Comments

  1. notaquinas says

    Adrienne,

    I was not attempting to establish the existence of God by my statement regarding the lack of physical evidence. I merely say this to show that science can only do so much. It has not disproved God’s existence, just like the Scriptures cannot prove it in an empirical sense.
    Your question regarding what other sort of evidence there is shows how narrow the scope you use to view reality is. I do not use “narrow” in the pejorative sense, I just mean that there may be more to reality than matter.
    As far as evidence goes, there are things that do seem to suggest that God exists. For example, the universality of a religious impulse, man’s conscience, etc.

  2. baker says

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Do you atheist assholes think that you are winning any converts through your boorish, ignorant and anti-social behavior?

    I think not…

    PZ Myers is a nobody (which a large, unjustified ego) and will remain as such)

    UMM is that a community college or technical school?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  3. Salt says

    My response revolved around an implicit contract.

    I was also merely noting the tendency to social autism.

    Posted by: Salt | July 11, 2008 6:14 PM

    The fact is that there is no implied contract here because it lacks the element of CONSIDERATION. That is why your all-you-can-eat restaurant analogy is flawed. That’s also why promissory estoppel is the church’s best argument, but even that is weak.

    As for the social autism comment, you can insult me all you want, but it won’t improve your argument.

    Posted by: Odie | July 11, 2008 6:23 PM

    My argument needs no improvement.

  4. Odie says

    My argument needs no improvement.

    Posted by: Salt | July 11, 2008 6:37 PM

    Then please explain how all of the necessary elements of contract are satisfied by your hypothetical “implicit” contract.

  5. Mechalith says

    @johnnyjoe

    “Why do modern atheists think they have the corner on the market for rationality and understanding for all the perplexity that is this world and the universe about it?”

    I’m going to focus on this line in specific because I think it’s probably the most telling. I (and I suspect we as a group) don’t. If I see someone else displaying rational thought or reasoned conviction then I applaud them for it, especially if they’re religious. It shows that they’re at least making an attempt. The problem is that most of our opponents proudly disavow any attempt at logic or reason and instead cling to faith as though it were a virtue.

    Also, you mention ‘Darwinists’. I’ve never encountered such a person, nor do I expect to. I would hesitate even to use the term ‘evolutionist’ which is closer to the truth simply because it implies an attachment to the idea that simply isn’t present. I believe evolution to be an accurate model of how a part of the natural world works, but I’m perfectly willing to abandon that understanding IF someone can prove another model is a better or more accurate explanation for the available evidence.

    This is all old hat for most here, no matter which side of the debate you’re on, but so it can be said plainly for the benefit of those who haven’t heard it recently; science is a method for understanding, nothing more. We try to change and improve our understanding over time to increase our knowledge of the world. At the risk of invoking a storm of bagpipe enthusiasts, no serious scientist should ever be found stubbornly attempting to make the facts fit a theory. Anyone who ignores the facts or attempts to distort them to their liking is abandoning rationality for magical and/or wishful thinking.

  6. Rey Fox says

    “Why do modern atheists think they have the corner on the market for rationality and understanding for all the perplexity that is this world and the universe about it?”

    Because we’re the ones who aren’t making stuff up.

    “God exists, why must he be discoverable empirically?”

    Because if he isn’t, then he doesn’t matter. To anyone. At any rate, he sure as hell shouldn’t matter to the class of people who have decided they don’t think he exists. You can’t go around playing Hide The Deity and expect us to give a crap.

    “Albert Einstein himself, whom I assume would be revered on a page such as this, said, “The harmony of natural law reveals an intelligence so vast that compared to it all the systematic thinking of human beings is utterly insignificant.””

    That would imply that God IS empirically verifiable. Er, but he doesn’t HAVE to be! But he apparently DOES reveal himself…to certain people predisposed to believe in him in the first place.

    You can dress it up with as many pretty words and quotes from famous people as you want, but you got nothing.

    neg:
    “If I go to a church, take communion, keep the Eucharist in my mouth, go out of church, take the Eucharist out of my mouth…”

    I think I’m gonna have to go do something else now. These threads are starting to make me feel covered in saliva. A Greatest Hits page of the Cracker Incident would be nice for a not-so-splittly condensation. It would have to include Brownian and Blake Stacey’s responses to notaquinas, and Marcus Ranum’s on the different kinds of respect and what they’re worth (can’t remember which thread it was on), and David Weinehall’s comment #893 on the “Fight back” thread about the somewhat dubious theological nature of the cracker flap, and the line I would expect any thinking Catholic to take on the transubstantiation if they were’t just interested in mind control or self-martyring.

  7. Salt says

    #489
    … all I have done is perfectly within the law.

    Posted by: negentropyeater | July 11, 2008 6:10 PM

    That is a legal conclusion, which would be interesting for a court to entertain.

  8. says

    My argument needs no improvement.

    A more correct statement would have been: No, it can’t be improved because it has been shown to be fatally flawed.

  9. dylan tenelux says

    What I learned today:

    In the world of atheism, we don’t do certain things because they violate “empathy” (according to Alex, somewhere in the 160s). And what “empathy” is, or why it should be considered morally binding on us semiquadrupeds, is anyone’s guess.

    Then, from a female commenter (IIRC), I received the wisdom that we behave in a moral manner because it’s the moral thing to do, morally speaking, and shut the bleep up dylan you religious retard. No circular logic there.

    And then from Gavel Down (#169 — actually, one of my favorite interlocutors), I learned that morality is determined by plebiscite! (More or less.) So, presumably, if the majority is Muslim, the correct morality is sharia law. If the majority is Communist, then the tenets of Communism reign supreme. If we’re in revolutionary France, then morality dictates that we kill the royal family. And any pesky Catholic priests that might be lurking about.

    I’m more confused now than I ever was!

    Fortunately, there’s the See of Rome and its magisterium to set me straight.

    About 200 comments ago, someone suggested a beer. Capital idea, that. I’m off.

  10. JimNorth says

    Sent a snail mail to Prez B. — and cc’d PZ supporting his rational cause — along with a job offer that PZ just cannot refuse. You have my permission to reprint the letter in it’s entirety, PZ, if you dare….LOL

  11. jorge666 says

    PZ posted the contents of a bunch of e-mails in another thread.
    Most seem to do like this –
    I’m Catholic.
    I don’t like what you are doing.
    You have to respect my lunacy even though we don’t respect anyone elses (see Koran Envy).
    You will burn in hell.
    You should be fired/dismembered/tortured etc.
    Koran Envy – I’ll send you a copy of the Koran (insert other religious artifact here), so you can desecrate that instead, OK??

    Really kind of boring except for the Koran Envy.
    You would think people would have more imagination than that.

    What two faced tools!

  12. Odie says

    I’m still waiting for Salt’s explanation of how all of the elements of contract are satisfied by his “implicit” contract theory, but I’m guessing it won’t appear any time soon. In the meantime, I going to make dinner and have a drink.

  13. Dahan says

    Baker @ 502,

    Sigh, as usual you are a confused, sad little theist, unable to think in any other terms. Atheists don’t want “converts”. We don’t have a religion to convert you to. We have a lack of theism.

    Print that, look at it daily.

    PZ Myers has an unbelievably popular blog, is a world class scientist and educator. All that means nothing to you, ergo he’s a nobody. Fine. I’m sure your credentials are so shiny we couldn’t bear to see them, but feel free to fire away anyways.

    UMM is part of the U of MN, which you should know is a Big Ten school. The U of MN is quickly closing in on its goal of becoming one of the top three public research universities in the world this decade.

    Anthing else to add? Think you made any “converts” by showing yourself a pompous, ignorant, malcontent? Yeah. We’re all so put in our place by you now. Think I’ll go take up a religion tomorrow. Maybe zoroastism. After all, it’s been around a lot longer than christianity. Must be right then…

  14. ricardo says

    1) Purposefully direct perceived insult to crazy people.

    2) Ask people to support you when said crazy people arrive with pitch forks and torches.

    3) Repeat.

  15. Charles Giacometti says

    I couldn’t possibly read all of the posts, but let me add my voice to the people who are suggesting you go to the FBI with the death threats. I say this for two reasons. One, you are better to be safe than sorry. There truly are crazy people out there. Two, these people should be punished, or at least have the s**t scared out of them for their cowardly behavior.

    Keep up the fine work.

  16. Salt says

    My argument needs no improvement.

    Posted by: Salt | July 11, 2008 6:37 PM

    Then please explain how all of the necessary elements of contract are satisfied by your hypothetical “implicit” contract.

    Posted by: Odie | July 11, 2008 6:42 PM

    Contracts are governed by offer and acceptance; knowingly, willfully, and intentionally entered into. You can check Black’s Law Dictionary, any edition, if you wish. I have 2, any preference which I should consult? The value of the wafer is irrelevant, being so ludicrously small.

    The offer of the Catholic Church, in this instance, is found within the meaning of communion. The acceptance is the taking of communion within its meaning. Therein is the meeting of the minds. Same for the free buffet. Offer is food, implicit eaten there. Acceptance is attendance. Again, a meeting of the minds, unless the accepting party intended to make off with food which might constitute fraud – false pretenses.

    The Church fulfilled its part of the contract. To do as you say, if being done knowingly, intentionally, and willfully, violates both the tenants and the spirit of the contract you voluntarily entered into. This, I’d argue, be regarded in similar light to libel.

    It’s a stretch, but given the jury odds… most probably being religious,,,

    Just my quick off the cuff thoughts

  17. says

    You are to be commended for standing up for those things that are important and in which you believe. Being able to take a stand against withering criticism, and continue to hold fast in your convictions sets an example the religious fanatics would do well to emulate.

    As a veteran and member of the DOD, I can assure you there are many, many of us who support your set of beliefs and values and are tired of the fanatical, ignorant, extremist views represented by your detractors.

    Fight on and never give up.

    DD

  18. Anonymous says

    I am shocked, shocked that so many people think it is right to use violence in this case against Webster. I am very curious to see how this case is going to play out, and I hope the church is put nicely down where it belongs, on its feet in that this was not a crime. If they as a church want to excommunicate him, that is up to them and as much as they can do. If the university is going to do anything against him, I hope he sues the university as they have nothing to say on this at all.

    Personally, I think anybody who defends the violence against this man is a religious fanatic, not different from a Muslim who acts on a cartoon of the prophet with violence.

  19. Salt says

    Oh, “To do as you say, if being done knowingly, intentionally, and willfully, violates both the tenants and the spirit of the contract you voluntarily entered into” refers to his comment –

    Posted by: negentropyeater | July 11, 2008 6:10 PM

  20. says

    Dear President Robert Bruininks:

    I am writing to voice my strong support for
    Professor Meyers.
    His outrage was clearly directed at catholics who
    intimidated a young man for absurd reasons-seriously, armed police at a catholic mass to prevent a cracker from being ‘kidnapped’ ?

    We seem to be through the looking glass here.

    I hope reason will prevail.

    ManhattanMC
    (I did use my real name BTW)

  21. Adrienne says

    Notaquinas @501 wrote:

    I merely say this to show that science can only do so much. It has not disproved God’s existence, just like the Scriptures cannot prove it in an empirical sense.

    Correct, but then almost all modern atheists (such as myself) would not dispute that statement. I don’t think anyone on this thread has made the claim that God does not exist.

    Your question regarding what other sort of evidence there is shows how narrow the scope you use to view reality is. I do not use “narrow” in the pejorative sense, I just mean that there may be more to reality than matter.

    Yes, there may be. Just as magic elves may really live under my kitchen sink, and I don’t know they are there because they use their powerful magic to hide all traces of their existence from me. But how can I tell for sure? What criteria can I use to differentiate my hypothetical magic elves’s non-physically-proveable existence from their non-existence? Isn’t it simpler and more logical to assume that these magical elves do not, in fact, exist?

    As far as evidence goes, there are things that do seem to suggest that God exists. For example, the universality of a religious impulse, man’s conscience, etc.

    Again, there are simpler and more compelling materialistic evolutionary explantions for human religious impulses, conscience, and so on.

  22. Jenn McWhorter says

    I’m a Catholic, and I am extremely offended by the reaction of other Catholics to this whole thing. Not by your comments. Not even by the first guy taking the Eucharist, as I believe that God can handle whatever bugs HIM, tain’t our job to do it for him.

    Nevermind a secular response. What this really needs is a very vocal response from SANE Catholics, not the crazy kooks who make the rest of us look bad.

  23. E.V. says

    Have you ever been talking to somene in good faith, look into their eyes and realize they reject conventional reality and substitute their own? That according to their tortured logic that they can make any outrageous claim and then insist you must disprove it?
    Of course you have. I’m so fucking weary right now of arguments that would embarass a 2cd year philosophy major, ok, 3rd year with at least a 3.0.
    These trolls function in a dream world, of fantasy, fmixing fiction and some reality – and no empirical data will get in the way of that fantasy.

