Comments

  1. asad says

    As promised, I just hand-delivered my letter to Pres. Bruininks’ office. Text follows:

    ————————-

    Dear President Bruininks,

    I have read with great interest the story of University of Minnesota, Morris Professor P.Z. Myers being criticized by the Catholic League for his ‘threats’ against an inanimate disk of carbohydrates. The sheer audacity of the Catholic League to try and force the University of Minnesota to censor or censure a respected educator and researcher for comments made on a non-University website is astounding.

    I trust that the University will do the right thing and not bow to the demands of the extremist ideology perpetrated by the Catholic League. In addition, I hope that the link to Dr. Myers webpage is restored to the UMM biology webpage, joining the scores of other faculty and students at universities across the country who have links to their personal websites from their departmental pages.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Asad [last name]

  2. BobC says

    I was writing this on the other thread at the same time the thread was being closed.

    Bill said “I’m not a religious whacko” “I do attend church”

    Bill, sorry, but if you attend church, then you are a religious wacko, no matter how moderate you might think you are. Anyone who believes there’s a magical sky fairy hiding in the clouds has got to have something very wrong with him.

  3. says

    I’d just like to apologize for my previous comment. I called my local church and they explained that Chex Mix does NOT count as Jesus. So, never mind.

  4. says

    What’s to discuss? Catholics have finally demonstrated that they’re no less unhinged than the Danish cartoon-hating Muslims.

    Perhaps we’ll live to see the day when an actor is accused of supporting terrorism because they wore a piece of clothing resembling a monk’s robe on an advertisement.

  5. says

    Andrew Sullivan’s remark copied here, since, unless I am mistaken, he doesn’t allow comments on his blog:

    It is one thing to engage in free, if disrespectful, debate. It is another to repeatedly assault and ridicule and abuse something that is deeply sacred to a great many people. Calling the Holy Eucharist a “goddamned cracker” isn’t about free speech; it’s really about some baseline civility. Myers’ rant is the rant of an anti-Catholic bigot. And atheists and agnostics can be bigots too.

    Engaging loudly and publicly in the victimless crime of blaspheme is not bigotry, it’s a responsibility. Andrew Sullivan conveniently avoids explaining how ridiculing the beliefs and the icons of all religions makes one a bigot towards those who practice a specific religion. I suspect trawling through Sullivan’s posts over the last few years would make it much easier to make the case that Sullivan is an anti-Muslim bigot, but I haven’t got the stomach for it.

  6. BobC says

    “I hope that the link to Dr. Myers webpage is restored to the UMM biology webpage”

    Me too and I requested that in my email.

  7. IasonOuabache says

    Has anyone pointed out that it’s just a fuckin’ cracker yet? I think we need to keep that in mind.

  8. Devin Rambo says

    Let’s get this straight. For years, Catholic priests around the world molest little boys, and all we hear from Big Bad Bill is the sound of crickets chirping.

    But sneak a host out of Mass and it’s akin to seeing the world’s rivers flow with blood.

    Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ. So yeah, OK, I can see why some of them might find it offensive that someone would refer to the host as a “cracker.”

    But to call it a hate crime? To try and deny that person a living because of what they said on their own blog?

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

  9. David_James says

    For what it’s worth, here’s what I sent off to President Bruininks this morning. (I started off saying I’d be brief and then waffled on for a bit so I lost points on that I’m afraid.

    “Dear President Bruininks,

    I’ll keep this brief and to the point as I’m sure you currently have more than enough verbose mail to deal with: I have just learned that there is a campaign underway to oust Professor Myers from his position at the university. I am appalled that he should be so ill-treated and I am very keen to add my name to the list of people that I’m sure will have rushed to come out in his support.

    I find I can hardly overstate the value that Pharyngula has to me and to a great many other people as well. I read the article that has so offended the Catholic community, when it was first posted, and found it to be typically intelligent, amusing and well observed and am utterly horrified at the idea that the Professor could be harmed in any way as a result of it.

    Professor Myers is a great ambassador for your institution and you should be deeply proud to count him among your staff. He does you great credit. Please do not allow this backlash to erode our precious values of freedom of speech and freedom of thought. I fear greatly for a world that punishes its stars for shining too brightly and I fear greatly for a world that fights against open and honest discussion. That is the path to intellectual and moral bankruptcy and a nightmarish future.

    Thank you for your time. I trust this message is just one among a very many in strong support of Professor Myers. It’s a great shame that something so noble should result in such unnecessary difficulty but I hope that it is as obvious to you as it is to me that the person responsible for this problem is not the Professor.

    Yours Faithfully,

    David (last name deleted)”

  10. Civil to Others says

    Good morning President Bruininks –

    PZ Meyers, an associate professor on the Morris campus, has recently inflamed Catholics with his most recent, curse filled, hateful blog entry criticism of their religion, practices, and beliefs. He has come under attack from many Catholics for this recent posting on his blog Pharyngula, and he has posted your email address so regular readers like myself can email you our opinions of his activities.

    His hope is that supporters will flood your email with well reasoned defenses of his writings and activities. I write to share that I find his approach to criticism to embody everything that is wrong and divisive about supposed intellectual superiority. I’m quite certain you’ve been alerted to the profane, attacking nature of his blog entries in the past. Rather than open up lines of discussion for parties who disagree to engage one another respectfully, he coarsely targets groups and individuals for attack and rallies like minded posters to dehumanize those with different views and practices in the most vile writing style possible.

    As a professor for the University of MN, one would expect a higher degree of tolerance from Professor Meyers for groups to which he does not belong and clearly does not understand. My wife both attended the University of MN Morris and worked in your office for a few years in your last assignment prior to taking the Presidency of the University. Her view of campus policy is that such behavior from a student, group, or professor would never be tolerated if it targeted minority groups. Professor Myers tends to target majority groups, and it seems that his constant, malicious attacks go unchecked and unaddressed. Surely a man of such hate and bitterness does not compartmentalize these views and feelings when he enters a classroom or has interaction with students. Is this representative of the open-minded pursuit-of-truth-and-conflicting-ideas environment that the University wishes to cultivate?

    All the Best
    Darren Libscomb

  11. randy says

    and you all think your are more enlightened?

    I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me. I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?

    obviously, death threats are way out of line from the defenders of Donohue’s position, but I also think asking folks to palm and steal something others consider sacred to be over the line. you want to search for problems to solve, go ahead hold churches (and educational institutions) accountable for abuse, hold them accountable for wanting to start wars, but its stupid to go picking a fight over a cracker. Gee whiz, it was only a cracker wasn’t PZ? why did the original guy want to take one to begin with? why do you all want to start a collection? Someone wanting to partake of something they consider a sacrament does no harm to you.

  12. Devin Rambo says

    Let’s get this straight. For years, Catholic priests around the world molest little boys, and all we hear from Big Bad Bill is the sound of crickets chirping.

    But sneak a host out of Mass and it’s akin to seeing the world’s rivers flow with blood.

    Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ. So yeah, OK, I can see why some of them might find it offensive that someone would refer to the host as a “cracker.”

    But to call it a hate crime? To try and deny that person a living because of what they said on their own blog?

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

  13. says

    I have just returned from the Post Office after sending a letter of support for PZ. Via air mail, after waiting thirty-five minutes in a queue whilst I was both boiling hot and missing Deal or No Deal.

    This fact alone, that the letter has been halfway around the world (from the UK to USA), means the President should take everything I say in that letter to be the word of God. (No pun intended.)

    To PZ, I advise you to hand the death threats to the police. Also, there probably really are people who now think you’re more evil than Hitler, so my other piece of advice is to take care for your own safety.

  14. gdlchmst says

    “What’s to discuss? Catholics have finally demonstrated that they’re no less unhinged than the Danish cartoon-hating Muslims.”

    No less unhinged, just a little less murderous.

  15. says

    Has anyone pointed out that it’s just a fuckin’ cracker yet? I think we need to keep that in mind.

    No, it’s the magic flesh of a supernatural being, sliced wafer-thin, and if you don’t eat it, you don’t get to go to heaven.

    Oh, and if you take it but don’t eat it, you’re kidnapping Jesus and we’ll have to hurt you.

  16. Devin Rambo says

    Let’s get this straight. For years, Catholic priests around the world molest little boys, and all we hear from Big Bad Bill is the sound of crickets chirping.

    But sneak a host out of Mass and it’s akin to seeing the world’s rivers flow with blood.

    Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ. So yeah, OK, I can see why some of them might find it offensive that someone would refer to the host as a “cracker.”

    But to call it a hate crime? To try and deny that person a living because of what they said on their own blog?

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

  17. Matt Penfold says

    “I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me. I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?”

    Nothing, until they start making death threats against those who do not shared their belief in what is sacred. And nothing until they start demanding respect for their irrational views. Once those things start happening there is a problem. And look, … those things have been happening.

    Guess there is a problem.

  18. Alex says

    BobC #3

    “Anyone who believes there’s a magical sky fairy hiding in the clouds has got to have something very wrong with him.”

    It’s a bit of an over simplification to think that god hides in the clouds. You see, god is full of much more trickeriness that that. He exists everywhere but can’t be seen. He can make anything happen he wants to, even make us blind to him but not his works. He can even make it seem that everything has a Natural explanation and the need to explain things in human terms using mystery and magic is insane.

    Therefore, god exists.

    /sarcasm

  19. vespera says

    I sent a letter too, along the lines of Glenn Davison’s, that I think the host desecration threat is a bad idea, but that PZ has a right to do it and shouldn’t be penalized by the university.
    That said, I hope this thing blows over soon — the kid who kicked this whole thing off was a douchebag for stealing the cracker, the (very few) Catholics who issued death threats were exponentially bigger douchebags, and this whole thing seems to be on the edge of exploding into a supernova of gratuitous asshattery.
    (Yes, it’s just a cracker, but it’s a cracker that some people find very important, and the cracker-worshipers were doing their thing in a church service where the cracker-stealer didn’t have to be, so there was no point in taking the damn thing except to piss a bunch of people off)
    I look forward to reading more scientific and pro-reason posts, which is why I love this blog in the first place.

  20. BobC says

    “As a professor for the University of MN, one would expect a higher degree of tolerance from Professor Meyers for groups to which he does not belong and clearly does not understand.”

    I think he understands those groups very well. They’re all morons and a large number of them are terrorists. Why don’t you criticize the death threats for a cracker instead of complaining about free speech?

  21. says

    its stupid to go picking a fight over a cracker. Gee whiz, it was only a cracker wasn’t PZ?

    Tell that to the thugs who tried to strongarm the cracker away from the kid who claimed he wanted to show one to his guest back at his pew. Tell that to Bill Donahue and those who have sent multiple death threats to PZ Myers.

  22. says

    No, it’s the magic flesh of a supernatural being, sliced wafer-thin, and if you don’t eat it, you don’t get to go to heaven.

    ah ha!

    So it’s like Jesus Carpaccio!

    Damn, I love me a well prepared carpaccio. This one comes with a squeeze of fresh sacrilege.

    Mmmmmmmmmmm

    sacrilege.

  23. gdlchmst says

    “I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me.”

    Who said I wanted pluralism? Don’t put words in my mouth.

    “I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?”

    Everything if the belief is superstitious.

    “Someone wanting to partake of something they consider a sacrament does no harm to you.”

    They do if they demand that I hold that something sacred too.

  24. kmurray says

    Andrew Sullivan gets a little over excited at times, but I believe he is one of the good guys. Sadly, his online debate with Sam Harris showed him to be incapable of recognizing the irrationality of faith and the danger it poses to the modern world.

    As an openly gay republican, he has known some measure of persecution, so it is dissappointing that his own tolerance will not extend to atheists exercising their freedom of speech. Oh well, I’m sure that some of his best friends are atheists.

  25. Devin Rambo says

    Ack. The response page I got said the site was busy and to resubmit. My apologies for the repeated posts.

  26. says

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

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

  27. Diana Powe says

    Here’s my email to the president of the university. I hope it helps.

    Dear President Bruininks;

    I’m writing in absolute support of Dr. Myers not because I share his views regarding religion, but because I believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution and the principle of academic freedom. He is an important voice against the malign efforts of those who want to inject religious dogma into the teaching of biological science under the guise of “intelligent design”. Even if I am right and he is wrong regarding the nature of a Communion wafer after it has been consecrated, I feel quite confident that the creator of the universe doesn’t need any defense from screaming hate-mongers claiming the name of the Church as their authority.

    Sincerely,

    Diana Powe
    Beaverton, Oregon

  28. jj says

    3rd Page, wow, PZ, you sure know to incite a [virtual] riot! Congrats!
    PS – I email President Bruininks, for ya’ hope the support helps! (even though it’s probably needed)

  29. tsg says

    Yet more missing the point…

    I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me. I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?

    Nothing. It’s the insistence that everyone also hold it sacred because you do that is the problem.

    obviously, death threats are way out of line from the defenders of Donohue’s position,

    Keep in mind it is the death threats and attempts to force their view on others that this action is in response to.

    but I also think asking folks to palm and steal something others consider sacred to be over the line.

    Strange sense of priorities. Not eating a cracker given to you (not stolen) is an inappropriate response to death threats. Really.

  30. Damian says

    John Lewandowski:

    Look, I would not have been in favor of desecrating the Eucharist. I can’t say that it would have bothered me greatly, but that is a consequence of an inability to understand how anybody can believe that a wafer/cracker turns in to the body of Christ, and I say that with absolute sincerity. That is, I think, part of the problem. It is so far removed from anything that I am familiar with that I cannot, as hard as I try, understand its importance.

    However, I do not believe that PZ would have gone through with it, although I could of course be wrong. Just reading that original post made it clear to me how angry PZ was that the Webster Cook had been treated so appallingly. The death threats were no doubt from a very small minority, but I visited several Catholic sites where people were advertising the young man’s email address and expressing some pretty vile opinions. This obviously cannot be applied to any more Catholics than I saw with my own eyes, but it is not terribly unreasonable to factor up based on a few hundred comments, if only to gauge a feeling.

    In some ways, PZ has given you all a terrific excuse to gloss over the appalling behavior of more than a few Catholics, though I can’t say that I am sorry for either his emotional reaction, or his wish to force people to confront what is surely the reality of the wafer not being, in any way shape or form, the body of Christ. Sometimes it takes a provocative act to shock people in to change. And by change, I would be happy if it simply reduced the sheer zealotry that I witnessed on those blogs, to be honest.

    Lest we not forget, and as far as I am aware, no Catholics have been threatened with death over this incident, and it I have noticed a definite attempt to shift the moral burden from threats of serious harm, both bodily and professionally, to the casual threat of “desecration”.

    It would have been appropriate if more than the handful of Catholics that have visited this site had expressed concern, first and foremost, for the threats to the lives of two innocent individuals. That it hasn’t been case is rather telling, in my opinion.

  31. FW says

    (A possibly stupid question – I haven’t read every post in the previous threads:)

    Aren’t all these many letters to the President of the university a bit of an overreaction?

    I mean, shouldn’t we expect the university to dismiss Donohue’s silly complaint any way??

  32. Jake says

    Don’t forget. The “Catholic League” is just one loud, annoying person with a fax machine: Bill Donohue.

  33. BobC says

    Christ died for your sins.
    Christ died for your sins.
    Christ died for your sins.
    Christ died for your sins.

    After 9 years of Catholic grammar school (including kindergarten) I will never get that out of my mind. Imagine having the same five words drilled into you several times a day for 9 years. It’s child abuse and that’s why I think nuns are assholes.

  34. says

    I can see it now…

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

    And, the Catholic response:
    “I’ll cut your face like a Tijuana whore!”

  35. says

    @ #23
    the kid who kicked this whole thing off was a douchebag for stealing the cracker

    Seriously? From one of the articles about all this:

    “When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show him,” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.”

    A church leader was watching, confronted Cook and tried to recover the sacred bread. Cook said she crossed the line and that’s why he brought it home with him.

    “She came up behind me, grabbed my wrist with her right hand, with her left hand grabbed my fingers and was trying to pry them open to get the Eucharist out of my hand,” Cook said, adding she wouldn’t immediately take her hands off him despite several requests.

    Doesn’t sound to me like he’s such a douchebag. If the church hadn’t freaked the fuck out over everything he would have gone back to his seat, shown his visiting friend what the cracker was, eaten the thing, and this all could have been avoided.

    PZ’s not the only person here who needs defending. The church attacked Cook before PZ ever said a thing.

  36. Civil to Others says

    “I think he understands those groups very well.”

    Apparently not or he would have written about how this onslaught was about to come his way when he did his first posting. PZ clearly does not understand how important the host is to Catholics. PZ toys with intellectual concepts and ideas while Catholics build their entire lives and identities around their religion and traditions. The idea that they would react strongly to his hateful words attacking one of the very cornerstones of their faith is completely predictable. One can criticize without insulting – if one is not PZ Myers that is. He opened this can of whupass on himself.

  37. jj says

    @12
    “professor would never be tolerated if it targeted minority groups. Professor Myers tends to target majority groups”
    What? Minorities? Catholics… I think it’s fair to say that PZ “targets” (I don’t think he’s targeting anyone, actually) irrational people, not minorities.

  38. says

    I’m amazed that how this issue has got so way out of hand in the US. I don’t think this would have happened to the same degree in most other Catholic countries. If you don’t believe me, in my URL there’s a clip from the Mexican film “El crimen del Padre Amaro”, (about 3:30 into the clip) which depicts an old woman spiriting the communion wafer away and then later giving it to her cat to eat. And although clearly cheeky in for a film from a majority Catholic county, it generated none of the fuss this has. This seem all down the rabble-rousers like Bill Donoghue, who seem more akin to evangelicals than Catholics in my country.

  39. Mark says

    My apologies to Alexander Pope and real poets elsewhere:

    When dire Offence from an Abused Triscuit springs,
    And unleashes Bill Donohue’s bellicose whinges,
    This Verse–in support of Myers–is due,
    This ev’n the Cath’lic League may vouchsafe to view.
    Slight is the Subject, but not so the Storm that breweth,
    For the Case of the Maligned Wafer has brought threats of death.
    At such absurdity, Paul Myers raises his voice in protest thus:
    “Should theft of one give such offense, then steal
    one thousand, that we learn what they would do to us!”
    This brings us to the point at present,
    Wherein Bill Donohue demands both Discipline and Punishment.
    I say instead that Paul Myers is well within his Right
    To criticize and mock th’ ignorant hypocrisy within his sight.
    ‘Tis the legacy of th’ Enlightenment and an assuredly Secular Democracy:
    That Free Discussion and Open Debate safeguard a Free Society.
    Ideas and customs should not be held Unquestionably Virtuous
    Simply for being th’ Opinions of Mobs Religious.
    Sic semper tyrannis, Slavery, Creationism, Discrimination,
    Thus also the Complaint of Donohue must be selected for Elimination.

    This was sent by overland mail this morning to President Bruininks, Dr. Myers, and Dr. Donohue.

  40. ElJay says

    If these crazy catholics are so certain that one cracker is somehow different after their magic ceremony, why don’t we ask them to pick out the fleshy one from a pile of them?
    Double blind tested of course.

  41. Arno says

    Pssssst.. Darren of #12…
    1. That wasn’t short.
    2. The name is Myers instead of Meyers.
    3. “dehumanize” is used when you describe a human being as being less than human. As an inferior creature whose existence is a waste and whose death is encouraged. The Nazi’s did that for example in their treatment of anyone who was against them.
    What Myers has done, is not an act of dehumanization: he simply attacks ideas and does not, in any way, call for violence against people who have other ideas. He uses arguments instead of violence, unlike various of those who disagree with him.
    4. You have never seen Myers teach, so how can you tell he is a bad teacher? According to you though, he is so filled with hatred that he cannot control himself… Do I sense the first desire to dehumanize him there?
    5. How nice to mention to the President that your wife worked there. I think such a thing is either “sucking up” or, from the way the letter continues, an argument from authority (with your wife being the source of authority in this case). You honestly think that that is doing your argument any good?
    6. And a “vile writing style?” Oh, come on! Myers is an angel is his posts compared to the average user, and is definately more articulate than most creationists, whose arguments he despises for a very good reason.

    Anyway, congratulations with your letter. Despite how its polite tone, it is still failing in every way possible.

  42. IsThatLatin says

    Here is the main body of my letter, which I will be popping in the post in a moment. My boyfriend, an English prof, will also be penning a letter regarding academic free speech. Cheers to you, PZ:

    I am writing on behalf of Professor P. Z. Myers regarding this Eucharist incident. I am an atheist and the fact is that Myers is a much-loved and well-respected member of our community. Many of us feel invisible, ignored, and downright hated. Lately, we’ve been gathering a little steam in the area of activism–sometimes it’s writing letters, supporting lobbyists on our behalf, or it comes in the form of lawsuits–as we beg for, haggle for, and demand our equal and civil rights as American citizens. The activism takes other forms as well, forms well documented in any social movement for change. While Myers’s suggestion to desecrate a Communion wafer might seem college-prankish, the fact is that it fits in with a number of attention getting stunts for respectable causes. All sorts of activists perform various antics to demand rights for blacks, women, gays, etc. This isn’t anything new and whether one agrees with its effectiveness, it’s a tactic I fully support so long as no one is hurt. This, I’m afraid, doesn’t include the hurting of one’s feelings.

    Considering the tremendous amount of prejudice and general disdain coming from the Catholic community directed towards atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers, this threat to desecrate what we all know is basically a cracker (there is no need to test these wafers following the blessing that supposedly transforms them into the magical flesh of their consumer’s Lord and Savior…it’s a flaky, crispy cracker), the idea that what Myers did is beyond the pale is laughable. He may have incited the ire of one large group, but he’s also gained even more respect and support from another, the secular community. We don’t all agree, but mine is a voice that is absolutely raised in support. Please don’t allow your University to be bullied by the likes of the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue. Yes, he’s loud, insistent, and becomes rabidly red-in-the-face at the slightest hint criticism, but he remains a bully and only that.

    We without faith take a lot of flack and have few out there with enough courage and intellect to defend us, whereas most major religions have armies. Please consider Myers a much-needed representative of a movement in desperate need of change and do what you can to ensure his position (in light of demands for his removal) and his safety (in light of the death threats he’s received).

  43. rd says

    How much could you get for the body of christ on e-bay? We should kidnap several this weekend and put up for sale next week. Although, it would be hard to prove that had been blessed by a priest instead of just taking them out of box. I’m sure the catholic church has “Essence” detectors for these types of emergencies.

  44. Matt Penfold says

    “I’m amazed that how this issue has got so way out of hand in the US. I don’t think this would have happened to the same degree in most other Catholic countries. If you don’t believe me, in my URL there’s a clip from the Mexican film “El crimen del Padre Amaro”, (about 3:30 into the clip) which depicts an old woman spiriting the communion wafer away and then later giving it to her cat to eat. And although clearly cheeky in for a film from a majority Catholic county, it generated none of the fuss this has. This seem all down the rabble-rousers like Bill Donoghue, who seem more akin to evangelicals than Catholics in my country.”

    And it would seem to a woman who had trouble remembering how to behave properly even while actually in church. I am pretty sure Catholics are taught assaulting people is a sin and yet she managed to forget that fact.

  45. I'm joining your Crusade says

    I should have been here all along. I’m an atheist, my parents were both raised devout Roman Catholic and left the church as soon as they reached adulthood. They raised me as a free thinker, although in an extended family of three generations comprising roughly 24 others, the three of us are the only three apostates. I’m the only unababashed, unapologetic, and unrepentant atheist. (it’s funny to think they call me unrepentent…who would an atheist repent to?)

    And my cousin Mary (there is at least one Mary in three generations of our family, and in my town it dominates over other first names for women at least 1 in six) came to call on me. I said I felt like the red-headed bastard stepchild because I was the only atheist. Well then somehow she starts asking me why…

    …so I answered…

    and the memorable moment came when Mary, with that perennial smile on her face because she knows God or the virgin mother or Jesus or the Pope – I really don’t understand who they worship – had her back: “Do you really think that scientists know why the sun stays up in ths sky?”

    Now – where do you go from there but apart?

    And I told her that I think the Catholic faith is a joke, but then I don’t go run to a Catholic church when I need answers; She on the other hand thinks science is a joke, but has somehow accepted that it’s still OK to drive around in cars, have electricity in her house, talk on a cell phone, and go to a doctor and receive modern medical treatments when she gets sick. “G”od apparently has little difficulty with hypocrisy, in fact his faithful seem to be silently commanded to be immune from criticism for it.

    I think we need to start being as militant as they like to label us – if anyone religious really thinks that science is a fraud and scientists are evil, then we can watch them stand in the public square and dutifully disavow all articles in their posession that required a scientist, an engineer, or any other satanic free thinker to make or support it.

    I mean all I have to do is look at the book of Leviticus to imimediately cry shenanigans on the Bible – there are two dozen or more situations where a faithful believer is supposed to run to a priest to be washed if they are caught doing. And despite all that washing, there’s not a single chemical formula or even a family recipe for soap anywhere in the new or old testament. We had to wait until the eighteenth century until Louis Pasteur formulated the germ theory of disease, and we had to wait until almost another hundred years until Joseph Lister came up with the first primitive but relatively effective soap that made any of that washing do any good.

    I’m tired of tolerating people who have no tolerance for us – that’s bad enough. Although I’m grateful that people like you and me are no longer burned at the stake, I still don’t think it’s tolerable that these hypcrites had to create the United States of America in order to have freedom of religion, only to struggle all the while to deny freedom of thought to anyone who wasn’t religious in the same way they were.

    I want my own blog. Screw that, I want my own radio show. In ten minutes I will make Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage and Ann Coulter look like Mr Rogers meets Dr. Phil. Enough with the hypocrisy already. If they really think the Bible has all the answers, then leave them out in the desert with no clothes on, a Bible and a quart of water and let them show us where all those answers are.

