The buzz for this movie just gets better and better »« I officially divorce myself from the skeptic movement

I met Ray Comfort tonight

He asked to interview me for a documentary he’s doing. I agreed because I knew exactly what he was going to ask me…and I was right, there were no surprises at all.

He started by asking me for evidence of evolution. I tried to explain the evidence for speciation in sticklebacks, but he asked if they were still fish, and when I said they were, he said that didn’t count because they didn’t become a different “kind”, like a dog becoming a cat. So I told him that doesn’t happen in a single lifetime, and that carnivores diverged over 60 million years ago. I suggested he look at fossils, but he rejected that, because he wanted “observable” evidence, and anything that happened millions of years ago isn’t observable. So I said it was, too — fossils and molecular evidence are observable.

So the usual creationist run-around, where he defines what evidence he’d find acceptable by rejecting historical evidence as nonexistent, and contemporary evidence as too trivial.

Then he tried the usual stunt: “Are you a good person?” “Yes.” “Have you ever told a lie?” “Yes, but that a person has flaws doesn’t make them a bad person. The overall estimation of an individual’s character is not determined by one mistake.” And then he dropped the whole line of discussion.

It was as pointless as I expected. I think I managed to frustrate his usual line of patter, which was the best I could hope for anyway.

Hey, lots of people were taking pictures of the two of us. Send them to me, so I have a memento!


20130505-060440.jpg

That’s Jessica Ahlquist dueling Margaret Downey with a banana in the foreground; the far less interesting event in the background is Ray Comfort asking me about evolution. (Photo by Kent Martin.)


Also, some of you in the comments are psychic. Yes, I mentioned Lenski’s experiment to him: “they’re still just bacteria”. I also explained to him that “just a fish” is meaningless, that we humans are derived fish. He thought that was all weird.


Another photo!

pz-ray

Comments

  1. anuran says

    PZ, you could have been flossing cats, masturbating or watching re-runs of I Love Lucy instead of talking to Ray Comfort.

  2. Bubba J Tarandfeathered says

    Did he compensate you for the interview with bananas?

  3. gardengnome says

    The highlight of your day? And you just know, if his doco ever sees the light of day, that your part will be edited out of all recognition.

  4. lpetrich says

    Congrats, PZ, on rhetorically defeating Ray Comfort. Nice to see him stumped.

  5. pspence says

    No one was there to observe the bible being written either (apart from those pesky shepherd who made it up).

    Also, Ray’s banana was intelligently designed. It’s just that it was designed to look and taste the way it does over years of horticultural breeding. I’ve love to see him try to get his chops around the bananas’ natural ancestor.

  6. says

    PZ:
    “So kind sir, in summary there is ample fossil record accumulation to suggest evolution is correct and this is backed up my molecular evidence!”

    Ray Comfort:
    “Remember the Alamo!!! Remember Gawd sed creationysm is right cuz god said! Nd don’t fuck wit Texas, Yeeeehaww!! Dogshit.

    Oh wait, maybe I was thinking of Kirk Cameron…

  7. dongiovanni says

    Just out of interest, have you tried explaining Lenski’s work to them at any point? It’s pretty difficult to spin being able to digest citrate as not being evidence for evolution leading to an increase in complexity? Or is it too difficult to explain bacterial metabolism to the dear Mr Comfort?

  8. John Morales says

    dongiovanni @7, that’s precisely a point PZ made: “I tried to explain the evidence for speciation in sticklebacks, but he asked if they were still fish, and when I said they were, he said that didn’t count because they didn’t become a different “kind”, like a dog becoming a cat.”

    (Baraminology is their taxonomy; or: they’ll play the “microevolution vs macroevolution” card)

  9. microraptor says

    Oh, but you see it’s still a bacterium. Ray wouldn’t accept it unless a bacterium fissioned into an iguana or something.

    Also, he can’t see bacteria, and he wants evidence he can see.

  10. dongiovanni says

    @John. I understand, but the thing with the cit+ bacteria is that that’s a sweeping change which one would expect would be harder to deny than stickleback speciation. I mean, that’s more or less like humans developing the ability to digest cellulose… a lot harder to worm out of than changes in sperm coat proteins or whathaveyou. At least that’s what I was thinking in regards to that.

    @microraptor – is he actually a bacterium denier?

  11. says

    I’m still waiting for someone to give a clear definition of “kind”. Seems to me the most consistent definition is “whatever helps me deny that evolution is occurring.”

  12. John Morales says

    dongiovanni, gross morphology is what counts in baraminology.

    I mean, that’s more or less like humans developing the ability to digest cellulose… a lot harder to worm out of than changes in sperm coat proteins or whathaveyou

    Exactly! Yet it would still be a human rather than a bird or a worm or a fish, right?

    (Checkmate, evolutionist!)

  13. says

    Well, yes, some creationists try to pretend that it means something, but we’re still left with two problems:
    1) No two creationists agree on a definition. Some even use explicitly subjective criteria.
    2) Any given creationist will happily change their definition at the drop of a hat, if the old definition becomes inconvenient.

    “Kind” can mean so many things that I’m not convinced it actually means anything at all. In my experience “whatever helps me deny that evolution is occurring” is the operational definition.

    Come to think of it, it works a lot like “complexity” in that sense. And “missing link”. And “information”.

  14. Ermine says

    I think that what someone needs to do is wait until whatever creationist you like says “But they’re still fish, right?” Then tell them, “In scientific terms, WE ARE ALSO STILL FISH.” We are still recognizably every one of the nested hierarchies that led us from bacteria to humanity. We are still the same Eukariotes we were a billion years ago. We are still metazoans, Bilateral, Deuterosomes, Chordates, Craniates, Gnathostomes, Teleost (fishes!), Sarcopterygian (fishes!), tetropods, and everything that is descended from any of the other tetrapods is also, technically, a fish. That’s when you use REAL taxonomy though, not “kinds” which have no solid definition at all.

    We CAN trace what everything has evolved from, and we can do that because the things that we use to identify the taxa are reliably conserved, it’s the added features that we notice NOW, but the hierarchies remain.

    What do you all think?

  15. says

    If my understanding of the “Are you a good person?” schtick is correct, I wouldn’t bother clarifying what morality means along with the answer; having been asked “have you ever told a lie?” I’d say yes and wait for the next question: “What does that make you?”

    Then I’d shrug and say: “human?”

    According to the videos the script says you’re supposed to say “a liar” but that’s not actually true— the term “liar” means someone who lies flagrantly enough or habitually enough that their word should be considered less trustworthy than normal, or it means someone who is lying in this particular instance (depending on context).

    The term “liar” does not actually mean someone who has, at some point, told a lie for some reason because we as a species don’t typically invent special words to refer to oddly specific concepts that are simply innate to all humans. (Which is why I hate the word “atheist” but that’s another rant for another time.)

    And explaining that to Mr. Comfort is the perfect intro to an explanation of how morality is a practical thing that we can all pretty much agree on most of the time, and we have all collectively agreed that it does NOT involve the ill-defined perfection he seems to demand before one can be considered a “good person.”

    Which, perhaps ironically, means that Mr. Comfort is being dishonest when he claims that telling one lie for any reason makes you a combination of Hitler and Skeletor unless you happen to believe an ancient Jewish carpenter had an unfortunate accident with his wood and nails.

  16. says

    It is a sad thing that Creationism has been appropriated by fools. There is a lot of fertile ground in investigating the origins of energy transmutation. For it is certainly a property of energy that matter can be formed into complex structures. And it appears evident that emergence of new properties follows from dynamic change. At the same time, evolution is a product of “the Creation.” This is not to insist on God but to infer it/him/her; this is not to anthropomorphize God but to propose that energetical structures reduce to laws operating on energy over time. Creationism implies that laws (as such) are created (exist) prior to emergence. And what is anti-scientific about probing such a claim? Perhaps it can be said that no proof could ever be written, and therefore probing this question is pointless, fruitless. I would counter that there is no proof of logical inconsistency in the paradox of Zeno’s Arrow and yet it stands as evidence of a mathematically irreducible yet physically meaningless mode of thought. Such modes of thought confront any serious Creationist and therefore Creation-oriented analysis can be as scientific as any discussion regarding transcendental functions and paradoxes.

  17. says

    Did that make sense to anybody else?

    As far as I can tell, this is simply an overly-verbose phrasing of the old favorite “If there are laws, there must have been a law-giver.” I’m not sure why you think Zeno’s paradox saves you from an accusation of complete inanity.

    If you have a point, I would suggest that you spend some more time thinking about how to clearly communicate it.

  18. steve84 says

    You could have tried the police investigation/court room analogy:

    Police officer: “As I just explained the forensic evidence is overwhelming”
    Lawyer: “Where you there? Did you observe the crime?”
    Police officer: “No”
    Judge: “Case dismissed!”