  24. says

    Point: We’re helping to pay the salaries (and legal fees) of church staff, including the paedophiles and those who protect them. Then they use their salaried time also to suppress women’s rights, prevent people from getting access to birth control and condoms to prevent disease (because they might prevent births), and generally increase human misery. We’re the ones who should be demanding that these people NOT be supported any longer by our taxes. Remove tax exemption for religions. The Catholic Church is supposedly the biggest land-owner in the U.S. If they started paying their share, the rest of us and the poor would get a little relief. There’s a political movement I could support. Freedom FROM religion!

  25. Fernando Magyar says

    So, start a war against the Christians.

    I bet you don’t have the guts!

    Posted by: Starbuck |

    Since you seem to have the brains and instinct of a mortally wounded bull at the mercy of a Spanish matador, all one would have to do is wave a little cracker in your face. As you charge maddly in a rage of blind fury it would be with just the slightest sleight of footwork, an agile sidestep and quick thrust of the sword through your throbbing blood engorged neck, to tumble you into the dust of the arena in a fine spraying mist of crimson. Ole!

    Disclaimer: The above comment is merely a flight of fancy. I would never really go out of my way to hurt a cracker. Though I might wish to see people like Starbuck restrained by the little men, in the white lab coats, with the big butterfly nets. Then fitted with a nice straight jacket and placed in a well padded room for observation.

  26. tsg says

    It’s taken me a little while to put my finger on what exactly is wrong with this buffet analogy, but here it is.

    The fundamental and vital component missing from this discussion about whether or not it is “moral” to take food home from a buffet is the discussion of the harm that results from it. In the case of the commercial pay-one-price, all-you-can-eat buffet, it clearly harms the business by taking food home because now they don’t have that food to sell to other people. If, however, you only take what food you could eat in one sitting, what does it matter where you eat it? Why would it be immoral to eat it at home rather than in the restaurant? They aren’t out anything by you taking it home and, in fact, save on the labor needed to clean the table you didn’t use. It would not be immoral.

    At a private party, on the other hand, obviously if the first person to the buffet stuffs a weeks worth of food into a laundry sack, there won’t be enough for the other guests. The harm is that there won’t be enough for everyone. But if, at the end of the night, there is food leftover that is already paid for, what’s the harm in taking it home? There isn’t. It will only go to waste. It is not immoral to take it home.

    Here’s where the analogy to the sacrament fails. You aren’t taking a handfull of hosts. You are taking one host that they were going to give you anyway. The perceived harm, the very harm that is being argued about, is due to a belief about what that host represents/actually is. The buffet analogy doesn’t apply and doesn’t show that it is immoral to take that host home instead of eating it.

    All this talk about social contracts is a bullshit distraction. A red herring. Until you can show that taking the host home instead of eating it is actually, and not just perceived to be by an unsupported belief, harmful, you have no argument. And no, simply offending someone is not inherently harmful.

  27. tsg says

    One can stand with dignity, or one can stand rudely.

    Assuming that only one is the proper course of action in every case is naive.

    If one comes to the point whereby being rude solely because “if they understood what I am saying they would agree with me”, but they don’t –

    Been done. Didn’t work. We’re not dealing with reasonable people. That much is abundantly clear.

    reminds me of Animal House, where at the end one guy is simply yelling “all is well” while everyone else is running around like chickens.
    The guy yelling lost before he even got started.

    I am at a complete loss as to what that has to do with anything being discussed here.

  28. Salt says

    We’re the ones who should be demanding that these people NOT be supported any longer by our taxes. Remove tax exemption for religions.

    Posted by: Monado | July 11, 2008 8:17 PM

    How does being exempt translate to being supported BY OUR TAX DOLLARS? Wouldn’t we actually have to give them tax dollars to make your statement true?

    I mean, I can understand why some dislike the fact that churches pay no taxes, but laying claim to the property of another as if you provided it, well, that’s just …

  29. Salt says

    One can stand with dignity, or one can stand rudely.

    Assuming that only one is the proper course of action in every case is naive.

    Guess my upbringing was really poor, not being taught that rude is acceptable in certain circumstances. Personally, I was taught to shove it up someone’s *** without being rude. It’s called tact.

    If one comes to the point whereby being rude solely because “if they understood what I am saying they would agree with me”, but they don’t –

    Been done. Didn’t work. We’re not dealing with reasonable people. That much is abundantly clear.

    That is your opinion. Evidently, many disagree with you which proves it is but your opinion.

    reminds me of Animal House, where at the end one guy is simply yelling “all is well” while everyone else is running around like chickens. The guy yelling lost before he even got started.

    I am at a complete loss as to what that has to do with anything being discussed here.

    Posted by: tsg | July 11, 2008 8:49 PM

    Of course.

  30. Salt says

    It’s taken me a little while to put my finger on what exactly is wrong with this buffet analogy, but here it is.

    YADA YADA YADA (you all can read it for yourselves)

    Posted by: tsg | July 11, 2008 8:40 PM

    Socially austistic, yes indeed.

  31. Odie says

    Contracts are governed by offer and acceptance; knowingly, willfully, and intentionally entered into. You can check Black’s Law Dictionary, any edition, if you wish. I have 2, any preference which I should consult? The value of the wafer is irrelevant, being so ludicrously small.

    Posted by: Salt | July 11, 2008 7:33 PM

    Fail. Pick up any 1L contracts text and it will tell you that the basic elements of any contract are offer, acceptance, consideration, capacity and legality of subject matter. A meeting of the minds (offer and acceptance), by itself, is NOT sufficient to create a valid, enforceable contract. Your theory of implied contract fails on the element of consideration.

    Consideration is that which is bargained for and given in exchange for a promise. Consideration MUST have some legal value, which is evidenced by either a legally enforceable burden to the promisee or a legally enforceable benefit to the promisor (or both, as in the case of bilateral contracts). Your theory does not satisfy either condition.

    In this instance, the church gains no benefit from the individual’s promise to eat the wafer (what do they lose if someone doesn’t eat a wafer?), and takes on no burden in it’s promise of heaven (if there’s no heaven, how can someone legally enforce the church’s promise that it exists?). The individual gains no benefit in return for promising to eat the wafer (if someone does eat the wafer, what legally enforceable benefit will the church give them?), and takes on no burden as a result the church’s promise of heaven (someone can’t sue the church if it’s not there when they die).

    Since your theory cannot satisfy the element of consideration, there is no implied contract.

    Care to try again?

  32. Dahan says

    529,

    Salt,

    It’s very simple. You see, everyone has to pay taxes. That’s the law. It allows us to live in this great country at a level of comfort, stability, and prosperity, we’ve all become accustomed to. Since you are exempted (were you a church), we have to make up for the amount you’re not paying. You still use the services of the Federal Government and the States, roads, police, National Defense, etc, etc. But you don’t have to pay, unlike my little business, which does. So, I and my little business make up for you by… get this, PAYING MORE! So, in effect, I’m required to support you.
    Wow, not really that tough to figure out in the end was it? How did you miss that?

  33. Chris says

    I just took a look at the Advisory Board of the Catholic League. There are some really heavy-duty nutters on there.

  34. Kilo says

    “Your question regarding what other sort of evidence there is shows how narrow the scope you use to view reality is. I do not use “narrow” in the pejorative sense, I just mean that there may be more to reality than matter.”

    Yes, there may be. Just as magic elves may really live under my kitchen sink, and I don’t know they are there because they use their powerful magic to hide all traces of their existence from me.
    Posted by: Adrienne | July 11, 2008 7:45 PM

    Not a big fan of physics I’m guessing.
    85% of the universe is being lied about apparently. One big scam to pilfer scientific funding while so called scientists pursue their crass fabrications of “anti-matter” and “neutrinos”, all so they can prop up pre-determined theories that don’t work without this evidence.

    You know, I think I spotted one or two other people mentioning what they thought of theories about magical things in the sky and omnipresent forces, and the elaborate, unsupported theories about the details of said non-matter designed and desired purely to perpetuate and validate said magic.

    Perhaps they’ll take issue with you too.
    After all, this is just an intellectual criticism and they’re not using these principles merely as a veil for criticism of religion alone. Right ?

  35. Adrienne says

    So Kilo, let me get this straight: you think modern physics is a scam designed by evil scientists who want to hide their real purpose of discrediting religion while getting government funding to do it?

    Let me guess, your favorite hat is made of tinfoil, isn’t it?

  36. Willem van Oranje says

    The Eucharist is a perfect example of what religion really is: it turns something mundane into something sacred using mumbo jumbo. And after it has been fully digested, it has turned to crap. Literally.

  37. Kilo says

    I couldn’t possibly read all of the posts, but let me add my voice to the people who are suggesting you go to the FBI with the death threats. I say this for two reasons. One, you are better to be safe than sorry. There truly are crazy people out there. Two, these people should be punished, or at least have the s**t scared out of them for their cowardly behavior.
    Keep up the fine work.
    Posted by: Charles Giacometti | July 11, 2008 7:15 PM

    Yeah, but how many times is the FBI gonna click on his blog ?

    Did you not notice that this wasn’t mentioned or even hinted once in half a dozen posts while these solicited death threats were used here repeatedly to obvious effect ?
    Thought that was an oversight did you ?

  38. says

    Going D&D geek on you folks, I’m wondering if maybe the material component for Purify Food & Water is communion wafers and beef drippins.

  39. Salt says

    Fail. Pick up any 1L contracts text and it will tell you that the basic elements of any contract are offer, acceptance, consideration, capacity and legality of subject matter. A meeting of the minds (offer and acceptance), by itself, is NOT sufficient to create a valid, enforceable contract. Your theory of implied contract fails on the element of consideration.

    Consideration is that which is bargained for and given in exchange for a promise. Consideration MUST have some legal value, which is evidenced by either a legally enforceable burden to the promisee or a legally enforceable benefit to the promisor (or both, as in the case of bilateral contracts). Your theory does not satisfy either condition.

    In this instance, the church gains no benefit from the individual’s promise to eat the wafer (what do they lose if someone doesn’t eat a wafer?),

    Other than monetary gain from the collection plate, the Church gains (elevated) obedience and conformity, above that of mere attendees, to that Body to which the parishioner subscribes.

    This satisfies your consideration.

    The act of Communion is not passed out wantonly, it is asked for. One must affirmatively step forward.

    I will address this one point, it amuses me –

    and takes on no burden as a result the church’s promise of heaven (someone can’t sue the church if it’s not there when they die).

    Irrelevant, and unknown.

    Since your theory cannot satisfy the element of consideration, there is no implied contract.

    Care to try again?

  40. Salt says

    529,

    Salt,

    It’s very simple. You see, everyone has to pay taxes. That’s the law. It allows us to live in this great country at a level of comfort, stability, and prosperity, we’ve all become accustomed to. Since you are exempted (were you a church), we have to make up for the amount you’re not paying. You still use the services of the Federal Government and the States, roads, police, National Defense, etc, etc. But you don’t have to pay, unlike my little business, which does. So, I and my little business make up for you by… get this, PAYING MORE! So, in effect, I’m required to support you.
    Wow, not really that tough to figure out in the end was it? How did you miss that?

    Posted by: Dahan | July 11, 2008 9:11 PM

    So, just how did we ever get to be this comfortable if churches are exempt? And if it’s true that, as you state, “everyone has to pay taxes. That’s the law.”, then what of church exemption?

    As to “But you don’t have to pay, unlike my little business, which does. So, I and my little business make up for you by… get this, PAYING MORE! So, in effect, I’m required to support you.”

    You have not show that taxing churches would cause your taxes to reduce. Matter of fact, they’d probably go up, seeing as those now reduced social services the churches provide would be taken up by tax dollars from the government.

    No matter, your statement is one of envy.

  41. Adrienne says

    Salt wrote

    No matter, your statement is one of envy.

    You’re accusing an atheist of having church envy!?

  42. Salt says

    You’re accusing an atheist of having church envy!?
    Posted by: Adrienne | July 11, 2008 10:10 PM

    There are non-church organizations which are tax exempt. But seeing as only churches were mentioned, yeah, guess I am.

  43. Kilo says

    So Kilo, let me get this straight:

    You know, I can’t recall the last time someone wrote that and then did.

    you think modern physics is a scam designed by evil scientists who want to hide their real purpose of discrediting religion while getting government funding to do it?

    Posted by: Adrienne | July 11, 2008 9:34 PM

    No, you do, as per your post. Except for the part about scientists discrediting religion, nobody’s mentioned that except you.

