Dudes, what were you thinking?

When a commenter says she is a 14 year old girl who is a home-schooled genius, thinks Evolution, Genetics and Astral Projection are neat-o, peppers her comments with grammatical and spelling errors and “giggles”, says she wishes a sexy man would give her a massage, claims that her hobbies include body painting — nude body painting — and posts links to photos purportedly of herself engaging in that hobby…shouldn’t there be little alarm bells going off in your heads? Actually, maybe big bells, a giant cathedral carillon, sirens going whoop-whoop-whoop, and flares going up? I know, sometimes it’s hard to believe how kooky some people in the real world can be, but this 14 year old girl wrote more like how a 40 year old virgin male would think a 14 year old girl would write.

Shorter version: ‘Victoria Fox’ is banned, and the last couple of days worth of ‘her’ trolling have been disemvowelled. Please don’t encourage the preverts, OK?


  1. John S Costello says

    He should know better than to try that on a guy who actually has a bona-fide girl genius as a daughter.

  2. quork says

    This has got to be a hoax too, right?:
    Science Gives Christians Upper Hand Over Atheists

    By Lillian Kwon
    Christian Post Reporter
    Sat, Nov. 18 2006 02:30 PM ET
    MCLEAN, Va. – Today’s Christian no longer has to try to maintain only by faith their belief in the origin of the universe. The atheist now does.
    Former atheist and award-winning Christian author Lee Strobel premiered his one-hour documentary “The Case for a Creator” to hundreds of Christians at an apologetics conference Friday. The aftermath of the movie: Christians felt they actually learned something.
    “We are actually living now at a time of tremendous intellectual renaissance of Christianity,” said philosopher and author Dr. William Lane Craig.

  3. Dennis says


    Lee Strobel is a proud bumpkin, all too ready to declare victory on no evidence. I recently had “The Case for Faith” inflicted on me by an acquaintance. By the way, doesn’t there seem to be a fundamental tension in attempting to make a case for faith?

  4. says

    Actually, Lee Strobel is simply out to make a buck by whoring his spirituality.
    If this means repeating lies spread by other Christians, all the better, it seems.

    And are you sure Victoria Fox was not some sort of porn-site spambot?

  5. says

    Aren’t there better places to troll for perverts? Like, um, MySpace?

    Unless one were a law enforcement officer with a desire to prove that Scientists and God-Hatin’ Atheists are just as pree-verted as your average youth minister. Then I guess this would be a good, though probably ultimately frustrating, place to start looking.

  6. Carlie says

    Actually, the more I saw, the more I was convinced that it was a for-real 14 year-old homeschooled kid. I’ve worked with kids just under and just over that age group a lot, including several homeschoolers, and yeah, the social context cluelessness, general overestimated sense of self-importance, and overall vapidity were fairly spot-on. Well played, weird old pervert guy trolling the boards.

  7. Millimeter Wave says

    IIRC, one commenter (I forget who) called bullshit on “Victoria Fox” based on what I think were his/her first couple of comments. It was back on the “standards for homeschooling” thread.

  8. moonbiter says

    It is always safest to assume that every 14-year-old girl on the Internet is a 40-year-old man.

  9. llewelly says

    Actually, the more I saw, the more I was convinced that it was a for-real 14 year-old homeschooled kid.

    Me too – but I was not reading carefully; I did not notice Fox was asking for a massage, and I did not realize ‘body painting’ referred to nude body painting, etc. Nor did I follow any of the links. Now I feel was incautious.

  10. lo says

    quork, omg this is so wrong, so wrong.

    You goddamn lazy atheists. Now that you have at least a few platforms in the internet, it`s time for those of you who can afford it time-wise to get off your lazy arses and do the same thing as the “dark side” (the Vaderish side) does: propaganda and hit them where it really hurts, namely when it comes to their children and their health, coz nothing else really helps. Dawkins et al are neat entertainment for atheists but the religious probably saw themselves assured and even more right about blind faith with all those nutters in it. (Heck the pastor and the jewish fundamentalist or whatever he was really gave me the shivers.)

    We should show them:
    1) why religion is in every way detrimental for children, ultimately for society – in such as way that it makes them realize that they are abusing their own progeny.

    2) that ultimately they all are not gonna put their bible where their mouth is when it comes to their frigging own health and a life struggling situation.