    /rant

    Thank you for allowing me this forum. I’ll wait on your gracious provision of a microphone so that I can get started making a living being this indignant.

  46. says

    So, trying to educate brainwashed idiots is now called “targeting a minority?”

    No wonder why these morons consider taking a goddamned cracker a hate crime.

  47. gdlchmst says

    “I think we need to start being as militant as they like to label us – if anyone religious really thinks that science is a fraud and scientists are evil, then we can watch them stand in the public square and dutifully disavow all articles in their posession that required a scientist, an engineer, or any other satanic free thinker to make or support it.”

    Well said.

  48. says

    So, trying to educate brainwashed idiots is now called “targeting a minority?”

    Clearly, the author of post #12 is unblemished by numeracy.

  49. says

    ….you toucha my wahfur — I KILL YOU DEAD!!!

    Posted by: Alex

    I’m gonna cutcha.

    I’m gonna cutcha so bad, you’re gonna wish I didn’t cutcha so bad.

  50. says

    Kudos to Mark at #46 for referencing “The Rape of the Lock” by Alexander [ironic snicker] “Pope.” Well done.

  51. JoJo says

    It’s a bit of an over simplification to think that god hides in the clouds. You see, god is full of much more trickeriness that that. He exists everywhere but can’t be seen.

    When I was a little boy I knew that Jesus lived in our bathroom. Every morning my father would beat on the bathroom door and yell “Christ, are you still in there?”

  52. Guy Kramer says

    So if these crackers are the body of Christ, doesn’t that mean these Catholic League folks are cannibals? Spiriting the wafer out of the Catholic church’s sacrificial grounds was likely the only way to prevent the desecration of Jesus by those, dare I say, blasphemous savages.

  53. says

    A diamond is just a rock. Short of its practical uses in engineering etc, its value is largely a matter of misguided stupidity and tradition. It’s just a rock.

    Just throwing it out there.

  54. SEF says

    @ Tim Miller

    PZ – I have to disagree with your stance on this, as far as your request for wafers to be desecrated. You would consider somebody burning books to be essentially desecrating science (and reality) – this is no different to them.

    It’s very different (and interesting how all the apologists for the religionists keep coming up with rubbish analogies).

    Book burners are generally trying to prevent anyone else from being able to read the book in their area or indeed anywhere ever, ie may even intend to wipe it out of existence (as per the Library of Alexandria). In contrast, no-one is preventing the magic cookie people from eating their own magic cookies or from making more magic cookies indefinitely via their magic ritual of magic cookie making. It’s not as though they believe their Jesus-bits to be a limited resource!

    On the rare occasions when someone burns a single book (or flag) as a protest, rather than trying to incite others to do the same and wipe them all out, no-one in the rational reality-based community would make a fuss about it. We might still laugh at the protester of course if their protest was an ill-founded one.

  55. Alex says

    “How can someone not believe in evolution and still get vaccinations?”

    If they can rationalize sending death threats because someone thinks a cracker is only a cracker, then it’s easy.

  56. Mikey says

    Dear Mr. Bruininks:

    I am writing to you to express support for Professor P.Z. Myers, in light of the recent protest against his blog “Pharyngula,” by Mr. Bill Donohue and the Catholic League. Mr. Donohue may be characterized as a ‘professional victim,’ who keeps his name and that of his organization in front of the press by means of howling protest and threatened boycotts every time some public figure criticizes the doctrines, traditions, or actions of his church. It is not clear whether he is perpetually, deeply, offended, or if he is merely cynically exploiting the emotions of many people for personal aggrandizement. In any case, Mr. Donohue seems to need constant reminding that the 1st Amendment does not guarantee him, or anyone, freedom from being offended. (Some of us find him pretty offensive, but are not trying to limit his speech.) It also seems, despite his loud claims to be part of the One True Church, that he doesn’t know how to “turn the other cheek.”

    Professor Myers’ writings, while occasionally a bit bombastic, are always well-reasoned and compelling, and his enthusiasm for science in general and biology in particular provide inspiration for scientists, students, and amateurs across the US and the world. Any disciplinary or censorious action by the university would merely offend and harm a different group in order to placate the Catholic League. That would be unfair, don’t you think?

  57. Son of Strom says

    I’m reminded of George Carlin’s line: God is the all-powerful, all-knowing Supreme Being who created everything in the universe, and if you don’t do what he wants he’ll torture you for eternity. Why? Because he loves you!

  58. says

    When I was a little boy I knew that Jesus lived in our bathroom. Every morning my father would beat on the bathroom door and yell “Christ, are you still in there?”

    Posted by: JoJo

    I’ve heard it before, but I still laughed enough to almost tinkle a little.

    Still, for what it’s worth, I think everyone knows Jesus is in prison.

  59. infidel57 says

    “Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ.”

    So, it would seem that this could be proven or unproven with a simple DNA test on the wafer, once consecrated.

  60. Notorious P.A.T. says

    PZ, glad to see you haven’t been struck by lightning or buried by frogs yet.

    Bill said “I’m not a religious whacko” “I do attend church”

    Bill, sorry, but if you attend church, then you are a religious wacko

    Anyone who goes to church is a loooooot closer to a religious whacko than they are to a sane person who doesn’t go.

  61. Mike says

    @43:

    One can criticize without insulting

    Ok, let’s give that a go:

    The notion that a particular cracker, when spoken to by a man dressed in flowing robes, physically becomes the flesh of another man who, if he existed at all, died almost 2000 years ago, is so ridiculous as to be almost beyond words. Those who believe this to be true are deluded, in the same way that people who believe that Elvis is alive are deluded. Moreover, the notion that removing a cracker, which has been freely given, from a certain building and doing whatever one wants with that cracker, is deserving of death threats, is more than ridiculous; it is batshit crazy stupid, not to mention scary and blatantly illegal.

  62. global yokel says

    What I notice about the Christian fundies is just how thin-skinned and insecure they are. A guy in Minnesota writes a blog post, and they go batshit ballistic. If they were truly comfortable in their own beliefs, they would just shrug and carry on.

  63. Damian says

    #12 is basically deception from start to finish.

    But then, anyone who can’t tell the difference between threats to a persons life and lively-hood, and the criticism of ideas, is hardly likely to be morally grounded, are they?

  64. says

    It appears the series of tubes is getting backed up. Maybe time to contact the local pipe fitters union and install some bigger tubes. ;)

  65. gdlchmst says

    “Impossible. They can’t give back their vaccinations.”

    We’ll let that one slide. But they won’t be getting any of our universal health care.

  66. Lord Zero says

    Well mine its here…

    To President Robert Bruinink

    Im a deeply concerned foreign what happens to be a regular of the science blog Pharyngula and Biologist
    undergrad student on PUCV in the country of Chile. Im sure my voice would not have as much weight for
    you as one of a US citizen, but since a fine scientist has been threatened even to death by so
    called Christians, its my moral duty to make a call for reason.
    I know you all live in a country clouded by religious fear, where the people who
    votes and therefore elect their representants are sure than the rapture its going
    to happen in their lifetimes. But you have a serious responsability as a the president
    of the University of Minessota to make a clear statement based on reason alone and not pressure
    from religious fanatics who values more the integrity of a cracker than a human life and career.
    Im unsure if you are even to read this, but i have a responsabily as a scientist to be and a
    moral human being for make a effort no matter how little or useless its could be on the end,
    to make reason prevalue over misticism, prejudice and ignrorancy.

    Name: Miguel Angel Opazo Arancibia
    Nationality: Chilean
    College: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso
    College ID: 520506-9

  67. sex_target says

    @ alex-

    Good point. I guess we shouldn’t expect rational behavior out of these folks.

    Funny thing is, I don’t think they are a majority. In my little bubble of people, it seems like there are a lot more religious but not really folks- they claim it, say they are in that group, but don’t really follow it (ie, still fuck people they aren’t married to and generally act like a normal person). This confuses me b/c I always thought that if I really believed this bullshit, wouldn’t I follow the rules if the end result could be my eternal salvation?

  68. says

    I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?

    Isn’t that what started this in the first place – a student “holding” something “sacred”?

    In the meantime, one of the honest priests has written a book about how the molestations in the church could have happened and what should still be done to prevent them, and they’ve come down hard on him, too. Well, I guess I see what these uptight Catholics hold as not sacred – i.e., people.

    I’d rather desecrate symbols, thank you.

  69. Starbuck says

    For cryin’ out loud, with all this hate, why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    Whats that? You don’t believe in violence? BS!

    Whats that? You believe in freedom of religion? Ya.. BS

    Whats that? You don’t believe in the right to bear arms?
    Well, if you are going to keep this crap up, you might want to rethink this one. Most Christians believe in the right to bear arms, and if you removed it from the constitution, that won’t change their minds one bit. And most Christians are armed. So, when do you want to start a war against Christians?

    That hate coming from you is the same as from the Christians.

    So, start a war against the Christians.

    I bet you don’t have the guts!

  70. says

    So, it would seem that this could be proven or unproven with a simple DNA test on the wafer, once consecrated.

    Posted by: infidel57

    It would be a fun test, wouldn’t it? Imagine the looks on their faces to learn that Jesus has the DNA of dried instant pancake batter.

  71. Kate says

    Anyone who has suggested that PZ needs to “respect” their religious tradition and never, ever, ever say anything against it is the worst, most disgusting kind hypocrite.

    You people ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You scream and cry and plead persecution, all the while doing everything you can to turn atheism into a crime. You are so blinded by your fear and so busy trying to buy your way into some promised eternal paradise you’re unable to see just how ugly and hateful you really are.

    Well, I’m not going to mince words here: You can kiss my atheist ass. Where the hell do you get off telling PZ or anyone that they are required to respect anything about your traditions when you vilify them, hate them without even understanding what their beliefs are, profess the idea that they are less than human and do everything possible to make them uncomfortable as soon as you find out they don’t believe the same things you do. You call them a murderer, a thief, a liar… and believe you are justified in doing so despite the fact that they have done none of those things… but if they call your host a cracker they need to be fired from their job, have their name dragged through the mud and get death threats.

    If you ever have the courage to examine your behavior and compare it to the examples set in your holy book, I hope your despondence over your complete failure as a christian doesn’t drive you even further down the path of insanity.

  72. Boosterz says

    “PZ toys with intellectual concepts and ideas while Catholics build their entire lives and identities around their religion and traditions.”

    If someone wants to build their life around a belief in a magic cracker then that’s THEIR fucking problem. They can kindly leave us sane people the fuck out of their delusion.

  73. sex_target says

    @72-

    But I’m sure they’d use the old “science can’t be used to disprove the supernatural” or some bullshit on you which would both satisfy their stupid beliefs and contradict all their other ones.

  74. wÒÓ† says

    For cryin’ out loud, with all this hate, why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    You’ll be able to read better if you wipe the spittle flecks off your monitor, tough guy.

  75. Alex says

    #75

    “What I notice about the Christian fundies is just how thin-skinned and insecure they are.”

    “There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not real, he becomes furious when they are disputed.” [Bertrand Russell, “Human Society in Ethics and Politics”]

  76. John Morris says

    Dear Mr. Myers, I sent an email to the president for ya. I just want to say I support you totally and think you’re awesome. You’re intelligent, nice, and articulate. I appreciate your blog and enjoy it very much.

    Thank you so much sir.

    -John

  77. tsg says

    A diamond is just a rock. Short of its practical uses in engineering etc, its value is largely a matter of misguided stupidity and tradition. It’s just a rock.

    Just throwing it out there.

    I completely agree. And if it weren’t for the fact that so many other people value it, it wouldn’t be worth anything to me either. Just like gold, or rare stamps, or baseball cards, (and money, for that matter) or any number of other things that are “valuable”. Value is purely subjective. But just because a large number of people value a particular object doesn’t mean I should also.

    If, given a diamond, I wouldn’t throw it away because somebody else will give me money for it. But I won’t spend my money on one.

  78. says

    Well, if you are going to keep this crap up, you might want to rethink this one. Most Christians believe in the right to bear arms, and if you removed it from the constitution, that won’t change their minds one bit. And most Christians are armed. So, when do you want to start a war against Christians?

    Again, Starbuck, you never fail to disappoint. Thanks for confirming that ‘most Christians’ fail to follow the most basic of Christ’s teachings.

    Well done. I’m glad you’re on our side.

  79. Rob says

    Alex,

    I have always found that people argue articulately when they are right and get angry when they are wrong or caught in a lie they don’t want to admit.

    I think these Catholics “doth protest too much” because they know their position is ridiculous.

  80. aiabx says

    I’d just like to apologize for my previous comment. I called my local church and they explained that Chex Mix does NOT count as Jesus. So, never mind.

    *gesture* Bless this Chex Mix.
    Now eat up. There are children in Israel who have no messiah to eat at all.

  81. Alex says

    Alright Starbuck. Let’s have a shootout. I’ll rely on science and engineering to build my gun. You offer some incantations to your deity to deliver from the heavens your gun. Let’s see who has a gun.

  82. says

    For cryin’ out loud, with all this hate, why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    Whats that? You don’t believe in violence? BS!

    Whats that? You believe in freedom of religion? Ya.. BS

    Whats that? You don’t believe in the right to bear arms?
    Well, if you are going to keep this crap up, you might want to rethink this one. Most Christians believe in the right to bear arms, and if you removed it from the constitution, that won’t change their minds one bit. And most Christians are armed. So, when do you want to start a war against Christians?

    That hate coming from you is the same as from the Christians.

    So, start a war against the Christians.

    I bet you don’t have the guts!

    Starbuck, ‘

    You’re not the brightest bulb on the tree are you?

    How do you get from being an atheist critical of idiot religious people’s actions to being against the right to bear arms? I’m sure some here are but I personally own firearms.

    Difference is I don’t threaten people with violence. You on the other hand have no problems waving it around.

    Your rants show so little thought or ability to reason they are laughable.

    Really Starbuck.

    WE ARE LAUGHING AT YOU

  83. Pierce R. Butler says

    The closing ‘grafs from my dead-tree message to Pres. Bruininks:

    I have no doubt that others in the University of Minnesota disagree vehemently with Prof. Myers’s statements, and am quite confident that he accepts their right to criticize him without any expectation that the administration should muzzle them for expressing themselves. That is as it should be, and UM would do itself proud by supporting the rights of all its faculty to take controversial stands.

    For the last few years, I have sadly watched the University of Florida, led by a recent Bush appointee, diminish itself through a steady attrition of talented faculty seeking greener pastures free from petty politically-driven interference by myopic administrators and legislators. You might do quite well by directing your academic talent scouts and head-hunters to our state; it would be a disservice to your own institution to emulate our deteriorating standards.

  84. jj says

    I want to see the number on how many times the word “batshit” comes up on PZ’s blogs. Oh, and asshat too!

  85. Brian Gygi says

    I sent an email to the Chancellor of the University and a snail mail to the university. Best of luck.

    And to Bill: if you truly ARE a Ph.D. student, you should know a false analogy when you see (or produce) one. You can surely whip up a fake diploma, and while most people would not accept it (or find it slightly ridiculous) NO ONE would threaten your livelihood or send death threats over it. If you used it fradulently to obtain a job you did not deserve you would run afoul of the law, but that’s it. Your analogy has NO relation to the matter at hand and I certainly hope your thesis is a lot more cogently reasoned than your tirade against Dr. Myers (but I’m not holding out any hope).

  86. Alex says

    Rob,

    Indeed. I also notice that in an argument, the one defending the lesser position tends to escalate the stakes of the argument. In this instance it went from challenging and idea to death threats. So typical.

  87. blowme says

    ent, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal

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    « Friday Cephalopod: Foreplay | Main
    Internet getting full, here’s a new hole to dump comments into

    Category: Administrative
    Posted on: July 11, 2008 12:16 PM, by PZ Myers

    Aaargh, you keep filling up threads! I’m closing this one, you can continue the discussion here, if necessary.

    ShareThis

    Comments
    #1

    As promised, I just hand-delivered my letter to Pres. Bruininks’ office. Text follows:

    ————————-

    Dear President Bruininks,

    I have read with great interest the story of University of Minnesota, Morris Professor P.Z. Myers being criticized by the Catholic League for his ‘threats’ against an inanimate disk of carbohydrates. The sheer audacity of the Catholic League to try and force the University of Minnesota to censor or censure a respected educator and researcher for comments made on a non-University website is astounding.

    I trust that the University will do the right thing and not bow to the demands of the extremist ideology perpetrated by the Catholic League. In addition, I hope that the link to Dr. Myers webpage is restored to the UMM biology webpage, joining the scores of other faculty and students at universities across the country who have links to their personal websites from their departmental pages.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Asad [last name]

    Posted by: asad | July 11, 2008 12:23 PM
    #2

    I’M EATING JESUS RIGHT NOW

    Posted by: Rebecca Watson | July 11, 2008 12:24 PM
    #3

    I was writing this on the other thread at the same time the thread was being closed.

    Bill said “I’m not a religious whacko” “I do attend church”

    Bill, sorry, but if you attend church, then you are a religious wacko, no matter how moderate you might think you are. Anyone who believes there’s a magical sky fairy hiding in the clouds has got to have something very wrong with him.

    Posted by: BobC | July 11, 2008 12:26 PM
    #4

    I’d just like to apologize for my previous comment. I called my local church and they explained that Chex Mix does NOT count as Jesus. So, never mind.

    Posted by: Rebecca Watson | July 11, 2008 12:26 PM
    #5

    What’s to discuss? Catholics have finally demonstrated that they’re no less unhinged than the Danish cartoon-hating Muslims.

    Perhaps we’ll live to see the day when an actor is accused of supporting terrorism because they wore a piece of clothing resembling a monk’s robe on an advertisement.

    Posted by: Brownian, OM | July 11, 2008 12:27 PM
    #6

    Andrew Sullivan’s remark copied here, since, unless I am mistaken, he doesn’t allow comments on his blog:

    It is one thing to engage in free, if disrespectful, debate. It is another to repeatedly assault and ridicule and abuse something that is deeply sacred to a great many people. Calling the Holy Eucharist a “goddamned cracker” isn’t about free speech; it’s really about some baseline civility. Myers’ rant is the rant of an anti-Catholic bigot. And atheists and agnostics can be bigots too.

    Engaging loudly and publicly in the victimless crime of blaspheme is not bigotry, it’s a responsibility. Andrew Sullivan conveniently avoids explaining how ridiculing the beliefs and the icons of all religions makes one a bigot towards those who practice a specific religion. I suspect trawling through Sullivan’s posts over the last few years would make it much easier to make the case that Sullivan is an anti-Muslim bigot, but I haven’t got the stomach for it.

    Posted by: Ken Cope | July 11, 2008 12:28 PM
    #7

    “I hope that the link to Dr. Myers webpage is restored to the UMM biology webpage”

    Me too and I requested that in my email.

    Posted by: BobC | July 11, 2008 12:30 PM
    #8

    Has anyone pointed out that it’s just a fuckin’ cracker yet? I think we need to keep that in mind.

    Posted by: IasonOuabache | July 11, 2008 12:31 PM
    #9

    Let’s get this straight. For years, Catholic priests around the world molest little boys, and all we hear from Big Bad Bill is the sound of crickets chirping.

    But sneak a host out of Mass and it’s akin to seeing the world’s rivers flow with blood.

    Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ. So yeah, OK, I can see why some of them might find it offensive that someone would refer to the host as a “cracker.”

    But to call it a hate crime? To try and deny that person a living because of what they said on their own blog?

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

    Posted by: Devin Rambo | July 11, 2008 12:32 PM
    #10

    For what it’s worth, here’s what I sent off to President Bruininks this morning. (I started off saying I’d be brief and then waffled on for a bit so I lost points on that I’m afraid.

    “Dear President Bruininks,

    I’ll keep this brief and to the point as I’m sure you currently have more than enough verbose mail to deal with: I have just learned that there is a campaign underway to oust Professor Myers from his position at the university. I am appalled that he should be so ill-treated and I am very keen to add my name to the list of people that I’m sure will have rushed to come out in his support.

    I find I can hardly overstate the value that Pharyngula has to me and to a great many other people as well. I read the article that has so offended the Catholic community, when it was first posted, and found it to be typically intelligent, amusing and well observed and am utterly horrified at the idea that the Professor could be harmed in any way as a result of it.

    Professor Myers is a great ambassador for your institution and you should be deeply proud to count him among your staff. He does you great credit. Please do not allow this backlash to erode our precious values of freedom of speech and freedom of thought. I fear greatly for a world that punishes its stars for shining too brightly and I fear greatly for a world that fights against open and honest discussion. That is the path to intellectual and moral bankruptcy and a nightmarish future.

    Thank you for your time. I trust this message is just one among a very many in strong support of Professor Myers. It’s a great shame that something so noble should result in such unnecessary difficulty but I hope that it is as obvious to you as it is to me that the person responsible for this problem is not the Professor.

    Yours Faithfully,

    David (last name deleted)”

    Posted by: David_James | July 11, 2008 12:32 PM
    #11

    “Transubstantiated crackers.” Great idea for the name of a new rock group.

    Posted by: dale | July 11, 2008 12:33 PM
    #12

    Good morning President Bruininks –

    PZ Meyers, an associate professor on the Morris campus, has recently inflamed Catholics with his most recent, curse filled, hateful blog entry criticism of their religion, practices, and beliefs. He has come under attack from many Catholics for this recent posting on his blog Pharyngula, and he has posted your email address so regular readers like myself can email you our opinions of his activities.

    His hope is that supporters will flood your email with well reasoned defenses of his writings and activities. I write to share that I find his approach to criticism to embody everything that is wrong and divisive about supposed intellectual superiority. I’m quite certain you’ve been alerted to the profane, attacking nature of his blog entries in the past. Rather than open up lines of discussion for parties who disagree to engage one another respectfully, he coarsely targets groups and individuals for attack and rallies like minded posters to dehumanize those with different views and practices in the most vile writing style possible.

    As a professor for the University of MN, one would expect a higher degree of tolerance from Professor Meyers for groups to which he does not belong and clearly does not understand. My wife both attended the University of MN Morris and worked in your office for a few years in your last assignment prior to taking the Presidency of the University. Her view of campus policy is that such behavior from a student, group, or professor would never be tolerated if it targeted minority groups. Professor Myers tends to target majority groups, and it seems that his constant, malicious attacks go unchecked and unaddressed. Surely a man of such hate and bitterness does not compartmentalize these views and feelings when he enters a classroom or has interaction with students. Is this representative of the open-minded pursuit-of-truth-and-conflicting-ideas environment that the University wishes to cultivate?

    All the Best
    Darren Libscomb

    Posted by: Civil to Others | July 11, 2008 12:33 PM
    #13

    and you all think your are more enlightened?

    I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me. I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?

    obviously, death threats are way out of line from the defenders of Donohue’s position, but I also think asking folks to palm and steal something others consider sacred to be over the line. you want to search for problems to solve, go ahead hold churches (and educational institutions) accountable for abuse, hold them accountable for wanting to start wars, but its stupid to go picking a fight over a cracker. Gee whiz, it was only a cracker wasn’t PZ? why did the original guy want to take one to begin with? why do you all want to start a collection? Someone wanting to partake of something they consider a sacrament does no harm to you.

    Posted by: randy | July 11, 2008 12:33 PM
    #14

    Save the Body of Christ from the Cannibals!!

    Posted by: paximperium | July 11, 2008 12:33 PM
    #15

    Let’s get this straight. For years, Catholic priests around the world molest little boys, and all we hear from Big Bad Bill is the sound of crickets chirping.

    But sneak a host out of Mass and it’s akin to seeing the world’s rivers flow with blood.

    Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ. So yeah, OK, I can see why some of them might find it offensive that someone would refer to the host as a “cracker.”

    But to call it a hate crime? To try and deny that person a living because of what they said on their own blog?

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

    Posted by: Devin Rambo | July 11, 2008 12:34 PM
    #16

    I have just returned from the Post Office after sending a letter of support for PZ. Via air mail, after waiting thirty-five minutes in a queue whilst I was both boiling hot and missing Deal or No Deal.

    This fact alone, that the letter has been halfway around the world (from the UK to USA), means the President should take everything I say in that letter to be the word of God. (No pun intended.)

    To PZ, I advise you to hand the death threats to the police. Also, there probably really are people who now think you’re more evil than Hitler, so my other piece of advice is to take care for your own safety.

    Posted by: Jonathan Rothwell | July 11, 2008 12:34 PM
    #17

    “What’s to discuss? Catholics have finally demonstrated that they’re no less unhinged than the Danish cartoon-hating Muslims.”

    No less unhinged, just a little less murderous.

    Posted by: gdlchmst | July 11, 2008 12:34 PM
    #18

    Has anyone pointed out that it’s just a fuckin’ cracker yet? I think we need to keep that in mind.

    No, it’s the magic flesh of a supernatural being, sliced wafer-thin, and if you don’t eat it, you don’t get to go to heaven.

    Oh, and if you take it but don’t eat it, you’re kidnapping Jesus and we’ll have to hurt you.

    Posted by: Ken Cope | July 11, 2008 12:35 PM
    #19

    Jesus Christ is not a Cracker.

    Fer heaven’s sake, don’t you know, Jesus is a Cheetoh!

    Dave

    Posted by: Dave Thomas | July 11, 2008 12:35 PM
    #20

    Let’s get this straight. For years, Catholic priests around the world molest little boys, and all we hear from Big Bad Bill is the sound of crickets chirping.

    But sneak a host out of Mass and it’s akin to seeing the world’s rivers flow with blood.

    Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ. So yeah, OK, I can see why some of them might find it offensive that someone would refer to the host as a “cracker.”

