strengthening of creationism at all, what was anyone supposed to think that you meant by such a strong, if entirely unsupported, suspicion? Plus, you coupled the two strongly and stated that you suspect that they’re no coincidence, which typically implies that the two are connected–and not just by a third factor. Subsequent writing about internet effects may simply be strengthening “the case,” and it is not obvious that you meant that as the only non-coincident factor. I mean, it still isn’t obvious. Not only is it “non-charitable” to read you as linking the two, it should be expected.

    I accept that creationism was more widely discussed and accepted than my attention led me to believe. I was wrong. And the internet was not as advantageous to creationism as I considered it.

    Now what? I still **NEVER** said or implied, anything even even remotely similar to “atheism is responsible for creationism”.

    As your “strengthening of creationism” was your own imagining, what sense was one to make of such an unsupported charge? PZ did shift the meaning in the title, which I don’t countenance, but the post was more about the purported “strengthening,” and I think that most took it that way. True, the correlation may not have been what you intended, but since what you wrote didn’t actually reference reality, what are people supposed to think that you’re blaming the fictional “strengthening” on? Fictive effects typically have fictive causes.

    Really, you don’t have that much to complain about if your references to your own fictions aren’t taken as you mean them to be. When the effect is a fiction, and linked by your words with the rise of public atheism, and what you “meant” is easily (probably most naturally, in fact) read to be merely another factor in larger internet issues, you need to either look to making better linkages in your writing, or perhaps you really did mean to link the two together.

    Btw, this just hangs out there disconnected from anything else, as far as I can tell:

    What to do about it” seems fairly obvious to me

    As far as I can discern, it had absolutely nothing to do with anything you wrote in that comment, at least.

    Glen Davidson

  124. 124
    Genius Loci

    John Morales:

    (You seriously don’t realise there is just a bunch of commenters, each expressing their opinion)

    I do indeed realize that, and from our previous interactions have inferred, for better or worse, that you are one such commenter, and a prickly bastard who fancies himself the sort who does not suffer fools gladly.

    No need for condescension. It appeared to me to be a disproportionate response by the OP to a single comment, with a subsequent pile-on. It was late, and, skimming the thread, I became cranky and responded impulsively.

    With regard to your quotation of Wikipedia: I am well aware of the history of the public so-called evolution “controversy”. I understood the comment to refer not to the whole conflict but to the renewed debate of the last decade or so, and I assumed that “the rise of public atheism” referred specifically to the recent visibility brought to atheism by Dawkins et al. I retract my remarks if that was indeed not the case.

  125. 125
    pensnest

    colonelzen @ #101

    It wasn’t that big a post. I don’t know how I could have made it much clearer.

    I think it would have been clearer had you included the words ‘on the internet’ in your first paragraph.

    In response to the next part of your post, I’d like to recommend a YouTube video to you—one which I watched after it was posted on Almost Diamonds a few days ago.

    Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEGeoEHVGzo

    It’s a talk by PZ, it follows the history of creationism, and it is very well worth watching.

    It could be that I just wasn’t paying attention elsewhere but I didn’t hear anyone taking creationists seriously until the late ninties to early aughts.

    Hmm. Richard Dawkins was commenting on it in his books well before then. Er, I’m pretty sure—I can’t give you quotes, because it’s been a while since I read them, but I certainly read several before I got onto the internet. His books on biology and evolution are wonderfully readable.

    Since then it seems to me that it was as much an internet creature as anything can be.

    I don’t look for creationist nonsense on the internet (or anywhere else, to be fair). However, I’d expect to find it a lot stronger in ‘walled’ communities like church congregations than it is on the internet, where anyone can wander along and Disagree, With Added Facts.
    It’s a matter of perception, isn’t it?

    But if so it doesn’t really alter my point, rather than to dilute the example: that the structural way people interact with the internet makes trolls and echo chambers among people who otherwise wouldn’t be prone to such behaviors.

    Alternatively, maybe the internet acts like alcohol, removing inhibitions so as to release what is already there. Actually, that seems a lot more likely to me. The internet is a tool. You can use a screwdriver to put up shelves or murder people or stab yourself through the hand, depending on what sort of person you start out as.

  126. 126
    Josef Mulroney

    creationists fear evolution due to their weak faith.

  127. 127
    Owlglass

    People feed trolls due to their weak rhetorical skills…uhm…wait…

  128. 128
    echidna

    creationists fear evolution due to their weak faith.

