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Cothran’s execrable offerings

Martin Thomas Cothran, apologist for Intelligent Design creationism, takes Jerry Coyne to the woodshed for criticizing a book he hasn’t read.

Consider Coyne’s recent article, "The ‘Best Arguments for God’s Existence’ Are Actually Terrible," which appeared in the New Republic. The article takes the form of a refutation of the arguments in David Bentley Hart’s new book, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, and Bliss. Coyne admits that he has not actually read the book, but nevertheless concludes its arguments are unsound. He claims that Hart’s conception of God is "immune to refutation," and therefore that "Hart’s argument fails …."

Yet, if you actually read Coyne’s article, he comes right out and says he’s not discussing the book, but the ideas that other fans of Hart have promoted, and the general theological approach to defending god-belief. Coyne even promises to read Hart’s new book to see if there are any new arguments in it, which I think is a terrible mistake. When will we learn? We’re constantly told that this book or that book is the very best argument for god ever made, and then we read it, and it’s awful and the same old noise.

So I visited Martin Cothran’s restaurant, and told him to give me the best thing on the menu.

PZM: That is quite possibly the worst ham sandwich I’ve ever tasted. It’s inedible. Give me a minute, I have to go rinse my mouth out.

MC: That is not just a ham sandwich; it is a specially spiced sandwich ala Ken Ham. We take a slice of cheap lunchmeat and spread a layer of runny yellow feces from a diarrhetic baby on top. But yes, you’re quite right, it’s terrible. It’s a bad sandwich. Here, let me get you the best meal in the house…

PZM: OK.

Gah, that’s even worse! What the hell is that?

MC: That is Plantinga’s Deep-Fried Dog Doody. Delightful mouth feel, crunchy on the outside, gooey in the center. But I understand, really, it’s a miserable excuse for a snack. I shouldn’t have given it to you. Here’s something that is simply delightful, I’m sure you’ll agree…

PZM: OK.

<sprays countertop with the gritty contents of his first spoonful> Take it away, take it away, I can’t believe I put that in my mouth!

MC: What? That was Karen Armstrong’s Homestyle Catbox Casserole! Everyone loves it. But then, it’s comfort food for the masses, I can understand how a discerning palate like yours would find it unsatisfactory. Here, I have something far more refined…

PZM: OK.

Wait. No. That reeks. I can’t even get within 10 feet of that slimy mess.

MC: I understand. It’s Anselm’s Ontoexcremental Pudding, and it is an acquired taste. We take thousand year old outhouse samples from an English monastery, let it ripen while passing philosophers make sporadic additions to it, and when it reaches a particularly high aroma, serve. It’s a poor excuse for a dish, much too old and much too overdone, and rather patently absurd. Of course you don’t like it. But I’ve been saving this next treat for a special customer…

PZM: OK.

No, just no. <Spits out unpleasant brown wad into his napkin>

MC: Ooops. That really is just the straight, undistilled stuff, Poop Tartar, from a recipe I got from Al Mohler. Baptist cooking isn’t to everyone’s taste, I understand. I should have known! You’re a scientist! I have exactly the thing for you!

PZM: OK.

Hmm. Looks like a cookie. <nibbles delicately at the edge> Ick. Tastes like shit.

MC: Exactly! It’s an Intelligently Processed Cow Pie! We take shit, run it through a cuisinart until all the texture is gone, pour it into a very sciencey beaker, and then microwave it until it’s a hot, bubbling, tarry goo, then we pour it onto a greased cookie sheet and bake it until we have a solid, perfectly circular disk of uniform shit! It’s very high tech. But you want character in your food, not just the same old thing you get at the Science Commissary, right?

PZM: OK.

A chocolate milkshake? Finally, something I can enjoy? <pause, then gagging/wretching noises<

MC: Lennox’s Fecal Frappé sometimes has that effect. Dreadful stuff. Apologies. I really should have served you the greatest dish in my entire restaurant from the very beginning. Try this delicious dessert, and bon appetit!

PZM: OK.

<plunges spoon into large quivering blob, it explodes, splattering the interior with flecks of slime and an impossibly vile stench.>

MC: Amazing, isn’t it? Hart’s Fart Pudding is one of our most expensive treats: we start with just the tiniest amount of prime poop, and then we whip and froth it up into this delicate airy confection with the voluminous gasses expelled from the digestive tract of a long-winded philosopher. Too light? Perhaps you would like to try some of our chewy D’Souza’s Dung Rolls…?

PZM: Uh, you know…do you have anything that doesn’t have shit in it?

MC: Well, there’s Miller’s Mud Balls, those don’t have much shit in them. Or Hedge’s Revenge. Spicy!

PZM: I think…I think maybe I’ll just pass on everything.

MC: What? That is an unethical position! How can you reject a meal without first tasting it? Every item on my menu is better than every other item on my menu, and I can keep churning out new shit recipes all the time. You have to shut up and keep shoveling!

PZM: Bye. I’ve learned enough.

MC: McGrath’s Mierda? Nürnberger Nuggets? Stone’s Scheiss Soup? Garrison’s Gut Goo? You can’t leave until you’ve tasted them all! Coward! You’ve only tasted the weakest of my fabulous foods!


Oh, no. It’s another Cothran, but the stupidity of the younger is indistinguishable from that of the elder.

Comments

  1. redwood says

    Having grown up a nominal Baptist, I remember Poop Tartar quite well. It was served in casseroles during the Fellowshit get-togethers, along with purple Kool-aid. What you have to understand, PZ, is that their shit don’t stink.

  2. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Now see, I didn’t feel like reading all the fecal material before breakfast, but here I am commenting anyhow.

    There was a YouTube video about charging an iPod using an onion. Many of the commenters kept insisting that there is no way to know that it wouldn’t work without actually trying it. (Say you did try it, and it didn’t work … maybe you just did it wrong.)

    Yeah, I watched a video one time, because it claimed to be the best evidence ever for UFOs. It was so screamingly bad that I am now a militant aUFOist.

  3. Sastra says

    What’s missing of course is what every diner at the Theology Cafe brings: a big appetite and a firm conviction that an ability to swallow whatever is on the menu is a sign of having a “refined” palate. It’s all supposed to be good for your heart.

    A very shitty satire, so to speak. Of course, what’s necessarily missing is the rational component of the smorgasbord — one horrible dish cannot actually contradict another horrible dish. But look at Plantinga — ‘if you don’t buy my Natural Theology apologetic then let’s go for the Presuppositional, which tells us to ignore Natural Theology.’

  4. says

    Perhaps we should insist on a comprehensive working knowledge of everything at TalkOrigins Archive (including the contents of its bibliographical references) before creationists even get started with their own ideas.

  5. Cuttlefish says

    They recycle their shit; I can recycle my responses:

    He claimed it was a goblet of the sweetest, purest wine
    But the first sip tastes like vinegar to me.
    He said, “but near the bottom there’s a sip that’s just divine—
    You may have to drink a lot of it to see.”
    He calls me narrow-minded cos I haven’t tried the rest
    Says my condemnation takes a lot of gall
    And he’s sure that there’s a sip in there that truly is the best
    Which I can’t deny until I’ve tried it all.
    It’s true, I haven’t tried it all, but gladly I’ll forego,
    Since the first sip only made me want to spit
    It might not all be vinegar—I guess I’ll never know—
    But the man himself is surely full of shit.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2012/01/27/on-adequate-sampling/

  6. Richard Smith says

    I think maybe I’ll just pass on everything.

    Arguably, that might possibly improve them…

  7. jamessweet says

    Yeah, so… I only read about half of that post. I think the point is well-demonstrated: After a certain point, I know it’s going to be more of the same, and the stuff so far was just so unpleasant, I don’t want to go any further.

    In other words: Damn, PZ, that was NASTY!

  8. Sastra says

    PZ’s satire reminded me of something I copied years ago from commenter DaveL:

    Atheists often find themselves doomed to repeating Monty Python’s Banana Sketch with apologists.

    “Have we done Ontological arguments?”

    “Yes”

    “St. Anselm’s? Kalam?”

    “Yes”

    “Ha! Plantinga’s!”

    “We’ve done Plantinga’s.”

    “I bet we haven’t done First Cause, though!”

    “Done it.”

    “Fine Tuning?”

    “Yes…”

    “Argument from Design?”

    “YES!”

    “Right… the Trilemma! We haven’t done the Trilemma!”

    “We did the Trilemma last week.”

    “I see. Well it’s obvious you’re all just too proud and closed minded, and can’t bear the idea of being held morally accountable.”

    “We’ve done that one too.”

    And on and on it goes. I have no need to post an exhaustive list of all the philosopher’s I’ve read to know there isn’t a decent argument out there for exactly the same reason I don’t have to scour the scientific literature for the last 100 years to know we haven’t yet developed faster-than-light space travel, and for the same reason I don’t have to read every newspaper on the planet to know alien spacecraft did not land at the U.N. today. That kind of thing would be kind of important, and could not possibly be allowed by theists to rest in obscurity.

  9. brianpansky says

    kierkegaard is…the ultimate intellectual you silly atheists like to PRETEND does not exist!

  10. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Distaste is da best taste!

    Good on ya, PZ!

  11. David Marjanović says

    I have a face cramp!

    kierkegaard is…the ultimate intellectual you silly atheists like to PRETEND does not exist!

    …You’re kidding, right?

  12. Bubba J Tarandfeathered says

    PZM while enjoying these gastronomic delicacies did you by chance ask the waiter to bring you a Bucket?

  13. brianpansky says

    @21
    David Marjanović

    i was doing an impression.

    but i have seen people say similar things.

  14. says

    POPPER! KIERKEGAARD!
    I get the distinct impression that most of the people that invoke the name of various philosophers have very little knowledge of what they have actually written, and even less of those critical of their ideas. They often think it is enough to let everyone know someone had these thoughts without the realization that does not make their work correct or unassailable.

  15. Arren ›‹ neverbound says

    This was an entertaining post! Unlike jamessweet, I found the exhaustive length part of the joke.

    brianpansky,

    Kierkegaard deserves better than you’re giving him.

  16. brianpansky says

    @27
    Arren ›‹ neverbound

    brianpansky,

    Kierkegaard deserves better than you’re giving him.

    that’s a bit vague, what exactly did i do?

    i’m guessing you mean to say he doesn’t belong on the same list as the people PZ referred to? or that when people invoke him in similar ways, that it is different somehow?

    if so, in what way? could you expand on that thought a little?

  17. Wylann says

    martin@25:
    And you do exactly what you accuse PZ of….that is, you don’t actually address the point, as noted by Coyne, etc. If you insist on proving PZ’s point, then you succeeded. Well done.

  18. says

    Yeah, that’s Cothran all right: never making a clear point, always ducking and dodging to avoid being lucid.

    He’s a creationist, a right-wing nutcase, and proponent of patriarchal organizations who is so ashamed of who he is that he constantly denies it.

  19. Sastra says

    Martin Cothran link at #25 contains at least one significant correction: he did not write the article in the link — his son Thomas did.

    Ok. Fair point. PZ should fix that.

  20. nich says

    @25:

    Holy shit man. A review of the byline of every damn post since last fall shows that only one article was written by Junior, the post above. I think PZ can be forgiven for assuming that fucking waste of time your equally stupid son cross posted from his equally shitty blog was written by you. Given that the article is probably in keeping with your POV and that you chose to host it at your stupid fucking blog, I think you can do more than just play Ron fucking Paul and yell “It wasn’t me! It was my contributors!”

    And now after having scanned his godawful blog, I need to go bleach the homophobia from my eyes.

  21. martincothran says

    Gee, I haven’t been insulted like that since third grade. In fact, I would suggest some remedial insult training. It might raise the sophistication level of the comment section here, which, obviously wouldn’t take much to do.

    So I’m still a “creationist”? Even thought I’m explicitly not one? I don’t suppose you have any proof of this assertion.

    Oh, wait. I forgot. Evidence and valid argumentation is something we only ask theists for. We don’t have to employ it ourselves.

    Never mind.

  22. Jeff Wunder says

    Martin: These kids haven’t advanced beyond that level and probably never will. Thanks for the links PZ.

  23. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Also, since Kierkegaard was mentioned in this thread, I am obliged to plug
    @KimKierkegaard: The philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard mashed with the tweets and observations of Kim Kardashian.

  24. zenlike says

    Hey Martin,

    Still working at the Discovery Institute?