    I mean there would be countless of possibilities here, from sponsoring young filmmakers on a common platform, to using the full potential of the internet – which btw, has never ever been a better platform to reach the whole world with as little imaginable input, as long as one makes use of basic psychology.

    AND at last show them in an unmissable way how each of their beloved preachers and other kooks really rakes in big dough with their stupidity, don`t value anything that the crap-book contains (other than having paper ready for a good shit) and that all the religious represent in the 21st century are damn frigging commodities one can bid on, lease and deal with!

    PS: There are excellent programs which i am underway to translate as long as i have the time, since actually quite a lot of the European countries did go into the offensive and aired a lot of excellent programs on TV against this spreading fundamentalism and increasing value of stupidity which was two years back virtually unknown to most of us Europeans and no issue at all.

    Perhaps those Creationists made their worst mistake by drawing the worlds attention onto an America that was already as brightly lit by the spotlights as historically possible. Let`s not hope but start acting!

    Before the spotlights went on, the USA was actually seen as a country that was admired and looked up to in the public eye of Europeans. Now it is seen by most as a developmental country.

  11. says

    I actually read some of Lee Strobel’s stuff. It’s about as sad as you might expect: the appearance of sober-minded assessment of the evidence as a thin disguise to comfort the believer, but no substance to persuade the informed doubter.

    I wrote about it last spring in Getting on God’s case

  12. BC says

    Lee Stobel has been writing apologetics books for a while. It’s not surprising that he would claim that science actually backs Christianity. I have his book “The Case for Faith” (borrowed from my parents, who claimed that he had thought through his ideas), and only made it less than one-half of the way through (plus jumping around). I would’ve made it further, but his errors and spin were very irritating. It absolutely wasn’t well thought through. It might be convincing apologetics to a Christian, but there were so many holes and so many ugly conclusions (e.g. it was okay for God to tell the Israelites to kill all the pagan children in Canaan because they were going to grow up to be bad anyway). I looked at amazon to see what kinds of reviews it got, and a few people pointed out the glaring problems with the book (e.g. one snarky review states, “Also informative was chapter four, on hell. There we learn that denying God is a worse crime than torturing a human being. This goes a long way to helping me understand why Christians have been willing to torture heretics (see chapter seven).”). It’s scary how many people (Christians) thought it was a well thought-out apologetics book.

  13. Carlie says

    Maybe it was an undercover cop in training, trying out the persona on a “safe” board first to see if he could fool the ol’ science geeks. Yeah, that’s it.

    I did see first-hand why it is that Christianity is so powerful today, stupidity aside. The pastor was preaching on helping others, and read a letter someone sent the church that included “We felt orphaned here in this new place, and you’ve made us part of a family.Of your family, and of God’s family.” That’s the part that secular groups so often miss. There’s a lot of good being done, but once a week kumbayaing as one big happy? Not so much, and that’s what people really want. For a lot of people the apologetics are just window dressing.

  14. says

    BC:It’s scary how many people (Christians) thought it was a well thought-out apologetics book.

    I quite agree, BC. I thought that Strobel’s The Case for Christ was a perfect example of data sifting. A fact here, a factoid there, and pretty soon the case for Christ is proved beyond a reasonable doubt (unless you notice the cherry-picking). I loved, for example, how two of Strobel’s star witnesses contradict each other (if you actually look them up), but the fact that one of them disdained the other’s reliability is not to be found in Strobel’s work.

    That commandment about not bearing false witness sure doesn’t get a lot of respect from its most fervent (supposedly) adherents.

  15. lo says

    Carlie, don`t oversimplify the subject. In a way, evolutionary we are pretty much all the same, run pretty much all the same operating system and also human psychology is far from being a total mystery. In other words we are all accessible to certain exploitative strategies – which anchored our survival however – and those strategies are open for anyone to read with the right dose of interest.

    L. Ron Hubbard, – the founder of scientology – is a prime example of this (so are many, many more but lesser known to those lesser inclinded to this theme).

    Now that`s as far as the factual, objective side goes, everything else depends on anyones viewpoint. From my rather extreme standpoint religion does absolutely no good, without exception it destroys and consumes live. In the 21st century education should be worshipped and glorified, not the stupiest of the stupid. The major imprinted values should be that anyone part of modern society, ows its life to it and should at least give back a fair share.