    This misrepresents creationists. They have a strong faith – they have to, in order to deny reality as much as they do.

  129. 129
    richcon

    It makes some logical sense. The rise of people defending illogical religious dogma against scientific challengers can be related to the rise of people using science to challenge illogical religious dogma.

    So PZ, we all just have to stop challenging illogical religious dogma so they can stop feeling the need to defend it. And if we stop teaching evolution is schools, they’ll stop fighting the teaching of evolution in schools.

    See how it works?

  130. 130
    colonelzen

    colonelzen @ #101

    It wasn’t that big a post. I don’t know how I could have made it much clearer.

    I think it would have been clearer had you included the words ‘on the internet’ in your first paragraph.

    I quoted the guy I was responding to. The title sentence in the para cited a problem. Backtracking to what the title sentence subject was would show I was referring to internet interaction. The next paragraph and rest of the post talked about the relationships of people to their net communities rather than community versus community.

    If you insist that this audience needs things spelled out in simple declarative sentences in colored block letters, I’ll take your word for it. And believe you.

    In response to the next part of your post, I’d like to recommend a YouTube video to you—one which I watched after it was posted on Almost Diamonds a few days ago.

    Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEGeoEHVGzo

    It’s a talk by PZ, it follows the history of creationism, and it is very well worth watching.

    I’ve already conceded my perception that the gave creationism a boost comparable to atheism was wrong. What more do you want? I’ll probably watch PZ’s vid, and however interesting it is it is not germane.

    I simply did not, do not, never have and never will rationalize or justify creationism anywhere, much less as the title libel asserts. However much anyone may feel that the out of context quote PZ asserted imples such an argument I have repeatedly and directly stated that such was not my intent.

    Again what the flaming fuck do you want?

    Hmm. Richard Dawkins was commenting on it in his books well before then. Er, I’m pretty sure—I can’t give you quotes, because it’s been a while since I read them, but I certainly read several before I got onto the internet. His books on biology and evolution are wonderfully readable.

    I think I read Blind Watchmaker in the earlier aughts. Before TGD that’s all I remember. While there were swipes at creationism, such were common way back when I was a teen reading Sagan, Asimov, Eiseley. and others. Creationism/literalism, as said was always “background noise”, always there but – as I perceived it – not anything to be worried about. Like the sea in the low-lands the dikes had to be maintained and watched, but the job was done.

    Or so I thought. Somehow someway it was evidently much larger than I thought and escaped my notice.

    Aound the time I read BW, I started noticing more public talk of creationist ideas. Though I had long been an athiest leaning agnostic (with unsuccessful adventures in *trying* to be religious for the sake of the kids) I mostly ignored public discussions of religion as so much noise. TGD convinced me that it was time to make my decision and take a stand. Then, of course I noticed much more of it. So yes, my personal attention and history has probably skewed my perception of the prevalence of creationism and in consequence my assessment of it benefitting from the internet on a similar scale to what atheism has is mistaken.

    Which means that creationism is a poor example for the hypothesis I was forwarding, that trolling and in-group defensive behavior (echo chambers) are strutural consequences of peoples natural behaviors and the opportunities afforded by the internet.

    I don’t look for creationist nonsense on the internet (or anywhere else, to be fair). However, I’d expect to find it a lot stronger in ‘walled’ communities like church congregations than it is on the internet, where anyone can wander along and Disagree, With Added Facts.

    Walled communities have walls that protect the imates from the need to individually develop defensive posture. My hypothesis (and it is far from unique to me, though I don’t know where I’ve read similar, I’m pretty sure this is not something I’ve conjured of my own wisdom and creativiity) is that once a community begins to gel its members in protecting their group identity and individual self validation within and from it develop very effective habits of conforming norms and identification signals. From the outside they appear to be walled communities, though the walls are the aggregate actions of individual members.

    But if so it doesn’t really alter my point, rather than to dilute the example: that the structural way people interact with the internet makes trolls and echo chambers among people who otherwise wouldn’t be prone to such behaviors.

    Alternatively, maybe the internet acts like alcohol, removing inhibitions so as to release what is already there. Actually, that seems a lot more likely to me. The internet is a tool. You can use a screwdriver to put up shelves or murder people or stab yourself through the hand, depending on what sort of person you start out as.