    Why do you work at an institution whose only goal is to push creationism if you are “clearly not a creationist”?

  25. Alex the Pretty Good says

    You should have gone for the Crunchy Frog or the Spring Surprise.

    Lovely description of the awful reworking of awfulness that defines the “case for gawd” camp.

  26. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Oh, for the love of dog, Cothran. The byline of the post was ‘way down at the bottom, lost in a bunch of other text, and not to be expected in any way. But the criticism of PZ centers on the confused authorship, not on what he wrote.

    If you have a unique and unexpected event, and you don’t refer to it in any way, you can’t slag people for missing it. Re-read PZ’s post, insert “‘s blog” at the appropriate places, and address the fricking ideas.

    You sponsored the post. Fucking own it.

  27. martincothran says

    Zenlike,

    When did I “work at the Discovery Institute”? Do you take how to make things up lessons from PZ?

  28. martincothran says

    Manyambal,

    Maybe you could enlighten me on the “argument” you allege is in P.Z.’s post. Maybe you could set it forth in syllogistic form. I tried and can’t find one. You use whatever occult method you have of deriving an argument from a post that doesn’t contain one and I’ll answer it. I suggest not looking in the fictional dialogue part, which not only contains no argument, but isn’t even vaguely coherent.

    Let me know what you find.

  29. zenlike says

    Wow, you can’t find the argument in the OP?

    When will we learn? We’re constantly told that this book or that book is the very best argument for god ever made, and then we read it, and it’s awful and the same old noise.

    Really, it’s that simple.

    I feel sorry for the kids you teach ‘logic’ to, or whatever your day-job is.

  30. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You use whatever occult method you have of deriving an argument from a post that doesn’t contain one and I’ll answer it

    And your non-presuppositional “argument” is where? You presupposition that your imaginary designer exists is not an argument, but rather an axiom. An argument would be citations to the peer reviewed scientific literature backing up your drivel.

  31. martincothran says

    Zenlike,

    You call that an argument? Seriously? Do you know the difference between an argument and an assertion? Maybe you could tell me what the conclusion is. And while your at it, give me the major and minor premises. I’d give yourself a little time on this one.

  32. zenlike says

    Yes yes, you are a logic teacher, we know. No I didn’t mean ‘argument’ like in logical theory. Next.

  33. martincothran says

    Nich,

    You might want to take part in the remedial insult training I may be forced to offer so I don’t have to cringe every time I have to endure bad manners masquerading as insults from atheists. So because another blog carries my post(s), I am “working for them”?

    Boy, the level of logical inference around here is something to behold.

    There are lots of blogs that carry my posts. Some I probably don’t even know about. The ones I do I’ll even mention on my own blog sometimes. I didn’t know I was “working for” all these people.

  34. martincothran says

    Nerd of redhead,

    You seem to be addressing some argument I made about a designer. Could you point me to where I made this argument so I know what you are referring to? Or are you making stuff up too?

  35. anteprepro says

    Do you know the difference between an argument and an assertion? Maybe you could tell me what the conclusion is. And while your at it, give me the major and minor premises. I’d give yourself a little time on this one.

    Somebody wants to be spoonfed an argument, and also wants to pretend they are smug, pretentious philosopher-type? At the same time? Fascinating.

    Just another day in religious apologetics. Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dogma.

  36. zenlike says

    So Marty, you are denying any ties whatsoever with the Discovery Institute and Evolutionnews? They just reprinted your posts without your permission?

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You seem to be addressing some argument I made about a designer.

    You make nothing but presup arguments if you work for the DI fuckwits, meaning you are one yourself. If you don’t show scientific evidence to back up your “philosophy” or it is nothing but mental masturbation by a fuckwit.

  38. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Martin Cothran, MY argument is that you posted a guest post on your blog, for the first time, with the byline hidden well below the end of the post, and no reference to the visitor. Both you and the guest author START with slamming PZ for missing the authorship, and you continue hammering that point.

    You should be apologizing for your error. It was your fault, and your problem. You don’t need a big apology, just a quiet acknowledgment, and move on. You wouldn’t even need that if you hadn’t based your response on PZ’s understandable confusion.

    Now, PZ’s argument is that you missed the point of Coyne’s article, where he comes right out and says he’s not discussing the book, but the ideas that others have promoted, and the general theological approach to defending theology.

    You, Martin Cothran, cannot read for shit. You also rely too much on use of the few big words you have picked up. You certainly cannot format your blog for beans.

    Apologize for the authorship mess, or admit that you are not dealing honestly here.

  39. martincothran says

    Zenlike,

    I didn’t mean ‘argument’ like in logical theory.

    Lol. So what kind of argument are we talking about here? What other “theory” covers arguments? Do you get them from interpretive dance? Could I go to truck driving school and learn about them? Could you give me an example of an argument that is from somewhere else than “logic theory”?

    And where are may major and minor premises? I’m still waiting.

  40. Sastra says

    @martincothran and/or @ Thomas Cothran:

    Both Jerry Coyne and PZ Myers wrote posts to point out that the God hypothesis is poorly formed and is either wrong and/or incoherent. Shifting back to the Ground of Being or “the condition of the possibility of anything existing at all” eliminates necessary attributes of God (that is, it must be connected to inherent mental aspect(s) (intelligence, agency, justice, awareness, intention, ‘love’) or there’s no reason to abandon naturalism.)

    Maybe you could enlighten us on what you mean by God, how we can know it exists, and how we can correct ourselves if it were to turn out we are mistaken.

  41. Thomas Cothran says

    Menyambal,

    I am listed as a co-contributor on the front page, and Vital Remnants has a number of posts by me. It’s completely false that this was the “first time” I’ve posted there.

    The general disregard for the truth on this blog makes Matt Drudge look like a cautious, exacting journalist.

  42. zenlike says

    ar·gu·ment
    noun \ˈär-gyə-mənt\

    : a statement or series of statements for or against something

    : a discussion in which people express different opinions about something

    : an angry disagreement

  43. Thomas Cothran says

    Oh, and PZ, I’m not an intelligent design creationist. I’ve written repeatedly, publicly, and vehemently against both creationism and intelligent design as both bad science and bad theology.

    You really should just set up a timeline of the factual errors and corrections on this post, because it’s hard to keep track.

  44. says

    To: The Cothrans

    Give me a good reason to go read your blogs. You’re not a creationists, so are you scientists? What do you study? PZ has accused you each of being a meta-apologists for creationism. Is that false? You come here howling about a bit of dung being thrown as you, but you do know that the excrement was just a metaphor for not having any real arguments for the existence of god, right?

  45. Thomas Cothran says

    “Shifting back to the Ground of Being or ‘the condition of the possibility of anything existing at all” eliminates necessary attributes of God (that is, it must be connected to inherent mental aspect(s) (intelligence, agency, justice, awareness, intention, ‘love’).”

    Sastra, on the classical account, part of the reason for the attributes you list is that God is the Ground of Being. See, e.g., the theory of the transcendentals.

  46. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Thomas Cothran! Your dad just misspelled my name, and I did not say fuck about it.

    Now focus on the important issues. One of which is now the fact that your name was not clearly attached to a guest post on another’s blog, yet you two have been squalling over PZ’s missing that, instead of apologizing for your error and moving on.

  47. Thomas Cothran says

    Changerofbits,

    Don’t read blogs. Read books. For theistic arguments, try some E.L. Mascall for an introduction, then move on to the more advanced forms. For serious atheism, read Nietzsche (my personal favorite) on the literary side and J.L. Mackie for a more analytic approach. The really cool atheist stuff (e.g., Heidegger, Deleuze, and Badiou) requires a substantial philosophical (and often mathematical) background.

    You shouldn’t be reading blogs if you’re not reading books. In general, look for classics, stuff that’s been peer-reviewed, and stuff that’s published by the better university presses.

  48. Sastra says

    Thomas Cothran #67 wrote:

    Sastra, on the classical account, part of the reason for the attributes you list is that God is the Ground of Being. See, e.g., the theory of the transcendentals.

    Why would the concept of being or existence have to have mental attributes? It is not incoherent to imagine a universe in which no minds evolved — and in which no minds were involved.

    I am not particularly interested in a description of medieval theories. I am more interested in the claim itself.

  49. Thomas Cothran says

    Menyambal,

    Are you asking me to apologize for P.Z. Myers not reading the byline on the post, which was right at the end. OK. I’m sorry P.Z. Myers didn’t read the post through to the end, and I will do my best to encourage him to be a more careful reader.

  50. Thomas Cothran says

    Menyambal,

    I think you’re onto something. Apologizing for P.Z. Myers’ mistakes is fun, and there’s so much material to work with!

  51. says

    Really, people, arguing with the Cothrans is not much different than arguing with that slimy presuppositionalist, Sye Ten Bruggencate: they all hold ridiculous beliefs and love to hide behind dodgy philosophy to avoid actually coming right out with a straightforward statement.

  52. Thomas Cothran says

    Sastra,

    What I’m trying to get across is that the notion of God as the ground of being is, within the structure of classical theism, connected with “attributes” such as justice, goodness, etc. (These predicated as mental attributes by classical theists.)

    You would, I assume, disagree with the entirety of that structure, but you might as well be familiar with it. The best books around that set this out clearly are E.L. Mascall’s “He Who Is” and “Existence and Analogy”. I doubt they would convince you, but they would help focus your critique and clarify your disagreements with theism.

  53. anteprepro says

    You don’t understand, you guys. Martin is an apologist for intelligent design! He is an apologist for anti-science! Because science is just religion, except listening to authorities in lab coats instead of “cassocks” (see the article Martin first linked too). PHILOSOPHY!

    But since Martin obviously doesn’t want to talk about this subject, here are some other subjects where he might not waffle!

    “Cold weather isn’t consistent with global warming, ya sillies!!”
    “Grr…Late term abortions”
    Christian superiority over Muslims, and how those filthy Muslims will riot over any ol’ thing.
    “Screw gay rights, won’t somebody weep for the poor bigots!?”
    “Romney lost because he wasn’t conservative enough! MORE CONSERVATISM!!!”
    “Natural selection, how the fuck does it work?”
    “Humans write books, ergo we aren’t animals! Checkmate science!”

  54. Sastra says

    PZ #75 wrote:

    … they all hold ridiculous beliefs and love to hide behind dodgy philosophy to avoid actually coming right out with a straightforward statement.

    We’ll see.

    Presuppositionalism is in its own category. I suspect the Cothrans will hotly deny any personal sympathy for presupps.

  55. Thomas Cothran says

    PZ,

    How’s this for a clear statement. In response to your claim I am an “intelligent design creationist,” here is an excerpt from a short article I wrote on ID theory.

    “ID theorists are guilty of procedural errors, and the scientific community has already focused on the specific scientific errors…. ID as an intellectual movement has its essence in ontological ambiguity and methodological error.”

    I’m pretty sure that if I just stated the opposite of your claims, I would be right the vast majority of the time.

  56. Sastra says

    Thomas Cochran #76 wrote:

    What I’m trying to get across is that the notion of God as the ground of being is, within the structure of classical theism, connected with “attributes” such as justice, goodness, etc. (These predicated as mental attributes by classical theists.)

    Yes, I know. I wasn’t arguing that it was “new.” Perhaps my question wasn’t clear. I’m interested in the claim itself, asserted as true.

    Maybe it would help if you told me what you mean by God, how we can know it exists, and how we can correct ourselves if it were to turn out we are mistaken?

  57. anteprepro says

    The Cothrans strike me as the kind of people who would give a failing grade on exams if a circle wasn’t filled all the way in, or if you mistakenly used the British spelling of “color”. Who cares about the big issues when you can endlessly quibble about miniscule details and inconsequential missteps?

  58. anteprepro says

    You shouldn’t be reading blogs if you aren’t reading books

    That may have been the most condescending unsolicited advice I have ever seen. Kudos.

    Here’s my advice to you: You shouldn’t be commenting on blogs if you are such an expert on everything. Go write a textbook on The Truth About Everything, publish it, educate the public with your brilliance, get rich and famous, and leave us plebs the fuck alone. K thnx.

  59. redwood says

    Okay, let me see if I’ve got this straight:

    PZ: Martin Cothran criticizes Jerry Coyne for commenting on a book he’s never read, but Coyne didn’t actually comment on the book, just ideas similar to it.