    But to call it a hate crime? To try and deny that person a living because of what they said on their own blog?

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

    Posted by: Devin Rambo | July 11, 2008 12:36 PM
    #21

    “I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me. I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?”

    Nothing, until they start making death threats against those who do not shared their belief in what is sacred. And nothing until they start demanding respect for their irrational views. Once those things start happening there is a problem. And look, … those things have been happening.

    Guess there is a problem.

    Posted by: Matt Penfold | July 11, 2008 12:38 PM
    #22

    BobC #3

    “Anyone who believes there’s a magical sky fairy hiding in the clouds has got to have something very wrong with him.”

    It’s a bit of an over simplification to think that god hides in the clouds. You see, god is full of much more trickeriness that that. He exists everywhere but can’t be seen. He can make anything happen he wants to, even make us blind to him but not his works. He can even make it seem that everything has a Natural explanation and the need to explain things in human terms using mystery and magic is insane.

    Therefore, god exists.

    /sarcasm

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 12:38 PM
    #23

    I sent a letter too, along the lines of Glenn Davison’s, that I think the host desecration threat is a bad idea, but that PZ has a right to do it and shouldn’t be penalized by the university.
    That said, I hope this thing blows over soon — the kid who kicked this whole thing off was a douchebag for stealing the cracker, the (very few) Catholics who issued death threats were exponentially bigger douchebags, and this whole thing seems to be on the edge of exploding into a supernova of gratuitous asshattery.
    (Yes, it’s just a cracker, but it’s a cracker that some people find very important, and the cracker-worshipers were doing their thing in a church service where the cracker-stealer didn’t have to be, so there was no point in taking the damn thing except to piss a bunch of people off)
    I look forward to reading more scientific and pro-reason posts, which is why I love this blog in the first place.

    Posted by: vespera | July 11, 2008 12:39 PM
    #24

    Done. I even through in the fact of my own Catholicism for good measure.

    Posted by: cm | July 11, 2008 12:40 PM
    #25

    “As a professor for the University of MN, one would expect a higher degree of tolerance from Professor Meyers for groups to which he does not belong and clearly does not understand.”

    I think he understands those groups very well. They’re all morons and a large number of them are terrorists. Why don’t you criticize the death threats for a cracker instead of complaining about free speech?

    Posted by: BobC | July 11, 2008 12:40 PM
    #26

    Wow, FOUR threads? And two topping 1000? That’s incredible, man!

    Posted by: Wing Nut | July 11, 2008 12:40 PM
    #27

    its stupid to go picking a fight over a cracker. Gee whiz, it was only a cracker wasn’t PZ?

    Tell that to the thugs who tried to strongarm the cracker away from the kid who claimed he wanted to show one to his guest back at his pew. Tell that to Bill Donahue and those who have sent multiple death threats to PZ Myers.

    Posted by: Ken Cope | July 11, 2008 12:41 PM
    #28

    No, it’s the magic flesh of a supernatural being, sliced wafer-thin, and if you don’t eat it, you don’t get to go to heaven.

    ah ha!

    So it’s like Jesus Carpaccio!

    Damn, I love me a well prepared carpaccio. This one comes with a squeeze of fresh sacrilege.

    Mmmmmmmmmmm

    sacrilege.

    Posted by: Rev. BigDumbCHimp | July 11, 2008 12:41 PM
    #29

    “I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me.”

    Who said I wanted pluralism? Don’t put words in my mouth.

    “I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?”

    Everything if the belief is superstitious.

    “Someone wanting to partake of something they consider a sacrament does no harm to you.”

    They do if they demand that I hold that something sacred too.

    Posted by: gdlchmst | July 11, 2008 12:41 PM
    #30

    Andrew Sullivan gets a little over excited at times, but I believe he is one of the good guys. Sadly, his online debate with Sam Harris showed him to be incapable of recognizing the irrationality of faith and the danger it poses to the modern world.

    As an openly gay republican, he has known some measure of persecution, so it is dissappointing that his own tolerance will not extend to atheists exercising their freedom of speech. Oh well, I’m sure that some of his best friends are atheists.

    Posted by: kmurray | July 11, 2008 12:41 PM
    #31

    PZ, have you heard anything from President Bruininks yet?

    Posted by: bigjohn756 | July 11, 2008 12:42 PM
    #32

    Ack. The response page I got said the site was busy and to resubmit. My apologies for the repeated posts.

    Posted by: Devin Rambo | July 11, 2008 12:42 PM
    #33

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

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

    Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp | July 11, 2008 12:42 PM
    #34

    Here’s my email to the president of the university. I hope it helps.

    Dear President Bruininks;

    I’m writing in absolute support of Dr. Myers not because I share his views regarding religion, but because I believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution and the principle of academic freedom. He is an important voice against the malign efforts of those who want to inject religious dogma into the teaching of biological science under the guise of “intelligent design”. Even if I am right and he is wrong regarding the nature of a Communion wafer after it has been consecrated, I feel quite confident that the creator of the universe doesn’t need any defense from screaming hate-mongers claiming the name of the Church as their authority.

    Sincerely,

    Diana Powe
    Beaverton, Oregon

    Posted by: Diana Powe | July 11, 2008 12:43 PM
    #35

    3rd Page, wow, PZ, you sure know to incite a [virtual] riot! Congrats!
    PS – I email President Bruininks, for ya’ hope the support helps! (even though it’s probably needed)

    Posted by: jj | July 11, 2008 12:45 PM
    #36

    Yet more missing the point…

    I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me. I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?

    Nothing. It’s the insistence that everyone also hold it sacred because you do that is the problem.

    obviously, death threats are way out of line from the defenders of Donohue’s position,

    Keep in mind it is the death threats and attempts to force their view on others that this action is in response to.

    but I also think asking folks to palm and steal something others consider sacred to be over the line.

    Strange sense of priorities. Not eating a cracker given to you (not stolen) is an inappropriate response to death threats. Really.

    Posted by: tsg | July 11, 2008 12:46 PM
    #37

    John Lewandowski:

    Look, I would not have been in favor of desecrating the Eucharist. I can’t say that it would have bothered me greatly, but that is a consequence of an inability to understand how anybody can believe that a wafer/cracker turns in to the body of Christ, and I say that with absolute sincerity. That is, I think, part of the problem. It is so far removed from anything that I am familiar with that I cannot, as hard as I try, understand its importance.

    However, I do not believe that PZ would have gone through with it, although I could of course be wrong. Just reading that original post made it clear to me how angry PZ was that the Webster Cook had been treated so appallingly. The death threats were no doubt from a very small minority, but I visited several Catholic sites where people were advertising the young man’s email address and expressing some pretty vile opinions. This obviously cannot be applied to any more Catholics than I saw with my own eyes, but it is not terribly unreasonable to factor up based on a few hundred comments, if only to gauge a feeling.

    In some ways, PZ has given you all a terrific excuse to gloss over the appalling behavior of more than a few Catholics, though I can’t say that I am sorry for either his emotional reaction, or his wish to force people to confront what is surely the reality of the wafer not being, in any way shape or form, the body of Christ. Sometimes it takes a provocative act to shock people in to change. And by change, I would be happy if it simply reduced the sheer zealotry that I witnessed on those blogs, to be honest.

    Lest we not forget, and as far as I am aware, no Catholics have been threatened with death over this incident, and it I have noticed a definite attempt to shift the moral burden from threats of serious harm, both bodily and professionally, to the casual threat of “desecration”.

    It would have been appropriate if more than the handful of Catholics that have visited this site had expressed concern, first and foremost, for the threats to the lives of two innocent individuals. That it hasn’t been case is rather telling, in my opinion.

    Posted by: Damian | July 11, 2008 12:46 PM
    #38

    (A possibly stupid question – I haven’t read every post in the previous threads:)

    Aren’t all these many letters to the President of the university a bit of an overreaction?

    I mean, shouldn’t we expect the university to dismiss Donohue’s silly complaint any way??

    Posted by: FW | July 11, 2008 12:47 PM
    #39

    Don’t forget. The “Catholic League” is just one loud, annoying person with a fax machine: Bill Donohue.

    Posted by: Jake | July 11, 2008 12:49 PM
    #40

    Christ died for your sins.
    Christ died for your sins.
    Christ died for your sins.
    Christ died for your sins.

    After 9 years of Catholic grammar school (including kindergarten) I will never get that out of my mind. Imagine having the same five words drilled into you several times a day for 9 years. It’s child abuse and that’s why I think nuns are assholes.

    Posted by: BobC | July 11, 2008 12:49 PM
    #41

    I can see it now…

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

    And, the Catholic response:
    “I’ll cut your face like a Tijuana whore!”

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 12:50 PM
    #42

    @ #23
    the kid who kicked this whole thing off was a douchebag for stealing the cracker

    Seriously? From one of the articles about all this:

    “When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show him,” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.”

    A church leader was watching, confronted Cook and tried to recover the sacred bread. Cook said she crossed the line and that’s why he brought it home with him.

    “She came up behind me, grabbed my wrist with her right hand, with her left hand grabbed my fingers and was trying to pry them open to get the Eucharist out of my hand,” Cook said, adding she wouldn’t immediately take her hands off him despite several requests.

    Doesn’t sound to me like he’s such a douchebag. If the church hadn’t freaked the fuck out over everything he would have gone back to his seat, shown his visiting friend what the cracker was, eaten the thing, and this all could have been avoided.

    PZ’s not the only person here who needs defending. The church attacked Cook before PZ ever said a thing.

    Posted by: unicow | July 11, 2008 12:50 PM
    #43

    “I think he understands those groups very well.”

    Apparently not or he would have written about how this onslaught was about to come his way when he did his first posting. PZ clearly does not understand how important the host is to Catholics. PZ toys with intellectual concepts and ideas while Catholics build their entire lives and identities around their religion and traditions. The idea that they would react strongly to his hateful words attacking one of the very cornerstones of their faith is completely predictable. One can criticize without insulting – if one is not PZ Myers that is. He opened this can of whupass on himself.

    Posted by: Civil to Others | July 11, 2008 12:50 PM
    #44

    @12
    “professor would never be tolerated if it targeted minority groups. Professor Myers tends to target majority groups”
    What? Minorities? Catholics… I think it’s fair to say that PZ “targets” (I don’t think he’s targeting anyone, actually) irrational people, not minorities.

    Posted by: jj | July 11, 2008 12:52 PM
    #45

    I’m amazed that how this issue has got so way out of hand in the US. I don’t think this would have happened to the same degree in most other Catholic countries. If you don’t believe me, in my URL there’s a clip from the Mexican film “El crimen del Padre Amaro”, (about 3:30 into the clip) which depicts an old woman spiriting the communion wafer away and then later giving it to her cat to eat. And although clearly cheeky in for a film from a majority Catholic county, it generated none of the fuss this has. This seem all down the rabble-rousers like Bill Donoghue, who seem more akin to evangelicals than Catholics in my country.

    Posted by: Michael James | July 11, 2008 12:52 PM
    #46

    My apologies to Alexander Pope and real poets elsewhere:

    When dire Offence from an Abused Triscuit springs,
    And unleashes Bill Donohue’s bellicose whinges,
    This Verse–in support of Myers–is due,
    This ev’n the Cath’lic League may vouchsafe to view.
    Slight is the Subject, but not so the Storm that breweth,
    For the Case of the Maligned Wafer has brought threats of death.
    At such absurdity, Paul Myers raises his voice in protest thus:
    “Should theft of one give such offense, then steal
    one thousand, that we learn what they would do to us!”
    This brings us to the point at present,
    Wherein Bill Donohue demands both Discipline and Punishment.
    I say instead that Paul Myers is well within his Right
    To criticize and mock th’ ignorant hypocrisy within his sight.
    ‘Tis the legacy of th’ Enlightenment and an assuredly Secular Democracy:
    That Free Discussion and Open Debate safeguard a Free Society.
    Ideas and customs should not be held Unquestionably Virtuous
    Simply for being th’ Opinions of Mobs Religious.
    Sic semper tyrannis, Slavery, Creationism, Discrimination,
    Thus also the Complaint of Donohue must be selected for Elimination.

    This was sent by overland mail this morning to President Bruininks, Dr. Myers, and Dr. Donohue.

    Posted by: Mark | July 11, 2008 12:53 PM
    #47

    I’m sure an Internet pole can settle this issue!

    Posted by: Alexander Treseder | July 11, 2008 12:53 PM
    #48

    If these crazy catholics are so certain that one cracker is somehow different after their magic ceremony, why don’t we ask them to pick out the fleshy one from a pile of them?
    Double blind tested of course.

    Posted by: ElJay | July 11, 2008 12:53 PM
    #49

    Pssssst.. Darren of #12…
    1. That wasn’t short.
    2. The name is Myers instead of Meyers.
    3. “dehumanize” is used when you describe a human being as being less than human. As an inferior creature whose existence is a waste and whose death is encouraged. The Nazi’s did that for example in their treatment of anyone who was against them.
    What Myers has done, is not an act of dehumanization: he simply attacks ideas and does not, in any way, call for violence against people who have other ideas. He uses arguments instead of violence, unlike various of those who disagree with him.
    4. You have never seen Myers teach, so how can you tell he is a bad teacher? According to you though, he is so filled with hatred that he cannot control himself… Do I sense the first desire to dehumanize him there?
    5. How nice to mention to the President that your wife worked there. I think such a thing is either “sucking up” or, from the way the letter continues, an argument from authority (with your wife being the source of authority in this case). You honestly think that that is doing your argument any good?
    6. And a “vile writing style?” Oh, come on! Myers is an angel is his posts compared to the average user, and is definately more articulate than most creationists, whose arguments he despises for a very good reason.

    Anyway, congratulations with your letter. Despite how its polite tone, it is still failing in every way possible.

    Posted by: Arno | July 11, 2008 12:53 PM
    #50

    Here is the main body of my letter, which I will be popping in the post in a moment. My boyfriend, an English prof, will also be penning a letter regarding academic free speech. Cheers to you, PZ:

    I am writing on behalf of Professor P. Z. Myers regarding this Eucharist incident. I am an atheist and the fact is that Myers is a much-loved and well-respected member of our community. Many of us feel invisible, ignored, and downright hated. Lately, we’ve been gathering a little steam in the area of activism–sometimes it’s writing letters, supporting lobbyists on our behalf, or it comes in the form of lawsuits–as we beg for, haggle for, and demand our equal and civil rights as American citizens. The activism takes other forms as well, forms well documented in any social movement for change. While Myers’s suggestion to desecrate a Communion wafer might seem college-prankish, the fact is that it fits in with a number of attention getting stunts for respectable causes. All sorts of activists perform various antics to demand rights for blacks, women, gays, etc. This isn’t anything new and whether one agrees with its effectiveness, it’s a tactic I fully support so long as no one is hurt. This, I’m afraid, doesn’t include the hurting of one’s feelings.

    Considering the tremendous amount of prejudice and general disdain coming from the Catholic community directed towards atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers, this threat to desecrate what we all know is basically a cracker (there is no need to test these wafers following the blessing that supposedly transforms them into the magical flesh of their consumer’s Lord and Savior…it’s a flaky, crispy cracker), the idea that what Myers did is beyond the pale is laughable. He may have incited the ire of one large group, but he’s also gained even more respect and support from another, the secular community. We don’t all agree, but mine is a voice that is absolutely raised in support. Please don’t allow your University to be bullied by the likes of the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue. Yes, he’s loud, insistent, and becomes rabidly red-in-the-face at the slightest hint criticism, but he remains a bully and only that.

    We without faith take a lot of flack and have few out there with enough courage and intellect to defend us, whereas most major religions have armies. Please consider Myers a much-needed representative of a movement in desperate need of change and do what you can to ensure his position (in light of demands for his removal) and his safety (in light of the death threats he’s received).

    Posted by: IsThatLatin | July 11, 2008 12:54 PM
    #51

    ….you toucha my wahfur — I KILL YOU DEAD!!!

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 12:56 PM
    #52

    How much could you get for the body of christ on e-bay? We should kidnap several this weekend and put up for sale next week. Although, it would be hard to prove that had been blessed by a priest instead of just taking them out of box. I’m sure the catholic church has “Essence” detectors for these types of emergencies.

    Posted by: rd | July 11, 2008 12:57 PM
    #53

    “I’m amazed that how this issue has got so way out of hand in the US. I don’t think this would have happened to the same degree in most other Catholic countries. If you don’t believe me, in my URL there’s a clip from the Mexican film “El crimen del Padre Amaro”, (about 3:30 into the clip) which depicts an old woman spiriting the communion wafer away and then later giving it to her cat to eat. And although clearly cheeky in for a film from a majority Catholic county, it generated none of the fuss this has. This seem all down the rabble-rousers like Bill Donoghue, who seem more akin to evangelicals than Catholics in my country.”

    And it would seem to a woman who had trouble remembering how to behave properly even while actually in church. I am pretty sure Catholics are taught assaulting people is a sin and yet she managed to forget that fact.

    Posted by: Matt Penfold | July 11, 2008 12:58 PM
    #54

    I should have been here all along. I’m an atheist, my parents were both raised devout Roman Catholic and left the church as soon as they reached adulthood. They raised me as a free thinker, although in an extended family of three generations comprising roughly 24 others, the three of us are the only three apostates. I’m the only unababashed, unapologetic, and unrepentant atheist. (it’s funny to think they call me unrepentent…who would an atheist repent to?)

    And my cousin Mary (there is at least one Mary in three generations of our family, and in my town it dominates over other first names for women at least 1 in six) came to call on me. I said I felt like the red-headed bastard stepchild because I was the only atheist. Well then somehow she starts asking me why…

    …so I answered…

    and the memorable moment came when Mary, with that perennial smile on her face because she knows God or the virgin mother or Jesus or the Pope – I really don’t understand who they worship – had her back: “Do you really think that scientists know why the sun stays up in ths sky?”

    Now – where do you go from there but apart?

    And I told her that I think the Catholic faith is a joke, but then I don’t go run to a Catholic church when I need answers; She on the other hand thinks science is a joke, but has somehow accepted that it’s still OK to drive around in cars, have electricity in her house, talk on a cell phone, and go to a doctor and receive modern medical treatments when she gets sick. “G”od apparently has little difficulty with hypocrisy, in fact his faithful seem to be silently commanded to be immune from criticism for it.

    I think we need to start being as militant as they like to label us – if anyone religious really thinks that science is a fraud and scientists are evil, then we can watch them stand in the public square and dutifully disavow all articles in their posession that required a scientist, an engineer, or any other satanic free thinker to make or support it.

    I mean all I have to do is look at the book of Leviticus to imimediately cry shenanigans on the Bible – there are two dozen or more situations where a faithful believer is supposed to run to a priest to be washed if they are caught doing. And despite all that washing, there’s not a single chemical formula or even a family recipe for soap anywhere in the new or old testament. We had to wait until the eighteenth century until Louis Pasteur formulated the germ theory of disease, and we had to wait until almost another hundred years until Joseph Lister came up with the first primitive but relatively effective soap that made any of that washing do any good.

    I’m tired of tolerating people who have no tolerance for us – that’s bad enough. Although I’m grateful that people like you and me are no longer burned at the stake, I still don’t think it’s tolerable that these hypcrites had to create the United States of America in order to have freedom of religion, only to struggle all the while to deny freedom of thought to anyone who wasn’t religious in the same way they were.

    I want my own blog. Screw that, I want my own radio show. In ten minutes I will make Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage and Ann Coulter look like Mr Rogers meets Dr. Phil. Enough with the hypocrisy already. If they really think the Bible has all the answers, then leave them out in the desert with no clothes on, a Bible and a quart of water and let them show us where all those answers are.

    /rant

    Thank you for allowing me this forum. I’ll wait on your gracious provision of a microphone so that I can get started making a living being this indignant.

    Posted by: I’m joining your Crusade | July 11, 2008 12:58 PM
    #55

    So, trying to educate brainwashed idiots is now called “targeting a minority?”

    No wonder why these morons consider taking a goddamned cracker a hate crime.

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 1:00 PM
    #56

    “I think we need to start being as militant as they like to label us – if anyone religious really thinks that science is a fraud and scientists are evil, then we can watch them stand in the public square and dutifully disavow all articles in their posession that required a scientist, an engineer, or any other satanic free thinker to make or support it.”

    Well said.

    Posted by: gdlchmst | July 11, 2008 1:04 PM
    #57

    “I eat saviors like you for lunch.”

    Posted by: Badjuggler | July 11, 2008 1:05 PM
    #58

    So, trying to educate brainwashed idiots is now called “targeting a minority?”

    Clearly, the author of post #12 is unblemished by numeracy.

    Posted by: Ken Cope | July 11, 2008 1:05 PM
    #59

    #56

    Impossible. They can’t give back their vaccinations.

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:06 PM
    #60

    ….you toucha my wahfur — I KILL YOU DEAD!!!

    Posted by: Alex

    I’m gonna cutcha.

    I’m gonna cutcha so bad, you’re gonna wish I didn’t cutcha so bad.

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 1:06 PM
    #61

    How can someone not believe in evolution and still get vaccinations?

    Posted by: sex_target | July 11, 2008 1:07 PM
    #62

    “Are you threatening me?”
    – Beavis

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:07 PM
    #63

    Kudos to Mark at #46 for referencing “The Rape of the Lock” by Alexander [ironic snicker] “Pope.” Well done.

    Posted by: Ken Cope | July 11, 2008 1:08 PM
    #64

    It’s a bit of an over simplification to think that god hides in the clouds. You see, god is full of much more trickeriness that that. He exists everywhere but can’t be seen.

    When I was a little boy I knew that Jesus lived in our bathroom. Every morning my father would beat on the bathroom door and yell “Christ, are you still in there?”

    Posted by: JoJo | July 11, 2008 1:08 PM
    #65

    So if these crackers are the body of Christ, doesn’t that mean these Catholic League folks are cannibals? Spiriting the wafer out of the Catholic church’s sacrificial grounds was likely the only way to prevent the desecration of Jesus by those, dare I say, blasphemous savages.

    Posted by: Guy Kramer | July 11, 2008 1:09 PM
    #66

    A diamond is just a rock. Short of its practical uses in engineering etc, its value is largely a matter of misguided stupidity and tradition. It’s just a rock.

    Just throwing it out there.

    Posted by: AndyD | July 11, 2008 1:09 PM
    #67

    @ Tim Miller

    PZ – I have to disagree with your stance on this, as far as your request for wafers to be desecrated. You would consider somebody burning books to be essentially desecrating science (and reality) – this is no different to them.

    It’s very different (and interesting how all the apologists for the religionists keep coming up with rubbish analogies).

    Book burners are generally trying to prevent anyone else from being able to read the book in their area or indeed anywhere ever, ie may even intend to wipe it out of existence (as per the Library of Alexandria). In contrast, no-one is preventing the magic cookie people from eating their own magic cookies or from making more magic cookies indefinitely via their magic ritual of magic cookie making. It’s not as though they believe their Jesus-bits to be a limited resource!

    On the rare occasions when someone burns a single book (or flag) as a protest, rather than trying to incite others to do the same and wipe them all out, no-one in the rational reality-based community would make a fuss about it. We might still laugh at the protester of course if their protest was an ill-founded one.

    Posted by: SEF | July 11, 2008 1:10 PM
    #68

    “How can someone not believe in evolution and still get vaccinations?”

    If they can rationalize sending death threats because someone thinks a cracker is only a cracker, then it’s easy.

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:10 PM
    #69

    Dear Mr. Bruininks:

    I am writing to you to express support for Professor P.Z. Myers, in light of the recent protest against his blog “Pharyngula,” by Mr. Bill Donohue and the Catholic League. Mr. Donohue may be characterized as a ‘professional victim,’ who keeps his name and that of his organization in front of the press by means of howling protest and threatened boycotts every time some public figure criticizes the doctrines, traditions, or actions of his church. It is not clear whether he is perpetually, deeply, offended, or if he is merely cynically exploiting the emotions of many people for personal aggrandizement. In any case, Mr. Donohue seems to need constant reminding that the 1st Amendment does not guarantee him, or anyone, freedom from being offended. (Some of us find him pretty offensive, but are not trying to limit his speech.) It also seems, despite his loud claims to be part of the One True Church, that he doesn’t know how to “turn the other cheek.”

    Professor Myers’ writings, while occasionally a bit bombastic, are always well-reasoned and compelling, and his enthusiasm for science in general and biology in particular provide inspiration for scientists, students, and amateurs across the US and the world. Any disciplinary or censorious action by the university would merely offend and harm a different group in order to placate the Catholic League. That would be unfair, don’t you think?

    Posted by: Mikey | July 11, 2008 1:11 PM
    #70

    I’m reminded of George Carlin’s line: God is the all-powerful, all-knowing Supreme Being who created everything in the universe, and if you don’t do what he wants he’ll torture you for eternity. Why? Because he loves you!

    Posted by: Son of Strom | July 11, 2008 1:11 PM
    #71

    When I was a little boy I knew that Jesus lived in our bathroom. Every morning my father would beat on the bathroom door and yell “Christ, are you still in there?”

    Posted by: JoJo

    I’ve heard it before, but I still laughed enough to almost tinkle a little.

    Still, for what it’s worth, I think everyone knows Jesus is in prison.

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 1:11 PM
    #72

    “Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ.”

    So, it would seem that this could be proven or unproven with a simple DNA test on the wafer, once consecrated.

    Posted by: infidel57 | July 11, 2008 1:12 PM
    #73

    PZ, glad to see you haven’t been struck by lightning or buried by frogs yet.

    Bill said “I’m not a religious whacko” “I do attend church”

    Bill, sorry, but if you attend church, then you are a religious wacko

    Anyone who goes to church is a loooooot closer to a religious whacko than they are to a sane person who doesn’t go.