    What I think is you want to try and be funny when ridiculing religion, there’s a vast, wide range of ways to do that without ridiculing science on the exact same terms.
    If you’re bright enough.

  44. Odie says

    Other than monetary gain from the collection plate, the Church gains (elevated) obedience and conformity, above that of mere attendees, to that Body to which the parishioner subscribes.

    This satisfies your consideration.

    The act of Communion is not passed out wantonly, it is asked for. One must affirmatively step forward.

    Posted by: Salt | July 11, 2008 9:51 PM

    Fail again. The church cannot sue parishioners to force them to contribute to the collection in return for the promise of heaven, so it’s not a legally enforceable benefit. The church cannot sue to enforce parishioners’ obedience and conformity with all church rules in return for the promise of heaven. Whether someone chooses to receive the wafer is not the issue. The problem is that there is no legally enforceable benefit (for the promisor) or burden (for the promisee) associated with the offer and acceptance here. Therefore, the fact that it is impossible to enforce the church’s promise of heaven is relevant.

    I’ll give you credit for trying, but you cannot win this. You simply don’t have an adequate understanding of the concepts that we’re discussing. I would love to keep teaching you about the law (which is what I do for a living), but I’m going to spend the rest of the evening with my wife instead.

    Thank you for the vigorous debate.

  45. Roger Geisler says

    Message of support for PZ Meyers emailed to President Bruininks from here in the UK.

  46. scott says

    “K8, you are a callow blatherskite, whom I curse to taste the sluggish, acrid flavor of real blood when drinking the sacrimental wine and to taste the spongy, sweetish taste of human flesh when eating the consecrated host.”

    Now THAT’s a comeback.
    I’m fascinated by the interest in this subject,and as a lapsed Catholic find the utter intransigence of both my (former)church members AND Atheists very telling.There is a painfully inescapable fanaticism at work among both groups.
    Sorry about my own fence sitting on this topic but as Groucho Marx so eloquently put it:”I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member”.

  47. says

    Oh, well. Sadly, every attempt I made to try to bring understanding to the situation and end the hostilities has failed.

    You have elected to continue with hatred and bigotry rather than simply condemn bad behavior. If you had chosen to condemn the extremely bad behavior of some Catholics who made death threats – which I also strongly condemn – there would be no issue here.

    But, for the most part, you folks continue to attack the beliefs of Catholics. There’s really no point to it. It doesn’t further your cause, it just makes people angry. It’s almost like you want people to send hateful replies to you all so that you can say, “See? I told you those (fill in the blank) were no good.”

    In the end, you are free to hate me and all other Catholics just because we choose to believe that what appears to be a bit of bread is actually God, but I am also free to pray for an end to all hatred, which causes great trouble in our world.

    Almighty God,

    from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed,
    kindle in the hearts of all men the true love of peace,
    and guide with Your pure and peaceable wisdom
    those who make decisions for the nations of the earth;
    that in tranquility Your kingdom may go forward,
    till the earth be filled with the knowledge of Your love;
    through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Amen.

  48. Dahan says

    Salt,

    When you get to college and take Econ101, you’ll understand why your statements above are so jaw-droppingly idiotic.

    “So, just how did we ever get to be this comfortable if churches are exempt? And if it’s true that, as you state, “everyone has to pay taxes. That’s the law.”, then what of church exemption?”

    I’ll type slowly in the hope this might help, I’m out of other ideas on how to make such simple principles more understandable to you.

    Because the rest of us are making up for your not paying. That was the point of the whole thing for fuck’s sake. Then what of church exemption? Well, that’s the other main point. Exemptions are made. Should churches get them? Well, obviously, my thought is no. Why should they? Just because somebody claims that what they believe constitutes a real religion doesn’t justify them not towing their own weight. Really, it’s like trying to explain why water is wet to a child here.

    “You have not show(sic) that taxing churches would cause your taxes to reduce. Matter of fact, they’d probably go up, seeing as those now reduced social services the churches provide would be taken up by tax dollars from the government.”

    Yes, I did. In the most simple language I could think up of for you. One more try. Assuming that government expenditures stay the same (and PLEASE show why they wouldn’t), the same amount of expenditures would be spread over a larger group, thus lowering every one’s taxes (except the people that hadn’t been paying before).
    Your argument that the social services provided by churches would be decreased and therefore would adversely affect the taxes required to continue them is wrong on so many levels I just don’t have the patience or time to get into them right now.

    As far as envying the church? I think not. As has been stated already, it’s a ludicrous thought. I wish I were ignorant, intolerant and misguided? No, not really. Do I think that everyone should pay their fair share here? Yep, I sure do.

    I’m starting to think you’re probably home-schooled, because even high-school kids can grasp the basics of these economic principles.

    Here’s the 3rd grade version for you:

    Janet, Steve, and Bobby want to buy a package of crackers. It costs 99 cents. Bobby says that he shouldn’t have to pay, because he has an imaginary friend. Therefore, Janet and Steve pay for the crackers and they divide the crackers equally amoung the three. Did Janet and Steve support Bobby? Or did he cover his fair share?

    I can’t dumb it down for you anymore than this. Really. Good luck.

  49. says

    I think you underestimate the importance of mythology and ritual in the human condition. Yes, even your human condition. After all, your diploma is just a bit of cloth and ink, isn’t it. I don’t suppose you’d mind if I just whip one up in my basement and start teaching biology, do you? Oh that’s right, yours was consecrated by the Dean in a Late-Middle-Ages ritual. There is a lot of wrong in this situation, but you are also wrong. Please read some Joseph Campbell.

    Well, Bill, you’re a bit up your own arse there. You proudly mention your own educational credentials while mocking those of the man you’re writing to. But, in the end, despite your pleadings to the contrary, you are as short-sighted as your more vicious cohorts. His diploma IS just a piece of paper. Burn it and nothing’s changed except he’s in need of a replacement piece of paper. Burn the Constitution and America is still all that she is. Indeed, many copies have suffered that fate. And burn a Joseph Campbell book… well, perhaps you save someone from hearing a blowhard such as yourself use it as justification for the continued existence of sacred cows. Campbell described the rituals and their meanings and histories, he didn’t sanctify them and ‘say that they were good’. All you’ve managed to say is “rituals are a part of mankind’s history, I saw it in this book” and… not much else. Campbell understood the power instilled in the ancient man standing in the firelight in awe of all that surrounded him because he could not comprehend it. And the savage brought forth mythology to fill that void in his mind. Here in the light of the ages of reason… we’ve filled that void with the knowledge that the man by the campfire did not possess and could not fathom.

    And we welcome you too to spit out that mythology. To fill that magic-filled space with knowledge where previously it held only mythos constructed to soothe the savage mind.

    Ella

  50. themadlolscientist says

    “You’ve got your Jesus in my peanut butter!”
    “You’ve got your peanut butter on my Jesus!”

    Hmmmmmmmmmm………..sounds kind of kinky to me………

  51. says

    “It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ. We look to those who have oversight responsibility to act quickly and decisively.”

    Fine, Bill. Prove in a court of law that it is the “Body of Christ”, and we’ll entertain your defamation (or crackicide) complaint.

    In the meanwhile, it’s just a cracker.

    BTW, they have a new diet communion wafer being introduced. Its brand name? “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Jesus”…. <*bah-da-bump*>

    Cheers,

  52. Elf Eye says

    This whole controversy reminds me of a scene in the movie Zorba the Greek in which the American asks Zorba why a woman is not being buried in consecrated soil. Zorba answers that she crossed herself with three fingers instead of two. It seems that for a long time there was quite a dispute between different sects of Christianity as to the ‘correct’ way to make the sign of the cross. Actually, it seems that to some Christians this matter is still important. For example, the author of “How to Make a Sign of Cross Correctly” writes, “In order to find out if a person facing you is an Orthodox Christian, just ask him to make the sign of the Cross.” He also writes, “The sign of the Cross is extremely powerful. There are many cases described in the Lives of Saints telling us how making the sign of the Cross over a human body, even once, dispelled the demon’s bewitching. That is why those who make the sign of the Cross inattentively, listlessly and restlessly are simply making the demons rejoice” (http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/beginning/cross.shtml). So, we have these ideas: that people should be categorized by differences in ritual practices, that there are ‘demons’, that a hand gesture can drive said ‘demons’ from a person supposedly possessed by said ‘demons’, and that failing to make a hand gesture properly causes said ‘demons’ to be very, very happy. Now, I have no respect for any of these notions. I think these notions are silly at best, damaging at worst. So tell me, o ye believers in the three (or two) fingered gesture, am I not allowed to express my opinion on these practices because you may find my opinion offensive? To make the analogy closer to the current case: Am I not allowed to criticize and or mock these notions? When I saw Zorba the Greek, I was a child of nine, but I could tell perfectly well that the audience was meant to be troubled by Zorba’s casual acceptance of the fact that a person could be ostracized even after death because of ritual differences. Later I learned that the movie was based on a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, author of The Last Temptation of Christ, who was, to put it mildly, iconoclastic. Anybody remember the threats that were made when his novel was adapted into film? (Because of these threats, my purse was searched when I attended the screening nearest my home–had to drive forty miles to reach it–multiplex at the mall wouldn’t touch it.) I showed the movie to students in a class on censorship at a state-supported university, and a church in town started a petition drive objecting to my doing so on the grounds that the movie was offensive to Christians. (Great object lesson for my students, by the way. Talk about irony.) I am rambling, I know, so I will conclude. No ideas are so privileged that they may not be criticized. Criticizing notions that are ‘sacred’ to someone will mean someone will be offended. This cannot be avoided. One form of criticism is indeed ridicule (see under Swift, Jonathan). Finally, ridicule of an idea does not automatically equate with hatred of a person. When Jonathan Swift criticized the English for policies that caused hardship for the Irish, he was not expressing hatred for the English! I do not hate the Christians in this community, even though they are forever pushing their religion on me. (It took several reminders before the public school teachers caught on to the fact that I would not permit them to proselytize my daughter.) No, I don’t hate them; I merely find their ideas to be wrongheaded. Isn’t that just the sort of thing some Christians say about people who are not Christian (or who are the wrong sort of Christian)? If a Christian can say that sort of thing and not be expected to be accused of ‘hate speech’, then why can’t I–or PZ? What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and all that. Oh, dear, I said “I will conclude” way back there. Good night, whoever is still awake.

  53. Nova says

    Here’s my email of support:

    Just another email in support of PZ Myers.

    I assume you yourself realize the ridiculous nature of defending a cracker so vehemently. You may think however it unwise of PZ to touch on a sensitive topic for Catholics in such a strong way, or at least that it was unwise of him to stir up trouble. However, if no one is to support basic principles even if it doesn’t concern them, these things get out of control. There are people who must stand up so that the people who perpetrate ridiculous hyperbole over nothing know they can’t get away with it, thats why we have principles and also that people like Webster Cook aren’t completely abandoned when religious fanatics jump on them. Well, you might think, criticism is all very well but why did PZ have to go about it in such a cavalier way. This is what is brilliant about how PZ Myers deals with these situations, he applies ridicule to them, because there’s no way to argue – Catholics are simply indoctrinated to think the cracker is God incarnate (they never explain how!), the only way to talk back is ridicule and nothing does that better than dealing with it as the joke it is – and thats what PZ does. He has much support – I myself am writing all the way from Britain and you have probably received other foreign email for the same cause.

    Joseph Gale – Nova on Pharyngula.

  54. Course8 says

    My e-mail . . .

    Subject: PZ Myers: Heroic defender of intellectual freedom
    To: bruin001@umn.edu
    Cc: cl@catholicleague.org

    Dear President Bruininks,

    I realize your inbox is probably already full, but I must write in support of your professor PZ Myers. I won’t bother recounting the facts, as far as I know everything relevant is posted on the Internet.

    I consider Prof. Myers a hero for the strong defenses of rational thought that he gives on his blog and elsewhere in the media. The right to express ideas is one of the central features of a democratic society, but it is most assuredly *not* a right of ideas, even those held to be terribly important by millions, to be free from harsh criticism.

    Unfortunately, some people seem to feel that their favorite ideas deserve protection (because the ideas can’t stand up to rational analysis?) and so they attack anyone who disagrees with them. Prof. Myers is the latest victim. I’m very glad that we live in a country in which violence is not a part of politics, otherwise I would probably urge you to give him a bodyguard.

    Both sides in this argument have certainly been brash, but if you’re trying to make up your mind about which one is right, please ask yourself this question: Which side plays victim ( http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1460 ) but attracts the kind of people willing to make death threats?