    The work that can be done by mindless, blind followers of authority can be carried out by machines even more accurate, faster, more efficient and cheaper and the congruence to the central authority is in the machine even far more superior. Thus society really has no place IMHO for such humans.

    I really don`t understand why this depiction isn`t normalcy, but then again the modeling of political and social movements, currents exceed those of the climate by far, so there is no use to even bother to think about it. It was fascinating to see “BBC – The power of nightmare” which shows that actually some mistakes that were made in the 30ties were probably responsible for the events that led up to 9/11. It just gives one a glance at the tremendous complexity underlying the social fabric.

    At last i also believe that one of histories gravest mistakes is that during certain recent time periods where science could have established itself as a loudmouth and propagator of popularizing science to the public it failed to understand the significance of having a voice involving the public. There is just nothing more powerful than human interaction! and science really is rather about the interaction of nature with as little human interference as possible. In fact the last thing we want to see in our measurements is us (systematic errors).

    The real issue isn`t just increasing religion, faith and superstition etc, all of this is just an indicator of what went wrong before. There are many atheists who are just as ill educated and gripped by some of the anti scientific movements like the organic food craze, ridiculous fears about the atom and virtually anything that polarized people and drives them towards a product.

  16. Lynne says

    Religion is a delusion people find valuable because it takes away the pain of a brutal, coincidental existence. I find it interesting that so many people who delude themselves need to defend their delusions as being scientifically justified. Why can’t they just be honest about it and admit that their delusions bring them comfort in a cold cruel world? Just as so many grown men wish to delude themselves that they can have meaningful relationships with fourteen-year-olds (I watch the Dateline Predator shows hoping for psychological insight into another facet of human stupidity), our various delusions about the “meaning” of life are what keep us from jumping off bridges. Isn’t our capacity for self-delusion what differentiates humans from other species?

  17. says

    On a whim a year or two ago, I ordered a bunch of Strobel’s books on ILL, figuring they’d present some measure of entertainment. I was only a little disappointed, though it was nice to see a legal journalist make several hearsay-based cases that would never stand up in court. I thought it was neat to see the whole “I was a Christian, but then I became an atheist, and I was a horrible person, and my wife was born-again, so I converted back and now I have morals” story repeated in the introductions of each book.

    The best part, though, was his description of the spread of Christianity, straight out of a shampoo commercial: the early Christians each told two friends, and they each told two friends, and they each told two friends, and so on. Honestly, if you’re making a case for Christianity, you probably shouldn’t make it sound like a pyramid scheme.

  18. craig says

    I only ever saw the first “Victoria Fox” post, the one about reading about evolution, etc… and then after that, just people slamming this “person.”
    I was thinking, whoa, you people are being kind of harsh to a kid, she’ll learn that astral projection is hooey, maybe she was just reading about it for kicks, etc.

    Now I know better. That’s teach me to be too lazy to read al the comments.

    On the subject of comments, I gotta say, you people sure are nerds. Here we have the makings of a perfect episode of “Inside Edition” or whatever, and you go off on a tangent and talk about science.

    You people will NEVER be TV reporters.

  19. llewelly says

    … the early Christians each told two friends, and they each told two friends, and they each told two friends, and so on. Honestly, if you’re making a case for Christianity, you probably shouldn’t make it sound like a pyramid scheme.

    When I was a young Mormon lad, precisely the same language was used to sell Mormons on the importance of proselytizing. And I constantly saw notices for seminars that I would later learn to associate with pyramid schemes on church bulletin boards (despite occasional official pronouncements that promoting such seminars on church grounds was against policy). I don’t know about Christians, per se, but pyramid schemes were (are?) frighteningly effective in Mormon communities.

  20. llewelly says

    On the subject of comments, I gotta say, you people sure are nerds. Here we have the makings of a perfect episode of “Inside Edition” or whatever, and you go off on a tangent and talk about science.
    You people will NEVER be TV reporters.

    That kind of TV will NEVER be worth watching.

  21. craig says

    “I don’t know about Christians, per se, but pyramid schemes were (are?) frighteningly effective in Mormon communities.”