    Posted by: Notorious P.A.T. | July 11, 2008 1:12 PM
    #74

    @43:

    One can criticize without insulting

    Ok, let’s give that a go:

    The notion that a particular cracker, when spoken to by a man dressed in flowing robes, physically becomes the flesh of another man who, if he existed at all, died almost 2000 years ago, is so ridiculous as to be almost beyond words. Those who believe this to be true are deluded, in the same way that people who believe that Elvis is alive are deluded. Moreover, the notion that removing a cracker, which has been freely given, from a certain building and doing whatever one wants with that cracker, is deserving of death threats, is more than ridiculous; it is batshit crazy stupid, not to mention scary and blatantly illegal.

    Posted by: Mike | July 11, 2008 1:12 PM
    #75

    What I notice about the Christian fundies is just how thin-skinned and insecure they are. A guy in Minnesota writes a blog post, and they go batshit ballistic. If they were truly comfortable in their own beliefs, they would just shrug and carry on.

    Posted by: global yokel | July 11, 2008 1:13 PM
    #76

    #12 is basically deception from start to finish.

    But then, anyone who can’t tell the difference between threats to a persons life and lively-hood, and the criticism of ideas, is hardly likely to be morally grounded, are they?

    Posted by: Damian | July 11, 2008 1:13 PM
    #77

    It appears the series of tubes is getting backed up. Maybe time to contact the local pipe fitters union and install some bigger tubes. ;)

    Posted by: Ben | July 11, 2008 1:13 PM
    #78

    “Impossible. They can’t give back their vaccinations.”

    We’ll let that one slide. But they won’t be getting any of our universal health care.

    Posted by: gdlchmst | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM
    #79

    Well mine its here…

    To President Robert Bruinink

    Im a deeply concerned foreign what happens to be a regular of the science blog Pharyngula and Biologist
    undergrad student on PUCV in the country of Chile. Im sure my voice would not have as much weight for
    you as one of a US citizen, but since a fine scientist has been threatened even to death by so
    called Christians, its my moral duty to make a call for reason.
    I know you all live in a country clouded by religious fear, where the people who
    votes and therefore elect their representants are sure than the rapture its going
    to happen in their lifetimes. But you have a serious responsability as a the president
    of the University of Minessota to make a clear statement based on reason alone and not pressure
    from religious fanatics who values more the integrity of a cracker than a human life and career.
    Im unsure if you are even to read this, but i have a responsabily as a scientist to be and a
    moral human being for make a effort no matter how little or useless its could be on the end,
    to make reason prevalue over misticism, prejudice and ignrorancy.

    Name: Miguel Angel Opazo Arancibia
    Nationality: Chilean
    College: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso
    College ID: 520506-9

    Posted by: Lord Zero | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM
    #80

    @ alex-

    Good point. I guess we shouldn’t expect rational behavior out of these folks.

    Funny thing is, I don’t think they are a majority. In my little bubble of people, it seems like there are a lot more religious but not really folks- they claim it, say they are in that group, but don’t really follow it (ie, still fuck people they aren’t married to and generally act like a normal person). This confuses me b/c I always thought that if I really believed this bullshit, wouldn’t I follow the rules if the end result could be my eternal salvation?

    Posted by: sex_target | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM
    #81

    “…magic cookie people…”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    That’s a keeper.

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM
    #82

    I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?

    Isn’t that what started this in the first place – a student “holding” something “sacred”?

    In the meantime, one of the honest priests has written a book about how the molestations in the church could have happened and what should still be done to prevent them, and they’ve come down hard on him, too. Well, I guess I see what these uptight Catholics hold as not sacred – i.e., people.

    I’d rather desecrate symbols, thank you.

    Posted by: Kristine | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM
    #83

    For cryin’ out loud, with all this hate, why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    Whats that? You don’t believe in violence? BS!

    Whats that? You believe in freedom of religion? Ya.. BS

    Whats that? You don’t believe in the right to bear arms?
    Well, if you are going to keep this crap up, you might want to rethink this one. Most Christians believe in the right to bear arms, and if you removed it from the constitution, that won’t change their minds one bit. And most Christians are armed. So, when do you want to start a war against Christians?

    That hate coming from you is the same as from the Christians.

    So, start a war against the Christians.

    I bet you don’t have the guts!

    Posted by: Starbuck | July 11, 2008 1:16 PM
    #84

    So, it would seem that this could be proven or unproven with a simple DNA test on the wafer, once consecrated.

    Posted by: infidel57

    It would be a fun test, wouldn’t it? Imagine the looks on their faces to learn that Jesus has the DNA of dried instant pancake batter.

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 1:16 PM
    #85

    Anyone who has suggested that PZ needs to “respect” their religious tradition and never, ever, ever say anything against it is the worst, most disgusting kind hypocrite.

    You people ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You scream and cry and plead persecution, all the while doing everything you can to turn atheism into a crime. You are so blinded by your fear and so busy trying to buy your way into some promised eternal paradise you’re unable to see just how ugly and hateful you really are.

    Well, I’m not going to mince words here: You can kiss my atheist ass. Where the hell do you get off telling PZ or anyone that they are required to respect anything about your traditions when you vilify them, hate them without even understanding what their beliefs are, profess the idea that they are less than human and do everything possible to make them uncomfortable as soon as you find out they don’t believe the same things you do. You call them a murderer, a thief, a liar… and believe you are justified in doing so despite the fact that they have done none of those things… but if they call your host a cracker they need to be fired from their job, have their name dragged through the mud and get death threats.

    If you ever have the courage to examine your behavior and compare it to the examples set in your holy book, I hope your despondence over your complete failure as a christian doesn’t drive you even further down the path of insanity.

    Posted by: Kate | July 11, 2008 1:17 PM
    #86

    “PZ toys with intellectual concepts and ideas while Catholics build their entire lives and identities around their religion and traditions.”

    If someone wants to build their life around a belief in a magic cracker then that’s THEIR fucking problem. They can kindly leave us sane people the fuck out of their delusion.

    Posted by: Boosterz | July 11, 2008 1:18 PM
    #87

    Sigh, what a load of bullshit.

    Posted by: Not now | July 11, 2008 1:19 PM
    #88

    @72-

    But I’m sure they’d use the old “science can’t be used to disprove the supernatural” or some bullshit on you which would both satisfy their stupid beliefs and contradict all their other ones.

    Posted by: sex_target | July 11, 2008 1:19 PM
    #89

    For cryin’ out loud, with all this hate, why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    You’ll be able to read better if you wipe the spittle flecks off your monitor, tough guy.

    Posted by: wÒÓ† | July 11, 2008 1:20 PM
    #90

    #75

    “What I notice about the Christian fundies is just how thin-skinned and insecure they are.”

    “There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not real, he becomes furious when they are disputed.” [Bertrand Russell, “Human Society in Ethics and Politics”]

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:20 PM
    #91

    Dear Mr. Myers, I sent an email to the president for ya. I just want to say I support you totally and think you’re awesome. You’re intelligent, nice, and articulate. I appreciate your blog and enjoy it very much.

    Thank you so much sir.

    -John

    Posted by: John Morris | July 11, 2008 1:21 PM
    #92

    A diamond is just a rock. Short of its practical uses in engineering etc, its value is largely a matter of misguided stupidity and tradition. It’s just a rock.

    Just throwing it out there.

    I completely agree. And if it weren’t for the fact that so many other people value it, it wouldn’t be worth anything to me either. Just like gold, or rare stamps, or baseball cards, (and money, for that matter) or any number of other things that are “valuable”. Value is purely subjective. But just because a large number of people value a particular object doesn’t mean I should also.

    If, given a diamond, I wouldn’t throw it away because somebody else will give me money for it. But I won’t spend my money on one.

    Posted by: tsg | July 11, 2008 1:23 PM
    #93

    I wonder who would be offended if I put my Jesus cracker in a toaster?

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 1:24 PM
    #94

    …you toucha my dymon – I KILL YOU DEAD!!

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:25 PM
    #95

    Well, if you are going to keep this crap up, you might want to rethink this one. Most Christians believe in the right to bear arms, and if you removed it from the constitution, that won’t change their minds one bit. And most Christians are armed. So, when do you want to start a war against Christians?

    Again, Starbuck, you never fail to disappoint. Thanks for confirming that ‘most Christians’ fail to follow the most basic of Christ’s teachings.

    Well done. I’m glad you’re on our side.

    Posted by: Brownian, OM | July 11, 2008 1:26 PM
    #96

    Alex,

    I have always found that people argue articulately when they are right and get angry when they are wrong or caught in a lie they don’t want to admit.

    I think these Catholics “doth protest too much” because they know their position is ridiculous.

    Posted by: Rob | July 11, 2008 1:26 PM
    #97

    I’d just like to apologize for my previous comment. I called my local church and they explained that Chex Mix does NOT count as Jesus. So, never mind.

    *gesture* Bless this Chex Mix.
    Now eat up. There are children in Israel who have no messiah to eat at all.

    Posted by: aiabx | July 11, 2008 1:27 PM
    #98

    Alright Starbuck. Let’s have a shootout. I’ll rely on science and engineering to build my gun. You offer some incantations to your deity to deliver from the heavens your gun. Let’s see who has a gun.

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:28 PM
    #99

    Way off topic, unless you like flounder with your crackers, but I just had to tell somebody about these new transitional fossils discovered in museum collections:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-fish_eyesjul10,0,2859782.story

    Scientia et Fermentum!

    Posted by: Ediacaran, FCD, Delta Pi Gamma | July 11, 2008 1:29 PM
    #100

    For cryin’ out loud, with all this hate, why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    Whats that? You don’t believe in violence? BS!

    Whats that? You believe in freedom of religion? Ya.. BS

    Whats that? You don’t believe in the right to bear arms?
    Well, if you are going to keep this crap up, you might want to rethink this one. Most Christians believe in the right to bear arms, and if you removed it from the constitution, that won’t change their minds one bit. And most Christians are armed. So, when do you want to start a war against Christians?

    That hate coming from you is the same as from the Christians.

    So, start a war against the Christians.

    I bet you don’t have the guts!

    Starbuck, ‘

    You’re not the brightest bulb on the tree are you?

    How do you get from being an atheist critical of idiot religious people’s actions to being against the right to bear arms? I’m sure some here are but I personally own firearms.

    Difference is I don’t threaten people with violence. You on the other hand have no problems waving it around.

    Your rants show so little thought or ability to reason they are laughable.

    Really Starbuck.

    WE ARE LAUGHING AT YOU

    Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp | July 11, 2008 1:30 PM
    #101

    The closing ‘grafs from my dead-tree message to Pres. Bruininks:

    I have no doubt that others in the University of Minnesota disagree vehemently with Prof. Myers’s statements, and am quite confident that he accepts their right to criticize him without any expectation that the administration should muzzle them for expressing themselves. That is as it should be, and UM would do itself proud by supporting the rights of all its faculty to take controversial stands.

    For the last few years, I have sadly watched the University of Florida, led by a recent Bush appointee, diminish itself through a steady attrition of talented faculty seeking greener pastures free from petty politically-driven interference by myopic administrators and legislators. You might do quite well by directing your academic talent scouts and head-hunters to our state; it would be a disservice to your own institution to emulate our deteriorating standards.

    Posted by: Pierce R. Butler | July 11, 2008 1:31 PM

  88. Thinker says

    I was happy to contribute:

    Dear Dr. Bruininks,

    I would like to voice my support of Professor PZ Myers of your University against those who seek to stifle his rights to freely express his thoughts on the ideas of others.

    I am certain that you, as the leader of an academic institution, are fully aware of how vital those rights are to the pursuit of knowledge, and also that the appropriate response to disagreeing with someone is an open debate of their ideas instead of attempts to curtail their speech or threatening them in any way.

    Professor Myers is an example of how the academic world can develop new ways to enter into a dialog with the community and share the results of science far beyond their campus, or indeed their country, something that has given me great enjoyment. In the best sense of the expression, he has put the University of Minnesota on the world map.

    I ask you to give him your active support in this matter.

    Sincerely,

    (Actual Name, home town and country)

  89. 1 says

    ent, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal

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    « Friday Cephalopod: Foreplay | Main
    Internet getting full, here’s a new hole to dump comments into

    Category: Administrative
    Posted on: July 11, 2008 12:16 PM, by PZ Myers

    Aaargh, you keep filling up threads! I’m closing this one, you can continue the discussion here, if necessary.

    ShareThis

    Comments
    #1

    As promised, I just hand-delivered my letter to Pres. Bruininks’ office. Text follows:

    ————————-

    Dear President Bruininks,

    I have read with great interest the story of University of Minnesota, Morris Professor P.Z. Myers being criticized by the Catholic League for his ‘threats’ against an inanimate disk of carbohydrates. The sheer audacity of the Catholic League to try and force the University of Minnesota to censor or censure a respected educator and researcher for comments made on a non-University website is astounding.

    I trust that the University will do the right thing and not bow to the demands of the extremist ideology perpetrated by the Catholic League. In addition, I hope that the link to Dr. Myers webpage is restored to the UMM biology webpage, joining the scores of other faculty and students at universities across the country who have links to their personal websites from their departmental pages.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Asad [last name]

    Posted by: asad | July 11, 2008 12:23 PM
    #2

    I’M EATING JESUS RIGHT NOW

    Posted by: Rebecca Watson | July 11, 2008 12:24 PM
    #3

    I was writing this on the other thread at the same time the thread was being closed.

    Bill said “I’m not a religious whacko” “I do attend church”

    Bill, sorry, but if you attend church, then you are a religious wacko, no matter how moderate you might think you are. Anyone who believes there’s a magical sky fairy hiding in the clouds has got to have something very wrong with him.

    Posted by: BobC | July 11, 2008 12:26 PM
    #4

    I’d just like to apologize for my previous comment. I called my local church and they explained that Chex Mix does NOT count as Jesus. So, never mind.

    Posted by: Rebecca Watson | July 11, 2008 12:26 PM
    #5

    What’s to discuss? Catholics have finally demonstrated that they’re no less unhinged than the Danish cartoon-hating Muslims.

    Perhaps we’ll live to see the day when an actor is accused of supporting terrorism because they wore a piece of clothing resembling a monk’s robe on an advertisement.

    Posted by: Brownian, OM | July 11, 2008 12:27 PM
    #6

    Andrew Sullivan’s remark copied here, since, unless I am mistaken, he doesn’t allow comments on his blog:

    It is one thing to engage in free, if disrespectful, debate. It is another to repeatedly assault and ridicule and abuse something that is deeply sacred to a great many people. Calling the Holy Eucharist a “goddamned cracker” isn’t about free speech; it’s really about some baseline civility. Myers’ rant is the rant of an anti-Catholic bigot. And atheists and agnostics can be bigots too.

    Engaging loudly and publicly in the victimless crime of blaspheme is not bigotry, it’s a responsibility. Andrew Sullivan conveniently avoids explaining how ridiculing the beliefs and the icons of all religions makes one a bigot towards those who practice a specific religion. I suspect trawling through Sullivan’s posts over the last few years would make it much easier to make the case that Sullivan is an anti-Muslim bigot, but I haven’t got the stomach for it.

    Posted by: Ken Cope | July 11, 2008 12:28 PM
    #7

    “I hope that the link to Dr. Myers webpage is restored to the UMM biology webpage”

    Me too and I requested that in my email.

    Posted by: BobC | July 11, 2008 12:30 PM
    #8

    Has anyone pointed out that it’s just a fuckin’ cracker yet? I think we need to keep that in mind.

    Posted by: IasonOuabache | July 11, 2008 12:31 PM
    #9

    Let’s get this straight. For years, Catholic priests around the world molest little boys, and all we hear from Big Bad Bill is the sound of crickets chirping.

    But sneak a host out of Mass and it’s akin to seeing the world’s rivers flow with blood.

    Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ. So yeah, OK, I can see why some of them might find it offensive that someone would refer to the host as a “cracker.”

    But to call it a hate crime? To try and deny that person a living because of what they said on their own blog?

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

    Posted by: Devin Rambo | July 11, 2008 12:32 PM
    #10

    For what it’s worth, here’s what I sent off to President Bruininks this morning. (I started off saying I’d be brief and then waffled on for a bit so I lost points on that I’m afraid.

    “Dear President Bruininks,

    I’ll keep this brief and to the point as I’m sure you currently have more than enough verbose mail to deal with: I have just learned that there is a campaign underway to oust Professor Myers from his position at the university. I am appalled that he should be so ill-treated and I am very keen to add my name to the list of people that I’m sure will have rushed to come out in his support.

    I find I can hardly overstate the value that Pharyngula has to me and to a great many other people as well. I read the article that has so offended the Catholic community, when it was first posted, and found it to be typically intelligent, amusing and well observed and am utterly horrified at the idea that the Professor could be harmed in any way as a result of it.

    Professor Myers is a great ambassador for your institution and you should be deeply proud to count him among your staff. He does you great credit. Please do not allow this backlash to erode our precious values of freedom of speech and freedom of thought. I fear greatly for a world that punishes its stars for shining too brightly and I fear greatly for a world that fights against open and honest discussion. That is the path to intellectual and moral bankruptcy and a nightmarish future.

    Thank you for your time. I trust this message is just one among a very many in strong support of Professor Myers. It’s a great shame that something so noble should result in such unnecessary difficulty but I hope that it is as obvious to you as it is to me that the person responsible for this problem is not the Professor.

    Yours Faithfully,

    David (last name deleted)”

    Posted by: David_James | July 11, 2008 12:32 PM
    #11

    “Transubstantiated crackers.” Great idea for the name of a new rock group.

    Posted by: dale | July 11, 2008 12:33 PM
    #12

    Good morning President Bruininks –

    PZ Meyers, an associate professor on the Morris campus, has recently inflamed Catholics with his most recent, curse filled, hateful blog entry criticism of their religion, practices, and beliefs. He has come under attack from many Catholics for this recent posting on his blog Pharyngula, and he has posted your email address so regular readers like myself can email you our opinions of his activities.

    His hope is that supporters will flood your email with well reasoned defenses of his writings and activities. I write to share that I find his approach to criticism to embody everything that is wrong and divisive about supposed intellectual superiority. I’m quite certain you’ve been alerted to the profane, attacking nature of his blog entries in the past. Rather than open up lines of discussion for parties who disagree to engage one another respectfully, he coarsely targets groups and individuals for attack and rallies like minded posters to dehumanize those with different views and practices in the most vile writing style possible.

    As a professor for the University of MN, one would expect a higher degree of tolerance from Professor Meyers for groups to which he does not belong and clearly does not understand. My wife both attended the University of MN Morris and worked in your office for a few years in your last assignment prior to taking the Presidency of the University. Her view of campus policy is that such behavior from a student, group, or professor would never be tolerated if it targeted minority groups. Professor Myers tends to target majority groups, and it seems that his constant, malicious attacks go unchecked and unaddressed. Surely a man of such hate and bitterness does not compartmentalize these views and feelings when he enters a classroom or has interaction with students. Is this representative of the open-minded pursuit-of-truth-and-conflicting-ideas environment that the University wishes to cultivate?

    All the Best
    Darren Libscomb

    Posted by: Civil to Others | July 11, 2008 12:33 PM
    #13

    and you all think your are more enlightened?

    I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me. I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?

    obviously, death threats are way out of line from the defenders of Donohue’s position, but I also think asking folks to palm and steal something others consider sacred to be over the line. you want to search for problems to solve, go ahead hold churches (and educational institutions) accountable for abuse, hold them accountable for wanting to start wars, but its stupid to go picking a fight over a cracker. Gee whiz, it was only a cracker wasn’t PZ? why did the original guy want to take one to begin with? why do you all want to start a collection? Someone wanting to partake of something they consider a sacrament does no harm to you.

    Posted by: randy | July 11, 2008 12:33 PM
    #14

    Save the Body of Christ from the Cannibals!!

    Posted by: paximperium | July 11, 2008 12:33 PM
    #15

    Let’s get this straight. For years, Catholic priests around the world molest little boys, and all we hear from Big Bad Bill is the sound of crickets chirping.

    But sneak a host out of Mass and it’s akin to seeing the world’s rivers flow with blood.

    Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ. So yeah, OK, I can see why some of them might find it offensive that someone would refer to the host as a “cracker.”

    But to call it a hate crime? To try and deny that person a living because of what they said on their own blog?

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

    Posted by: Devin Rambo | July 11, 2008 12:34 PM
    #16

    I have just returned from the Post Office after sending a letter of support for PZ. Via air mail, after waiting thirty-five minutes in a queue whilst I was both boiling hot and missing Deal or No Deal.

    This fact alone, that the letter has been halfway around the world (from the UK to USA), means the President should take everything I say in that letter to be the word of God. (No pun intended.)

    To PZ, I advise you to hand the death threats to the police. Also, there probably really are people who now think you’re more evil than Hitler, so my other piece of advice is to take care for your own safety.

    Posted by: Jonathan Rothwell | July 11, 2008 12:34 PM
    #17

    “What’s to discuss? Catholics have finally demonstrated that they’re no less unhinged than the Danish cartoon-hating Muslims.”

    No less unhinged, just a little less murderous.

    Posted by: gdlchmst | July 11, 2008 12:34 PM
    #18

    Has anyone pointed out that it’s just a fuckin’ cracker yet? I think we need to keep that in mind.

    No, it’s the magic flesh of a supernatural being, sliced wafer-thin, and if you don’t eat it, you don’t get to go to heaven.

    Oh, and if you take it but don’t eat it, you’re kidnapping Jesus and we’ll have to hurt you.

    Posted by: Ken Cope | July 11, 2008 12:35 PM
    #19

    Jesus Christ is not a Cracker.

    Fer heaven’s sake, don’t you know, Jesus is a Cheetoh!

    Dave

    Posted by: Dave Thomas | July 11, 2008 12:35 PM
    #20

    Let’s get this straight. For years, Catholic priests around the world molest little boys, and all we hear from Big Bad Bill is the sound of crickets chirping.

    But sneak a host out of Mass and it’s akin to seeing the world’s rivers flow with blood.

    Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ. So yeah, OK, I can see why some of them might find it offensive that someone would refer to the host as a “cracker.”

    But to call it a hate crime? To try and deny that person a living because of what they said on their own blog?

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

    Posted by: Devin Rambo | July 11, 2008 12:36 PM
    #21

    “I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me. I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?”

    Nothing, until they start making death threats against those who do not shared their belief in what is sacred. And nothing until they start demanding respect for their irrational views. Once those things start happening there is a problem. And look, … those things have been happening.

    Guess there is a problem.

    Posted by: Matt Penfold | July 11, 2008 12:38 PM
    #22

    BobC #3

    “Anyone who believes there’s a magical sky fairy hiding in the clouds has got to have something very wrong with him.”

    It’s a bit of an over simplification to think that god hides in the clouds. You see, god is full of much more trickeriness that that. He exists everywhere but can’t be seen. He can make anything happen he wants to, even make us blind to him but not his works. He can even make it seem that everything has a Natural explanation and the need to explain things in human terms using mystery and magic is insane.

    Therefore, god exists.

    /sarcasm

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 12:38 PM
    #23

    I sent a letter too, along the lines of Glenn Davison’s, that I think the host desecration threat is a bad idea, but that PZ has a right to do it and shouldn’t be penalized by the university.
    That said, I hope this thing blows over soon — the kid who kicked this whole thing off was a douchebag for stealing the cracker, the (very few) Catholics who issued death threats were exponentially bigger douchebags, and this whole thing seems to be on the edge of exploding into a supernova of gratuitous asshattery.
    (Yes, it’s just a cracker, but it’s a cracker that some people find very important, and the cracker-worshipers were doing their thing in a church service where the cracker-stealer didn’t have to be, so there was no point in taking the damn thing except to piss a bunch of people off)
    I look forward to reading more scientific and pro-reason posts, which is why I love this blog in the first place.

    Posted by: vespera | July 11, 2008 12:39 PM
    #24

    Done. I even through in the fact of my own Catholicism for good measure.

    Posted by: cm | July 11, 2008 12:40 PM
    #25

    “As a professor for the University of MN, one would expect a higher degree of tolerance from Professor Meyers for groups to which he does not belong and clearly does not understand.”

    I think he understands those groups very well. They’re all morons and a large number of them are terrorists. Why don’t you criticize the death threats for a cracker instead of complaining about free speech?

    Posted by: BobC | July 11, 2008 12:40 PM
    #26

    Wow, FOUR threads? And two topping 1000? That’s incredible, man!

    Posted by: Wing Nut | July 11, 2008 12:40 PM
    #27

    its stupid to go picking a fight over a cracker. Gee whiz, it was only a cracker wasn’t PZ?

    Tell that to the thugs who tried to strongarm the cracker away from the kid who claimed he wanted to show one to his guest back at his pew. Tell that to Bill Donahue and those who have sent multiple death threats to PZ Myers.

    Posted by: Ken Cope | July 11, 2008 12:41 PM
    #28

    No, it’s the magic flesh of a supernatural being, sliced wafer-thin, and if you don’t eat it, you don’t get to go to heaven.

    ah ha!

    So it’s like Jesus Carpaccio!

    Damn, I love me a well prepared carpaccio. This one comes with a squeeze of fresh sacrilege.

    Mmmmmmmmmmm

    sacrilege.

    Posted by: Rev. BigDumbCHimp | July 11, 2008 12:41 PM
    #29

    “I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me.”

    Who said I wanted pluralism? Don’t put words in my mouth.

    “I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?”

    Everything if the belief is superstitious.

    “Someone wanting to partake of something they consider a sacrament does no harm to you.”

    They do if they demand that I hold that something sacred too.