    Thank you,

    [name]

    [institutional affiliation]

  55. T says

    Wafer Meatloaf

    * 1 egg
    * 1/3 cup chili sauce
    * 1/3 cup slim milk
    * 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
    * 2 tablespoons minced onions
    * 2 tablespoons chopped bell peppers
    * 1 clove of garlic
    * 1 lb ground beef (lean)
    * 1 dash salt and pepper, to taste
    * 1 dash garlic powder
    * 35 communion wafers (blessed or unblessed), broke apart

    Mix ingredients together, bake in greased pan at 375 degrees for one hour.

  56. says

    Oh jesus, PZ, I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with Donohue. What an ass he is.

    I wrote to Bruininks. I told him that I’m a Catholic, that Donohue’s an ass, and that you’re a lovely person and a fine teacher and the University of Minnesota is too fine an institution to let itself be bullied by idiots like Donohue.

  57. Jennie says

    ummm, bitchphd, I hope you didn’t actually call Donohue an ass, it really doesn’t help the cause to be rude. Kill them with kindness!

  58. SteadyEddy says

    As a University of Minnesota graduate in Environmental Engineering and Science Education, I wrote Mr. Bruininks a heartfelt letter of support.

  59. Raiko says

    “Funny, I thought atheists such as Pol Pot or Castro or Mao were the perfect candidates for killing your country (literally)”

    I think it still totally went over your head that these people’s didn’t justify their acts with atheism. Unlike those people who kill abotion doctors, burned ‘witches’, think it is proper and just to try and ruin someone’s career because of calling a cracker what it is, threaten other people in their own army for not being religious, etc. etc. who all justify their intolerant, inhumane and quite lunatic acts with religion.

  60. Stephen Llewellyn says

    Okay. Snail mail letter to be sent today. Letter written (no LOL cat jokes even), stamp and envelope secured. My sentiments expressed very briefly:

    Dear Sir,

    Professor Myers is a voice of reason and sanity. As such he has my whole-hearted support. I would hope and expect he has yours also.

    Yours faithfully.

  61. Robert Smith says

    PZ and Donahue. Both blowhards. The different sides of the same coin. PZ shouldn’t lose his job but he ought to do some science and not waste time chasing after religion.

  62. Dave Law says

    My letter of support-“Every Little Helps” (or so I recall from the advert)

    Dear President Bruininks

    I am writing to you to show my support for P Z Myers in the current controversy over his article ridiculing the stance taken by the Catholic church over the incident with a Eucharist involving a student, Mr Webster Cook.

    I have read P Z Myers article as well as some of the responses to it-both supportive and hostile. This incident brings into sharp focus the gulf between the secular-minded and the religious.

    I declare that as a philosophical materialist I am firmly in the secular camp. However, I can understand (given their beliefs, which I confess I do find very strange) the outrage of Catholics at what they see as an abuse of the Body of Christ.

    The point at issue is whether P Z Myers has the right to ridicule their stance. I feel that in a country that prides itself on the freedoms its citizens enjoy, especially free-speech, P Z Myers does have the right to ridicule the Catholic church on this issue without fear of retribution. Naturally, they in turn also have the right to ridicule his position if they wish. This may not be the most productive exchange, but surely it must be permissible.

    Where supporters of the Catholic church clearly overstep the mark is in calling for sanctions against him-such as demanding he be sacked from his post, or disciplined in some way. Many thanks for your time.

    Regards

    David M Law
    BA(Hons), BSc, DipMath
    United Kingdom

  63. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    You Myers are nothing more than a wannabe common thief.

    Make fun of the Eucharist all you want nutjob but THE REAL ISSUE is you have called on individuals to STEAL IT so you can defile it.

    The Eucharist is according to Church Law ONLY to be given to practicing/believing Catholics to be consumed during the Communion service. To take it for any other purpose other than to consume it DURING THE SERVICE is not legit.

    You doubt me? Well here is a little experiment for you & your Fanboyz N’ girlz. Why not for the sake of honestly & morality (which you Atheists falsely claim to possess) simple tell the Priest who gives you communion you are NOT CATHOLIC & intend to take it home to wipe your butts whith it? See if the Priest gives it too you.

    Yeh, Good luck with that btw.

    Additional: There is a law in Florida that says, “(2) Any person who willfully and maliciously defaces, injures, or damages by any means any church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship, or any religious article contained therein, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083…”

    Clearly the Eucharist is a “religious article contained therein” in a Catholic Church. As I pointed out before it is given to CATHOLICS ONLY with the express purpose of them eating it during the communion service. Not to be taken home nor do non-believers have ANY business going near it at all.

    Like I said Myers you are nothing more the a wannabe common thief & a thug.

  64. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    >Where supporters of the Catholic church clearly overstep the mark is in calling for sanctions against him-such as demanding he be sacked from his post, or disciplined in some way. Many thanks for your time.

    You are in denial. Myer called on people to TAKE Eucharists from Catholic Churchs (under false pretenses since a Communion wafer IS ONLY given to persons who are expected to eat shortly after recieving it). It’s called stealing.

    BTW it DOESN’T MATTER if you don’t place ANY value on the Eucharist. We Catholics do & have A RIGHT IN LAW to have it protected from theft.

    You want to defile a piece of white bread you baked yourself? Knock yourself out jerkoff. But don’t steal from us.

    BTW Mr. David M Law you are DEFENDING theft. It confirms the idea sported by some Atheists have no respect for law or morality & without God society is reduced to anarchy.

    Nice job!

  65. says

    I sent my letter off yesterday. I gave a personal account of the good that PZ does through Pharyngula. The text of it is available at my URL.

  66. Slinky the Wonder Ferret says

    It’s a good thing I’ve never mentioned that I thought a Eucharist was a bloke who likes to play card games!

  67. Max Verret says

    The Administration at the University of Minnesota has no choice but to sanction Dr. Myers. As a former faculty member of a university, it was a part of our employment agreement that we would not behave, even in non-university related activities, in ways that would reflect negatively upon the reputation of the university. The University of Minnesota is a public institution and has to be responsive to the people of Minnesota, many of whom are Catholics. A significant number of the student body at the University is Catholic. You simple cannot have a faculty member threatening to defile their deeply held eucharistic beliefs. For a university to allow that to happen with impunity is unthinkable

  68. George Smiely says

    Max Verret: The University must balance the right of taxpayers to not be offended with its its obligation to protect the intellectual freedom of tenured faculty. This includes their right to use irony, humor, and, yes, ridicule. There is NO interesting view that a faculty member can take publicly without offending someone.

    Every quarter that I lecture on molecular biology, insane wackaloon fuckwit dumbass fundie creeps get offended. Why? Because I tell them that the Earth is >>6k years old, and that they are apes. Not that they are descended from apes. That they *are* apes.

    Get this through your head: you do not have the right to not be offended. Especially when you’re behaving like a loon.

    And what in hell is a “eucahristic belief”? Is it like a real belief, only stupider and more Talibanesque?

  69. 9 says

    Sent this today:

    Dear Sir,

    It is my understanding that you are under pressure from certain Catholic organizations to get rid of Mr. Myers for comments he has made regarding a case involving the theft of a communion wafer. Regardless of your own personal religious convictions, I hope you will treat this as what it is – an attempt by one group to silence someone who disagrees with their point of view. No, not merely silence him, they really want to destroy his life simply because he called the wafer a “cracker.” They would have you ruin this man’s life, denying him his carreer, over a belief! This cannot be allowed.

    I must say that as a President of a University it is incumbent upon you to stand up for the free speech rights of those in your employ. Mr. Donohue and his group are not unknown to me. I have seen him make some unbelievably offensive and dishonest comments in the press, and he is quite deserving of having his views disputed in every way. It is, after all, the free exchange of ideas that allows he, himself, to make a living; is it not? How else can we find the truth if we are in danger of losing our livelihood for unpopular views?

    As you consider this issue, I implore you to keep in mind the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Please sir, stand up against ignorance, and for the freedom of us all.

    Peace,
    Mark D. Bolton
    Leesburg, NJ

  70. Odie says

    It’s a good thing I’ve never mentioned that I thought a Eucharist was a bloke who likes to play card games!

    Posted by: Slinky the Wonder Ferret | July 12, 2008 11:53 AM

    That’s really funny. I live in Wisconsin, but had never lived in the Midwest before moving here a few years ago. I had never heard of euchre until I met my wife’s relatives. They’re all from a small town in northern Wisconsin and they LOVE euchre and sheepshead. It still don’t know how to play either one.

  71. Seraphiel says

    THE REAL ISSUE is you have called on individuals to STEAL IT so you can defile it.

    Lies make the baby Jesus cry.

    PZ has done no such thing; you’re lying.

    If a priest chooses to hand one of these crackers to a person, or to put it in a person’s mouth, that person has by no means stolen it. They were freely given this object, and what they do with it after that is nobody else’s business.

    Stop lying. It does not help your position.

  72. wagonjak says

    Dear Ben (#564)
    Please go Yackov somewhere else…we don’t appreciate your bigoted BS here…thanks!
    PS-You’ve got to keep your keyboard cleaner…it’s getting all sticky and may soon cease to work…

  73. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    >If a priest chooses to hand one of these crackers to a person, or to put it in a person’s mouth, that person has by no means stolen it. They were freely given this object, and what they do with it after that is nobody else’s business.

    I reply: The Priest doesn’t choose anything. He is required to ONLY give it to you if a) you are Catholic & b) you intend to eat it right there on the spot. When you are given it it is done so with this understanding. It’s an implied contract. If you are there only to take it home with you & do whatever, you are a thief. That’s the law (at least in Florida).

    Doubt me? Well when you go to steal the Eucharist DO what I said above & tell the Priest you are not Catholic & intend to take it home with you. See if He gives it to you.

    Like I said good luck with that.

    Ah what does one expect from a thief & his Fanboyz N’ girlsz?

    You clowns don’t dictate to the Catholic Church Her rules for distributing the Eucharist. Follow our rules or go elsewhere. This is America not Atheist China.

  74. JoJo says

    Follow our rules or go elsewhere. This is America not Atheist China.

    You’re right, this is America. The place where there is no established religion. The country with separation of church and state. The country where religious bigots like you have to live with atheists like me. If you don’t like it, move to Italy or Spain or some other place where your magic cracker worship is part of the government. However, I recommend not going to Eire. The Catholic Church has lost control of the law making process. Divorce and contraception have become legal and abortion is permitted to save the life of the mother. The Church might have kept political power except that too many priests and bishops had mistresses or were molesting children.

  75. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    That’s all very interesting “JoJo”. But it’s STILL STEALING to take the Eucharist for any reason other than to eat right there & then.

    When you are in Our House you MUST follow Our rules or leave. You are free to go to any other House you choose or none at all. Also when in Our House you are subject to the laws of the USA which protects Our Right to conduct our rites without criminal harrasment from thieves & thugs.

    This is still America. The 1st amendment protects me right to not have the Eucharist of my Church stolen by common thugs.

  76. Seraphiel says

    The Priest doesn’t choose anything. He is required to ONLY give it to you if a) you are Catholic & b) you intend to eat it right there on the spot. When you are given it it is done so with this understanding. It’s an implied contract. If you are there only to take it home with you & do whatever, you are a thief. That’s the law (at least in Florida).

    The priest is not required to do anything. They can deny wafers and wine to whoever they choose.

    There is no contract, implied or otherwise.

    If I open up my house one afternoon and give out (for example) chocolate chip cookies to anyone who comes in the door, there is no law that requires them to eat the cookie immediately, or at all. No law in Florida; no law anywhere in the United States.

    If someone freely hands me an object or puts it in my mouth, it is not theft. Every time you say that it is, you’re lying.

  77. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    >I open up my house one afternoon and give out (for example) chocolate chip cookies to anyone who comes in the door, there is no law that requires them to eat the cookie immediately, or at all.

    Eating the Eucharist is NOT the same as eating cookies FOR CATHOLICS. It the difference between reading the funnies Vs. an Orthodox Jew studing the Talmud on Shabbat. It’s holy & sacred. You don’t believe that? Fine. But don’t force you non-beleif on us.

    What you are doing is FORCING YOUR VIEW on what Communion is ON CATHOLICS against their will by dogmatically tell us we must accept your belief it is no better than eating a Cracker and by taking what DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU & interfearing with Our religious services that STILL makes you thugs & common thieves.

    Nobody is stopping you from baking your own “Eucharists” & doing whatever you want to it. This is America.

    You are still wannabe thieves. The Law is on our side.

  78. Seraphiel says

    by taking what DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU

    I’ll explain this once more. After this, I’m done with you.

    If a person puts something in my mouth, that thing no longer belongs to them. It is mine; it has been freely given to me; it it no longer theirs.

    If you still don’t get that, fine. Just stop lying about it and pretending that the law says something it does not.

