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Clear-eyed commentary on the pope

Finally! Someone sees through the façade.

That is how the Pope has come to be spun as a left-liberal idol. Whenever he proves himself loyal to Catholic teaching — denouncing abortion, for instance, or saying that same-sex marriage is an ‘anthropological regression’ — his liberal fan base turns a deaf ear. Last month America’s oldest gay magazine, the Advocate, hailed Francis as its person of the year because of the compassion he had expressed towards homosexuals. It was hardly a revolution: Article 2358 of the Catholic church’s catechism calls for gay people to be treated with ‘respect, compassion and sensitivity’. In simply restating Catholic teaching, however, Francis was hailed as a hero. When a Maltese bishop said the Pope had told him he was ‘shocked’ by the idea of gay adoption, that barely made a splash. Time magazine, too, made Francis person of the year, hailing him for his ‘rejection of Church dogma’ — as if he had declared that from now on there would be two rather than three Persons of the Holy Trinity. But for cockeyed lionisation of Francis it would be hard to beat the editors of Esquire, who somehow managed to convince themselves that a figure who wears the same outfit every day was the best dressed man of 2013.

Some pundits have noticed the gulf between what you might call the Fantasy Francis — the figure conjured up by liberal imagination — and the actual occupant of the Chair of St Peter. James Bloodworth, editor of the political blog Left Foot Forward, recently urged his journalistic allies to show some restraint. ‘Pope Francis’s position on most issues should make the hair of every liberal curl,’ he wrote. ‘Instead we get article after article of saccharine from people who really should know better.’

I’ve been astounded at how many atheists have been taken in by this geezer. He’s the goddamn POPE; by nature, intent, and training he’s fanatically against everything atheism stands for.

Comments

  1. Albert Bakker says

    That’s funny, but I like the author’s pointy observation about these enchanted liberals too: “they assume the Pope isn’t Catholic.” That’s Fantasy Francis, who isn’t Catholic.

  2. Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority) says

    I suspect part of the reason is that he seems liberal compared to his predecessor, which is not the world’s most difficult achievement.

  3. says

    As for Eugenio Scalfari, mentioned in the article, he is indeed “highly regarded”, but such a thing tends to be independed of merit in the local media. Journalism as we know it is as formulaic as romance novels.

  4. Alex says

    Well, what do you expect, Mother Theresa is still treated as the default saintly person by the media.

  5. says

    I think the phenomenon stems largely from the idea of “baby steps”. His predecessor was not nicknamed “Pope Palpatine” based on looks alone. The Vatican, through Palpatine, actually attacked Catholic Nuns for focusing too much on the poor and not spending enough time attacking abortion (remember Nuns on a Bus?).

    So yeah… compared to Pope Palpatine, Pope Francis really is progressive.

    I look at it as baby steps. Yesterday, homosexual marriage was wrong and homosexuality was a sin punishable by death. Today, homosexual marriage is a regression, but Catholics must still treat them with respect, and there’s no reason they won’t go to Heaven. Tomorrow… who knows. Maybe the Catholic Church will grudgingly acknowledge non-straight marriage!

    Francis is still, at the end of the day, a fanatic Catholic. But at least he’s better than the last guy, and while I grant it’s a slim hope, I still hope that his successor leans even more towards acceptance than even he does.

    That said, I do indeed agree that the Left, including atheists, are being way to forgiving, and there is without a doubt a Fantasy Francis who Isn’t a Catholic. I think it behooves us to remind atheists who do this that he’s still a Catholic, and he’s still the Pope.

  6. says

    The current pope has made some trenchant criticisms of capitalism which acknowledge the actuality of poverty and how it is perpetuated. In this he is being entirely scriptural, but no more than that, and that done cynically, because the real agenda is to make sure that the church retains its influence over the elite rather than being overshadowed by the billionaires’ club.

  7. bbgunn says

    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. @ 3

    I suspect part of the reason is that he seems liberal compared to his predecessor, which is not the world’s most difficult achievement.

    Bad cop, good cop. These journalists forget papa Franky still is a ‘cop’who occasionally squeezes a confession out of some cardinal or bishop.

  8. kevinv says

    Being raised catholic and a member of a very catholic family the pope makes me laugh the confusion he’s thrown into a lot of very-right wing Catholics is hilarious. A Jesuit education led me to atheism. I was taught evolution, when asked it was the “ultimately god was responsible for it” kind but that was easy enough to shake off since the science was sound (for the high school level I was at). So I actually appreciate the Jesuits that taught me.

    That said, the pope isn’t on “our” side. He still has ridiculous beliefs, and worse lets those beliefs treat people that don’t hold them, or don’t act in “approved” manners as less than human.

    Don’t fall for “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, it’s crap, especially in this case where he isn’t an enemy to his own organization.

  9. saganite says

    The effect is probably simply due to what people are used to hear coming from the Vatican on issues like abortion, condoms and AIDS, widespread child molestation and systemic cover-ups and the like.
    A Pope that says some nice things about the poor, criticizes laissez faire and has some vague, semi-nice things to say about homosexuals, non-believers and so on… well, just by sake of comparison such a Pope seems grand to a lot of people.
    With expectations lowered deeply enough over the years – like the Catholic Church has done – somebody like Francis is a welcome change, even if it’s really not that significant.

  10. Albert Bakker says

    #3 Dr. Marcus- That is why the author compared him to Obama, who equally had to surmount great difficulties to distinguish himself from his predecessor and then greeted with similar warm apologetic reactions when failing to do so either significantly, or positively.

  11. doublereed says

    I am always so confused about the inherent idea of a “church hierarchy” that I really have no idea how people can support any pope.

    It’s like English Royalty. Why do people care again?

  12. says

    Fostering a resurgence of Liberation Theology in Latin America could be a force for positive change in the region, but it would also land him right in the crosshairs of the U.S. In 1999 WHINSEC (fmrly. School of the Americas) openly boasted on its website (cached here) that Liberation Theology was defeated in Latin America via U.S. foreign policy, and in particular by the U.S. Army. Our history in the region is brutal and shameful. Then again, so is the Catholic Church’s, so there’s that. Seems pretty obvious that a potential socialist threat to U.S./capitalist hegemony in the Western hemisphere is the reason NSA spies on the Vatican. (Can you say OMFG! Weapons of Mass Destruction are in Ecuador!
    )

    While a resurgence of Liberation Theology seems at least potentially positive, I will not be all that impressed until I hear Pope Whatshisname speak about “overpopulation,” “contraception for all,” “abortion on demand” and “women’s equality.” Until then, he’s just another doucheweasel in charge of one of the wealthiest and most powerful organizations in the world, one that has proven time and again to be an intransigent enemy to social justice and human progress.

  13. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    bbgunn @10:

    These journalists forget papa Franky still is a ‘cop’who occasionally squeezes a confession out of some cardinal or bishop.

    He’s also a big-time supporter of authoritarian right wing governments — his complicity in the disappearing of some priests down Argentina way attests to this.

  14. Nick Gotts says

    irisvandeplume@15,

    Fostering a resurgence of Liberation Theology in Latin America could be a force for positive change in the region, but it would also land him right in the crosshairs of the U.S.

    He has absolutely no intention of doing anything of the kind. He has been consistent in his opposition to liberation theology.

    Seems pretty obvious that a potential socialist threat to U.S./capitalist hegemony in the Western hemisphere is the reason NSA spies on the Vatican.

    No, the reason the NSA spies on anyone and everyone is because they can. Knowledge is power, particularly knowledge of others’ secrets.

  15. says

    I have enjoyed watching Francis make hard-core capitalists reach for their clutching pearls and fainting couch, and I welcome him being a little less focused on abortion and gays. But he still claims to be God’s representative on Earth, and wields that power against… people just being human.

  16. khms says

    Yeah. Current pope is less unreasonable than at least every pope since JP1, but that doesn’t make him reasonable.

    One potentially good thing – if he manages to do what his words have suggested he wants to do – is cleaning up the Vatican. Right now, that place is pretty much organized crime central even by church standards (though of course one can’t say that out loud). Of course, depending on the replacement, it could also turn out to be a bad thing. But it would certainly be bad for a number of very deserving people.

    As for the rest, I’d say mainly the current pope is significantly more polite about those topics, and trying to make the rest of the church more polite, too. It’s not much immediately, but if it continues, it has the potential of making parts of the Catholic believers hate a little less.

    Lots of if in there, of course. JP1 demonstrated how quickly such hopes can turn to dust.

  17. jamessweet says

    I’ve softened a leeeetle bit on Francis… while everything said here is absolutely true, and the drooling over “Fantasy Francis” has been quite eyeroll-inducing, the Pope does have one saving grace: His positions probably represent about the least hateful ones that could allow him to still be the Pope. If he were any more tolerant on issues like reproductive rights, marriage equality, and weakening the patriarchy, then 1) he never would have been chosen, and 2) there’d be immense pressure to boot him out already.

    I think one could even make a case that, prior to becoming Pope, Bergoglio acted like he was more anti-gay than he really is, to ensure he’d be able to rise through the ranks and make a difference. Personally, I think it’s more likely that he had a change of heart, but still, I don’t think it’s entirely crazy to believe the former. His currently expressed opinions on tolerance of LGBT people fit right in in 1983; his past expressed opinions would be more appropriate for 1883.

    At the end of the day, I still agree with this:

    He’s the goddamn POPE; by nature, intent, and training he’s fanatically against everything atheism stands for.

    He’s the kind of guy who would get chosen as a Pope. That pretty much automatically makes him a grade A asshole. But I do understand some of the liberal fawning now… he’s quite possibly the least bad Pope that is feasible in 2014. I guess that’s… something?

  18. jamessweet says

    Oh, and the other thing I want to add is that if we take for granted that there has to be a Pope, and that it has to be a Pope that Catholics will actually tolerate… then Bergoglio might end up doing the world a lot of good, given his admirable stance on income inequality, etc. That’s a big “if” in the first sentence, though, and if we don’t take that as a given, then Franny is clearly a net evil, due to all the suffering and death that will be caused by the Church’s positions on condoms in Africa and reproductive rights the world over. So it’s important that folks like us speak out against him. But if you grant the premise that an AIDS-spreading woman-hating papal presence is a sad inevitability in the present situation, then I guess Bergoglio is a good thing. Sort of.

  19. says

    It’s clear the pope switch was a PR move from the get go. Need any more evidence than the 2013 TIME magazine person of the year?

  20. opposablethumbs says

    Still going to be watching where I put my feet if I go for a walk in the woods.

  21. says

    Nick Gotts 18:

    He has been consistent in his opposition to liberation theology.

    Thanks for that clarification. I have not been following his pronouncements all that closely, mainly because the fawning of the media and “liberal” pundits is nausea-inducing. He’s a fookin’ pope ferchrissakes, with everything that entails.

    I was hopeful that all his blather about capitalism might lead to a reemergence of at least some of the more socialist principles of Liberation Theology, even if it goes by another name. Unless and until that happens? Pope Doucheweasel.

  22. says

    Seems to me it has more to do with the new Pope denouncing trickle down economics. In the US current political landscape, if you’re not with the Republicans, you’re against them – and thus a liberal.

    And of course, for us liberals, it’s great fun to watch the Pope make the heads of right wingers explode by insisting that welfare and health care for the poor is the Christian thing to do. I don’t think the Pope is a liberal, but I very much hope he’s going to continue making the grifters who try to link Christianity and capitalism very uncomfortable.

  23. says

    The Vatican, through Palpatine, actually attacked Catholic Nuns for focusing too much on the poor and not spending enough time attacking abortion (remember Nuns on a Bus?).
    So yeah… compared to Pope Palpatine, Pope Francis really is progressive.

    Oh yeah, he’s completely different.

    I’ll believe he’s different when he starts acting differently. He hasn’t yet.

  24. Nick Gotts says

    there’d be immense pressure to boot him out already. – jamessweet@22

    There appears to be no procedure for deposing a Pope. As far as I can see, he could declare himself an atheist or Muslim, turn the Vatican into an opium den, or deliver sermons entirely composed of fart jokes, and there’d still be no way of removing him short of murder.

  25. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @jamessweet #22

    …he’s quite possibly the least bad Pope that is feasible in 2014.

    That’s my position. I still dislike him intensely and hate the organisation he heads with every fibre of my being, but he’s the best we could hope for, because he’s the best present-day Catholics (as in the worldwide Catholic community) will tolerate.

  26. says

    @Nick Gotts: then again, you could just create a new Church with a new Pope. It’s been tried too: At some point, there were even three Popes at the same time.

  27. says

    @Thumper: but what the community does or doesn’t tolerate doesn’t matter, they don’t have any influence on who is selected to be Pope. That’s pretty much the issue.

  28. jamessweet says

    There appears to be no procedure for deposing a Pope. As far as I can see, he could declare himself an atheist or Muslim, turn the Vatican into an opium den, or deliver sermons entirely composed of fart jokes, and there’d still be no way of removing him short of murder.

    Officially, yes — but if they wanted him out, they’d find a way. As Deen said, they can always just ignore him and appoint a new Pope.

  29. David Wilford says

    I’m shocked, shocked to find a conservative British magazine asserting that Pope Francis is actually conservative.

    Meanwhile, here’s some additional perspectives on Pope Frances from Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish:

    http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/tag/pope-francis/

    From the above link, this may be of particular interest to Nick Gotts:

    In reply to persistent charges that the young Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was complicit in Argentina’s infamous “dirty war” from 1976 to 1983, when roughly 30,000 people disappeared, Scavo asserts that Bergoglio was actually a Jesuit version of Oskar Schindler – quietly saving lives rather than engaging in noisy public protest.

    The future pope, Scavo writes, saved as many as a thousand targets of the military dictatorship by providing shelter in a Jesuit college, passing them off as seminarians or laity on retreat, then helping them move out of Argentina.

    In one case, according to Scavo, Bergoglio gave a man who bore him a passing resemblance his own passport and priest’s clothing to make his escape.

    Have at, Nick…

  30. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    These are the emperor’s new clothes and he designed them himself. It’s no wonder that the likes of Esquire have taken note of just how fashionable they are.

    It is a joke that anyone has been fooled by this man’s façade. I fail to see how not being as outspoken a bigot as his predecessors makes him any better a person as a mouth piece for his invisible friend. Nothing about Catholicism has changed and nothing about this Pope is substantially different than any other.

  31. borax says

    If a pope turns over all the evidence of child abuse and sells all of the art in the Vatican to pay restitution to the victims, then I’ll give the guy a pass. Until then, I’ll still consider the pope the biggest mafia don of the worlds largest criminal organization.

  32. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Deen #34

    OK, so he’s the best the Cardinals will tolerate. And you’re right of course, and I should have said that in the first place. Thanks :)

  33. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@36,

    Following your link, and the link from that to John Allen, the number of named people Bergoglio allegedly saved appears to be “roughly a dozen”. Exactly one of these people is quoted in the article. The claim of “as many as a thousand” is justified by claims that;

    each one of those people told him they knew “at least 20 or 30 more.”

    Really? Each one of them, by some odd coincidence, made that same claim?

    Also:

    Scavo defends Bergoglio’s choice not to engage in overt opposition by comparison to the role of Pope Pius XII during World War II

    So he’s defended by a comparison with the scumbag who signed a concordat with Hitler, and aided the escape of Nazi war criminals after the war. Scavo says:

    At the time Bergoglio wasn’t known, so a public denunciation by him wouldn’t have had any effect on the leaders of the coup

    This is disingenuous crap: Bergoglio was head of the Jesuit order in Argentina, not some obscure parish priest. The book is clearly a PR stunt.

  34. frog says

    People judge comparatively. For instance, yesterday we got up to 22°F, and everyone was like, “Oh, yay, it’s warm!” because it wasn’t sub-zero. When meanwhile, 22°F is still rather below our average, and if that was the lowest we had gone, we’d all have been freaking out about it.

    Compared to other popes, particularly the last one, Francis is better, at least in terms of his public pronouncements. But yes, we need to not metaphorically bask in his sunshine, when in fact the Catholic church is still cold enough to require long underwear, hats and gloves, and down-filled coats.

  35. says

    The claim of “as many as a thousand” is justified by claims that;

    each one of those people told him they knew “at least 20 or 30 more.”

    Really? Each one of them, by some odd coincidence, made that same claim?

    Even if we take this at face value, it seems to assume that there was no overlap in the other remembered cases.

    I don’t know the author and have no way to judge how reliable any of this information is. What I do know is that if I was trying to white-wash a person caught having cooperated with a fascist regime, this is exactly the kind of spin I’d try to put on it, to make him look better.

    Moreover, it’s not at all inconceivable that someone in that situation might help the regime to catch some people and try to safeguard others. Friendship, family ties, money, political ideology, religion or any other reasons for perceived in-/out-group status would be sufficient reason for such actions.
    I.e. having saved some people doesn’t automatically protect him from accusations of having cooperated with the bad guys. I don’t know enough details to judge on that, either.

  36. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts @ 40:

    Given the accusations about Bergoglio’s involvement in Argentina’s “Dirty War” that came up right when he became Pope, it’s not a PR stunt but a justifiable response to said allegations. With actual names provided and testimony even. Whether or not Bergoglio could have done more is certainly debatable, but the fact is that he did do something.

  37. comradesvilova says

    In response to everyone saying that the Pope has said “nice” things about the LGBTQ community: he definitely has not. He has said of gay male priests who remain celibate “who am I to judge?” This applies to no one else, and certainly not to queer people who want to actually have a loving partnership or to trans* people who want to be themselves. Please don’t say that the Pope is “tolerant” of LGBTQ people or “gays and lesbians.” He is not. He believes we are only acceptable if we deny ourselves the opportunity to ever experience love and companionship. That’s anti-queer. Full stop.

  38. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @comradesvilova

    That’s a very, very good point… Basically all he’s done is accept the “thoughtcrime” of being gay, in a way no fundy does. He still views actual gay acts as sinful, which is still bigoted and stupid.

  39. says

    Gregory in Seattle @ 33
    It’s comments like that that make my day worthwhile.
    btw I saw the play back in the ’60s when it was on at the Mermaid (I’m so old I’m almost a DWEM) and, in a basically quiet play, after Hadrian got shot the audience had to be scraped off the ceiling! (almost)

  40. Nick Gotts says

    it’s not a PR stunt – David Wilford@43

    Yes it is, as the hyperbolic claims and dishonesty about his position at the time make clear.

    David Wilford@45,

    Your pretence that Bergoglio is anything other than grossly homophobic is highly offensive. Here he is on same-sex marriage:

    In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.

    Let’s not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God’s plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that’s just its form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.

  41. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts @ 49:

    Um, it’s not my pretense exactly – it’s coming from Andrew Sullivan. You do know who Andrew Sullivan is, don’t you?

  42. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@51

    Of course I do, and of course it’s your pretense, you dishonest little shit.

  43. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts @ 52:

    Ah, then you obviously recognize that Sullivan’s take on Pope Francis has some validity, and the subsequent name calling is your way of thanking me. :: golf clap ::

  44. David Wilford says

    Andrew Sullivan is also more than outspoken about homosexuality, which does conflict with said Catholic Church. So when he does find something worth noting about Pope Francis, I submit it’s not just an exercise in excuse making.

  45. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David Wilford

    Are you under the impression that because a generally gay-friendly blogger appears to believe that Pope Franny is gay-friendly, we are required to agree with his assessment?

  46. David Wilford says

    Thumper @ 56:

    Andrew Sullivan is a wee bit more than a “generally gay-friendly blogger”, no? Whether or not you agree with his assessment of Francis is your call, but I do think Sullivan is someone worth taking seriously on the subject.

  47. robro says

    Thumper @#46 said…

    He still views actual gay acts as sinful, which is still bigoted and stupid.

    I believe the position of the Church is egalitarian on the issue of sex: all sex is sinful unless it’s done specifically to procreate. So the hets don’t get an automatic out, it’s just harder to detect when they are being sinful. Protestants are perhaps even more egalitarian in that all sex is sinful even when done to procreate.

  48. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@53,

    That’s beyond even your usual standards of stupidity – it simply makes no sense whatever. Sullivan is a Catholic apologist, and like you, will find excuses for Catholic bigotry whenever he possibly can.

  49. Nick Gotts says

    I do think Sullivan is someone worth taking seriously on the subject. – David Wilford@56

    Yet another demonstration of your stupidity. Someone as far removed from reality as to think being a Catholic is compatible with opposing homophobia is not worth taking seriously on any subject whatever.

  50. robro says

    Not only mainstream media has fallen for the new Dada. AlterNet has had a string of articles praising his so-called “liberal” position. This is despite the fact that the church continues to perpetrate so many wrong, such as women still being put at grave risk and dying in Catholic hospitals because their policies prevent doctors from even telling their patients they are miscarrying and need an abortion. Or the Little Sisters of the Poor refusal to sign the ACA waver so that their employees can’t get contraceptive coverage from the government, and instead suing the government over it.

  51. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts @ 60:

    Someone as far removed from reality as to think being a Catholic is compatible with opposing homophobia is not worth taking seriously on any subject whatever.

    Gee whiz, I guess all those “Another Catholic Voting No” signs I saw all over Minneapolis and St. Paul back in 2012 weren’t compatible with opposing homophobia either. Thankfully their votes at the polls did count at least, which helped defeat a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex civil marriage.

  52. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@62,

    I thought you would respond with precisely this kind of stupidity. People do often hold blatantly incompatible beliefs, but pundits who do so are not worth taking seriously on any subject whatever, since it is clear they are incapable of rational thought.

  53. alwayscurious says

    Pope Francis is willing to talk to gays and not send out the lynch mobs against them…that’s wonderful, he should get sainthood for that. Get back to me once he’s actually DONE something to expand their rights to match those due to all peoples.

    Same goes for women: I’ll know that real change is afoot in the Catholic church once they start ordaining women.

    Until then it’s the same old story, same old song & dance. (Just a better performer)

  54. scourge99 says

    The pope has trillions of dollars at his disposal and millions of followers and the best he can do is make a few speeches, hug a leper, and give a fanboy a ride. Color me underwhelmed. Great people do great things, not mundane things. When this pope does something proportional to the wealth and power he controls then we can call him great. Right now he’s done nothing to deserve it.

  55. says

    Thomathy:

    I fail to see how not being as outspoken a bigot as his predecessors makes him any better a person as a mouth piece for his invisible friend.

    Exactly. He’s engaging in a massive PR campaign to make the church seem more reasonable by not publicly attacking women rights, LGBT equality, contraception use or abortion access. He hasn’t actually changed his mind, nor church policy on any of those subjects. It’s a big smokescreen and people are falling for it.

  56. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts @ 63:

    Here’s a nice refutation of your assertion that Andrew Sullivan isn’t worth taking seriously:

    So in terms of both income inequality and social mobility, the US and Argentina are basically the same country. So why does the Pope’s arguments apply only to Argentina and not to the US? I’m not an economist, so maybe there’s another dimension here that I’ve overlooked. As always, I’d be more than happy to post any correctives or clarifications to this basic reality. But right now, it seems to me that the Catholic right is simply wrong. Their American exceptionalism has morphed from a thoroughly admirable national pride at America’s achievements to a fixed and rigid idolization of a single country along with an idolization of wealth. Both, to put it mildly, are heresies. And perhaps the biggest impact of the new Pope on American politics will be more forthrightly denying the denialist, ideological right any Catholic crutch to peddle their snake-oil with.

    http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/01/02/the-pope-speaks-the-gop-flails/

    To add, the fact that Pope Francis is undercutting the cozy relationship the Republican Party in the U.S. has had with the reactionary Catholic clergy (Dolan, I’m lookin’ at you) is really going to affect voting patters in the U.S. where Catholic voters have sometimes helped Republicans win. It would greatly help the Democratic Party’s chances in the 2014 elections to hold the U.S. Senate for that to continue.

  57. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Any news about evidence against pedophile priests being released to the police, no holding back?

    I didn’t think so.

  58. says

    For those who don’t want to click David Wilford’s link @47:
    (excerpt)

    A letter was sent last June to the Pope from several Italian Catholic homosexuals, many of whose signatures were collected by the Kairos group in Florence, which is very active in this area. In the letter, gays and lesbians asked Francis to be recognized as people and not as a “category”, asking for openness and dialogue from the Church, and reminding him that closure “always feeds homophobia”.

    This was not the first of its kind to be sent to a pontiff, but one which “no one had ever given even a hint of an answer”, said one of the Kairos leaders, Innocenzo Pontillo. This time, instead, the answer arrived. Along with another letter from the Vatican Secretary of State (the contents of both letters are private, and it was only decided recently to make the exchange public), in which, Pontillo explained, Pope Francis wrote that “he appreciated very much what we had written to him, calling it a gesture of “spontaneous confidence”, as well as “the way in which we had written it.”

    But not just that. “The Pope also assured us of his benedictory greeting.” “None of us could have imagined anything like this,” stated the Kairos representative, highlighting how, by contrast, the Archbishop of Florence, Giuseppe Betori, “always refused to even meet with us, claiming that if he did we would be legitimized as homosexuals.” Now Pope Francis actually sends us his benediction, and who knows whether his subsequent remarks about homosexuals (“Who am I to judge gays?” uttered on a plane coming back from Rio de Janeiro, and then the explosive words to Civiltà Cattolica [Catholic Civilization, a Roman Jesuit periodical]: “When God looks at a homosexual person, does he approve of his existence with affection, or does he reject him and condemn him? The person must always be considered”) might not actually be due to this exchange of letters.

    His response was carefully crafted to not show any true support for queers.
    Treating LGBT individuals as human beings means actually doing something substantial. It means acting in a way to advance the rights of LGBT people. It means actually *doing* something. Writing a goddamn letter does not count as advancing LGBT rights.

    I’m fucking sick to death of your apologetics for the pope and religion in general.