    Posted by: gdlchmst | July 11, 2008 12:41 PM
    #30

    Andrew Sullivan gets a little over excited at times, but I believe he is one of the good guys. Sadly, his online debate with Sam Harris showed him to be incapable of recognizing the irrationality of faith and the danger it poses to the modern world.

    As an openly gay republican, he has known some measure of persecution, so it is dissappointing that his own tolerance will not extend to atheists exercising their freedom of speech. Oh well, I’m sure that some of his best friends are atheists.

    Posted by: kmurray | July 11, 2008 12:41 PM
    #31

    PZ, have you heard anything from President Bruininks yet?

    Posted by: bigjohn756 | July 11, 2008 12:42 PM
    #32

    Ack. The response page I got said the site was busy and to resubmit. My apologies for the repeated posts.

    Posted by: Devin Rambo | July 11, 2008 12:42 PM
    #33

    The Catholic League is offended. Fine. Duly noted. But by living in a society where we revere freedom of speech, being offended is one of the chances you take. The hyperventilating throngs at The Catholic League need to get the hell over it.

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

    Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp | July 11, 2008 12:42 PM
    #34

    Here’s my email to the president of the university. I hope it helps.

    Dear President Bruininks;

    I’m writing in absolute support of Dr. Myers not because I share his views regarding religion, but because I believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution and the principle of academic freedom. He is an important voice against the malign efforts of those who want to inject religious dogma into the teaching of biological science under the guise of “intelligent design”. Even if I am right and he is wrong regarding the nature of a Communion wafer after it has been consecrated, I feel quite confident that the creator of the universe doesn’t need any defense from screaming hate-mongers claiming the name of the Church as their authority.

    Sincerely,

    Diana Powe
    Beaverton, Oregon

    Posted by: Diana Powe | July 11, 2008 12:43 PM
    #35

    3rd Page, wow, PZ, you sure know to incite a [virtual] riot! Congrats!
    PS – I email President Bruininks, for ya’ hope the support helps! (even though it’s probably needed)

    Posted by: jj | July 11, 2008 12:45 PM
    #36

    Yet more missing the point…

    I guess pluralism means its ok to be pluralistic as long as everyone agrees with me. I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?

    Nothing. It’s the insistence that everyone also hold it sacred because you do that is the problem.

    obviously, death threats are way out of line from the defenders of Donohue’s position,

    Keep in mind it is the death threats and attempts to force their view on others that this action is in response to.

    but I also think asking folks to palm and steal something others consider sacred to be over the line.

    Strange sense of priorities. Not eating a cracker given to you (not stolen) is an inappropriate response to death threats. Really.

    Posted by: tsg | July 11, 2008 12:46 PM
    #37

    John Lewandowski:

    Look, I would not have been in favor of desecrating the Eucharist. I can’t say that it would have bothered me greatly, but that is a consequence of an inability to understand how anybody can believe that a wafer/cracker turns in to the body of Christ, and I say that with absolute sincerity. That is, I think, part of the problem. It is so far removed from anything that I am familiar with that I cannot, as hard as I try, understand its importance.

    However, I do not believe that PZ would have gone through with it, although I could of course be wrong. Just reading that original post made it clear to me how angry PZ was that the Webster Cook had been treated so appallingly. The death threats were no doubt from a very small minority, but I visited several Catholic sites where people were advertising the young man’s email address and expressing some pretty vile opinions. This obviously cannot be applied to any more Catholics than I saw with my own eyes, but it is not terribly unreasonable to factor up based on a few hundred comments, if only to gauge a feeling.

    In some ways, PZ has given you all a terrific excuse to gloss over the appalling behavior of more than a few Catholics, though I can’t say that I am sorry for either his emotional reaction, or his wish to force people to confront what is surely the reality of the wafer not being, in any way shape or form, the body of Christ. Sometimes it takes a provocative act to shock people in to change. And by change, I would be happy if it simply reduced the sheer zealotry that I witnessed on those blogs, to be honest.

    Lest we not forget, and as far as I am aware, no Catholics have been threatened with death over this incident, and it I have noticed a definite attempt to shift the moral burden from threats of serious harm, both bodily and professionally, to the casual threat of “desecration”.

    It would have been appropriate if more than the handful of Catholics that have visited this site had expressed concern, first and foremost, for the threats to the lives of two innocent individuals. That it hasn’t been case is rather telling, in my opinion.

    Posted by: Damian | July 11, 2008 12:46 PM
    #38

    (A possibly stupid question – I haven’t read every post in the previous threads:)

    Aren’t all these many letters to the President of the university a bit of an overreaction?

    I mean, shouldn’t we expect the university to dismiss Donohue’s silly complaint any way??

    Posted by: FW | July 11, 2008 12:47 PM
    #39

    Don’t forget. The “Catholic League” is just one loud, annoying person with a fax machine: Bill Donohue.

    Posted by: Jake | July 11, 2008 12:49 PM
    #40

    Christ died for your sins.
    Christ died for your sins.
    Christ died for your sins.
    Christ died for your sins.

    After 9 years of Catholic grammar school (including kindergarten) I will never get that out of my mind. Imagine having the same five words drilled into you several times a day for 9 years. It’s child abuse and that’s why I think nuns are assholes.

    Posted by: BobC | July 11, 2008 12:49 PM
    #41

    I can see it now…

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

    And, the Catholic response:
    “I’ll cut your face like a Tijuana whore!”

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 12:50 PM
    #42

    @ #23
    the kid who kicked this whole thing off was a douchebag for stealing the cracker

    Seriously? From one of the articles about all this:

    “When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show him,” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.”

    A church leader was watching, confronted Cook and tried to recover the sacred bread. Cook said she crossed the line and that’s why he brought it home with him.

    “She came up behind me, grabbed my wrist with her right hand, with her left hand grabbed my fingers and was trying to pry them open to get the Eucharist out of my hand,” Cook said, adding she wouldn’t immediately take her hands off him despite several requests.

    Doesn’t sound to me like he’s such a douchebag. If the church hadn’t freaked the fuck out over everything he would have gone back to his seat, shown his visiting friend what the cracker was, eaten the thing, and this all could have been avoided.

    PZ’s not the only person here who needs defending. The church attacked Cook before PZ ever said a thing.

    Posted by: unicow | July 11, 2008 12:50 PM
    #43

    “I think he understands those groups very well.”

    Apparently not or he would have written about how this onslaught was about to come his way when he did his first posting. PZ clearly does not understand how important the host is to Catholics. PZ toys with intellectual concepts and ideas while Catholics build their entire lives and identities around their religion and traditions. The idea that they would react strongly to his hateful words attacking one of the very cornerstones of their faith is completely predictable. One can criticize without insulting – if one is not PZ Myers that is. He opened this can of whupass on himself.

    Posted by: Civil to Others | July 11, 2008 12:50 PM
    #44

    @12
    “professor would never be tolerated if it targeted minority groups. Professor Myers tends to target majority groups”
    What? Minorities? Catholics… I think it’s fair to say that PZ “targets” (I don’t think he’s targeting anyone, actually) irrational people, not minorities.

    Posted by: jj | July 11, 2008 12:52 PM
    #45

    I’m amazed that how this issue has got so way out of hand in the US. I don’t think this would have happened to the same degree in most other Catholic countries. If you don’t believe me, in my URL there’s a clip from the Mexican film “El crimen del Padre Amaro”, (about 3:30 into the clip) which depicts an old woman spiriting the communion wafer away and then later giving it to her cat to eat. And although clearly cheeky in for a film from a majority Catholic county, it generated none of the fuss this has. This seem all down the rabble-rousers like Bill Donoghue, who seem more akin to evangelicals than Catholics in my country.

    Posted by: Michael James | July 11, 2008 12:52 PM
    #46

    My apologies to Alexander Pope and real poets elsewhere:

    When dire Offence from an Abused Triscuit springs,
    And unleashes Bill Donohue’s bellicose whinges,
    This Verse–in support of Myers–is due,
    This ev’n the Cath’lic League may vouchsafe to view.
    Slight is the Subject, but not so the Storm that breweth,
    For the Case of the Maligned Wafer has brought threats of death.
    At such absurdity, Paul Myers raises his voice in protest thus:
    “Should theft of one give such offense, then steal
    one thousand, that we learn what they would do to us!”
    This brings us to the point at present,
    Wherein Bill Donohue demands both Discipline and Punishment.
    I say instead that Paul Myers is well within his Right
    To criticize and mock th’ ignorant hypocrisy within his sight.
    ‘Tis the legacy of th’ Enlightenment and an assuredly Secular Democracy:
    That Free Discussion and Open Debate safeguard a Free Society.
    Ideas and customs should not be held Unquestionably Virtuous
    Simply for being th’ Opinions of Mobs Religious.
    Sic semper tyrannis, Slavery, Creationism, Discrimination,
    Thus also the Complaint of Donohue must be selected for Elimination.

    This was sent by overland mail this morning to President Bruininks, Dr. Myers, and Dr. Donohue.

    Posted by: Mark | July 11, 2008 12:53 PM
    #47

    I’m sure an Internet pole can settle this issue!

    Posted by: Alexander Treseder | July 11, 2008 12:53 PM
    #48

    If these crazy catholics are so certain that one cracker is somehow different after their magic ceremony, why don’t we ask them to pick out the fleshy one from a pile of them?
    Double blind tested of course.

    Posted by: ElJay | July 11, 2008 12:53 PM
    #49

    Pssssst.. Darren of #12…
    1. That wasn’t short.
    2. The name is Myers instead of Meyers.
    3. “dehumanize” is used when you describe a human being as being less than human. As an inferior creature whose existence is a waste and whose death is encouraged. The Nazi’s did that for example in their treatment of anyone who was against them.
    What Myers has done, is not an act of dehumanization: he simply attacks ideas and does not, in any way, call for violence against people who have other ideas. He uses arguments instead of violence, unlike various of those who disagree with him.
    4. You have never seen Myers teach, so how can you tell he is a bad teacher? According to you though, he is so filled with hatred that he cannot control himself… Do I sense the first desire to dehumanize him there?
    5. How nice to mention to the President that your wife worked there. I think such a thing is either “sucking up” or, from the way the letter continues, an argument from authority (with your wife being the source of authority in this case). You honestly think that that is doing your argument any good?
    6. And a “vile writing style?” Oh, come on! Myers is an angel is his posts compared to the average user, and is definately more articulate than most creationists, whose arguments he despises for a very good reason.

    Anyway, congratulations with your letter. Despite how its polite tone, it is still failing in every way possible.

    Posted by: Arno | July 11, 2008 12:53 PM
    #50

    Here is the main body of my letter, which I will be popping in the post in a moment. My boyfriend, an English prof, will also be penning a letter regarding academic free speech. Cheers to you, PZ:

    I am writing on behalf of Professor P. Z. Myers regarding this Eucharist incident. I am an atheist and the fact is that Myers is a much-loved and well-respected member of our community. Many of us feel invisible, ignored, and downright hated. Lately, we’ve been gathering a little steam in the area of activism–sometimes it’s writing letters, supporting lobbyists on our behalf, or it comes in the form of lawsuits–as we beg for, haggle for, and demand our equal and civil rights as American citizens. The activism takes other forms as well, forms well documented in any social movement for change. While Myers’s suggestion to desecrate a Communion wafer might seem college-prankish, the fact is that it fits in with a number of attention getting stunts for respectable causes. All sorts of activists perform various antics to demand rights for blacks, women, gays, etc. This isn’t anything new and whether one agrees with its effectiveness, it’s a tactic I fully support so long as no one is hurt. This, I’m afraid, doesn’t include the hurting of one’s feelings.

    Considering the tremendous amount of prejudice and general disdain coming from the Catholic community directed towards atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers, this threat to desecrate what we all know is basically a cracker (there is no need to test these wafers following the blessing that supposedly transforms them into the magical flesh of their consumer’s Lord and Savior…it’s a flaky, crispy cracker), the idea that what Myers did is beyond the pale is laughable. He may have incited the ire of one large group, but he’s also gained even more respect and support from another, the secular community. We don’t all agree, but mine is a voice that is absolutely raised in support. Please don’t allow your University to be bullied by the likes of the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue. Yes, he’s loud, insistent, and becomes rabidly red-in-the-face at the slightest hint criticism, but he remains a bully and only that.

    We without faith take a lot of flack and have few out there with enough courage and intellect to defend us, whereas most major religions have armies. Please consider Myers a much-needed representative of a movement in desperate need of change and do what you can to ensure his position (in light of demands for his removal) and his safety (in light of the death threats he’s received).

    Posted by: IsThatLatin | July 11, 2008 12:54 PM
    #51

    ….you toucha my wahfur — I KILL YOU DEAD!!!

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 12:56 PM
    #52

    How much could you get for the body of christ on e-bay? We should kidnap several this weekend and put up for sale next week. Although, it would be hard to prove that had been blessed by a priest instead of just taking them out of box. I’m sure the catholic church has “Essence” detectors for these types of emergencies.

    Posted by: rd | July 11, 2008 12:57 PM
    #53

    “I’m amazed that how this issue has got so way out of hand in the US. I don’t think this would have happened to the same degree in most other Catholic countries. If you don’t believe me, in my URL there’s a clip from the Mexican film “El crimen del Padre Amaro”, (about 3:30 into the clip) which depicts an old woman spiriting the communion wafer away and then later giving it to her cat to eat. And although clearly cheeky in for a film from a majority Catholic county, it generated none of the fuss this has. This seem all down the rabble-rousers like Bill Donoghue, who seem more akin to evangelicals than Catholics in my country.”

    And it would seem to a woman who had trouble remembering how to behave properly even while actually in church. I am pretty sure Catholics are taught assaulting people is a sin and yet she managed to forget that fact.

    Posted by: Matt Penfold | July 11, 2008 12:58 PM
    #54

    I should have been here all along. I’m an atheist, my parents were both raised devout Roman Catholic and left the church as soon as they reached adulthood. They raised me as a free thinker, although in an extended family of three generations comprising roughly 24 others, the three of us are the only three apostates. I’m the only unababashed, unapologetic, and unrepentant atheist. (it’s funny to think they call me unrepentent…who would an atheist repent to?)

    And my cousin Mary (there is at least one Mary in three generations of our family, and in my town it dominates over other first names for women at least 1 in six) came to call on me. I said I felt like the red-headed bastard stepchild because I was the only atheist. Well then somehow she starts asking me why…

    …so I answered…

    and the memorable moment came when Mary, with that perennial smile on her face because she knows God or the virgin mother or Jesus or the Pope – I really don’t understand who they worship – had her back: “Do you really think that scientists know why the sun stays up in ths sky?”

    Now – where do you go from there but apart?

    And I told her that I think the Catholic faith is a joke, but then I don’t go run to a Catholic church when I need answers; She on the other hand thinks science is a joke, but has somehow accepted that it’s still OK to drive around in cars, have electricity in her house, talk on a cell phone, and go to a doctor and receive modern medical treatments when she gets sick. “G”od apparently has little difficulty with hypocrisy, in fact his faithful seem to be silently commanded to be immune from criticism for it.

    I think we need to start being as militant as they like to label us – if anyone religious really thinks that science is a fraud and scientists are evil, then we can watch them stand in the public square and dutifully disavow all articles in their posession that required a scientist, an engineer, or any other satanic free thinker to make or support it.

    I mean all I have to do is look at the book of Leviticus to imimediately cry shenanigans on the Bible – there are two dozen or more situations where a faithful believer is supposed to run to a priest to be washed if they are caught doing. And despite all that washing, there’s not a single chemical formula or even a family recipe for soap anywhere in the new or old testament. We had to wait until the eighteenth century until Louis Pasteur formulated the germ theory of disease, and we had to wait until almost another hundred years until Joseph Lister came up with the first primitive but relatively effective soap that made any of that washing do any good.

    I’m tired of tolerating people who have no tolerance for us – that’s bad enough. Although I’m grateful that people like you and me are no longer burned at the stake, I still don’t think it’s tolerable that these hypcrites had to create the United States of America in order to have freedom of religion, only to struggle all the while to deny freedom of thought to anyone who wasn’t religious in the same way they were.

    I want my own blog. Screw that, I want my own radio show. In ten minutes I will make Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage and Ann Coulter look like Mr Rogers meets Dr. Phil. Enough with the hypocrisy already. If they really think the Bible has all the answers, then leave them out in the desert with no clothes on, a Bible and a quart of water and let them show us where all those answers are.

    /rant

    Thank you for allowing me this forum. I’ll wait on your gracious provision of a microphone so that I can get started making a living being this indignant.

    Posted by: I’m joining your Crusade | July 11, 2008 12:58 PM
    #55

    So, trying to educate brainwashed idiots is now called “targeting a minority?”

    No wonder why these morons consider taking a goddamned cracker a hate crime.

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 1:00 PM
    #56

    “I think we need to start being as militant as they like to label us – if anyone religious really thinks that science is a fraud and scientists are evil, then we can watch them stand in the public square and dutifully disavow all articles in their posession that required a scientist, an engineer, or any other satanic free thinker to make or support it.”

    Well said.

    Posted by: gdlchmst | July 11, 2008 1:04 PM
    #57

    “I eat saviors like you for lunch.”

    Posted by: Badjuggler | July 11, 2008 1:05 PM
    #58

    So, trying to educate brainwashed idiots is now called “targeting a minority?”

    Clearly, the author of post #12 is unblemished by numeracy.

    Posted by: Ken Cope | July 11, 2008 1:05 PM
    #59

    #56

    Impossible. They can’t give back their vaccinations.

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:06 PM
    #60

    ….you toucha my wahfur — I KILL YOU DEAD!!!

    Posted by: Alex

    I’m gonna cutcha.

    I’m gonna cutcha so bad, you’re gonna wish I didn’t cutcha so bad.

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 1:06 PM
    #61

    How can someone not believe in evolution and still get vaccinations?

    Posted by: sex_target | July 11, 2008 1:07 PM
    #62

    “Are you threatening me?”
    – Beavis

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:07 PM
    #63

    Kudos to Mark at #46 for referencing “The Rape of the Lock” by Alexander [ironic snicker] “Pope.” Well done.

    Posted by: Ken Cope | July 11, 2008 1:08 PM
    #64

    It’s a bit of an over simplification to think that god hides in the clouds. You see, god is full of much more trickeriness that that. He exists everywhere but can’t be seen.

    When I was a little boy I knew that Jesus lived in our bathroom. Every morning my father would beat on the bathroom door and yell “Christ, are you still in there?”

    Posted by: JoJo | July 11, 2008 1:08 PM
    #65

    So if these crackers are the body of Christ, doesn’t that mean these Catholic League folks are cannibals? Spiriting the wafer out of the Catholic church’s sacrificial grounds was likely the only way to prevent the desecration of Jesus by those, dare I say, blasphemous savages.

    Posted by: Guy Kramer | July 11, 2008 1:09 PM
    #66

    A diamond is just a rock. Short of its practical uses in engineering etc, its value is largely a matter of misguided stupidity and tradition. It’s just a rock.

    Just throwing it out there.

    Posted by: AndyD | July 11, 2008 1:09 PM
    #67

    @ Tim Miller

    PZ – I have to disagree with your stance on this, as far as your request for wafers to be desecrated. You would consider somebody burning books to be essentially desecrating science (and reality) – this is no different to them.

    It’s very different (and interesting how all the apologists for the religionists keep coming up with rubbish analogies).

    Book burners are generally trying to prevent anyone else from being able to read the book in their area or indeed anywhere ever, ie may even intend to wipe it out of existence (as per the Library of Alexandria). In contrast, no-one is preventing the magic cookie people from eating their own magic cookies or from making more magic cookies indefinitely via their magic ritual of magic cookie making. It’s not as though they believe their Jesus-bits to be a limited resource!

    On the rare occasions when someone burns a single book (or flag) as a protest, rather than trying to incite others to do the same and wipe them all out, no-one in the rational reality-based community would make a fuss about it. We might still laugh at the protester of course if their protest was an ill-founded one.

    Posted by: SEF | July 11, 2008 1:10 PM
    #68

    “How can someone not believe in evolution and still get vaccinations?”

    If they can rationalize sending death threats because someone thinks a cracker is only a cracker, then it’s easy.

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:10 PM
    #69

    Dear Mr. Bruininks:

    I am writing to you to express support for Professor P.Z. Myers, in light of the recent protest against his blog “Pharyngula,” by Mr. Bill Donohue and the Catholic League. Mr. Donohue may be characterized as a ‘professional victim,’ who keeps his name and that of his organization in front of the press by means of howling protest and threatened boycotts every time some public figure criticizes the doctrines, traditions, or actions of his church. It is not clear whether he is perpetually, deeply, offended, or if he is merely cynically exploiting the emotions of many people for personal aggrandizement. In any case, Mr. Donohue seems to need constant reminding that the 1st Amendment does not guarantee him, or anyone, freedom from being offended. (Some of us find him pretty offensive, but are not trying to limit his speech.) It also seems, despite his loud claims to be part of the One True Church, that he doesn’t know how to “turn the other cheek.”

    Professor Myers’ writings, while occasionally a bit bombastic, are always well-reasoned and compelling, and his enthusiasm for science in general and biology in particular provide inspiration for scientists, students, and amateurs across the US and the world. Any disciplinary or censorious action by the university would merely offend and harm a different group in order to placate the Catholic League. That would be unfair, don’t you think?

    Posted by: Mikey | July 11, 2008 1:11 PM
    #70

    I’m reminded of George Carlin’s line: God is the all-powerful, all-knowing Supreme Being who created everything in the universe, and if you don’t do what he wants he’ll torture you for eternity. Why? Because he loves you!

    Posted by: Son of Strom | July 11, 2008 1:11 PM
    #71

    When I was a little boy I knew that Jesus lived in our bathroom. Every morning my father would beat on the bathroom door and yell “Christ, are you still in there?”

    Posted by: JoJo

    I’ve heard it before, but I still laughed enough to almost tinkle a little.

    Still, for what it’s worth, I think everyone knows Jesus is in prison.

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 1:11 PM
    #72

    “Catholics believe that the host, once consecrated, is literally the flesh of Christ.”

    So, it would seem that this could be proven or unproven with a simple DNA test on the wafer, once consecrated.

    Posted by: infidel57 | July 11, 2008 1:12 PM
    #73

    PZ, glad to see you haven’t been struck by lightning or buried by frogs yet.

    Bill said “I’m not a religious whacko” “I do attend church”

    Bill, sorry, but if you attend church, then you are a religious wacko

    Anyone who goes to church is a loooooot closer to a religious whacko than they are to a sane person who doesn’t go.

    Posted by: Notorious P.A.T. | July 11, 2008 1:12 PM
    #74

    @43:

    One can criticize without insulting

    Ok, let’s give that a go:

    The notion that a particular cracker, when spoken to by a man dressed in flowing robes, physically becomes the flesh of another man who, if he existed at all, died almost 2000 years ago, is so ridiculous as to be almost beyond words. Those who believe this to be true are deluded, in the same way that people who believe that Elvis is alive are deluded. Moreover, the notion that removing a cracker, which has been freely given, from a certain building and doing whatever one wants with that cracker, is deserving of death threats, is more than ridiculous; it is batshit crazy stupid, not to mention scary and blatantly illegal.

    Posted by: Mike | July 11, 2008 1:12 PM
    #75

    What I notice about the Christian fundies is just how thin-skinned and insecure they are. A guy in Minnesota writes a blog post, and they go batshit ballistic. If they were truly comfortable in their own beliefs, they would just shrug and carry on.

    Posted by: global yokel | July 11, 2008 1:13 PM
    #76

    #12 is basically deception from start to finish.

    But then, anyone who can’t tell the difference between threats to a persons life and lively-hood, and the criticism of ideas, is hardly likely to be morally grounded, are they?

    Posted by: Damian | July 11, 2008 1:13 PM
    #77

    It appears the series of tubes is getting backed up. Maybe time to contact the local pipe fitters union and install some bigger tubes. ;)

    Posted by: Ben | July 11, 2008 1:13 PM
    #78

    “Impossible. They can’t give back their vaccinations.”

    We’ll let that one slide. But they won’t be getting any of our universal health care.

    Posted by: gdlchmst | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM
    #79

    Well mine its here…

    To President Robert Bruinink

    Im a deeply concerned foreign what happens to be a regular of the science blog Pharyngula and Biologist
    undergrad student on PUCV in the country of Chile. Im sure my voice would not have as much weight for
    you as one of a US citizen, but since a fine scientist has been threatened even to death by so
    called Christians, its my moral duty to make a call for reason.
    I know you all live in a country clouded by religious fear, where the people who
    votes and therefore elect their representants are sure than the rapture its going
    to happen in their lifetimes. But you have a serious responsability as a the president
    of the University of Minessota to make a clear statement based on reason alone and not pressure
    from religious fanatics who values more the integrity of a cracker than a human life and career.
    Im unsure if you are even to read this, but i have a responsabily as a scientist to be and a
    moral human being for make a effort no matter how little or useless its could be on the end,
    to make reason prevalue over misticism, prejudice and ignrorancy.

    Name: Miguel Angel Opazo Arancibia
    Nationality: Chilean
    College: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso
    College ID: 520506-9

    Posted by: Lord Zero | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM
    #80

    @ alex-

    Good point. I guess we shouldn’t expect rational behavior out of these folks.

    Funny thing is, I don’t think they are a majority. In my little bubble of people, it seems like there are a lot more religious but not really folks- they claim it, say they are in that group, but don’t really follow it (ie, still fuck people they aren’t married to and generally act like a normal person). This confuses me b/c I always thought that if I really believed this bullshit, wouldn’t I follow the rules if the end result could be my eternal salvation?

    Posted by: sex_target | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM
    #81

    “…magic cookie people…”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    That’s a keeper.

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM
    #82

    I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?

    Isn’t that what started this in the first place – a student “holding” something “sacred”?

