News from the world of fish drudgery »« Friday Cephalopod: The Mothership has arrived!

Is this my good side?

Hemant says I was supposed to show you the back cover, because that’s the best part.

backcover

Oh, crap. Now you have no reason to buy the book!

Comments

  1. moarscienceplz says

    And here I thought one had to be a Muslim to get away with displaying one’s backside in public.

  2. says

    Nice! My mom keeps buying me all these quasi-religious philosophical books to read (right in line with her vaguely deist philosophy), I think I shall have my revenge by giving this to her for Christmas.

  3. zekehoskin says

    Moarscienceplz, there’s a Canadian coin that shows the Queen with a bear behind.

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    That’s out of date. FriendlyAtheist moved from its own site to the P-site quite a while ago.

  5. moarscienceplz says

    @#3
    Really?
    I can’t mock silly things that people do for their religions here?

    I think the fact that Catholic priests can’t have sex (with adults) is silly.
    I think the little side curls that Orthodox Jews wear are silly.
    I think handling venomous snakes to show your commitment to your faith is silly.
    I think wearing a tiny gold model of a torture device around one’s neck is silly.
    I think the turbans that all Sikhs wear is silly.
    I think praying is silly, and I think praying with your head on the ground and your butt in the air is super silly.

  6. says

    moarscienceplz @1

    No, you have to be a god. Exodus 33:23

    And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

  7. blf says

    Where are the tentacles? Horns? Lasers on eyestalks? It’s one of poopyhead’s boring sides.

  8. Reginald Selkirk says

    Maybe you could have gotten a blurb from Richard Dawkins if you hadn’t mutilated his book…

  9. steve oberski says

    #1 moarscienceplz

    You’d think that if that Allah dude and his anointed paedophile Mo had actually been privy to the fact that the earth is (approximately) a sphere, they would have known that Mecca was simultaneously being mooned and grovelled to 5 times a day by the faithful and modified the secret handshake for their club accordingly.

    So much for the timeless, inerrant and eternal word of god.

  10. moarscienceplz says

    #14 steve oberski

    Of course that assumes (ass, hehe!) that the prayer mojo responds to gravity – maybe it’s carried on the backs of invisible flying horses? OTOH, if it works like electromagnetism then most of them prayers are flying off the Earth at a tangent, over the top of Mecca and shooting into space in random directions. Maybe that’s why they have to pray 5 times a day – in hopes that Allah will be floating within range at least once.

  11. moarscienceplz says

    #18

    Well since I am an atheist, I’m not sure how I could mock the religious habits of my own ‘culture’, but if you have some good ones, bring ‘em on. I’m always ready to laugh at a good joke. However, I don’t feel any obligation to refrain from mocking others’ beliefs, especially in Pharyngula. I think PZ would agree with me that that is one of the raisons d’etre of this blog.

  12. says

    Well since I am an atheist, I’m not sure how I could mock the religious habits of my own ‘culture’,

    Being an atheist removes you from your country’s culture now? I didn’t get that memo at all. It’s true that fundamentalists have their own subcultures, but there is a religious element in mainstream culture (in I hazard most countries, if not necessarily most Western ones). And that religious element is far more likely to intrude on your life than muslims are, unless muslims *are* the mainstream religionw where you live.

    I think PZ would agree with me that that is one of the raisons d’etre of this blog.

    I somewhat doubt that PZ condones kicking a group that’s already down for shits and giggles, which muslims already are if you’re in the Americas, Australia, or Europe.

  13. stever says

    @17
    Maybe the prayer-waves are long enough to diffract around the earth, like VLF radio transmissions.
    You could call prayer the ultimate placebo, except that there have been studies that found that sick people who were prayed over had slightly worse outcomes than people who were not prayed over. I wonder if they controlled for the fact that nobody organizes a prayer session over a cold or a superficial wound, so people who are prayed over are more likely to be seriously ill.

  14. moarscienceplz says

    I don’t know what country you are a citizen of, but the USA does not have a religious culture. Many Americans may dispute this, but they would be dead wrong. Each American is free to choose whatever religious practices they like, and to change them whenever they feel like it.