    MC: That wasn’t me who wrote that article.

    PZ: Oh, Thoma Cothran wrote the article.

    TC: My name is Thomas.

    MC: Where’s the “argument”? You guys are so stupid.

    HORDE: Aren’t you guys going to respond to PZ’s comment about Coyne saying he was not writing about the book? Aren’t you going to respond to PZ’s assertion that apologists just come up the same old shit assertions over and over? Did you just come here to whine?

  60. Nick Gotts says

    From a piece by Martin Cothran on the Discovery Institute’s website*.

    ID is science insofar as irreducible complexity and other similar arguments are part of it, and unfalsifiable insofar as they are not. Jones knows this, but wants to have his cake and eat it anyway.

    If opponents of ID want to hold irreducible complexity against ID, then they will have to abandon their argument that ID is not science. And if they want to preserve their argument that ID is not science, they will have to stop using arguments against irreducible complexity against ID.

    This is complete tripe. The fact that a belief system contains some falsifiable elements does not make it science. If it did, astrology would be science, since it predicts that specific planets will move into specific parts of the zodiac at specific times – predictions which could be falsified by observation. ID is not science, not because it contains nothing falsifiable, but because it is not a genuine search for the truth, because it systematically misrepresents biological facts, the state of scientific debate, and the motivation of its own proponents (or rather, cdesign proponentsists), and because it inspires no useful research. It is religion dishonestly masquerading as science in an attempt to evade legal restrictions on religious instruction in American public schools.

    *Which of course does’t mean that he is in any way associated with the DI, far from it – no doubt the process that led to his writing appearing there is irreducibly complex, and therefore cannot be explained except by supernatural intervention.

  61. markd555 says

    He’s not a “creationist”.
    He does not -*”work”*- for the Discovery institute.
    He will never actually say any of his views or status, only deny everything on technical bases.
    But he’s sure you are wrong – he can’t be because he will say nothing. Not even his own views.

    They are apologists both personally and professionally, saying nothing, denying everything.

  62. Rob Grigjanis says

    Martin Cothran’s respect for logic in a nutshell, or, Ruminations on a Winter’s Day in Kentucky;

    This is the curious logic of the global warming crowd: Warm weather is evidence for global warming and cold weather is evidence for global warming. In fact, any weather can be interpreted as evidence for global warming.

    And if I ever get confused by this logic, I just remember what the dormouse said.

    Really, that’s the full depth of his argument. A curious, intelligent ten-year-old would see the problem with this. I suspect Martin sees it as well, clever as he obviously is. So, dishonest hack, or ignoramus? All of a sudden, I’ve lost interest.

  63. anteprepro says

    Okay, so: Thomas’s article about this doubles down on “Coyne is criticizing something he hasn’t read!” and also links to an old article, criticizing PZ for not being familiar with terms relevant to the metaphysics of Aristotle . The very first one being relevant to the Aristotle’s tremendously outdated concept of “matter” and “form”. That’s a defense ? To anyone even vaguely aware of Aristotle, philosophy, and actual science, that should be invitation to disregard that nonsense entirely. It is an argument based on what we know to be a flawed model of reality . For fuck’s sake.

    And regarding PZ “not reading” and Coyne “not reading”….the original article (emphasis mine):

    The book is The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss, and although I haven’t yet read it (believe me, I will, and have ordered it) I posted a critique of Damon Linker’s blurb for the book that appeared in The Week magazine.

    Another encomium has just arrived for Hart’s book, this time from Oliver Burkeman, who writes at the Guardian that The Experience of God is “The one theology book all atheists really should read.”

    Oh my! Right at the start of the article, Coyne makes it clear that he is talking about REVIEWS of the book. Not the book. Whooops! And all of the mentions he makes to Hart, and Hart’s arguments, always also tend to mention Burkeman. Because he is criticizing Hart’s arguments only insofar as he is aware of them through Burkeman’s review .

    So what was all that about reading again, Cochrans?

  64. anteprepro says

    For the crowd, I thought this exchange was amusing.

    Thomas (definitely not Martin, totally Thomas, very important to note that it is Thomas) states at the end of the article:

    Just as Christian theism is not discredited by Pat Robertson, so atheism is not discredited by Jerry Coyne.

    An audience member bleats:

    Just curious: not that I am an adherent of Pat Robertson, though as a businessman he cuts a wide swath here in Virginia Beach… but did he say anything about apologetics to warrant his becoming your bad example?

    Thomas replies:

    Thank you. I mostly said that because he was specifically used as an example by Jerry Coyne in the article (or in one of his articles). If you think it’s not the most apt comparison, you’re right, but nothing better crossed my mind at the time.

    Joel Olsteen maybe? Even that’s unfair.

    Isn’t that precious? Two beweibers having Sophist’s Remorse about using Pat Robertson as a “bad example” and failing to think of any reasons why Pat Robertson could be “bad” enough at logic to be considered comparable to Coyne. Absolutely adorable. It’s like they don’t even care. So detached from facts and reality. No news. No google searches. No perspective. Just an utter lack of concern and indifference towards anything but their own ability to claim that they are Right.

  65. anteprepro says

    (Also: Just realized I said “Cochran” instead of “Cothran” in 88. Just a brainfart, sorry)

  66. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m pretty sure that if I just stated the opposite of your claims, I would be right the vast majority of the time.

    You are wrong 100% of the time if you don’t support your claims with scientific evidence. Gee, wonder why you don’t? Maybe you’re nothing but a presuppostional delusional fool with a trace of third party evidence to back up their claims. Which is what is commonly called a liar and bullshitter.

  67. anteprepro says

    One last one from the Martin’s Great Restaurant of The Ineffable Divinity :
    “Homophobia is totally over you guys!”

    As it turns out, Paige’s announcement was loudly cheered by the crowd and that media reports were universally and lavishly glowing and that if there was anything thrown on stage, it would have been flowers. It also turns out that this happens virtually any time anyone announces he or she is gay anytime, anywhere, without exception and that if people aren’t particularly excited about someone’s announcement that he or she is gay they politely keep it to themselves and don’t bother anyone and that negative public reactions to such news are virtually nonexistent.

    (Speaking of getting names wrong: It is Ellen Page, not Paige)

    So now we go back to PZ’s original point: Exactly how much a person’s bullshit do we have to sample before we are “logically” entitled to say “I think I have a good idea of the quality of product you are serving here” and walk out the door?

  68. martincothran says

    Let’s see, where do I start? We’ve got the people who just can’t let go of the fact that they were wrong about me being an “Intelligent Design creationist.”

    Zenlike asks, “So Marty, you are denying any ties whatsoever with the Discovery Institute and Evolutionnews? They just reprinted your posts without your permission?” So we started with “working for,” found out that that was false and now we’ve backed down to “ties with.”

    I don’t know what that means, but I do know people there. I also gave them my permission to run my blog posts–Just like I would let any other blog run my posts. If Panda’s Thumb wanted to run my posts I’d give them permission to run them too. Strangely, I’ve just never gotten that call.

    But I really don’t think a guilt by association argument is what Zenlike needs here.

    The best thing Zenlike has been able to dig up (he sure put a lot of effort into it) is a post Discovery ran from my blog wherein I criticized the Dover decision for the reasoning Judge Jones employed in the section on whether ID constituted science. I pointed out that the reasoning stinks.

    For one thing, the sole criterion he employed was Popper’s falsifiability criterion, a criterion that no competent philosopher of science would say was dispositive in demarcating science from nonscience. In fact, P.Z. just recently made this very same point, which I remarked on on my blog. I pointed out how ironic it was that while even many atheists rejected the falsifiability criterion, they still cheered the Dover decision despite the fact that it employed it as the sole reason for rejecting ID as science.

    But more to the point here is that Zenlike seems to think he can infer from the fact that I criticized the argument against ID in Dover that I must must agree with ID altogether, assuming that if I reject a particular argument against a position, I must support that position. I think Zenlike should think about that for a minute. I’m confident that if he does, he’ll see the problem.

    I have criticized the arguments against ID not because I agree with ID, but because the arguments are stupid arguments–and to point out the bad reasoning we’re all supposed to accept in defense of Darwinism. Evolutionists don’t do their case any good by using shoddy reasoning in defense of their position. If you want to shake your pom-poms, fine. Just don’t try to pass it off as good reasoning.

    I don’t take a position on the development of life because I’m not a scientist. I’m a Catholic so I have no particular dog in the fight and I’m not really interested in the question of how old the earth is or the mechanism by which we all got here. It makes absolutely no difference to my worldview. I am interested in the arguments people make on the issue and I’ve criticized both sides for not making very good ones.

    I’ve said that creationists are dogmatists, but at least they admit it. Many evolutionists (not all) are dogmatists too (as evidenced by the poor reasoning they’re willing to tolerate as long as it supports their position), the only difference being that they don’t admit it.

  69. martincothran says

    Changerofbits,

    Give me a good reason to go read your blogs. Who said I wanted you to come to my blog? In fact, I recommend against it. The atheists who comment on my blog have to meet a higher standard than your probably used to.

  70. martincothran says

    Nerd of Redhead,

    Maybe you’re nothing but a presuppostional delusional fool.

    Now I’m a presuppositionalist too? Lol. I’m sure you have about the same amount of evidence for that as for the allegation that I’m a creationist, which is to say, none at all.

  71. martincothran says

    Anteprepro:

    So now we go back to PZ’s original point: Exactly how much a person’s bullshit do we have to sample before we are “logically” entitled to say “I think I have a good idea of the quality of product you are serving here” and walk out the door?

    Oh, so is this P.Z.’s elusive “argument”? First you have to explain why you think it’s bull ****. Just calling it that doesn’t make it so. I was under the impression that the commenters on this blog though evidence was important. I would suggest producing some.

  72. brianpansky says

    @98
    martincothran

    I was under the impression that the commenters on this blog though evidence was important.

    O__________O

    yes.

    we do.

    that’s what is missing from the bullshit PZ pointed out.

  73. ChasCPeterson says

    For serious atheism, read Nietzsche (my personal favorite) on the literary side and J.L. Mackie for a more analytic approach. The really cool atheist stuff (e.g., Heidegger, Deleuze, and Badiou) requires a substantial philosophical (and often mathematical) background.

    I wish I knew enough mathematics to understand the really cool atheism.
    Hey, who’s your favorite sophist?

    The atheists who comment on my blog have to meet a higher standard than your probably used to

    can they spell?

  74. zenlike says

    93 martincothran

    I already apologised for saying you ‘worked’ there. But still, that’s going top be the main point of your rebuttal? Yawn.

    OK, so you are not a creationist(*). You just know a lot of people at DI. You are also don’t have an opinion on evolution. So what do you believe in? Nothing? That seems to be the case, or at least, that’s the picture you are trying to paint. So tell me, why should anyone engage with you if you have no opinion whatsoever on the subject?

    If I know nothing of a subject, guess what, I shut my mouth about it. Or ask questions to learn more about it if it interests me.

    But not you: you bask in you ignorance of the subject, are proud that you are learning nothing more about it, but still you spout your opinion about it.

    Congratulations.

    (*) For any who doubts, go read his blogpost I linked to in #58 and tell me that didn’t use all the ID buzzwords.

  75. Snoof says

    For serious atheism, read Nietzsche (my personal favorite) on the literary side and J.L. Mackie for a more analytic approach. The really cool atheist stuff (e.g., Heidegger, Deleuze, and Badiou) requires a substantial philosophical (and often mathematical) background.

    So… which of your beliefs would you say were formed by reading Nietzsche? Please be clear, concise and specific.

    How about Mackie? Heidegger? Deleuze? Badiou?

    Or are you just going to namedrop and expect us to be impressed?

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Lol. I’m sure you have about the same amount of evidence for that as for the allegation that I’m a creationist, which is to say, none at all.

    Your words are evidence against you, the words not back up by citations. Lie and bullshit all you want. You don’t impress me as being anything other than a bullshitter.

  77. Anri says

    martincothran @ 93:

    I don’t take a position on the development of life because I’m not a scientist. I’m a Catholic so I have no particular dog in the fight and I’m not really interested in the question of how old the earth is or the mechanism by which we all got here. It makes absolutely no difference to my worldview. I am interested in the arguments people make on the issue and I’ve criticized both sides for not making very good ones.

    Do you eat modern food crops?
    Do you use modern medicine?
    Do you vote on legislation regarding the environment? Or for (or against) any politician or party that has an opinion on the environment?