  59. says

    David Wilford:

    Whether or not you agree with his assessment of Francis is your call, but I do think Sullivan is someone worth taking seriously on the subject.

    Oh, wow. Sullivan is a gay man who is also Catholic. Yes, I’m going to take him seriously. Oh wait, no. He doesn’t get a free pass just b/c he’s gay. He, like you, seems to think the pope has actually done something “noteworthy”. Compared to past pontiffs, I suppose writing a letter in response to group of LGBT people counts as “noteworthy”, but that’s setting the bar low. More importantly, nothing has changed. At the end of the day, letter or no letter, the pope’s views (same as the official church policy) on homosexuality Have. Not. Changed.

    He’s trying to change the public image of the church by shifting the focus of public comments. Instead of talking about the church’s opposition to abortion, homosexuality, or contraception, he’s talking about helping the poor, the problems with capitalism, telling LGBT that he won’t judge them, or offering to sit next to atheists. None of that changes the day to day activities of the church. None of that fixes the deep problems in the church. It’s fluff. It’s meaningless.

    Yet it’s fooled a lot of people. Including religiously accommodating atheists like you.

    Think. Deeper.

  60. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@67,

    From your link to your fellow-driveller Sullivan:

    Their American exceptionalism has morphed from a thoroughly admirable national pride at America’s achievements to a fixed and rigid idolization of a single country along with an idolization of wealth. Both, to put it mildly, are heresies.

    Someone who objects to “a fixed and rigid idolization of a single country along with an idolization of wealth” on the ground that these things are “heresies” is obviously not worth taking seriously.

    the fact that Pope Francis is undercutting the cozy relationship the Republican Party in the U.S. has had with the reactionary Catholic clergy (Dolan, I’m lookin’ at you) is really going to affect voting patters in the U.S.

    How do you think you know it’s going to affect voting patterns?

  61. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Tony,

    No…., in a conversation about pope, what possible reason could I have for talking about pope cleaning his house?

  62. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts @ 74:

    How do you think you know it’s going to affect voting patterns?

    Because if there’s a greater emphasis on issues of economic inequality, the Democrats are going to benefit from that. And that’s what I’m seeing happen.

  63. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David Wilford #57

    I dunno, I don’t know who he is. And I don’t need to, because it doesn’t matter. Just because we happen to agree on some issues doesn’t mean we agree on everything, and the pope responding to a letter from some gay people is indicative of nothing more than the fact the pope is polite. It in no way means he isn’t a homophobe, it just means he isn’t as virulent about it as some Catholics. Which is better, but still not good; which is basically Pope Franny all over.

  64. says

    David Wilford:

    Because if there’s a greater emphasis on issues of economic inequality, the Democrats are going to benefit from that. And that’s what I’m seeing happen.

    And I’m sure you’re not confirming any biases…

  65. says

    Thumper:
    (I feel like I’m following you around Pharyngula :)

    Andrew Michael Sullivan (born 10 August 1963) is a British author, editor and blogger, resident in the United States. A former editor of The New Republic and the author or editor of six books, Sullivan is an influential blogger and commentator. He was a pioneer of the political blog, starting his in 2000. He eventually moved the blog to various publishing platforms, including Time Magazine, The Atlantic, and the Daily Beast. In 2013 he switched to an independent, subscription based format.

    Sullivan’s Burkean conservativism [1] is rooted in his British Catholic background and the political philosophy of his mentor, Michael Oakeshott.[2]

    Born and raised in England, he has lived in the United States since 1984 and currently resides in New York[3] and Provincetown, Massachusetts. He is openly gay and a practicing Roman Catholic.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Sullivan

    First time I heard of him was some episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. His catholic apologetics are infuriating.

  66. David Wilford says

    Tony @ 72:

    Yet it’s fooled a lot of people. Including religiously accommodating atheists like you.

    Not really. I’m not giving the Catholic Church a free pass on it’s ongoing secrecy about child sexual abuse by acknowledging what Pope Francis has said about atheists and homosexuals any more than you are. To the contrary, it’s you and others here who want to dismiss what Francis has said by saying it’s not enough. Fine, it isn’t enough then. But at least acknowledge it has been said and judge it accordingly on it’s own merits. Even as PR, it’s significant in terms of shifting priorities from the reactionary towards a more progressive program. As I noted, that will have an effect on electoral politics, at least in the U.S.

  67. David Wilford says

    And I’m sure you’re not confirming any biases…

    We’ll see. I would dearly love to see Gov. Walker in Wisconsin knocked off this year with help from more liberal Catholics who are fed up with the GOPs economic policies which have done nothing but make the rich richer and poor poorer.

  68. says

    David Wilford:

    God you’re dense.

    Not really. I’m not giving the Catholic Church a free pass on it’s ongoing secrecy about child sexual abuse by acknowledging what Pope Francis has said about atheists and homosexuals any more than you are. To the contrary, it’s you and others here who want to dismiss what Francis has said by saying it’s not enough.

    It’s not enough because it doesn’t amount to anything. You’re impressed by speeches with nice words and response letters. Unless those speeches and response letters lead to actual change that benefits people, they’re completely useless. They’re hollow.
    We’re talking about human rights.
    We’re talking about equality.
    LBGT equality.
    Women’s equality.
    The pope would actually be progressive, and someone to be rather impressed with if he would *do* something to support equality.

    You want to see what *actions* in support of equality look like?
    Here:

    Zmuda married his long term partner last summer, just seven months after it became legal to do so in Washington state. He continued working without incident at the school until December, when some colleagues apparently alerted school administrators of his marriage. Almost immediately after this transgression was discovered (getting married to someone you love while gay counts as a pretty major transgression in Catholic land), Zmuda was out of a job. Legal experts say the school acted within their rights – as an administrator in the school, he was obliged to abide by Catholic teachings. But while his termination may satisfy doctrinal purists, it has caused distress and confusion to many Catholics (including Zmuda himself) who are unable to reconcile the so-called Christian ethos of the church with what they apparently see as a very un-Christian act.
    Since the dismissal became public, students at the school – at least some of whom must be practicing Catholics – have been staging protest rallies, sit-ins and started an online campaign to have their teacher reinstated.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/08/pope-francis-preaches-tolerance-yet-gay-teachers-like-mark-zmuda-get-fired/

    (bolding mine)
    These students have done more for the cause of LGBT equality than the Pope *ever* has. Yet you’re over there lauding his complete inaction as if it is memorable or noteworthy.

  69. says

    David Wilford:

    But at least acknowledge it has been said and judge it accordingly on it’s own merits.

    What are the merits of the pope telling gays they’re welcome in the church, while simultaneously believing in church doctrine that says we’re going to hell?

    Oh, wait, the merit in that is people will be fooled into thinking the pope is more progressive and supportive of human rights, despite not doing anything to show that support. He wants people back in the church. Church numbers are dwindling. He’s attacking that from a PR perspective, bc there isn’t much else he can do.

    And you’re busy patting him on the back for trying to strengthen the catholic church.

  70. Nick Gotts says

    Because if there’s a greater emphasis on issues of economic inequality, the Democrats are going to benefit from that. And that’s what I’m seeing happen. – David Wilford@76

    If there is such a greater emphasis, how far, if at all, is it due to the Pope? Do you have any evidence on that point?

    As I noted, that will have an effect on electoral politics, at least in the U.S. – David Wilford@80

    As you think or hypothesize. I would prefer some actual evidence. We’ll get some (either way) at the mid-term elections, when we’ll see if the shift in voting patterns varies systematically with the proportion of Catholics in the electorates of different states and counties.

  71. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Tony! #79

    There are worse people to be followed by :)

    Ah, he sounds like a man of stunning credentials (/snark) and bewildering contradictions (not snark). Thanks for the info; though I still don’t see why DW thinks that just because one gay guy thinks the Pope is A-OK means everyone who is pro-equality has to agree.

    Anyway, I’m afraid we’ll have to stop our game of cat-and-mouse for the day, I’m off home (it’s 18:50 over here, I’ve no idea why I’m still at work). Have fun with DW. ‘Night all!

  72. says

    But at least acknowledge it has been said and judge it accordingly on it’s own merits.

    I will happily acknowledge that the pope has paid some minimal lip service to gays. Of course, he also hasn’t done anything, nor has he said anything of much substance.

    E.g. the “who am I to judge” comment is very interesting. Note how he doesn’t say that god doesn’t judge them, nor does he in any way express acceptance of homosexuality or gay rights. It’s hard to imagine a more vacuous statement.

    This pope isn’t in favor of gay rights. He’s in favor of gays being encouraged to stop being gay. He has yet to say or do anything that isn’t 100% in line with standard, conservative Catholic dogma. I don’t expect he ever will.

  73. Rich Woods says

    Legal experts say the school acted within their rights – as an administrator in the school, he was obliged to abide by Catholic teachings.

    Fucking hell! Does a contract with a faith school trump the law of the land? Is it only the Constitution which can’t be overridden by contract? Even then, surely the “all men are created equal” idea should override any restriction upn consenting adults choosing to marry!

  74. says

    AlwaysCurious:

    Same goes for women: I’ll know that real change is afoot in the Catholic church once they start ordaining women.

    Fuck ordaining women. I’ll settle when the Catholic church officially recognizes women as full human beings with the right to autonomy, and stops thinking of them as convenient things for procreation which can be killed any old time, for any old reason, as the fetus reigns supreme.

  75. John Horstman says

    I’ve had any number of friends say that while they know he’s not acting much differently, the difference in tone and messaging, especially regarding socialism, is important. That’s true – it means we should be criticizing the current pope slightly less, becasue he’s saying slightly fewer awful things. It doesn’t mean we should tip the balance from net-criticizing to net-celebrating, and it doesn’t mean we should elevate words over actions. “Bergoglio is slightly less repugnant than Ratzinger,” is really all anyone on the Left should be saying.

    But, hey, considering how much of the Left has bent over backwards to play apologetics for a Democratic president who is in many, many ways worse than even Bush was, apparently just becasue he talks a good line and runs as a Democrat, I probably shouldn’t be surprised.

  76. David Marjanović says

    No, the reason the NSA spies on anyone and everyone is because they can. Knowledge is power, particularly knowledge of others’ secrets.

    Also, the more you can snoop on, the more you will “just in case”. It’s a feedback loop on fear – just like a gun.

    Following your link, and the link from that to John Allen, the number of named people Bergoglio allegedly saved appears to be “roughly a dozen”. Exactly one of these people is quoted in the article. The claim of “as many as a thousand” is justified by claims that;

    each one of those people told him they knew “at least 20 or 30 more.”

    Really? Each one of them, by some odd coincidence, made that same claim?

    And – assuming each one of them really did know at least 20 or 30 more – they all knew 20 or 30 different people each? With no overlap?

    He has said of gay male priests who remain celibate “who am I to judge?”

    You mean “chaste and celibate”. If they have sex outside of marriage*, you bet he’s gonna judge. Bigtime.

    * And they can’t marry – twice over. They’re priests, and see comment 49.

    Basically all he’s done is accept the “thoughtcrime” of being gay, in a way no fundy does. He still views actual gay acts as sinful, which is still bigoted and stupid.

    Bingo.

    Hey, it says “thou shalt not lie with a man [...]“, not “thou shalt not even think about it”; and it does not say “thou shalt not covet thy neighbour” as opposed to thy neighbour’s stuff.

    Their American exceptionalism has morphed from a thoroughly admirable national pride at America’s achievements

    Huh?

    How is it admirable to be proud of other people’s achievements?!?

    the “all men are created equal” idea

    …is in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, right?

  77. zibble says

    I find it completely absurd that liberal apologists for the Catholic church can say that Francis is doing the best he possibly can within the criminal, bigoted, amoral Catholic church, and then not acknowledge what that says about the decency of the Catholic church itself.

    It’s like “don’t call Francis evil! He’d do more if not for the entrenched power of the Church.” Then, “don’t call the Church evil! It has great men like Francis.” An endless loop of somehow sanctimonious excuses.

  78. David Wilford says

    @ 91:

    Yawn. Greenwald’s penchant for purity trolling is acknowledged. I mean, how can Sullivan have said that gays shouldn’t beg President Obama to back gay marriage but then be happy when Obama decided to do just that? Sullivan shouldn’t have cared at all! In fact, Sullivan should have rejected Obama’s change of mind, because it was all just opportunistic politics on Obama’s part.

    Oh, and bonus points for Greenwald’s silly psychological analyzing of Sullivan. He really ought to know better.

  79. says

    Zibble:

    An endless loop of somehow sanctimonious excuses.

    Business as usual. Smiley Francis got shoved out front because the old school Ratzi didn’t go over so well. The Catholic church has been accustomed to unquestioning obeisance for centuries. They don’t like people questioning them, so out comes Spin Pope Frank, he’ll dazzle them all with his smile and baffle them with bullshit!

    It doesn’t speak well that so many people are so easily baffled with extremely low grade bullshit.

  80. Daniel Schealler says

    I think it’s simply because, after Darth Ratzinger, anyone looks good by comparison.

  81. Al Dente says

    But at least acknowledge it has been said and judge it accordingly on it’s own merits.

    Its merits tell me that Pope Frank is better at PR than Pope Palpatine. Frank wants to appear more reasonable, more conciliatory, more human. When Frank actually does something like acknowledging that consenting adults can marry whoever they want regardless of gender, that women are more than baby factories, and that child raping clergy should be immediately reported to civil authorities, then I’ll jump on your pro-pope bandwagon. But until Frank does something concrete, then I’ll judge him as being nothing more than a competent spin-meister.

  82. zibble says

    @94 Caine

    It doesn’t speak well that so many people are so easily baffled with extremely low grade bullshit.

    It just speaks to their desperation in wanting the RCC to be an uncontroversial nice thing like everyone used to pretend it was. It speaks to their resentment at being “allies” for those gross underdogs like homos and women and just how flimsy an excuse they need to stand instead alongside real authority and the status quo.

  83. David Wilford says

    Here’s Eric Stolz responding to a question at Slate’s Quora:

    A few things Pope Francis has done differently than previous popes in his first few months:

    He refused to wear ermine-lined capes other popes wore.

    Rather than blessing the people in St. Peter’s Square on his election, he asked the people to bless him.

    He refuses to ride in a bulletproof Mercedes limousine. He rode on a bus with other cardinals right after his election. He uses a Ford Focus around Rome and drives himself around the Vatican in a 1984 Renault.

    He refers to himself as “bishop of Rome” rather than as “supreme pontiff.”

    He is the first pope to use the word gay rather than homosexual or “those suffering from same-sex attraction.”

    He has stated he intends to transform the Synod of Bishops to a decision-making body rather than a ceremonial rubber stamp.

    He refused to live in the Apostolic Palace, instead living in a guest home and dining in the cafeteria.

    He has consistently used a more familiar, direct, and casual way of speaking, versus the highly formal and circumlocutory tone used by previous popes.

    He has spoken against clericalism, versus other popes who promoted clericalism—e.g., Pope Benedict’s “Year of the Priest.”

    He has reached out to atheists.

    He sends personal hand-written letters and makes personal phone calls rather than having his secretary send formal messages on his behalf.

    He directed the Office of the Synod of Bishops to distribute a questionnaire to Catholic laity to understand their thoughts on marriage, contraception, divorce, and same-sex marriage.

    He has called for a reform in how priests are trained, so they don’t become “little monsters.”

    He has said he intends to decentralize the Church, de-emphasizing the role of the pope.

    He has stated the Church’s priority is service to the poor.

    He has reversed the previous pope’s favoritism toward those who insist on Latin and old-fashioned liturgical approaches.

    He has said the hierarchy should speak less about contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage, versus previous popes who specifically stated these were priorities for the Church.

    He gives interviews to media outlets.

    He has washed the feet of laity (including prisoners, women, and Muslims) on Holy Thursday, versus previous popes who would only wash the feet of priests. This is important because his act directly violates liturgical rules that state that only men may have their feet washed on Holy Thursday (a rule many priests and deacons also ignore worldwide).

    He says daily Mass in a public place, for janitors and secretaries and security guards, versus other popes who only invited wealthy and influential people to daily Mass in their private chapel.

    He has given a new profile to the post of the Papal Almoner (the person responsible for helping the poor in Rome) and has initiated new programs of gifts and other assistance to the homeless in Rome. He invited Roman homeless people to his birthday breakfast.

    He has instructed the curia and the nuncios (ambassadors) to nominate as bishops men who are merciful and pastoral, versus previous popes who directed that bishops be chosen for their doctrinal loyalty and willingness to pick public fights.

    He has announced he intends radical reform of the Vatican.

    He was named “Person of the Year” by The Advocate, the U.S. national gay and lesbian news magazine.

    I’m sure Glenn Greenwald would be critical of that last one. Not one to be easily bafflled with extremely low grade bullshit he!

  84. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@93,

    Yawn. Greenwald’s penchant for purity trolling is acknowledged. I mean, how can Sullivan have said that gays shouldn’t beg President Obama to back gay marriage but then be happy when Obama decided to do just that?

    Yawn. Wilford’s penchant for licking religious arses is acknowledged. I mean, from that comment, it’s
    hard to believe he actually read the article Irisvanderpluym linked to.

    Here’s part of what Greenwald says:

    Sullivan spent three years aggressively scorning everyone who criticized Obama’s marriage position on the ground that it’s irrelevant and inconsequential what the President thinks about marriage equality, even arguing that it’s “sad” to watch gays seek presidential approval; then, the minute Obama announces that he supports same-sex marriage, Sullivan takes the lead role in depicting this act as the Peak of Human Courage and Integrity, one of monumental significance, while he all but crusades for Obama’s instantaneous Sainthood. Given how effusive Sullivan now is about the incalculable importance of Obama’s support for same-sex marriage — for gay youth, for equality generally, for all that is Good and Noble in Our Politics — doesn’t he at least owe an apology to all those gay activists who endured Sullivan’s condescending scorn when they were trying to pressure Obama to “evolve”?

    But the more important point is that it’s dangerous, literally, to be willing to twist one’s own views this way to glorify whatever the leader does at any given moment.

  85. says

    Zibble:

    and just how flimsy an excuse they need to stand instead alongside real authority and the status quo.

    Yes. I recently downloaded Chris Kluwe’s book, which is a collection of short essays. He has a good one on the inherent desire to follow authority on the part of most people. Terry Pratchett summed it up beautifully via Havelock Vetinari, who knew exactly what people wanted – they want tomorrow to be very much like today.

  86. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@98,

    Ah, I see you’ve been kind enough to list some of the low-grade bullshit you’ve swallowed. Few if any of the items on that list go beyond a PR offensive, but you’re just too busy licking his arse to notice.

  87. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts, let me help you Spot The Spin:

    Given how EFFUSIVE Sullivan now is about the INCALCULABLE IMPORTANCE of Obama’s support for same-sex marriage — for gay youth, for equality generally, for all that is Good and Noble in Our Politics — doesn’t he at least owe an apology to all those gay activists who endured Sullivan’s CONDESCENDING SCORN when they were trying to pressure Obama to “evolve”?

  88. chigau (違う) says

    I know throwing money is not a solution but a few billion dollars to provide therapy for the abused might move me to think better of him.

  89. zenlike says

    Yeah, this is what I posted towards the end of the last thread regarding this pope:

    So, David Wilford, you are not actually going to address any of the points raised against your viewpoint right?

    My not so insightful prognosis:
    - David is not going to address any of the counterpoints on this thread;
    - Next time an article like this pops up, he is going to comment again with the exact same arguments;
    - Commenters will make counterpoints;
    - David will again not address any of them;

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Look David, we know you really really like this pope. We get it. Now shut up, you are a bore with nothing to add to this conversation.

  90. David Wilford says

    chigau @ 103:

    That and a simple, public confession of shame for decades of covering up abuse.

  91. says

    Chigau:

    I know throwing money is not a solution but a few billion dollars to provide therapy for the abused might move me to think better of him.

    Handing over every known priest who has raped or sexually assaulted to civil authorities for prosecution would do wonders for those who were victimized. More reparations would also help.

    Opening up Catholic orphanages so that children could be adopted by non-hetero people would do wonders.

    Putting a stop to the lies perpetrated about condoms would do wonders.

    Admitting women are human beings would do wonders.

    Wonders. There’s a wealth of opportunity for the Catholic church to do good works and they will never be done.

  92. says

    Zenlike:

    Yeah, this is what I posted towards the end of the last thread

    In that thread, I noted that Mr. Wilford is like a mentally impaired parrot, just keeps repeating the same shit. Toss a cover over the cage and be done with it, I say.

  93. David Wilford says

    There’s a simple and satisfying response for those who are bored. Find someone more interesting to converse with. There’s plenty of wrongs on the internet, after all.

    For fun now:

  94. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@102,

    Evidently you didn’t read the links from Greenwald’s article, which entirely justify his characterisation of Sullivan’s words both before and after Obama’s volte face.

  95. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts, sure, Sullivan can be a pompous ass too. I don’t think Greenwald’s complaints seriously undermine Sullivan as someone worth listening to though. FWIW, Greenwald is someone worth listening to as well. That doesn’t mean every claim he makes holds water.

  96. says

    @David Wilford #98
    Notice how many of those points are about what the pope has said? Notice how many of the action are actually entirely symbolic and doesn’t change anything other than people’s perception of the church?

    To give some examples:

    He refused to wear ermine-lined capes other popes wore.

    How nice. He’s wearing a different robe. I guess a change of wardrobe is all you need to go from leader of a criminal syndicate to a saint. Who knew it was that easy?

    He has reached out to atheists.

    By reminding them that they still have the option to convert and become proper Catholics. Isn’t that nice.

    He has called for a reform in how priests are trained, so they don’t become “little monsters.”

    And what changes have actually been achieved? How does he propose to do this? More importantly, if the priests still turn into “little monsters”, what does he intend to do about it? What does he intend to do about those priests who are already monstrous?

    He has stated the Church’s priority is service to the poor.

    How much church property has he sold to provide for the poor?

    He has said the hierarchy should speak less about contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage, versus previous popes who specifically stated these were priorities for the Church.

    I’m sure that’s a big comfort to the women who are right now dying because they’re being denied the proper medical care by Catholic doctors.

    I’m back to asking: What has he actually done? Not just irrelevant symbolic gestures. Not what he’s said or promised to do. Not things that may do something in the future, through some indirect effect.

    What has he practically done that actually made people’s lives better or stopped some of the evil perpetrated by this organization?

    What was that? Speak up?

  97. zibble says

    @98 David Wilford

    Has it escaped your notice that your list, despite having a pathetically low standard for what constitutes change (the Pope dresses differently! Wow!), STILL has to be padded with examples of what the Pope “intends” to do? Can you not see that in your pathetically exhaustive list, every item, one after another, is entirely about imagery and never about substance? Is there a single item on your list that isn’t easily explained as PR bullshit?

    He gives interviews to media outlets.

    Yes, David, that’s what it means to be a PR hack.

  98. David Wilford says

    The logic of “if he hasn’t done X, Y, and Z he’s done nothing” doesn’t quite square with the fact that Francis has done some things that are significant. How much of it is merely PR is one thing, but how much of it is a prelude to Vatican II-like reforms is another. We’ll see.

  99. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@110,

    The Greenwald article Irisvanderpluym linked to undermines your assessment of the relevance of Sullivan’s assessment of the Pope precisely because it shows his propensity to fawn on authority figures.

  100. Nick Gotts says

    Francis has done some things that are significant. – David Wilford@115

    Such as? Certainly none of the list you provided @98 have made any significant practical difference.

  101. A. Noyd says

    Yesterday I wore light pink underwear. Today I’m wearing black underwear. I could almost be the Pope!

  102. says

    Nick Gotts 116:

    The Greenwald article Irisvanderpluym linked to undermines your assessment of the relevance of Sullivan’s assessment of the Pope precisely because it shows his propensity to fawn on authority figures.

    Worse, he fawns on authority figures no matter what they do. That alone makes him not worth listening to about…well, about pretty much everything of importance.

  103. says

    @David Wilford

    The logic of “if he hasn’t done X, Y, and Z he’s done nothing” doesn’t quite square with the fact that Francis has done some things that are significant

    And which ones were those again? Because it seems to me that we’ve just been over (98+111+112) how your last list was full of things that weren’t significant at all.

    I specifically asked you what he’s done and you responded with an example of what he hasn’t done.

    I honestly don’t know what more to say. I mean, are you high right now? Are you really this stupid or do you just think I am? Did you think I wouldn’t notice that you haven’t given me the example I asked for yet?

    What. The. Fuck?

  104. zibble says

    Really, though, Sullivan’s self-loathing daddy issues are totally irrelevant ad hominem. The real issue, even if Sullivan weren’t a hypocritical, unaware, generally loathsome and opportunistic hack (and racist! Let’s not forget that), is that we’re being expected to accept Sullivan’s declarations as some kind of actual evidence; obviously for the reason that there isn’t any evidence.

    Saying the Pope isn’t a bigot because Sullivan says so is some pretty crap logic even without pointing out that “Sullivan wouldn’t make excuses for a bigot” is an objectively false premise.

  105. David Marjanović says

    A few things Pope Francis has done differently than previous popes in his first few months:

    In that long list (24 points if I counted correctly), I find at most five points that aren’t purely symbolic or at most terminological.

    And of those, all are so far mere statements of intent, with the possible exception of the “new programs of gifts and other assistance to the homeless in Rome” that the pope “has initiated”. They give me hope, but not much.

    That and a simple, public confession of shame for decades of covering up abuse.

    Honestly, statements of intent are much, much less important to me than deeds and their effects.

    Intent, you see, isn’t magic.

  106. omnicrom says

    The logic of “if he hasn’t done X, Y, and Z he’s done nothing” doesn’t quite square with the fact that Francis has done some things that are significant. How much of it is merely PR is one thing, but how much of it is a prelude to Vatican II-like reforms is another. We’ll see.