    Furthermore, when I mock Muslim prayer, I am saying nothing about the qualities of the people who call themselves Muslims. You seem to think that I am mocking a cultural tradition, like when Japanese people bow to each other. While that does have some class-ism and sexism attributes that I’m not a fan of, I think in general it is a nice way to show respect towards another person. However, when a Muslim kneels down on his prayer mat, he is paying obeisance to a fairy tale character, and a pretty nasty character at that. THAT is what I truly object to. If they were merely performing some kind of Middle Eastern form of Tai Chi, I might suggest they should get a doctor to confirm that they are not hurting their joints, but I sure wouldn’t tease them about it because then it would be doing something sensible.

  15. moarscienceplz says

    Maybe the prayer-waves are long enough to diffract around the earth, like VLF radio transmissions.

    Hey, you may be on to something here! If we could figure out the frequency, maybe we could even determine how big Allah would have be to receive them. Do you think he is a 1/2 lambda antenna?

  16. says

    I somewhat doubt that PZ condones kicking a group that’s already down for shits and giggles, which muslims already are if you’re in the Americas, Australia, or Europe.

    Pointing out that sticking your backside in the air and talking to invisible beings is a rather silly practice is now “kicking them when they’re down”?

    I’m interested. What aspects of the Islamic method of talking to and generally worshipping invisible beings do you feel are worthy of mockery?

  17. steve oberski says

    18 @Rutee Katreya

    Personally, I target my best shit at the culture I grew up in, which in my case was a Polish/Irish fusion of Roman Catholicism, which in the increasingly racially and culturally diverse environment of my formative years (in Canada) became increasing untenable as it’s underlying base of misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia became harder and harder to rationalize away.

    The kiddy fucking was just icing on the cake, by that point I was gone, baby, gone.

    Is that OK ?

  18. says

    #19 re:#6
    Yes there is. Do a google image search on “Canadian coins bear”
    The ‘toonie’ and various special coins over the years.

  19. says

    I don’t know what country you are a citizen of, but the USA does not have a religious culture. Many Americans may dispute this, but they would be dead wrong. Each American is free to choose whatever religious practices they like, and to change them whenever they feel like it.

    I’m a US citizen. I dispute this. The fact that I’m “free to choose” doesn’t erase the following:

    -”In God we trust” printed on our currency
    -Use of the Bible (or the Koran, occasionally) to swear in politicians and court witnesses
    -Recent passage in the House of law banning atheist chaplains for the Army
    -the existence of Army chaplains
    -the continued existence of laws banning atheists from holding public office in several states (though they may not be enforced by law, public acceptance of atheist politicians is low enough to render them quite unnecessary in most places)
    -a major political party with explicitly Christian theocratic aims as part of a major segment of its base
    -the passage of religiously-based laws restricting abortion in many states
    -the religiously-based opposition to gay marriage which is happily losing ground
    -religiously-based “abstinence-only” sex education programs in many states
    -continued presence of the “under God” phrase in the pledge of allegiance, which I was required to recite as a schoolchild, and which children continue to recite today
    -etc., etc.

    My guess is that you have no clue what the word “culture” means. You’re using it in a way that suggests that you think “culture” means what most people would refer to as “legal system.”

  20. brive1987 says

    ‘I mock the religion, not those who practice it. So I mock the religious practices of those who practice religion. But obviously that’s not the same as, we’ll like, actually mocking them as people?’ Umm wait.

    No I will mock as stupid anyone who stupid does. Where stupid here is defined as being religious.

    Ok that should clear it up.

  21. says

    @23-
    I STRONGLY disagree.
    The US is a deeply religious culture. As SallyStrange pointed out, our culture is suffused with religion. From national to local politics, from sports to movies, from tv to internet, and every facet of life, religion has intruded. We live in a deeply religious culture.

  22. says

    You have to be incredible ignorant if you think that the US doesn’t have a religious culture. In many ways, more so than in other Western countries with a state church (e.g. it is considered incredible rude to ask people about their religion in Denmark, but it is done rutinely in the US).