    In the meantime, one of the honest priests has written a book about how the molestations in the church could have happened and what should still be done to prevent them, and they’ve come down hard on him, too. Well, I guess I see what these uptight Catholics hold as not sacred – i.e., people.

    I’d rather desecrate symbols, thank you.

    Posted by: Kristine | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM
    #83

    For cryin’ out loud, with all this hate, why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    Whats that? You don’t believe in violence? BS!

    Whats that? You believe in freedom of religion? Ya.. BS

    Whats that? You don’t believe in the right to bear arms?
    Well, if you are going to keep this crap up, you might want to rethink this one. Most Christians believe in the right to bear arms, and if you removed it from the constitution, that won’t change their minds one bit. And most Christians are armed. So, when do you want to start a war against Christians?

    That hate coming from you is the same as from the Christians.

    So, start a war against the Christians.

    I bet you don’t have the guts!

    Posted by: Starbuck | July 11, 2008 1:16 PM
    #84

    So, it would seem that this could be proven or unproven with a simple DNA test on the wafer, once consecrated.

    Posted by: infidel57

    It would be a fun test, wouldn’t it? Imagine the looks on their faces to learn that Jesus has the DNA of dried instant pancake batter.

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 1:16 PM
    #85

    Anyone who has suggested that PZ needs to “respect” their religious tradition and never, ever, ever say anything against it is the worst, most disgusting kind hypocrite.

    You people ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You scream and cry and plead persecution, all the while doing everything you can to turn atheism into a crime. You are so blinded by your fear and so busy trying to buy your way into some promised eternal paradise you’re unable to see just how ugly and hateful you really are.

    Well, I’m not going to mince words here: You can kiss my atheist ass. Where the hell do you get off telling PZ or anyone that they are required to respect anything about your traditions when you vilify them, hate them without even understanding what their beliefs are, profess the idea that they are less than human and do everything possible to make them uncomfortable as soon as you find out they don’t believe the same things you do. You call them a murderer, a thief, a liar… and believe you are justified in doing so despite the fact that they have done none of those things… but if they call your host a cracker they need to be fired from their job, have their name dragged through the mud and get death threats.

    If you ever have the courage to examine your behavior and compare it to the examples set in your holy book, I hope your despondence over your complete failure as a christian doesn’t drive you even further down the path of insanity.

    Posted by: Kate | July 11, 2008 1:17 PM
    #86

    “PZ toys with intellectual concepts and ideas while Catholics build their entire lives and identities around their religion and traditions.”

    If someone wants to build their life around a belief in a magic cracker then that’s THEIR fucking problem. They can kindly leave us sane people the fuck out of their delusion.

    Posted by: Boosterz | July 11, 2008 1:18 PM
    #87

    Sigh, what a load of bullshit.

    Posted by: Not now | July 11, 2008 1:19 PM
    #88

    @72-

    But I’m sure they’d use the old “science can’t be used to disprove the supernatural” or some bullshit on you which would both satisfy their stupid beliefs and contradict all their other ones.

    Posted by: sex_target | July 11, 2008 1:19 PM
    #89

    For cryin’ out loud, with all this hate, why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    You’ll be able to read better if you wipe the spittle flecks off your monitor, tough guy.

    Posted by: wÒÓ† | July 11, 2008 1:20 PM
    #90

    #75

    “What I notice about the Christian fundies is just how thin-skinned and insecure they are.”

    “There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not real, he becomes furious when they are disputed.” [Bertrand Russell, “Human Society in Ethics and Politics”]

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:20 PM
    #91

    Dear Mr. Myers, I sent an email to the president for ya. I just want to say I support you totally and think you’re awesome. You’re intelligent, nice, and articulate. I appreciate your blog and enjoy it very much.

    Thank you so much sir.

    -John

    Posted by: John Morris | July 11, 2008 1:21 PM
    #92

    A diamond is just a rock. Short of its practical uses in engineering etc, its value is largely a matter of misguided stupidity and tradition. It’s just a rock.

    Just throwing it out there.

    I completely agree. And if it weren’t for the fact that so many other people value it, it wouldn’t be worth anything to me either. Just like gold, or rare stamps, or baseball cards, (and money, for that matter) or any number of other things that are “valuable”. Value is purely subjective. But just because a large number of people value a particular object doesn’t mean I should also.

    If, given a diamond, I wouldn’t throw it away because somebody else will give me money for it. But I won’t spend my money on one.

    Posted by: tsg | July 11, 2008 1:23 PM
    #93

    I wonder who would be offended if I put my Jesus cracker in a toaster?

    Posted by: Capital Dan | July 11, 2008 1:24 PM
    #94

    …you toucha my dymon – I KILL YOU DEAD!!

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:25 PM
    #95

    Well, if you are going to keep this crap up, you might want to rethink this one. Most Christians believe in the right to bear arms, and if you removed it from the constitution, that won’t change their minds one bit. And most Christians are armed. So, when do you want to start a war against Christians?

    Again, Starbuck, you never fail to disappoint. Thanks for confirming that ‘most Christians’ fail to follow the most basic of Christ’s teachings.

    Well done. I’m glad you’re on our side.

    Posted by: Brownian, OM | July 11, 2008 1:26 PM
    #96

    Alex,

    I have always found that people argue articulately when they are right and get angry when they are wrong or caught in a lie they don’t want to admit.

    I think these Catholics “doth protest too much” because they know their position is ridiculous.

    Posted by: Rob | July 11, 2008 1:26 PM
    #97

    I’d just like to apologize for my previous comment. I called my local church and they explained that Chex Mix does NOT count as Jesus. So, never mind.

    *gesture* Bless this Chex Mix.
    Now eat up. There are children in Israel who have no messiah to eat at all.

    Posted by: aiabx | July 11, 2008 1:27 PM
    #98

    Alright Starbuck. Let’s have a shootout. I’ll rely on science and engineering to build my gun. You offer some incantations to your deity to deliver from the heavens your gun. Let’s see who has a gun.

    Posted by: Alex | July 11, 2008 1:28 PM
    #99

    Way off topic, unless you like flounder with your crackers, but I just had to tell somebody about these new transitional fossils discovered in museum collections:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-fish_eyesjul10,0,2859782.story

    Scientia et Fermentum!

    Posted by: Ediacaran, FCD, Delta Pi Gamma | July 11, 2008 1:29 PM
    #100

    For cryin’ out loud, with all this hate, why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    Whats that? You don’t believe in violence? BS!

    Whats that? You believe in freedom of religion? Ya.. BS

    Whats that? You don’t believe in the right to bear arms?
    Well, if you are going to keep this crap up, you might want to rethink this one. Most Christians believe in the right to bear arms, and if you removed it from the constitution, that won’t change their minds one bit. And most Christians are armed. So, when do you want to start a war against Christians?

    That hate coming from you is the same as from the Christians.

    So, start a war against the Christians.

    I bet you don’t have the guts!

    Starbuck, ‘

    You’re not the brightest bulb on the tree are you?

    How do you get from being an atheist critical of idiot religious people’s actions to being against the right to bear arms? I’m sure some here are but I personally own firearms.

    Difference is I don’t threaten people with violence. You on the other hand have no problems waving it around.

    Your rants show so little thought or ability to reason they are laughable.

    Really Starbuck.

    WE ARE LAUGHING AT YOU

    Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp | July 11, 2008 1:30 PM
    #101

    The closing ‘grafs from my dead-tree message to Pres. Bruininks:

    I have no doubt that others in the University of Minnesota disagree vehemently with Prof. Myers’s statements, and am quite confident that he accepts their right to criticize him without any expectation that the administration should muzzle them for expressing themselves. That is as it should be, and UM would do itself proud by supporting the rights of all its faculty to take controversial stands.

    For the last few years, I have sadly watched the University of Florida, led by a recent Bush appointee, diminish itself through a steady attrition of talented faculty seeking greener pastures free from petty politically-driven interference by myopic administrators and legislators. You might do quite well by directing your academic talent scouts and head-hunters to our state; it would be a disservice to your own institution to emulate our deteriorating standards.

    Posted by: Pierce R. Butler | July 11, 2008 1:31 PM

  90. Johnnyjoe says

    President Bruininks,

    I will add my voice to the many I am sure who have contacted the University regarding the PUBLIC behavior of Mr. Myers.

    I am all for free speech, and the right of the self important and profane to ridicule others; but you must recognize that Mr. Myers is not advancing science, but his own political view of science and his placing it in opposition against religion.

    I’m not sure his fairly public position as a professor – paid with tax dollars – gives him the right to ridicule the faith of 1.5 billion people. Or that his self-important cynicism really propels the discourse intelligently in this cultural debate about the origins of man.

    Does the University sponsor attacks on religion? Is this man’s actions to ridicule and vilify the faith of over a BILLION people really something the University can watch with bemusement?

    He has asked on his blog for many to write you in support – a sign that he knows he is treading on thin ice. I hope you have the capacity to talk some common sense into this man, for it would be a shame to have his career defined by a moment of cynical haughtiness. But do not be deceived. There is not one IOTA of contrition or remorse on his blog. Rather, he seems to be reveling in the notoriety. A sure first sign of a lack of perspective, and a willingness to savor the spotlight. As opposed to the notion that intelligent people can differ in matters of faith without threatening his little corner of the world.

    I hope you have the courage to calm this man down, and reign in his offensive and reckless self-importance.

  91. Barry says

    I posted my letter to the president of U MN on the first thread, but every time I think about the original ‘crime’ that launched this whole affair, I am stunned.

    Catholics believe that a cracker becomes the body of their god.

    That’s fucking crazy. Batshit insane.

    To paraphrase Sam Harris, the belief that uttering a few Latin words literally has the power to convert cheerios into Napoleon is a warning sign. Yet those who believe that the same action turns a cracker into god demand that the rest of us respect the practice.

    How can we? It’s fucking crazy!

  92. Josh says

    A diamond is just a rock. Short of its practical uses in engineering etc, its value is largely a matter of misguided stupidity and tradition. It’s just a rock.

    Because this thread could use some lightening up, I will point out that it’s not actually a rock according to most definitions. It’s a mineral.

    And because I’m done lightening up the thread now: Hey Starbuck, toughguy…why don’t you take the first shot? Initiate the war yourself. You will then become a domestic enemy and I will then be compelled by my oath to defend those you attack. Guess who shoots better…

  93. Rob says

    Alex,

    Yet no one has yet called PZ a Nazi, at least as far as I have read. This is a surprising violation of Godwin’s Law. Maybe threatening death is a corollary of Godwin’s Law. We can name it the Law of the Sacred Cracker Argument.

  94. says

    Unrelated, but you need to read/post about this, people. In my UK, the new-ish laws against “religious discrimination” have just allowed a woman registrar to refuse to perform civil partnerships on the basis of her religious views.

    She is a civil servant, an employee and representative of the Government.

    “I am delighted at this decision,” Ms Ladele said. “It is a victory for religious liberty, not just for myself but for others in a similar position. Gay rights should not be used as an excuse to bully and harass people over their religious beliefs.”

    From now on all of the laws the UK has protecting people against discrimination of any sort are useless, because all that the bigots have to do is claim that they have a religious right to be bigoted.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/registrar-wins-right-to-refuse-gay-weddings-865042.html

  95. says

    Yet no one has yet called PZ a Nazi, at least as far as I have read. This is a surprising violation of Godwin’s Law. Maybe threatening death is a corollary of Godwin’s Law. We can name it the Law of the Sacred Cracker Argument.

    Yeah there have been actually. A couple times in the first threads.

  96. Nobody says

    This is the funniest thing I have EVER seen here.

    Thousands of comments because PZ shot his pudgy mouth off again, and incited to stupidity fools that happen to be Catholic.

    Death threats would also come about from the unhinged wing of Atheism if someone suggested that Darwin buggered little boys (or iguanas). That is all beside the point (though Prof. Myers would be well-served to report such threats to law enforcement.

    No, what really is funny is the perceived job threat. Donohue is a foolish windbag, and I try to ignore him. . .but if he actually pulls THIS off, it could get worse. PZ would then have to live off his speaking schedule and the amount of CRAP that he would babble here would increase exponentially.

    Decisions, decisions. Do I ask Dr. Bruininks to save PZ’s job so that he keeps (relatively) quiet, or do I endorse the pompous pronouncements of Donohue.

    Maybe I can just ask for a real good reprimand. That might be the best route.

  97. says

    I wanted it pointed out as clearly as it can be the important message being relayed from The Catholic League: Making fun of a sacred cracker is a worse sin than promising to kill someone.

    I want you to read that again. I’ll wait…

    Death threats from catholics is not as bad as stealing and violating a cracker. I am going to call this “Islamo-envy”.

    Islamo-envy: The desire to of a religious person or group to want to be more violent and radical towards perceived insults to owns religion or group. “Bill Donohue and the Catholic League suffer from severe islamo-envy”

  98. Tsugradstudent says

    Here is where I am having some serious problems with Mr. Donohue. He calls for the firing/censoring/censure of Dr. Myers as well as the explusion of the student who committed what he has deemed a heinous act against the church. On March 20, 2008 he agreed with American, British and European publishers not to publish the Danish cartoons which were considered offensive by many followers of the Muslim faith. He sided with the Church’s stance against what I consider the first amendment “On February 4, 2006, the Vatican said of the Danish cartoon controversy, ‘The right to freedom of thought and expression cannot entail the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers.’

    My biggest issue is that further down in that same paragraph, he states that:

    I concluded by saying, ‘As for Muslims offended by the cartoons, they should learn what a civilized response entails.’

    “In other words, bin Laden’s latest salvo against the Vatican is wholly unwarranted.

    http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1407

    So calling the Danish cartoons an act of aggression against Muslims is an uncivilized response. I am still left wondering where the ‘civilized response’ is in this regards from the Catholic League. Although, from the above statement, Freedom of Thought should also be monitored. I am glad that Mr. Donohue cannot tell what I am thinking right now. Finally, Mr. Donohue concludes: “The latest bullying by bin Laden, then, is a sign that his grip on Muslims is slipping. Looks like it’s time for him to crawl back into one of his lovely caves.”

    I guess bullying is reserved for the Catholic League. Maybe it is time for him to find a cave. I would like to remind him that bigotry and defamation are in the eyes of the beholder.

    -Dr. Myers, my email has already been sent to the President of the University and in a few minutes, the snail mail version will be in the mail. Good Luck and don’t let them get to you

  99. tsg says

    Death threats would also come about from the unhinged wing of Atheism if someone suggested that Darwin buggered little boys (or iguanas).

    If all you have are completely baseless accusations, you don’t have much of an argument.

  100. JohnA says

    “Catholics build their entire lives and identities around their religion and traditions”

    Their _entire_ lives? Jesuz Hussein Christ! Not family, or job, but their religion? Well then. Expect to be insulted on a site like Phayngula. I know that I am insulted when I visit Fox News, or the Catholic League’s site.

    But I don’t threaten lives or livelihoods.

  101. says

    “I’m joining your Crusade” – you’re very welcome. Nice post.

    This latest controversy is a real cracker (pun intended). Hopefully it will lead to a huge number of fence-sitters finally realising how much of their cherished religion is simply ridiculous when investigated closely enough. PZ is shining a super trouper on the whole sordid shenanigans, and I’m standing right with him. I’ve even changed my user name – Elwood is now 100% devoid of woo!

  102. Alex says

    “Death threats would also come about from the unhinged wing of Atheism if someone suggested that Darwin buggered little boys…”

    I’m not sure about that. I would be surprised if death threats would result. They’re pointless in determining the truth. I think most of all, people would want evidence that supports the assertion.

    I think there’s some projection in your assertion.

  103. Justin Deveau says

    Dear Robert Bruininks,

    I hope this message finds you well. I am writing this letter in support of PZ Myers regarding the recent irrational quest of the religious right to discredit and tarnish this great man’s reputation. I have learned so much from reading his thoughts and blogs; sharing in his passion for evolution, biology, cosmology and this incredible universe we all find ourselves apart of.

    His outspoken and comical approach to the delusional masses of most fundamentalist Christian’s (and other superstitious, unverifiable madness) is a beacon of light for rationality and reason in the ever growing turmoil of religious dogma against truth and integrity of our humanity.

    I hope you stand up for the free speech your country values so highly, to allow the expression of opinions and arguments on illogical or outright bad ideologies. As a president of a well known University, I hope you can see through the absurdity of the claim that removing a cracker from a building is equivalent to a hate crime and a worse offence then rape, for all those victims who truly have been wronged.

    I would like to request your full support of PZ Myers, or at the least, withhold any action that may be requested with pressure from confused or mislead individuals who cannot understand the world beyond their in-group and a very old book.

    Sincerely,

    Justin Deveau
    justinleodeveau@hotmail.com
    Calgary, AB
    Canada

  104. Richard says

    Freedom of speech really bugs the hell out of established religion doesn’t it/ Of course , the reason is that the issues raised by such men as PZ are attacked so vehemently is because the people who wish to do violence are incapable of actually debating the reasonableness of their cult’s position on the matter of transubstantiation.

    As I understand it transubstantiation changes the “substance” of the cracker in such a way that it is imperceptible to the senses but is indeed the actual body of christ. That the inability to be able to detect the change leads to the inevitable question one must pose to Catholics. How do you reconcile the notion that this is the body of Christ simply on the word of those in authority?
    How does the authority itself know that such a thing really occurs?
    Or is it folly on my part to wonder if you people ever actually question the things you believe in?

  105. Mark says

    Commenter #110:

    Did you read the original article that spawned this whole brouhaha?

    People are making death threats and calling for the ouster of a tenured professor over a cracker, and you have the audacity to accuse PZ of being recklessly self-important?

    Yes, what the student in question did was disrespectful and ill-advised. Personally, I think he should apologize and mount his criticism of a state-funded religious institution in a more effective manner.

    What happened to him after was an assault on common decency and reason, and for that, PZ was absolutely right to raise a voice in criticism. Given the backlash he’s had to endure, it was perhaps one of the bravest moments I’ve had the privilege to witness.

    Please also keep in mind that Bill Donohue escalated this whole thing by mounting what will be later known as the Triscuit Letter-Writing Offensive. I think PZ was justified to ask his readers for a civil and meaningful show of support in response. We have shown far more restraint and respect, thus far, than the religiously rabid who’ve made their presence known.

  106. sinmantyx says

    Letter will be sent later today:

    Dear President Robert H. Bruininks,

    Perhaps I should have been preparing for classes, but instead I was perusing blogs and journals on the internet for fun before digging into my summer’s course development for the fall. One of my friends linked me to PZ Myer’s Blog.

    I can imagine this is a difficult time for everyone. When delicate matters are brought into the open and strong stances and incendiary language start hitting the wind, as you know, professional life gets a little crazy. I’m aware that strong organizations and personalities have entered the fray and are asking you to take direction action.

    I grew up in Minnesota and attended art camps in U of M – Morris as a child. I’ve since moved away, and in many ways I idealize Minnesota. I see it as a place where the majority understands the importance of the free marketplace of ideas. I like to think that it’s a place where people do the right thing, and not just the most popular or easy thing.

    If you give in to hysteria and support action against Dr. Myer, it will have a chilling effect on all of us in academia. It wasn’t until I began to teach here at the University of Michigan – Flint that I understood how stifling having this position can be. There is tremendous pressure to hide anything that might cause controversy. That isn’t the way it should be. Expressing our opinions, getting at the heart of difficult issues, being courageous in critically analyzing the actions of the powerful – those are the intellectual activities we should be modeling for our students to see.

    Dr. Myer got into this mess by standing up for a student who engaged in political speech – against those who wanted that student severely disciplined, expelled or (in some cases) killed. So please, don’t just examine the situation and try to figure out a way to avoid making anyone unhappy or uncomfortable. I can see how that could be tempting. Don’t take the easy way out.

    Instead, live up to the ideals that the academic community strives for. Affirm that Dr. Myer has the right to write down his thoughts, insights and opinions without the fear of institutionalized professional repercussions.

  107. foldedpath says

    #30: Andrew Sullivan gets a little over excited at times, but I believe he is one of the good guys. Sadly, his online debate with Sam Harris showed him to be incapable of recognizing the irrationality of faith and the danger it poses to the modern world.

    I enjoy reading Sullivan’s blog too, partly because he does have some good insights, but it’s also fun watching him jump through intellectual hoops to avoid self-contradiction on so many subjects (the biggest hoop of all being his defense for staying in the Catholic church as an openly gay person).

    Anyway, I just wrote him an email calling him out for hypocrisy on his post today about PZ. Here’s what he wrote back in 2006, defending the right of the Danish cartoonists to ridicule Islam:

    Andrew Sullivan, Feb 11 2006:

    “The point is this: everyone is supposed to observe the religious constraints of one particular faith, regardless of whether we share it. And if we don’t observe Islamic etiquette … we’re lucky if we only get cursed and condemned. Get that?”

    But of course when PZ ridicules Sullivan’s own pet religion, it’s suddenly bigotry and not free speech. Right.

  108. Lord Zero says

    If thratening a cracker its a lesser sin than
    killing someone, then it should be a precedent
    for every single murderer from now on…
    “I did murdered him, but PZ makes fun of a cracker!!,
    who its worse ?”

  109. Starbuck says

    “Alright Starbuck. Let’s have a shootout. I’ll rely on science and engineering to build my gun. You offer some incantations to your deity to deliver from the heavens your gun. Let’s see who has a gun.

    Posted by: Alex ”

    Well, have you built your gun yet?
    Because he already gave me my gun… Doesn’t matter, people will spit and sputter and then it will just go back to a slow smolder on both sides..

    “Because this thread could use some lightening up, I will point out that it’s not actually a rock according to most definitions. It’s a mineral.

    And because I’m done lightening up the thread now: Hey Starbuck, toughguy…why don’t you take the first shot? Initiate the war yourself. You will then become a domestic enemy and I will then be compelled by my oath to defend those you attack. Guess who shoots better…”

    I do… Always will… You can’t change that fact officer.

    What is your peoples problem with Christians? And don’t say it is the stupid cracker. Or it is the bad talk.

    I have specifically seen people say they have a problem with anyone who goes to Church. Even if they leave you alone. I have seen athiests state that Christians should have their children removed from their homes for child abuse.

    Oh wait, you clowns (and I truely believe that athiests are nothing but foolish clowns) are all for freedom.. HA!

    By the way… You can laugh at me all you want.. I think it is humorus… But, Christians laugh at you clueless clowns all the time… When you spout your “disbeliefs” and a Christians just walks away shaking their head.. they are laughing at you… Maybe thats why athiests are so angry…. They KNOW they are but clueless clowns and everyone laughs at them..

  110. BobC says

    Somebody said “Death threats would also come about from the unhinged wing of Atheism if someone suggested that Darwin buggered little boys…”.

    I don’t know who said it because I’m not going to read more than 100 comments to find out, but I assume it was some god-soaked jesus freak.

    I’m not saying all atheists are perfect, but I can’t imagine any atheist giving a shit about what some christian liar says. In the newspaper I never read about atheist terrorists, but I read about religious terrorists every day, including Catholic terrorists who are willing to kill to defend a cracker.

  111. Mary Herboth says

    ) Jcostello – thank you.

    2) To others: I say the Eucharist is more than a cracker because of what it symbolizes for both sides. For us it’s the object of our faith and for you it’s not the object that bothers you, but our faith in it. That’s where we have the problem. The object of your attack is not the cracker but our faith in the Eucharist. And guess what? Our faith is not your concern and when it becomes your concern, you become a bigot.

    3) Damien, you wrote, “It is so far removed from anything that I am familiar with that I cannot, as hard as I try, understand its importance.” Thank you. I think that is one of the points that is at the heart of the problem and the reason why people in civilized societies strive for tolerance. If it helps, our belief in the Eucharist is an ancient belief that has its roots in the Old Testament where the people of Israel believed that God was a personal, close, and present God. If anyone believes in God, the alternative, a God that is distant and caring – is unlivable. The Eucharist is a sacred sign (sacrament) of Christ’s presence. We believe that people are made to communicate with signs – our written language, wedding rings, stop signs, a wink – are examples. In very basic terms, bread is a sign of nourishment therefore spiritual bread, is a sign that we need spiritual nourishment, which comes from Jesus and his promise to be with us always.

    I don’t expect anyone here to agree with me bit for those of you who are reading this and want to see some hope that our belief goes beyond superstition and does have some rhyme and reason behind it.

    4) Re Webster Cook: He is a Catholic kid who entered a Catholic Mass and was expected to act as Catholics act. No mystery here.

    5) As to the death threats – if they happened (I haven’t seen any) they are not from the Catholic Church but from people who were emotionally charged by the disrespect shown. That’s as wrong as the Catholic Bashing going on here – its all satire and protest.

    6) As to pedophile priests – let’s be real – pedophilia is a societal wide problem that hasn’t spared the Catholic Church. We are people just like all people and we make stupid despicable mistakes just like the rest of society. However, it should be noted that pedophilia occurs among Catholic Priest at half the rate of the general population. (4% of all priests since 1950 have been accused of sexual abuse ranging from minor offensive to despicable) Is it horrible – yes! Is it especially horrible because it goes against our beliefs and claim to be the Church that Jesus Christ established – yes! Do even atheists hold us to a higher standard – sure they do but that has really nothing to do with our right to religious freedom. With that kind of thinking, Professor Myers’ right to free speech would be diminished by those who commit libel. One is a crime, the other is a right protected under the law.

  112. sex_target says

    @ starbuck-

    So Jesus gave you a gun??!!

    OMGZ WUT DID HE LOOK LIKES?

    Honestly, you purchased the gun didn’t you? Or did you get it from your dad’s night stand? I’m upset, I thought we may have something special here. Jesus handing you a gun would prove us all wrong.