    To an extent I agree, but what is the mechanism of that loss of inhibition? I posit it is the amount of validation and “backing” for a belief or belief system that would not have been their in an age before the internet.

    But I consider it to go deeper. I am not a believer in indentity essentiallism. We are what we learn and how we grow, we are not something that remains the same as we learn incidental things.

    As the internet provides vastly more opportunities for validation of various beliefs, people (all of us!) become more discrete and definite in our belief systems (again largely independent whether any given set of beliefs is right or wrong). Without the internet that opportunity to create our own identities (our perception of who we ourselves individually are) with that level of attachment and investment in as many ideas simply did not exist. I don’t say this is good or bad, simply that it is new and different and society has a long way to go to adapt to it.

    (And on my part, while I have strong belef that it is so and in some parts border on tautology, I freely admit that some of the larger picture becomes either untested hypothesis, or in larger scope untestable metaphysics. But it is a useful framework for considering some issues).

    – TWZ

  131. 131
    colonelzen

    Hi OG, nice to see you elsewhere. We do seem to share a penchant for annoying people, don’t we. You’d think we’d learn that intelligence and sincerity are not really appreciated anywhere.

    One of these days I’m going to think up a time machine, go back a few million and tell that ape to get his ass back up the tree!

    – TWZ

  132. 132
    colonelzen

    Hmm I seem to suffer constipated quotes. — TWZ

  133. 133
    PatrickG

    You’d think we’d learn that intelligence and sincerity are not really appreciated anywhere.

    Sigh… benefit of the doubt continued (on my part), but if that was ironic… was it? I can’t tell.

    You’ve acknowledged your perception of creationist influence was not attuned to reality. Believe me, it was around, even before you read The God Delusion. The apparent rise of creationism may be linked to the internet age in your mind due to the internet, but that is not true of people who were around prior to that. Thus, you got jumped on. This shit’s been going on for a long, long time. Scopes Trial ring a bell?

    So why the snarky comments insulting people? Moreover, if you find the snark insulting, why resort to it yourself? What do you hope to gain?

  134. 134
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    You’d think we’d learn that intelligence and sincerity are not really appreciated anywhere.

    When neither of you show sincerity or EVIDENCE (sincerity is only a virtue in a rhetorical argument, and is meaningless in a scientific argument), why the backslapping camaraderie? Your ego gets in your way of presenting by linking to the evidence. Stop talking and point. That is the most intelligent argument you can make….

  135. 135
    colonelzen

    PatrickG.

    OG and I have shared comments another site. We are both intelligent and sincere frequently making comments in depth and expressing our prolonged thought on issues. And we both seem to aggravate people, often with no intention of doing so.

    Meanwhile despite repeatedly, time and again, and once more and again, stating plainly and clearly that I was not claiming that atheism was in any way causal to creationism, (or vice versa but there are many claims here that it is so to some extent, and I’d probably agreee, but was and did not argue such) there are still people piling on acting as though it hadn’t happened. such doesn’t give me confidence that intelligence and sincerity is appreciated around here.

    And how many “mea culpa’s” do you want for my misappraisal of the relationship between creationism and the internet? Will one more grant me license to acknowlege a friend? Or must I meekly kowtow and remain silent to OG as a disgusting gaijin?

    – TWZ

  136. 136
    LykeX

    @colonelzen

    I think you need to slow down. You’re not reading what people are writing. E.g.

    And how many “mea culpa’s” do you want for my misappraisal of the relationship between creationism and the internet? Will one more grant me license to acknowlege a friend?

    This is bullshit. First, you weren’t criticized for saying hi to OG, but for your passive-aggressive stab at the posters here. Second, PatrickG, in that very comment, explicitly acknowledged the very point you’re now busy repeating.

    I get that you’re annoyed at people not getting what you meant and criticizing you for an opinion you don’t hold, but take a breath. You’re not doing yourself any favors right now.

  137. 137
    PatrickG

    And we both seem to aggravate people, often with no intention of doing so.

    If you constantly seem to aggravate people, with no intention of doing so, maybe you need to change something in your style.

    For instance, in my post above, I clearly identified one example of what I thought was snark that had no purpose but insult. In a post where you were wondering why people were displaying hostility, that seemed rather counterproductive.

    Also, you grossly misinterpreted what I wrote as demanding some sort of further apology. I was merely trying to establish why you got such negative reaction, and was basically summarizing your post as I read it.