    Is it any wonder that many of them are based in Utah? All of those $35-a-bottle juices, Xango, Goji or whatever…

  22. Azkyroth says

    It seems that one of the hazards of being a generally honest person myself is that I tend to take other people at their word unless 1) they’re blatantly bullshitting or 2) there’s something on the line (money, credibility, etc.). In my defense, Victoria actually did write very much like a real girl who was 14 when I made her acquaintance, and clearly had a great deal of intelligence going, thanks to her wingnut parents’ smothering, more or less to waste. Yes, this was online. Yes, I am quite certain, based on the way her voice sounded on the Team Fortress voice chat feature, that if she wasn’t necessarily 14 she was definitely young and female.

    That she Victoria was in college I found surprising, but gave her the benefit of the doubt (partly due to Skatje). The errors and general demeanor were a bit surprising given her claims about her intelligence, but I know quite a few smart kids who’ve “dumbed down” their general demeanor and speech patterns in order to “fit in,” and had it become habitual, so I’ve found it best not to judge a book by its cover. The parts about massages and nude body painting would certainly have been a tip-off if I’d seen those posts…

  23. Dee says

    ‘I don’t know about Christians, per se, but pyramid schemes were (are?) frighteningly effective in Mormon communities.’

    They were effective because if you could suck in the bishop, you could pull in a good portion of the ward, too. I too grew up Mormon, although moving back to Utah in my teens soon took care of that. Being female and loving science didn’t go together very well with being LDS in Utah. I have to say that some of your posts really strike a nerve, llewelly.

  24. David Harmon says

    Last night I was responding to “Victoria Fox”‘s letters on the post
    “Bad science? It’s OK…”
    . Up until I bagged for the night, she sounded a lot like a rather arrogant teenager, albeit probably not as smart as she thought she was. Most of the blatancies you’re describing hadn’t shown up there, or yet. Perhaps the comments about corporal punishment could have tipped me off, but I was already thinking “arrogant know-it-all kid” by then. But looking back, I have to admit I did miss some major inconsistencies and improbabilities in her list of claims — like, “15 degrees below zero”… (in Missouri?) “making molasses”… “tear open the sac filled with amniotic fluids”? Not to mention that unreasonable breadth of advanced studies!.

    I didn’t even look at the homeschooling article…. maybe “she” pulled the stops out there because she wasnt getting enough of a rise in the thread I was reading….

  25. bPer says

    Lynne said:

    I find it interesting that so many people who delude themselves need to defend their delusions as being scientifically justified. Why can’t they just be honest about it and admit that their delusions bring them comfort in a cold cruel world?

    I think I can explain that. My family belonged to the United Church of Canada, the largest protestant denomination in Canada. My parents were rabid teetotalers, to the point where they ‘toasted’ wedding couples with water (to my embarrassment even as a child). My father, a UC minister, railed against alcohol and drugs, claiming that people only drank and did drugs to ‘escape reality’. Do you see the trap they set for themselves? If they admit that their religion is nothing but a soother against the cruel world, they’d be no better than the drunks and druggies that they love to look down on. Just another form of projection, really.

    As for scientific justification for their delusions, I think that is limited to a small minority, at least for mainstream church-goers. My father, for example, accepted the fact of evolution and taught that Genesis was allegorical. Even as a child, I realized that the church was back-pedalling away from its previous positions as science presented evidence to the contrary. To attempt to do otherwise would be foolish to anyone with any sense. The vast majority of the church-goers I encountered in my father’s churches were level-headed, pragmatic people who didn’t think too deeply about their religion but attended for the sense of community and, of course, for the weekly dose of reality-escaping dogma.

  26. idlemind says

    Wow. I missed the whole thing. It’s like reaching an accident scene after the tow trucks have left.

    The whole “on the Internet no one knows your a dog” thing is actually older than the Internet*. Back in the day of BBSes (modem-accessed “bulletin board systems”) 40-year-old virgin males were already playing teenaged girls. Of course, these “girls” wrote and acted in ways that the 40-year-old miscreants would like real girls to do — and that should be the tip-off.

  27. says

    “Former atheist and award-winning Christian author Lee Strobel” yea right. Former atheist my ass. This is how the try to get credibility. They say former atheist like they must have thought like us atheists once in their life but now they have something better

  28. Steviepinhead says

    Hey, PZ, didja ever consider that we maybe are just helplessly attracted to 40-year-old males masquerading as 14-year-old girls?!?

    Or that maybe we’re from the ACLU, and we’re trying to snooker internet vice cops into entrapping us, so we can sue their pants off!?!

    Ha! Didn’t think of them possibilities, didja!?!