    Yes, we will see David Wilford. And how much are you willing to bet that Bergoglio will actually perform the Vatican III reforms that will turn the Catholic Church from the heinous criminal empire it actually is into the wonderful awe-inspiring thing you uncritically defend and endorse?

    I find it continuously funny that you constantly try to affect being impartial when you’re so utterly in love with religion David Wilford. You say the Pope has made significant action, then provide a big long list of things he “Intends to do” and an array of purely symbolic, substance-less thing he actually did. But then when you’re criticized you go “Yeah Yeah! I get the Church is bad!” with that link to how the Pope unsurprisingly continues to shield child rapists. Of course in your next post you’ve doubled down and are defending the pope. I’m not sure you realize how you come off. To me you’re an uncritical religious apologist who knows that it’s bad to be an uncritical religious apologist and are repeatedly trying to recast yourself as a critical religious apologist, as though being uncritical is somehow the problem instead of the “Religious Apologist” part.

    So David Wilford: You yourself admit that the pope hasn’t done things of substance or addressed the vast monolithic harms the church has committed. Do you think it’s unfair to judge the pope so early in his papacy? If so then once again deign to tell us atheists who we should criticize and how then tell us when, will be officially okay to once again be critical of the Church for its views on Adoption, Abortion, Women, Sex, Contraception, Homosexuals, Transexuals, Bisexuals, etc. etc.? When should will Bergoglio’s nice words finally be less important than the Billions that the church others, stigmatizes, dismisses, and holds unequal? How long before even you will stop defending the empty rhetoric of the pope?

  107. says

    He refused to wear ermine-lined capes other popes wore.

    Has he declared it Catholic dogma that wearing fur is an unforgivable sin?

    Rather than blessing the people in St. Peter’s Square on his election, he asked the people to bless him.

    So, he wants people to cast spells on him, rather than he cast the spells? Call me a skeptic…

    He refuses to ride in a bulletproof Mercedes limousine. He rode on a bus with other cardinals right after his election. He uses a Ford Focus around Rome and drives himself around the Vatican in a 1984 Renault.

    Yay for non-Catholic humanity when the Pope doesn’t assume that he’ll be shot at first chance.

    He refers to himself as “bishop of Rome” rather than as “supreme pontiff.”

    LOL! That’s like Obama saying he’s not the “president”, just the “resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave”. Much humble. So normalesque.

    He is the first pope to use the word gay rather than homosexual or “those suffering from same-sex attraction.”

    Who was the first Pope to say the Earth goes around the Sun?

    He has stated he intends to transform the Synod of Bishops to a decision-making body rather than a ceremonial rubber stamp.

    God be praised! A group of old white men will be tasked with making decisions!

    He refused to live in the Apostolic Palace, instead living in a guest home and dining in the cafeteria.

    I’m sure that saves them some money that they can use to pay out to abuse victims, right?

    He has consistently used a more familiar, direct, and casual way of speaking, versus the highly formal and circumlocutory tone used by previous popes.

    After abandoning a strictly latin mass, how is this any good? The one thing I can appreciate about the Papacy is pageantry, but now that is lost.

    He has spoken against clericalism, versus other popes who promoted clericalism—e.g., Pope Benedict’s “Year of the Priest.”

    And he should, considering it was the prime profession in the worldwide child rape organization.

    He has reached out to atheists.

    He reached out because he wants us to be Catholics, which last time I checked, the Pope couldn’t keep an atheist from turning away from godlessness and getting a warm embrace from the Catholic Church.

    He sends personal hand-written letters and makes personal phone calls rather than having his secretary send formal messages on his behalf.

    So, he’s a good time manager. Maybe he has more time since he just fires the pedophile priests, rather than turning them into the local authorities with the evidence his organization is holding or shuffling them around to other parishes?

    He directed the Office of the Synod of Bishops to distribute a questionnaire to Catholic laity to understand their thoughts on marriage, contraception, divorce, and same-sex marriage.

    Pew has been doing this for ages. And, do you think the results might be biased if the person knows it’s the Pope who is asking the questions?

    He has called for a reform in how priests are trained, so they don’t become “little monsters.”

    Wow, one can only wonder what incentive will there to become a priest be if they aren’t actively selecting for or don’t actively train pederasty?

    He has said he intends to decentralize the Church, de-emphasizing the role of the pope.

    Best way to reduce liability of centuries of abuse on the corporate head is to distribute power. “It wasn’t me!”

    He has stated the Church’s priority is service to the poor.

    Like Mother Teresa, who made sure all of the poor folks dying of treatable diseases had a mat to writhe upon while they died in the most pain and agony possible, for Jesus? Also, is he going to sell the Vatican, melt all the gold? You could sustainably bring millions of people out of poverty. Make Jesus proud!

    He has reversed the previous pope’s favoritism toward those who insist on Latin and old-fashioned liturgical approaches.

    Actually, this one might be good, for atheists, not the church, since the crap spewed in a living language will alienate more folks from the faith.

    He has said the hierarchy should speak less about contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage, versus previous popes who specifically stated these were priorities for the Church.

    Speak less, but still support? Sounds like how the GOP is for women and minorities. The dogma and policies are still in place and enforced, and they are barbaric!

    He gives interviews to media outlets.

    All the better to reach you with, my dear! How is this not just another way to communicate with the masses?

    He has washed the feet of laity (including prisoners, women, and Muslims) on Holy Thursday, versus previous popes who would only wash the feet of priests. This is important because his act directly violates liturgical rules that state that only men may have their feet washed on Holy Thursday (a rule many priests and deacons also ignore worldwide).

    Okay, can he violate the liturgical rule that says women can’t be priests?

    He says daily Mass in a public place, for janitors and secretaries and security guards, versus other popes who only invited wealthy and influential people to daily Mass in their private chapel.

    So, he casts spells in front of everyone, instead of only in front of impotent (or is that important?) people.

    He has given a new profile to the post of the Papal Almoner (the person responsible for helping the poor in Rome) and has initiated new programs of gifts and other assistance to the homeless in Rome. He invited Roman homeless people to his birthday breakfast.

    What about the homelessness and poverty not in Rome?

    He has instructed the curia and the nuncios (ambassadors) to nominate as bishops men who are merciful and pastoral, versus previous popes who directed that bishops be chosen for their doctrinal loyalty and willingness to pick public fights.

    Can he publicly denounce Bill Donohue, the most anti-merciful and anti-pastoral advocate that Catholics have in the US?

    He has announced he intends radical reform of the Vatican.

    I hope it’s more than all this “saying stuff that can be taken too far out of context” radical reform.

    He was named “Person of the Year” by The Advocate, the U.S. national gay and lesbian news magazine.

    Which has been roundly criticized. You’d think Pope Frank got married himself to another man in St. Peter’s Basilica. That would be radical, for him.

    I would say nice try, but there’s not a whole lot the Pope is doing to actually further humanity, which is quite saddening given he has more power than almost all other human beings to actually get it done.

  108. jetboy says

    I can’t find my copy of “The Prince”, but I remember one suggested tactic to cement control is split into two phases – one, send a brutal tyrant, a butcher, and then two, get rid of the brutal tyrant and bring in someone who says nice things and sweeps the crimes of the previous under the rug. It’s supposed to reinforce loyalty in the otherwise rebellious and fractious populace. I’ve recently come across a new interpretation regarding N. Machiavelli (that “The Prince” was secretly satire); it makes the current situation even more tragic.

  109. says

    Jetboy:

    I’ve recently come across a new interpretation regarding N. Machiavelli (that “The Prince” was secretly satire); it makes the current situation even more tragic.

    The principle of good cop/bad cop was around long before Machiavelli wrote The Prince.

  110. says

    @ Jetboy

    two phases – one, send a brutal tyrant, a butcher, and then two, get rid of the brutal tyrant and bring in someone who says nice things and sweeps the crimes of the previous under the rug.

    Not necessarily another “someone”. Often the same person is playing both roles. Modern examples: President Field Marshall Omar al-Bashir and President Comrade Robert Mugabe.

  111. says

    Ahhhh, another “David Wilford desperately wants the pope to wash his feet” thread.
    David Wilford, I’ll let you in on a secret my grandma told me a log time ago:
    Talk is cheap.

    He has stated the Church’s priority is service to the poor.

    The RCC’s stance on the poverty resembles Mustrum Ridcully’s on species conservation:

    Ridcully did a lot for rare species. For one thing, he kept them rare

    The RCC does a lot for poor people. For one thing, they keep them in abundance.

    I do not recall that the RCC sold their vast capitalist for profit companies (which includes their medical companies which offer sub-standard service based on cathilic dogma instead of science) in order to fight poverty. I do not recall that the RCC stated they would forgo the vast amount of money they get every year from the German government if the German government invested that money in developmental aid or to fight poverty within Germany.
    I do not recall the RCC doing that with any of their assetts.
    Most importantly I do not recall the RCC changing their stance on the issue of the ever growing world population in the poorest countries of the earth, by finally admitting that this is
    -not a good thing
    -needs to be changed
    -the most efficient way is to give women access to BC and family planning
    I do not recall them changing their stance on condoms and AIDS, so that this horrible disease can be fought effectively, decreasing infection rates, thereby keeping families intact (having your parents die of AIDS is a terrible blow for a nuclear family) and also freeing money in those countries in healthcare because they no longer need to invest large sums in HIV treatment.

    Unless some of those things happen, it’s nothing but hot, hot, useless, make David Wilford feel goood air

  112. says

    OK, Paul, we get it: you don’t like the Pope. And you have a point in that the head of the largest Christian organization is not in any way an atheist.

    Yet you should careful in taking up the position that Christians and atheists have to be polar opposites in everything, for that would put you into some weird positions.

    For example, and I will spot you the ass raping pedophile priests, the Church has a two thousand year lock on compassion and assistance for the poor and you are pretty much going to own the whole dog fucking thing. It pains me to no end to see you turn Santorum into man of truth.

  113. Lofty says

    Giliell

    Who is Paul?

    PZ?

    And what’s your point?

    I’m sure Keith Moon’s just showing us how incoherent those Xtians are.

  114. says

    As far as I can tell, Keith Moon is responding to the last line in PZ’s post. It seems that he’s reading it not as a statement of fact (i.e. that the pope is opposed to our values), but rather as some statement of fundamental opposition to anything the church does, good or bad (“…Christians and atheists have to be polar opposites…”).

    Where he got this strange notion is beyond me, but that’s the best interpretation I can come up with.

  115. omnicrom says

    I seem to recall Keith Moon occasionally poking their head in. This is more incoherent than most of their other confused posts, but not by much.

  116. says

    changerofbits #124

    Also, is he going to sell the Vatican, melt all the gold? You could sustainably bring millions of people out of poverty.

    Here now, there’s no call for that; you could get a lot more for them in the form of statuary and the like than you could as bullion.

    Keith Moon
    Yeah, nothing’s more compassionate than Crusades, Inquisitions, genocide, conversion by the sword, and wholesale slavery, amirite? And everyone knows there were no beggars in Europe when the RCC was the sole source of charity, nor did anyone ever freeze or starve. That’s just history /snark
    Seriously, what a dipshit.

  117. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    The RCC has a lock on compassion? How much kool aid did you drink?

    Well how else would they keep it chained up in their basement, so to speak?

  118. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 123:

    It’s possible to listen to what Francis has said about reform and think it’s a positive development while at the same time find it unacceptable that lists of accused child abusers are not released to the police. I can also walk and chew gum at the same time. It’s not that complicated.

    I do find it amusing that in a subsequent post PZ notes the importance of words and communication, but evidently when it’s Pope Francis that says things it suddenly doesn’t matter because it’s just words. Intellectually honest, truly critical thinkers don’t play those kind of rhetorical games.

  119. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Intellectually honest, truly critical thinkers don’t play those kind of rhetorical games.

    And intellectually honest critical thinkers don’t play your asinine game of non-gotcha. When you can really criticize the RCC and its leadership, you will have something cogent to say. Until then, you are an apologizer for criminal behavior.

  120. says

    I do find it amusing that in a subsequent post PZ notes the importance of words and communication, but evidently when it’s Pope Francis that says things it suddenly doesn’t matter because it’s just words.

    Words are important, but people often expect you to stop kicking them in the teeth before they’re willing to listen to you. That’s not unreasonable, nor is it a rhetorical game. Intellectually honest, truly critical thinkers should be able to understand so simple a point.

    And how’s that list coming? Found anything significant yet? Or should we take this new approach of yours as an implicit admission that you’ve got nothing?

  121. Nick Gotts says

    I do find it amusing that in a subsequent post PZ notes the importance of words and communication, but evidently when it’s Pope Francis that says things it suddenly doesn’t matter because it’s just words. – David Wilford

    You really do disgust me, Wilford. That’s plain dishonesty, as we’ve come to expect from you. Even you are not really unable to distinguish between the situations concerned and see that “the importance of words and communication” is very different in the two: promises and smiles without (so far) real action from a powerful person who could have taken effective action on the one hand, harassment by threats and sexualised insults on the other.

  122. David Wilford says

    LykeX, if you wrote to Pope Francis and asked him to have the Church stop kicking you in the teeth, and he wrote you back, would you read what he had to say? I’m betting you would, but I’d like to hear your answer.

  123. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts, so you think the Pope is insincere? I don’t think we can be sure of that yet, so for now I’m o.k. with taking what he’s said on good faith. But of course we’ll see, especially on the matter of child abuse that’s been covered up by the Catholic Church.

  124. says

    Let me ask you a question:
    If I was punching you in the face, would you want to hear a long lecture about how I intended to stop or would you just want me to stop?

  125. David Wilford says

    LykeX, if you’d like to say a few things here before resuming your punching, feel free.

  126. says

    See, that’s the problem here: I’m too nice a person to actually hunt you down and beat the crap out of you. That allows you to think of this as a joke.

    I’m not actually, physically harming you, so you find it easy to give such a glib answer. I suspect that if you were actually coughing up blood and counting how many teeth you were missing, and then looking up to see the next punch coming, you’d understand a lot better what this was really about.

    It’s easy to be patient and forgiving when you’re not the one who’s been wronged. It lets you pretend that you’re being all reasonable, when what you’re really doing is protecting the abusers.

    You want to wait and see. Well, you’ve got that luxury. some people don’t. Whether the pope does something today or tomorrow might decide whether someone else lives or dies.

    But hey, it’s not you, so why should you care.

  127. says

    @141 And the words of this Pope have been taken so out of context and projected into supposed real world changes to the point of lunacy. At best, he’s proven that he doesn’t hold non-Catholics, the poor, non-capitalists, etc. in reviling contempt. Nobody is saying that this isn’t better than Pope Ratzy/Emperor Palpatine. What we’re saying is that he has a LOT to do, which he hasn’t yet done, to live up to the messiah like image created in your mind.

  128. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I don’t think we can be sure of that yet, so for now I’m o.k. with taking what he’s said on good faith.

    Given the track record of the Vatican modifying his pronouncements after the fact your faith is misplaced. Trust is earned by deeds. No deeds, no trust, no taking on FAITH (belief without evidence, which is why we don’t think you are an atheist).

  129. says

    Lyke X

    Words are important, but people often expect you to stop kicking them in the teeth before they’re willing to listen to you.

    WORD!
    At this very moment the RCC in Germany is heavily opposing plans in one state to give children accurate information in school about non-heterosexual people, to give some representation to non-heterosexual people (like, you know, having a homosexual couple in a schoolbook) and to oppose homo- and transphobia.
    They are fighting this tooth and nail because apparently telling children that LGBTQ people exist takes away children’s “ability to develop freely”.

    David Wilford

    LykeX, if you wrote to Pope Francis and asked him to have the Church stop kicking you in the teeth, and he wrote you back, would you read what he had to say?

    We also read what you have to say. That doesn’t mean what you write makes a difference, except maybe in people’s blood pressure. I’d be actually more interested in them stopping the teeth-kicking.

    +++
    Any bets if I get a reply? David does not like to talk to women about these issues, oh no boy. Maybe the presence of a group whose human rights this very Pope is fighting makes him too uncomfortable.
    How very Russian of them.

  130. says

    Giliell:

    Any bets if I get a reply?

    :snort: No. In this one thing, Wilford is just like the pope and church he can’t stop smooching – they both think women are sub-human things.

  131. David Wilford says

    LykeX,

    I was presuming you weren’t being serious with respect to violence because I was presuming you are a nice person. That’s the sort of assumption I make when I initally communicate with others, unless they are actually physically threatening me. I cut to the chase in my response to you in #150, because I wanted to hear what you had to say. Which you have now said.

    My response to you is that communication with others doesn’t grant them a pass on what they may have done wrong or protect them in any way. Simply not communicating with them isn’t going to help protect anyone either. I think refusing to talk is no reason to pretend you’ve done something beneficial for anyone, really. It’s just drawing a line in the sand and demanding it not be crossed as far as I can tell.

  132. leszekuk says

    Has it occurred to anyone that Francis is a breath of fresh air compared with his two predecessors? You can’t expect him to work miracles. Those just don’t happen. But he’s better than what went before.

    No-one is “fooled” by him. He’s a Chistian prelate wedded to Roman Catholic ideology. But he is far less offensive than JPII or Herr Ratzinger. As a gay ex-Catholic atheist with a Catholic family, I take him as a potential first step.

    What really amazes me is that the College of Cardinals elected him in the first place.

  133. says

    Has it occurred to anyone

    Amazingly enough, yes.* Why don’t you try reading the thread, and the one prior to it, which is linked in this thread?
     
    *The point being, it’s all spin, it’s utterly meaningless, it’s a very low grade of bullshit, and it’s infuriating to see so many idiots falling all over themselves to praise a cannibal’s smile.

  134. A. Noyd says

    David Wilford (#156)

    My response to you is that communication with others doesn’t grant them a pass on what they may have done wrong or protect them in any way. [bolding added]

    Wrong. Fucking. Tense.

    The whole point of LykeX’s #149 was to illustrate how the wrongdoing is current and ongoing. The RCC is right now doing harmful things to gays, women, children, the poor, the sick, the dying, etc. Quit acting like people’s complaints are merely grudges over things from the past.

  135. says

    That’s the sort of assumption I make when I initally communicate with others, unless they are actually physically threatening me.

    And that why this is a poor analogy. The Catholic church IS physically threatening people. It’s actually KILLING people. Right now, as we speak, somebody is dying as a direct result of the policies of the Catholic church.

    I think refusing to talk is no reason to pretend you’ve done something beneficial for anyone, really.

    As this and other threads demonstrate, we’re not refusing to talk. We’re just not very impressed by what we hear and we’re noticing a distinct lack of follow-up by actual, practical change in behavior.

    For some reason, you believe that this change will come. I don’t and you’ve yet to give me a single good reason to change my mind on that.

    So, to return to a point that you’ve worked very hard to divert attention away from: What significant things has the pope actually done? You made that claim. Back it up or retract it.

  136. David Wilford says

    A. Noyd, I was speaking to a generic ‘others’, not the RCC specifically. But the point remains valid. Communication with the RCC doesn’t give them a pass on what they’ve done wrong either.

  137. says

    A. Noyd:

    The RCC is right now doing harmful things to gays, women, children, the poor, the sick, the dying, etc.

    Just one little example, not that it will matter to Wilford, as it concerns women. The RCC has been in the business of buying out hospitals left and right and all over the place for some time now. It’s one way they can continue to exercise control. Right now, there are women in a Catholic hospital, who have no other option for medical care, who will die because they had the misfortune to end up with an ectopic pregnancy. No woman should die because of that, however, the RCC considers the removal of an ectopic pregnancy to be an abortion, never mind that it would never be viable anyway. So, bottom line? Woman gets to die in agony. It’s okay though, just a dead uterus, pity and all that, but that ovum was sure to go to heaven. *spits*

  138. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I take him as a potential first step.

    Don’t hold your breath. Nothing will change.

  139. says

    Communication with the RCC doesn’t give them a pass on what they’ve done wrong either.

    ARE DOING wrong. Present tense.

  140. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Maybe this will make David Wilford feel better about all the nasty atheists here:

    When pope refocuses all the RCC logistical and financial resources from battling homosexuality in Africa to battling AIDS, I will personally scold everyone here who keeps talking about abortion or pedophilia, without acknowledging his good deed.

    Using a couple of homeless people* for PR and changing the usual pope style somehow just doesn’t pass muster.

    * he had breakfast with them. And then what? I always wonder what happens to people used as props in this kind of production.

  141. David Wilford says

    LykeX, here’s one thing from that list I posted from Slate that I think is significant:

    He directed the Office of the Synod of Bishops to distribute a questionnaire to Catholic laity to understand their thoughts on marriage, contraception, divorce, and same-sex marriage.

    It ain’t democracy by a long shot, but it’s definitely unprecedented for a Pope to solicit the laity for their views on such controversial matters.

  142. leszekuk says

    And PZ says:

    I wonder what it is exactly, “atheism” stands for?

    Now I’ve been reading PZ for years. I appreciate he has a vision for atheism, and contempt for the notion that atheism simply means the absence of a belief in some sort of god. I agree with some of PZ’s notions. But the reality of my life is I have to get along with religious believers. I can’t just pee on their parade.

    Neither do I see anything monolithic that “atheism stands for”. There are all sorts of atheists with all sorts of beliefs.”Atheism” doesn’t stand for anything. It is merely a rejection of religious belief.

    Where we take it from there is a matter for each individual atheist.

  143. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    The above is just one example, another is declaring that RCC is fine with any decision a woman makes about her body and life, or giving the police (of various countries) all the evidence about priests’ crimes.

    He does any one of those things and I’ll give him a cookie.

  144. says

    Beatrice:

    And then what? I always wonder what happens to people used as props in this kind of production.

    From Butterflies and Wheels:

    Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin:

    In February 2011 Boston-based Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin — in “an act of humble service” — washed the feet of “a representative group” of those affected by the sexual abuse of priests. The group included prominent victims Marie Collins and Christine Buckley.

    A group of survivors in defiance went up to the altar during communion, and placed homemade baby shoes on it, to signify what they had thought of the farcical washing of the feet act of very traumatic survivors. I was one of them. When I returned to the back of the chapel, a garda, asked me to remove myself from the Pro-Cathedral. I told her politely that I’d been good enough to have been baptised there for the glory/benefit of the church, but not good enough to silently express my opinion on the hypocrisy of said church. I pointed out too that it was not her remit to remove me, as it was, as far, as I had gathered private property. Luckily, there was not any tension between us, as I know that An Garda Síochána in general are very sympathetic towards survivors. I didn’t budge an inch.

    Fast forward:

    After an Easter mass ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica this year, Pope Francis also kissed and washed the feet of young offenders at a Rome prison. It had been reported in the media at the time that Pope Francis had “made a remarkable gesture to demonstrate the church’s commitment to marginalised in society.” In my estimation, it was purely a publicity stunt, just like it was with survivors. Taking on the mantle of St. Francis of Assisi and fetishising the poor is very marketable these days. It draws vulnerable lost souls like a magnet to the church. It presently suits the Church climate hugely. The RCC church is expert at same. The Jesuits are a force to be reckoned with indeed.

    And whilst all this so called humble pusillanimous washing of feet malarkey is going on with the poor, the pope sees fit to excommunicate Father Greg Reynolds of Melbourne for having conflicting views on the church. The very shrewd intellectual Jesuits must have their way. Keep one part of the church happy, because the poor souls make up the biggest numbers, given the geographical demographics, whilst simultaneously persecuting those who don’t adhere to strict antediluvian laws laid out by the church.

  145. leszekuk says

    Not obvious how to quote stuff here. I’ll figure it out in the end.

    Of course religion is meaningless in one sense, but it makes sense to religious believers. I’ve no idea why, any longer, but there it is.

    Calling Francis a “cannibal” isn’t helpful.

  146. David Wilford says

    Just to make this clear, I’m pro-choice and do not think the religious tenents of physicians and staff trump the right of anyone to make their own medical choices, including DNR orders.

  147. David Wilford says

    leszekuk,

    I had a hard time with the instructions for blockquotes too, which aren’t clear. Here’s how they work:

    [BLOCKQUOTE] text to be quoted [/BLOCKQUOTE]

    (substitute the “” for “[" and "]” respectively)

  148. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oops, make that the “less than” and “greater than” signs.

    You mean < and >, made by standard html using &lt; and &gt;?

  149. says

    EFZ, ZEC condemn condom use in prisons

    ZEC spokesperson Fr Paul Samasumo said the Catholic Church does not support gay rights.

    He said the Catholic Church’s constant and firm teaching on homosexual acts is unequivocal, saying homosexual acts are wrong and sinful.

    “Under no circumstances can homosexual acts be approved. The natural sex partner for a man is a woman and vice-versa. Homosexual acts are wrong,” he said.

    Hey, they’re just prisoners, let ‘em die!

  150. leszekuk says

    Here’s where I was at… PZ posted:

    I’ve been astounded at how many atheists have been taken in by this geezer. He’s the goddamn POPE; by nature, intent, and training he’s fanatically against everything atheism stands for.

    Let’s see if this works…

    I wonder what it is exactly, “atheism” stands for?

    Now I’ve been reading PZ for years. I appreciate he has a vision for atheism, and contempt for the notion that atheism simply means the absence of a belief in some sort of god. I agree with some of PZ’s notions. But the reality of my life is I have to get along with religious believers. I can’t just pee on their parade.

    Neither do I see anything monolithic that “atheism stands for”. There are all sorts of atheists with all sorts of beliefs.”Atheism” doesn’t stand for anything. It is merely a rejection of religious belief.

    Where we take it from there is a matter for each individual atheist.

  151. omnicrom says

    Calling Francis a “cannibal” isn’t helpful.