  19. John Morales says

    JWJ Helkenberg:

    It is a sad thing that Creationism has been appropriated by fools.

    It is the inevitable result of time-binding in human culture; by now, only fools rely on the wishful thinking that is Creationism when science explains reality without recourse to magic.

    For it is certainly a property of energy that matter can be formed into complex structures. And it appears evident that emergence of new properties follows from dynamic change.

    So? Science accounts for that without the invocation of magical critters as necessary to it.

    [1] At the same time, evolution is a product of “the Creation.” This is not to insist on God but to infer it/him/her; [2] this is not to anthropomorphize God but to propose that energetical structures reduce to laws operating on energy over time.

    1. To presuppose “the Creation” is to beg the question.

    2. And when you refer to “laws operating”, you refer to observed regularities.

    And what is anti-scientific about probing such a claim?

    Other than being a non-answer, the fact that it’s an untestable claim and an otiose one, at that.

    Perhaps it can be said that no proof could ever be written, and therefore probing this question is pointless, fruitless.

    Perhaps, but it is certainly true that no proof is necessary, since there is no question to probe.

    (It would be just like probing for proof that children’s Christmas presents come from Santa Claus)

    I would counter that there is no proof of logical inconsistency in the paradox of Zeno’s Arrow and yet it stands as evidence of a mathematically irreducible yet physically meaningless mode of thought.

    Your ignorance is noted, and it’s not surprising.

    (You imagine calculus is logically inconsistent?)

    Such modes of thought confront any serious Creationist and therefore Creation-oriented analysis can be as scientific as any discussion regarding transcendental functions and paradoxes.

    There is no such implication (your “therefore” is a non sequitur), leaving aside that transcendental functions are mathematical relationships and paradoxes are semantic ambiguities.

  20. Pteryxx says

    ‘I said “good person” not “perfect person”.’ Or perhaps, ‘I said “good person” not “George Washington”.’ /cherrytree

  21. says

    Ermine:

    What do you all think?

    I think it’s a good argument that is unfortunately too nuanced an so would fly over their head and get used in a similar way that Ben Stein said Dawkins believes we were created by lightning striking a mud puddle. They would be like: “Hey, like at those silly atheist who believe they are fishes. Hurr Hurr”.

    Not that this point shouldn’t be made, but one should be conscious of how it is likely to be seen by them.

  22. latsot says

    When I read this post I had the odd sensation of some of the prose coming through in Comfort’s voice and some in PZ’s. Disconcerting.

  23. Draken says

    It may even be necessary to lie in order to remain a Good Person. Classical example is where you lie to that nice Gestapo officer who knocked on your door at 3:00 am with the question whether there might, incidentally, be any jews in your attic.

  24. Sili says

    pspence

    No one was there to observe the bible being written either (apart from those pesky shepherd who made it up).

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    The Old Testament is the product of a highly literate, urban elite – whether pre- or post-Exile. Nattering on about ‘Bronze Age shepherds’ is just ignorant.

  25. dongiovanni says

    It depresses me to think that people like this exist and are allowed out without a keeper.

  26. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    This will be represented in the doc as so:
    Comfort: “have you ever told a lie?”
    PZ: “Yes…”
    (quick edit)
    Comfort, in studio: “See! They’re all a bunch of liars.”

  27. John Morales says

    “Have you ever told a lie?”

    I believe that anyone who can answer ‘no’ to that with a straight face has some control of their facial features when they lie.

  28. hypatiasdaughter says

    #25 Sili
    Well, yes & no. The Pentateuch was probably passed on orally for centuries, before written languages were even developed, before that urban elite wrote it down.
    And it did come from a culture that was made up of nomadic, “Bronze (& Iron) Age” sheepherders. That is deeply imbedded in the Jewish religion.
    But I think the average Israelite sheepherder was smarter and more profound than the average modern fundie…..

  29. The Mellow Monkey says

    Draken

    It may even be necessary to lie in order to remain a Good Person. Classical example is where you lie to that nice Gestapo officer who knocked on your door at 3:00 am with the question whether there might, incidentally, be any jews in your attic.

    Ah, but you’re using “Good Person” in this context to refer to some form of empathy and seeking to minimize harm.

    There are plenty of the faithful who would disagree, because their “good” is based on the absolute morality of a book instead of human kindness and death is of less importance than pleasing God. If you search around for Christian discussions of whether or not righteous lies exist, you can see various bizarre and disturbing arguments.

    This one on Answers in Genesis turns my stomach.

    But consider for a moment that we are all already sentenced to die because we are sinners (Romans 5:12). It is going to happen regardless. … It would be like sitting in a cell on death row and when the guards come to take your roommate to the electric chair, you lie to the guards and say you don’t know where the person went—while your roommate is hiding under their covers on the bed. Does it really help?

    I often wonder if a Nazi soldier asked if someone was there hiding and they told the truth before God, could the Lord have in mind a greater purpose?

    In the situation of a Nazi beating on the door, we have assumed a lie would save a life, but really we don’t know. So, one would be opting to lie and disobey God without the certainty of saving a life—keeping in mind that all are ultimately condemned to die physically. Besides, whether one lied or not may not have stopped the Nazi solders from searching the house anyway.

  30. says

    Do you have any evidence for evolution?

    Why yes I do, past and present evidence.

    Well, I meant besides that.

    Uh, no, considering that’s all that is possible.

    Ha ha, you can’t provide the evidence.

    Glen Davidson

  31. Draken says

    @32, AiG madness:

    Besides, whether one lied or not may not have stopped the Nazi solders from searching the house anyway.

    Mental note: never trust a fundie xtian.
    On the other hand, there may well have been fundamentalists under those who sheltered the jews in the Netherlands. Lying their arse off to everyone in school and in the neighbourhood.

  32. anteprepro says

    Creationism implies that laws (as such) are created (exist) prior to emergence. And what is anti-scientific about probing such a claim?

    The hilarious part of all of this astute sounding bafflegab is that it suffers from the same error as the most moronic of creationists: Treating evolutionary biology and astrophysics/cosmology as the same subject. Seriously, you think you get to define the meat of “creationism” as “laws exist prior to emergence” in order to stop us from laughing at you? The creationism that is entirely focused on the apparently minor little argument that evolution is completely wrong, and you are going to prove that it isn’t nonsense by looking at whether or not “laws are created prior to emergence”? Sophisticated fucking theologians and their love of transparent dishonesty/bafflegab.

  33. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Creationism implies that laws (as such) are created (exist) prior to emergence. And what is anti-scientific about probing such a claim?

    Just the usual bullshit involved with trying to stick a creator in. WHO CREATED THE CREATOR, OR HOW DID IT COME ABOUT? Funny how only bullshit like the words eternal as an obvious, but ignored, presupposition get handwaved around. Anything to avoid answering the key question…

    Otherwise you have “nothing” –>

  34. rogerfirth says

    It would be interesting to see Comfort’s final product of that interview, no doubt it will be after significant editing. I’m sure whatever message it carries based upon PZ’s words will have little to do with the message PZ put into it during the interview.

    I would expect the final edit to be a spectacular showcase of intellectual dishonesty, as is typical of when creationists interview real scientists.

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Creationism implies that laws (as such) are created (exist) prior to emergence. And what is anti-scientific about probing such a claim?

    Just the usual avoidance involved with trying to stick a creator in. WHO CREATED THE CREATOR, OR HOW DID IT COME ABOUT? Funny how only bullshit like the words eternal as an obvious, but ignored, presupposition get handwaved around. Anything to avoid answering the key question…

    Otherwise you have “nothing” –> universe versus “nothing”–> “creator” –> universe. Parsimony says the first explanation is the most logical one, as it has the least steps for the same result.

  36. says

    Someone tried that line of questioning with me and some friends once.
    Are you a good person?
    Yes.
    Have you ever lusted after a married woman?
    Yes.
    That makes you a bad person, because she belongs to another man.
    Excuse me, she does NOT “belong” to another person like he owns her or something, she is her own individual with her own agency, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with sexual fantasies in any context.
    Erm… I didn’t mean it like that…
    I also reject the notion that it’s wrong to be with more than one person at a time anyway.
    He changes subject…

  37. anteprepro says

    I would expect the final edit to be a spectacular showcase of intellectual dishonesty, as is typical of when creationists interview real scientists.

    I hope PZ burns what exactly he said into memory, or has some sort of access to a pre-edited version of the interview. Because this is going to inevitably happen, and I can only hope that PZ will be able to show exactly how dishonest Comfort is.

  38. stanton says

    @The Mellow Monkey:

    That Ken Ham will use his faith in Jesus Christ to justify any evil, no matter how horrific or sickening (in this case, his arrogantly apathetic disdain for his fellow human beings) is one two reasons why he is a horrible monster.

    (The other reason being that he’s an avaricious, money-grubbing cultivator of Lies For Jesus and Stupidity For Jesus)

  39. anteprepro says

    Have you ever lusted after a married woman?
    Yes.
    That makes you a bad person, because she belongs to another man.