  79. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    >If someone freely hands me an object or puts it in my mouth, it is not theft. Every time you say that it is, you’re lying.

    If somebody gives you a DVD of a Movie they bought in a store you can’t copy it & sell it. Even thought you own it. That’s the Law. Well you can’t take communion in a Catholic Church if you are NOT Catholic & you don’t intend to swollow. To present yourself to the Priest for Communion without telling him you are Not Catholic & don’t intend to eat it is clearly dishonest. It is itself clearly lying.

    But then again what can one expect from Atheist Thieves?

    I have told the truth. You lot OTOH……well you are nuts to put it politely.

  80. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    BTW repeating yourself is not a refutation of anything I said. Clearly nobody here has the intellence to answer me.

    But then again most intellegent people won’t defend stealing.

  81. Naked Bunny with a Whip says

    Clearly nobody here has the intellence to answer me.

    Right, you’re sitting there with your fingers in your ears yelling “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” and we’re the dumb ones.

    But then again most intellegent people won’t defend stealing.

    True. Prove something was stolen. Ask that church to press charges over the “kidnapped” cracker they literally put in the kid’s mouth. I dare you.

    Meanwhile, it’s still you religious nuts making the death threats. No outrage there of course, you diseased maniac.

    That’s what all this boils down to, in case you forgot: Christians sending death threats to a student over baked goods. Everything else is just you guys trying to divert from the point that you’re batshit insane and plainly a threat to society.

  82. negentropyeater says

    BenYachov,

    you are confusing what you may find dishonest and what is unlawful.
    As long as the party manages to take out the Eucharist without disrupting church services (penal code), the church cannot press charges, unless, the church can show evidence that the party was made aware beforehand and has acknowledged that he was supposed to consume the Eucharist on the premises.
    That’s all really.

  83. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    >Right, you’re sitting there with your fingers in your ears yelling “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” and we’re the dumb ones.

    I reply: Actually what you are doing is called in psychology “Projecting”.

    >True. Prove something was stolen. Ask that church to press charges over the “kidnapped” cracker they literally put in the kid’s mouth. I dare you.

    I reply: Continue to encourage others to steal it & I think that will happen.

    >Meanwhile, it’s still you religious nuts making the death threats. No outrage there of course, you diseased maniac.

    I reply: 1st Prove Webster or Myers recived death threats. Let them call the police. I would be the 1st to want such people arrested. I think it is morally wrong for “religious” people to criminally abuse Atheist. Too bad none of the Atheist here think the same way?

    >That’s what all this boils down to, in case you forgot: Christians sending death threats to a student over baked goods.

    I reply: Actually Webster said he “felt threatened”. Try reading the papers. Anyway I see no reason why I or any innocent Catholic must suffer the theft of Our Eucharist just because some unknown persons may have “threatened” Webster who is himself a thief.

    >Everything else is just you guys trying to divert from the point that you’re batshit insane and plainly a threat to society.

    I reply: I’m not advocating my fanboyz (if I had any)go to orginized Atheist meetings & picking people’s pockets or stealing from them.

    My philosophy is live & let live. To bad that’s not what you believe.

  84. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    At last there is SOME intellegent life here.

    >As long as the party manages to take out the Eucharist without disrupting church services (penal code), the church cannot press charges, unless, the church can show evidence that the party was made aware beforehand and has acknowledged that he was supposed to consume the Eucharist on the premises.

    I reply: No argument. But I AM NOW IN FACT MAKING IT KNOWN TO EVERYONE HERE including Myers.

  85. jaybuhner says

    “Yep. As has been said many times, you do not have the right to not be offended.”

    Just remember this when Christmas comes around.

  86. Britomart says

    so ben, for the theft of a what, a 10 cent cracker, you really think jesus would approve of the death penalty ?

    what do you think is a good punishment for child molesters then ?

    care to quote me some scripture to back up your view?

    thank you kindly

  87. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    >so ben, for the theft of a what, a 10 cent cracker, you really think jesus would approve of the death penalty ?

    I reply: Augustine said if a private individual takes it upon himself to slay an evil doer he shall be counted a murderer in the eyes of Man & God because he has usurpted that which belongs to God alone.

    Thieves & uneducated.

    BTW the Mona Lisa is only made up of a few dollars of oil coloring & canvise & yet it goes for 100 million dollars.

    I guess it’s because it’s valued by so many people.

  88. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    BTW Britomart I did say “I would be the 1st to want such people arrested” try reading with your eye open.

    There is a good fellow.

  89. Britomart says

    I am female, google spenser

    You didnt answer my question.
    augustine was not jesus.

    arrested and then what?
    what does the bible say about those who hurt children?

  90. Jennie says

    RE: 564

    “Why not for the sake of honestly & morality (which you Atheists falsely claim to possess)”

    As an atheist, I’d like to mention that My Grandparents are Catholics. I have been to many services with them, and I have yet to eat a wafer. I sit in the pew and watch as everyone gets their weekly snack. OUT OF RESPECT. I also capatilize words like God, and Bible, and Jesus. Out of RESPECT.

    Does this statement apply to me or others like me? If so, I’ll discontinue respect immediately.

  91. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    I clearly answered your question by citing a Bishop of the historic church who in this particular case speaks for Jesus.

    Threating people is immoral even if they are “bad” people.

    The wicked Crime of Pedophila is off topic and an obvious tangent.

  92. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    I clearly answered your question by citing a Bishop of the historic church who in this particular case speaks for Jesus.

    Threating people is immoral even if they are “bad” people.

    The wicked Crime of Pedophila is off topic and an obvious tangent.

    See ya later.

  93. BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th) says

    >Does this statement apply to me or others like me? If so, I’ll discontinue respect immediately.

    Do you support Myers desire for people steal the Eucharist?

    If yes then yes. If no then no.

    Duh!

  94. Britomart says

    so you cannot find anything in scripture that talks about what jesus thought was justice?

    how odd, I bet I could.

    pedophilia when it comes to the catholic church is really not off topic. dont you think a punishment should fit the crime ?

  95. T says

    Wonder how it’s legal for a public university can fund a religious organization (or a whole church)? Look below:

    I’ve had a problem not long ago at my school watching a student organization “His House” suck up most of the funds for campus student organizations. The organization “His House” is just a church, with it’s own building off-campus and ran by a non-student pastor. They have student congregation members get on the president’s council of the university so they can get money from the school and use the campus facilities for free for their weekly services when a lot of people show up. The organization has several hundred members in itself and probably can raise money with little effort on their own, but yet they apply every year to get a substantial portion of a $10k pot of money that 120 real student organizations have to fight over. His House usually walks away with about $1200 every year (usually for a better sound system or musical instruments), making it much more difficult for the real organizations to be able to attend academic conferences and so on.

    It’s very upsetting, and when I investigated the matter I discovered it’s completely legal.

    Here in the US most public universities tack on top of regular tuition a mandatory SAF (Student Activity Fee). The SAF is actually considered out of pocket, not government monies. So the school can legally use this cash for student run organizations without having to deal with church/state legalities and other political issues concerning public funds.

    The SAF issue has been up to the supreme court before.
    Here’s a link to the case.

    http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/98-1189.ZS.html

    Yet if you read it carefully, it doesn’t explicitly mention anything about religion. So there is still a tiny bit of ambiguity in regards to that.

  96. JoJo says

    Britomart #596

    Ben Jim has no problem with priestly pedophilia. Cardinal Law thinks it’s acceptable, so Ben Jim is following his leader’s example. QED.

  97. Jennie says

    I do support Myers right to wafers if that is what you are asking. He didn’t ask for anyone to “steal” Eucharists. He asked to score him some. When “scoring” drugs, they usually are purchased.

    DUH!

  98. JoJo says

    Ben Jim

    This is still America. The 1st amendment protects me right to not have the Eucharist of my Church stolen by common thugs.

    Could you point out exactly where the 1st Amendment does this protecting? In order to help you, here’s the 1st Amendment:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    I ask because I see nothing there about theft of magic crackers.

  99. Kapitano says

    In Samuel Beckett’s novel Watt, there’s a hypothetical theological dispute, over whether a rat that’s eaten communion wafer has received the sacrament or committed blasphemy.

    I think we should give the question to Bill Donohue.

  100. says

    President Robert H. Bruininks
    202 Morrill Hall
    100 Church Street S.E.
    University of Minnesota
    Minneapolis, MN 55455

    13th July 2008

    Dear Mr Bruinuks,

    I have just been made aware of a terrible campaign that has been launched by supporters of supernatural experiences against the highly respected and important Professor, Mr PZ Myers.

    Sir, I understand that you must be under considerable pressure in dealing with a campaign of hatred launched by a minority section of the community in their attempt to intimidate others into support for their belief system. Their hysterical claims that taking a cracker out of the church was tantamount to kidnapping is ludicrous. To be frank, before September 11th, this would be treated as contemptible, after that terrible day we have to consider this kind of attack as terroristic considering the numerous death threats against Mr Myers. We need to stop giving any beliefs that rely on an absence of evidence and supernaturalism any respect. I would ask that you respond to each of these complaints with an undertaking to respect the right of all your staff to express their honestly held beliefs. This Mr PZ Myers did.

    If you consider it necessary to admonish Mr Myers in anyway, could I please register a complaint on behalf of a potato. I have a potato in my kitchen and I am sure it mentioned that the oft forgotten deity, Zeus will express strong displeasure if His potato is not considered at least as important as a cracker. Please inform the Catholic Church that others, including Zeus, expressed support for Mr Myers.

    Of course, if the Catholic Church can provide any evidence at all that the specific cracker taken from the Church (as opposed to being swallowed) actually is the body of a 2000 year old corpse, then we would need to consider what body snatching laws have been breached, though I am not sure kidnapping would apply.

    I would welcome a response to this email

    Yours Sincerely

  101. cmikephillips says

    Message Sent…

    Robert Bruininks
    President, University of Minnesota

    Dear Sir,

    PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, has recently come under attack by some in the religious community. These attacks appear on their face to be based on his recent online remarks regarding a wafer that was taken from a religious ceremony.

    One form of these attacks (in addition to the emailed death threats for his “blasphemy”) is the formation of a write-in campaign to you, in an effort to influence disciplinary action against Mr. Meyers.

    I am writing to indicate my support for Mr Meyers. His online writing is some of the most clear-headed, easy to read discourse on the Internet today. I can surmise, based on his online offerings, that in the execution of his professional duties he is a staunch defender of the scientific method and a champion of reason.

    It appears to be Mr. Meyers’ ability and willingness to put the drama surrounding the ‘desecrated cracker’ into perspective, for the reality based community (and other interested parties), that has landed him in the hot water (and not a little brimstone) of a very vocal, religiously motivated campaign calling for him to be (presumably) defrocked or otherwise disciplined.

    I request that you view messages from the non-secular community regarding Mr. Meyers as ‘par for the course,’ or part of the ‘cost of doing business,’ especially as the course necessarily requires a man of reason and logic, and the business he is in results in the clear-headed and analytical thinkers of tomorrow.

    Thank you and regards,

    C. Mike Phillips

  102. sfw says

    I only emailed – but here’s what I sent:

    Dear Mr. Bruininks,

    I’m writing to voice my support for P.Z. Myers. You have, no doubt been getting a large amount of mail on this topic. I’ll try and keep this short.

    P.Z. Myers, on a personal website, pointed out the stupidity of someone getting death threats for what amounted to attacking a bit of baked flour product by promising a similar action.

    To the Catholics, this was an act of blasphemy. Mr Myers was attempting to emphasize that there are worse things. Death threats on another human being by supposedly forgiving religious folk is the height of stupidity, hypocrisy and evil. They value the Eucharist more than another person’s life.

    But, apparently, we must accept another person’s value in a religious precept or we deserve death threats.

    At this moment I’d like to quote Mr Donahue, President of the Catholic League and head of the anti-Myers inquisition on the subject of the image of Mohammad cartoons:

    ‘The Washington Post, and all the other newspapers which refuse to print these cartoons, are simultaneously sporting their cowardice and bigotry.’

    In other words, we shouldn’t take their religious feelings into account. We should only think blasphemy is a bad, terrible death-threat worthy crime if it happens to Catholics.

    Bill Donahue is, bluntly but truthfully, a narrow-minded hypocrite. Caving into such a man would destroy the educational integrity and reputation of your university.