    Only in isolation is it unhelpful. JUST calling Francis a cannibal isn’t helpful, but pointing out the Catholic Church’s actual positions on Women, Gays, Civil Rights, Equality, Morality, etc. etc. etc. is helpful. Because there’s an awful lot of people like David Wilford who is genuinely wowwed and awed by how wonderful the pope is. Of course David Wilford has made it abundantly clear that they are wowwed and awed by religion in all its forms, but it’s important to stand up and make noise about how the Church actually is.

  152. says

    @David Wilford 166
    He sent out a questionnaire?

    The sad thing is that you’re probably not even kidding. You actually do think that’s significant.

  153. leszekuk says

    oooh, success, tedious though it is. Even CARM has a better system.

    The point being, it’s all spin, it’s utterly meaningless, it’s a very low grade of bullshit, and it’s infuriating to see so many idiots falling all over themselves to praise a cannibal’s smile.

    Yes, I know religion is spin. I gave it up as a bad job years ago. Francis is mistaken in his religious beliefs, but he’s no cannibal. He’s a decent human being who happens to be wrong in key areas.

    I am certanly not going to fight my family over his mistakes. And he is better than what went before!

  154. says

    Calling Francis a “cannibal” isn’t helpful.

    You aren’t helpful, you dimwitted fuckstick. All you seem good for is licking the ass of those who perpetrate great evil.

    Also, stop taking things out of context, it’s dishonest. In one of the earlier threads, I quoted the adage “a cannibal may show you his teeth, it doesn’t mean he’s smiling.” Hence, Frank’s cannibal smile. I didn’t call him a cannibal, Cupcake.

  155. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And he is better than what went before!

    I see no evidence of actual change in church policy to back up this statement. To most observers, it’s business as usual, but with a smiling face rather than a frown. Nothing else has changed.

  156. David Wilford says

    LykeX @ 183:

    The sad thing is that you’re probably not even kidding. You actually do think that’s significant.

    Sure I do. In the U.S. we already have been polling Catholics on the issues and it’s hardly a secret that a majority of the laity is more liberal than the reactionary leadership. So acknowledging that the laity’s views are important enough to poll by the Church itself is a progressive step as far as I’m concerned.

  157. omnicrom says

    I wonder what it is exactly, “atheism” stands for?

    Now I’ve been reading PZ for years. I appreciate he has a vision for atheism, and contempt for the notion that atheism simply means the absence of a belief in some sort of god. I agree with some of PZ’s notions. But the reality of my life is I have to get along with religious believers. I can’t just pee on their parade.

    Neither do I see anything monolithic that “atheism stands for”. There are all sorts of atheists with all sorts of beliefs.”Atheism” doesn’t stand for anything. It is merely a rejection of religious belief.

    Where we take it from there is a matter for each individual atheist.

    You are correct, atheism is not necessarily unified. And atheists often disagree (and probably should). However here is what atheism is to me: Accountability. We have only one life to live, therefore we want to make our life on this Earth the best we can. We should treat people with fairness and justice. We should help and support those who need it. Suffering should be averted whenever possible, hunger and disease should be fought, and injustice squelched. We have only one life to live, so we should strive to reduce suffering and to lead the best life we can. And that’s why I’m against the Catholic Church.

    I think we should be accountable for our actions and strive to improve the world. Therefore the Catholic Church either needs to perform the deep systemic reforms that Fantasy Francis’s fawning fans believe have already happened, or the Catholic Church’s power needs to be reduced and marginalized if not completely disestablished. The true believers of the Catholic Church, Pope on downward, proudly wear the Armor of god. They are immune to logic and accountable only to their deity. Thus the Catholic Church can lobby for homosexuals to be treated as, or even criminalized for being, unequal, buy up hospitals in order for women to die in agony, defend known child rapists from the law at all costs, and repeatedly stand staunch against the progress of human rights. Why? Because they say god told them to. I refuse that. I believe as an atheist there are no gods and monsters and therefore we are beholden to humanity. The RCC stands for cruelty and suffering backed by their god, and for that they should be brought to task.

    So therefore as an atheist I am opposed to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is a massive force for ill in society and culture. The Catholic Church with their claim of divine revelation have committed wrongs for literally millenia now. Atheists are not monolithic, but atheists are often joined in common cause who follow common philosophies based on their atheism. I don’t presume to speak for anyone, but there seem to be plenty besides me who feel that the end of the Catholic Church, or at the very least their current hateful policies, would be a good thing for the world.

  158. says

    So, you think it’s about changing doctrine to fit the people, rather than finding better ways of getting the people to follow the doctrine? Why?

  159. leszekuk says

    Only in isolation is it unhelpful. JUST calling Francis a cannibal isn’t helpful, but pointing out the Catholic Church’s actual positions on Women, Gays, Civil Rights, Equality, Morality, etc. etc. etc. is helpful. Because there’s an awful lot of people like David Wilford who is genuinely wowwed and awed by how wonderful the pope is. Of course David Wilford has made it abundantly clear that they are wowwed and awed by religion in all its forms, but it’s important to stand up and make noise about how the Church actually is.

    I don’t support the RC position on any of those. Hitherto, the RC church has protected child molesters. It has attacked gay people, and many prelates still do. \\It advocates the subjugation of women. As a gay person and advocate for equal rights, I resent all that. Francis isn’t going to change it, but he might set a new course from which dialogue might evolve.

    Francis isn’t going to fix what is wrong with his church. But he might be an opening. Given that we are stuck with religion, any opening is better than none at all.

  160. David Wilford says

    LykeX @ 189:

    It’s always about changing the doctrine to fit the people because without them it’s kind of hard to have a church. Religious is as much politics as it is theology.

  161. leszekuk says

    You aren’t helpful, you dimwitted fuckstick. All you seem good for is licking the ass of those who perpetrate great evil.

    Thank you for your kind regards!

  162. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Leszukek: “Neither do I see anything monolithic that “atheism stands for”. There are all sorts of atheists with all sorts of beliefs.”Atheism” doesn’t stand for anything. It is merely a rejection of religious belief.”

    As I write this, atheists are among the most hated and reviled groups on the planet. There are countries where we could be executed for proclaiming our disbelief. I’ve had friends whose parents have told them they wish they had died rather than become an atheist. For any political candidate to come out as an atheist would mean an end to his or her political aspirations. And what have we done to deserve this level of hatred? We have had the courage to speak up and say what many others are thinking about religion: “Wait a minute. That doesn’t make sense!”

    So, I disagree. Being an atheist does stand for something. It means having the courage and the integrity to stand up and say “I do not believe in your god or any other.” It means rejecting all the cultural baggage that belief in deities has always carried–patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia…, because without a god telling you to, why would you want to believe that crap. It means taking responsibility for what I believe and say and do, because there is no god to reward or punish me. If I am decent and good, it is because I have decided to be decent and good, not because I am afraid of some sky daddy.

    And do you know how believers react when you do these things and tell people you are an atheist? They say, “Oh, you’re not really an atheist. You’re…a) disillusioned, b)an agnostic, c) spiritual, d)angry….”

    No, I insist, I am an atheist. That is why I take responsibility for my own life and try to help my fellow humans with the troubles in theirs. And if enough of us do that, maybe someday they’ll not only stop hating us, they may even stop telling us we’re not atheists. That is something to stand for.

  163. omnicrom says

    Sure I do. In the U.S. we already have been polling Catholics on the issues and it’s hardly a secret that a majority of the laity is more liberal than the reactionary leadership. So acknowledging that the laity’s views are important enough to poll by the Church itself is a progressive step as far as I’m concerned.

    Let me know when the RCC actually does bother to change substantively on anything.

    Does anyone know Fred Clark AKA the Slacktivist? He runs a blog on Patheos. He’s a liberal evangelical Christian who I follow because he’s tremendously correct on social issues, though sadly he’s lately gone more and more into just dumping links with occasional bouts of liberal theology. I bring him up because I’m reminded very strongly of an article he wrote about meeting Protestant Church Leaders in the 90s.

    The relevant portion:

    Which brings us to today. Once again a steady stream of polls is telling evangelical leaders what they should already have realized had they been paying any attention: Millennials are leaving the church in droves and not coming back.

    Once again panic is setting in as the now-even-older old white guys realize that the future of their church is at stake. Seminars are being organized. Conferences are being convened. Books and articles are being written.

    The dynamic is the same. The old guard is still looking for some trick to change the new generation to make it conform to their church on their terms. They’re still looking for some way to make sure that the church of the next century doesn’t look any different from the church of the last century.

    Call me a cynic but I don’t really expect the RCC to change. I expect they’re probably just like the Evangelicals Fred talks about here. I bet they’re still looking for some way to change the laity and not themselves. I’d be genuinely surprised if this survey is anything more than just another formality. “Look! We’re listening to you guys! Come back to us!” says the RCC. Why? Because they already know the answers. They know that Catholics use Birth Control, aren’t really neck-deep in theology like they are, and aren’t invested in keeping down the women/gays/raped children. What can the survey tell them they don’t already know?

  164. leszekuk says

    You are correct, atheism is not necessarily unified. And atheists often disagree (and probably should). However here is what atheism is to me: Accountability. We have only one life to live, therefore we want to make our life on this Earth the best we can. We should treat people with fairness and justice. We should help and support those who need it. Suffering should be averted whenever possible, hunger and disease should be fought, and injustice squelched. We have only one life to live, so we should strive to reduce suffering and to lead the best life we can. And that’s why I’m against the Catholic Church.

    I think we should be accountable for our actions and strive to improve the world. Therefore the Catholic Church either needs to perform the deep systemic reforms that Fantasy Francis’s fawning fans believe have already happened, or the Catholic Church’s power needs to be reduced and marginalized if not completely disestablished. The true believers of the Catholic Church, Pope on downward, proudly wear the Armor of god. They are immune to logic and accountable only to their deity. Thus the Catholic Church can lobby for homosexuals to be treated as, or even criminalized for being, unequal, buy up hospitals in order for women to die in agony, defend known child rapists from the law at all costs, and repeatedly stand staunch against the progress of human rights. Why? Because they say god told them to. I refuse that. I believe as an atheist there are no gods and monsters and therefore we are beholden to humanity. The RCC stands for cruelty and suffering backed by their god, and for that they should be brought to task.

    So therefore as an atheist I am opposed to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is a massive force for ill in society and culture. The Catholic Church with their claim of divine revelation have committed wrongs for literally millenia now. Atheists are not monolithic, but atheists are often joined in common cause who follow common philosophies based on their atheism. I don’t presume to speak for anyone, but there seem to be plenty besides me who feel that the end of the Catholic Church, or at the very least their current hateful policies, would be a good thing for the world.

    I certainly do not defend the excesses of the Catholic church. They should be held accountable. My problem is that although I reject the theology of Catholism, and Christianity in general, my family does not. In fact, it is a hodge-podge of believers and atheists.

    What am I to do?

    The pope is a relatively nice guy compared to his outlandish predecessors. He’s someone I could happily have a drink with. He’s hardly a monster.

    He believes in a lot of weird stuff, but he isn’t inhuman.

  165. omnicrom says

    Francis isn’t going to fix what is wrong with his church. But he might be an opening. Given that we are stuck with religion, any opening is better than none at all.

    How is Francis an opening? How is the handpicked successor to Pope Palpatine somehow going to blossom into a secular humanist? He’s pope, that means that quite a lot of very high-ranking church people pored over him to make sure he’s appropriately conservative and orthodox. And he’s done nothing to disprove this. The reason he gets pushback is that he’s said nothing but pleasing platitudes and people are for some reason mistaking this as him actually reforming the church. The only difference between the church now and a year ago is that the figurehead is nicer and people are buying the PR. Maybe Bergoglio is a nice person, but Pope Francis remains the head of the Catholic Church which is an organization that continues to do harm across the world.

    And why are we stuck with religion? Religion’s power has been dropping slowly but steadily since the middle ages, I say we keep at it.

  166. omnicrom says

    What am I to do?

    Say you’re an atheist, explain your beliefs, and agree to disagree on religion.

    The pope is a relatively nice guy compared to his outlandish predecessors. He’s someone I could happily have a drink with. He’s hardly a monster.

    He believes in a lot of weird stuff, but he isn’t inhuman.

    No, but he is the leader of an inhuman institution. The RCC shouldn’t get a pass because the pope is a nice guy.

    I’m really not getting where you’re coming from leszekuk. Why shouldn’t we call the pope on the bad things his organization continues to do that he continues to not do anything about?

  167. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 197:

    Why shouldn’t we call the pope on the bad things his organization continues to do that he continues to not do anything about?

    You should absolutely feel free to point out what you thing is wrong. The fact that some may find encouraging things about Pope Francis in no way should prevent you and others from doing so.

  168. leszekuk says

    As I write this, atheists are among the most hated and reviled groups on the planet. There are countries where we could be executed for proclaiming our disbelief. I’ve had friends whose parents have told them they wish they had died rather than become an atheist. For any political candidate to come out as an atheist would mean an end to his or her political aspirations. And what have we done to deserve this level of hatred? We have had the courage to speak up and say what many others are thinking about religion: “Wait a minute. That doesn’t make sense!”

    So, I disagree. Being an atheist does stand for something. It means having the courage and the integrity to stand up and say “I do not believe in your god or any other.” It means rejecting all the cultural baggage that belief in deities has always carried–patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia…, because without a god telling you to, why would you want to believe that crap. It means taking responsibility for what I believe and say and do, because there is no god to reward or punish me. If I am decent and good, it is because I have decided to be decent and good, not because I am afraid of some sky daddy.

    And do you know how believers react when you do these things and tell people you are an atheist? They say, “Oh, you’re not really an atheist. You’re…a) disillusioned, b)an agnostic, c) spiritual, d)angry….”

    No, I insist, I am an atheist. That is why I take responsibility for my own life and try to help my fellow humans with the troubles in theirs. And if enough of us do that, maybe someday they’ll not only stop hating us, they may even stop telling us we’re not atheists. That is something to stand for.

    I’m an atheist too. But to keep peace in my family, I am not a militant one. I merely make it clear I do not share their religious beliefs, and they accept that. On message boards, it can be a different matter. I have been banned from CARM any number of times. They don’t like atheists there.

    I agree that in the climate in the US, it takes courage to stand up and say you are an atheist. I applaud all those who do. It’s worth noting that even in the US, that ultra-religious nation, the proportion of people who profess no belief is rising.

    But is isn’t being an atheist that makes you stand up and be counted. It is your respect for freedom of opinion. Atheism isn’t a coherent philosophy. There is no credo to believe in. Atheism is a vacuum, pace PZ who tries to make it into something it can’t be.

    If atheism ever becomes a credo we have to believe in or else, god help us all. And as since god doesn’t exist, we would be doomed.

  169. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Atheism is a vacuum, pace PZ who tries to make it into something it can’t be.

    Actually, PZ and the A+ crowd are trying to make it into what it should be. A progressive group of non-believers who work to keep religion where it belongs; namely in the home and the church, and nowhere else.

  170. leszekuk says

    How is Francis an opening? How is the handpicked successor to Pope Palpatine somehow going to blossom into a secular humanist? He’s pope, that means that quite a lot of very high-ranking church people pored over him to make sure he’s appropriately conservative and orthodox. And he’s done nothing to disprove this. The reason he gets pushback is that he’s said nothing but pleasing platitudes and people are for some reason mistaking this as him actually reforming the church. The only difference between the church now and a year ago is that the figurehead is nicer and people are buying the PR. Maybe Bergoglio is a nice person, but Pope Francis remains the head of the Catholic Church which is an organization that continues to do harm across the world.

    And why are we stuck with religion? Religion’s power has been dropping slowly but steadily since the middle ages, I say we keep at it.

    Handpicked by whom? He’s not the successor Herr Ratzinger would have picked. Breath of fresh air. So there seems to be some flexibility there.

    Why are we stiuck with religion? Well, it doesn’t seem to be going away.

  171. leszekuk says

    No, but he is the leader of an inhuman institution. The RCC shouldn’t get a pass because the pope is a nice guy.

    I’m really not getting where you’re coming from leszekuk. Why shouldn’t we call the pope on the bad things his organization continues to do that he continues to not do anything about?

    The RC church isn’t an inhuman instituion, it’s an imperfect one. Of course we should call it on its mistakes. It just isn’t unique in making mistakes. I am not defending it. It has been an offensive institution to me all my life. Just not all that different form any other institution.

  172. leszekuk says

    Actually, PZ and the A+ crowd are trying to make it into what it should be. A progressive group of non-believers who work to keep religion where it belongs; namely in the home and the church, and nowhere else.

    Indeed that is where religion belongs. We cannot keep it there by alienating believers.

  173. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    We cannot keep it there by alienating believers.

    Who gives a shit what believers think? Not atheists….
    If you wish to be an accommodationist, do so. But shut the fuck up to us about accommodation. We’ve heard the bullshit, and for family fine. That’s called dinner table diplomacy (like DADT). Otherwise, we speak our minds, and don’t give a shit if the religious have a problem with our existence.

  174. A. Noyd says

    David Wilford (#161)

    I was speaking to a generic ‘others’, not the RCC specifically. But the point remains valid. Communication with the RCC doesn’t give them a pass on what they’ve done wrong either. [bolding added]

    Wrong. Fucking. Tense. AGAIN.

    Whether it’s the RCC or some generic “others,” you’re still missing the fucking point about current and ongoing wrongdoing, not possible past wrongdoing. People here care about current, ongoing harm done by the RCC and aren’t going to be impressed by symbolic or superficial changes* that fail to end or even mitigate that harm in any way. Or are you so dishonest that you cannot even acknowledge that the RCC is right this very instant hurting people?

    ………..
    *Or ones that are outright self-aggrandizing, like the Pope inviting Rome’s homeless to his own birthday breakfast. I mean, what the fuck?

  175. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    204
    leszekuk

    The RC church isn’t an inhuman instituion, it’s an imperfect one. Of course we should call it on its mistakes. It just isn’t unique in making mistakes. I am not defending it. It has been an offensive institution to me all my life. Just not all that different form any other institution.

    Are you fucking serious? I’m guessing your privileged ass isn’t a victim of the RCC.

    By shrugging it off as “oh, it’s just a mistake” and staying compliant because of family, you are fucking defending them. This, right here right now, has fucking nothing to do with your family. You are accepting the status quo, defending it and perpetrating it with this “oh, everybody does it and I can’t make waves” bullshit.

    I’ve had to fucking lie about religion to have a place to stay. I’ve had to suffer sermons in order to eat. I’ve had to let them scare my child with Hell in order to clothe her. My mother had an atopic pregnancy and almost died because she couldn’t go to the religious hospitals here for treatment. (Thank fuck for Planned Parenthood.) I was denied birth control and was scared for my life when I had to give birth in one.

    Don’t fucking whine to me about your acceptance and approval of the Pope because of societal and family pressure. I do not, will not and cannot accept his honeyed words of promised change while his institution causes so much harm. There is a difference between doing what you have to do to survive and what you accept. You’ve crossed the line. You are doing what he wants, what he needs to further his agenda of inhumane treatment and death worldwide. I will not give him the rope to hang me.

    Congratulations you accommodating asshole. Collect your prize when the door hits you on the ass.

  176. zenlike says

    203, leszekuk

    He’s not the successor Herr Ratzinger would have picked.

    Citation needed.

    Breath of fresh air. So there seems to be some flexibility there.

    Fuck me, but I’m getting tired of apologists. ‘Nice guy’, ‘decent fellow’, ‘breath of fresh air’,…. just because he said some nice things. Action? Actually doing something to make things better? Not needed at all apparently.

    The RC church isn’t an inhuman instituion, it’s an imperfect one.

    Imperfect implies that the institution is overall good, but has some points for improvement. That’s bullshit, it’s a net bad on the world, and the maybe few good things about it don’t make up for it.

    Of course we should call it on its mistakes. It just isn’t unique in making mistakes./blockquote>

    Of course not, everyone and every institution ‘makes mistakes’. But the actions of the RCC are not ‘mistakes’, they are deliberate.

    I am not defending it.

    Yes you fucking are.

  177. zenlike says

    All hail borkquote. The last part should be:

    Of course we should call it on its mistakes. It just isn’t unique in making mistakes.

    Of course not, everyone and every institution ‘makes mistakes’. But the actions of the RCC are not ‘mistakes’, they are deliberate.

    I am not defending it.

    Yes you fucking are.

  178. Al Dente says

    It amazes me how some atheists insist that Frank’s ass is kissing-sweet. leszekuk worships the toilet that Frank shits in and David Wilford eats that shit. While they admit the RCC may have made a minor mistake here or there, that’s all in the past and Frank will bring the new, improved, now with 10% more humanism Catholic Church forward into the 15th Century.

    As I’m sure David Wilford will confirm, the Catholic Church has not burned anyone at the stake for days, possibly even weeks. How much more enlightened do you expect the Pope to be? He even had a couple of poor people over for breakfast one day. He also invited atheists to join the Church any time they feel like it. That definitely sounds like a guy that leszekuk could have a beer with.

  179. alwayscurious says

    David:

    The logic of “if he hasn’t done X, Y, and Z he’s done nothing” doesn’t quite square with the fact that Francis has done some things that are significant. How much of it is merely PR is one thing, but how much of it is a prelude to Vatican II-like reforms is another. We’ll see.

    Were the Vatican-II level changes impressive in some way?

    Like the decree allowing languages for Mass other than Latin?
    The decree that Catholics need no longer rally against non-Catholic governments?
    The decree that Catholics should try to be more tolerant of other religions (while simultaneously recognizing that all of them are still wrong)?
    The decree that not all Jews everywhere, from all time, are responsible Jesus’ death?

    For reactionaries & conservatives, it was almost too much to swallow. In reality, these are pedestrian pronouncements that should have been made CENTURIES sooner. Maybe it did bring about some measure of positive change within RCC. But really: CENTURIES LATE. I can hardly wait for the RCC to officially update to the 1800′s….maybe they will even get to it by the beginning of the next century.

  180. says

    The RC church isn’t an inhuman instituion, it’s an imperfect one.

    Imperfect? Hmmm. Selling indulgences. Sexual abuses of all kinds from the get go. Stealing children and enslaving them. Enslaving women. Having a very nasty attitude towards heretics, and deciding the definition of heretic, while they were at it. Funding wars. Sending children off to fight said wars. Manipulating politics. The inquisition. Torture, horror, mutilation, murder on a grand scale. The witch hunts. Torture, horror, mutilation, murder on a grand scale again. Of course, they made sure they weren’t technically culpable, oh no. They just turned over all those icky people to the civil authorities, who did exactly what the church wanted, because if they didn’t, they’d be denounced as heretics. Gee, we’ve barely even begun to cover the centuries of evil perpetrated.

    The RCC cannot be handwaved as an imperfect institution. They have been corrupt and criminal from the outset. Nothing much has changed, outside of them having to give up all that torture, horror, mutilation and murder on a grand scale, but you know, they have found other, more subtle ways to keep the death toll high, at least when it comes to women and those with HIV or AIDS.

    Now, they did offer the odd gesture here and there, after all, they did apologize for persecuting the unholy hells out of Galileo. 400 years after the fact. Now, if one is an idiot, they could cite this as a nice gesture. That gesture was made in 1992. So, what did it really signify? That change was a comin’? That the church was going to change, that things would be better? Because that’s the sort of shit people were saying back in ’92, the same sort of shit people are saying about Bergoglio now. It’s all meaningless. What has actually happened since that gesture is that more and more news has broken out about just how deep the cover up of rapists in the church runs.

    All this spin is standard smoke and mirrors from the RCC. They know full well what they are doing, and if the people so insistent on defending Bergoglio and the RCC would bother to look past their nose, they’d find out that yes, Bergoglio has indeed said things, many things, confirming that he is fully in line with RCC doctrine as it stands. There is zero intent on his part to change anything, and as we all know, even if there was intent there, intent is not magic.

  181. says

    Of course we should call it on its mistakes. It just isn’t unique in making mistakes.

    Leaving the toilet seat up is a mistake. Fucking people over and getting caught isn’t a ‘mistake’. It’s a transgression.

  182. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    The RC church isn’t an inhuman instituion

    Amid all the shit being spewed there is a pearl here. The RC church is most definitely a human institution.

    Of course, so are super-max prisons and the KKK.

    Humans can be pretty shitty.

  183. omnicrom says

    Indeed that is where religion belongs. We cannot keep it there by alienating believers.

    Can’t we? Can’t we continue to marginalize religion by exposing all of its lies, airing all of its the sins, documenting all the bad it breeds, and lending a voice to all the victims it leaves? Can’t we continue to tarnish, rust, and pit the Armor of god by pointing out every single time wearing it causes suffering and pain? I rather think we can. I rather think that shouting out to the world all the bad of religion the rest of the world might just stop treating religion as sacred and privileged and immune to criticism. Let’s lead by example! It’s easy to rag on religion when it does so much absolutely wrong. Let’s keep it up! Someday the armor of god will finally shatter. And that day isn’t going to come unless we keep hammering home that religion is false and the agendas of the Roman Catholic Church are resoundingly NOT all right.

    But seriously I get you’re an accommodationist like David Wilford: What would you have us do? Here’s an idea: Why don’t you provide us with a reference, a model perhaps? How about you find us a successful major social movement in human history where the upstarts acquiesced and were kind and respectful and didn’t step on anyone’s toes. Can you provide an example? One single successful movement amongst the myriad of social movements that succeeded only by being loud and passionate?

    And here’s another thing: Your phrasing leszekuk. “Keep it there” implies that religion is currently confined to home and church. It implies that the RCC hasn’t backed dozens of measures across the world to try and put down LGBT peoples and women. It implies that at this very moment the church is not involved in trying to demonize queer peoples in Germany and elsewhere. It implies that Pope Francis did not excommunicate a priest for the sin of being pro-gay. It implies that there aren’t women around the world dying because of Catholic views on reproductive rights. It implies that the RCC is not shielding the child rapists in their ranks. Somehow the Strident atheists are going to be responsible for the church pursuing horrible reactionary policies? Unless Strident Atheism can somehow go over time and space this is utter nonsense. The Church doesn’t confine itself to churches, and that itself is the problem.