    :( << sad face

  113. Civil to Others says

    “People are making death threats and calling for the ouster of a tenured professor over a cracker”

    No, they are calling for a censure because he attacks their religion with foul mouthed mean spirited regularity and they pay his salary.

  114. says

    It’s totally astounding that the atheists here remark time and again at how violent and thin skinned Christians are. Have you never understood Ayn Rand? If there is a mind deluded by errors of this magnitude, how the hell do you reason that you might have honest intellectual, not to mention civil discourse with them.
    THEY’RE ULTIMATE ARGUMENT IS A GUN.

    Atheists better understand just how serious this can get. Atheists need to understand that sinking to their level is absurd and unproductive.
    Take the high road.

  115. Dahan says

    Starbuck,

    Christianity has waged a war on reason for thousands of years. There’s no need to start one that’s already ongoing…

    Oh, and if you want to put up some money on who’s a better shot, you or me, I’d take that wager anytime.

    Former Marine
    5 time expert-M16A2
    2 time expert-9mm
    rifle range coach-2 years

    Crackers, you’re an idiot.

  116. Alex says

    “…Well, have you built your gun yet?
    Because he already gave me my gun…”

    For one numbnuts, I never said I would build the gun. I said I would rely on science you floundering moron. And you expect us to believe that your deity gave you a gun?

    Go and grow a brain you idiot. And wipe the spittle from your chin while you’re at it.

  117. Patrick Juola says

    Happy to send the letter. I wonder if the fact that it’s on the letterhead of a Catholic university will help?

    Catholicism has a long tradition of academic freedom and inquiry. Unfortunately, it has an equally long tradition of mouth-breathing idiots. A pity that Donohue is from the wrong tradition.

  118. says

    #116:

    Darwin was not an iguana buggerer, but was a self-admitted iguana tosser:

    “I threw one several times as far as I could, into a deep pool left by the retiring tide; but it invariably returned in a direct line to the spot where I stood. It swam near the bottom, with a very graceful and rapid movement, and occasionally aided itself over the uneven ground with its feet. As soon as it arrived near the edge, but still being under water, it tried to conceal itself in the tufts of sea-weed, or it entered some crevice. As soon as it thought the danger was past, it crawled out on the dry rocks, and shuffled away as quickly as it could. I several times caught this same lizard, by driving it down to a point, and though possessed of such perfect powers of diving and swimming, nothing would induce it to enter the water; and as often as I threw it in, it returned in the manner above described.”

    Chapter 17 from The Voyage of the Beagle

    In the same chapter, he notes molesting land iguanas, too:
    “I watched one for a long time, till half its body was buried; I then walked up and pulled it by the tail, at this it was greatly astonished, and soon shuffled up to see what was the matter; and then stared me in the face, as much as to say, “What made you pull my tail?””

    And, of course, we all know about his pigeon fancying and his… interest… in barnacles.

  119. tsg says

    To others: I say the Eucharist is more than a cracker because of what it symbolizes for both sides. For us it’s the object of our faith and for you it’s not the object that bothers you, but our faith in it. That’s where we have the problem. The object of your attack is not the cracker but our faith in the Eucharist. And guess what? Our faith is not your concern and when it becomes your concern, you become a bigot.

    Wrong. When you threaten us for not observing your faith, then it becomes our problem, and you are the bigots.

    Re Webster Cook: He is a Catholic kid who entered a Catholic Mass and was expected to act as Catholics act. No mystery here.

    He deserved to be physically assaulted for not eating the host immediately? Are you batshit insane?

  120. says

    I just said a magic spell over my monitor, and it has now magically changed into strawberry jelly (jello to all you Americans). It still works too, and it looks exactly the same as before, but it is made of jelly because I say it is, and because I know exactly what magic words to say.

    If I said that to my doctor he’d immediately book me into a room with rubber wallpaper. Pathetic, isn’t it?

  121. BobC says

    Starbuck said “I have seen athiests state that Christians should have their children removed from their homes for child abuse.”

    Really? I never heard that and I’ve been reading atheist blogs for a very long time.

    I’m not in favor of removing children from their parents. Catholics have done this to Jewish families in the past, but that’s no surprise. Catholics are assholes.

    What Christians and Catholics and Muslims and religious Jews like to do is lie to their children about reality. They teach their children that faith (believing in idiotic things that have no evidence) is a virtue. This is mental child abuse and I can’t imagine anything more immoral. It ruins the life of the child. The parents who do this, and all religious parents do it, can only be called stupid assholes. Their child abuse is legal so I can’t stop it, but I sure never miss an opportunity to ridicule it and identify it as abusing children.

  122. Virgil says

    @#123 – well said.
    Really PZ, when are you gonna realize these guys can’t be argued with? They’re stupid, everyone here knows that, but the problem is by continuing with this you essentially sink to their level. The problem is, for the god squad they always have the “you’ll find out on judgement day” argument to finish a conversation. I guess what atheists need is a similar conversation-ending statememt. Hang-on, what about “you’ll find out on judgement day!”. Excellent!

  123. Observer says

    Mark@#126,

    Minor correction: The kid in Florida did apologize. It was after he had apologized and returned the cracker that Donohue was calling for his expulsion. According to Donohue, it didn’t matter what the kid’s motivation was.

  124. Alex says

    “No, they are calling for a censure because he attacks their religion with foul mouthed mean spirited regularity…”

    WAAAA WAAAAA WAAAAAA WAAAAAAA WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Stoopit poopy face booger nose call me names!!!

    WAAAA WAAAAA WAAAAAA WAAAAAAA WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  125. Logicel says

    “PZ toys with intellectual concepts and ideas while Catholics build their entire lives and identities around their religion and traditions.”
    ______

    I think you meant: “PZ builds his entire life and identity around intellectual concepts and ideas while Catholics toy with their entire lives and identities around their religion and traditions.”

  126. BobC says

    Why is it the god-soaked jesus freaks can never spell atheist correctly? It’s atheism not athiesm. I bet they spell theism wrong too. Not a big deal, but I noticed the Christians are the only ones who misspell it.

  127. raven says

    Lying Death Cultist:

    Death threats would also come about from the unhinged wing of Atheism if someone suggested that Darwin buggered little boys (or iguanas).

    Naw, they would just assume it is another pointless lie from a dumb religious extremist. Who never back up their lies because, well because they are lies.

    They would just yawn and point out the truth. Routine and boring.

    If fact, I will call Darwin a child molester and iguana cannibal right here. Just leave the death threats on this thread. Include an email address so my employees can get back to you.

    PS I realize that you are very stupid. Atheism has nothing to do with science in general and evolutionary biology in particular. 40% of biologists describe themselves as religious.

  128. says

    I agree Donohue goes overboard, but what is wrong with letting someone hold something sacred?

    Posted by: randy | July 11, 2008 12:33 PM

    Nothing. What’s wrong with making fun of them for holding a cracker sacred?

  129. says

    That hate coming from you is the same as from the Christians.

    So, start a war against the Christians.

    I bet you don’t have the guts!

    Oh, funny.

    Shorter PZ: “Violence is wrong, especially if it’s over an idea that’s silly! I might make fun of the idea publicly if it’ll expose the vileness and hatred of bigots for the world. They’re violent and stupid, and we need civilized people to realize that!”

    Shorter Starbuck: “I wish I was violent and stupid, then I’d show them!”

    PZ’s the one standing against violence. You’re the one apparently condoning violence, Starbuck. Didn’t your mama teach you that terrorism is wrong?

  130. dylan tenelux says

    I keep seeing condemnation of pedophilia in these comboxes, and condemnation of people who issue death threats. One question : Why?

    Why do we condemn pedophilia? And why do we condemn people who issue death threats?

    (“Well, you see, uhm, it’s because those things are, well, wrong.”)

    Really? Wrong? Not merely “socially unacceptable” or “indecent” or “not cricket” or (my favorite bit of pop-psych jargon) “inappropriate”?

    Well, why are those things wrong? Because the majority of reasonable people in a civilized society have decided in some sort of plebiscite that these things are wrong?

    Isn’t it awfully judgmental to think of certain things as being “right” and certain other things as being “wrong”? I mean, it almost sounds theistic to me. ;-)

    Yes, please do enlighten me: In the absence of a transcendent morality, what RIGHT have we to condemn any kind of behavior — be it torture, death threats, murder itself, rape, pedophilia, the Central Park wilding, 9/11, the Stalinist purges, the Wichita Massacre, listening to Tom Petty, arson, unkindness to homosexuals, dismemberment of furry animals, despoliation of the environment, what have you? Isn’t our outrage just a wee bit silly? After all, we’re just blobs of tissue. Large, frequently malodorous blobs of tissue.

    Human rights? Human dignity? Oh, dear children, please. How quaint.

    Oh, BTW, there are some things I don’t take on faith. Dr Myers says he has received death threats. I don’t believe him. (I’m odd, though. A skeptic where others are credulous, and credulous perhaps where others are skeptical.)

    Have a good day, all of you.

  131. Mark says

    #135: Well, actually, they pay taxes, which are used in part to pay his salary, as well as a number of other things.

    Keep in mind that we atheists pay our taxes even though we know that we are shouldering some of the burden imposed on us by religious institutions that are granted a tax-free status, many of which attack secularism and atheism without so much as a bit of supporting evidence or any regard for the so-called respect they insist we show them.

    Even so, the origins of PZ’s salary are irrelevant on this point: he makes his comments as a private citizen, not as a public employee. Pharyngula is not associated with the university’s website, and as far as I know, his blog is not required reading for his students (though I suspect some of them read it as a matter of personal choice).

  132. DavidD says

    Dear President Bruininks,

    I am writing to you in regards to the “Cracker Incident” that has upset some Catholics and led to your office receiving requests for the dismissal of Dr. P.Z. Myers.

    I am a science educator, a part-time faculty at the University of Victoria, and a publisher of media materials for teaching biology to high schools and Colleges all over North America. As a scientist-educator and as a person who values thoughtful analysis of the human condition and the future of humanity, I urge you to act promptly in support of Dr. Myers on this issue.

    Our societies need the types of rational discussion that Dr. Myers article has provoked – it is crucial for us to apply rational thought and scientific-based thinking in all areas of human endeavor and science must gain an increasing respect and reliance in these times of threats to the global environment, threats to education, and threats to the secular basis for democracy that has always guided democratic nations such as Canada and the US.

    But certainly also, we do not need the hysteria, hateful utterances, and death threats that have also come out of Dr. Myers article about the “hostage taking of the Eucharist cracker”. I hope these reprehensible actions on the part of some people can be responded to swiftly and decisively – Dr. Myers is a highly-respected, highly thought-provoking science communicator who has done amazing work through his Pharyngula blog at promoting scientific understanding and thoughtful science-informed thinking and action.

    Please act swiftly to expose the hate-mongering for what it is, and to support Dr. Myers for his courage and insight in promoting this discussion.

    Sincerely,

    David Denning

  133. Heh heh says

    Man, now my cover is totally blown.

    For the last twenty years, I’ve been attending mass at both Catholic and Episcopal churches all over North America, just so I can sneak out those little communion wafers.

    Then I get ’em home, and I stick needles in ’em, or light matches right underneath ’em, and say, “Hah! Who’s all-powerful now, Mr. So-called “God”?

    “And if you don’t like it, why don’t you strike me with lightning?”

    But nothing ever happens.

    I figure this is the least God deserves— have you ever noticed what a bully he is, how his so-called “Acts of God” always involve defenseless trailer parks, and how he let the Nazis do whatever they wanted to the Jews?

    But, hey, I might even believe in that stupid cocksucker if he’d send a hurricane to hover over the Crawford Ranch, the White House, or maybe Dick Cheney’s house.

    Are you listening, cocksucker?

  134. Librarienne says

    Email sent from a long-time (lurking) fan. If I do say so myself, I drew on my highest levels of literacy and politeness :) :) :)

    Keep fighting the good fight, PZ!

    To everyone else: always remember that truth and belief have almost nothing to do with one another (despite the #$%@!! religious) and this is the root of what people like PZ fight for.

  135. Epinephrine says

    Starbuck said “I have seen athiests state that Christians should have their children removed from their homes for child abuse.”

    I’ll say it. Religious indoctrination is a form of child abuse. Particularly incitement of hatred toward others, or encouraging the beliefs that one should kill others due to an ancient text. Those who would indoctrinate their children in such ways should have their children removed from them.

  136. says

    Maybe I can just ask for a real good reprimand. That might be the best route.

    Posted by: Nobody

    A reprimand for what, again?

    Take your time, please. I wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.

  137. Alex says

    “Why do we condemn pedophilia? And why do we condemn people who issue death threats?”

    Really? Are you serious? You think because it’s a vote?

    Traumatizing children who are unable to defend themselves it wrong. This is a judgment passed down by empathy.

    Taking someone’s life without proper warrant is also wrong. Again, determined by empathy, but also logic and reason from a societal view.

    Perhaps I misunderstood your post. Perhaps not. If so, it’s poorly strung together thoughts like the ones you expressed that make religidiots like you scary.

  138. Chiroptera says

    randy, #13: obviously, death threats are way out of line from the defenders of Donohue’s position, but I also think asking folks to palm and steal something others consider sacred to be over the line.

    Yes, obviously the two are comparable.

    Personally, if Webster Cook understood the implications (according to the faith) of this act, then I would agree that he was a bit of a cad. But the hysterical (in both senses of the word) over-reaction to this completely absolves him from any guilt of anything whatsoever. In fact, the Catholic Church pretty much now has a duty to give him an unconditional apology.

    Personally, I would agree that PZ Myers’ threats against communion wafers may have been a bit confrontation, but now the over-reaction leads me to think that he now has a duty to “desecrate” the goddamn crackers.

  139. k8 says

    This is a joke!

    This is not about “free speech” it is about HATE speech and anti Catholic bigotry on the part of PZ Myers.

    For a professor of science to act so outlandishly and ignorantly is amazing.

    It is more amazing that so many little Stalins on here agree with his sick bigotry.

    You people look like fools and bigots to the rest of the world!!!

  140. Flex says

    John Lewandowski,

    As you are no doubt aware, this entire tempest in a tea-pot came about because Mr. Cook walked out of church without swallowing the host he was given. Possibly it was in bad taste, and it is something the church discourages, but there it is.

    The response from Mr. Donohue and others was uncalled for and represensible. It was not a matter of bad taste, it was a matter of claiming that a consecrated host was worth more than anything else, apparently including a human life.

    From your posts I suspect you agree that Bill Donohue’s reaction was not representative of the majority of Catholics.

    Okay, call him on it. Get a bishop, an archbishop or the pope to excommunicate him. If you don’t want Bill Donohue’s views to be seen as reflecting the beliefs of all Catholics then disown him. Not with a courtiers reply either, there is an offical organization of Roman Catholicism, have them offically declare his opinions as not representative of the church.

    Make it doctrinally clear that a human life, a unique person, is more valuable than the eucharist which is identically created in mass quantities every week. A loss of a few tons of consecrated host is nothing compared to the loss of a single human being. You can make more eucharist by performing the ritual, and it is identical to all the other eucharist made since the rite was instituted. You cannot say the same about a human being.

    A representative of your church has spewed hatred and venom into the world. This is not an isolated incidence and your religion isn’t the only one to have been embarrassed by the intolerant bigotry of one of their public representatives. When this happens the entire religion is shown in a poor light.

    P.Z. is simply accenting the hypocrisy of a religion which claims tolerance and understanding yet allows one of it’s self-appointed representatives to call for major retribution in retalition for an impolite action.

    As for P.Z.’s threat to desecrate a consectrated host, I don’t think pleading with him, or threatening him, will make him abandon the idea. If the Catholic Church takes some action, you may find him willing to discuss it. Action, not whining.

    The Catholic Church, Mr. Donohue and his small-minded organization called the Catholic League have in a small way damaged the world. They have, by persecuting a collage student and then calling for the dismissal of a tenured professor, incited venom and hatred against those who do not deserve it. For all the invective P.Z. has already had lobbed at him, he hasn’t done anything yet except mock the Catholic Church. As yet no hosts have been held hostage, no eucharists eliminated.

    If you want to prevent your sacred wafer from desecration, take action to fix the damage that was done by Donohue and the Church. Actions. It is too late for apologies. If the Church, or even some members of the Church demonstrate some contrition for the actions of Bill Donohue, maybe we won’t consider all the members of the Catholic church to be intolerant blowhards like Mr. Donohue so obviously is.

    Would you like some suggestions?
    – Set up a scholarship fund for Mr. Cook and people like him who have been excessivly and unjustly harrassed for an innocent exhibition of poor taste.
    – Censure, and if necessary excommunicate, members of your church who threaten or incite threats against other human beings.

    There are numerous other possibilities. For example, I’m certain that more than a few people here would like all the records concerning pedophilic priests opened to public scrutiny. But I recognize that this kerfluffle is too small to embarress the Catholic church enough to do that.

    Best regards,

  141. BobC says

    “40% of biologists describe themselves as religious.”

    That’s a lot better than the rest of the American population but it’s still disgraceful. What’s wrong with those 40% of biologists? What do they need a magical sky fairy for?

    The top scientists of the world, the members of the National Academy of Sciences, are 93% atheist. 7% of them believe in a personal god for some strange reason, but 93% atheists is a whole lot better than the percent of non-scientists who are atheists. Apparently the more a person knows about science the less likely he’s going to believe in a magic man. That’s why I think the greatest threat to religious insanity is science education. The Christian extremists also know science is a threat to their stupidity, and that’s probably why they are constantly attacking science education and threatening biology teachers.

  142. raven says

    A friend went to Catholic school. One time she walked in on a notorious Catholic priest who had his dick up the butt of a homeless kid about 5th grade. This priest has since fled the country with an arrest warrant after him and is believed to be buggering little boys in child molestor heaven, Thailand.

    Everyone in the school knew it and the kid was lost and pathetic and somewhat ostracized. One day he jumped in front of a subway train and was killed instantly.

    Catholics have got some ‘splaining to do about why their magic crackers don’t do anything magic.

  143. Jamie Browning says

    My email, sent to Johnson and Bruininks:

    “I’ll keep this short. PZ Myers is a hero of popular intellectualism. The people calling for his head are medieval hypocrites who, after just releasing an incredibly dishonest movie claiming to support academic freedom, were clearly trolling for an excuse to attack genuine academic freedom. I trust that you do not need persuading to stand in defense of your colleague, the purpose of this message is to add my voice to the side of calm and reason.

    Thank you for your time,

    Jamie Browning”

  144. Boosterz says

    “Yes, please do enlighten me: In the absence of a transcendent morality, what RIGHT have we to condemn any kind of behavior ”

    Ask yourself if you’d like that behavior directed at you or any member of your family. If the answer is no, then I’d say that behavior is probably wrong wouldn’t you? I’ll take the “treat others as you want to be treated” philosophy over your so called “transcendental morality” any day of the fucking week.

    Btw, if you get your morality from your religion, does that mean you think it’s morally acceptable to throw rocks at kids till they die if they back talk you? Just saying…

  145. Gavel Down says

    Well, why are those things wrong? Because the majority of reasonable people in a civilized society have decided in some sort of plebiscite that these things are wrong?

    Dylan – the answer may surprise you here, but it’s yes. A hundred years ago, no one thought it was wrong to deny women the vote. Two hundred years ago, people would have thought you were crazy to think slavery was immoral. We now commonly accept that these things were horrible, incredibly immoral actions that stain the history of our species. Morality is fungible, and yes, it comes from popular consensus combined with rational argument based on our feelings of compassion towards other creatures who feel pain and misery as we do.

    Think god-given morality is better, more constant? Wrong! The Bible was a-ok with slavery, treated women like beasts of burden, and favored unspeakable cruelty to their enemies, including innocent civilians. You would be hard put to find a modern church that openly espouses these values. Have we changed away from god? Or have we changed him to equate with our changing understanding of morality?

  146. E.V. says

    Christ, are you still on this thread?!?? (rimshot)

    Ok, let’s see what we’ve learned so far:
    *It’s just a CRACKER
    *It’s NOT JUST a cracker, it’s the flesh of JESUS, but only after magical words are spoken
    *Many catholics have scarfed down host wafers outside of communion
    *Host wafers are tastless
    *Adding a topping is no longer funny after the 30th time it is suggested
    *Not all Catholics are as offended (or offensive) as Bill Donahue
    *Those who believe in transubstantiation are cannibals
    *They’re not in danger of consuming Jesus’ foreskin since cicumcision is a Jewish rite and Jesus was a Jew
    *Mr. Cook was assaulted and physically threatened for not consuming the wafer
    *Even after returning the wafer to the church, Mr. Cook recieved threats of bodily harm
    *PZ recieved death threats when he declared he might “desecrate” a “cracker”
    *PZ recieved death threats and other verbal abuses
    *Pious people assume Pascal’s wager is an effective counter argument to non theism
    *Pious people assume prayer is effective
    *Those without a real argument call their opponents “cunts”
    *Many theists are thin skinned
    *Many atheists are thin skinned
    *Many people support PZ regardless of religious orientation
    *Some people oppose PZ despite religious orientation
    *Some atheists hold other peoples beliefs above their own
    *Many people find the idea of offending people very distasteful and throw words around like “juvenile” and “jerk
    *People are offended when others don’t hold their sacred cows to be dear
    *People should not have the right to not be offended
    *Atheists don’t have sacred cows – they’re secular, obviously
    *Some people have a wonderful sense of humor and understand irony
    *Some people are clueless
    *Trolls contribute little to public discourse
    *Some posters get cranky and tired and begin to fight each other even when they agree
    *Bill D. is a bully and a punk bitch.
    *Nuns can be assholes
    *Many religious zealots lie outright to give themselves credibility
    *Some posters are so entrenched in willful ignorance that reason and logic are useless against them
    *All Jebus/cracker pun and allusions have been done ad infinitum, ad nausea – let it go people
    *The same with the cannibal references and “it’s just a cracker!” -we get it
    *Using all the non sequiturs and off topic posts as evidence, many posters here are undoubtedly ADD/ADHD
    *Despite modern technology, a shitload of people are still in the dark ages.
    *Starbuck is a waste of protoplasm

    I’m sure I left something out…

  147. Dustin says

    “Transubstantiated crackers.” Great idea for the name of a new rock group.

    I was thinking it would be better if the title track of the debut album of death metal band “Atheist Noise Machine” was called “Desecrating the Host”.

  148. k8 says

    Flex,

    You idiot – this kid in FL was harassed by a couple of classmates – his life was NOT in danger.

    You guys are just using this as an excuse to express your anti-catholic bigotry, plain and simple.

    YOU ARE A LOW LIFE BIGOT…..understand?

    You just made up an excuse to express your true self.

  149. tsg says

    I keep seeing condemnation of pedophilia in these comboxes, and condemnation of people who issue death threats. One question : Why?

    Why do we condemn pedophilia? And why do we condemn people who issue death threats?

    (“Well, you see, uhm, it’s because those things are, well, wrong.”)

    Not just wrong. Harmful.

    Really? Wrong? Not merely “socially unacceptable” or “indecent” or “not cricket” or (my favorite bit of pop-psych jargon) “inappropriate”?

    Harmful.

    Well, why are those things wrong? Because the majority of reasonable people in a civilized society have decided in some sort of plebiscite that these things are wrong?

    Because they are harmful.

    Isn’t it awfully judgmental to think of certain things as being “right” and certain other things as being “wrong”? I mean, it almost sounds theistic to me. ;-)

    They are harmful and I don’t need an invisible magic man to tell me so.

    Yes, please do enlighten me:

    [standard “no morality without god” diatribe deleted]

    Short answer: because what’s good for society is generally good for us individually. For example, I think killing others is wrong because I don’t want anyone killing me. I can be a lot more productive in society if I’m not constantly having to defend myself. I can see the value of “do unto others” without the threat of an invisible magic man punishing me for all eternity for not doing it.

    Have a good day, all of you.

    In other words, “I’m going to ask a bunch of questions and not stick around for the answers.” Smug self-righteousness at its worst.

  150. James Sorrell says

    I sent a very courteous email to the President. Hope everything works out!

  151. Chiroptera says

    k8, #163: This is not about “free speech” it is about HATE speech and anti Catholic bigotry on the part of PZ Myers.

    Yeah, reacting against death threats is hate speech and bigotry.

    I mean are people really this stupid? Is anyone else smelling troll?

  152. Steve Jeffers says

    ‘Yes, please do enlighten me: In the absence of a transcendent morality, what RIGHT have we to condemn any kind of behavior’

    So are you saying that the only thing that’s stopping you murdering people is the sense that God wouldn’t like you to?
    And, presumably, the corollary of that is that if you thought God *did* want to murder people, you’d do it in an instant.

    *That* is infinitely more scary, horrifying and nihilistic than the atheistic position on morality, which is that we all share the same planet and need to come up with rules to make that possible. It’s *your* mentality that leads to people flying planes into buildings and sending death threats over cookies.

    What’s the ‘ultimate source’ of morality? Well, personally, I think it’s a nonsense question, basically one of the prime creationist fallacies, albeit it one that’s asked by people with better GPAs than most creationists. It evolved. Like every other animal, we’ve ended up with a system that adopts a variety of strategies to allow us to thrive.

  153. phantomreader42 says

    When I read the entry that started this incident, I didn’t even notice the call for crackers to desecrate. I was too shocked at the thought that adults in America in the 21st century were making death threats against a person for MISHANDLING A PIECE OF BREAD!!

    When the desecration remark was brought to my attention, I thought it was stupid, childish, silly, and pointless, but not evil. Threatening to murder someone over a cracker IS evil.