    You do indeed have a dog in the fight with regards to the origin of life, and it does make a difference to your worldview, even if you are too ignorant or apathetic to believe so. Don’t believe me? Let’s try this one on for size: is the bible accurate about the Genesis Flood?

  78. Wylann says

    Don’t read blogs. Read books. For theistic arguments, try some E.L. Mascall for an introduction, then move on to the more advanced forms.

    I’m curious. Does this apply to believers as well? After all, they (you) are the ones actually attempting to make a positive assertion. All us poor deluded atheists are saying is that there is no more evidence for your god as any other of the thousands that humankind has invented.

    Of course, the majority of xians in the US (and probably around the world) and I would say the vast majority couldn’t name more than 3 philosophical apologists (and one of those would almost always include WLC, who really does serve up some tripe), and certainly couldn’t put together a positive philosophical argument for their religion.

    I wonder why it is that the ones making the claim are always trying to shift the burden to disproof instead of presenting this fantastic evidence that would convert us all??

  79. Nick Gotts says

    The best thing Zenlike has been able to dig up (he sure put a lot of effort into it) is a post Discovery ran from my blog wherein I criticized the Dover decision for the reasoning Judge Jones employed in the section on whether ID constituted science. I pointed out that the reasoning stinks.

    For one thing, the sole criterion he employed was Popper’s falsifiability criterion, a criterion that no competent philosopher of science would say was dispositive in demarcating science from nonscience. – martincothran@93

    However, if we look at Cothran’s blogpost on the DI site, Two Years after Dover Intelligent Design Trial Darwinists, Like Judge Jones, Still Want to Have It Both Ways we find the following (which I already quoted @85):

    ID is science insofar as irreducible complexity and other similar arguments are part of it, and unfalsifiable insofar as they are not. Jones knows this, but wants to have his cake and eat it anyway.

    If opponents of ID want to hold irreducible complexity against ID, then they will have to abandon their argument that ID is not science. And if they want to preserve their argument that ID is not science, they will have to stop using arguments against irreducible complexity against ID.

    So Cothran was not, contrary to his claim@93, merely targeting Judge John Jones: he was aiming his argument specifically against “opponents of ID”. I’ll quote a little more, just to make this abundantly clear. The piece begins;

    The opponents of Intelligent Design have recently been trying to slither out of a logical dilemma they have created for themselves. Their problem is that they make two mutually exclusive claims: First that ID is not science, and, second, that ID makes false claims.

    The primary reason opponents say that ID is not science is because it doesn’t make falsifiable claims.

    So it’s not “Some opponents of Intelligent Design”, it’s “The opponents of Intelligent Design” [emphasis added]; and in the title of the piece, it’s “Darwinists”, although Cothran knows very well (as he showed@93) that it is not the case that Darwinists in general rely on the falsifiability criterion to distinguish science from pseudoscience:

    For one thing, the sole criterion he employed was Popper’s falsifiability criterion, a criterion that no competent philosopher of science would say was dispositive in demarcating science from nonscience. In fact, P.Z. just recently made this very same point, which I remarked on on my blog. I pointed out how ironic it was that while even many atheists rejected the falsifiability criterion, they still cheered the Dover decision despite the fact that it employed it as the sole reason for rejecting ID as science.

    So Cothran’s claim that he merely criticises poor arguments is disingenuous. I don’t know whether Judge Jones did use the falsifiability criterion as the only grounds on which he declared ID not to be science: I didn’t follow the trial closely, and given Cothran’s proven dishonesty in this very thread (as demonstrated in this comment), I’m certainly not going to take his word for it. But if he did, it would be abundantly clear that he reached the right conclusion for the wrong reason, because ID is pseudoscience, and not even pseudoscience its propagandists actually believe in, but simply a scam concocted in an attempt to get round the law. If Cothran had in any way objected to the DI publishing his material on their site, he would certainly have mentioned it by now; so we can say that he’s quite willing to lend whatever authority or prestige he has to this gang of liars.

  80. Wylann says

    Nick Gotts, great analysis. It’s also disingenuous to claim that it is science that “created the logical dilemma”. It’s ID that did so, by trying to claim it is science, but when asked about the methods of the design part of ID, postulate a bunch of mostly unfalsifiable propositions.

    Their problem is that they make two mutually exclusive claims: First that ID is not science, and, second, that ID makes false claims.

    This is not a problem for science, it is a problem for IDiots. They made a couple of falsifiable claims (IC, for one). The amusing thing is, they were falsified. Now we get to ask: what do we do with a falsified hypothesis/theory? :D The other claims, about the ‘designer’ are almost entirely unfalsifiable, and they know it, but that’s where they start ducking and dodging behind sophistry, like we see demonstrated here. (Thanks, Cochrans!)

  81. Thomas Cothran says

    Mr. “Snoof”

    What have I learned from the atheists I listed? A lot from Nietzsche: his notion of intellectual mummifications, his analysis of ressentiment, much of his critique of morality, the need for atheism not only to reject God but to reject the way Christianity has shaped our culture and moral grammar. His understanding of the impact of Christianity on classical culture is amazing. I could go on.

    As for Badiou, I like his concept of the “event”–though I don’t totally agree with it. I’m learning transfinite set theory to understand his mathematical ontology. I’m still (slowly) digesting Deleuze, but I like his critique of Kant’s transcendentals, his reading of Liebniz, and his interaction with physics and mathematics.

  82. anteprepro says

    First you have to explain why you think it’s bull ****. Just calling it that doesn’t make it so.

    I’m sorry, but I listed the myriad of different flavors of bullshit you like to peddle. That was quite enough for me. I am not obligated to educate you. I am not obligated to prove to you that your shit, does in fact, stink. Our goal isn’t to instruct you on why you are in error, because you seem quite invested in not learning and in denying. Our goal is the inform others of the quality of your cuisine. A restaurant review is to warn other customers of what kind of foods you are serving, not to convince a thick-headed restaurant owner of the error of their ways.

    If you are actually willing to learn, instead of just being the stubborn, disingenuous asshat you seem to be, then we will be glad to point out what is wrong with your logic. Because you are misguided on sooooo many subjects. Until then, bring on the crocodile tears.

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still not one iota of evidence to back up any claim by either Cothrans. If they don’t do BS, they need to cite the evidence to back up theirs claims, since they are wrong until they evidence themselves right. Otherwise, they provide prima facie evidence that it is BS with nothing but dodging and goalpost shifting. Funny how godbots, creobots, and IDiots just offer nothing but what amounts to handwaving BS.

  84. Thomas Cothran says

    Oh, I forgot Heidegger. Heidegger was for a time by far my favorite philosopher. He’s still up there.

  85. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    How has no one linked to this bit about philosophers? Makes more sense than the smug assholery being shown by the Cothrans.

  86. anteprepro says

    It’s really such a brilliant, flawless strategy: Hiding behind other people’s books in order to avoid having arguments or positions of your own. It’s like trying to debate a wikipedia page by reading all the pages that it links to, and all the pages those pages link to, and only being able to say you “beat” that wikipedia page once you have no new lnks to click through. Victory through time consumption. The lazy man’s Gish Gallop.

  87. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    And I should have refreshed after listening to the whole thing. Not to mention the time spent looking it up. Sorry, Daz. My bad.

  88. anteprepro says

    The fact that you both linked to it means I am going to have to definitely watch the video when I get home!

  89. says

    It is not that the Cochranes are in favor AND against evolution. Being the responsible secular authorities they are, they merely are “Teaching the Controversy” (TM)(R)(Patent Pending).

  90. Sastra says

    martincothran #93 wrote:

    I don’t take a position on the development of life because I’m not a scientist. I’m a Catholic so I have no particular dog in the fight and I’m not really interested in the question of how old the earth is or the mechanism by which we all got here. It makes absolutely no difference to my worldview. I am interested in the arguments people make on the issue and I’ve criticized both sides for not making very good ones.

    So you don’t ‘take a position’ on the evolution vs. ID creationism dispute because you’re not a scientist? But you’re a philosopher, Catholic or not. I find it difficult to believe that you could enmesh yourself in the arguments from both sides and care nothing about the truth of the issue, only whether the different ‘dogs’ have been well trained.

    I’ve criticized the winning strategy in Dover myself, since iirc the compromise was an accomodationist one which emphasized the religious nature of ID over the pseudoscience. But I did so because I cared about the truth of the matter, not as someone scoring points.

    Tell me — what sort of evidence would make a difference to your “worldview,” by which I assume you mean Catholicism and/or theism. Can you conceive of a theoretical possibility that you might be wrong, and if so that you’d want to change your mind and ought be able to do so? Or is that also academic, a worldview seen from eyes that go beyond even God’s to reach a disinterested state of nonduality?

  91. anteprepro says

    s a post Discovery ran from my blog wherein I criticized the Dover decision for the reasoning Judge Jones employed in the section on whether ID constituted science. I pointed out that the reasoning stinks.

    For one thing, the sole criterion he employed was Popper’s falsifiability criterion, a criterion that no competent philosopher of science would say was dispositive in demarcating science from nonscience. In fact, P.Z. just recently made this very same point, which I remarked on on my blog. I pointed out how ironic it was that while even many atheists rejected the falsifiability criterion, they still cheered the Dover decision despite the fact that it employed it as the sole reason for rejecting ID as science.

    Surprisingly, amazingly, this is also bullshit.

    From fucking Wikipedia:

    For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the religious nature of ID [intelligent design] would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child. (page 24)
    A significant aspect of the IDM [intelligent design movement] is that despite Defendants’ protestations to the contrary, it describes ID as a religious argument. In that vein, the writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity. (page 26)
    The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism. (page 31)
    The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory. (page 43)
    Throughout the trial and in various submissions to the Court, Defendants vigorously argue that the reading of the statement is not ‘teaching’ ID but instead is merely ‘making students aware of it.’ In fact, one consistency among the Dover School Board members’ testimony, which was marked by selective memories and outright lies under oath, as will be discussed in more detail below, is that they did not think they needed to be knowledgeable about ID because it was not being taught to the students. We disagree. …. an educator reading the disclaimer is engaged in teaching, even if it is colossally bad teaching. …. Defendants’ argument is a red herring because the Establishment Clause forbids not just ‘teaching’ religion, but any governmental action that endorses or has the primary purpose or effect of advancing religion. (footnote 7 on page 46)
    After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. …It is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research. Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena. (page 64) [for "contrived dualism", see false dilemma.]
    [T]he one textbook [Pandas] to which the Dover ID Policy directs students contains outdated concepts and flawed science, as recognized by even the defense experts in this case. (pages 86–87)
    ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. (page 89)
    Accordingly, we find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause. (page 132)
    [...]
    The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy. With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

    Wow, it’s almost like there is more to the argument than “ID is falsifiable therefore not science therefore not able to be taught in schools”. Amazing! But that means that a Cothran is w-w-w-wrong! Unheard of!

  92. raven says

    Martin Cothran being incoherent:

    martincothran #93 wrote:

    I don’t take a position on the development of life because I’m not a scientist. I’m a Catholic so I have no particular dog in the fight and I’m not really interested in the question of how old the earth is or the mechanism by which we all got here. It makes absolutely no difference to my worldview. I am interested in the arguments people make on the issue and I’ve criticized both sides for not making very good ones.

    This guy contradicts himself.

    1. He isn’t a scientist so he doesn’t know anything about biology, astronomy, cosmology, geology, or paleontology.

    2. “and I’ve criticized both sides for not making very good ones.”

    3, But he knows several million scientists over 2 centuries have made “not very good (arguments) ones.”

    This is incoherent. It’s also wrong. The amount of data scientists have gathered about the universe literally fills many huge libraries. Scientists don’t just make arguments or have beliefs. Beliefs are not a virture. They find out, collect data, and then they know.

    It’s also disingenuous at best and more like voluntary ignorance. He could learn something about it. This is easy stuff, taught in grade and high schools in part and availabe to anyone who can read and check books out of the library. Or with a working internet connection.

    When I need or want to know something, I go and learn it like any functioning literate adult. I’ve been doing this since I was 2 years old. At one time, I was unable to dress myself or tie my shoes but I did learn those tasks and moved on from there.

  93. raven says

    For one thing, the sole criterion he employed was Popper’s falsifiability criterion, a criterion that no competent philosopher of science would say was dispositive in demarcating science from nonscience.