  184. says

    I bet myself a cookie that I wouldn’t get a reply from David Wilford, it’s delicious!

    beatrice

    Using a couple of homeless people* for PR and changing the usual pope style somehow just doesn’t pass muster.

    * he had breakfast with them. And then what? I always wonder what happens to people used as props in this kind of production.

    Well, they can go back to misery and are now supposed to feel very grateful.
    That’s what I always think when people celebrate St. Martin’s Day
    The story is typical catholic charity logic:
    So, there’s this poor beggar out in the snow, and then there’s this rich bastard who has a horse and who can afford to cut his cloak in two parts (do you know how expensive cloth was back then?).
    So, he cuts his cloak and hands the poor guy half of it and then rides off, and is hailed to this day as a Saint for that remarkable deed.
    I’m always wondering what happened to the poor guy (not that I believe it actually happened)? Was half a cloak enough to keep him from freezing to death? Did he starve? Did another, fitter beggar simply rob the cloak? And most importantly: Why didn’t the rich bastard give the guy a hand up, took him on his horse, brought him home, told folks to give him a good soup and then employed him as a stable hand? That would have cost way less than a new cloak for a rich bastard and would actually have helped the guy.

  185. Al Dente says

    He directed the Office of the Synod of Bishops to distribute a questionnaire to Catholic laity to understand their thoughts on marriage, contraception, divorce, and same-sex marriage.

    In the 1960s Pope Paul VI had a commission of 58 members, including married couples and non-theologians, study the question of the theological acceptability of artificial contraception. A majority of commission members signed a report supporting the use of hormonal contraception (the pill). Six other members, including Karol Wojtyła (later Pope John Paul II), wrote a report saying Baby Jesus cries when a woman takes the pill.

    Paul issued the Humanae Vitae encyclical condemning artificial contraception because the RCC hates for Baby Jesus to cry. One of the excuses Paul used was the commission’s report wasn’t unanimous.

    Would David Wilford be willing to put any money on whether or not Frank will ignore the results of any questionnaires whose results contradict Catholic dogma? I’m betting that Frank doesn’t want Baby Jesus to cry.

  186. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    There was a referendum in Croatia, about a month back, about defining marriage in the constitution as a strictly male-female union.

    It was greatly supported, both from the pulpit and financially, by RCC. Croatian bishops aren’t hiding their glee about the referendum succeeding. Cardinal is also claiming that the pope stated his happiness with the referendum.

  187. leszekuk says

    Nate:

    To all the apologists, especially leszekuk and David Wilford…

    Watch this debate. You’ll need about an hour and 59 minutes of time for it. If Hitchens and Fry don’t change your mind, then you both may as well just convert to Catholicism and be done with it/.

    I’ve always been impressed with Hitchens’ take on religion. I like Dawkins’ forthright approach in not being unduly respectiful of religious opinions and especially dogma and calling them out for what they are: myths.

    But you can be strongly critical of religion without resorting to the foul language of others on this board. That isn’t being an apologist for the pope or any other believer, nor is it accommodationist. You (generically, not you personally) do not have to be rude, offensive and hostile to make the point that religion at the core is false, or that some religious advocates are malign or hypocritical.

    Apparently this is also true of some atheist advocates. Who would have thought it? We are supposed to be the cool, rational ones.

    The way to make that point is not to mindlessly slag off people one doesn’t agree with. The only place that road leads is the same one occupied by religious extremists who cannot abide dissenters.

  188. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Apparently this is also true of some atheist advocates. Who would have thought it? We are supposed to be the cool, rational ones.

    Gee, have you ever look at successful movements that changed society. There seems to be a pattern. One group of loud in-your-face people, which is the folks at this blog. And there are quieter people like yourself. Both are needed.

    The way to make that point is not to mindlessly slag off people one doesn’t agree with. The only place that road leads is the same one occupied by religious extremists who cannot abide dissenters.

    Show me evidence that being totally nice makes social changes come easier. That is why you are called an accommodationist. You seek to accommodate and be nice to religion. We don’t give a shit about being nice, being the necessary loud end of the spectrum.

  189. brianpansky says

    @226
    leszekuk

    saying it is merely *possible* to criticize religion without foul language isn’t being an apologist for the pope or any other believer, nor is it accommodationist.

    but that isn’t what you are doing.

  190. zenlike says

    226, leszekuk

    (…) without resorting to the foul language of others on this board. (…) You (generically, not you personally) do not have to be rude, offensive and hostile to make the point that religion at the core is false, or that some religious advocates are malign or hypocritical.

    And we are back at tone trolling.

    You know what the most offensive thing on this thread is? You calling the deliberate evil actions of the RCC ‘mistakes’. That’s way more rude and offensive then some ‘bad words’.

    Fuck you and fuck off.

  191. leszekuk says

    Omnicrom@

    Can’t we? Can’t we continue to marginalize religion by exposing all of its lies, airing all of its the sins, documenting all the bad it breeds, and lending a voice to all the victims it leaves? Can’t we continue to tarnish, rust, and pit the Armor of god by pointing out every single time wearing it causes suffering and pain? I rather think we can. I rather think that shouting out to the world all the bad of religion the rest of the world might just stop treating religion as sacred and privileged and immune to criticism. Let’s lead by example! It’s easy to rag on religion when it does so much absolutely wrong. Let’s keep it up! Someday the armor of god will finally shatter. And that day isn’t going to come unless we keep hammering home that religion is false and the agendas of the Roman Catholic Church are resoundingly NOT all right.

    But seriously I get you’re an accommodationist like David Wilford: What would you have us do? Here’s an idea: Why don’t you provide us with a reference, a model perhaps? How about you find us a successful major social movement in human history where the upstarts acquiesced and were kind and respectful and didn’t step on anyone’s toes. Can you provide an example? One single successful movement amongst the myriad of social movements that succeeded only by being loud and passionate?

    And here’s another thing: Your phrasing leszekuk. “Keep it there” implies that religion is currently confined to home and church. It implies that the RCC hasn’t backed dozens of measures across the world to try and put down LGBT peoples and women. It implies that at this very moment the church is not involved in trying to demonize queer peoples in Germany and elsewhere. It implies that Pope Francis did not excommunicate a priest for the sin of being pro-gay. It implies that there aren’t women around the world dying because of Catholic views on reproductive rights. It implies that the RCC is not shielding the child rapists in their ranks. Somehow the Strident atheists are going to be responsible for the church pursuing horrible reactionary policies? Unless Strident Atheism can somehow go over time and space this is utter nonsense. The Church doesn’t confine itself to churches, and that itself is the problem.

    I think religion should be criticised, and criticised robustly. I just prefer a more rational and level-headed approach.

    We shouldn’t be deferential to religion, or painfully respectful. We should be straightforward in saying there is a better approach to understanding our place in the universe than pure mythology, and that is by the use of reason.

    So as far as I am concerned, there is no need to treat religion as above criticism. Fire away, but do it with reason. However, there is something in the notion of sacredness (= awe) that may be innate in humans, and maybe to some extent in other species. What atheists need to do is provide a better channel for that feeling than religion.

    Your point about nascent movements for some sort of civil rights needing a seed of emotional involvement is well taken. I have frequently made this kind of argument. Women’s suffrage needed the Suffragettes; the civil rights movement needed Rosa Parks and many others like her; the anti-nuclear movement needed its practitioners of civil disobedience; equal rights for gay people needed the shock tactics of Act-Up. Richard Dawkins and others provided the shock tactics.

    But just as with all the previous rights movements, you cannot do it by shock alone. Equal rights for gays aren’t progressing because gay people are being gratuitously offenive; they progress because people see the world doesn’t come to an end when gay people are incorporated into the mainstream through marriage.

    When I was working with a local Nuclear Freeze group in Hartford, CT., during the Reagan years, we had to deal with the consequences of acts of civil disobedience. Some of us agreed with them, others did not, some didn’t know what to think. We relied on the analogy of a quilt, that any movement needs a patchwork of approaches and activities. Each leans on the others.

    Strident atheists aren’t responsible for the actions of any church or pope, that would be an absurd claim, which I certainly haven’t made. However, if that is all people in the middle see, then their reaction will be a negative one. More flies are caught with honey than vinegar.

  192. Amphiox says

    Perhaps you have not noticed, leszekuk, but what you are calling “foul” language is much like religion. A wholly arbitrary social construct afforded a certain value wholly through the human imagination, without any objective correlation to said values whatsoever. What makes a reference to a sex act “foul”, or “crude”, or “offensive”? It’s all in your head, just like gods.

  193. opposablethumbs says

    leszekuk, I disagree. Of course there is a place for the scrupulously polite rebuttal of religious nonsense, but there is also a perfectly valid place for the unbridled expression of fury at the pain and harm it causes. Put simply, there is no damn reason why any of us should give one nanosecond’s thought to curbing our tongues: the “rudeness” of using naughty words (oh dear, how very shocking!) pales into utter insignificance beside the real discourtesy – the discourtesy of erasing our existence; the discourtesy of killing us in Catholic hospitals; the discourtesy to condemning us to endless pregnancies; the discourtesy of raping us with the excuse that we are lesbians and a sky fairy wants us to be raped straight, or the excuse that we did not wear a veil, or the excuse that we were out without a male owner; the discourtesy of murdering or imprisoning us for being gay; the discourtesy of indoctrinating children in our schools with information that is simply factually incorrect; the discourtesy of demanding tax exemptions so we all have to pay more; the discourtesy of invoking religious excuses to demand special privileges in legislation … could be an endless list, there.

    Read the lyrics of Tim Minchin’s Pope Song, and actually give them a moment’s thought. Read Pratchett’s Small Gods, and think about his lines on the nature of obscenity in the auto da fe scene.

    Why should we watch our language when priests are raping children? Why should we mind our tongues when religion is an excuse for murder? History suggests that we will not necessarily be more effective if we do.

  194. brianpansky says

    @230
    leszekuk

    I just prefer a more rational

    what precisely are you saying is less rational?

    and: why?

  195. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But just as with all the previous rights movements, you cannot do it by shock alone.

    I said that, making your point beyond that statement meaningless noise.

    However, if that is all people in the middle see, then their reaction will be a negative one. More flies are caught with honey than vinegar.

    Opinion, unevidenced, and therefore dismissed without evidence

  196. says

    Opposablethumbs:

    Why should we watch our language when priests are raping children?

    Oh, everyone knows that saying fuck is much, much worse than raping a child, why children don’t mind that at all, but one must watch out for their oh so delicate ears, amirite?

    Why should we mind our tongues when religion is an excuse for murder?

    Well, if we were nice, and didn’t use naughty language, and sympathized with the RCC that all those deaths don’t really lay at their feet, because people did have the right to become good Catholics, well, everything would be rosy and sweet and fine!

    leszekuk, you have nothing. Absolutely nothing. The descent into “oh my, naughty words” is inescapable proof you have nothing. Stop your tone trolling and place a valid argument on to the table (not that you have one) or just shut the fuck up. Another Willkisser is the last thing needed around here.

  197. says

    Because tone trolls are utterly worthless and can’t seem to click a mouse or do a search, The Pope Song by Tim Minchin:

    Fuck the motherfucker, fuck the motherfucker
    Fuck the motherfucker, he’s a fucking motherfucker
    Fuck the motherfucker, fuck the motherfucker
    Fuck the motherfucker, he’s a total motherfucker

    Fuck the motherfucker, fuck the motherfucker
    Fuck the motherfucker, fucking fuck the motherfucker
    Fuck the motherfucker, fuck the motherfucking pope

    Fuck the motherfucker, fuck the motherfucker
    Fuck the motherfucker, he’s a fucking motherfucker
    Fuck the motherfucker, fuck the motherfucker
    Fuck the motherfucker, he’s a total motherfucker

    Fuck the motherfucker, fuck the motherfucker
    Fuck the motherfucker, fucking fuck the motherfucker
    Fuck the motherfucker, fuck the motherfucking pope

    Fuck the motherfucker, and fuck you motherfucker
    If you think that motherfucker is sacred
    If you cover for another motherfucker who’s a kiddie fucker
    Fuck you, you’re no better than the motherfucking rapist

    And if you don’t like this swearing this motherfucker forced from me
    And reckon it shows moral or intellectual paucity
    Then fuck you motherfucker, this is language one employs
    When one is fucking cross about fuckers fucking boys

    And I don’t give a fuck if calling the pope a motherfucker
    Means you unthinkingly brand me an unthinking apostate
    This has naught to do with other fucking godly motherfuckers
    I’m not interested right now in theological debate

    There are other fucking songs, and there are other fucking ways
    I’ll be a religious apologist on other fucking days
    But the fact remains, if you protect a single kiddie fucker
    Then pope or prince or plumber you’re a fucking motherfucker

    And I don’t give a fuck what any other motherfucker
    Believes about Jesus and his motherfucking mother
    I’ve no problem with the spiritual beliefs of other fuckers
    While those beliefs don’t impact on the happiness of others

    But if you build your church on claims of fucking moral authority
    And with threats of hell impose it on others in society
    Then you, you motherfucker, can expect some fucking wrath
    When it turn out you’ve been fucking us in our motherfucking asses

    Our motherfucking asses…

    So fuck the motherfucker, and fuck you motherfucker
    If you’re still a motherfucking papist
    If you covered for a single motherfucker who’s a kiddie fucker
    Fuck him, he’s as evil as the motherfucker rapist

    And if you look into your motherfucking heart and tell me true
    If this motherfucking stupid fucking song offended you
    With its filthy fucking language and its fucking disrespect
    If it made you feel angry go ahead and write a letter

    But if you find this sing more offensive than the possibility
    The pope protected priests when they were getting fucking fiddly
    Then listen to me, motherfucker, this here is a fact
    You are just as morally misguided as that motherfucking
    Power-hungry, self-aggrandised bigot in the stupid fucking hat

    [If the Pope Owned a Disco]

    If the pope owned a disco no-one would come
    Because they won’t allow gays there

    Who’d start the dancing?
    Who’d start the dancing?
    Who’d start the dancing?
    Who’d start the dancing?

    If the pope owned a disco
    If the pope owned a disco
    If the pope owned a disco

    Who’d start the dancing?
    If the pope owned a disco
    If the pope owned a disco
    Who’d start the dancing?

    If the pope owned a disco

  198. leszekuk says

    brianpansky:

    saying it is merely *possible* to criticize religion without foul language isn’t being an apologist for the pope or any other believer, nor is it accommodationist.

    but that isn’t what you are doing.

    Well, true, criticising religion in a den of atheists is rather like taking coals to Newcastle. It is not something I have to do, or something that has any effect in the outside world. I restrict my criticism of religion to religious forums. It has more effect there! Here it would be like participating in a vast echo chamber.

    There is much I could say against the Catholic church, or any other religion, but what would be the point? It’s already been said. The criticisms are valid, though whether Francis can or wants to move the church in a better direction is a debatable point. As far as I am concerned, he’s an improvement on his unlamented predecessors, but whether that is superficial window dressing or a more fundamental change is moot at present. We’ll see. I doubt his ability or desire to make really fundamental changes, so it may be just a change in “tone”, but even that change is better than what went before.

    The argument I am more interested in engaging in is not whether religious belief is intrinsically evil or stupid – a view reminiscent of the Catholic theology of gay people as being intrinsically disordered – but how best to change or channel those religious beliefs down rational and secular routes.

    For my sins I have been decried as an asshole, motherfucker, etc. That is water off a duck’s back. I ignore those opinions. But what they do remind me off is the extremist rhetoric on rightwing Christianist websites. Each side demonises the other.

    It is not accommodationist to point out Gandhi’s dictum that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. It is pragmatist. I do not want to accommodate religion. I want an effect strategy to ameliorate its negative impacts. There is no hope of destroying it. We can hope to mitigate it.

  199. leszekuk says

    Amphiox:

    Perhaps you have not noticed, leszekuk, but what you are calling “foul” language is much like religion. A wholly arbitrary social construct afforded a certain value wholly through the human imagination, without any objective correlation to said values whatsoever. What makes a reference to a sex act “foul”, or “crude”, or “offensive”? It’s all in your head, just like gods.

    Do you truly believe we should simply reject as nonsense everything that is in someone’s head? Or never respect the person if we do not agree with him? Be careful what you wish for here… after all, the opinions of an atheist are in his or her head.

    As the board is waxing poetical, I’ll turn to the poet Burns:

    O would some pow’r the giftie gie us
    To see oorselves as others see us.

  200. brianpansky says

    @237
    leszekuk

    did you understand what i said? what did i say? how does your response there have anything to do with what i said?

  201. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Do you truly believe we should simply reject as nonsense everything that is in someone’s head?

    Just the nonsense parts. What a non-sequitur question
    Still no evidence being nice makes for social change. You are nothing but concern/tone troll, making noise, but not making sense.

  202. Rey Fox says

    You mean there are other ways to criticize religion and advocate for atheism? GOLLY GEE WOW I HAD NEVER REALIZED THAT!! PLEASE TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS PO-LIGHT-NESS THING!! FOR I WAS RAISED BY WOLVES IN A BARN AND FUCKING PROFANITY IS ALL THAT I KNOW!

  203. leszekuk says

    brianpansky

    what precisely are you saying is less rational?

    For example, the demonisation of people who believe in religion. They mostly aren’t deluded, stupid, evil or anything else. They’re decent folk muddling their way through life as best they can, using the tools they’ve been given to understand their place in it.

    Ok, we can point out there is a significant problem with their tools: they give false answers. But we need to give them more. We need to give them a replacement.

    Now, I think the Gnu Atheists are moving in that direction. They have recognised that people need to have some sort of feeling as to how they fit into the great scheme – even if there isn’t actually a great scheme. But I think this is an emotional need for many folk, other than socio- and psychopaths.

    If religion isn’t providing it effectively or truthfully, and it isn’t. what would you recommend instead?

  204. says

    Rey:

    You mean there are other ways to criticize religion and advocate for atheism?

    Anymore, I think it would constitute a miracle if just one of these happy shit suckers would wander off to any one of the myriad sites which cater to the accommodationist view point, rather than sit like a toxic lump here, annoying the hells out of people.

  205. leszekuk says

    brianpansky:

    I am saying what I think. I am not defending Catholicism or any other religion. All religions are ontologically false, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have some emotional utility to their adherents.

    I have no interest in accommodating religion. I am interested in mitigating its negative effects.

  206. says

    A concern troll pretends to be a general supporter of the site, but they have “concerns”. The idea is to undermine the consensus viewpoint by pointing out that other commenters or the site may be getting themselves in trouble in some way. They identify problems that don’t really exist and offer “helpful advice” – which, if acted upon, would actually work against the purpose of the site and general readership.

    Tone Trolls are the language puritans of the blog world. They will studiously avoid addressing the substantive issues of an argument, but will tut-tut at the tone of the conversation or the language used. They are also easily “offended” by not treating their pet opinion with the automatic respect that it apparently deserves.

    You’re batting two for two, leszekuk. Shut the fuck up and go away. You have nothing to offer.

  207. Rey Fox says

    Anymore, I think it would constitute a miracle if just one of these happy shit suckers would wander off to any one of the myriad sites which cater to the accommodationist view point, rather than sit like a toxic lump here, annoying the hells out of people.

    Or if they would just take their “quilt” idea and their anecdotes about living in religious families to its logical conclusion and realize that for the most part the mass of us atheists have to hold our tongues about the ever-present bullshit of religion in most of our daily lives and interactions, and that Pharyngula is one of the few places we don’t have to.

    Apparently we need lectures and tut-tutting here too.

  208. Pteryxx says

    They have recognised that people need to have some sort of feeling as to how they fit into the great scheme – even if there isn’t actually a great scheme. But I think this is an emotional need for many folk, other than socio- and psychopaths.

    leszekuk: Know what is an emotional need for many of us? Having our human rights respected by the community we interact with, instead of being politely told we should be killed and silenced, politely told our suffering doesn’t count, and politely told our oppression is natural and inevitable, if not our own fault, and that’s why we don’t deserve recourse.

    A lot of those decent religious people you mention need and deserve that respect, also. The “great scheme” says they’re subject to a vengeful, oppressive, omnipotent deity that not coincidentally enshrines hatreds for everyone from heretics to children. Listen to those decent religious people recounting how they were abused as children. Listen to the rage and pain in their voices. Do you really think they were better off for being part of a religious community that betrayed them? Or is religion a great thing to be part of as long as your good luck holds?

  209. Rey Fox says

    But he’s better than what went before.

    At what point in Pope Francis’ reign will this cease to be considered relevant? When Benedict dies? When Francis has been in the Pope chair longer than Benedict? When Francis has been in the Pope chair for as long as JPII? When Francis finally dies or questionably abdicates?

  210. brianpansky says

    @244
    leszekuk
    of course you are fucking saying what you fucking think.

    did you understand what i said?

    what did i say?

    how does your response there in 237 have anything to do with what i said?

  211. Rey Fox says

    I mean, it became cheap and tiresome long LONG ago, but I just want a halfway decent estimation on when people will stop treating it as some sort of trump card.

  212. says

    Rey:

    Or if they would just take their “quilt” idea and their anecdotes about living in religious families to its logical conclusion and realize that for the most part the mass of us atheists have to hold our tongues about the ever-present bullshit of religion in most of our daily lives and interactions, and that Pharyngula is one of the few places we don’t have to.

    Yes, this too. Apparently, atheism is such a vacuum, that it means we were all raised in a vacuum too, and the fact that most of us grew up in religious families, why no, that can’t have happened!

  213. leszekuk says

    Here is a general question for the denizens: What, exactly, do you mean by the blanket term “accommodationist”? It gets flung about so freely, I am no longer sure what you think it means.

    Is it someone who thinks religion should be spoken of respectfully and reverentially, in order not to offend anyone of any faith?

    Is it someone who thinks religious believers are entitled to their own opinions, no matter how wrong they appear?

    Is it someone who believes in live and let live, and the free speech to say they disagree with others?

    Is it someone who thinks people have a right to make up their own minds, and shouldn’t be bullied into the “correct” conclusion?

    Is it someone who is happy to get along with religious people, so long as they keep their religion to themselves?

    Is it someone who doesn’t walk in lockstep with the “Strident Atheists”?

    Is it someone who apologises for the excesses of Strident Atheists, and kowtows to religious authority while hypocritically disagreeing with it?

    Is it someone who acknowledges the humanity and good intentions of religious believers, and even religious leaders?

    Let me know.

  214. leszekuk says

    Rey Fox:

    At what point in Pope Francis’ reign will this cease to be considered relevant? When Benedict dies? When Francis has been in the Pope chair longer than Benedict? When Francis has been in the Pope chair for as long as JPII? When Francis finally dies or questionably abdicates?

    When he actually does something significant and makes a change. If he doesn’t, he’s no better than the rest. He seems better, but I’ve been wrong about politicians before.

  215. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What, exactly, do you mean by the blanket term “accommodationist”? It gets flung about so freely, I am no longer sure what you think it means.

    What you preach about. Don’t be mean to the religious. Someone who tries to require is to behave the way they think we should.

    brianpansky: either make your point or move on.

    You too. If you have anything new to say, say it and move one. Same old drivel.

  216. brianpansky says

    253
    leszekuk

    my point in the post #228 was that anything you say about it being merely “possible” to criticize a certain way is a red herring since you are actually trying to establish it as normative.

    were you confused in 237 about what i was saying?
    or were you not even trying to address what i was saying with your 237 post?
    or does your response there in 237 have anything to do with what i said?

  217. Rey Fox says

    For me, the term “accommodationist” refers to those who believe we must accommodate (not criticize) all manner of beliefs, even when they do not line up with known facts or infringe on others’ rights. So closest to an affirmative answer the first question on your list. The rest of them are rhetorical questions, so I won’t bother answering them.

  218. leszekuk says

    Pteryx:

    Know what is an emotional need for many of us? Having our human rights respected by the community we interact with, instead of being politely told we should be killed and silenced, politely told our suffering doesn’t count, and politely told our oppression is natural and inevitable, if not our own fault, and that’s why we don’t deserve recourse.

    A lot of those decent religious people you mention need and deserve that respect, also. The “great scheme” says they’re subject to a vengeful, oppressive, omnipotent deity that not coincidentally enshrines hatreds for everyone from heretics to children. Listen to those decent religious people recounting how they were abused as children. Listen to the rage and pain in their voices. Do you really think they were better off for being part of a religious community that betrayed them? Or is religion a great thing to be part of as long as your good luck holds?

    I don’t know about you, but I strongly doubt there is some “great scheme”. Gods are for the religious, and we don’t really understand what the psychological impact of religious belief is. I have no emotional need of it, but I can’t speak for others who may. I shook the dust of religion off my sandals 40 years ago and never regretted it.

    I can’t understand the agony of those abused by priests, because that was never my experience. I guess I was lucky. I was mildly abused as a child by my piano teacher, but for all I know, he may have been an atheist. He didn’t seem the religious sort. There is no argument that the church’s response to this abuse was criminal, and many priests and bishops escaped the justice they deserved. This chapter in the church’s history is infamous, and has not yet been addressed adequately by the Vatican. The church deserves to be excoriated for its inaction, and I think it is withering in the US and Europe.

    What I do resent personally about the RC church is its attitude towards sex, and gay people. I also think its theology is nonsensical, but I think that about all religions. The RC church has been no friend to those who were abused. It has been no friend to gay people such as me. That, among other reasons, is why I am no longer a relgiious believer.