  23. marcus says

    Congrats on the great reviews from Booklist and Pub Weekly. We would love it however it was written but those guys set a high bar for literary quality as well as scientific. Having been reading your contributions for about 10 years now, I would expect no less. I can’t wait to read it, think I’ll review it for our local paper. Well done! marcus (professional bookseller)

  24. thesandiseattle says

    Well I’m gonna go ahead and see if the Seattle Public Library will order this, but at 24$ (more than 3 hours pay for me) I’ll wait to pick up a copy for my bookshelf ’til it hits Half-Price Books.
    PZ concider donation of a coupla copies.

  25. brive1987 says

    #28 Sally – so it’s freedom of religion not freedom from religion.

    I am really keen to understand why Americans seem so serious about their religion. Just like guns there are some topics where your position is just (from an outsiders perspective) so OTT.

    Is it too much small town culture or the brand of Protestantism that’s developed or an insular self obsession in the past? I mean even Italy and France with their catholic focus, let alone other western states are distinctly less intolerant and less likely to utterly interweave religion into the broader society.

  26. David Marjanović says

    Moarscienceplz, there’s a Canadian coin that shows the Queen with a bear behind.

    Day saved!

    there have been studies that found that sick people who were prayed over had slightly worse outcomes than people who were not prayed over

    when they knew they were being prayed for. Not otherwise. Also, AFAIK, there’s only been one such study.

    Is it too much small town culture or the brand of Protestantism that’s developed or an insular self obsession in the past? I mean even Italy and France with their catholic focus, let alone other western states are distinctly less intolerant and less likely to utterly interweave religion into the broader society.

    Plenty of factors:

    – In the US, the public schools are funded on a micro-local level, so that rich neighbourhoods have good schools and poor ones bad ones. It makes me want to explode every time I think about it. Not only the funding, but also the curricula are set on the local level, so you get Area Man (the one from The Onion) sitting on his local school board, deciding what the kids in that school district will be taught, and deciding which textbooks will be used to do that. Result? Creationism.
    – History:
    –– For centuries, Europe exported its religious wackos to the US (or future US).
    –– Partly as a consequence of that, the US had its First Amendment long before there was religious freedom pretty much anywhere in Europe. Outside of outright theocracies, state churches tend towards the moderate, because fundamentalism is simply impractical.
    –– Also as a consequence of that, the denominations aren’t segregated geographically as much in the US. This may be why there’s only been one civil war and why it wasn’t fought over religion.
    –– The Thirty Years War (1618–1648) was like the average rebellion in the Congo, just with more people involved. It has had a lasting deterrent effect.
    –– Fun fact: France, the Eldest Daughter of the [Catholic] Church, joined that war on the Protestant side, fighting for its own interests against its fellow Catholic Habsburg empire.
    –– In England, the Puritans lost power when Cromwell Jr lost power; the Church of England, in personal union with the new king, simply marginalised them. They’ve never recovered.
    –– Ever since the Revolution, France has had a strong secularist movement. Even today it’s polarised between rather strict secularists and outright reactionary Catholics – there are just more of the former than of the latter these days!
    –– Germany had the “culture fight” of the late 19th century, when Protestants (Lutherans, that is) and Catholics suddenly found themselves in the same country, in similar numbers, united by a common patriotism. They toned down… and have kept doing so ever since.
    –– Communism. Half the continent was under godless rule for decades, and the Lord voiced no objection. I think that made some people think. (Lutheran) church membership among the East Germans, the most godless people on Earth, has continued to decrease since the end of communism!

  27. David Marjanović says

    Oh. In Spain, Catholicism was associated with the dictature. Now that that generation is out of the picture, the country has suddenly made a jump in the secular direction.

    Italy is a bit like France: on the one side traditionalist Catholics with ties to conservative parties and the Mafia, on the other side there used to be a communist party so strong that the CIA pumped massive amounts of money into the country to prevent Italy from going East during the first half of the Cold War.

  28. thesandiseattle says

    David Marjanovic @ 35

    state churches tend towards the moderate

    that’s actually very interesting, could you point to a few online references to support the statement?