    1. This is just a bunch of lies strung together.

    2. In point of fact, philosophers of science say falsibility divides science from pseudoscience all the time. And they were at Dover saying this.

    3. That wasn’t the only problem with ID creationism. It isn’t even a xian fallacy, it is a cult xian idea that even most xians worldwide reject.

    ID creationism is a religious belief and that is what Jones ruled on. You can’t teach your cult religious beliefs as science in our kid’s public school science classes.

  94. says

    @94 I just wanted a reason to read it, not necessarily to participate. I generally only grace the more well established blogs with my participation (how’s that for condescending?). I do like to read what people write on their blogs; to challenge perspective and all that. But, as you and your son have stated directly in your responses, you don’t really want people to read your blog. Rest assured that my eyes won’t read one more word you care to write.

  95. says

    OT

    I apologize for this OT but this quote from the Monty Python video linked above in #120 by Ogvorbis is just too good:

    American beer is a little like making love in a canoe: it’s fucking close to water.

  96. says

    So basically correcting one first name with another (and correcting a spelling mistake after that on your own first name) are “corrections [that] keep rolling in”?
    Man… you don’t need a lot do you?

    (I think I’ve read everything on this thread but if I missed other corrections I apologize for this post)

  97. Rey Fox says

    Being the responsible secular authorities they are, they merely are “Teaching the Controversy” (TM)(R)(Patent Pending).

    They certainly seem like the craven have-cake-and-eat-it-too type. Or maybe the “I didn’t say anything about cake, even though I’ve appeared in advertisements for the bakery” type.

  98. Nick Gotts says

    anteprepro@127,

    Thanks for that. So Martin Cothran’s claim, of Judge Jones, that:

    For one thing, the sole criterion he employed was Popper’s falsifiability criterion

    was just a barefaced lie. No wonder he finds the Dishonesty Institute website a congenial setting for his writing!

  99. nich says

    Disingenuous Twerp@51:

    You have to be the phoniest fucking bag of vinegary douche I’ve come across in quite some time. You remind me of nasty little frat boys who coat themselves in Axe body spray to hide the stench of alcohol, sweat and cigarettes because they’re too fucking lazy to shower before class. Own your stench, you wannabe, phony, disingenuous, fucking Chris Christie clone. Stop saying what you’re not and start saying what you are, you name-dropping shithead.

    You know what? Scratch that. Spare us your nightmare of a worldview. There are more than enough puzzle pieces in place to see you for what you are: a homophobic, fundamentalist, ass-backwards slimeball who is a little more well read than his fellow homophobic, fundamentalist, ass-backwards slimeballs.

  100. Thomas Cothran says

    Tomfrog,

    There was also a bit about me being “right-wing.” Probably the fact that I favor universal health coverage, unionization, an equitable distribution of wealth, and a living wage was the reason that one was fixed. (Though I do consider myself a conservative.)

    I grant that most of the post, which was P.Z. Myers imagining himself eating fecal matter, was not corrected. Though that correction would be more an aesthetic and moral correction than merely a factual one.

  101. anteprepro says

    The self-important git continues to tilt at windmills.

    This too can be disproved by simple quotations. Here’s Jerry Coyne, making conclusions about Hart’s arguments:
    “Hart’s god, therefore, is immune to refutation.”
    “Hart’s argument fails in the only way it can be tested.”
    “Hart’s arguments are simply made-up stuff, and even though he’s smart and uses big words, there is no more evidence for his God than there is for the anthropomorphic Gods of Alvin Plantinga, Pat Robertson, and Rick Warren.”
    “People like Hart, despite their intelligence, have no more handle on the nature of God than do Joe and Sally in the street.

    Let’s look closer at these quotes:

    As Burkeman notes, Hart has removed God from the class of entities that exist and transformed Him into merely an Idea: a philosophical concept that can be subject only to philosophical arguments: (Quotes Burkeman)

    Hart’s god, therefore, is immune to refutation.

    A critique of Hart’s argument as stated by Burkeman

    Burkeman (and Hart) note that one way to dismiss Hart’s argument that only a minority of believers accept the Ground-of-Being God is “to prove the point with survey data about what people believe.” Well, I just did that above, and could adduce much more data of the same sort. Western monotheists usually believe in a personal and anthropomorphic God—one who has humanlike emotions, cares about us, and wants us to behave in certain ways. So Hart’s argument fails in the only way it can be tested.

    Oh look, another part where he is critiquing Hart’s argument as stated by Burkeman .

    And that last quote is a point about theology in general, not Hart’s argument.

    What pathetic failures Cothran 1 and 2 are. Ridiculous.

  102. anteprepro says

    So Martin Cothran’s claim, of Judge Jones, that:

    For one thing, the sole criterion he employed was Popper’s falsifiability criterion

    was just a barefaced lie.

    The oddest part is that Martin’s other writings on the matter stress that the ruling was self-contradictory, i.e. one criteria conflicted with another. So I don’t what he was thinking barging in here talking about “the sole criterion”. He doesn’t even know his arguments, let alone what the actual facts are. Logic is just a toy or a bludgeon for Catholic faux-philosophers, not a tool.

  103. zenlike says

    Thomas

    Though that correction would be more an aesthetic and moral correction than merely a factual one.

    You do realize that PZ is not actually advocating eating faecal matter right? So why the use of the word ‘moral’? Do you understand that word at all?

  104. says

    zenlike:

    Furthermore, seems to me that PZ isn’t imagining eating fecal matter but remembering hearing about ID/creationism. Thinking otherwise is kinda missing the whole point IMO.

  105. Sastra says

    Thomas Cochran #137 wrote:

    I grant that most of the post, which was P.Z. Myers imagining himself eating fecal matter, was not corrected.

    Not to nitpick here, but the substance of the post was PZ Myers imagining being served a series of arguments for the existence of God, using metaphor. If it is your contention that one or more of the “dishes” he was presented is not execrable but instead “tasty and delicious” — that is, it’s a fine and objective line of reasoning which should persuade the unbiased — then feel free to stick it on a platter.

    We’ll bring the forks and knives.

    (Don’t be alarmed; that’s another metaphor.)

  106. zenlike says

    Of course tomfrog, but the whole criticism of Thomas here and in his blogpost seems to be that he is offended by the notion of eating shit, without realising the obvious metaphor. Or, and this is far more likely, he knows it’s a metaphor, hasn’t actually have a rebuttal against the point made by PZ, and is trying to avoid addressing it. Like the apologist weasel he is.

  107. raven says

    About all I got from reading this thread is that Martin and Thomas Cothran are pretend intellectuals reasoning on about a middle school level.

    It’s so simple minded, it’s boring.

  108. David Marjanović says

    So I’m still a “creationist”? Even thought I’m explicitly not one? I don’t suppose you have any proof of this assertion.

    Well. Googling for evolution site:vereloqui.blogspot.com gives 678 results. Some of them shouldn’t count, like the third which is about The intellectual de-evolution of Jerry Coyne – that’s clearly metaphorical, though it does show you don’t even know that evolution doesn’t entail progress – or the eighth, “The evolution of the car industry”. But let’s check a few of the other results.

    The first, “Evolution: a syllogism”*, tries to make a point out of the fact that scientific theories in general and (therefore) the theory of evolution by mutation, selection & drift cannot be proved. The only people I’ve so far encountered who think it’s important news that the theory of evolution can’t be proved are creationists.

    * I’m not linking to your posts because any comment with more than 6 links gets sent to moderation.

    The tenth, “Philosopher Alvin Plantinga on why naturalism and evolution are inconsistent”, does nothing but point approvingly to one of Plantinga’s essays on how he’s never heard of evolutionary epistemology (…really, you should check it out, too). Why would you do that if you don’t think the theory of evolution must be wrong?

    The eighteenth, “More on the Darwinists’ Dilemma”, one of the few of yours that’s even long enough to make any point*, begins with this gem: I had asked in an earlier post [link] why, while Darwinists say on the one hand that the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection are impossible because of seemingly uniform experience against them, they turn right around and propound the view that life came from non-life despite the equally uniform experience against it. Wow, this hits all the fields on the bingo chart: confusion of the scientific reluctance to assume miracles (basic science theory – parsimony!) with one particular theory, confusion of the theory of evolution with the origin of life, confusion of evolution and the person of Charles Darwin, ignorance of the state of research on the origin of life… that’s a very creationist thing to do, you know.

    * So much for vere loqui, “to speak truly”. You’re intellectually dishonest. You try to lie by omission at every opportunity.

    Who cares about the big issues when you can endlessly quibble about miniscule details and inconsequential missteps?

    Just to prove your point, it’s spelled minuscule. :-)

    “Natural selection, how the fuck does it work?”

    …Wow. That post asks that question, but instead of just looking up the answer, the author sits back, thinks about it, and reports the results, without ever considering that he might have something to learn somewhere.

    Really astounding.

    Okay, so: Thomas’s article about this doubles down on “Coyne is criticizing something he hasn’t read!” and also links to an old article, criticizing PZ for not being familiar with terms relevant to the metaphysics of Aristotle . The very first one being relevant to the Aristotle’s tremendously outdated concept of “matter” and “form”. That’s a defense ? To anyone even vaguely aware of Aristotle, philosophy, and actual science, that should be invitation to disregard that nonsense entirely. It is an argument based on what we know to be a flawed model of reality . For fuck’s sake.

    Some people seem incapable of distinguishing between philosophy and the history of philosophy. Thomas Cothran appears to be one of them.

    Now we get to ask: what do we do with a falsified hypothesis/theory? :D

    We stick to it and keep proclaiming it as, if not explicitly the truth, then still very suggestively as the likeliest option.

    Unless we’re scientists, that is. In that case we immediately and unceremoniously drop it like Darwin’s theory of heredity.

    The lazy man’s Gish Gallop.

    Well… yes.

    The fact that you both linked to it means I am going to have to definitely watch the video when I get home!

    It’s hard to understand; the lyrics are here.

    And the version Daz linked to isn’t accessible in Germany for copyright reasons.

    nonduality

    Ouch, Sastra! That hurts! X-D

    After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation;

    Maybe I should explain to the Cothrans that this “rule” isn’t some kind of axiom, there’s a reasoning behind it: to assume anything supernatural is unparsimonious, and parsimony is at least as important a criterion as falsifiability.

    P.Z. Myers imagining himself eating fecal matter

    You seem so fascinated by that.

  109. David Marjanović says

    Sorry for that last part. One slash was missing. I’ll try again.

    (Also, it turns out I included way fewer links than I expected…)

    After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation;

    Maybe I should explain to the Cothrans that this “rule” isn’t some kind of axiom, there’s a reasoning behind it: to assume anything supernatural is unparsimonious, and parsimony is at least as important a criterion as falsifiability.

    P.Z. Myers imagining himself eating fecal matter

    You seem so fascinated by that.

  110. consciousness razor says

    martincothran:

    Do you think there is a god which created the universe, and if so, do you think it has ever interacted with the universe in any way whatsoever?

    If you answer “yes,” I can’t think of any good reason not to consider you a creationist. It makes no difference what other specific creationist claims you hold or deny, your political or social affiliations, ethical views, etc. If you believe in evolution and the big bang, for example, that may not change the fact that you think a creator deity intervenes in the world.

    I’m a Catholic so I have no particular dog in the fight and I’m not really interested in the question of how old the earth is or the mechanism by which we all got here.

    And now look, the answer is staring at us in the face. You’re “not really interested,” yet Catholics believe in a creator deity who intervenes in the world. On top of that, you are a vocal critic of evolutionary biology, as well as woefully ignorant of it (perhaps modern cosmology as well), which isn’t the sort of thing a legitimately disinterested person would actually do. Perhaps it isn’t in your “interests” at the moment to try and fail at explaining to us what the fuck you actually do think, but that’s neither here nor there. If the above isn’t sufficient for being a creationist, exactly what is?

  111. says

    First, I just looked at the article cited; and Thomas Cothran’s name only appears at the bottom of the article, after the footnotes. I only found it because I was looking for it. If the Cothrans want everyone to get their names right, they should bloody well put them at the TOP of their page. I read books as well as blogs, and that’s what sensible authors do in both media. PZ’s mistake was perfectly understandable, given the Cothrans’ crappy formatting of their own page.