    But I have to be able to hope in the possibility of change, in redemption. Not for the sake of the RC church as an institution, I couldn’t care less. But for the sake of a billion Catholic human beings. Something has to change.

  219. Rey Fox says

    my point in the post #228 was that anything you say about it being merely “possible” to criticize a certain way is a red herring since you are actually trying to establish it as normative.

    Which is exactly my objection. If it really “takes all kinds”, then it takes us too. Swear words and all.

  220. says

    leszekuk, per the commenting rules:

    You may be banned from a comment thread if:

    You cannot control your posting habits, and are dominating the discussion.

    Your comments are repetitive, especially if you repeat arguments that have already been addressed.

    You’re a motormouth in this thread, posting constantly. Yeah, yeah, replying. Give it fucking rest for a while.

  221. leszekuk says

    brianpansky: what sort of red herring? if I misunderstood, perhaps you could clarify.Otherwise we’ll keep going around in circles.

  222. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Otherwise we’ll keep going around in circles.

    You are going in circles, not him. Stop that.

  223. Nick Gotts says

    As the board is waxing poetical, I’ll turn to the poet Burns:

    O would some pow’r the giftie gie us
    To see oorselves as others see us. – leszekuk@238

    Well, clearly no such power has given you that particular gift.

  224. Al Dente says

    leszekuk @252

    What, exactly, do you mean by the blanket term “accommodationist”? It gets flung about so freely, I am no longer sure what you think it means.

    An accomodationist is someone like you. A person who wants to suck religious balls because otherwise the poor theists will get all upset and, goodness knows, you don’t want that to happen. You want to keep the downtrodden majority theists happy by hiding the disrespect you PRETEND to have towards religion. In other words, you want us noisy, uncouth, disrespectful gnu atheists to go back into the closet so you can kiss religious ass.

    Guess what, asshole, it ain’t gonna happen. All your whining about how nasty we are just gets us annoyed at you.

    Is it someone who thinks religion should be spoken of respectfully and reverentially, in order not to offend anyone of any faith?

    It can be. Your buddy David Wilford certainly likes this tactic.

    Is it someone who thinks religious believers are entitled to their own opinions, no matter how wrong they appear?

    No, not at all. If religious people want to follow their superstitious delusions about gods then we’re not going to stop them. We will try to stop them when they try to force the results of those delusions on us. Your hero Pope Frankie is against same-sex marriage because Jesus thinks what gays do in bed is icky. So the RCC pours millions of dollars into fighting same-sex marriage.

    Is it someone who believes in live and let live, and the free speech to say they disagree with others?

    You have your free speech to tell us about how great the religions you pretend to despise are. We have our free speech to tell you that you’re an asshole for trying to shut us up. Many of you accommodationists have this weird idea that free speech only goes one way. You get to tell us how much you dislike what we say and we’re supposed to pull our forelocks and shout “Yes Sir!” The concept of us disagreeing with your tone trolling just doesn’t seem to register with you.

    Is it someone who thinks people have a right to make up their own minds, and shouldn’t be bullied into the “correct” conclusion?

    You have the right to make up your mind. We have the right to tell you that your opinions aren’t worth dogshit.

    Is it someone who is happy to get along with religious people, so long as they keep their religion to themselves?

    Yes. If Frank dislikes abortion then he’s free not to have one. He’s not free to forbid women from having one if they want. At least that’s our opinion. You obviously disagree that we should express our opinion.

    Is it someone who doesn’t walk in lockstep with the “Strident Atheists”?

    We don’t require you to be in lockstep with us. You can disagree with us all you want. We just want you to stop telling us to shut up.

    Is it someone who apologises for the excesses of Strident Atheists, and kowtows to religious authority while hypocritically disagreeing with it?

    I knew you were capable of a little bit of introspection. Thanks for not being a complete disappointment.

    Is it someone who acknowledges the humanity and good intentions of religious believers, and even religious leaders?

    Theists are human and the vast majority try to be good people. It’s people like Frank and his coterie whose intentions we distrust.

  225. leszekuk says

    Rey Fox:

    Tahnks for answering my post.

    For me, the term “accommodationist” refers to those who believe we must accommodate (not criticize) all manner of beliefs, even when they do not line up with known facts or infringe on others’ rights. So closest to an affirmative answer the first question on your list. The rest of them are rhetorical questions, so I won’t bother answering them.

    I am a firm believer in criticisng religious doctrine. I have been banned from CARM forums any number of times for doing so. I wear that as a badge of honour. If you aren’t banned from CARM forums, you really are an accommodationist!

    I believe in criticising religion, though maybe not around the family dinnertable or at work. It needs to be done, but there are various ways of doing it. I am not saying anyh are absolutley wrong, but confrontation all the time isn’t going to work. We need a mix of styles.

    My experience over ~25 years of internet messageboards is that rabid believers in anything will resent any criticism of it, and take it as deeply insulting. This doesn’t mean that the criticism isn’t justified, or shouldn’t be made. But it shouldn’t be made personal or insulting, so how the recipient receives it is up to their personal perceptions, not to our posts.

    What’s your view? Are we trying to convert the True Believers, or sway those in the middle?

  226. leszekuk says

    Al Dente:

    This has been an insteresting experience. Usually on Christianist messageboards, I am excoriated as a vicious commie pinko atheist faggot, because I stand up for the rights of gay people, women, atheists and non-Christians. Here, where reason should reign, I am instantly labelled as an “accommodationist”, and once that label has been applied, no further thought need be given to anything I have to say.

    This is tribalism of the worst sort, found also amongst Creationists and other religious fuindamentalists. They won’t listen, and it is profoundly disappointing it should also be found on a forum such as this.

    I have never told any of you to shut up. People here keep telling me to shut up because apparently they resent my views.

    Herd wisdom isn’t always reliable. Tribalism isn’t always trustworthy. Evolution suggests that herd instinct has survival value, but mavericks have their place too. We shouldn’t dismiss them that glibly.

    Good evening from the UK to you all. I doubt there is much point in continuing this thread.

  227. says

    Leszekuk:

    But you can be strongly critical of religion without resorting to the foul language of others on this board.

    Oh FFS. This again?
    If you want to express yourself without using bad words, fine. Tone trolling bc you don’t like people saying ‘Fuck the pope’ has long since grown tiresome.
    I fucking like PROFANITY.
    I fucking like to SWEAR.
    Cursing? I fucking like that too.
    I am not going to be bound by constraints on my language bc FUCK, SHIT, DAMN hurts delicate ears.
    I don’t respect the RCC. I have nothing but contempt for that corrupt, anti human organization. They do not deserve civility. They deserve complete and utter condemnation, in whatever form that takes. If people want to use bad words, more fucking power to them.

    Another thing, people like you whine about bad words, yet never explain why it is so wrong to use them. Society deems bad language to be bad? Hardly a reasonable excuse to refrain from fucking cussing. Certainly, I am not bound by the religious prudishness surrounding curse words. Did you happen to notice that the bad words in this thread are directed at the corrupt RCC? Caine listed several of their heinous crimes up thread. Compared to selling children or hiding pedophile priests, condemning the RCC using profanity should not be worth commenting on. Yet here you are showing where your priorities lie.

  228. chigau (違う) says

    leszekuk
    I am quite sure that we will be able to continue the discussion without your input.
    tata

  229. Al Dente says

    leszekuk @266

    You didn’t read what I wrote. But that shouldn’t come as any surprise. You’ve already made up your mind that we’re shrill tribalists who want you to shut up. In reality, we just want you to stop telling us to shut up. You don’t like us to use uncouth language. Sorry, not going to happen.

    Here, where reason should reign, I am instantly labelled as an “accommodationist”, and once that label has been applied, no further thought need be given to anything I have to say.

    You’re labeled an accommodationist because you spend your time telling us that we’re “doing it wrong.” You dislike our confrontational language and you certainly don’t like our lack of respect towards the Catholic Church and its pope. You keep telling us how much you dislike and despise religion but all we see is how much you dislike us. Then you’re surprised when your dislike is reciprocated.

    I have never told any of you to shut up.

    Silly me, thinking that

    But you can be strongly critical of religion without resorting to the foul language of others on this board. That isn’t being an apologist for the pope or any other believer, nor is it accommodationist. You (generically, not you personally) do not have to be rude, offensive and hostile to make the point that religion at the core is false, or that some religious advocates are malign or hypocritical.

    wasn’t you telling us to shut up, to stop using “foul language”, not to be “rude, offensive and hostile”. That’s what we are on this particular blog. Go over to the “One Crank Dies Another Rises to Take His Place” thread and you’ll see a science kook being shredded in a very disrespectful manner.

    You came here, bragged about being banned from “CARM” (whatever that is), and told us in no uncertain terms that you didn’t care for us being rude, crude and lewd. You got a general fuck off which you really didn’t like. It took me exactly two posts to get banned from the Catholic apologetics blog at Patheos (and one of those posts was a politely worded refutation of Pascal’s Wager). So excuse me for not being impressed about you being banned from some site I’ve never heard of.

    Pharyngula has been described as the biker bar of atheist blogs. Perhaps you’d be happier in a tea room.

  230. says

    Al Dente:

    You came here, bragged about being banned from “CARM” (whatever that is)

    It’s hardly any sort of feat at all to get banned at CARM. Actually, you need to be pretty damn stupid to get banned there. Back in the day, it was one of the xian DBs that people hung out at to get juicy posts for FSTDT. I might actually still be a member there. Don’t remember my login or password though. I do know I was never banned. CARM stands for Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

    http://www.carm.orgcarm.org/ and http://forums.carm.org/vbb/forum.php

    The irony of it being an apologetics site seems to have escaped leszekuk altogether.

  231. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What’s your view? Are we trying to convert the True Believers, or sway those in the middle?

    Conversion takes a long time, if you listen to stories about peoples journey to atheism. We convert nobody. They convert themselves. So the answer is we aren’t swaying belief, although our rudeness about belief without evidence has shocked a few into thinking about that by those stories.

    What most of us want is for believers to take their religion back to their homes and churches, and keep it out of public discourse and law making.

  232. says

    Leszekuk:

    The way to make that point is not to mindlessly slag off people one doesn’t agree with. The only place that road leads is the same one occupied by religious extremists who cannot abide dissenters.

    I’ll take “logical fallacies for $500 Alex”.
    Shirley you did not just compare criticizing the RCC for its harmful practices with religious extremists who often KILL their opponents…if so, you just jumped the shark dumbass.
    Also ‘Mindlessly slag’ ?
    Your reading comprehension skills are abysmal. There are many excellent reasons to criticize the RCC. Read the damn thread.
    Criticizing the RCC for shielding pedophile priests does not automatically become mindless slag with the addition of harsh words. Learn to read for substance, please.

  233. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    237 leszekuk

    There is much I could say against the Catholic church, or any other religion, but what would be the point?

    That is one reason keeping you from being an ally. There is no need for silence, that only helps the status quo.

    It is not something I have to do, or something that has any effect in the outside world

    Bzzt. Wrong. It not only effect us, having a safe place to be but regularly people who defend this shit come here. Like you.

    I doubt his ability or desire to make really fundamental changes, so it may be just a change in “tone”, but even that change is better than what went before.

    No, you stupid goddamn tone troll. Tone means jack fucking shit. I don’t care if you smile or frown when you kick in my teeth, the harm is the same. And what I just said to you? Means the same with or without cussing, except I get to show you how I really feel. Emotions are good, you know. Including anger. Everyday they beat down upon me and I’m forced to wear a false smile. Do you know what helps me? Anger. It is energy. Movement. Fire. That is why they want to crush it because it keeps me from breaking.

    For my sins I have been decried as an asshole, motherfucker, etc. That is water off a duck’s back. I ignore those opinions. But what they do remind me off is the extremist rhetoric on rightwing Christianist websites. Each side demonises the other.

    Haven’t demonized you, fuckwit. You must be hard of thinking. We’ve insulted you based on rational reason – the shit you’ve said. We haven’t demonized them either.

    There is no hope of destroying it. We can hope to mitigate it.

    You know what’s one thing mitigating religion? The growing rate of nones and not cutting the religious any fucking slack. They want to claim to be good, they can put up or shut up.

    265
    leszekuk

    I am not saying anyh are absolutley wrong, but confrontation all the time isn’t going to work.

    Then why the fuck are you lecturing us about being angry and cussing? Don’t we count as a kind too? Go fuck off if you don’t like it here.

    But it shouldn’t be made personal or insulting, so how the recipient receives it is up to their personal perceptions, not to our posts.

    This place, this tactic has demonstratively worked on people. We have changed people’s minds.

    And besides, insults or no, their perception is going to effect how they take our posts anyways. Some need and respond to our way. You’re not going to change the way we do things here so go blow hot air somewhere else.

    Herd wisdom isn’t always reliable. Tribalism isn’t always trustworthy. Evolution suggests that herd instinct has survival value, but mavericks have their place too. We shouldn’t dismiss them that glibly.

    Yeah, you’re a real maverick like John McCain.

    *eyeroll*

  234. Anri says

    leszekuk @ 266:

    This has been an insteresting experience.

    (This is usually a certain sign that smug superiority and false equivalence with religious fundamentalists are forthcoming, but let’s wait and see, shall we?)

    Usually on Christianist messageboards, I am excoriated as a vicious commie pinko atheist faggot, because I stand up for the rights of gay people, women, atheists and non-Christians. Here, where reason should reign,

    As a quick aside, why is it that people are so relentlessly convinced that reason and emotion cannot coexist? Star Trek isn’t actually a documentary, please stop treating it as such. Thanks.

    I am instantly labelled as an “accommodationist”, and once that label has been applied, no further thought need be given to anything I have to say.

    You are incorrect. We have determined you are an accomodationist because you are doing what they are doing. We realized this by thinking about what you were saying. As you continued to say more things, they continued to be of the same sort, and the same label continued to apply.
    The objections to what you were saying didn’t happen because we weren’t thinking about it, they happened because we were.

    This is tribalism of the worst sort, found also amongst Creationists and other religious fuindamentalists. They won’t listen, and it is profoundly disappointing it should also be found on a forum such as this.

    And there we have it, folks, we’re just like fundamentalists!
    Wow, that’s a completely new one, and we’re never never ever ever even one singular time ever had to consider that because no one has ever said it before.
    Really.

    I have never told any of you to shut up. People here keep telling me to shut up because apparently they resent my views.

    Yes, we resent people who defend large, powerful organizations that protect rapists.
    Sorry if that bothers you – no, wait, I’m not sorry about that.

    Herd wisdom isn’t always reliable. Tribalism isn’t always trustworthy. Evolution suggests that herd instinct has survival value, but mavericks have their place too. We shouldn’t dismiss them that glibly.

    You know one reason we were able to determine where you were coming from so very quickly?
    Because we’ve seen it before. Many, many times.
    If you’re trying to cast yourself as some sort of Force For Rebellious Change, the Lone Sword Against A Thousand, you are in need of a serious reality check. You had the opportunity for one here, but apparently it hurt your pwecious fee-fee’s too much.

    Good evening from the UK to you all. I doubt there is much point in continuing this thread.

    Just because you cannot see the point does not mean there is not one. Maybe that’s just The Maverick in you. (Believing that is just as delusional as believing that the accusation of fundamentalism is somehow original.)

  235. says

    Y’know that little attempted swipe of “from the UK” was too precious. As if there are no people from the UK here, oh no. Why the commentariat here isn’t global at all. Nope.

  236. says

    Evolution suggests that herd instinct has survival value, but mavericks have their place too

    While not all mavericks are nutjobs, almost all nutjobs consider themselves mavericks.

  237. A. Noyd says

    leszekuk (#242)

    For example, the demonisation of people who believe in religion. They mostly aren’t deluded, stupid, evil or anything else. They’re decent folk muddling their way through life as best they can, using the tools they’ve been given to understand their place in it.

    Well, they are deluded, though they aren’t necessarily stupid, evil or anything else. However, that has nothing at all to do with the Pope. Ol’ Frankie may not be stupid, but he is evil because he does evil. He’s not a decent guy doing his best to get through life. He believes he’s the earthly mouthpiece for god and has a mission to shape the world into what god says god wants. The tools the Pope has been given? They let him harm millions. But, you know, I guess as long as he smiles and doesn’t cuss when he’s killing people and denying them equal rights and all, you’ll knock back a few brews with him and call him your buddy.

  238. Nick Gotts says

    What really amazes me is that the College of Cardinals elected him in the first place. – leszekuk@157

    Well that really ought to tell you something. Is it more likely the C-of-Cs elected a genuine progressive, or a slick PR merchant?

  239. says

    Aw, man. I checked out of this thread a while ago, and now I see I missed a Super Special Snowflake and all the fun. Well, maybe not all the fun…

    leszekuk 226:

    But you can be strongly critical of religion without resorting to the foul language of others on this board…You (generically, not you personally) do not have to be rude, offensive and hostile to make the point that religion at the core is false, or that some religious advocates are malign or hypocritical.

    And one can be strongly critical of religion without resorting to any number of tactics or words that you don’t personally like. So the fuck what?

    We are supposed to be the cool, rational ones.

    Citation needed. Also: definition of “cool” needed. The regular peeps here are amazing fucking badasses and scrupulously rational. That certainly fits my definition of “cool.” That some of them use colorful language and/or go on righteous rants blazing with emotional fire (hello JAL!) is hardly incongruous with rationality. If you meant “Spock-like,” well…you have neither met my standard for “cool” nor “rational.”

    The way to make that point is not to mindlessly slag off people one doesn’t agree with.

    Behold! leszekuk is here to tell us that zie has the way—the only necessary and effective way!—to criticize religious evils and the shitweasels that perpetuate them.

    Or how bout this, cupcake: “One way to make that point is to mindfully slag off people who say unsupported, internally incoherent, insulting and demonstrably wrong shit on blog threads.”

    The only place that road leads is the same one occupied by religious extremists who cannot abide dissenters.

    Hahaha. HAHAHAHA. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Oh, man. Good one! Being rude and using bad words against leszekuk for being a slippery little holier-than-thou douchecanoe lecturing everyone on tone and tactics is just like the deadly violence and oppression perpetrated by religious extremists.

    Get some fucking perspective. Jeezus.

  240. says

    That was so much fun, I think I’ll have another go!

    leszekuk 242:

    brianpansky

    what precisely are you saying is less rational?

    For example, the demonisation of people who believe in religion. They mostly aren’t deluded, stupid, evil or anything else. They’re decent folk muddling their way through life as best they can, using the tools they’ve been given to understand their place in it.

    As another commenter noted above, the religious are indeed delusional. But I don’t see any demonization of people who simply “believe in religion.” Sure, the people who run, support and apologize for the Catholic Church and the very real hell on earth it creates for so many people are quite obviously evil and demon-like (not in the supernatural sense of course), and I think it’s a goddamn duty for any moral human being to point that out as loudly and often as possible. But the reason I wanted to address the rest of this comment is that I don’t think anyone here disagrees with it—particularly not the blog owner:

    So I laugh, and I admit, the laughing often seems mean-spirited. Look at the people wasting their lives praying, of all things, or wracked with guilt because Iron Age goat herders regarded their harmless desires as sinful! Aren’t they stupid? No, they aren’t, and I know they aren’t; I don’t regard myself as smarter than the townsfolk around me. What I see are ordinary people afflicted with folly, who could be happier and more productive if they were free.

    People aren’t religious because they are stupid; rather, religion is a parasite of the mind that makes people do stupid things and think stupid thoughts and, worst of all, believe that freeing themselves of superstition would make them less human and less able to cope with reality, when the exact opposite is true. I laugh because they do goofy, foolish things in the name of their god, but also because I hope that a little raucous hilarity will wake a few of them from their surreal lives and show them how wonderful they and the real world are, if only they lived in it.
    -PZ Myers, The Happy Atheist.

    That leszekuk thinks anyone here disagrees with it however is quite revealing of…well, a lot of things about leszekuk, including but not limited to xir reading comprehension skills, reasoning ability and comically unwarranted self-regard.

  241. Pteryxx says

    Good evening from the UK to you all. I doubt there is much point in continuing this thread.

    leszekuk-from-the-UK, these may interest you.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/godlessness/2014/01/11/99-ways-ive-personally-been-victimised-by-religion/

    and

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/godlessness/2013/07/15/may-he-grow-up-in-thy-constant-fear-on-digging-up-my-certificate-of-baptism

    Whatever affectionate fun Eddie Izzard and Rowan Atkinson poke at it, the Church of England does not deserve its mostly harmless image. If its sheen of middle class friendliness has been eroded by its handling of gay marriage and women bishops, its years of misanthropic collaboration through the Anglican Communion have gone largely unnoticed in British media. If Justin Welby cares as much as he claims about gay people’s wellbeing, what does he have to say to the Church of Uganda, supporters by and large of its country’s Homosexuality Bill, smearers of queer men as molesters of infant boys with talk of ‘homosexual disorientation’, excommunicators of pro-gay bishop Christopher Senyonjo, boycotters of the 2011 Primates’ Meeting? Where was he while his predecessor, seemingly comfortable in such churches’ company, spent years appeasing Peter Akinola, former Nigerian archbishop and supporter of criminalising homosexuality – even defending his implied threats toward Muslims?

    If this is a church of closet agnostics, it’s also the church of Andrea Williams, George Carey and Lynda Rose; of Nicky Gumbel, John Sentamu and Michael Nazir-Ali. In both confidence and influence, the fundagelical factions are growing – we’re seeing (or almost seeing) ex-gay bus ads and pro-life rallies, watching young Earth creationists gain major politicians’ ears while secular, pro-choice MPs are unseated in smear campaigns, theocrat lobbyists win unjust, unfair legal exemptions for religion. This church’s standards are as hole-filled and unsound as its proverbial roofs, and – thanks to my infant baptism, carried non-consensually out before I could speak, and in terms of figures widely used by the media and government – I’m one of its members.

  242. says

    Irisvanderpluym:

    Or how bout this, cupcake: “One way to make that point is to mindfully slag off people who say unsupported, internally incoherent, insulting and demonstrably wrong shit on blog threads.”

    What struck me is that leszekuk chooses to go by a nym which reads as lezzie kook (makes me uncomfortable just typing it), and bragged about going to different fora and taking a stance which went against the general sentiment, which seemed to me to be all about feeding a persecution complex. “Oh, look at me, the brave dissenter, the lone voice in the wilderness, the one who goeth against the tide! How I am persecuted, why look at all the names I’m called, and all the naughty words hurled at me!”

    There’s really nothing to do with someone like that, it doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it.

  243. says

    Well, hell. Why stop now?

    leszekuk 265:

    I am a firm believer in criticisng religious doctrine.

    But only if it’s done in the singular way you, leszekuk, approve. Whereas I am a firm believer in criticizing religious doctrine with pretty much every single tactic at our disposal, including (probably) yours. There’s a reason that fascists and tyrants repress and outlaw political cartoons: it’s because mockery, ridicule and fun are an effective means to change perceptions and opinions. Okay, maybe they do it because they’re ginormous assholes—but it’s not the only reason.

    I believe in criticising religion, though maybe not around the family dinnertable or at work. It needs to be done, but there are various ways of doing it. I am not saying anyh are absolutley wrong, but confrontation all the time isn’t going to work. We need a mix of styles.

    But not Pharyngula style! EVAR!!!11!!! Me no likee! Waaaahhhh!

    My experience over ~25 years of internet messageboards is that rabid believers in anything will resent any criticism of it, and take it as deeply insulting. This doesn’t mean that the criticism isn’t justified, or shouldn’t be made. But it shouldn’t be made personal or insulting, so how the recipient receives it is up to their personal perceptions, not to our posts.

    You just said that “rabid believers” will resent any criticism and take it as “deeply insulting.” If that’s the case, what difference does my snide tone make? It’s their prerogative to take anything as deeply insulting, of course. Why that’s necessarily a bad thing or I should give a shit escapes me. I find it deeply insulting that people support the Catholic Church while women (and others) are dying at their hands, and those people sure as hell don’t give a shit about my fee-fees. Their “personal perceptions” of my criticisms are theirs to deal with. Let ‘em.

    Are we trying to convert the True Believers, or sway those in the middle?

    Ah, you seem to be under several mistaken impressions.

    One is that “we”—whoever that is—are trying to convert anybody. I’m not, at least not right now. I’m having a ball here waiting for my amazing lover to finish some work so we can go out to dinner.

    Second, hardcore True Believers are as unlikely to be converted to atheism as KKK members are likely to join the NAACP. It’s not impossible, it’s not even unprecedented, but it’s not bloody likely so it’s usually a colossal waste of time, unless…

    …unless others are watching. And listening. Maybe hearing opposing points of view for the first time. Maybe seeing people and ideas who have demanded and heretofore been given automatic, uncritical respect disrespected, deservedly, for the first time. Mulling that later. Becoming curious enough to do some more investigation. Considering the evidence. Feeling foolish. The potential for planting those seeds is the one of the only things that makes arguing with True Believers useful. (Another is sharpening one’s fangs.) If you don’t have an audience, it’s probably wisest to save your fucking breath.

    And the analogy to racism yields another insight. Fifty years ago, people could openly say racist shit without consequences—around the dinner table, on the news, pretty much anywhere in white society. Now they are far more likely to get shushed. Dressed down. Mocked. Fired from jobs. Are there still racist individuals? Of course. There probably always will be racists. But now there are consequences. And some of those consequences include the fear of being mocked, ridiculed, embarrassed and socially ostracized for saying racist shit.

    We can and should strive for a world where the same applies to people who spew vile religious views about women and gays (for example). I want people to fear being mocked, ridiculed, embarrassed and socially ostracized for spewing that evil shit.

    By all means, be accommodating of it all you want. But this idea that respect and reason works better than militant action or mockery at shifting cultures and changing attitudes is not borne out by history. Nor by what I’ve seen happen many times at this very blog.