    Or hey, maybe I wrote unclearly! It happens! So, to be clear, no: I wasn’t seeking a further mea culpa.

    Or must I meekly kowtow and remain silent to OG as a disgusting gaijin?

    Exhibit 2 of passive-aggressive snark, sarcastically implying that the commenters here are:
    - interested in your ritual abasement (hint: we’re not)
    - an insular and xenophobic society (disgusting gaijin? really?)

    Hrmm. Well, I can’t read your mind. All I can do is read your words and form my own conclusion: namely, that you are either:

    1) deliberately trying to get a rise out of people, by painting yourself as a victim of vindictive tribalism (and y’know, we see an awful lot of that ’round these parts). Obviously, this is not going to get you warm responses.

    2) sincerely unable to see that the content you’re writing is highly passive-aggressive.

    If it’s really #2, then go re-read LykeX’s post. You are not reading what people are writing, and you’re not doing yourself any favors. And at this point this is just really not on topic at all, so I’ll leave it there.

  138. 138
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    For the record, I thought that was an imprecise bit of writing on Colonelzen’s part, so my post on the original thread was **deliberately** imprecise, stating colonelzen’s assumptions explicitly and then calling attention to the implied demand that we accept these assumptions and debate causality.

    I didn’t say what colonelzen’s theory of causality was. Though it was easy to infer that I believed cz’s theory was one of simple atheism-causes-creationism, I didn’t state what it was so as to be relevant regardless of colonelzen’s reply. I, then, am now completely satisfied with cz’s new position [if I understand it correctly, I haven't read every post yet] that any correlation existed only in cz’s mind.

    Had cz taken the time to establish a specific correlation to begin with, I would have been happy to discuss whether one caused the other, whether they synergistically affected each other, whether a 3rd factor was the source of the correlation, or whether the correlation arose from a combination of the above possibilities.

    Or, actually, I wouldn’t have, because I would find it not really worth my time, but I wouldn’t have been harping on colonelzen’s I-see-a-correlation-therefore-there-is-one writing either

  139. 139
    colonelzen

    Well PatrickG, for you and LykeX, in the first place “passive agressive” is a neat little tag you put on something you refuse to deal with by someone you don’t like. Can you sing “La La La” any louder?

    For my part, I’m openly and coldly critical. And given that I was libeled in a main post of this blog, called an idiot for saying something I never came close to saying, and piled upon by PZ’s carrion crows, I’d say I might even be a bit hostile. There’s no “passive” about it. Aggressive? Sure. I don’t play victim well even when I am one. It does make me agressive. But again, there’s no passive about it.

    And I don’t “wonder why people are hostile to me”, PZ sicced you upon me. It doesn’t need much more explanation. I am wondering if anyone else will see this in-group echo chamber stuff as exactly what I was talking about back in the posts that were quote-mined.

    As for what you said and what you mean, you did not “not express yourself well”. You expressed yourself with suave sophistication and art. You shook my had congratulating me for responsible behavior with one hand while “Scopes Trial ring a bell” was winking at the rest of your tribe with a “see I’m not really treating this guy as an equal, I really think he’s an ignorant idiot same as the rest of us here”.

    Now that’s really perfectly natural in-group behavior, that happens anywhere there is an in-group. And I might eveh have believed you were completely oblivious to that bit of gauchery had you not painted a baldly false dichotomy above.

    Or did you think me so stupid as not to see the reality of my own situation and be able to describe it?

    In case you are unaware. I am fully aware that my posts particularly in the here and now of this thread are critical to hostile. People, including me tend to react to hostility that way, dontcha know. They are not “passive agressive”. I can’t make you stop singing your La’s but your refusal to look at what I’m saying doesn’t make it false.

    And yes I really do think you (collectively) are
    1) interested in my ritual abasement
    2) an insular and xenophobic society

    And yes, LykeX i sincerely think that here, like most places sincerity and itellgence are not appreciated. To be sure there are plenty of intelligent and sincere in your little group, appropriately lauded for it … but only, when expressed here, when they are by acknowledged members of your tribe.

    – TWZ

  140. 140
    LykeX

    I am fully aware that my posts particularly in the here and now of this thread are critical to hostile. People, including me tend to react to hostility that way, dontcha know

    And is that the best mood to be in if you want to foster productive conversation?
    Step back and cool off. Whether your hostility is justified is completely irrelevant to the question of whether it’s helpful.