    Second, I see our Kentucky Fried Sophist is still parroting the same old lame denials:

    So I’m still a “creationist”? Even thought I’m explicitly not one? I don’t suppose you have any proof of this assertion.

    The proof is in your own words, which (when I was reading your tripe at least) consistently parroted creationist lying-points and consistently attacked evolutionists. On a creationist blog. If you don’t like being called a creationist, then you should stop acting like one. And no, the one measly quote you offered to prove you’re not a creationist doesn’t really stack up against a longstanding and consistent track record of lies and obscurantism.

    And third, if you want better insults than PZ is giving you here, maybe you should earn the extra effort by giving us better logic.

    And finally, as PZ already said, why should I read a book if I know it contains the same old ideas or claims that have already been dealt with and refuted. I don’t need to read Ayn Rand’s books to know they’re crap, nor do I need to read “Mein Kampf” from cover to cover to know that Hitler was wrong. As usual, you’re covering for bogus arguments by repeatedly changing the subject. It’s a well-known creationist tactic known as the Gish Gallop — and your constant use of it is yet another reason why we don’t believe you when you insist you’re not really a creationist.

  112. ChasCPeterson says

    Logic is just a toy or a bludgeon for Catholic faux-philosophers, not a tool.

    Quoted because I really like it.

  113. says

    BTW, Messrs. Cothran, if you really read books as much as you want us to think, you’d know that the authorship of an article can be clearly established by a single line at the top of an article that says “GUEST POST BY [name].” The FTB crew do it all the fucking time; in fact, Ed Brayton (another FTBully who has been seeing through your bullshit longer than I have) did that very thing today, so I knew the article wasn’t really written by Ed even before I started reading it. It’s a standard practice of REAL professional authors, and you hacks have no excuse to whine at PZ for not expecting you to use it. Go the fuck to bed.

  114. says

    I’m a Catholic so I have no particular dog in the fight and I’m not really interested in the question of how old the earth is or the mechanism by which we all got here.

    If you’re really a Catholic, then you DO have a dog in this fight: the Church explicitly accepts evolution, and rejects creationism, as well as all other pseudoscience that tries to say anything about God.

    But since you’ve identified yourself as a Catholic, would you like to comment on your Church’s despicable perverted misconduct toward so many of the boys in its care? Answer that question with care — we will judge your moral integrity by your answer (or lack of one).

  115. consciousness razor says

    If you’re really a Catholic, then you DO have a dog in this fight: the Church explicitly accepts evolution, and rejects creationism, as well as all other pseudoscience that tries to say anything about God.

    It officially accepts evolution, as long as it’s been thoroughly soaked in Catholic nonsense. Belief in “theistic evolution,” ensoulment, etc., is just their special of way of not accepting evolution whenever it matters to them (i.e., when humans are involved, or morality, sexuality, and so forth).

  116. says

    Actually, razor, they do accept evolution, as it is. The only qualification is that science can’t be used to explain material things like the origin of species, but not non-material things like God, souls, etc.

  117. says

    Sorry, that last sentence should read: “The only qualification is that science CAN be used to explain material things like the origin of species, but not non-material things like God, souls, etc.”

  118. consciousness razor says

    Actually, razor, they do accept evolution, as it is. The only qualification is that science can’t be used to explain material things like the origin of species, but not non-material things like God, souls, etc.

    Then tell me, is morality a material thing which can be explained by science? The evolution of it, for instance. Did that occur, or is it a gift from God perhaps? Heck, why not both? Was a god fiddling around some with other species like non-human primates, until he got his morality-having recipe just right? Would that sound scientific to you, like an endorsement of what actual scientists are doing in actual evolutionary biology?

    And when Catholic theologians drone on about biogenesis and cosmogenesis, and why we need their particular ground of all being to explain this or that bit of the nonsense they conjured up about it, I guess we should believe somewhere in that mess is a full-throated acceptance of the actual science. Because they say so.

  119. David Marjanović says

    If you’re really a Catholic, then you DO have a dog in this fight: the Church explicitly accepts evolution, and rejects creationism, as well as all other pseudoscience that tries to say anything about God.

    To be fair, none of this is official dogma, “just” the personal opinions of the latest 3 popes and, AFAIK, all Catholic theologians.

  120. says

    Then tell me, is morality a material thing which can be explained by science?

    I didn’t include morality in the latter list. But according to the Church, science explains material things and events (including the evolution of human morality and other ideas), but Catholic doctrine explains the non-material things, like God, souls, and the morality allegedly handed down by God.

    To be fair, none of this is official dogma, “just” the personal opinions of the latest 3 popes and, AFAIK, all Catholic theologians.

    Same thing: Catholic doctrine is what the Pope says it is, at least until a full-blown Ecumenical Council overrides him.

  121. vaiyt says

    I’ve criticized the winning strategy in Dover myself, since iirc the compromise was an accomodationist one which emphasized the religious nature of ID over the pseudoscience.

    I don’t see why. The “religious nature of ID” is its only nature. The pseudoscience is just a pretense.

  122. Sastra says

    vaiyt #160 wrote:

    I don’t see why. The “religious nature of ID” is its only nature. The pseudoscience is just a pretense.

    Religion was the motivation; what came out of that was either wrong or not-even-wrong (pseudoscience.)

    The separation of church and state keeps religious beliefs out of science classes by legal fiat. The Dover judge also invoked a “centuries-old ground rule of science” which forbid using supernatural causation in a scientific explanation. This means that, in theory, even if there were suddenly strong, rigorous, vigorous, convincing evidence for a supernatural phenomenon or cause it could NOT be taught in public school, and scientists would have to follow their “rule” and ignore it.

    Not really. Not if that actually occurred.

    Gnu atheists use a scientific approach to argue against religious claims. Naturalism — and thus atheism — are working theories which grew out of the failure of supernatural hypotheses, which include “God.” There is nothing in the methods of science which say what they can and can’t be used on, only only that they be empirical claims. “Methodological naturalism” as a provisional rule of thumb is the result of the lack of evidence for the supernatural. “Methodological naturalism” as a ground rule of science is designed to protect religion. It can’t be a failed hypothesis if it’s beyond the boundaries of what science can investigate: science and religion are now compatible.

  123. says

    I’ve been looking at Cothran’s eyebleed-inducing blog, and either I’ve forgotten how bad his formatting is, or his formatting has got WORSE since he last told me to get off his lawn. This is a guy who has no bloody clue how to arrange things on a page, or how to make it readable. He’s a lot less competent with words and logic than he seems to think he is; and he’s even less competent with images and page formatting. It used to be a bad joke, now it’s an OLD bad joke, which the joker hasn’t lifted one finger to update or adapt.

  124. David Marjanović says

    Same thing: Catholic doctrine is what the Pope says it is

    …when he says it while being infallible, meaning he “defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church”.

    What that means is of course complicated and even under ongoing discussion by Catholic theologians.

    I’ve been looking at Cothran’s eyebleed-inducing blog

    Which Cothran? Each of them has his own blog.

  125. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    There was a YouTube video about charging an iPod using an onion. Many of the commenters kept insisting that there is no way to know that it wouldn’t work without actually trying it. (Say you did try it, and it didn’t work … maybe you just did it wrong.)

    From a quick scan of the internet and some back of the envelope calculations, it should be entirely possible to charge an iPod battery using an onion. iPod Touch batteries I’ve seen listed online purportedly hold 3.8W*h, which is 13680 J. You’d just need a suitable linear motor setup, a big fuckin’ capacitor, appropriate power-regulating electronics for the charging circuit, and the ability to accelerate the onion to 450-600m/s (depending on the setup efficiency) toward the armature of the linear motor. And not miss. :)

  126. mothra says

    Here is a glimpse into the [U.S.] court view of science and ‘Creatrionist/ Creation Science/ Intelligent Design.’ This is a very abbreviated summary.
    Court views on evidence are based upon the Frye Standard and more recently on the Daubert Standard. [thanks Dow Pharmaceuticals] The former held that evidence had to be by a methodology that was acceptible to the majority of scientists in the areas of investigation and that the words of a recognized authority in a given discipline was of itself ‘expert.’ The latter quantified standards of evidence to also include that methodology had to be published in peer reviewed journals and an error rate for any methodology had to have been established. Obervational evidence was not by itself expert testimony. These two standards forced judges into the role of ‘gatekeepers for science.’ i.e. judges decide what constitutes expert testamony rather than foisting everything on juries to sort out the ‘he said-she said.’

    After Creationists lost in Daniels v Waters 1975, and as a result they changed ‘creationism’ to ‘creation science’ and, after the Arkansas Balanced Treatment for Creation- Science and Evolution-Science Act of 1981, the court was forced to ‘weigh in’ on what constitutes science. The court defined science in McLean v Arkansas board of Education 1981 as follows:

    It is guided by natural law
    It has to be explanatory by reference to natural law
    It is testable against the empirical world
    It’s conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word
    It is falsifiable

    It was the SCOTUS ruling in Edwards [gov. of Louisiana] v Aguillard that established that ‘Creation Science’ was a religious viewpoint and thus the Intelligent Design movement was born.

    Judge Jones in Kitzmiller v Dover 2005 ruled in part ‘. . .we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.’

    I understand the Cothran hivemind disagreement- no more room for word salads or for disingenuous brokers of facts. I am not sure I understand Sastra’s objection to Dover. Since the Dover Decision is based in part upon McLean v Arkansas which presents a good operational definition of science.

    Sorry about the wall-of-text, I somehow could not get line spaces inserted.

  127. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Maybe you could enlighten me on the “argument” you allege is in P.Z.’s post. Maybe you could set it forth in syllogistic form.

    Major premise: If no one is too stupid to understand it, “a man in a diner being served endless varieties of gourmet shit and constantly asked to try the next one because IT is really good” might be a good analogy to use to express my disdain for creationists who constantly assert that it is reasonable to expect me to give provisional assent to their claims unless I have thoroughly analyzed and debunked, from the ground up, every single formulation of every single creationist argument ever put forth, paying no heed to pattern recognition or the a priori problems with their claims.

    Minor premise: No one is too stupid to understand it.

    Conclusion: “A man in a diner being served….” might be a good…. etc.

    Obviously, the minor premise is false.

  128. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    My name is spelled “Thomas” with an “s”.

    I don’t know, your comments here seem pretty half-”s”ed to me.

  129. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Watching women’s 2-athlete bobsled. One of the athletes for the US is Lolo Jones, an Olympic hurdler. I mentioned the possibility of a cross-over sport — Bobsled hurdles. Wife topped me, though — Skeleton-cross.

  130. Snoof says

    Thomas Cothran @ 114

    That’s very interesting, but not what I asked. I quite carefully used the word beliefs in my question. You didn’t provide any. You merely listed some concepts that (for all I know) were acquired by skimming Wikipedia.

    Are you always this bad at answering questions?

  131. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Fuck. Wrong tab. Sorry. That should have been in The Lounge.

    So is Tabitha another child of Tpyos?

  132. Sastra says

    mothra #165 wrote:

    I am not sure I understand Sastra’s objection to Dover. Since the Dover Decision is based in part upon McLean v Arkansas which presents a good operational definition of science.

    I don’t disagree with the Dover decision: for the reasons you stated it’s legally correct and it effectively threw ID out of science class. Good.

    My disagreement is that the “operational definition of science” it uses rules supernatural explanations out in advance. But that’s not true: they have been thrown out of science because they failed.

    It’s not an important distinction in the law, but it is in science — particularly when it comes to whether or not science has anything to say about the existence of God. By insisting that science can only deal with natural explanations, it limits its scope and carves out a safe zone for the supernatural. Not so good.

  133. unclefrogy says

    a perfect example of why I do not like philosophy or philosophers or philosophizing.
    All fucking quotes from some where at no time is reality addressed, considered or even acknowledged .

    life and the universe and everything ain’t some game of I know more stuff form books then you do it is a hole on the dirt waiting, a toast with congenial friends, a lovers kiss, a dirty diaper.
    No priests needed!

    uncle frogy

  134. Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness says

    Sorry for the length of this, but I found the comment at #93 irritating.
    #93 martincothran

    For one thing, the sole criterion he employed was Popper’s falsifiability criterion, a criterion that no competent philosopher of science would say was dispositive in demarcating science from nonscience. In fact, P.Z. just recently made this very same point, which I remarked on on my blog. I pointed out how ironic it was that while even many atheists rejected the falsifiability criterion, they still cheered the Dover decision despite the fact that it employed it as the sole reason for rejecting ID as science.