    On top of your complaints, gotta love that this one relied on thoughtcrime. I think that is why Comfort does the “have you ever lied?”. It has the same vague negative connotation as “lusted” but actually requires you to have done something in the real world, rather than just thinking things. In addition, “lying” in theory seems like something people could control whereas completely avoiding “lusting” after anyone more or less requires you to have no sexual urges (or requires a less broad definition of “lusting” than is typically used), and I think most people realize that at a gut level. So…Comfort actually may have made a strategic decision (!!!)

  40. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sorry about the double posts. I accidentally found the keyboard shortcut to submit comment.

  41. says

    @ OP

    He thought that was all weird.

    Its going to get a rather sad for him one day. He’s little too engrossed in his intellectual cosplay.

    He’s going to get left in an empty hall in a funny suit, rambling in Klingon, while everyone has left to get on with their day-to-day lives. I think we’re at the stage now when people are taking off the make-up and rounding up the kids.

    Shows over, Ray. Shows over. Time to get on with your life.

  42. pacal says

    Mellow Monkey no. 32 Well of course Fundamentalist cretins would argue that lying to save people hiding in attic or basement is a terrible unforgivable sin. One it seems worst than murder, because after all we’re all going to die some day and besides it may be part of God’s plan. So god is murdering them it seems. Yuck!

    The whole purpose of the above is to make the fundies who write this crap feel morally superior to the people who risked life and limb to save peoples lives. How? by saying those people lied and are less moral than those who don’t, because after all death is no big deal.

    My contempt for this is without limit.

  43. says

    J W Jeff Helkeberg

    I would counter that there is no proof of logical inconsistency in the paradox of Zeno’s Arrow and yet it stands as evidence of a mathematically irreducible yet physically meaningless mode of thought.

    (I’m a mathematician).

    [1] What do you mean by “mathematically irreducible”? Mathematicians have quite successfully used convergent sequences to show that there is no mathematical paradox here.

    [2] Zeno’s Paradoxes are one part of a (at least) two-sided debate in early Greek cosmology. You can’t just take it out of context and claim that Zeno or anyone else thought this was a paradox on its own. It was specifically designed to point out a flaw in the reasoning of the Greek pluralists. So if you assume an Ancient Greek understanding of physics, and assume that the pluralists were correct, then Zeno’s reductio ad absurdum is an example of inconsistency. But we don’t assume all those things, so, yeah, it isn’t inconsistent. Mathematically or physically.

  44. Amphiox says

    Creationism implies that laws (as such) are created (exist) prior to emergence.

    The idea that laws might exist prior to emergence does not imply that they were created, and thus does not imply creationism.

    To even make your point you had to deliberately insert the erroneous conflation of “created” and “exist”.

    And what is anti-scientific about probing such a claim?

    It is anti-scientific because 1) it depends on an unevidenced and unexamined assumption that things that exist must therefore have been created, and thus becomes a tautology, which is the exact opposite of what real science should be, and 2) the approach is backwards. Real science takes the observation, that laws exist, and then looks to see what that observation implies. Real science does not take an assumption, like creation, and then try to squeeze it, post-hoc, to make it appear to imply something in observed reality, and then go away satisfied that it has an explanation.

    It is perfectly scientific to probe the claim that laws might exist prior to emergence, but said probing would have nothing at all to do with creationism.

  45. Alex the Pretty Good says

    @ Draken

    It may even be necessary to lie in order to remain a Good Person. Classical example is where you lie to that nice Gestapo officer who knocked on your door at 3:00 am with the question whether there might, incidentally, be any jews in your attic.

    Indeed. I would so like to dare Ray (or one of those AiG a-holes cited further in this thread) to rationalise why my grandfather wouldn’t have been a Good Christian(TM) for his active involvement in the resistance. Granted, I don’t know whether he ever had to outright lie about the Jews (and later in the War the Allied pilots) he was hiding in his basement, but there isn’t a shadow of a doubt in my mind that he would have done so in a heartbeat. And even if he hadn’t lied, seeing that he was leading a local chapter, he was in defiance of Romans 13:1 anyway. So yeah … I would be very interested in knowing how a fundie would be able to rationalise how that was not the moral thing to do.

    And as for those immoral a-holes who make hypothetical “thought experiments” aboit “God’s purpose” of the people whose lives were saved … wouldn’t it be deliciously ironic if one of their forebears was an Allied soldier whose life was saved by the local resistance? I wonder how long they’d be able to continue to be all holier-than-thou about the lies told to save them.

  46. says

    That was comedy gold PZ. The girls with the bananas, that is. I empathize with you re: Comfort.

    The issue of Christian “apologists” like Comfort is more than slightly tangentially related to a bit over at my place.

    The gist being: These “apologists” been peddling this garbage to the world on a mass scale forever, and at least since Usenet this bilge and rational counters to it have been available to, well, the whole world.

    Why do they persist? It can’t be because Jesus tells ‘em to make crappy arguments for his death on the cross, etc. etc.

    Comfort’s the obvious example to the answer, though: These “apologists” are like grifters.

  47. erik333 says

    38 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    My favourite is “timeless” that apologists tend to toss out when you point out that “eternal” (infinite time) doesn’t sit well with their own argument about infinite regress they presented a minute before. What does it mean to say that “God created the universe” while “God is timeless”? To me it seems like one refutes the other. Hell, “timeless” basically refutes anything vaguely like a god.

    “universe” <- simpler still ;-)

  48. erik333 says

    whoups, messed up the href. Link to a WLC debate excerpt above. Clearly murder isn’t all that bad for some christians.

  49. falstaff says

    Here is a comment from Comfort’s FB post about this meeting.

    “If this man doesn’t believe in God~~~Maybe his science and all his beliefs would help me grow new bone in my jaw or fix what Utah doctors did to me~~yeah~right and pro-bono ~~I don’t think he would have time for me Im a believer~~I guess I can wait for the Lords return and then I will be whole once again~~!!”

    Here is my reply to that person (my own assumptions, of course): “I obviously don’t know what your health problems are but if PZ Myers had the magical powers you believe that your “God” has, I feel certain that he would heal you. He wouldn’t deny healing you because you don’t accept evolution or because you’re a Christian. He wouldn’t make you pledge your undying love and obedience to him in order to receive his healing. Myers would heal you because you’re a fellow human being, just as most other atheists would if they had that power. I hope you feel better.”

  50. arydant says

    PZ, we were witnesses to you being thrown out of the screening of “No Intelligence Allowed”.
    Then, when we saw the doc, it was obvious that they edited your responses along with Dawkins and others. Fortunately, Dawkins had the opportunity to stand up and challenge the producer – and he put up a good fight because he is an exceptional debater.

    Although you do know your stuff and can debate these idiots effectively in person, you KNOW they are just going to make you look stupid on film. When they refuse to accommodate you, why accommodate them? Is this in anyway an advantage to you?

  51. David Marjanović says

    Teleost (fishes!)

    No, we’re not teleosts. Teleosts are actino-, not sarcopterygians.

    having been asked “have you ever told a lie?” I’d say yes and wait for the next question: “What does that make you?”

    Then I’d shrug and say: “human?”

    Not even. Baboons have been caught lying (never mind chimps).

    It is a sad thing that Creationism has been appropriated by fools.

    Well, the last non-fools who hadn’t quit creationism in or soon after 1858/9 died in the 1870s.

    I would counter that there is no proof of logical inconsistency in the paradox of Zeno’s Arrow and yet it stands as evidence of a mathematically irreducible yet physically meaningless mode of thought.

    By no means is Zeno’s Arrow physically meaningless. It’s physically wrong. It presumes the existence of points in time with zero duration, and such a thing simply does not exist.

    This one on Answers in Genesis turns my stomach.

    What assholes.

    Mental note: never trust a fundie xtian.

    Yeah, that, too.

    The hilarious part of all of this astute sounding bafflegab is that it suffers from the same error as the most moronic of creationists: Treating evolutionary biology and astrophysics/cosmology as the same subject. Seriously, you think you get to define the meat of “creationism” as “laws exist prior to emergence” in order to stop us from laughing at you?

    “Why do people laugh at creationists?

    Only creationists don’t understand why!”

    He’s going to get left in an empty hall in a funny suit, rambling in Klingon

    Teaching that guy to become fluent in Klingon probably requires divine-level superpowers. In short, it’d be a miracle.

  52. Michael says

    If you could have gotten him to define “kinds”, if he used the breed with each other analogy you could have hit him with ring species. I’m curious how he would have responded other than they are still the same kind even though they can’t breed and by his definition aren’t the same kind.

  53. says

    I wonder (actually I already know the answer) if Comfort would argue the the emergence of humans and chimps from a common ancestor isn’t an example of evolution because they’re boh still primates.