  29. SEF says

    I missed the whole thing.

    I assume I missed most of it. I certainly don’t recall the things mentioned! I’d decided “she” was an idiot within the first few posts and had stopped reading them in my scan throughs after that (something which is particularly easy to do when working back upwards through a backlog).

  30. John Mruzik, ME, MD. says

    What other lurkers and commentators are out there? I’m getting paroniod….

    I realy do believe…Ouch….

  31. Caledonian says

    You will all note that you have no more evidence that “Victoria Fox” wasn’t more-or-less what she claimed to be than you had after her first post. VF was certainly no genius, as her postings demonstrated, but the fact that PZ has chosen to ban her due to her behavior does not constitute evidence that she was any particular thing besides grossly stupid.

  32. says

    Continuing on the B story, the final quote in the article says a lot:

    “It is now the atheist who has to maintain by faith, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, that the universe did not have a beginning.”

    Not just a straw man– a lobotomized straw man.

  33. craig says

    “What other lurkers and commentators are out there? I’m getting paroniod…”

    Now you have me paranoid too – what if *I’m* a cop!??!

  34. llewelly says

    Now you have me paranoid too – what if *I’m* a cop!??!

    There’s no reason to worry, since you would never know if you were, anyway.
    After all, just last month, when the UN’s black helicopters fired their mind-beams at your skull, and took control of your body, you obediently marched off to help subdue a dissident – that is, someone who refused to remove their aluminum foil deflector beanie. And you didn’t remember a thing. In fact, you blamed the whole thing on an alien abduction, which is of course preposterous, and you didn’t remember that either.

  35. Kayla says

    Actually, minus the hitting on a middle aged guy and the body painting, she reminded me a good bit of how I acted (and wrote!) on the internet at that age. And the former could certainly be born of loneliness and/or inexperience with normal age-appropriate social interaction.

  36. Azkyroth says

    Do we have any figures on the percentage of teenager girls pretending to be FBI agents?

    Which of course reminds me of a humorous story from a site that’s emphatically non-work-safe, but to which the punch line is as follows:

    The new girl blinked at her wide-eyed, leaned in close, and whispered plainly: “I’ve always wanted to have sex with an F.B.I. agent.”

  37. says

    I’ve read Strobel’s Case for a Creator, and let me tell you that it was painful. Took me months to read just because all the blatant deception was hurting my brain.

    When Jonathan Wells is your first and foremost interviewee, and you treat near-death experiences and ESP as real science that proves the soul, you’re engaging in some pretty hardcore truth-stretching.

  38. George Cauldron says

    Re: the person who’s trying to Janiebelle Pharyngula: do you have a geographic location for

  39. Mary says

    Guys – Victoria’s information was a bit suspicious.

    “She” said her name was “Alyssa Grace Bryant” – which if you do a google search, brings up one hit on a names database as a girl who is scheduled to graduate from a school in Branson, MO in 2008. So much for the homeschooling story.

    “She” discusses IP address issues over on the homeschooling post, so she is aware that the IP address shows up on comments. The story about moving to Las Vegas could be a very simple fabrication to cover up the IP address issue in case anyone bothered to look it up.

    From what I read “she” was able to stay in character about 60% of the time.

  40. llewelly says

    nv-76-0-247-16.dhcp.embarqhsd.net ( is located in Marina Del Rey, California, United States.

    According to antionline’s ip locator.

    But geobytes , and ip2location place it in Las Vegas, nevada – just as ‘Victoria Fox’ claimed.

    You can find more ip location sites by googling. I do not know which, if any, are any good.

  41. says

    (Incidentally, antionline says I’m in Marina Del Rey, California as well. Geobytes and ip2location both say I’m in Russia. I’m in Belgium, and not using a proxy. Not very reliable.)

  42. Steviepinhead says

    Oh, Victoria
    I’d have adored ya
    if you were older
    and I were bolder

    If you’d been tender
    some certain gender
    and not a vendor
    it might not end here

    but as it is, dear
    I have too much fear
    I’d never get near
    the lass I “knew” here

    Accept one small kiss
    for our near miss
    Though this is all, Ms.
    it’s been a ball, sis!

  43. says

    quork: Ack!! Not Craig. That guy refuses to learn any science, so to think of him as a scholar … [shudder]

    As for the recent … visitor, well, I always thought of her as a troll, which was enough to ignore her.