    This is not the sole, or possibly even the main reason the court rejected ID as a science. The test the court used was to review the evidence to see if a reasonable objective observer, aware of the history of like claims, the community and social history, would conclude that ID was a re-packaging of creationism, and as such was simply promoting a religious view.

    Moreover, in turning to Defendants’ lead expert, Professor Behe, his testimony at trial indicated that ID is only a scientific, as opposed to a religious, project for him; however, considerable evidence was introduced to refute this claim. Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God. (P-718 at 705) (emphasis added). As no evidence in the record indicates that any other scientific proposition’s validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe’s assertion constitutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, ID is a religious and not a scientific proposition.

    400 F Supp 2d 707 at page 735. Page 28 of the .pdf of the decision at http://ncse.com/files/pub/legal/
    kitzmiller/highlights/2005-12-20_Kitzmiller_decision.pdf

    Further on, the court considers ID and on three bases decided it was not science:
    it would require that the ground rules as to what science is, would have to be re-written, that ID put forward distortions and misrepresentations, that ID has no peer-reviewed publications or research.

    <blockquote)First, defense expert Professor Fuller agreed that ID aspires to “change the ground rules” of science and lead defense expert Professor Behe admitted that his broadened definition of science, which encompasses ID, would also embrace astrology. (28:26 (Fuller); 21:37-42 (Behe)). Moreover, defense expert Professor Minnich acknowledged that for ID to be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened to allow consideration of supernatural forces. (38:97 (Minnich)).

    Plaintiffs’ expert Professor Padian was the only testifying expert witness with any expertise in paleontology. His testimony therefore remains unrebutted. Dr. Padian’s demonstrative slides, prepared on the basis of peer-reviewing scientific literature, illustrate how Pandas systematically distorts and misrepresents established, important evolutionary principles.

    page 84
    and

    Consider, for example, that he testified as to how Pandas misinforms readers on the standard evolutionary relationships between different types of animals, a distortion which Professor Behe, a “critical reviewer” of Pandas who wrote a section within the book, affirmed. (1:113-17 (Miller); P-854.9-854.16; 23:35-36 (Behe))

    page 86

    On cross-examination, Professor Behe admitted that: “There are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred.” (22:22-23 (Behe)).

    page 88

    The court carefully considered the arguments put forward by ID proponents over a six week trial, then made the finding that ID is not science. This was hardly a one-note, simple-minded decision made by some judge somewhere.
    [Please bear in mind that I have not even touched on “The Wedge” document which also came up, in which the agenda of the ID proponents was baldy asserted to be the removal of science from the curriculum and the replacement of it with Christian based views.]

  135. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    The first, “Evolution: a syllogism”*, tries to make a point out of the fact that scientific theories in general and (therefore) the theory of evolution by mutation, selection & drift cannot be proved. The only people I’ve so far encountered who think it’s important news that the theory of evolution can’t be proved are creationists.

    Wait, this dipshit seriously thinks that evolution can be dismissed because it can’t be expressed as a sound syllogism with deductive certainty?

    …man, if all you are is dumb as a sack of hammers, everything DOES look like a nail.

  136. raven says

    The first, “Evolution: a syllogism”*, tries to make a point out of the fact that scientific theories in general and (therefore) the theory of evolution by mutation, selection & drift cannot be proved.

    Formally, that includes the Theory of Gravity, The Germ Theory of Disease, and The Theory of Internal Combustion Engines.

    I don’t see them claiming cars run off of gods though.

  137. Nick Gotts says

    My disagreement is that the “operational definition of science” it uses rules supernatural explanations out in advance. But that’s not true: they have been thrown out of science because they failed.

    It’s not an important distinction in the law, but it is in science — particularly when it comes to whether or not science has anything to say about the existence of God. By insisting that science can only deal with natural explanations, it limits its scope and carves out a safe zone for the supernatural. Not so good. – Sastra@172

    QFT. Historically, early 19th century geologists and paleontologists, who were Christians and creationists, expected to find evidence of Noah’s flood. But unlike modern creationists and their apologists, they were honest scientists, and in the 1840s there developed a scientific consensus that the supposed “diluvial gravels” were in fact remnants of glacial action. Similarly, when fossil discoveries made it clear that life had changed radically over time, most paleontologists subscribed to the theory of “successive creations” – God creating new species from time to time. Only as evidence mounted both for evolutionary mechanisms, and for genealogical relationships between current and former species, did this idea fall from favour. 19th century scientists were also quite ready to investigate claims of contact with the dead, and more recently, there have been scientific studies of both the power of prayer and several forms of “extra-sensory perception” which would indicate, if they existed, that there is a non-material “mind-substance”.

  138. Anri says

    Wait a sec – a professional philosopher and religious apologist has been discovered making false assumptions and getting his facts wrong?

    Before our very eyes?

    Say it ain’t so!

  139. Thomas Cothran says

    PZ,

    I notice you still haven’t corrected the claim–which has been falsified–that I am an apologist for intelligent design creationism. I refer you, again, to my long-standing position that ID theory is wrong, substantively and methodologically.

  140. says

    Thomas: we’re going to need specific citations for that “long-standing position.” As in, not just one paragraph, but a documented track-record sufficient to counter your current documented support of your father’s anti-science talking-points. Your father denies he’s a cdesign proponentsist too, and his denials are proven false by YEARS of his own words; so your own very similar denials lack credibility.

  141. anteprepro says

    I notice Thomas still hasn’t corrected ANY of his own factual inaccuracies. Fancy that.

  142. says

    BTW, Thomas, I just had an admittedly quick look at your “Interstices” blog; and I find absolutely nothing disputing creationism or supporting evolution; so it looks like your “I refer you, again, to my long-standing position…” defense is nothing but a bluff. If you want to prove PZ wrong, you’ll have to do your own research, and not expect us to wade through your airy sophistry and word-salad without a specific reference to look for.

  143. David Marjanović says

    and the ability to accelerate the onion to 450-600m/s (depending on the setup efficiency) toward the armature of the linear motor. And not miss. :)

    I sit in awe.

    *applause*

    Wait, this dipshit seriously thinks that evolution can be dismissed because it can’t be expressed as a sound syllogism with deductive certainty?

    Maybe. As usual, his post is too short to actually make a point.

    He does, in any case, seriously think that it’s a huge point with massive implications that the theory of evolution can’t be proved like a mathematical theorem – or, at the very least, he wants his readers to think so.

  144. Thomas Cothran says

    Raging Bee,

    In an earlier comment I quoted one of my 2008 posts where I rejected ID theory. Here are some excerpts:

    “ID theorists are guilty of procedural errors, and the scientific community has already focused on the specific scientific errors…. ID as an intellectual movement has its essence in ontological ambiguity and methodological error.”

    You can read the whole article on my old blog here.

    Also, if you look around in the comments section of Vital Remnants, you can find me criticizing (usually rudely, now that I look back on it) creationism and ID theory with some of the commentators.

  145. anteprepro says

    *facepalm*

    Thomas’s criticism of ID appears to basically be NOMA.

    Richard Dawkins believes that because science cannot demonstrate God, he does not exist. ID theorists believe the opposite, science shows the work of God (excuse me, an Intelligent Designer), and therefore God does exist. Science does not investigate the whole of things in an unqualified way; science is ontologically regional…..

    The most general discipline is philosophy, which is grounded in ontology (the inquiry of being qua being). It is the widest and scope and the broadest (which is not equivalent to permissive) in methodology.

    Science, therefore, is not the true discipline while the other disciplines are “mere belief.” The precision of science is also its limitation. It does not follow that because God is not accessible scientifically he does not exist. The method of science excludes inquiry into God. Many scientists have made this point, though it is a philosophical one.

    Science puts forward natural explanations for natural phenomena. From this science derives both its scope and its method. Supernatural or spiritual phenomena are exclude from the scope of scientific methodology, while teleological explanations are excluded by the approach

    Basically, he uses word games to pretend that science ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, therefore God of the Gaps, therefore IDists are dumb for imaging that God would be outside of a Gap. QED.

    (In fairness, he really does criticize ID quite harshly in that article)

  146. Thomas Cothran says

    Anteprepo,

    One thing I’m certainly not doing in that article is protecting ID theory because it is philosophy or theology–I rejected at the time (and still do) ID theory’s notion of God for philosophical and theological reasons, in addition to scientific ones.

    I don’t want to beat up on ID theory though, since nobody here believes it. Just pointing out I’m not an ID apologist.

  147. anteprepro says

    No, like I’ve alluded to, you and your father simply like to diminish the status of science and pretend that there are equal (or even superior) Other Ways of “Knowing” (i.e. playing games with logic in order to arrive at predetermined beliefs so you can feel more comfortable your unwarranted confidence in an unfounded belief system). “ID apologist” is debatable (not so much your father, though); “Pseudoscience enabler” might be closer to the truth.

  148. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just pointing out I’m not an ID apologist.

    Either you totally accept evolution, or you are an apologist for your flavor of creationism, be it YEC, OEC, or ID.

  149. anteprepro says

    Indeed. Enough Philosophy of Jazzhands already. We are not baffled by your bullshit, so either at least try to dazzle us with brilliance or stop this travesty already.

  150. Thomas Cothran says

    What do I have to do to falsify the claim that I am an “ID apologist.” I accept the theory of evolution. I accept common descent. I disagree with ID theory and creationism.

    This is starting to get absurd: it seems that P.Z. Myers has decided that, as a matter of faith, I am an ID apologist. His flock follows him on faith. When confronted with conclusive evidence to the contrary, the faith of PZ and his congregation holds fast.

    Not only is this blog filled with fideists, but you are all insisting on the weirdest things.

  151. anteprepro says

    Thomas Cothran would much rather harp on about a tangent than address the myriad of things that he and his father are wrong about. Classic philo-sophistry.

  152. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    So, Thomas Cothran, what evidence can you supply that points to the existence of any god or gods? Not belief in gods, but actual gods.

  153. anteprepro says

    Also, faux-lospher,

    Not only is this blog filled with fideists

    Fideists isn’t a synonym for person who believes something on faith. Fideism is advocating faith as a way of knowing that trumps all else. Weren’t you just whining about how PZ mislabeled you? And yet you attempt to insult us by applying a label that clearly applies more to yourself than us? Good work.

  154. anteprepro says

    Oh, and Mr. Faux-losopher:

    Not only is this blog filled with fideists

    Fideism isn’t a synonym for “believes something by faith” ya know? It is advocacy of faith as a method. As a superior method over logic, especially. So not only is that an ironic for a Catholic, who has yet to support their God belief, to throw at us, it is also a tad ironic considering the sheer volume of whining you have done about having your philosophy being mislabeled.

    You are clowns, Cothran 1 and Cothran 2. And I say that with only the reservation of fearing that I insult clowns by the comparison.

  155. Sastra says

    Thomas Cothran #193 wroter:

    What do I have to do to falsify the claim that I am an “ID apologist.” I accept the theory of evolution. I accept common descent. I disagree with ID theory and creationism.

    I am quite comfortable with accepting that you are not an “ID apologist” — based not just on your quotations against ID, but your reasons quoted in anteprepro #187. You disagree with attempts to discover scientific evidence for God because that would mean that the existence of God comes under the scope of scientific inquiry.

    It does not follow that because God is not accessible scientifically he does not exist. The method of science excludes inquiry into God.

    Question: if God were to choose to reveal Himself obviously and clearly in ways which could be scientifically confirmed to a high degree of certainty — is God capable of doing this? Or is this like squaring the circle?

  156. says

    The method of science excludes inquiry into God.

    Uh, no it doesn’t. The method of science excludes inquiry into things which have no physical effect within our universe. Only if you define your god as completely unable to have such effect (miracles, answering prayers, etc etc) can that god be said to be outside the purview of science.

  157. Thomas Cothran says

    Sastra,

    That’s a good question, and I’d have to think about it. My tendency is to say yes, but I’d need to consider it more before taking a stand.

    Some of the reason that I’m hesitant to take a strong position one way or the other is that I don’t think there is any one scientific methodology. (This has changed since the argument I made six years ago in that argument.) That is to say, I think that biology follows different veridical rules (i.e., rules that determine whether a biological statement is true or false) than does pure mathematics. I also think these rules change over time with changes in technology and the scientific community.