  54. stevem says

    re “fish”:

    But there it is, YOU LIE, PZ, to say we’re fish. Do we have gills? Can we breathe under water? Surely only fish have gills, so anything, and ONLY anything with gills is a fish. How dare you lie and obfuscate your ‘so-called’ “theory” of evolution to label us all fish. God created us special, apart from all the ‘animals’, so there’s no possibility we are even related to fish in anyway at all. Gills is the thing, the distinguishing feature that defines fish as its own separate ‘kind’, like elephants have trunks, cats have retractable claws, cephalapods have tentacles (octi have 8 and squid have 10). birds have feathers (no teeth), etc. etc. Each ‘kind’ has its own special ‘feature’ apart from all the others. Isn’t that how you “scientists” define ‘species’? eh? tell the truth now, liar.
    {cough, cough, hack, hack, oh dear, I seem to have been channeling someone like Comfort}

    re paradox:

    Comfort: “Have you ever told a lie?”
    PZ:”Everything I say is a lie! Is that true or false?”
    Comfort:”I’m asking questions, not you, don’t ask me anything.”

    (hypothetically) PZ presents Comfort with Godel’s paradox, (so to speak) but seriously, is there any way to assign ‘true’ or ‘false’ to the statement, “Everything I say is a lie” (e.g. “This statement is false”).

    re Liars:

    So Comfort wants us all to be Vulcans who NEVER lie, no matter the consequences? Oh, that’s right, we’re not supposed to think ahead, it’s all Gawd’s plan. It’s hubris to think you can escape (alter) The Plan. {Vulcans are just humans God adapted to live on Vulcan, since we can interbreed (Spock was half and half) we must be the same species (kind), so we can be just like them}

    {I need NeuroTUMS to settle my brain’s acid reflux after all that}

  55. says

    I think all these fancy interpretations of what Comfort may have been thinking/plotting/suggesting in his questions to PZ are guilty of vastly overestimating the man’s ability to form a coherent thought.

  56. neXus says

    The most important question is: Who won the banana duel? My money is on Jessica. =P

  57. says

    He asked to interview me for a documentary he’s doing.

    Expelled II: the expulsion

    ??

    When you have reasons to doubt someone’s intellectual honesty, letting them interview you is just setting yourself up for heartache later. Otherwise the worst they can say is “declined to be interviewed…”

  58. uzza says

    Yes, Ray, things can become a different “kind”, like a dog becoming a cat. For example,
    during the 1970’s sponges changed from being plants to being animals.

  59. kayden says

    At least you two were civil and the took some nice photos. I wonder what would convince him that you were right and he was wrong. Nothing, I guess.

  60. says

    Am I the only one who’s not sure if they are a liar by Comfort standards? He specifically discounts little comments like “You look great in that dress, Grandma!”

    Ray’s not really trying to impress the posters of FTB. He’s trying to get footage that he can edit to make himself look brave and use it to inspire people who already agree with him. That’s why he can be so maddeningly inconsistent with his standards for “observable” evidence. (Were you in the garden of Eden? Was Moses? Were J,E,P and D? Was the scribe who edited it?)

    He’s working backwards from a conclusion, and cannot, nor does he want to, convince people who think we should reason the other direction. I would call this a lie of epic proportions, which is ironic given Ray’s standard “Are you a liar?” line.

    The first time I heard Comfort use the “Are you a liar?’ ploy was shortly after my Grandmother passed away. His comment about looking good in that dress immediately resounded because I had said that and I wasn’t lying. Objectively Grandma looked quite ill and frail but I thought she looked marvelous and I told her so. It made me wonder if Comfort’s brain is just locked into such a bizarre twist of reality that he can’t even parse words like “truth” the way I use them.

  61. David Marjanović says

    Vulcans are just humans God adapted to live on Vulcan, since we can interbreed (Spock was half and half)

    In Enterprise, though, it’s mentioned that this requires some genetic trickery.

    For example, during the 1970′s sponges changed from being plants to being animals.

    …what… no. Do you mean the 1770s?

  62. David Marjanović says

    Ooh! PZ! We need a good photo of your T-shirt!!!

    And Comfort is not-smiling in that photo. That should become a textbook example of not-smiling.

  63. unclefrogy says

    The Mellow Monkey @ 32
    I suspect the argument and resulting behavior would be some what different if it were christians that were being sought out and not “Jews”.
    That they can’t see the differences or the similarities may be the result of the long practice of having a tightly controlled compartment-ed mind / ” thought process” .

    uncle frogy

  64. dcg1 says

    If you showed him where else his banana would fit, would he think that his god was sexually liberated too?

  65. ck says

    stevem wrote:

    (e.g. “This statement is false”).

    <Wheatley>Umm… True. I’ll go true. Huh, that was easy. I’ll be honest, I might have heard that one before though; sort of cheating.</Wheatley>

  66. anathema2 says

    I have mixed feelings about this.

    On one hand, I think that it’s generally a bad idea for atheists to debate with or allow themselves to be interviewed by Ray Comfort.

    On the other hand, one of the reasons that I think it’s generally a bad idea for atheists to debate with or allow themselves to be interviewed by Ray Comfort is that, unless you are familiar with his script, some of what he says is so astonishingly stupid that it can be difficult to figure out how to respond. But it sounds like PZ is familiar with Comfort’s script, so that doesn’t sound like it should be an issue here.

  67. uzza says

    Do you mean the 1770s?

    Well, yeah. A better example crossed my mind but it didn’t leave any footprints. My point was that these classifications change all the time, they’re not carved in stone “kinds” as the creationists always assume.

  68. belac says

    I would like to inform you that Mr. Ray Comfort posted your photo on his FB page. And then his adherents cherry-picked and mutilated the context of your blog and are using your own words to wage their wars against the atheists on Mr. Comfort’s page.

    Here’s a snippet of my reply to them, and maybe in a sense, a reply to you, sir:

    Some people hide behind atheism, nurturing the thought that liberating themselves from the belief in a deity. liberates themselves from moral and ethical obligation and responsibilities. Which is WRONG.

    Some become atheists because it sounds cool and some just want to be called “freethinkers” because it sounds synonymous with “intellectuals”.

    But still, these people hiding behind Atheism are no way worse and are actually not doing any harm compared to pedophile priests hiding behind the Church.

    Or megalomaniac evangelists hiding behind the Gospels and the Bible out on an ego trip.

    Or fundamentalist preachers hiding behind Christian ministries to prey on teen boys and girls, or are just out to get rich and famous.

    Goes both ways, but still, faith and belief looked the worse of the two. Much worse.

  69. ck says

    Well, the important thing, belac, is that you’ve found a way to feel superior to both groups, and isn’t that what is really most important?

  70. omnicrom says

    Well Belac that was a lovely word salad. I’m glad you’re pleased with being better than both Christians and Atheists, and I’m so proud of you that you can dismiss the idea of being a freethinker as intellectual masturbation.

    That is what you wanted right? Praise and reverence for your insight right?

  71. pixelfish says

    So when William Faulkner has Vardaman say that his mother is a fish, he was biologically accurate? Mind blown!

  72. stevem says

    re ck:

    [I] wrote:

    (e.g. “This statement is false”).

    {Wheatley}Umm… True. I’ll go true. Huh, that was easy. I’ll be honest, I might have heard that one before though; sort of cheating.{/Wheatley}

    but, but, but, if it is true, then what it says is true; it says it is false, but if it is false, then it must be true (not false), and so on and so on, round and round it goes, Mr. Wheatley. Whatever you say it is, it will just keep spinning around forever. QED: paradox!
    {not to beat-up on you ck, just to inform our silent readers what I was getting at. Cheers to you, ck. a mind like Ray Comfort’s will never gettit}

  73. ck says

    stevem,

    I was making a reference to the game Portal 2, where Wheatley, who is described as “the product of the greatest minds of a generation working together with the express purpose of building the dumbest moron who ever lived”, simple responds with “true” because he simply isn’t smart enough to understand the paradox. While I’m sure the “greatest minds of a generation” didn’t set out to design Ray Comfort, I seriously doubt he’d understand the paradox, either.

    I should’ve given a little more context to make it clear where that came from, though.

  74. belac says

    And on this one I beg to disagree with you sir –

    “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings. The second sentence is false. Religion does not turn you into a terrorist. The overwhelming majority of religious people have similar values to yours; my church-going grandmother would have been just as horrified at people using their faith to justify murdering people as the most hardened atheist, and there have been atheist individuals who also think they are justified in killing people for the cause. So stop saying this!”

    No sir, there are a lot of reasons and causes to turn an individual to be “evil”.
    And yes, religion is one of them.

    Think Boston Bomber, sir.
    If that person was born and raised a Christian, would he have all the pent-up and boiling rage against the U.S. government for what they were doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine?

    Simple answer is no. So yes, in this, as in many cases, religion, his belief, is what motivated him to do what he did.