  244. says

    Caine 282:

    Yeah, I got the distinct aroma of persecution complex, too. It’s like you said: “look at all the names I’m called, and all the naughty words hurled at me!” And yet… they’re still here. That speaks volumes.

    There’s really nothing to do with someone like that

    Chew toy. :D

  245. vaiyt says

    But you can be strongly critical of religion without resorting to the foul language of others on this board.

    You know what is foul, asshole? Kiddie fuckers. That’s fucking foul.

  246. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    One group of loud in-your-face people, which is the folks at this blog. And there are quieter people like yourself. Both are needed.

    Actually, there are three groups: one group of loud in-your-face people, one group of quieter people, and one group of people pretending to be quieter while loudly, in-your-face fighting against the loud in-your-face advocates for justice.

    Only the first two are needed.

  247. says

    Azkyroth:
    I’m going to tweak this just a wee bit:

    Actually, there are threemultiple groups: one group of loud in-your-face people, one group of quieter people, one group of people who are loud or quiet, depending on the situation and one group of people pretending to be quieter while loudly, in-your-face fighting against the loud in-your-face advocates for justice.

    [bold mine]
    For my part-and many others, I’m sure-different situations call for different tactics. Online, my approach is much more loud/outspoken/fierce/in your face/etc. At work, I’m much quieter (though still outspoken), and do what I can to chip away at the underpinnings of woo or religious thought. I choose not to use the same approach I take online bc the workplace environment is obviously different. I’m a manager/bartender and I know full well that tension between fellow employees makes work that much harder and stressful. So I take the approach that will lead to minimal difficulties and stress for all concerned. That said, even at work I’m still not accommodating to religion.

  248. opposablethumbs says

    irisvanderpluym

    And the analogy to racism yields another insight. Fifty years ago, people could openly say racist shit without consequences—around the dinner table, on the news, pretty much anywhere in white society. Now they are far more likely to get shushed. Dressed down. Mocked. Fired from jobs. Are there still racist individuals? Of course. There probably always will be racists. But now there are consequences. And some of those consequences include the fear of being mocked, ridiculed, embarrassed and socially ostracized for saying racist shit.

    We can and should strive for a world where the same applies to people who spew vile religious views about women and gays (for example). I want people to fear being mocked, ridiculed, embarrassed and socially ostracized for spewing that evil shit.

    Yes. Yes. Yes. So much this.

    (Very minor detail re leszekuk’s nym – I think it’s just SomebodyWithAPolishName who is FromTheUK. Just my guess, fwiw.).

  249. says

    But you can be strongly critical of religion without resorting to the foul language of others on this board.

    Allow me a bit of a moment to get on a hobby horse about this because the power dynamics fascinate me.

    This avoiding foul language and all that was just framed as the “rational” response. To me this reads “This set of values if objectively best” Now even if we’re talking some diplomacy attempt to compromise right off the bat we have one side demand the other adopt their values as clearly and objectively superior. A set of values on politeness and acceptable language and argumentation that is very much based on the specific values of the dominate class/culture of the world. This is an argument I had with Finkle a while back where I found the point I kept banging my head against a wall on is trying to explain that what he defines as polite and civil is very VERY culturally and class defined and that by asserting that one method of presentation is objectively ETHICALLY superior it is presenting that culture and class structure as a rational moral system. upperclass educated white speech patterns and manners are intrinsically superior and rational (and implicitly so is their culture). This idea is so ubiquitous that even people like Finkle trying to be very equitable and inclusive just defacto say “well of COURSE this way is the ONLY acceptable way…what other values are there?”

    But putting all that aside let’s take a moment to treat this as if it’s a diplomatic meeting. We have two sides one who feels religion should be respected and one who feels offended by the ideology of religions. One will be offended by disrespecting religion the other feels as validly offended by what that religion is saying. Now in discussing these differences one side wants us to respect their values in the spirit of communication and compromise. Except what is the compromise…what concession are they granting the other side?

    Now before we discuss which of our values is superior or how they’re compatible we humbly ask that you right off the bat acknowledge our supremacy.

    Religion is the dominant cultural value and just defacto assume it deserves it’s respect and that it should be granted it before any discussion takes place. The problem is that that assumption is what the discussion is about. It’s like going to the ref in some sports game to debate who won a close game and insisting that right off the bat the debate be framed around the idea that one side obviously won.

    A mutually polite and respectful talk cannot demand respect to ONLY one side’s values. I’m sure religionists do not intend disrespect to atheist values but they possess a strong privilege that results in it.

  250. Nick Gotts says

    opposeablethumbs@272,

    Yes, that’s how I read leszekuk’s nym as well. There’s upwards of 700,000 people of Polish origin in the UK.

  251. David Wilford says

    If saying “fuck” was all that effective, thirteen-year olds everywhere would rejoice.

  252. chigau (違う) says

    David Wilford
    None of the oil-field workers I’ve met were thirteen years old.
    Nor the loggers or miners.

  253. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If saying “fuck” was all that effective, thirteen-year olds everywhere would rejoice.

    What a mother fucking non-sequitur, from a non-clear-eyed commentator. You have religious and tone colored glasses on. If you wish to be taken seriously, remove them when you post here.

  254. says

    Chigau:

    None of the oil-field workers I’ve met were thirteen years old.
    Nor the loggers or miners.

    None of the oil workers here are thirteen years old.
    I’m sure Tim Minchin is well over thirteen years old.
    I’m certainly not thirteen years old, and as I’m not, I had best get some fuckin’ work done.

  255. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And DW, I’m almost thirteen times five. You are one dumb tone troll/religious accommodationist.

  256. Al Dente says

    David Wilford thinks we’re all mean poopyheads for looking at the man behind the curtain. We should only pay attention to Pope Frank’s smooth talk and ignore things like child-raping clergy, institutionalized homophobia, and the RCC’s endemic misogyny. Those are just minor “mistakes” which David Wilford’s bff Frank can handwave away.

    Incidentally, David Wilford, if a man wearing a dog collar offers to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn, remember to pay him in small bills. They don’t take Visa.

  257. Rey Fox says

    “Fuck” seems to have some level of effectiveness in weeding out useless loads and potential backstabbers.

  258. Nick Gotts says

    If saying “fuck” was all that effective, thirteen-year olds everywhere would rejoice. – David Wilford@295

    If accommodationism was all that effective, the Roman Catholic Church would long since have handed over all suspected child abusers to justice, declared complete gender equality and respect for everyone’s right to bodily autonomy, and be handing out free condoms and celebrating same-sex marriages.

  259. A. Noyd says

    At least thirteen-year-olds don’t repeatedly fudge verb tenses in an attempt to weasel out of admitting the guy they admire so much orchestrates the current ongoing harm of millions of people.

  260. brianpansky says

    @295
    David Wilford

    If saying “fuck” was all that effective, thirteen-year olds everywhere would rejoice.

    i actually dare you to expand this to include your assumptions, premises, etc and clearly outline what conclusion supposedly logically follows.

    but that should happen in THUNDERDOME i think.

  261. David Wilford says

    Hey, y’all feel free to use whatever language you like. IMO, cursing has its place sometimes. It’s just overrated as a way to change hearts and minds. So carry on and stay calm, or not.

  262. Amphiox says

    If saying “fuck” was all that effective, thirteen-year olds everywhere would rejoice.

    There is more to life, in all spheres, than utilitarianism.

  263. says

    If saying “fuck” was all that effective, thirteen-year olds everywhere would rejoice.

    Do you really think people of the generation that said fuck when 13 stopped/will stop when they grow up?

  264. Al Dente says

    Ingdigo Jump @309

    That’s the essential David Wilford, paying attention to the form of what people say and ignoring the substance. At least he’s consistent. He only cares about how the pope spins his PR and the language we use when talking about the pope’s PR.

  265. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    He only cares about how the pope spins his PR and the language we use when talking about the pope’s PR.

    Hmm… I always like the idea his posts are held in moderation until at least a link to evidence supporting his inane fuckwittery is present. Funny how tone-trolls like the two above never, ever, present evidence that being nice really works….

  266. Anri says

    David Wilford @ 308:

    Hey, y’all feel free to use whatever language you like. IMO, cursing has its place sometimes. It’s just overrated as a way to change hearts and minds. So carry on and stay calm, or not.

    So, your point is that harsh language doesn’t work and because of that we shouldn’t do it.

    Or rather that it sometimes works, but that it’s bad and therefore we shouldn’t do it.

    Or rather that it sometimes works, and isn’t really bad, but that you’ll think poorly of us if we do it, so we shouldn’t do it.

    Or, rather, that it sometimes works and you’ll look down on us, but who cares about that, so…

    I’m sorry, could you spell out your point again? It appears to have been blunted beyond recognition after slamming into reality.

  267. says

    David Wilford:

    Hey, y’all feel free to use whatever language you like. IMO, cursing has its place sometimes. It’s just overrated as a way to change hearts and minds. So carry on and stay calm, or not

    What gives you the impression that using profanity is our way to persuade others? The harsh words in this thread were largely in addition to legitimate criticisms of the RCC.
    It’s almost like you read this:
    Fuck the Catholic Church. They’ve shielded child raping priests, been responsible for the theft and sale of babies, are responsible for spreading lies and misinformation about contraceptive use in Africa, are virulently anti-LGBT, and deeply misogynistic. Everyone of those in the hierarchy of the church are complicit in the centuries of criminal activity perpetrated by the RCC. Yet those fuckers claim to have the high moral ground. Assholes.

    but hear this:
    Fuck the Catholic Church

    You’re so goddamned hung up on foul language that you miss the arguments presented. That’s a failing on your part.

  268. Lofty says

    I suspect that David Wilford would actually like to try the pope’s clothes on for size. All that power and influence! Which must be admired!!

  269. chigau (違う) says

    He had a meal in the same room with some street people.
    Can sainthood be far behind?
    Can he beatify himself?

  270. says

    David Wilford:

    If saying “fuck” was all that effective, thirteen-year olds everywhere would rejoice.

    My use of foul language is a way to express myself.
    I can’t speak for anyone else, but my use of foul language around here is not intended to somehow persuade anyone to my position. I don’t say ‘fuck you’ because I’m hoping to win hearts and minds.

    Your message of there’s a time and place to swear is condescending because we already know that!
    Do you think in the course of daily life we don’t decide a) When to use profanity? b) Where to use profanity? c)Why use profanity? You’re not sharing secret knowledge with the rest of us.

    I’m trying to comprehend your criticisms of our use of profanity. I find myself wondering: Does he think we (PZ and the commentariat) are constantly attempting to persuade others to abandon harmful beliefs?. In two threads now, you’ve tut tutted us over the use of profanity when discussing the criminal activities of the RCC…as if you think we’re in a conversation with believers, and trying to sway their opinion. Is that it?

    Alternately, I’ve wondered:
    Does he think that those of us who advocate for secularism or openly criticize religion in meatspace do so in the same manner that we do here? I.e. do you think that since profanity is used in criticizing religion *here*, that profanity is also used in meatspace when engaged in activism?

  271. omnicrom says

    That sure was a David Wilford post. It sure had words in it.

    I’m sorry but at this point David Wilford is so utterly substance-less and shallow I really haven’t got anything to say unless they bring out something new and exciting (haha can’t even type that seriously).

    Actually here’s an interesting thought: David Wilford you’ve spend months tut-tutting us for our vulgar debating and talking about the right way to argue. Presumably you argue the way you think is best, and judging by your posts you flat dismiss any alternative form of arguing. What have you to show for it? Have you earned any respect or changed anyone’s mind? If so who and where? If not why not? I mean you’ve repeatedly lionized the virtues of your very pleasing and respectful (can’t type that either) debating technique, can you show whether it’s worked?

  272. Anri says

    omnicrom @ 319:

    Ya see, David is Clearly The Superior Arguecrafter, it’s just that we’re such foul-minded poopyheads, we’re refusing to be swayed by Muchly More Better Arguments.

    It reminds me of a martial artist trying and failing to demonstrate a defensive technique, and upon having that pointed out to them, complaining “But you’re not attacking me right!”

  273. David Wilford says

    Tony @ 318:

    Does he think that those of us who advocate for secularism or openly criticize religion in meatspace do so in the same manner that we do here?

    The internet is meatspace just as much as face-to-face is. What people say here definitely impacts others as much as it would if it was said directly to them because, well, it is being said directly to them. So atheism (or at least A+) is known by what professed atheists say on the internet too, and obviously that includes the profanity.

    FWIW, a finely crafted argument, like a finely crafted piece of furniture, isn’t necessarily improved by spraying obscenities on it. Unless you’re more than a mere tagger.

    As for changing minds, hey, I gave up thinking that changing minds was worth the effort back in 1994 on AOL. I just say what I like and leave it at that.

  274. Nick Gotts says

    As for changing minds, hey, I gave up thinking that changing minds was worth the effort back in 1994 on AOL. – David Wilford@311

    So why the everloving fuck are you trying to change people’s minds about profanity, you shitwit?

    Jesus wept, you’re such a sodding bore, Wilford.

  275. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    FWIW, a finely crafted argument, like a finely crafted piece of furniture, isn’t necessarily improved by spraying obscenities on it. Unless you’re more than a mere tagger.

    Unevidenced assertion (mere opinion of a tone troll), dismissed without evidence.
    Play by our rules of evidence or shut the fuck up.

  276. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts, I just figure it’s up to people to change their own minds. That doesn’t mean I can’t say what I like though.

  277. vaiyt says

    IMO, cursing has its place sometimes.

    Just not here, right? Asshole.

    FWIW, a finely crafted argument, like a finely crafted piece of furniture, isn’t necessarily improved by spraying obscenities on it.

    Conversely, a true statement isn’t any less fucking true because it’s expressed angrily.

  278. says

    Meanwhile, nice Pope Fancis compares abortions to throwing away food, calls them horrible, they are destroying human lives and the Full Monty of bleary eyed “Babies!” rethoric, but, David Wilford will be happy: He also said that the church didn’t do enough for women who find themselves pregnant as the result of violence or within the context of poverty.
    Nothing for the sl*ts who simply had sex. Also nothing about preventing those pregnancies in the first place, but don’t you see the good, the compassion for the rape victims!!! Now, they will still be forced to carry their rapist’s child to term, but Pope Fanzi suffers for them. He’s the real victim here.

  279. vaiyt says

    That doesn’t mean I can’t say what I like though.

    That’s right. Only you can say what you like. Other people saying what they like, apparently, means you should tut-tut them down for months for not saying what YOU like.

  280. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nick Gotts, I just figure it’s up to people to change their own minds. That doesn’t mean I can’t say what I like though.

    You can say what you want. So can we. Your opinon will be dismissed as a tone trolling until you provide third party evidence your “polite” actually works in hard core cases….Be the first to do so…No other tone troll has done so.

  281. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Jesus wept, you’re such a sodding bore, Wilford.

    “… Can I get a second?”

    “Aye!”

    “Motion carried.”

  282. says

    David Wilford:

    What people say here definitely impacts others as much as it would if it was said directly to them because, well, it is being said directly to them. So atheism (or at least A+) is known by what professed atheists say on the internet too, and obviously that includes the profanity.

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough.
    My point was that the tone you criticize us for is not used *all the time*. You assume that just because we use profanity in online discussions about the harms of religion, so too do we take the same tone in meatspace discussions with believers. You’re *assuming* that.
    Stop fucking making assumptions.
    We already know that there’s a time and place to utilize profanity.
    That time and place?
    It’s our decision. Not yours.

    Move on, you *are* a bore.

  283. David Wilford says

    Tony @ 330:

    You assume that just because we use profanity in online discussions about the harms of religion, so too do we take the same tone in meatspace discussions with believers. You’re *assuming* that.

    Nope, I claimed no such thing with respect to what’s said offline so you’re the one making the assumption. Whatever you may say elsewhere is whatever you say and it’s a free country, at least here in the U.S. But I can tell you that what’s said online has a much vaster reach and longer duration than what’s said in person, unless you post a video of it on YouTube. So Atheism+ has a reputation for being obnoxious, insulting and profane for a reason, and y’all have to own that like it or not. Anyone who identifies as an atheist also has some of that spittle flecked on them as well. Thanks, dude. One of the reasons I now identify as a philosophical naturalist rather than an atheist is because I’d rather not have all the sodden baggage that goes with atheism when talking with persons of faith about what I don’t believe in myself.

  284. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Nope, I claimed no such thing with respect to what’s said offline so you’re the one making the assumption.

    Assumptions can be implied, douchewad. You’re words implied we take this tone all the time. Since you have no evidence that we do, that would have been an assumption on your part. Tony merely pointed this assumption out.

    I agree with Nick and Tony (see, at #329 I implied I agreed with Nick, now I’m outright saying it); you’re a bore.

  285. David Wilford says

    Thumper @ 332:

    If you could find a quote that supports your own assumption, hey, go for it. I have no problem with people saying whatever they like, whether I agree with it or not. Y’all seem to have a problem with thinking that because someone simply criticizes what’s been said that they’re implying they shouldn’t have said it. Nope. I think there’s a gratuitous use of profanity in general on the internet that’s egotistical, and not just here. I think the New York Times has an editorial policy that frowns upon profanity for good reason, but of course this blog isn’t the Times and I adjust accordingly.

  286. David Wilford says

    FWIW, on the subject of being boring, I’m sure that PZ is quite able to again say “I’m bored” and close the comments down, blog ownership having its privileges and all that. I figure that if there’s people commenting at all then someone’s obviously not bored. So I just consider such complaints to be a lame way to trying to shut someone down. As I’ve said before, y’all seem to have no idea how to handle someone who doesn’t fall for such dumb rhetorical tricks.

  287. omnicrom says

    FWIW, a finely crafted argument, like a finely crafted piece of furniture, isn’t necessarily improved by spraying obscenities on it.

    So a finely crafted argument can’t use naughty words? Well David Wilford, you and I very clearly have different standards of what makes a finely crafted argument. I’ve seen many fine arguments that are seething mad and full of profanity. Perhaps if you’re unilaterally dismissing all arguments with “condition X” for poorly described reasons you should consider revising your dogmatic stance.

    FWIW, on the subject of being boring, I’m sure that PZ is quite able to again say “I’m bored” and close the comments down, blog ownership having its privileges and all that. I figure that if there’s people commenting at all then someone’s obviously not bored. So I just consider such complaints to be a lame way to trying to shut someone down.

    Fun fact: Number of responses does not indicate NEW AND EXCITING content, nor does it indicate stuff that isn’t boring. You’re boring, but you’re also fucking here. You’re full of crap and I’m not one to sit idly by while you spread shit all over lovely furniture.

    As I’ve said before, y’all seem to have no idea how to handle someone who doesn’t fall for such dumb rhetorical tricks.

    It’s a good thing I got my Irony meter reinforced the last time you said that. But wait: You claim that you aren’t falling for “dumb rhetorical tricks” (what are those “dumb rhetorical tricks BTW”?), but previously you said you gave up on arguing as a method to change minds so why do you care? If no one’s mind is changed then aren’t “dumb rhetorical tricks” (whatever those are) inherently pointless? Or are you calling them “dumb rhetorical tricks” to show how much better your arguing style is than ours? Even though you claim that arguing is pointless? And does is this just another example of your dishonesty?

    Oh and “dumb rhetorical tricks” is how you unilaterally categorize all of our arguments? I seem to recall someone in this thread made a great deal of noise about how insults make for bad arguments. In fact let me quote him now about how lame complaining about something or someone is:

    David Wilford @334 said

    So I just consider such complaints to be a lame way to trying to shut someone down.

    Surely you have to agree with David Wilford, David Wilford. Or are you just dishonest and hypocritical?

  288. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 335:

    So a finely crafted argument can’t use naughty words?

    Sure, but it’s not the way to bet. Mostly, it’s just an exercise in self-indulgence.

    You’re full of crap and I’m not one to sit idly by while you spread shit all over lovely furniture.

    I’m reminded of the Cheech and Chong routine about whether something on the sidewalk is dogshit or not. No one’s making you smell, feel, taste, or step in it, dude.

    Even though you claim that arguing is pointless?

    Not pointless. Just that I leave it up to the other person to change their own mind. Trust me, it’s a heavy burden to think that you’re the one responsible for changing someone else’s mind. One of the best lessons I learned after getting married for the second time, actually.

    Oh and “dumb rhetorical tricks” is how you unilaterally categorize all of our arguments?

    Nope, just the dumb ones.

  289. Nick Gotts says

    omnicron@335,
    There are obviously two David Wilfords commenting on this thread; it’s the only plausible explanation. Dvid Wilfords – could you use subscripts or something?

  290. Nick Gotts says

    One of the best lessons I learned after getting married for the second time, actually. – David Wilford@336

    OK I may be jumping to conclusions here, but I wouldn’t be in the least surprised to learn that two spouses have found David Wilford’s smug self-satisfaction intolerable.

  291. vaiyt says

    Y’all seem to have a problem with thinking that because someone simply criticizes what’s been said that they’re implying they shouldn’t have said it. Nope.

    Well, we just assumed you wouldn’t be so vacuous as to argue FOR MONTHS ON END that our approach is wrong, wrong, wrong if you didn’t want us to do things differently. Why are you even here?

  292. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts @ 338:

    I’m still married to the second wife, so at least it’s not that intolerable. And no, I don’t have an evil twin.

  293. says

    Frankie’s official view on abortion:

    http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/13/22288490-pope-francis-makes-toughest-remarks-yet-on-horrific-abortion?lite

    Such liberal. So reform. Much progressive.

    I wonder what the Pope’s stance is on conjoining the circulatory systems of Catholics to folks with liver failure? Sounds horrific we let these people die waiting for a transplant when there are all of these Catholics people with good livers they could share. Probably enough of them that it would only inconvenience them for about 9 months at a time.

  294. omnicrom says

    Sure, but it’s not the way to bet. Mostly, it’s just an exercise in self-indulgence.

    Fucking hell, my irony meter broke AGAIN. And I thought I was safe after the last hilariously ironic thing you projected on us.

    Nope, just the dumb ones.

    So can you provide an example of what you consider “dumb” arguments? Are they just arguments with swear words or is there more to it than that?

    Also can you provide some reason for us to take you at your word? You repeatedly say you we’re arguing wrong and our arguments are dumb, but you never provide a counterexample where arguing like you, David Wilford, is a good thing. Once again the challenge is open: Name a social movement that acted as polite and urbane as you tell us to be that actually succeeded.

  295. David Wilford says

    vaiyt @ 339:

    Why are you even here?

    In a nutshell, to say what I think from time to time about issues that interest me. For example, take this thread. I’m no Catholic but the fact is that it’s a religion that has plenty of adherents who are very decent, kind, people. They’re also an important swing vote. Where I live in Wisconsin they helped elect a governor and legislature that wants to do stuff like this:

    Law change would permit longer work week

    MADISON — Wisconsin’s retail and factory workers would no longer be required to get a day off each week, under a bill proposed by Republicans in both houses.

    West Bend Senator Glenn Grothman and Beaver Dam Republican Mark Born are seeking co-sponsors for the measure. They said the state’s largest business group first suggested the change, after noticing that federal law does not require what the state mandates — at least 24 hours off for each seven-day week.

    The bill’s authors say it would let employees volunteer for a seventh day each week, so they could make a little extra money and their companies can boost production.

    Democrats and labor leaders say bosses would pressure their workers into volunteering — and the employees might have to go along or get fired.

    Grothman says he’s never heard of that happening, and he wonders why Democrats want to hold back employees who want extra money.

    Never heard of that happening… Riiiight.

    Anyway, I’m hoping that Pope Francis by renewing an emphasis on economic inequality and the dignity of work can help the Democrats win back the WI legislature (or hopefully, the Governor’s office) in 2014 by making it clear that the Republicans would rather make the rich richer while fobbing off Catholics with anti-choice spin. While I disagree very much with the RCC’s dogma about abortion, I also welcome their concern about economic inequality. So for now, I welcome the changes Pope Francis is making.

  296. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So for now, I welcome the changes Pope Francis is making.

    Name five changes actually in progress, and not just hot air from a PR frack.

  297. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 342:

    So can you provide an example of what you consider “dumb” arguments? Are they just arguments with swear words or is there more to it than that?

    I just did with the “you’re boring us so shut up” argument. When I’m bored with someone, I end the conversation and leave, if I can. Now if I can’t leave, that’s another matter. But on a blog it’s no problem to move on.

  298. omnicrom says

    Anyway, I’m hoping that Pope Francis by renewing an emphasis on economic inequality and the dignity of work can help the Democrats win back the WI legislature (or hopefully, the Governor’s office) in 2014 by making it clear that the Republicans would rather make the rich richer while fobbing off Catholics with anti-choice spin.

    So are you willing to stand on this dream? Are you willing to bet that the RCC’s platitudes about poverty will actually lead to some political capital being spent? Are you willing to stand on the idea that Bergoglio’s empty feel-good messages will somehow affect politics? Do you place real stock in the possibility that Catholics will vote more Liberal because the pope said something about economic disparity? Do you think that Catholics will in any way organize in favor of the Democrats over the Republicans?

    If you honestly have this much faith in the RCC then make this bet: If Election day comes this year and the RCC has not actually done a damn thing to endorse liberal policies besides empty words you will admit that nothing has changed. It will have been nearly 2 years since the new pope, and if the RCC hasn’t spent a dollar in favor of Liberal policies I want you to suck it up and admit that you were wrong about the wonderful liberal pope.

    While I disagree very much with the RCC’s dogma about abortion, I also welcome their concern about economic inequality. So for now, I welcome the changes Pope Francis is making.

    What changes? He doesn’t wear ermine? He talks to poor people? He sent out surveys? Do you realize how empty and hollow those “changes” are? They still discriminate against gays, fight equality for women, and shield child rapists. The RCC is utterly unchanged.