    I want to be careful about saying science can or can’t reveal “x” for those reasons. (That “science” is a name for a number of different disciplines that bear a family resemblance to one another, but don’t share an eternal essence.) This isn’t to knock science at all; in fact, if I’m right about that, it restricts philosophers of science from telling scientists what they can and can’t do!

    On the other hand, it does seem to me that science takes aim at finite, natural phenomena. (I’m using finite and natural very broadly to include anything that (a) can change over time or (b) could logically be otherwise.) It seems to me that the sort of God imagined by classical theism actually could not manifest as a finite natural thing (a superpowerful spirit, as creationists or ID theorists imagine). God could show up only as not being finite or natural, and the way (good) theists usually argue for this, is to say that finite, natural things are contingent, and that it is reasonable to say that the contingent rests on an absolute.

    That’s a lot to say in a comment, but the question is a good one, and it seems you were setting up to make an argument of your own.

  158. Sastra says

    Thomas Cothran #200 wrote:

    It seems to me that the sort of God imagined by classical theism actually could not manifest as a finite natural thing (a superpowerful spirit, as creationists or ID theorists imagine).

    That seems an odd statement to make, given that as a Catholic you presumably believe that God did indeed manifest as a man (a finite, natural thing) and perform miracles, in body and out of it, using finite, natural things. The vast majority of people do not believe that God exists because they study arguments in medieval theology, but because they see and experience evidence in their own finite, natural world and conclude that “God” is the best explanation. God could conceivably ‘up’ the level of the evidence, changing the minds of skeptics. Indeed, you believe God has done so many times — privately.

    If it is in theory possible then that God could reveal its existence at least in part in an objective way (its “omni” nature excepted), then it can’t be true that “The method of science excludes inquiry into God.” God is instead assumed to be in hiding.

  159. says

    As a general matter I would say, sure, read a book cover to cover before speaking ill of it (or confidently predicting you would speak ill of it if you read it).

    BUT there’s this:

    Some years ago I read Mackie’s The Miracle of Theism, and was pretty thoroughly convinced that he’d demolished every argument anybody was likely to make in favor of theism. Years later, I’ve encountered suggestions that Mackie is badly out of date because of (God help us all) William Lane Craig, or Plantinga’s latest iteration of the Ontological Argument (Mackie destroyed the version current when he was writing his book). At this point, something inside me rebels and says: NO. NO; after reading one of Plantinga’s go-rounds, after reading enough paragraphs of Craig to know he’s a sophist (not to mention a moral cretin), I see no compelling reason to read one page more.

    Life is short, after all–and for some reason or other I’m not counting on living forever. I do, however, strongly recommend almost anything by Mackie.

    (I’m not suggesting, by the way, that Plantinga is as bad as Craig (I suspect nobody else is quite that bad)–just that Plantinga’s theistic arguments are not good, and no amount of tinkering around the edges will ever change my mind on the subject.)

  160. Sastra says

    aaronbaker #203 wrote:

    At this point, something inside me rebels and says: NO.

    I know that feeling. I was urged to read a second book by Ken Wilber and could not get past the 8th chapter of A Course in Miracles. There comes a point when you realize that it’s all going to be just as good as it was at the beginning. The magic ingredient is a very willing reader.

  161. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It seems to me that the sort of God imagined by classical theism actually could not manifest as a finite natural thing (a superpowerful spirit, as creationists or ID theorists imagine). God could show up only as not being finite or natural, and the way (good) theists usually argue for this, is to say that finite, natural things are contingent, and that it is reasonable to say that the contingent rests on an absolute.

    There is no contingent. There are no absolutes until you provide conclusive physical evidence they exist. Philosophy has the problem that it doesn’t do reality checks, which is why is used for trash like theology. But science amounts to philosophy with reality checks. Which is why is does expand human knowledge, unlike theology, which is nothing but mental masturbation. Any deity that is alleged to cause the universe or interact at all with the universe with”recorded” miracles can and has been examined by science, and is MIA. Only a deity that does squat, and by doing nothing, can’t have claims examined, and with parsimony is shown to be non-existent, or the equivalent thereof, namely a presuppositional error, results. Your deity is real and can be examined, or just a figment of your imagination, and can’t be examined.

  162. says

    Some of the reason that I’m hesitant to take a strong position one way or the other is that I don’t think there is any one scientific methodology.

    What you “think” is dead wrong: there is ONE scientific methodology, but there are variations in how it’s applied, depending on which phenomena you’re looking at.

    I also think these rules change over time with changes in technology and the scientific community.

    The general rules and priorities do not change, only their specific application in specific situations.

    I want to be careful about saying science can or can’t reveal “x” for those reasons.

    While you’re being oh so “careful” in your own bubble-verse, science actually HAS revealed quite a lot of things; so there’s really no reason to take your irrelevant vacillations seriously.

    Your vacillation on something that’s been obvious to the rest of us for CENTURIES sounds like more of that “teach the controversy” crap we heard from creationists. And you wonder why we accuse you of being a creationist?

    (That “science” is a name for a number of different disciplines that bear a family resemblance to one another, but don’t share an eternal essence.)

    That statement is utterly meaningless. What do you mean by “eternal essence?” And yes, the disciplines labelled “science” do indeed bear some very strong “family resemblances” to each other — and they even work together! You really don’t seem to know what you’re talking about.

    It seems to me that the sort of God imagined by classical theism actually could not manifest as a finite natural thing…

    Every god I’ve heard of is said to manifest him/herself as finite natural creatures, objects or events. (Jesus Christ is only the most obvious example.) And the God of Abraham is all-fucking-powerful — he can do anything he wants! Which “God imagined by classical theism” are you talking about? None I’ve ever heard of. This is just another vague, meaningless concept on which your vague, meaningless excuse for philosophy is built.

    God could show up only as not being finite or natural, and the way (good) theists usually argue for this, is to say that finite, natural things are contingent, and that it is reasonable to say that the contingent rests on an absolute.

    “Contingent” and “absolute” are two more fuzzwords “describing” meaningless abstractions.

    That’s a lot to say in a comment…

    You haven’t said squat. Your ramblings are nothing but faux-cleverness and obscurantism that have nothing at all to do with either the real world or the beliefs of real people.

  163. Thomas Cothran says

    Sastra,

    The usual distinction that is made is that the divinity of the second person of the Trinity was manifested in the humanity of Christ, but not as the humanity of Christ. Somewhat analogous to the way that Christian’s would say that God is manifest in natural beauty but not as natural beauty. (Or in the contingency of natural phenomena, but not as contingent and so on.)

    The traditional prohibition on idolatry exists precisely as a refusal to identify God with any finite thing. The distinction is deeply ingrained not only in Christian theory, but in Christian practice.

  164. Thomas Cothran says

    Raging Bee,

    You say “there is ONE scientific methodology.” I’d like to hear what that one methodology is, step by step. I’m assuming, also, you consider mathematics to be scientific?

  165. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You say “there is ONE scientific methodology.” I’d like to hear what that one methodology is, step by step. I’m assuming, also, you consider mathematics to be scientific?

    No, it isn’t. Separate field. Category error on your part. All prima facie evidence you know nothing but how to bullshit.

  166. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Thomas Cothran, what evidence can you supply that points to the existence of any god or gods? Not belief in gods, but actual gods.

  167. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    I’m assuming, also, you consider mathematics to be scientific?

    Science deals with evidence and the hypotheoses and theories that explain those evidence (and yes, math is used to interpret evidence and conceive typotheoses and theories). Mathematics deals with proofs. More than just a slight difference.

    C’mon, dude. I’m a history major and I understand this shit. What’s your excuse?

  168. Thomas Cothran says

    “Nerd of Redhead,”

    The status of mathematics as a science is actually contested. Which is why I asked.

    It seems that you are the one out of touch with these issues.

  169. Rey Fox says

    Come on guys. God is way too cool for dirty earthy things like “evidence” or “actually existing in any way that we would recognize as existing”. God dwells in the realm of sophistry and word salad.

    (Except when the atheists are away, then he totally exists and talks to us and wants us very much to only have sex in the right ways with the right people.)

  170. says

    The usual distinction that is made is that the divinity of the second person of the Trinity was manifested in the humanity of Christ, but not as the humanity of Christ.

    Please explain the difference.

    Many philosophers believe that mathematics is not experimentally falsifiable…

    How is it not falsifiable? If a particular branch or law of mathematics “works” to explain or describe something in the real world (such as a physical phenomenon or the movement of money in someone’s bank account), then it’s validated; and if it fails to properly describe any such thing, then it’s falsified. The math we routinely use is the math that is proven to work in the real world.

    Seriously, Cothran(s), you appear to be doing nothing but playing with labels and abstractions and pretending you understand something without saying anything that has any bearing on reality. Is there a point you’re trying to make?

  171. says

    You say “there is ONE scientific methodology.” I’d like to hear what that one methodology is, step by step.

    Observe, compare observations, devise repeatable experiments, report findings, get peer review, develop hypotheses, test hypotheses, observe results, etc. That’s the general procedure that applies to all of the sciences; the different specific rules are only the same general principles adapted to particular circumstances.

  172. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So can I conclude that you believe mathematics to be a form of science?

    Mathematics is its own discipline. Science deals with evidence. Mathematics with logical proofs. Only stupid philosophers like your ignorance mix the two means of knowing things.
    Science does use some mathematics, but it doesn’t develop and prove new areas.

  173. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    Thomas Cothran:

    Do you ever actually read what others write? Do you ever actually answer direct questions?

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

    @Thomas Cothran, #210:

    The traditional prohibition on idolatry exists precisely as a refusal to identify God with any finite thing. The distinction is deeply ingrained not only in Christian theory, but in Christian practice.

    Seriously? You are commenting on the blog of the Great Cracker Desecrator and you say that idolatry is contrary to Christian practice?

    I wonder if you might have noticed a crucifix or two, at some point during your lifetime, or the tendency of Christians to say that removing a crucifix from a public school classroom is “removing God from the classroom”?

    Never heard the phrase “removing God from the classroom” Thomas? Then you have so little knowledge in the area of Christianity that your opinions on what is or isn’t representative of Christianity are entirely useless.

    You have and you believe human beings can physically remove from anywhere an entity with the properties of the Christian god? Then you’re a fool, and your opinions on what is or isn’t representative of Christianity are entirely useless.

    You have noticed that Christians equate removing a crucifix with removing god, you don’t believe that humans can move an entity with the qualities of the Christian god, but you articulate that bit about Christian practice anyway? Then you are a liar, and your opinions on what is or isn’t representative of Christianity are entirely useless.

    Idolatry is against Christian practice. As-fucking-if.

  175. chigau (違う) says

    In my small town, the Catholics and Protestants shared a church building.
    The statues of Jesus and Mary were in cupboards which had the doors open for Catholic services and closed for Protestant services.

  176. anteprepro says

    So Thomas Cothran answers Sastra’s thoughtful question:

    That seems an odd statement to make, given that as a Catholic you presumably believe that God did indeed manifest as a man (a finite, natural thing) and perform miracles, in body and out of it, using finite, natural things.

    with this utter bollocks

    The usual distinction that is made is that the divinity of the second person of the Trinity was manifested in the humanity of Christ, but not as the humanity of Christ. Somewhat analogous to the way that Christian’s would say that God is manifest in natural beauty but not as natural beauty.

    Sastra says that Thomas should believe that God has an effect on reality, because that is the entire fucking point of Jesus fucking Christ. And Thomas responds with waffling about the fucking Trinity.

    Thomas is an absolute clown.

    Do you expect an answer to that? Are you a betting man?

    Smart money is definitely against the proposition. Thomas can only offer up the faintest illusion of interaction. I’ve seen chat bots that are better at conversation. By several orders of magnitude.

  177. anteprepro says

    You are commenting on the blog of the Great Cracker Desecrator and you say that idolatry is contrary to Christian practice?

    Nice catch! That really was a completely ignorant comment. Christian practice is rife with examples of people making God “finite” and associating him with finite things (hell, fucking churches and Bibles themselves suffer from this to some degree as well).

  178. says

    The distinction is deeply ingrained not only in Christian theory, but in Christian practice.

    WHICH Christian theory, and WHICH Christian practice? Did you not know there’s more than one of each? Or did you not know that we know it?

    For people who claim to be experts on Christianity, you Cothrans sure sound ignorant.