    In 1252, Pope Innocent IV issued a papal bull entitled “Ad Exstirpanda”, which authorized the use of torture by inquisitors in response to large popular movements throughout Europe considered apostate or heretical to Christianity.These were the first inquisition movements of many that would follow.

    One of the more common forms of medieval inquisition torture was known as “strappado”. The hands were bound behind the back with a rope, and the accused was suspended this way, dislocating the joints painfully in both arms. Weights would be then added to the legs dislocating those joints as well. Atrocities sanctioned by the Church just because these people had different beliefs. Tell me then, sir, if religion is not the cause of these “evil” deeds.

    The mass graves in Bosnia were a result of difference in beliefs, ordinary soldiers and men taught to hate to follow orders to shoot and maim babies, innocent children and women. Again, tell me sir, if this is not a product of religion turning men into evil human beings.

    In Islam, if you insult Allah, or his Prophet Mohammad, a “fet’wah” can be declared on you, and you will be free game to any Muslim. EVEN if that Muslim IS YOUR FRIEND, he is bound by his faith to do his duty and forsake your friendship. The best way of execution is tying your hands behind your back, setting you into a prone position and they start cutting your neck with a knife or sword, slowly painfully, blood gushing out freely from the severed arteries until they cut and separate the whole head off, like slaughtering an animal. Tell me, sir if that is not evil, and tell me sir, if religion is not the cause of it.

    I can cite a lot more. Even from personal experience.
    So sir, religion, or faith, or belief, is in fact one of the many reasons for humans to turn evil.

    A great day to you.

  75. belac says

    @ck and omnitron- you think that is the purpose of my post? Ok, feel free to file yourselves away into those categories.

    So, ok, in simpler terms, I was just telling Mr. Myers to be careful in dealing with the banana guy, because the man can say he’s Jewish one moment then completely reject and diss the Jewish faith the next. He will quote the Old Testament and when called on his statement, will resort to a virtual dismissive wave of his hand with “That’s old stuff, we don’t deal with that anymore. I hope your day went well”. He cherry picks his own Bible.

    And important thing to note is that no human being is intellectually superior to another, because one man can not, ever know everything, ergo, another man will always know one thing he doesn’t.

  76. says

    @belac
    It’s called blockquote. It goes: <blockquote>Text here</blockquote>
    And it results in:

    Text here

    Next:

    If that person was born and raised a Christian, would he have all the pent-up and boiling rage against the U.S. government for what they were doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine?

    Sure, why not? OK, maybe they wouldn’t have been angry with the US over Afghanistan, specifically, but then they’d have been angry over immigration laws or income taxes or whatever. Ever heard of Timothy McVeigh?

  77. bartmitchell says

    You should have shown him a tadpole that morphed into a frog. Clearly, it was a small fish that evolved into a frog!

    Sure, it’s completely incorrect, but it would meet his bizarre definition of ‘evolve’.

  78. stevem says

    re ck@82:

    oops, sorry I didn’t get the reference (never played Portal2) but knew it wasn’t you, that you were voicing that Wheatley character (whoever he was). cheerio!

  79. says

    I wonder what happens if someone cuts Comfort off at the beginning of his script?
    _
    e.g. “Are you a good person?” “Not unusually so.”
    or
    “Are you a good person?” “I try to be.”
    _
    Of course, he wouldn’t put such interviews into his programming, since that would mess up his schtick.

  80. shabadu15 says

    I have always been puzzled by Comfort’s series of questions designed to convince you that you’re a bad person. Most of us realize at a pretty early age that people can do things that are immoral without being summarily characterized as being wholly immoral themselves. And Kirk Cameron’s little spiel about how, because of God’s perfectly moral nature he equates getting angry with someone to murdering that person is absurd. Only a complete lunatic would consider such a triviality as losing one’s temper to be equivalent to the ultimate immoral act of killing someone but that’s the god that those two morons choose to believe in and constantly sing the praises of. Bizarre.

  81. belac says

    @LikeX – Timothy McVeigh? Sure. He bombed a Federal building in Oklahoma because of his anger over how the U.S. government handled the incident with a RELIGIOUS Christian sect, called the Branch Davidians, :)

    Anyway, back to the present. Did the Boston bomber do what he did because of immigration laws, income taxes or whatever? So tell me then, was that what motivated him? Are you sure that he would have had the motivation of hurting innocent people over immigration laws, or income taxes?

    Be honest now. ;)

  82. says

    If that person was born and raised a Christian, would he have all the pent-up and boiling rage against the U.S. government for what they were doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine?

    Simple answer is no

    Do you stand by this or not?

  83. says

    Yesterday, I found the smoking gun to finally put Ray’s silly arguments to bed once and for all when I was in the salad section of my local grocery store. It is the irrefutable and observable single data point that Ray demands. By virtue of its mere name, it is more compelling than even the Crocoduck. What is this wondrous proof I speak of? What evidence do I possess? It is, People of Science, the Green Tiger Tomato.

  84. belac says

    @LykeX – answer my question and you will have the answer to your own question. ;)

  85. vaiyt says

    @Belac:

    No sir, there are a lot of reasons and causes to turn an individual to be “evil”.
    And yes, religion is one of them.

    The overwhelming majority of people in the world are religious, and they aren’t evil.

    In Islam, if you insult Allah, or his Prophet Mohammad, a “fet’wah” can be declared on you, and you will be free game to any Muslim. EVEN if that Muslim IS YOUR FRIEND, he is bound by his faith to do his duty and forsake your friendship.

    You don’t know many Muslims, do you?

  86. says

    Piss off! I deliberately ignored your question because you ignored what I wrote. I gave you a chance to behave like a sensible person and respond to my actual point. You decided it would be more fun to piss all over that and act smug about it.

    You made a statement and I’m asking you if you stand by it. It’s not a fucking trick question. Talk sense or fuck off.

  87. omnicrom says

    Well belac, I pegged you as self-important and smug. I see no reason to revise my opinion away from that, but I will add “hard to understand” to my assessment of your posts.

    Also while you wave your finger at the naughty Atheists here trying, however imperfectly, to deal in reason in reality over Ray “Bananaman” Comfort what comes through very strongly is egotism. Even though you say no person is intellectually superior to any other you carry yourself as though you feel you are intellectually our betters. While you can wax philosophical about the imperfections of knowledge that all humans have, it rings hollow when you yourself are being a patronizing condesplainer. Yes, we know Ray Comfort is one of the foremost liars for jesus, you don’t have to explain that as though it were a revelation given on high from the wise and knowing belac.

  88. says

    I have always been puzzled by Comfort’s series of questions designed to convince you that you’re a bad person. Most of us realize at a pretty early age that people can do things that are immoral without being summarily characterized as being wholly immoral themselves

    Comfort relies on two things — selective editing, and that innate human trait of wanting to please.

    First, Comfort knows that if he asks enough people, he will get the responses he needs for his documentary. We will never know how many people end up on the cutting room floor because they didn’t give him the responses he was looking for, in the same way PZ did.

    Secondly, when confronted on the street like that, most people assume that they are not being manipulated or misled. The answers to the questions, at least initially, are pretty much what any normal person would give, and so they are being strung along without knowing it. Even after God is introduced, most people are just regurgitating the stuff they learned in Sunday School, and by the time Comfort springs his trap, it’s too late.

    Even if things get awkward at that point, it doesn’t matter to Comfort, because awkward is one of the reactions he’s looking for. If the subject gets tongue-tied and evasive, it proves to the audience that he got to them, and hints that they may be on the verge of “seeing the light.” The reality, as is well known from the number of people who pledge their lives in the heat of the moment at Christian evangelical rallies only to never darken the doorstep of a church thereafter, is that few will ever take that step, but none of that matters to Comfort. He already has all he needs from the encounter.

  89. belac says

    @vaiyt – I don’t know any Muslims? Ok, Google translate this, written in the English alphabet, not in Arabic, but written as spoken – “Shin’ gult? Ana andi sadiqi Musulmani, ala kattar ana kunt fil dowla Arabi-ya, kunt ghadi wagit halba, fam’at?” :)

    @LykeX – same to you. :)

    @omnicron – nah, the curse of intellect is the aura of arrogance, albeit, it being just an aura. Not smug, not arrogant, not self important, just a person who is sure of his/her own capacities and limitations, and sometimes, that’s mistakenly viewed as smugness or arrogance. And sure, you’re perfectly entitled to your opinion. :)

  90. says

    To anyone who would defend the idea of “kinds”, I would like to know:

    Are anguids of the “snake kind” or the “lizard kind”? Or something separate?

    Are worm eels of the “worm kind”, the “snake kind” or the “fish kind”? Or something separate?

    Are caecilians of the “worm kind”, the “snake kind”, the “fish kind” or the “amphibian kind”? Or something separate?

    On what basis are you making your decisions?