  103. BT says

    I keep reading the comments and the emails you have posted that suggest, or rather dare, you bad mouth (specifically) gays and blacks. I have a slight problem with this statement because it shows the outright ignorance of the statement and lack of common sense and knowledge.
    First there is something called “choice”. Choices come with consequences. Choosing to kill someone, comes with a consequence. Choosing to leap of a building comes with a consequence. Choosing a religious affiliation also comes with a consequence, and that is ridicule. Ridicule until belief in imaginary beings or people (which happen to be shielded by religion and happen to be called Jesus, or Allah or whoever else) isn’t classified as a mental disease. When this becomes practice, and I have confirmation that your delusion is a simple mind state over which you have no control of, then I will not ridicule you for thinking Santa Claus is real. You are sick. Therefore, religion is a choice, presently (supposedly) a sane one.
    Being gay, or being black is not really a choice now is it? Making fun of a black person for being black, would be like making fun of an amputee for not being able to grow his legs back. It’s true, but there’s nothing he can do about it. It is who he is, not by choice, but rather by definition.
    So, until religion is, in its official capacity, classified as such that it is a mental incapacity (over which you would have no control whatsoever), I am allowed to discriminate or make fun of you for the obvious (as obvious it would be for you to think a grown man seriously believes Santa is real) insanity of your claim.

  104. says

    Copy of email sent two days ago:

    President Robert H. Bruininks
    202 Morrill Hall
    100 Church Street S.E.
    University of Minnesota
    Minneapolis, MN 55455

    Dear Sir:

    I understand that the Catholic League is mounting a campaign for action to be taken against P. Z. Myers, a professor at your university, the reason given being his recent suggestion that a consecrated host could be the subject of some web-publicized ‘sacrilege’. While Professor Myers’ suggestion may seem to some to be petty and in poor taste, it is hardly a sacking offence.

    Mr. Bill Donohue is quoted on the Catholic League website, saying, “It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ. We look to those who have oversight responsibility to act quickly and decisively.” Professor Myers, however, has said nothing about desecrating the Body of Christ, only about desecrating a cracker. A few ritual words and hand-waving no doubt have special significance to believers, but that does not change the fact that a cracker is a cracker is a cracker, and a cracker cannot be desecrated. Transubstantiation is a nonsensical myth that may have its place in religious symbolism, but to demand that non-believers afford an inanimate object even the smallest amount of ‘respect’ or ‘reverence’ is wholly unreasonable.

    Professor Myers’ call for the smuggling-out of the cracker is simply to demonstrate the irrationality of such beliefs. If he succeeds in his suggestion, no-one will suffer. The worst that will happen to the cracker is that it will be eaten, or perhaps not be eaten. The ramifications of either outcome are insignificant.

    As a United Kingdom citizen who derives great pleasure and insight from Professor Myers’ blog, and from his media appearances, I urge you to take no action on this matter, other than to reinforce the University’s confidence in one of its most valuable assets.

    Yours faithfully,

    Paul S. Jenkins
    Portsmouth, United Kingdom

  105. says

    negentropyeater @ 584:

    Something that people seem to forget when mentioning the ‘disrupting church services’ issue: He didn’t disrupt the service. A woman in the crowd disrupted the service by grabbing him and trying to pry his hand open. Doesn’t that mean she’s guilty of a felony?

    (Apologies if I’m misremembering the situation…)

  106. says

    Here is the full text of my (email)letter to Dr. Bruininks:

    President Bruininks,

    I am writing in support of PZ Myers and of the first amendment. The day should never come when a private citizen must censor his statements made in his public life in order to protect his career. This protection should be especially awarded to our educators as they have a unique ability, or some may say burden, to cause us to question are current beliefs. This country is all about freedom. When we start giving in to those who would demand that we limit our freedoms in order to protect their beliefs from criticism, we do a great disservice to our country and an even greater disservice to our progeny.

    Sincerely,

    Mark Faine
    Huntsville, Alabama

  107. Capt'n John says

    I sent the following e-mail:

    It has come to my attention that P Z Myers has become the center of a controversy with certain Catholics and others of similar persuasion in the matter of communion wafers (crackers).

    If my understanding of the situation is correct, certain religious zealots are demanding that P Z Myers be removed from his position as one of your employees. I believe that the Constitution of the United States provides for freedom both of and from religion, and that P Z Myers, under the said Constitution has the freedom to do as he did.

    It would seem that any action taken by the University against P Z Myers would be against your country’s constitution and that this should weigh heavily in your actions with regard to this controversy.

  108. amon says

    email posted

    as an englishman, resident in the the uk, i’d be interested to see what kind of “global support” pz is receiving

  109. says

    What possible good could insulting the beliefs of a large religious group do? I think Christianity and Catholicism in particular consist of lots of silly ideas, but to the extent they don’t bother me with them, I really can’t get too worked up about it. To purposely seek to interfere with someone else’s beliefs by mistreating the holy symbols strikes me more as pointless bullying rather than brave free speech.

  110. says

    This is a complete and total hilarious riot. I’m really sorry you had some issues with your employer because you said you would desecrate a wheat thin more or a less.

    I think the posts about desecrating a Koran, Torah, statue of Buddha, etc… are a riot. Maybe it’s time to have a nice public burning of some religious materials with obligatory photo opportunities.

    I’m agnostic, I don’t know and don’t care… and I wouldn’t hesitate to desecrate a wheat thin, some red wine, Bible, Torah, Cross, Koran, Black Bible, Principia Discordia, whatever…

    In fact, I am willing to wager most of the people outraged by your threat of desecrating a wheat thin would happily burn a black bible or a copy Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft… but its different when it applies to *their* religion, that’s sacred… even though they don’t offer the same reverence to other peoples religious items.

    Oh well, good luck with it all and don’t let the morons get you down ;)

  111. HJ Czekalinski says

    Letter sent to President Bruininks via snail mail and the following emailed to the Catholic League.

    Dear Mr. Donahue,
    With all due respect, sir, it is not against any law that I know of to laugh at another person’s silly beliefs nor to “abuse” a cracker–whatever that means. If your magic cookie is REALLY the body and blood of Jesus Christ, then submit one to DNA testing for the absence before “Hocus Pocus” and the presence afterward of Jesus’ DNA. He was both god and MAN, wasn’t he?

  112. jgb says

    I’ve just mailed the following:

    “I read recently of the coordinated attack upon the reputation of Dr. PZ Myers by Bill Donohue and the Catholic League. I am certain you are aware of the high regard with which Dr. Myers is held by members of the science blogging community and scientifically literate citizens everywhere. I am writing to urge you to ignore the clamor of hatemongers like Donohue, and to protect Dr. Myers’ right to express his opinions without fear of retaliation.

    “The United States was founded upon the principle of freedom of speech. Allowing a mob to intimidate a university professor into silence by threatening his employment is a betrayal of the foundations of democracy and the tenets of a great academic institution like the University of Minnesota.

    “As you yourself have said, Dr. Bruininks, “Human capital has become our most precious resource.” To allow a tiny minority of hysterics to rob the U of M of Dr. Myers’ skills and intelligence would irreparably diminish the stature of your institution.”

  113. says

    It’s astounding, time is fleeting
    Madness takes its toll
    But listen closely, not for very much longer
    I’ve got to keep control

    I remember doing the TIme Warp
    Drinking those moments when
    The blackness would hit me and the void would be calling
    Let’s do the time warp again…
    Let’s do the time warp again!

    It’s just a jump to the left
    And then a step to the right
    With your hands on your hips
    You bring your knees in tight
    But it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
    Let’s do the Time Warp again!

    It’s so dreamy, oh fantasy free me
    So you can’t see me, no not at all
    In another dimension, with voyeuristic intention
    Well-secluded, I see all
    With a bit of a mind flip
    You’re there in the time slip
    And nothing can ever be the same
    You’re spaced out on sensation, like you’re under sedation
    Let’s do the Time Warp again!

    Well I was walking down the street just a-having a think
    When a snake of a guy gave me an evil wink
    He shook me up, he took me by surprise
    He had a pickup truck and the devil’s eyes.
    He stared at me and I felt a change
    Time meant nothing, never would again
    Let’s do the Time Warp again!

  114. says

    Hi there.

    Long time lurker, first time poster here. Just sent this short missive to President Bruininks in support of PZ:

    Dear Mr. President,

    My name is Ernesto Garc√≠a and live in Argentina. I’m a member of ArgAtea (Civil Association of Atheists in Argentina), the one and only organization in our country which promotes atheist thinking and secularist values in our society, and defends the freedoms and civil rights of our citizens with respect for democratic values and tolerance.

    Me and my fellow members would like to manifest our strong support for Professor P.Z. Myers regarding the recent controversy with the Catholic League over his blog postings.

    Thanks for your attention.

    Ernesto García
    Asociación Civil de Ateos en Argentina
    http://argatea.com.ar/

  115. says

    IF you ask me, he should go the whole nine yards and piss off atheists by smashing that wafer with a copy of Darwin’s Works.

    All while screaming at the wafer “DARWIN IS BETTER THAN YOU.”

    Tasteless, yes, but oh so fun.

    Of course, there’s the tremendous irony at seeing religious people acting all officious and overreacting over something as trivial as a Communion wafer. That indicates that there’s something very very wrong with the person and entity as a whole. Especially since the challenge of Christianity is to live by the teachings and life of Jesus.

    And this is the result of not doing so.

  116. says

    Wow.

    Well, I’ll let the usual peanut gallery do the chimp hooting on this one. They seem to have this down to a crisp precis:

    “We hate Catholics in particular and religion in general”.

    Or “if we want to hike a leg on the crackers that’s our Constitutional rights” just as “burning the flag” means nothing. Well, I mean…..nothing other than utter contempt for the very rights you loudly claim. Else you’d choose another forum.

    I believe the whole symbolism of flag burning, cracker crunching, or whatnot is actually what the Supreme Court once called “Facially Invalid.”

    Meaning, possibly:

    a) Your face and my ass….

    b) (Sort of fancy, I know). Legalese for “lack of actual message”, and merely the presence of annoying punks like those who frequent annoying places like, say, this blog. That is why flag burning and cracker-crunching high jinx antics mean little as far as messages. One might as well claim that if PZ took a wiz on a laptop he is “dissing” modern technology. Or maybe Bill Gates. Or a hefty tome against XP annoyances. Or a statement against automation in our lives. Sure. Whatever.

    But, hey brothers, dig: Interesting that the Koran is sacrosanct these days. And you’ll be in some hell yourself if you deign to have infidel hands touch it. The very fact that some religions will make a snuff film of you screaming for your very life as blood jets from a partially severed neck stump is indicative of why some faiths get this kind of third degree mockery from the Herr Docktor Myers types and other sniveling little Net monkeys while others never will. Feel froggy? Yeah–I’d like to see that happen.

    The irony here is underwhelming. The Catholics are so vile and evil and bloodthirsty they will..

    they WILL…

    they WILL….!

    …..*yawn*

    *chorus of chirping crickets begins the ensamble*

    ………..start an email/letter campaign.

    Another episode of nothing to see here but another Myerseque attempt to goad people.

    Now then, time to watch Obama supporters in their …I mean, time to watch American Idol….

  117. God says

    Well, I’ll let the usual peanut gallery do the chimp hooting on this one.

    You remind Me of Me.

    But you’re just another chimp yourself.

  118. Wowbagger says

    Wakefield,

    I don’t know if you are someone who used to come here but who hasn’t been here for a while, so I won’t suggest you do some browsing through the archives in case you are familiar with the topics PZ covers.

    I’ve only been coming hear a few months (I hadn’t heard of PZ before the Expelled incident where he was refused entry) but this is the first time that I’ve seen a post where there’s been a specific reference made to Catholics.

    The most common target is anti-science fundie Christians. But he and the posters here haven’t held back on Muslim honour-killings or new-age spirituality either. Even Henry Gee got taken to task for defending Judaism (on religious grounds) not that long ago.

    He’s pretty much an equal-opportunity botherer as far as I can tell.

  119. Ichthyic says

    The most common target is anti-science fundie Christians. But he and the posters here haven’t held back on Muslim honour-killings or new-age spirituality either.

    don’t forget the Muslim version of anti-science creationism:

    Harun Yahya

  120. Owlmirror says

    He’s pretty much an equal-opportunity botherer as far as I can tell.

    They don’t want “equal-opportunity”.

    They want someone who hates Islam as much as they do. Or rather, hates Muslims.

  121. Wowbagger says

    The infrequent posters here do make a lot of assumptions – one specifically anti-Catholic post means we’re bigoted against Catholics in particular; our refusal to treat someone’s Judaism as ‘special’ means we’re antisemites; PZ not making specific references to a distaste for Islam in every post means he’s afraid of the repercussions.

    Come here often enough and it’s easy to see that each and every kind of ooga-booga gets the same treatment eventually.

  122. says

    No. I don’t frequent this place all that much.
    (Thank God for small favors–and other demands from life).

    I AM aware, unfortunately, of who commonly does.