  141. 141
    colonelzen

    Crip Dyke … I never took a position that there was any causal connection between creationism and atheism. My initial claim was that they both got large to near vital boost of support from the internet. I have since been convinced that any gain to creationism from internet was much less significant than the internet gain of atheism. But my thesis was (and is) that how people interact with the internet makes them more prone to mutually hostile behavior, including trolling and in-group tribalism (“echo chamber”). Atheism and creationism were – very poor in retrospect – choices of examples.

    It’s natural, and pretty much inescapable anywhere people congregate with any commonality, but the nature and structure of the internet amplifies it. But I had hoped that some raised awareness of it would trigger interesting discussion. Forlorn now.

    – TWZ

  142. 142
    PatrickG

    I am fully aware that my posts particularly in the here and now of this thread are critical to hostile. People, including me tend to react to hostility that way, dontcha know

    Well, all right then. If you’re going to assert you’re just being hostile, I’ll take you at your word and respond in kind.

    I will, however, concede that my post does contain snark I didn’t catch, now that I reread it. I’ll learn from that. But since you’re actively provoking snark and derision, I’ll just end with:

    Cheerio, cupcake.

  143. 143
    John Morales

    colonelzen:

    But my thesis was (and is) that how people interact with the internet makes them more prone to mutually hostile behavior, including trolling and in-group tribalism (“echo chamber”). Atheism and creationism were – very poor in retrospect – choices of examples.

    It’s natural, and pretty much inescapable anywhere people congregate with any commonality, but the nature and structure of the internet amplifies it. But I had hoped that some raised awareness of it would trigger interesting discussion. Forlorn now.

    Your purported purpose belies your stated thesis (and therefore your expectation is perverse) but your admission is noted.

  144. 144
    colonelzen

    PatrickG. I didn’t say “just”, you did. I did and do intend to express and here and there hope to hear constructive ideas.

    LykeX: Lovely technique! Be hostile until you piss someone off then to then refuse to listen telling them that while they’re hostile they’re not in a productive frame of mind. Can I use that next time I want to argue that women belong in the kitchen or that gays don’t really want marriage? (Just because I really think some of you will idiotically really jump at the chance to argue that I really believe some such shit, that last sentence was rhetorical sarcasm. Now of course you’ll argue how I’m making snark and being hostile.)

    John Morales: Not tracking you here. Sure I expected to meet some hostility … I didn’t expect PZ himself to go apeshit. I did expect that at least a couple people might see what I was trying to say and possibly offer some insight. Or perhaps come up with a reason why such isn’t really as applicable as I think. No I didn’t expect that last but such has happened on occasion.

    – TWZ

  145. 145
    LykeX

    I haven’t been hostile to you. I’m not here to bash you. You’re interpreting my words as an attack, but they’re not. I’m actually trying to help you, by giving you the only advice that I think is useful in this situation: step away, take a breath, and calm down.

  146. 146
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But I had hoped that some raised awareness of it would trigger interesting discussion. Forlorn now.

    Well, you were the one who made it uninteresting. Mental wanking is uninteresting. Discussing real evidence is more interesting. All you offered was mental wanking. Your problem, not ours.

    It would also help if you stopped pretending to be the smartest person in the room, instead of showing us you are the least intelligent in the room. Real humility would help you focus.

  147. 147
    John Morales

    [OT + meta]

    colonelzen: @144:

    Not tracking you here. Sure I expected to meet some hostility … I didn’t expect PZ himself to go apeshit. I did expect that at least a couple people might see what I was trying to say and possibly offer some insight. Or perhaps come up with a reason why such isn’t really as applicable as I think. No I didn’t expect that last but such has happened on occasion.

    ‘Twas a somewhat elliptical way to express “your opinion is duly noted”, with a generous subtext of “you’ve made more than a few comments, yet here you are — still feisty and disputatious.

    (Gee, tell me more about the intolerance that is this echo-chamber, and how PZ went “apeshit”)

  148. 148
    PatrickG

    Can I use that next time I want to argue that women belong in the kitchen or that gays don’t really want marriage?

    Are you kidding me? You’re definitely here to be constructive /sarcasm

  149. 149
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Colonelzen:
    This blog may not be the place for you. This is a rough and tumble blog. Verbal evisceration, combined with passion for social justice and a disdain for tone rather than substance are features of this site; not bugs.

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