  91. Ermine says

    You’re giving the same opinion to quite a few people, Belac. I have to agree with LykeX. Refusing to answer questions while expecting other people to answer all of yours – That’s arrogance, not intellect.

    Your response to Vaiyt is on a par with your other responses – you don’t actually offer any evidence that you actually know any actual muslims, and a bit of untranslated arabic isn’t evidence that you do. You could learn one phrase from anywhere, or have just googled it yourself. For a self-claimed intellectual, you’re amazingly bad at empirical evidence.

    Kindly bugger off. I’ll stick with people who can actually answer questions that are asked of them. Thank you for making your character so nice and clear for us all to see, at least.

  92. Azuma Hazuki says

    PZ, you met Ray Comfort and you didn’t sing him Cuttlefish’s “Bananaman?” I am disappoint :)

  93. Ichthyic says

    If that person was born and raised a Christian, would he have all the pent-up and boiling rage against the U.S. government for what they were doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine?

    I was baptized a christian (nobody is ever born one), and raised as one for 15 years.

    I left the states in large part because the american people no longer care or feel responsible for deaths of anyone but their direct neighbors any more, and even that is often enough not the case either.

    It depends on whether you were taught that social justice is important or not, far more than if you were raised christian or not.

  94. Ichthyic says

    And important thing to note is that no human being is intellectually superior to another, because one man can not, ever know everything, ergo, another man will always know one thing he doesn’t.

    If I know 100% more about 99% of the world that you do, I without any hubris whatsoever would in fact claim to be your intellectual superior.

    you don’t get to claim you’re my equal because you know that zinc plated nails are better than stainless steel for a specific kind of roofing job, even though you dropped out of grade school and I have an advanced degree from a major university.

    sorry, no, not equal.

  95. Koshka says

    Ok, Google translate this, written in the English alphabet, not in Arabic, but written as spoken – “Shin’ gult? Ana andi sadiqi Musulmani, ala kattar ana kunt fil dowla Arabi-ya, kunt ghadi wagit halba, fam’at?”

    Setting homework?

    Why?

    Is there a point?

  96. ck says

    belac,

    It’s good to see you’ve inoculated yourself so well against having to engage in self-reflection. By convincing yourself that everyone else is intimidated by your intellect, you can successfully avoid ever having to deal with criticism. You can go on telling yourself that you’re not really arrogant, condescending, and self-important if you like, but the fact that more than a couple of us got that impression from you right from the start, and the fact you seem determined to confirm that impression, it means that you’re never going to get the respect you seem to believe you are owed.

    I had been hoping that I had just misread what you wrote, and that you would correct me. I’m more than happy to be proven wrong, but you didn’t do that. However, I will say that it usually pays to remember the First Rule of Holes: If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

  97. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    And important thing to note is that no human being is intellectually superior to another, because one man can not, ever know everything, ergo, another man will always know one thing he doesn’t.

    Well I know at least one thing, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve read all day.

  98. Jacob Schmidt says

    “Shin’ gult? Ana andi sadiqi Musulmani, ala kattar ana kunt fil dowla Arabi-ya, kunt ghadi wagit halba, fam’at?”

    The moment people start pulling bullshit like this is the moment I realize they’re more concerned with sounding right than being right.

  99. brianpansky says

    did belac just post a sentence for us to translate in order to prove “having muslim friends” or something, which itself was in order to prove…? how many run-on non-sequiters can we tease out?

    and did belac troll instead of responding to direct and simple questions?

  100. coffeehound says

    belac @ 84,

    And important thing to note is that no human being is intellectually superior to another, because one man can not, ever know everything, ergo, another man will always know one thing he doesn’t.

    You know as a lurker I’m trying to keep an open mind here and follow your point but if, as I take it you’re trying to have me accept the idea that Ray is the the intellectual peer of Leibniz and Einstein because they didn’t have his home address and he can rattle that one off without half trying, well then you’ve lost me here….

  101. abrielle says

    Some people hide behind atheism, nurturing the thought that liberating themselves from the belief in a deity. liberates themselves from moral and ethical obligation and responsibilities

    I live here in France and also here their are many atheist. Is true some teenage boys and girls do not believe in god and when you ask why, they say they don’t believe and that’s it. Their really not convinced. They become like this because they want rebellion against government, against religion, against their mother and fathers. They dress in gothic fashion, they have tattoo and many piercing and bad attitude even when their in public places. And they make atheist girl like me who is really convinced, they make me look very bad.
    Sorry for bad english.

  102. abrielle says

    In Islam, if you insult Allah, or his Prophet Mohammad, a “fet’wah” can be declared on you, and you will be free game to any Muslim. EVEN if that Muslim IS YOUR FRIEND, he is bound by his faith to do his duty and forsake your friendship

    Is true, many muslims here in France. Maroccains and algerians because there countires under France before. And sometimes I’m afraid. So I don’t speak against there religion of Islam. There is film director in Amsterdam, who speak against Islam, they put fatwah on him, and they kill him, the Muslims. If they do it in Muslim country they are hero, but of course in Amsterdam, like France their considered criminals and murderer. In Bangladesh, if person speak against Islam, they put fatwah and the police can kill her, like normal criminal. Femen girl in Marocco say she don’t believe in muslim god, now she is hiding, because many people want to kill her. All over the world if the country is Muslim is happened.

  103. says

    In Bangladesh, if person speak against Islam, they put fatwah and the police can kill her, like normal criminal.

    Bullshit. There are some extremely serious problems with the Bangladeshi police, as documented, but there is no policy that says the police “can kill” anyone with a fatwa on them.

  104. vaiyt says

    @belac:

    @vaiyt – I don’t know any Muslims? Ok, Google translate this, written in the English alphabet, not in Arabic, but written as spoken – “Shin’ gult? Ana andi sadiqi Musulmani, ala kattar ana kunt fil dowla Arabi-ya, kunt ghadi wagit halba, fam’at?” :)

    Only someone who’s ignorant of how actual Muslims live and only sees them as some nebulous scary Other can spout that kind of drivel.

  105. abrielle says

    Bullshit. There are some extremely serious problems with the Bangladeshi police, as documented, but there is no policy that says the police “can kill” anyone with a fatwa on them

    I don’t say its regulation of police, but they let the group of people beat the atheist, and they do nothing to stop, and for me, is the same like the police kill them with there hands.

    http://global.christianpost.com/news/bangladesh-crackdown-on-atheist-bloggers-intensifies-four-arrested-93220/

    The bangladesh person was stab and serious condition. If you speak against Islam, they punish you with death penalty. You go read that and educate you’re self before you say “bullshit” to someone you doesn’t know.

  106. David Marjanović says

    If that person was born and raised a Christian, would he have all the pent-up and boiling rage against the U.S. government for what they were doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine?

    Simple answer is no.

    Uh, not so fast. In Iraq, the removal of Saddam has allowed Muslims to harrass and terrorize Christians to the extent that pretty much all of them have now fled the country. Why might not one or two of them figure the heretics in the US started it and must be punished?

    Besides, the PKK, the Kurdish “Workers'” “Party”, has had suicide terrorists. It’s a Stalinist organization, meaning, atheist. Any ideology can fly you into buildings. As soon as people are convinced there’s something worth killing and dying for, they’ll do that.

    The mass graves in Bosnia were a result of difference in beliefs

    It’s more ethnic than religious, complicated by the fact that the communist dictator of Yugoslavia had defined the Muslims of Bosnia as a nationality.

    “fet’wah”

    This isn’t Vulcan, FFS. It’s fatwā.

  107. jesus says

    Kent Martin deserves like, a billion dollars. That has to be one of the best pictures I’ve ever seen…

  108. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Surely only fish have gills, so anything, and ONLY anything with gills is a fish.

    So to make a creationist’s brain overheat like a cheap motherboard, you only have to show them a lungfish ?

  109. says

    Which, perhaps ironically, means that Mr. Comfort is being dishonest when he claims that telling one lie for any reason makes you a combination of Hitler and Skeletor

    An evil creature that I will henceforth refer to as “Hitlor.”

  110. Ichthyic says

    An evil creature that I will henceforth refer to as “Hitlor.”

    …which looks just like Skeletor, but with a bad haircut and tiny black mustache.

  111. Ichthyic says

    So to make a creationist’s brain overheat like a cheap motherboard, you only have to show them a lungfish ?

    true story:

    Local creationist acquaintance had never heard of a lungfish before. Mind was indeed blown. Thought we made it up.

    true story:

    Same creationist, different day, told what a narwhal is… instant repeat of previous.

    It was like watching a performance of a wind up clock.

    still amusing when the little bird pops out of the door though.

  112. Ichthyic says

    In Bangladesh, if person speak against Islam, they put fatwah and the police can kill her, like normal criminal.

    I think your claims are more than a little exaggerated.