    But he and the posters here haven’t held back on Muslim honour-killings or new-age spirituality either. Even Henry Gee got taken to task for defending Judaism (on religious grounds) not that long ago.

    That’s a horse of another color in say (something akin to the Cracker Caper), using the Koran for toilet paper.

    Of course that could be done in private. Better still–make a video of ripping off some darling Muslim gal’s Hajib down to her undies, or post some really interesting cartoons of the prophet and his entourage of 9 year olds on this site. After all, incidents similar to these got grown men to star in homemade death films. And they didn’t even do the deed. Hmmm.

    Since they have cars in MinniSOOOTA too, they can burn like they did in London and Denmark. Right?

    He’s pretty much an equal-opportunity botherer as far as I can tell.

    Well then, that would simply make him what’s called a “crank.” An Archie Bunker of the Secular Left, with Meatheads aplenty logging on 18 hours a day.

    I’m not Catholic, but symbolism is apparently something he’d only understand if we “updated” his knowledge base with, say, ripping up his degree or found some nifty ways to redecorate the blog.

  123. Wakefield Tolbert says

    …PZ not making specific references to a distaste for Islam in every post means he’s afraid of the repercussions.

    Umm.. Wait a second. Noooo. Nope. Noopey. Nope. Nyet.

    That’s not what I meant. Infrequent or not, give me the courtesy of reading in context. Is that not fair?

    What I said was nothing to do with mentioning Islam in every breath or making sure things are “equal” in time and posting about other faiths. It WAS to do with the KIND of third degree treatment not seen here against Muslims. I’m not aruging for a Fairness Doctrine for any blog up to and including this one. I’m not Nancy Pelosi. I am however curious to see how far this “equal opportunity” bash could go.

    Now, having said all that: A Brit friend of mine plainly admitted in one of his non-shitgiggle moments, that in his comedy routine in the pubs bashing Christians, he oddly never gets around to the more obvious issues of Sharia Law now making some rather serious demands on public services and legal recognition.

    When I asked him why he dares not mention these even in some half-hearted nervous laugh Vaudeville routine, or as you alluded to, those rather odd occurances of Swedish Muslim girls “mysteriously” falling from tall buildings?

    He said, thusly:

    “I don’t want my ******ng head perched on stick somewhere near Big Ben or have my guts pulled out, brother!”

    And so it goes.

  124. Ichthyic says

    No. I don’t frequent this place all that much.

    one post is too many from the likes of you.

    found some nifty ways to redecorate the blog.

    A blog is private property, which would make hacking into it to change it illegal, but don’t let that stop you.

    why is all the shitbaggers claim religious underpinnings?

    I tend to think you were all shitbaggers to begin with, and just like to utilize religion to empower and cover your nastiness with a “more acceptable” stench.

  125. Wowbagger says

    Wakefield,

    My comment about PZ and Islam wasn’t aimed at you – it was a more general one about what we’ve had posted here over the last few weeks. A lot of the Catholic-types have opened their posts with ‘oh, I’d like to see him deface a Koran’ and such.

  126. Wakefield Tolbert says

    A blog is private property, which would make hacking into it to change it illegal, but don’t let that stop you.

    And? The Church could very well claim that those wafers, since purched or produced elsewhere and then owned, are private property to be dispensed at their instance. Meaning, they give to whom they please and not to whom they don’t. And I’m QUITE sure that we can think of other “mere” symbols and logograms that are in the same genre.

    And as far as moral–or any other type–of nastiness; you got that one covered. Else you’ve got a heart of gold and just don’t want anyone to know. Otherwise, I’ve seen pet caimans who’ll pull the meat off your fingers at the slightest provovation, with sweeter dispositions.

    Don’t kiss your poor mamma any time soon, chief.

  127. Rey Fox says

    I’m not Catholic, but symbolism is apparently something he’d only understand if we “updated” his knowledge base with, say, ripping up his degree or found some nifty ways to redecorate the blog.

    “I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.” -George Carlin

  128. Ichthyic says

    The Church could very well claim that those wafers, since purched or produced elsewhere and then owned, are private property to be dispensed at their instance.

    but since consecrated wafers are what we are talking about here, and consecrated wafers=Jesus=God, then they can no longer claim to be “owned”.

    or is transubstantiation just a myth?

    well?

  129. Ichthyic says

    Otherwise, I’ve seen pet caimans who’ll pull the meat off your fingers at the slightest provovation, with sweeter dispositions.

    my oh my, I do believe I has me the vapors!

    LOL

  130. Wowbagger says

    Oh, them uppity atheists. Always causin’ trouble. Can’t they see how good they’ve got it?

  131. says

    No. I don’t frequent this place all that much.
    (Thank God for small favors–and other demands from life).

    I AM aware, unfortunately, of who commonly does.

    Posted by: Wakefield Tolbert | July 15, 2008 11:23 PM

    It’s funny to me how you can insist that you don’t come here very often, while in the same breath presume to have a base of knowledge about the regulars on this site. What you’re saying is that though you don’t frequent the site, you have already discerned the “type” of people that do, which shows that your supposed base of knowledge as to the regulars here is less based in personal experience, instead favoring acceptance of the stereotypes pushed by those who don’t agree with the commenters here. In short, you’re talking out of your ass. Don’t worry, though. That’s quite common among the multitudes of people who presume to speak about that which they know very little.

  132. says

    Posted by: Wakefield Tolbert | July 15, 2008 11:43 PM

    And? The Church could very well claim that those wafers, since purched or produced elsewhere and then owned, are private property to be dispensed at their instance. Meaning, they give to whom they please and not to whom they don’t.

    In the Webster Cook case, the priest had already given it to him, so your argument fails to be relevant in that situation. As far as PZ’s request is concerned, if you really want to spplit hairs like you seem so pprone to doing, he specifically asked for people to send him a wafer, with the qualifier that no one should disruppt the service in order to do so. Just to spell it out for you, that means he solicited wafers from only those who have already been given them by the priest.

    And besides, the Catholic Church seems to be a bit narrow-minded in their pursuit of PPZ and Cook. If they were truly incensed over wafer desecration as a general principle, they would have been in an uproar over the fact that in our neighbor to the north, specifically in Quebec, this has been happening:

    http://www.dailygrail.com/node/2453

    Excerpts:

    That’s where shoppers can pick up an increasingly popular snack: communion wafers and sheets of communion bread. These paper-thin morsels made from flour and water hark back to Quebec’s churchgoing days and the sacred rite of receiving holy communion.

    “My son can eat a whole bag while he’s watching TV,” Paul Saumure, a manager at another IGA store, said of his 22-year-old. “He’s had more of them outside of church than he ever did inside one.”

    A handful of Quebec monasteries still produce hosts and sell the leftover unblessed bread. A visitor can gain entry past the thick stone walls of the Carmelite monastery in Montreal’s Plateau Mont Royal district and, for $5, buy a plain brown bag of wafer bread from an elderly nun.

    So when religious individuals and organizations “desecrate” their hosts by selling them as healthy snack foods, it doesn’t cause a single stir with Donahue and his cronies, but when an atheist even suggests that he’d desecrate a wafer, it is inexcusable. How very, very typical.

  133. says

    What you’re saying is that though you don’t frequent the site, you have already discerned the “type” of people that do, which shows that your supposed base of knowledge as to the regulars here is less based in personal experience, instead favoring acceptance of the stereotypes

    That is correct. Just as I need not frequent the bad side of town to ascertain that a gang of baggy butt punks smashing a store window is probably not due to the front window being a non-hip style, and they desperately need to redecorate the facade on behalf of the owner.

    It takes all of about 35 seconds to ascertain who is here.

    Thanks for your interest.

    AS to the whole “who gave PZ the wafer under what conditions” argument, and the fact he had the presence of mind not to disrupt servies–good for him. ACT-UP and other organizations are not as mindful. But whether you think the Church is hypersensitive or not is beside the point.

    Our society–secular as well as religious–has thrived on symbolism and iconic meaning for ages. As I said before, though, this is all “facially invalid” This is an attempt to goad people. Or at least the Church. And yet it does not happen to some faiths, I see. At least not in this dimension.

    Which was the main point–the one that, astonishingly, not only keeps getting missed, but is INSISTENT upon getting missed.

  134. Wakefield Tolbert says

    Mr. Fox sayeth:

    “I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.” -George Carlin

    Yeah, yeah–except Carlin’s schtick led him only to die a more (or less) natural death. Not the death of Nick Berg.

    He never got the opportunity to learn the hard way about symbols–but I assure you he knew the symbolism of trash mouth language. That was his own consecrated bread-n-butter, after all.

    Now: Had he used his “symbol minded” thingy on certain groups he’d might have gone out with more of a yell than an ooof.

  135. Wakefield Tolbert says

    my oh my, I do believe I has me the vapors!

    Go fan yourself off, brother fishman.

  136. Wakefield Tolbert says

    So when religious individuals and organizations “desecrate” their hosts by selling them as healthy snack foods, it doesn’t cause a single stir with Donahue and his cronies, but when an atheist even suggests that he’d desecrate a wafer, it is inexcusable. How very, very typical.

    That’s because it is done at “their instance”–which in short means its their decision. Ya know–decision kinda thingy stuff. Like in, you can decide who cuts your lawn. You–or hire it out. But if someone comes along unsolicited you might have some concerns, as to who they are and what the purpose might be in your yard.

    Shall you accept their word they are only “walking around”, the earth “belongs to all” as in some Native screed, and therefore property is a matter of debatable legal opinion.

    Yeah–I’d like to see people try that one out crusing the streets.

  137. says

    Text of my letter follows: I did sign my full name…

    Please count me as a supporter of rationality in this pseudo-war on Prof Myers. Religious folks certainly have the constitutional right to believe as they wish… However, there are no laws against ridiculing what they believe to be sacred… If we begin to buy into such nonsense, we’re truly lost as a nation founded on individual liberty.

    Very Respectfully,

    RS,
    Chandler, AZ

  138. Amar Mirza says

    Hi, I didn’t write to the president strictly due to the fact that I’m sure I would only hurt your cause. The only reason they are making such a big deal out of this is because they know how vulnerable they are since scientific study has thoroughly disproved religion. They are desperate to strike back against something but since they can’t attack facts they are attacking you.

  139. Ichthyic says

    Our society–secular as well as religious–has thrived on symbolism and iconic meaning for ages.

    we didn’t miss the point, you did.

    aside from you conflating symbolism with what we are talking about here (Transubstantiation TO A CATHOLIC is not symbolic, right?) why does a long standing “tradition” de-facto mean it is a rational or practical one?

    answer:

    it doesn’t.

    just because your goatherder’s stories tome is a couple thousand years old doesn’t make it logical, relevant, or even useful.

    arguments have to stand on their own merit, arguments from age or popularity are nothing but fallacy.

    when you demented fuckwits FINALLY realize this, humans will finally be rid of the last vestiges of the dark ages, and the enlightenment will truly come to fruition.

    ITMT, thanks for playing, your parting gift is at the door.

  140. George Street says

    I can’t imagine why anyone would care about or respond to Prof. Myer’s actions. When adolescent behavior, which this actually is, evidences itself in my classes, I can choose to reinforce it, or move on with what is really important. Whether or not God exists, which is a matter better addressed by a physicist than a biologist (lack of mathematical skill), is not something that can be ascertained on a blog or YouTube. If you want to throw spitwads, Prof. Myers, don’t expect me to be impressed.

  141. says

    Dear Sir,
    My apologies for contributing to the inundation of mail you are probably receiving. If you will bear with me, I shall keep my message short and concise.

    Dr. PZ Myers, I’m sure, is a fine professor in your institution. As an occasional visitor to his blog, I am not unfamiliar with his penchant to express ridicule of people’s beliefs. I, nor any rational and reasonable person for that matter, can say that that is beyond the pale of free speech and academic freedom. His opinions might be distasteful, but it is not the job of the university to protect us from distasteful opinions. Perhaps recommending Dr. Myers take a class on manners would be useful, though (that is a joke, I’m not advocating mandatory sensitivity training).

    However, on July 8th He wrote the following (emphasis mine),

    Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address.

    The problem here is not the ridicule, insults, nor the cracker abuse (real or imagined). The problem is that Dr. Myers is publicly advocating and encouraging theft, vandalism, and incitement. Believing someone is stupid is not grounds for breaking the law or encouraging others to do so. It is not illegal to mock, disdain, or ridicule stupid people. It is, however, unambiguously illegal to steel and vandalize said stupid people’s cherished possessions. Stupid people have rights too.