  299. omnicrom says

    I just did with the “you’re boring us so shut up” argument.

    Can you provide a specific post number of someone who did that. I want to know about this argument in the context it was made.

  300. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @DW #333

    If you could find a quote that supports your own assumption, hey, go for it…

    What assumption? What did I assume?

    #340

    And no, I don’t have an evil twin.

    You are the evil twin.

  301. Rey Fox says

    The internet is meatspace just as much as face-to-face is.

    Actually, no. The very definition of “meatspace” is face-to-face, not on the internet. So could you please stop telling us how to communicate now?

  302. vaiyt says

    In a nutshell, to say what I think from time to time about issues that interest me.

    Judging by your output, the tone and approach of other people is a major concern of yours. Live and let live for me, and not for thee.

    For example, take this thread. I’m no Catholic but the fact is that it’s a religion that has plenty of adherents who are very decent, kind, people.

    I’m a former Catholic. Most of my family, and indeed, most everyone I know is Catholic. You don’t need to tell us this, we’re not fucking stupid. That they’re decent in kind has no bearing on whether supporting the Pope’s criminal empire is a good thing.

    While I disagree very much with the RCC’s dogma about abortion, I also welcome their concern about economic inequality.

    The head of an immensely rich organization talks about the plight of the poor while literally surrounded by gold and invaluable works of art, and that’s just swell. Women? Feh, they’re just collateral damage, right?

    So for now, I welcome the changes Pope Francis is making.

    Meanwhile, most people here think that 1500 years of evidence of the Catholic Church holding back the moral progress of humanity gives little reason to hope.

  303. vaiyt says

    When I’m bored with someone, I end the conversation and leave, if I can.

    You expect us to leave OUR THREAD to you? Seriously, do you read what you write? You’re the one barging in, genius, you leave.

  304. vaiyt says

    @351: Swearing is worse than protecting kiddie fuckers. Don’t you know? That’s why Francis’ words deserves much more consideration than ours.

  305. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @vaiyt

    I had heard this theory but, much like when I first learned of young-Earthers, I am suprised that anyone takes it literally.

  306. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Also, I still don’t see how swearing is “egotistical”. DW’s gonna have to explain that one.

  307. says

    Thumper:

    DW’s gonna have to explain that one.

    No, I don’t think that’s necessary. I have no doubt that Wilkisser is happily basking in all the attention, feeling mighty white and superior. That’s bad enough.

  308. Nick Gotts says

    So Atheism+ has a reputation for being obnoxious, insulting and profane for a reason, and y’all have to own that like it or not. – David Wilford@331

    The reason is that MRAs and Slymepitters hate it, and have made it their business to give it this reputation. But I’m far from surprised that you’ve gormlessly swallowed their propaganda, just as you have Bergoglio’s. The vast majority of people, of course, have never heard of Atheism+, let alone visited the forum of that name.

  309. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Caine

    But for once I actually want him to speak :(

    Maybe he’s just projecting again? Except… onto swearing, somehow.

  310. says

    Nick:

    The vast majority of people, of course, have never heard of Atheism+, let alone visited the forum of that name.

    I’ll also point out that Wilkisser, like many an idiot, seems to think that Atheism+ is connected to PZ and Pharyngula. It isn’t. It wasn’t PZ’s idea, he has nothing to do with the forum, and so on. Being concerned with social justice issues isn’t an autoconnect to Atheism+, and I wish that fuckwits like Wilford would just once manage to get their facts straight before they commence twisting them. FTR, I’ve never visited the A+ forum, and don’t have the slightest idea what goes on there.

    Thumper:

    But for once I actually want him to speak :(

    Oh, have fun. I won’t deny you your chewtoy. I’m just with Nick, the dude is a crashing bore.

  311. David Wilford says

    Thumper @ 355:

    Also, I still don’t see how swearing is “egotistical”.

    I’m thinking about swearing being used self-consciously by those seeking to puff up their outrage to bloated levels. It’s like adding saline solution to a scrotum to make the balls look bigger. Hey, if that’s what turns you on, fine. But it’s still bloated rhetoric.

  312. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts @ 357:

    The reason is that MRAs and Slymepitters hate it, and have made it their business to give it this reputation.

    Oh, one need not go anywhere else but here to get that distinct impression, so that’s no excuse.

  313. says

    David Wilford #363:

    Oh, one need not go anywhere else but here to get that distinct impression [that Atheism+ is oh so tewwibly rude], so that’s no excuse.

    If you were only reading *here* then you wouldn’t have the mistaken belief that Pharyngula is synonymous with Atheism+.

    Are you lying just to us here or to yourself as well?

  314. David Wilford says

    Caine @ 359:

    I’ll also point out that Wilkisser, like many an idiot, seems to think that Atheism+ is connected to PZ and Pharyngula.

    Sure it’s connected, given the emphasis PZ has placed on making atheism more than just a dictionary definition.

    BTW, can a monitor enforce the comment rules against themselves? I’ve seen NFL referees get in the way of plays but they don’t call a penalty on themselves for doing it, so I am curious.

  315. David Wilford says

    O.K., belay that question. As per the comment rules:

    5. You are being pointlessly abusive or argumentative.

    But name-calling is evidently o.k. Carry on.

  316. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    360
    David Wilford

    I’m thinking about swearing being used self-consciously by those seeking to puff up their outrage to bloated levels. It’s like adding saline solution to a scrotum to make the balls look bigger. Hey, if that’s what turns you on, fine. But it’s still bloated rhetoric.

    Because clearly you have to be faking it to be so outrage at corruption, abuse and human rights violations. Obviously, he just can’t image having any empathy or strong feelings. He is Spock, apparently. (I believe it was Caine who called that one first?)

    *eyeroll*

    Privileged blinded twit. The majority of the whole fucking world doesn’t see my full personhood but hey, that’s no excuse to swear! Must’nt bite the hand that feeds, donchaknow. Why, they could then make it worse! Accommodate, assimilate and self-hate. Yeppers. That’s the plan, if we follows such Rules of Etiquette.

  317. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@365,

    You’re being dishonest again. You would not have made comment #363 if you had not thought Pharyngula and Atheism+ have a formal or institutional connection.

  318. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts @ 369:

    You would not have made comment #363 if you had not thought Pharyngula and Atheism+ have a formal or institutional connection.

    There’s more than enough of an informal connection that links them. It’s one big happy anarchy of atheists as far as I can tell, and Pharyngula definitely is connected to A+ in terms of shared goals and identity. Like it or not, PZ is a very visible presence in atheism and is clearly linked to A+.

  319. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Like it or not, PZ is a very visible presence in atheism and is clearly linked to A+.

    Citation needed for direct link, or you lie and bullshit. We are also a scientific blog. Evidence, not your opinion, rules. And your evidence always seems to be MIA when challenged.

  320. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I most kindly and humbly suggest the conversation about Atheism+ be taken to Thunderdome.

  321. says

    Beatrice:

    I most kindly and humbly suggest the conversation about Atheism+ be taken to Thunderdome.

    My goodness, lookit you being a power hungry monitor! I think you might actually have to get a bit more forceful, it is Wilford, after all, and he seems to have serious problems with taking up kind and humble suggestions.

    I’ll leave my A+ comment in Tdome.

  322. David Wilford says

    Nerd @ 373:

    Citation needed for direct link, or you lie and bullshit.

    Direct link? There is no atheist Pope, remember? It really is one big happy anarchy and that goes for Atheism+ as well. It’s like the Taliban that way, with no central clearing office granting said identity. If Pharyngula isn’t connected to A+, then nothing is.

  323. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Aw, Caine, and I put so much effort in writing a comment without a single fuck.

  324. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There is no atheist Pope, remember? It really is one big happy anarchy and that goes for Atheism+ as well

    What a pile of bullshit. For example, show where PZ regularly posts there for example. What an abject unknow-it-all you are. And it shows.

  325. David Wilford says

    Caine @ 379:

    Why are you asking me? I’m not a monitor, you fuckwitted ass.

    Ah, you *were* a monitor but I hadn’t checked the list lately. My bad.

  326. says

    Chigau:

    So, about the Pope…

    Yeah, Ol’ Cannibal Smile had a good time laying down the law on those uppity sluts wanting abortions. It would seem that the PR spin is over, and it’s time for the lash again.

  327. chigau (違う) says

    As long as the RCC has Original Sin and Baptism to get rid if it, they cannot condone abortion.
    Especially now that Limbo is … in Limbo.
    Contraception and homosexuality have no pesky little ghosties flitting about so change should be possible.

  328. says

    Chigau:

    Contraception and homosexuality have no pesky little ghosties flitting about so change should be possible.

    I don’t know. Contraception is not approved of, as it does leave little baybee ghosties about, and homosexuality (that of men, the only one which matters) is technically ‘spilling the seed’ a la Onan, which is a bad, bad thing. After all, God went and killed Onan for refusing to impregnate his brother’s wife. Can’t be wasting that precious stuff.

  329. Al Dente says

    Tone trolls like David Wilford usually claim their polite, demure, diplomatic forms of communication are ever so much more effective as communication than crude, coarse, in your face communication as commonly practiced here at Pharyngula. However if this were true than we would have seen the error of our ways, eschewed profanity, and become cordial and courteous in our discussions. Since this result has not happened, it appears that David Wilfordish tone trolling is not a compelling form of communication.

    Incidentally, the cliche that one draws more flies with honey than vinegar was disproved by Myth Busters. It turns out that flies are much more drawn to balsamic vinegar than honey. But you know what really draws flies? Shit.

  330. omnicrom says

    However if this were true than we would have seen the error of our ways, eschewed profanity, and become cordial and courteous in our discussions. Since this result has not happened, it appears that David Wilfordish tone trolling is not a compelling form of communication.

    I pointed out the logical disconnect further up the thread for David Wilford. Curiously he didn’t ever get around to replying to me. However later David Wilford was later very Concerned with his assumption that we take it upon ourselves to change everyone’s minds. Wilford explained that letting go and presumably not caring about things made their second marriage much easier, and shouldn’t we just give up on arguing so passionately because change can only come from within? I can only presume that David Wilford’s nihilistic philosophy on discussion is used to try and quash his cognitive dissonance, Wilford believes simultaneously that his kind and accommodating method of arguing is objectively better and makes people like you and agree with you, and that arguing is no method to change minds or convince people of anything at all.

    This compartmentalization is completely in character for David Wilford. Wilford seems to believe simultaneously that the church does bad things but is good and must be defended, that atheists are right about religion but nasty brutes who hit people with their atheist hammers, that the RCC has yet to make substantive changes but has made substantive changes, and that it’s bad to insult people while insulting people. Class act our David Wilford is.

  331. David Wilford says

    Al Dente, you should check thunderdome. I’m afraid PZ let a fuck fly at Wilford. He might faint now.

    Nah. It’s not like I haven’t met the guy and had a beer with him, and seen the Flock of Dodos film with too. That said, it’s been a few years since those days and some things have indeed changed.

    One of the things that’s been an unintended consequence of science fiction fandom is that you learn to deal with such things in stride. PZ ain’t got nothin’ on Harlan Ellison when it comes to telling people to fuck off, but thankfully he liked my dog when I met him. Go figure… ;-)

  332. David Wilford says

    omnicrom,

    Heaven forfend, why should anyone quit masturbating, er, gratuitously saying “fuck” and deny themselves the satisfaction it gives? I heard plenty of similar ego-stroking rhetoric back in the the 1970s from self-styled Revolutionary Student Brigade types. The RSBers said they wanted to change the world and if being assholes could have done that they’d have certainly succeeded.

    Point again being, feel free to say whatever you like, however you like, including obscenely. I think you’re vastly overestimating the effect profanity has, however.

  333. consciousness razor says

    I think you’re vastly overestimating the effect profanity has, however.

    Fucking right I am. I think it gives me magic fucking superpowers. That’s why it matters so much to me to hear you fucking explain how that isn’t true. My whole fucking outlook on life has changed. Now fuck off.

  334. A. Noyd says

    David Wilford (#392)

    I think you’re vastly overestimating the effect profanity has, however.

    And just what “effect” do you think we’re trying to achieve with our profanity? Spell it out.

  335. David Wilford says

    A. Noyd @ 394:

    And just what “effect” do you think we’re trying to achieve with our profanity? Spell it out.

    That you’re pissed off, mostly. That’s quite clear. To the extent it conveys sincere anger, that’s useful communication. But like anything else, there’s a law of diminishing returns that kicks in pretty quickly.

  336. Al Dente says

    I didn’t know I was trying to be effective by saying fuck. Unless I’m telling the wife “wanna fuck?”

  337. omnicrom says

    And just what “effect” do you think we’re trying to achieve with our profanity? Spell it out.

    I second this. David Wilford you’re obviously so much more enlightened than us savage atheist phillistines with hammers. Please use your clairvoyant space brain to bring wonder and hope to us horrible barbarians and tell us all about ourselves, as after all you know more about us and what we should say and do and think than any of us does.

  338. omnicrom says

    That you’re pissed off, mostly. That’s quite clear. To the extent it conveys sincere anger, that’s useful communication. But like anything else, there’s a law of diminishing returns that kicks in pretty quickly.

    I missed this when I dedicated my sincere paean to your ethereal wisdom David Wilford and I am sorry for I am merely an atheist with a hammer. I must now once again kneel before your absolute virtue and ask when this “law of diminishing returns” kicks in, how many “fucks” we are allowed, and to once again regale us by telling us how you come to know such cosmic truths like “how often should we swear”.

  339. David Wilford says

    Here’s an example of said diminishing returns:

    Fucking right I am. I think it gives me magic fucking superpowers. That’s why it matters so much to me to hear you fucking explain how that isn’t true. My whole fucking outlook on life has changed. Now fuck off.

    Sorry, but all I get from this is the image of some punk thinking they’re tough shit when it’s clear they’re just looking in a mirror and imaging how tough they are.

  340. consciousness razor says

    Since we’re going by our imaginations, perhaps instead you should imagine someone who just doesn’t believe what you said is true… or even substantiated by anything whatsoever, other than your imagination of course, which is always reliable.

  341. chigau (違う) says

    I spend my summers working among people who use the word ‘fuck’ the way people who aren’t drillers use commas or pauses for breath.
    They are almost never angry when they say “Pass the fucking milk, please.”

  342. A. Noyd says

    David Wilford (#395)

    That you’re pissed off, mostly. That’s quite clear.

    Wrong. I use profanity a lot for emphasis and color. You should have heard me in study group for Japanese Socioingusitics talking about the historical context of certain language shifts. “And then the asshole traditionalists in the pro-kanji group were like, ‘Fuck no, we’re not switching to all kana or romaji. We’re keeping all 10,000 motherfucking kanji around because we fucking well had to learn all that shit growing up and if we had to suffer, our kids fucking well have to suffer, too.’”

    To the extent it conveys sincere anger, that’s useful communication. But like anything else, there’s a law of diminishing returns that kicks in pretty quickly.

    What are the “returns” that begin diminishing the more profanity we use?

  343. omnicrom says

    Sorry, but all I get from this is the image of some punk thinking they’re tough shit when it’s clear they’re just looking in a mirror and imaging how tough they are.

    Forgive me for even thinking of possibly ever countermanding you or disagreeing with you great one David Wilford, but it seems to me that Consciousness Razor @393 was perhaps using sarcasm. Perhaps they used a deliberate exaggeration in the preponderance of their swearing to make a point. It is conceivable, oh great David Wilford one, that Consciousness Razor swore so much deliberately to take the mickey, to mock your assumption that we ascribed supernal qualities to swearing, and to deride your presumption about how little we know and understand of arguing. Surely we are nothing to you oh David Wilford who presumes to speak for all atheists and social movements ever, but maybe just maybe you did not comprehend Consciousness Razor and that makes you look foolish.

  344. says

    Fuckety fuck fuck because fucking reasons.

    I should probably go get some fucking work done, but I’m tempted to read a fucking book instead, and I’m not fucking angry at all. Wilford should get in the fooking sack already.

  345. Al Dente says

    David Wilford @399

    Sorry, but all I get from this is the image of some punk thinking they’re tough shit when it’s clear they’re just looking in a mirror and imaging how tough they are.

    What I got from that quote was someone cracking wise at David Wilford’s expense. David Wilford has spent so much time and energy being aghast at people saying “fuck” and complaining bitterly how saying fuck too many times somehow saps our our precious bodily fluids or something otherwise undefined. So someone (consciousness razor actually, David Wilford is particularly poor at attributing quotes to people) wrote a response to David Wilford’s whine: “I think you’re vastly overestimating the effect profanity has, however.” telling David Wilford what effect profanity had.

    It’s a true pity that David Wilford is unable to recognize sarcasm. Or perhaps David Wilford is so full of himself that David Wilford finds it inconceivable that someone might use sarcasm towards one of David Wilford’s pontifications.

  346. David Wilford says

    A. Noyd @ 402:

    Dude, I’m going by the use of profanity noted here, which is nothing like the example you’ve given, which sounds like bog-standard language in any British military unit.

    The returns, BTW, are being taken less seriously, both individually and as a group.

  347. Al Dente says

    David Wilford @406

    The returns, BTW, are being taken less seriously, both individually and as a group.

    Who, besides David Wilford, is taking us less seriously? Please be specific.

  348. omnicrom says

    Al Dente @ 405

    It’s a true pity that David Wilford is unable to recognize sarcasm. Or perhaps David Wilford is so full of himself that David Wilford finds it inconceivable that someone might use sarcasm towards one of David Wilford’s pontifications.

    To follow up on this point I’d like to quote a quote from a person of great import and merit who I have great respect for that I think sums up succinctly what David Wilford’s pontificating is like. Take it away: David Wilford

    @399

    Sorry, but all I get from this is the image of some punk thinking they’re tough shit when it’s clear they’re just looking in a mirror and imaging how tough they are.

  349. consciousness razor says

    The returns, BTW, are being taken less seriously, both individually and as a group.

    So if those “returns” we supposedly want are supposedly diminishing, that means over time we’ll be taken more seriously? Fuck, I guess I’ll just start swearing all of the time.

    Dumbass.

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

    re: David Wilford

    To the extent it conveys sincere anger, that’s useful communication. But like anything else, there’s a law of diminishing returns that kicks in pretty quickly.

    Ah, David Wilford believes that communication suffers from diminishing returns, especially when said communication continues to address the same general topic! Wonderful!

    I expect him to shut up as a rational response to the diminishing returns of his communications immediately after he tells the Pope to shut up b/c there’s only so much one can say about Christianity.

    David W’s silence, OTOH, will not, I suspect, diminish in value over time.

  351. A. Noyd says

    David Wilford (#406)

    Dude, I’m going by the use of profanity noted here, which is nothing like the example you’ve given, which sounds like bog-standard language in any British military unit.

    I’m not a dude. And I don’t see my example as being different than most of the cussing I see around Pharyngula. The effect I’m aiming for is generally the same whether I’m studying for a lingustics exam or whether I’m telling off a fucking prissy egomaniac who readily kisses the ass of the harmdoer-in-chief of the RCC while waggling his finger at the colorful langauge of people who have done no harm at all.

    The returns, BTW, are being taken less seriously, both individually and as a group.

    Having what taken less seriously by whom? You’re really vague. I said spell it out.

  352. David Wilford says

    A. Noyd @ 411:

    The effect I’m aiming for is generally the same whether I’m studying for a lingustics exam or whether I’m telling off a fucking prissy egomaniac who readily kisses the ass of the harmdoer-in-chief of the RCC while waggling his finger at the colorful langauge of people who have done no harm at all.

    Nah. Cursing one’s tools, be they kanji characters or Enfield rifles is one thing. Everyone gets exasperated at times with stuff that’s frustrating to work with. Letting loose a string of expletives in a lame attempt to insult someone is another. I suggest you reflect on the difference.

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

    @David Wilford:

    Letting loose a string of expletives in a lame attempt to insult someone is another.

    When you establish that A Noyd walks with a limp, you can certainly characterize her attempts at pretty much anything as “lame”.

    Until then, you should be assuming you know something about ability in pretty much exactly the same way you should be assuming you know something about internet commenter’s gender: not at all.

  354. David Wilford says

    A. Noyd @ 411:

    Having what taken less seriously by whom? You’re really vague. I said spell it out.

    Having the atheist position taken as seriously by John Q. Public as they kiddie commies were taken back in the 1970s. I think there’s more to recommend atheism than communism myself, but utter conviction of one’s righteousness is a political turnoff.

  355. David Wilford says

    I wasn’t being literal, Crip Dyke:

    2.
    (of an explanation or excuse) unconvincingly feeble.
    “it was a lame statement and there was no excusing his behavior”
    synonyms: feeble, weak, thin, flimsy, poor, sorry;

    Words. They mean things. You can look them up, even.

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

    utter conviction of one’s righteousness is a political turnoff.

    Wow, you really haven’t noticed anything political in the US or Canada in the last 51 years, have you?

  357. David Wilford says

    Oh, and for the inevitable comment about inappropriate language, a word can have an illustrative meaning that has nothing to do with ableism.

  358. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So far, the cogent and realistic argument against swearing:
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    *Crickets chirring.

  359. says

    utter conviction of one’s righteousness is a political turnoff.

    Really, Cupcake? Well goodness me, in that case, you must surely understand how your utter conviction of your own righteousness in defending the righteous smiley pope is a complete and total turnoff to the Pharyngula commentariat.

    Okay, we are done here!

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

    David Wilford:

    I wasn’t being literal, I was using the word according to the definition.

    Statements this idiotic should cause any reasonable person to back off commenting on the internet until such time as the sources of such egregious stupidity have been identified and corrected.

    a word can have an illustrative meaning that has nothing to do with ableism.

    Ah. Thank you. Please now demonstrate that the assumption that walking with a limp goes hand in hand with being “thin” or “sorry” has nothing to do with ableism. The mechanism of “illustration” will be particularly interesting to note.

    We await your vast insight into an etymology that has (not literally, but merely according to the definitions of the following words), “nothing to do with ableism”.

    We await it with the same expectation of satisfaction that we await the apology for your assumption that A Noyd is a “dude” which admits that default masculinity is a sexist habit of thought…or the explanation that calling people “dude” by default is illustrative of something that has nothing to do with sexism, either one.

  361. David Wilford says

    Crip Dyke @ 416:

    Wow, you really haven’t noticed anything political in the US or Canada in the last 51 years, have you?

    Why yes, I’ve noticed that President John McCain and President Mitt Romney are only subjects of alternate history novels, while President Barack Hussein Obama won election on the Black Panther Party ticket.

    Less snarkily now, the Tea Party candidates when running in districts that weren’t already safely Republican didn’t do well in either 2010 or 2012. The real problem for the Democrats over the past 51 years is voter turnout in off-Presidential year elections. That’s largely because it’s hard for people in poverty, minorities, low-wage workers, etc. to vote than it should be, and it’s no surprise that having Obama on the ticket helped give those voters the determination to put up with long lines and bullshit registration procedures.

    What being an asshole politically does is motivate your base voters, which for Republicans is an easier thing to get to turn out. Democrats don’t benefit so much from that, hence they’re not going to be as strident because it does affect the voters from the so-called “mushy middle”. That’s important in closely contested districts, which is what Democrats take the high road even as the Republicans descend into the sewers.

    As for Canada, if it wasn’t for the NDP and Liberals splitting the left vote, the ConservaTories wouldn’t be in power right now. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is.

  362. says

    David Wilford: stop derailing this thread right fucking now. Cussing, ableism, your idiocy in assuming gender because you accidentally addressed a *gasp* woman, all of it – take it to thunderdome. You may have noted that PZ does not have a high opinion of you. You might wish to extrapolate that he might not have a high fucking opinion of your constant thread derailment.

  363. Jackie wishes she could hibernate says

    David Wilford,
    The way you used the word “lame” is indeed ableist. You also misgendered someone. That’s far more rude than dropping a few “F” bombs. Your priorities need some re-calibrating.

  364. David Wilford says

    Crip Dyke @ 420:

    Ah. Thank you. Please now demonstrate that the assumption that walking with a limp goes hand in hand with being “thin” or “sorry” has nothing to do with ableism. The mechanism of “illustration” will be particularly interesting to note.

    Sure, here’s a fine example from Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions song People Get Ready:

    There ain’t no room for the hopeless sinner
    Who would hurt all mankind just to save his own
    Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
    For there’s no hiding place against the Kingdom’s throne

    and Eva Cassidy’s version of the song, live:

    http://youtu.be/J8W9rPxxnP4

    Beautiful.

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

    @Caine, you’re right: the appropriate thing to do is take this to TD.

    Should David W reply again here, I will post my response, if any, there.

    @Jackie:
    I’m impressed with your ability to refrain from snark: you are far more self-controlled than I. Please allow me to +1 your #423.

  366. David Wilford says

    Caine, when you also address everyone else who is asking me questions and expecting responses and tell them to move elsewhere, it would be more evenhanded of you.

    As for “derailment”, so what? Diversion is something that’s not necessarily bad, it’s really a naturally occurring thing in any thread that goes on long enough. I think it’s a bogus complaint, unless someone really is trying to steer the discussion somewhere without taking what others are saying in return into account.

  367. Jackie wishes she could hibernate says

    Thank you, Crip Dyke. I don’t know what came over me. I must be getting soft. ;)

  368. vaiyt says

    To the extent it conveys sincere anger, that’s useful communication. But like anything else, there’s a law of diminishing returns that kicks in pretty quickly.

    Anything else EXCEPT your approach, right?

  369. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Okay, Wilford, I’ll bite. I shouldn’t, but I will.

    Want to know why (many) atheists are spitting mad to the point of being all cussy?

    It’s because we’re paying attention.

    We’ve realized that the situation at hand is beyond calmness and civility. Far beyond.

    If you aren’t outraged, then you aren’t paying attention.