    Last July, the Bangladesh high court ruled that extrajudicial punishments in the name of fatwas – religious edicts under Sharia law – were illegal. Local officials were instructed to take active measures to prevent them.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/04/bangladeshi-girl-whipping-fatwa

    get that?

    Fatwas are ILLEGAL in Bangladesh. Hardly the case that the police would be utilizing them.

  113. abrielle says

    get that?

    Fatwas are ILLEGAL in Bangladesh. Hardly the case that the police would be utilizing them

    Drugs are ILLEGAL in countries in the world, no? So why their are addicts???
    US is democracy, no? Not Muslim, yes? SO why their is police brutality? Illegal don’t mean it don’t happen, GOT THAT?

  114. abdulhaqim says

    “Shin’ gult? Ana andi sadiqi Musulmani, ala kattar ana kunt fil dowla Arabi-ya, kunt ghadi wagit halba, fam’at?”

    Sorry, but “Musulmani” is NOT an Arabic word.
    “Arabiya” – NO HYPHEN!

    Assalam wa-Alaykum.
    Peace upon all.

  115. Ichthyic says

    Drugs are ILLEGAL in countries in the world, no? So why their are addicts???

    ah I see, you wanna play move the goalposts…

    first, you claim the police have carte blanche in Bangladesh to exercise fatwas on their own initiative, then you pull back on that claim to make it something unspecific…

    Strangely, where drugs are illegal it still is not police policy for them to become pushers….

    do you plan to present an honest point, or are you all about hysteria and intellectual dishonesty?

  116. Ichthyic says

    FFS, with your present argument, police in the US must be executing fatwas left and right…

  117. abdulhaqim says

    You people don’t even understand the word Fatwa. In Islam, it is a ruling made by a qualified Muslim theologian or scholar. It is in regards to many areas and many things, and not only concerns declaration of punishment to someone who has debased Islam and its symbols and institutions.

    Learn things first before fighting over something you don’t know about.
    The west pretend to understand Islam, but they don’t, that is the problem.

    .
    Assalam wa-Alaykum.
    Peace be upon all.

  118. Ichthyic says

    You people don’t even understand the word Fatwa. In Islam, it is a ruling made by a qualified Muslim theologian or scholar. It is in regards to many areas and many things, and not only concerns declaration of punishment to someone who has debased Islam and its symbols and institutions.

    no shit?

    look, before you assume we don’t know what a fatwa is, you might try actually realizing that it’s irrelevant to the argument at hand, which is who can EXECUTE a fatwa.

    the argument was over whether police in Bangladesh legally can execute fatwas, and commonly do. I maintain they don’t, and abrielle hasn’t the slightest clue what she’s talking about.

    if you have an informed input on that specific issue, please feel free to chime in, otherwise, your input is off the mark and unneeded.

    thanks.

  119. Ichthyic says

    oh and before I forget to insult your religion…

    ALL Abrahamic religions, including Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, are ridiculous fictional concoctions and people that take them seriously are deluded and suffering from cognitive dissonance.

    peace be upon you all, because you bloody well need it.

  120. abrielle says

    first, you claim the police have carte blanche in Bangladesh to exercise fatwas on their own initiative, then you pull back on that claim to make it something unspecific…

    Strangely, where drugs are illegal it still is not police policy for them to become pushers….

    You know how to read, yes? Then go back and read when I explain, but ok, I will help you, this my reply to tacitus-

    I don’t say its regulation of police, but they let the group of people beat the atheist, and they do nothing to stop, and for me, is the same like the police kill them with there hands.

    You understand now, yes? Like the corrupt police getting money from king drug pusher to stand by and don’t stop them, yes? You living in another planet if you say no. Happen over the world, Russia, Italy, US ici in France, everywhere.

    You logique is it is illegal, yes? And I say even if illegal don’t mean it don’t happen.
    YES???

  121. abdulhaqim says

    Ichtyc:

    You are a very uneducated person. Have you heard of the word “civility”.
    Do you feel good insulting people you don’t even know? That is so pathetic, my son.
    Is that a form of self-gratification, to make up for all your weaknesses?
    May the peace of the Merciful Allah be upon you my son.

    A Fatwa SHOULD be executed by any Muslim if he agrees with the ruling. It will be his obligation.
    If he doesn’t agree, then he could be exempted and that is permissible. But if he declares agreement, then he is required to execute the ruling.

    Assalam wa-Alaykum
    Peace be upon all.

  122. Ichthyic says

    You are a very uneducated person. Have you heard of the word “civility”.

    civility is overrated where lies are concerned.

    your religion is a baldfaced lie.

    *shrug*

  123. Ichthyic says

    You logique is it is illegal, yes? And I say even if illegal don’t mean it don’t happen.
    YES???

    and by your logic, anything that is illegal can be done by police anywhere.

    which of course is trivially true, but useless information.

  124. abdulhaqim says

    A good example is when two families have a feud, maybe over land or property.
    So a Mufti declares a Fatwa, and everyone in agreement should abide by that ruling.
    But only those in agreement, and if they disagree, they have to state the reason for disagreement.

    There are very strict requirements to be a Mufti. He should be very intelligent, must be highly educated and must have a deep understanding of the Holy Quor’an.

    Assalam wa-Alaykum
    Peace be upon all.

  125. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    There are very strict requirements to be a Mufti. He should be very intelligent, must be highly educated and must have a deep understanding of the Holy Quor’an.

    What’s the value of being well schooled in bullshit?

    The ability to declare fatwas, that’s what.

  126. abrielle says

    which of course is trivially true, but useless information

    Oh merde, you don’t know what you talk about, your self don’t have any idea.
    And now you escape from the topic and call that useless.

    THE TOPIC –
    You said IT IS ILLEGAL, SO IT CAN’T, DON’T HAPPEN.
    I say: EVEN IF ILLEGAL, IT HAPPENS.

    And when I say like that, IT DON’T MEAN EVERYBODY IS DOING IT.

    Comprenez vous?
    YES???

  127. abrielle says

    Ok so my first sentence about the police is I write wrong way, is because English not very good. But I explain, and you want to go back and go back to that??? I am wasting time, au revoir!!!

  128. microraptor says

    I am wasting time

    Abrielle, that’s the first vaguely intelligent thing you’ve said in this thread.

    Seriously, if your “point” about Bangladesh is that sometimes, police officers break the law by executing fatwas, all you’re doing is spouting a completely useless bit of trivia that adds absolutely nothing to the conversation. If your comment wasn’t to show that there was a serious problem in Bangladesh with police carrying out fatwas against people all the time (which it wouldn’t, because as Ichthyc has already demonstrated, is not something that’s occurring) then it might have been useful. As it is, you’ve contributed as much to the conversation as if you’d posted “sometimes, people in France eat ice cream” or “Polish people occasionally wear flannel shirts.” In other words, useless trivia that isn’t relevant.

  129. abrielle says

    Seriously, if your “point” about Bangladesh is that sometimes, police officers break the law by executing fatwas, all you’re doing is spouting a completely useless bit of trivia that adds absolutely nothing to the conversation. If your comment wasn’t to show that there was a serious problem in Bangladesh with police carrying out fatwas against people all the time (which it wouldn’t, because as Ichthyc has already demonstrated, is not something that’s occurring) then it might have been useful. As it is, you’ve contributed as much to the conversation as if you’d posted “sometimes, people in France eat ice cream” or “Polish people occasionally wear flannel shirts.” In other words, useless trivia that isn’t relevant

    And you calling this you’re intelligent contribution to topic, oui? Hahahahahaha!!!
    You have thick bones in skull, mon ami, like your friend, I made long comment and you focus only on Bangladesh, you see only small picture, not big picture, limited vision, very, very limited, ouii?

    Ok I help you also, like I help your friend.
    ORIGINAL TOPIC:
    Religion cause many problems. If no Islam, par conséquent no Fatwa, OUI? YES???
    I think even a small children understand.

    OK, SECONDE:
    IF SOMTHING ITS ILLEGAL, DO IT MEAN IT DON’T HAPPEN?
    You understand? Or you want to go back to Bangladesh again?
    OH MERDE. Hahahaha!!!

  130. davepend says

    PZ, We all take some measure of reassurance from your meeting with Ray Comfort. As long as there are people like Comfort in the world, then we can be certain that there is no God. Is it likely that an almighty, all-powerful God, one who knows everything and is everywhere at once, would choose someone like Comfort to be his voice on Earth? Really? Comfort is God’s best shot? He actually expects us to believe that his God is really so stupid? It just proves that whilst Ray Comfort and his like are walking the planet, we have all the evidence we need that God does not exist.

  131. says

    1st Corinthians 1:27

    But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

    Fits perfectly. Apparently, God really is that stupid.

  132. zmidponk says

    ChristineRose:

    Ray’s not really trying to impress the posters of FTB. He’s trying to get footage that he can edit to make himself look brave and use it to inspire people who already agree with him. That’s why he can be so maddeningly inconsistent with his standards for “observable” evidence. (Were you in the garden of Eden? Was Moses? Were J,E,P and D? Was the scribe who edited it?)