    Therefore, I think it would be appropriate for the university to stand by professor Myer’s right to academic freedom and or free speech, but publicly inform him that as a public figure and employee of a reputable institution he must stop short of encouraging lawless disrespect of those he deems stupid. After all, universities are about education and enlightenment, not larceny out of frustration over the ignorant and superstitious.

  142. George Street says

    A handful of Quebec monasteries still produce hosts and sell the leftover unblessed bread. A visitor can gain entry past the thick stone walls of the Carmelite monastery in Montreal’s Plateau Mont Royal district and, for $5, buy a plain brown bag of wafer bread from an elderly nun.

    So when religious individuals and organizations “desecrate” their hosts by selling them as healthy snack foods, it doesn’t cause a single stir with Donahue and his cronies, but when an atheist even suggests that he’d desecrate a wafer, it is inexcusable. How very, very typical.

    An unblessed communion wafer is not consecrated. That is why selling them is no big deal. It’s a Catholic thing. You wouldn’t understand.

  143. conrad richter says

    DOES THE WHORE MEYERS CALLS HIS MOTHER KNOW THAT WHAT SHE VOMITED FROM THAT CHEESY INFECTED CUNT OF HERS IS BEING NAUGHTY AGAIN? IS THE TRAMP PAYING ATTENTION TO HER LITTLE BOY? OR IS SHE TOO BUSY SUCKING HUGE HORSE COCKS WHILE SHE GETS IT IN THE ASS FROM CHIMPANZEES? DR. MEYERS, TELL US? IS YOUR MOTHER A WHORE OR NOT? HOW MUCH DOES THE SLUT CHARGE FOR HEAD AND DOES THE BITCH SWALLOW???

  144. Bruce Goodman says

    I suggest Myers be fired. He’s cheapened the institution and what he is really violating is religious toleration, a vitally important social virtue.

  145. Kiamal A. says

    I have just emailed your President with a letter expressing my support for your cause. Thank you for standing up against religious attacks against free speech and rational thinking.

  146. Kiamal A. says

    By the way, here is the brief letter that I sent off to President Bruininks for what it is worth.

    “Dear Sir,

    I am writing You this letter in order to show my support to PZ Myers in relation to the “Cracker”-intermezzo.

    I believe that the world has reached the age of reason – i.e. approx. 4.5 billion years, and that it is time for the religious superstition and “blasphemy”-immunity to stand aside for rational thinking, world community based on secular humanistic values, and a freedom of critical thinking.

    Regards

    …”

  147. says

    That’s because it is done at “their instance”–which in short means its their decision. Ya know–decision kinda thingy stuff. Like in, you can decide who cuts your lawn. You–or hire it out. But if someone comes along unsolicited you might have some concerns, as to who they are and what the purpose might be in your yard.

    Posted by: Wakefield Tolbert | July 16, 2008 10:04 AM

    That is an utterly faulty analogy. You own your lawn, and you have to live next to it everyday, therefore it is something that no one else has the right to touch without permission from you – the owner. A communion wafer is not ‘owned’ by anyone, regardless of the claims on here that uses of it contrary to that intended by the Catholic Church equate to theft. And your condescending dismissal of “native” belief that the world is a resource for which all humans are responsible as a ‘screed’ simply shows your disregard for viewpoints concerning the world that diverge from your own.

    An unblessed communion wafer is not consecrated. That is why selling them is no big deal. It’s a Catholic thing. You wouldn’t understand.

    Posted by: George Street | July 17, 2008 3:48 PM

    And that’s where your obvious tendency towards unfounded assumption fails you. I am a cradle Catholic who only recently (in the last decade, more or less) decided that I cannot reconcile my logical mind with mystical and supernatural beliefs. And in growing up Catholic, I am well aware of the religious tendency to spout indignation at any perceived disrespect for their belief – contrived or otherwise. So while your statement about unconsecrated wafers may be true, know that the doctrine of the Catholic faith, and its followers’ veracity in attacking that which they see as disrespectful to their faith, do not bear out your claim.

    I suggest Myers be fired. He’s cheapened the institution and what he is really violating is religious toleration, a vitally important social virtue.

    Posted by: Bruce Goodman | July 19, 2008 9:27 AM

    Go ahead and communicate your suggestion to the minds that administrate Dr. Myers’ university – we’ll see to what degree they agree with the fact that he cheapens their institution. Considering that they have already gotten an inordinate amount of identical suggestions supported by the same notion that he has decreased their standing, I wouldn’t hold your breath. (Then again, for the purposes of not subjecting this board to more hot air such as that, go ahead and hold it.)

  148. says

    Posted by: Wakefield Tolbert | July 16, 2008 9:51 AM

    Yeah, yeah–except Carlin’s schtick led him only to die a more (or less) natural death. Not the death of Nick Berg.

    No, what caused led to Carlin’s death was a heart attack, predicated by a history of heart problems. (Just in case you won’t take my word for it….)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/24/arts/24carlin.html?hp
    Your attempt to somehow link him to the symptoms of religious extremism is intellectual dishonesty at its finest. Either that, or it’s a display of the sort of simple-mindedness that buys into every untenable and specious link between what conservatives perceive as the “ills” of our society (liberal activism, homosexuality, atheism, etc…) and terrorism in their tired attempts at the exploitation fear for their own benefit.

    He never got the opportunity to learn the hard way about symbols–but I assure you he knew the symbolism of trash mouth language. That was his own consecrated bread-n-butter, after all.

    Again you’re wrong. Carlin had plenty of experience with the power of symbols and their ability to be manipulated in the pursuit of controlling the minds of a population. And his “consecrated bread-n-butter” was not the use of irrational symbolism, but his satirical efforts in diminishing its efficacy through exposing its silliness.

    Now: Had he used his “symbol minded” thingy on certain groups he’d might have gone out with more of a yell than an ooof.

    Just because he might have encountered indignant, violent reactions from a group due to the content of his comedy does not diminish the truth and relevance of what he was saying. If I were to advocate emancipation and universal civil rights in areas of the world still dominated by oppressive religious hierarchies, I’m sure I’d run the risk of the same type of retaliation, but surely you don’t take that fact as a valid refutation of those concepts?

  149. says

    The problem is that Dr. Myers is publicly advocating and encouraging theft, vandalism, and incitement. Believing someone is stupid is not grounds for breaking the law or encouraging others to do so. It is not illegal to mock, disdain, or ridicule stupid people. It is, however, unambiguously illegal to steel and vandalize said stupid people’s cherished possessions. Stupid people have rights too.

    Posted by: Andrew | July 17, 2008 2:52 PM

    Besides being non-contributory in any form of the word to the discussion forum that is this blog (instead of being a comment on the content of this personal blog post, which has nothing to do with the university, that post was a collection of words addressed to someone outside the sphere of this blog, and you clearly posted it simply in an effort to show that you tried – and failed – to display to the university the error of its ways in continuing to employ Dr. Myers), your comments are ridiculously erroneous. Either cite the law that makes it illegal to take or possess communion wafers – unconsecrated or not – or do us all a favor and refrain from exposing us to such inanity.

  150. dave says

    Bruce Goodman wrote, in #652:

    “What he is really violating is religious toleration, a vitally important social virtue.”

    The desirability of religious toleration is opinion, and not fact. I agree that we should ‘tolerate’ religion at least to the extent that we should not demand the death of those who disagree with us (something that a few of the religious ought to think about it), nor attempt to hound him out of a job.

    I do not, however, agree that toleration should extend to unconditional respect. I choose to respect, or not, a man’s views based on the explanations he may have for those views, on how willing he is to discuss those views, and so on.

    When a man suggests that ill-treatment of a cracker is somehow equivalent to the holocaust, he has lost all claim on my respect.

    Respectfully,
    dave

  151. Johnfruh says

    Hi PZ, here is my contribution to the letter writing campaign.

    Sir,

    I am writing in support of PZ Myers regarding the tempest stirred up amongst Catholics by the student in Florida who absconded with a host.

    First, let me say that freedom of expression is at stake here. It MUST be upheld. It is a shame that most of America’s media has been cowed by Islam’s threats of violence regarding the Danish catoons of the “Prophet”. Shame on them.

    Secondly, freedom of speech does not and should not care whether any group is offended. So what if they are offended. Too bad!

    Now then, lets talk about the so called sacrilege allegedly committed here.

    1. Who says it is sacred? Some catholic authority no doubt. Again, so what? Who are they to say that ANYTHING is sacred? What does sacred mean anyway? Their whole notion is based on an unproven and unprovable belief in a deity. If the sacriledge were so bad, why did the deity not strike down the offender? Hint, because the deity is imaginary, made up, non-existent!
    2. Religious beliefs should not be given special dispensation from criticism. If they can’t survive in the arena of reasoned argument and debate they should withdraw rather than invoke special pleading to be allowed to make their unsubstantiated claims.
    3. The whole transubstantiation doctrine is bogus. Nothing in the bible supports it. It was simply made up by the church along the way.
    4. Even if it were legitimate its implication is cannibalistic! Note that the whole edifice of the Catholic faith is built upon a blood cult. What modern group/movement would survive in the court of public opinion that was based in human sacrifice? I think that you would agree that the number would be zero.

    Accordingly, I whole heartedly support professor Myers in his struggle against ignorance and in defense of reason.

    Regards,

    John F…
    ex Catholic and escapee from ignorance.

  152. Sam says

    Cheers to you, PZ and other supporters! I seriously doubt your president is entertaining the notion of firing you, or disciplining you in any way; however, it never hurts to show support for an important cause. Just sent the following brief note to your president:

    Dear President Bruininks,

    I am writing this email in response to the current controversy over PZ Meyers’ Pharyngula blog entitled “It’s a frackin’ cracker.” As a doctoral student, I value the right of every person, educated or not, to express opinions in the spirit of open discussion. The outrage over PZ Meyers’ opinion is understandable, given that Catholics truly do believe that the cracker becomes Jesus. However, the death threats and demands for the termination of his career are hypocritical at best, dangerous at worst. Not knowing your current stance on the matter, I can only hope that you are paying the fanatics little heed. Please know that many thousands of us appreciate PZ Meyers’ informed honesty and courage in speaking his mind, and those who cannot read the blog with an open mind and a sense of humor should not read it at all.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Enjoy the rest of your summer,
    Samantha

  153. SEF says

    Don’t forget Webster Cook (and now his friend too) – who is under threat from the supposedly secular authorities of the university rather than the religous ones whose internal problem this really is. Those secular bodies claim to regard 500 emails as a lot – and most of those were apparently from the wrong side (ie the religious supporters, of those evil-doers who actually caused the disruption to their service by assaulting the student in the first place, and who show no respect for the separation of religion and state when they go bringing false charges to authorities outside their own church instead of keeping it in-house where the alleged “offence” belongs).

  154. Ricki says

    Dear Mr Bruinink,

    With reference to the current controversy around P.Z. Myers, I would like to submit the following to you.

    Even if the vast majority of the religious can’t be either blamed or praised for being religious, as they never had a say in where and when they were born in the first place, nor in how they were raised (so much for being “proud” to be an American, a Christian, a Jew, black, homosexual etc., incidentally – unless you think it is meritorious to be born somewhere instead of somewhere else, or with the brain power, looks, sexual orientation or parents you were dealt without anyone asking you), it is very disappointing that in a modern university, supposedly an institute dedicated to higher learning and the pursuit of truth, where the lucky few who get in are expected and required to have an open mind, curiosity and integrity in their interpretation of facts, it seems that religious people’s feelings about their religion, no matter how unwarranted, childlike, hysterical, not to mention cruel and ridiculous in their consequences, are considered more worthy of respect and protection than science and the scientists that serve the university (and mankind) with an appropriately clear, critical, scientific mind.

    I do think you have the wrong priorities, both personally and in your position at the university, if you let this blackmail-like behavior of the Catholic League c.s. with regard to the deplorable story of the “hijacked Eucharist” go unchallenged. This is quite frankly not unlike the kind of thing that got Giordano Bruno burnt at the stakes and Galileo placed under house arrest some 400 years ago. I strongly believe you have the duty to put a stop to it in no uncertain terms, stand up for your scientists and their freedom of expression with some well chosen words, and then go on with the business of furthering science and scientific education without wasting another minute on it. Would you do otherwise if a group of students suddenly demanded that all female students wear head scarves covering their entire faces for religious reasons and one of your scientists objected to that with humor and/or outrage? Would you not immediately and without qualification support a staff member who would oppose a demand that no student is admitted unless she can prove she is a virgin and/or attends mass each day?

    It seems blindingly clear that this is the only course of action for you if you do not wish to go down in history as a coward and a buffoon – sorry, but big things are expected from men who rise high in society and perhaps you shouldn’t have been so ambitious if you were hoping to lead a life without having to take a principled stance in your chosen field of activity in the glare of publicity.