    The thing that really gets me about the whole ‘were you there?’ thing is that, not only does it disregard all forms of evidence bar eye-witness evidence, which there are quite a few studies that indicate is FAR from reliable, it also makes the assumption that, without eye-witness proof to the contrary, the answer is ‘God did it’. To take the old question of, “If a tree falls in the forest with no-one around, does it make a sound?”, by this standard, not only do we have to conclude the answer is ‘no’, as there is no witness to the sound, if we later discover the tree, it having already fallen over, we cannot even infer that it was, at one point, upright, and have to assume that God created it already flat on the ground.

  133. zeusess says

    So this is where the douchebag Ray Comfort got the photo he posted on his FB page.
    I really hate this kiwi scumbag, always out to spread his ignorance. A few days ago, his status update was his reply to a question on why the bible didn’t mention animals with male and female characteristics, like hermaphrodite snails and slugs, and his answer was, “snails and slugs are NOT animals”. Wow! And the disgusting thing is that his followers “liked” his status and applauded him and even went as far as defend him against the atheists on his page. What a complete moron. Everything about Ray Comfort is to be despised. Him and all his feeble minded zombie followers.

  134. zeusess says

    I think this page is going to get a lot of traffic from the links posted on the douchebag Ray Comfort’s FB page, because that is how I got here. I have to admit though, I’ve followed Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss, Christopher Hitchens, and even Bill Maher, but this is the first time I’ve heard of PZ Myers. Sorry for that.

  135. David Marjanović says

    The thing that really gets me about the whole ‘were you there?’ thing is that, not only does it disregard all forms of evidence bar eye-witness evidence, which there are quite a few studies that indicate is FAR from reliable, it also makes the assumption that, without eye-witness proof to the contrary, the answer is ‘God did it’. To take the old question of, “If a tree falls in the forest with no-one around, does it make a sound?”, by this standard, not only do we have to conclude the answer is ‘no’, as there is no witness to the sound, if we later discover the tree, it having already fallen over, we cannot even infer that it was, at one point, upright, and have to assume that God created it already flat on the ground.

    QFT!

  136. swonkpush says

    omnicrom writes (referring to belac):

    Even though you say no person is intellectually superior to any other you carry yourself as though you feel you are intellectually our betters.

    Oh, you mean like this:

    Ichthyic writes:

    ….
    you don’t get to claim you’re my equal because you know that zinc plated nails are better than stainless steel for a specific kind of roofing job, even though you dropped out of grade school and I have an advanced degree from a major university.
    sorry, no, not equal.

    So who writes the rules of what is arrogant on this hypocritical, cluster-fuck of a blog of which no one in the rest of the world gives a fuck about. Do you guys actually agree on anything or do you just post your bullshit independently of any of the bullshit posted by the self proclaimed genius before you. What a fucking joke this is!! In here everyone is right in their own mind, even independently of other posters, but outside where it matters, you are truly irrelevant with the same tired bullshit. How does that feel? Is there something better you could be doing with your brilliance than pathetically waiting for that one chance to say something of any merit to hopefully be heard by the others here who don’t give a fuck about you but only about the bullshit they spray. PZ your former students are all impressed with what you’ve done with your blog. FYI, this is how this pathetic blog is viewed by students of Minn and the world. A fucking joke. Lol

  137. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    FYI, this is how this pathetic blog is viewed by students of Minn and the world. A fucking joke. Lol

    The only laugh is your inane tirade about nothing. Why did you want to throw a temper tantrum. That doesn’t speak well on you or your maturity. Funny how you sound similar to scripts from group who is roundly despised by the progressive world.

  138. theignored says

    Draken at #24

    It may even be necessary to lie in order to remain a Good Person. Classical example is where you lie to that nice Gestapo officer who knocked on your door at 3:00 am with the question whether there might, incidentally, be any jews in your attic.

    Guess again! (The link to the original AIG article is on the FSTDT site link…I just want you all to see how us non-xians react to that article.

    [The ninth commandment says we should never bear false witness against our neighbor (or anyone). But if the Nazis are looking for Jews, and you know where they are, it would not be wrong to lie, in order to protect them, nor would this be bearing false witness “against” someone]

    If we love God, we should obey Him (John 14:15). To love God first means to obey Him first—before looking at our neighbor. So, is the greater good trusting God when He says not to lie or trusting in our fallible, sinful minds about the uncertain future?

    Consider this carefully. In the situation of a Nazi beating on the door, we have assumed a lie would save a life, but really we don’t know. So, one would be opting to lie and disobey God without the certainty of saving a life—keeping in mind that all are ultimately condemned to die physically. Besides, whether one lied or not may not have stopped the Nazi solders from searching the house anyway.

    As Christians, we need to keep in mind that Jesus Christ reigns. All authority has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18), and He sits on the throne of God at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33; Hebrews 8:1). Nothing can happen without His say. Even Satan could not touch Peter without Christ’s approval (Luke 22:31). Regardless, if one were to lie or not, Jesus Christ is in control of timing every person’s life and able to discern our motives. It is not for us to worry over what might become, but rather to place our faith and obedience in Christ and to let Him do the reigning. For we do not know the future, whereas God has been telling the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).

  139. swonkpush says

    After being blocked from being able to post my rebuttals to my new friend Nerd.,I still wait for a reply and not the wussy way out of blocking comments that you disagree with PZ (or whoever). That’s right ladies and gentlemen, if the administrators don’t like your posts they block it. Doesn’t that go against your bleeding heart cause against censorship. Isn’t that what you criticize Ray Comfort of doing in post editing. Once again you are a hypocrite to do it. Stand up and be a man .

  140. omnicrom says

    swonkpush I’ve got no idea what the hell your problem is, but you haven’t been blocked since you just posted successfully. You aren’t even auto-moderated since those who are have it spelled out in the dungeon. This blog has a shitton of people who disagree with the owners and even other pharyngulites (no seriously, go look at a thread on criminal justice or gun control.) If your post got blocked chances are good it’s because it had blatant and/or offensive racism and sexism which doesn’t paint a really good picture of you. As though popping up, intentionally misunderstanding my post, and throwing a frankly mystifying temper tantrum painted a good picture of you beforehand.

  141. Ray Comfort says

    Hello. My name is Ray Comfort. I thought I would drop in, say hello and share a thought.

    My friend PZ Myers (I hope he doesn’t mind me calling him a friend) is thinking that I am going to misrepresent him in the upcoming movie “Evolution vs. God.” He said, “Someday maybe I’ll get to be in a movie in which I’m not selectively edited and misrepresented. It will not be this movie.” I don’t know why he is thinking this way when he hasn’t seen the movie. The interview was edited back for the promo, but that’s what you do with promos because they have to be short. But in “Evolution vs. God” PZ gets to talk as much as or even more than anyone in the entire movie. Of course it was “selectively edited.” That’s what editors do. They remove the mundane and irrelevant and select that which is interesting–and a lot of what he said certainly was interesting. When I do interviews I fully expect to be cut back to that which the producers believe is relevant to their theme. After all, it’s their program.

    So PZ, you were of course “selectively edited” (as was every person in the movie), but I have to protest when you accuse me of misrepresenting you. That would show a lack of integrity on my part and a disregard for our friendship. I really enjoyed meeting you. It really was an honor, and I would gladly enjoy a meal with you any time you are back in Southern California (at my expense, of course). PZ kindly posted the promo on his page.

  142. says

    @ Ray Comfort

    I don’t know why goddists, yourself included, are always chasing after science (misrepresenting it even), seeking to discredit as the best available means of describing the realities of the world we live in. As if this could make YHWH, or any other figment of your imaginations any more real. Your god is a psychological problem that you carry between your ears. Hunting for Him (somehow your god is a penis-haver) anywhere else than in your own psych is very much a waste of time.

    (On a totally separate subject: I think the beard looks pretty cool. Keep it going.)

  143. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ray Comfort:

    Of course it was “selectively edited.”

    Gee, why do I read this is the typical creationist tactic of “quotemining”, making PZ sound like he doesn’t think evolution is true when the opposite is the case.

    but I have to protest when you accuse me of misrepresenting you. That would show a lack of integrity on my part and a disregard for our friendship.

    Gee, a professional liar an bullshitter lying and bullshitting. I give you a five for sincerity. To much condescension dripping from your oily prose.

  144. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    So PZ, you were of course “selectively edited” (as was every person in the movie), but I have to protest when you accuse me of misrepresenting you. That would show a lack of integrity on my part and a disregard for our friendship.

    That’s nice of you to stop by Ray and have concern for your friendship with PZ, Unfortunately you do not have a great track record of representing things honestly or accurately so I think PZ is perfectly justified to be concerned with how you will portray the conversation you had with him.