    And yet, the trolls keep screeching about how horrible it is to threaten baked goods, while ignoring threats of bodily harm to actual living, breathing, human beings. This is insane. They whine about tolerance, when what they really want is to silence their critics, by murder if necessary. The crazier they get, the better PZ’s desecration threat seems by comparison.

    Bill Donohue finds it “hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ”? What about any of these things?

    Threatening a person with death over the fate of a piece of bread?
    Raping altar boys?
    Covering up the rape of altar boys and shuffling the predators around to make sure they’d avoid justice and have a fresh supply of victims?
    Allowing HIV to spread through Africa unchecked, costing the lives of millions, by opposing the use of condoms and spreading false information about them?
    Turning over church geneological records to the Nazis, knowing full well that they would be used to hunt down and murder people?
    Spreading blood libel against the Jews, in official Vatican newspapers, as recently as last century?
    Torturing innocent people into confessing to witchcraft and fingering other innocent people for more torture?
    Waging holy wars, resulting in untold suffering and countless bloody, needless deaths throughout the world?

    Can Bill Donohue and his psychotic followers bring themselves to find any fault with the demonstrated evil acts of their own church? Or will they just keep whining about how unforgivable it is to show disrespect to baked goods?

  154. Feynmaniac says

    Civil to Others @135 blathered,
    No, they are calling for a censure because he attacks their religion with foul mouthed mean spirited regularity and they pay his salary.

    So when someone becomes a professor they are suppose to refrain from expressing views that may upset any taxpayer? Even if those views were made on their private blog and had nothing whatsoever to do with his position at the university?

  155. jb says

    Kate #85 –

    Well, I’m not going to mince words here: You can kiss my atheist ass. Where the hell do you get off telling PZ or anyone that they are required to respect anything about your traditions when you vilify them, hate them without even understanding what their beliefs are, profess the idea that they are less than human and do everything possible to make them uncomfortable as soon as you find out they don’t believe the same things you do.

    Wow. That’s quite a double standard you’re flapping there, Kate. It’s just way too easy to switch the target words and then you’d sound just like PZ railing against everyone who doesn’t believe the same things he does. But, like Donohue, he’s just a cowardly whiner with all the behavioral maturity of a wayward 7th grader underneath it all.

    Somehow, I doubt Bruininks is going to be very impressed by PZ’s fan club, but I hope he does the right thing. Whatever that is for things this embarrassingly stupid.

  156. says

    I’ve always considered PZ to be a credible voice of reason in the ridiculous evolution/creationism battle. As a Minnesota resident, Physics major, and Catholic, I view the ID/Creationist argument to be…well…silly at best.

    Additionally, in my opinion Bill Donohue and his never-ending presidency of the so-called “Catholic League” is a joke.

    However, I must admit to being disappointed and offended at Myers’ pointless attack on a matter that Catholics feel strongly about. We don’t knock on doors, hand out pamphlets, or conduct grand tv money-grabbing specials to promote our views on faith.

    The Catholic church has, to the best of my knowledge, been supportive of the sciences, including Biology and the study of evolution.

    On the part of Catholics, this is a matter of faith. It is not, nor does it pretend to be, a matter of science. But it doesn’t need to be.

    Although I have been a supporter of the Democrats in general, and Obama in particular, after reading so many hateful comments about my Church and my faith in these statements, it does cause me to wonder.

    The right wing courts the Catholic vote though they want to convert us: The left courts the Catholic vote though they hate our beliefs.

    Go figure…and then please explain why this event rises to the level that requires a Biology professor from a small state college to become involved at all. I’m annoyed.

  157. Logicel says

    dylan tenuous-hold-on-reality writes: Yes, please do enlighten me: In the absence of a transcendent morality, what RIGHT have we to condemn any kind of behavior
    ____

    Oh my, another cretinous, immoral religite, who needs the big bad boogie man in the sky in order to be moral. These people are scary and creepy. Yuck!

  158. raven says

    Another Lying Death Cultist:

    Oh, BTW, there are some things I don’t take on faith. Dr Myers says he has received death threats. I don’t believe him. (I’m odd, though. A skeptic where others are credulous, and credulous perhaps where others are skeptical.)

    Have a good day, all of you.

    Posted by: dylan tenelux

    Dylan is the type that can watch a Catholic priest rape a little boy and say it didn’t happen.

    Myers certainly did receive some death threats. They have been posted on these threads in public sporadically for two days. All you have to do is read them. Try looking for “ted” who was short and to the point.

    Do magic crackers make you a stupid liar? Seems like they do.

  159. says

    This is not about “free speech” it is about HATE speech and anti Catholic bigotry on the part of PZ Myers.

    So, saying that violence, bigotry, and terrorism are wrong is hate speech now?

    Calling silly ideas silly is hate speech?

  160. says

    By the way… You can laugh at me all you want.. I think it is humorus… But, Christians laugh at you clueless clowns all the time… When you spout your “disbeliefs” and a Christians just walks away shaking their head.. they are laughing at you… Maybe thats why athiests are so angry…. They KNOW they are but clueless clowns and everyone laughs at them..

    Was that the modified “I know you are but what am I” retort?

    Please don’t stop Starbuck, you brandishing your stupidity like the gun “he gave you” is giving me a good chuckle and giving others a good window into the mind of a mildly functioning idiot.

    You have yet to mae a coherent point with any support. Lots of

    WELL I HEARD ATHEISTS SAY THEY FUCK PUPPIES.

    Please. You’re a hoot.

  161. says

    Flex,

    You idiot – this kid in FL was harassed by a couple of classmates – his life was NOT in danger.

    You guys are just using this as an excuse to express your anti-catholic bigotry, plain and simple.

    YOU ARE A LOW LIFE BIGOT…..understand?

    You just made up an excuse to express your true self.

    Posted by: k8

    In other words: “BIGOTSBIGOTSBIGOTS!!!! It’s all BIGOTRY! Christians are persecuted by BIGOTS! Persecution and BIGOTRY!”

    You’re kind of adorable when you’re all frothy and yammering like a Chihuahua that’s about to overdose on crack.

    Anyway, maybe you should try reading the actual article which describes the event.

    You’ll thank me later, asshole.

  162. BGT says

    To Starbuck @83 & 131:

    I am an atheist raised in MS, and living in TN. I firmly believe and practice the right to keep and bear arms, regardless of what my other compatriots here may think.

    I also know this as well, only fools start wars. (Tell me again, what are jihads and crusades all about?)

  163. Gavel Down says

    “Moderate” – You clearly haven’t read the whole story, please go back and do so. As to your threatening to leave the Democratic party – please do. If you are willing to jettison your principles because someone allied with that faction annoyed you, you are a vapid fool and no one we need on our side.

    Good day to you sir. I said GOOD DAY!

  164. dylan tenelux says

    #161 Alex:

    Empathy? Ah! There’s some rational, scientific language for you!

    And why should we listen to this empathy thing, whatever it is? Because Oprah says so?

    Taking someone’s life without proper warrant is also wrong.

    OK. Peter Singer might disagree. Or he might have an odd idea as to what constitutes a “proper warrant.”

    I’m tempted to ask about your views on prenatal life — oops! I meant to say, fetal blobs of tissue — but I won’t.

    I do reserve the right to wonder aloud when the blob of tissue becomes this wonderful “human being” that “empathy” demands we must cherish and care for and not violate.

  165. says

    Yes, please do enlighten me: In the absence of a transcendent morality, what RIGHT have we to condemn any kind of behavior

    I don’t expect everyone to slog through the works of Kant, but surely you know this question has been dealth with by various philosophers throughout history?

    Short answer, as humans, we care about other humans, and develop a morality to reflect that.

  166. raven says

    Routine, another Boston priest who got caught. There were many in that Diocese.

    Defrocked priest sentenced to 12 to 15 years for child rape
    By Denise Lavoie, AP Legal Affairs Writer | February 15, 2005

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A judge sentenced Paul Shanley on Tuesday to 12 to 15 years in prison for child rape, condemning the defrocked priest for using his revered status to prey on a vulnerable little boy.

    Shanley, one of the most notorious figures in the Boston Archdiocese’s clergy sex abuse scandal, was convicted last week of repeatedly raping and fondling the boy at suburban parish in the 1980s, beginning when he was 6 years old.

    The sentencing was seen as an important milestone by victims who packed the courtroom to watch the once-popular priest receive his punishment. As a wobbly Shanley was led from the courtroom in handcuffs, many in the audience burst into applause and one man called out “Goodbye.”

    Judge Stephen Neel said Shanley used his position as a priest to gain the trust of his victim.

    “It is difficult to imagine a more egregious misuse of trust and authority,” he said.

    Shanley, 74, once known for a being a hip “street priest” who reached out to troubled children and homosexuals, will be eligible for parole after eight years. He was also sentenced to 10 years’ probation.

  167. andyo says

    phantomreader42, #177

    The “desecration remark”‘s point was to point out what exactly happened, and has you so shocked. Of course PZ anticipated the “outrage” at this seemingly “stupid” and “childish” remark orders of magnitude out of proportion. To any sane person like you it’d seem preposterous.

  168. wÓÒ† says

    Starbuck, you’re embarrassing yourself in a public forum.

    For the love of Jesus, stop.

  169. Realist says

    why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    Wouldn’t be a fair fight. I see it going something like this:

    Christian: “All right, you godless atheist – I’ve got you in my sights and I’m going to blow your head off!”

    Atheist: “Look!” (pointing over Christian’s shoulder) “Isn’t that Jesus?”

    Christian: (turns to look)

    Atheist: (BANG!)

  170. Edward Lau says

    Sent my supporting email from Hong Kong. If you find it wrong to offend these people, you are totally buying into this bubble of immunity religions have created for themselves. Religions are hardly an immutable trait and seek always to expand their influence. While they ask for respect shown to them they work relentlessly to spread and subvert and subjugate, in their absolute conviction showing no respect for good sense and integrity. Until as a whole they stop preaching and intimidating and lying to the credulous, religions and their followers NEED to be insulted and offended if you are to speak up for reason.

  171. mayhempix says

    This is a joke!
    This is not about “free speech” it is about HATE speech and anti Catholic bigotry on the part of PZ Myers.
    For a professor of science to act so outlandishly and ignorantly is amazing.
    It is more amazing that so many little Stalins on here agree with his sick bigotry.
    You people look like fools and bigots to the rest of the world!!!
    Posted by: k8 | July 11, 2008 2:16 PM

    Hate speech? Oh please! Christians love to play the victim, even when they are the world’s single largest fantasy religion.

    What fanatics like k8 doesn’t comprehend is that it is not about Catholics… or even Christians. Ultimately it is about all supernatural beliefs and religions that are perpetuated by indoctrination, fear, ignorance and power.

    I just love how people like k8 express their beliefs that atheists are damned to hell for eternal suffering, which isn’t hate speech, but if anyone dare point out the ridiculous absurdity of their rituals, it is.

    Also k8 wouldn’t know what a “Stalin” is if it bit him on his god created ass.

  172. Logicel says

    @ Moderate, Moderate religites are jerks, they give respectability to extremists by regarding non-evidential faith as a virtue instead of the vice that it is. All because they need a pacifer/dummy to suck on in order to get through life.

  173. BobC says

    k8, yesterday and now today you have been using several different names here. Why? Is it because you’re a stupid asshole?

    k8, or whatever you’re calling yourself right now, said “You people look like fools and bigots to the rest of the world!!!”

    Three exclamation points. You must really mean it.

    I work with Christians (when I’m not unemployed like I am now) and usually I like them. However the things they believe make me think they’re nuts. This cracker incident is a good example. There are Catholics who are willing to murder people who don’t want to eat crackers. Other Catholics want to ruin their lives. Many more Catholics believe anyone who doesn’t eat a cracker goes to hell to be tortured for eternity, which is much longer than several trillion years.

    The only possible conclusion is these people are insane and dangerous. And of course they’re assholes. If you want to call me bigoted against assholes, I don’t have a problem with that.

    By the way k8, you’re a world class asshole, and one of the most stupid Christians in the world.

  174. waldteufel says

    Well, Moderate, you’re annoyed. So what? Who cares?
    As to the Catholic Church being supportive of science, well, ask the ghosts of all those who were burned at the stake, placed under house arrest, tortured, or otherwise
    punished by the church just because they didn’t toe the line of current dogma pronounced by babbling priests.
    Whenever the church gets the upper hand in civil affairs, oppression ensues. Historically, there have been no exceptions to this.

  175. Dahan says

    Alright! dylen enelux has finally brought abortion into this thread! We can keep this thing going on for ever now! Ten threads, a thousand posts each! Weeks and weeks! Whoopee!!!

    Really, as long as the trolls keep coming and idiots like myself keep feeding them, we probably could. With that. I’m outa here.

  176. mr_p says

    I just wanted to point out in the video posted on one of the prior threads, the one where Doanhue and Hitchens were being interviewed. Did anyone else notice the part where Donahue said (more that once) ‘an Englishman has to be silent when an Irishman is talking’? What a bigoted asshat. Change the words a bit to a woman has to be quiet when a man is talking or make it about blacks and whites or about Jews and nazis or whatever. The man has hate flowing through him. The man is obviously nuts if he thinks he needs to defend a ‘supreme’ being.

  177. Richard says

    ROTFLMAO*10

    Thank you for that great imagery Realist. I will have a smile for the rest of the day.

  178. mayhempix says

    Dear Mr. Bruininks,

    It is my understanding that you are the type of leader that stays loyal to your team in the face of bigoted adversity. No matter how one feels about the angry and emotional reactions to Professor Myers blunt and scathingly accurate assessments, the university is the place that must protect his right to speak out for the sake of rational science and logical discourse.

    I have a particularly singular and empathetic relation to Myers situation as I once found myself at the center of controversy at UC Irvine when I was doing graduate visual art studies. A performance piece set of a howl from the right wing and then California Governor Deukemajian got involved. The Dean of Fine Arts stuck by me along with playwright Edward Albee and artist/UCLA professor Chris Burden.

    Respectfully Yours,

  179. Kemist says

    You know, I’m a severely lapsed catholic, and my family and friends still attend mass. Attended catholic school (those were the public french school in my place, so you basically had no choice, it was that or english-protestant), did all my sacraments. Hell, catholicism was our state’s religion in the recent past.

    And you know what was the reaction when I brought this into a discussion ? Laughter. Then “americans are so crazy !” So, religious commenters, that’s what you succeed in doing. Make us abroad slap our thighs at american nuttiness. Again.

    I’ve been in a mosque. I’ve been in a Hindu temple. I’ve made a few mistakes in respecting the exact customs of these places. And you know what happenned ? Nothing. Just the person accompanying me telling me it was wrong with a little smile.

    I understand the sacredness of the host for the believer. That’s why I would not do such a thing, out of respect for my parents, which are believers. But you know what ? This is supposed to be a personal thing, a thing that’s meaningful to you only. That’s why none of us have been outraged at somebody failing to eat the host, or bringing it home to do whatever (s)he wants with it. It means nothing to them. It’s only a cracker. For them. So who cares ?

  180. dylan tenelux says

    Dylan is the type that can watch a Catholic priest rape a little boy and say it didn’t happen.

    Well, no. But I do wish that during the course of the scandal, people recalled the rudimentary principle of American jurisprudence : innocent until proven guilty.

  181. k8 says

    Dog, you idiot –

    Calling for the public stealing and desecration of religious objects is HATE SPEECH. I.e. the incitment of violence and hate against a particular group.

    Enough with all of this talk of death threats – they are examples of 2-3 extreme individuals NOT the entire Catholic population and are the RESULT of the call for the stealing of a important part of the faith.

    Are you people blind? Or just idiots who cannot understand the basics of human civility?

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

    It is like calling for the stealing of the sacred scrolls from a Jewish temple and then burning them in public.

    IS THAT HATE SPEECH???

    It is! and it is the same principle of what PZ has suggested for Catholics.

    You people need to get a grip.

  182. raven says

    dylan the psychopathic moron:

    Yes, please do enlighten me: In the absence of a transcendent morality, what RIGHT have we to condemn any kind of behavior

    Because we are decent, moral, intelligent human beings.

    I take it you are none of the above and proud of it.

    Whatever, but we have police forces and prisons for people who violate our human made consensual laws. Something tells me you already found that out the hard way. Locked up, on probation, between crimes? Inquiring minds don’t really care.

  183. bigjohn756 says

    An “object of faith” does not exist. Faith is, by definition, believing in something without evidence. But, if there is no evidence, how do you know it exists? If you can’t touch, feel, smell or otherwise detect something it is not there, or, if it is it doesn’t matter.

  184. Logicel says

    KY Jelly wrote: …anti Catholic bigotry on the part of PZ Myers.
    _____

    Satirical ridicule is satirical ridicule, and not anti Catholic bigotry. PZ is not trying to get anybody fired for their religious beliefs while Catholics are trying to get him fired for his satirical ridicule of their beliefs.

  185. Ugly In Pink says

    Dylan – I note that you did not respond to my comment. As to your abortion nonsequitor, whether it is a human life or not is irrelevant: Morally I can no more force a woman to use her body to support a fetus, with the risks that entails, than I can force a father to donate a kidney to his ailing child.

    Morally the the body, and by that token the uterus, is invitation-only. By the same token, you are not forced to donate bone marrow to cancer ridden children, whose lives are similarly valuable to the fetuses you profess to care so much about.

  186. says

    #110:

    I am all for free speech, and the right of the self important and profane to ridicule others; but [I do not think PZ Myers should be allowed to say things I don’t like.]

    A friend of mine in linguistics tells me they have an old saying: “Everything before the ‘but’ is bullshit.”

  187. andyo says

    OK, this is the very first time I’m gonna insult someone since I’ve been posting in Pharyngula for a looong time. It’s the first time I feel justified.

    Johnnyjoe, #110

    I’m not sure his fairly public position as a professor – paid with tax dollars – gives him the right to ridicule the faith of 1.5 billion people. Or that his self-important cynicism really propels the discourse intelligently in this cultural debate about the origins of man.

    Does the University sponsor attacks on religion? Is this man’s actions to ridicule and vilify the faith of over a BILLION people really something the University can watch with bemusement?

    OK you slimy lying fuckers with the “1 BILLION” line. It’s not true. I am in that billion, as millions of others who were forcibly baptized as babies and never excommunicated. catholics keep books, and they don’t excommunicate almost anyone. I calculate catholics who actually believe in catholicism are in the high tens of millions probably.

    And yes, PZ has every fucking right to ridicule in this blog you or me or anyone. Get the fuck over it.

  188. says

    My mate Dave sent the following by email:

    President Robert H. Bruininks,

    The public campaign against Professor P.Z. Myers by one Bill Donohue has recently come to my attention. I understand that he is exhorting people to write directly to your office calling for action against Professor Myers. While I object to their methods, under the circumstances — including my rejection of their intentions — I feel that it is my responsibility to add to the flood of messages.
    Myers is not only a fine scholar, but an important and energetic public intellectual defending science and learning against some of its most committed and often unprincipled enemies. He is famous and widely admired for this among scientists, just as he is disliked by many opponents of science. His proposal to publicly express his lack of belief in the supernatural status of a communion wafer was, I think, an entirely legitimate exercise of free speech. It strikes me, furthermore, as an important intervention in the ridiculous reaction to the action of Webster Cook, including suggestions that Cook was guilty of a hate crime, and that taking the wafer amounted to holding a hostage.
    With respect to the specific suggestion that Myers’ remarks violate a university requirement to be ‘respectful, fair and civil’, it seems to me that the following points are worth making:
    (1) Myers’ proposal was calibrated to respond to the outrageous response to the actions of Webster Cook, which have included death threats to Cook. (And now, I gather, to Myers himself.)
    (2) Myers’ proposal is in an important sense brave – he’s offering to put himself on the line, in defence of the rights of those who do not hold the communion sacred.
    (3) While admittedly expressed with a certain fire, I do not believe that his post is in fact disrespectful, or unfair. That is, unless asserting that one emphatically holds a belief incompatible with that held by another is disrespectful or unfair. If it is, and fairness holds trumps, it’s hard to see the point of universities, or a future for science.
    (4) Finally, I do not think Myers’ public utterances are truly examples of a failure of civility. They are a vigorous assertion of the right of some to do things that others find objectionable falling short of infringing those of their freedoms that do deserve protecting. They are no different in principle from the act of any individual who allows it to be known that she or he eats pork, shaves, thinks women have a right to education, has a same-sex partner, etc. If universities do not hold the line against conflating disagreement with lapses of civility, I wonder who will.

    Regards,
    And apologies again for feeling duty bound to add to the deluge,

    David Spurrett
    Professor of Philosophy
    Head of School of Philosophy and Ethics
    University of KwaZulu-Natal,
    Howard College Campus
    Durban
    South Africa

  189. Damian says

    Mary Herboth:

    Thanks for explaining the origins of the Eucharist. I will always respect your right to view it as you wish, but I may never understand how it can elicit such emotion.

    There are a couple of things that I’d like to point out, though:

    As to the death threats – if they happened (I haven’t seen any) they are not from the Catholic Church but from people who were emotionally charged by the disrespect shown. That’s as wrong as the Catholic Bashing going on here – its all satire and protest.

    You see, this is so underwhelming by comparison to a mere threat of desecration that I find it hard not to conclude that most of the Catholics that I have read both here and elsewhere really do think that death threats are of less importance. Satire and protest? Death threats? You cannot be serious?

    I would not wish for anyone to experience the feeling of not knowing whether just one of those threats seriously places both yourself and your family in danger. It does, after all, only require one individual.

    Mary, I find the reaction of most Catholics to these threats — including yourself, I’m afraid — to be astonishing, and if I’m honest, more than a little frightening. And, yes, you are now witnessing the correct reaction from someone who is highly offended.

    As to pedophile priests – let’s be real – pedophilia is a societal wide problem that hasn’t spared the Catholic Church. We are people just like all people and we make stupid despicable mistakes just like the rest of society. However, it should be noted that pedophilia occurs among Catholic Priest at half the rate of the general population. (4% of all priests since 1950 have been accused of sexual abuse ranging from minor offensive to despicable) Is it horrible – yes! Is it especially horrible because it goes against our beliefs and claim to be the Church that Jesus Christ established – yes!

    That’s not really the point, though. This is:

    A secret document which sets out a procedure for dealing with child sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church is examined by Panorama.

    Crimen Sollicitationis was enforced for 20 years by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became the Pope.

    It instructs bishops on how to deal with allegations of child abuse against priests and has been seen by few outsiders.

    Critics say the document has been used to evade prosecution for sex crimes.

    Crimen Sollicitationis was written in 1962 in Latin and given to Catholic bishops worldwide who are ordered to keep it locked away in the church safe.

    It instructs them how to deal with priests who solicit sex from the confessional. It also deals with “any obscene external act … with youths of either sex.”

    It imposes an oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation and any witnesses.

    Breaking that oath means excommunication from the Catholic Church.

    Reporting for Panorama, Colm O’Gorman finds seven priests with child abuse allegations made against them living in and around the Vatican City.

    One of the priests, Father Joseph Henn, has been indicted on 13 molestation charges brought by a grand jury in the United States.

    During filming for Sex Crimes and the Vatican, Colm finds Father Henn is fighting extradition orders from inside the headquarters of this religious order in the Vatican.

    The Vatican has not compelled him to return to America to face the charges against him.

    After filming, Father Henn lost his fight against extradition but fled the headquarters and is believed to be hiding in Italy while there is an international warrant for his arrest.

    Colm O’Gorman was raped by a Catholic priest in the diocese of Ferns in County Wexford in Ireland when he was 14 years old.

    Father Fortune was charged with 66 counts of sexual, indecent assault and another serious sexual offence relating to eight boys but he committed suicide on the eve of his trial.

    It was published in October 2005 and found: “A culture of secrecy and fear of scandal that led bishops to place the interests of the Catholic Church ahead of the safety of children.”

    The Catholic Church has 50 million children in its worldwide congregation and no universal child protection policy although in the UK there is the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults.

    In some countries this means that the Crimen Sollicitationis is the only policy followed.

  190. Boosterz says

    “It is like calling for the stealing of the sacred scrolls from a Jewish temple and then burning them in public.”

    Crackers aren’t “sacred scrolls” moron. Not to mention the fact that they GAVE him the cracker and he just didn’t eat it. Then the brain dead idiots started saying he was holding their cracker hostage. Face the facts, your cracker cult is bat shit crazy.

  191. dylan tenelux says

    #207 raven :

    Moral? There, again, we have a fine specimen of rational scientific language, untainted by the slightest trace of sentimentality!

  192. «bønez_brigade» says

    I just emailed my support for you PZ. The Catholic League are giving AIG a serious challenge for the title of “wackaloons”.

    A Penn & Teller ‘Bullshit!’ show on the bugnuttery of Catholic crackers/christ — and their defilement of said bread — would be a hit; and an inclusion of other religions’ wacky “symbolic” beliefs wouldn’t hurt.

  193. Jamdark says

    I kinda like this “k8” person, they’ve got teeth! Rawr! That, and any time someone uses an insult like “little Stalins”, I get a tingly feeling.

    Honestly, throwing out the blanket “we’re all bigots” statements isn’t winning you points, pal.

    As a former Catholic myself even I didn’t understand the concept of the damn “holy cookie” and “blood wine”. If it was symbolic, then alright, I’ll give you that. After all, its just crackers and wine. But to say it becomes the flesh and blood of Christ? Sorry, but that’s just a *little* on the creepy side for me. At the very least, would it have killed the makers to give the damn cookies some flavor? Anyway, just my two cents, as I’m sure the cookie thing has been run through the wringer a lot (all these posts are gonna take me through the weekend to catch up).

    Also, I’m all for the intellectual brow-beating of any zealous people. If they want to play like real adults, they’re going to have to learn to act like them first.

  194. E.V. says

    K8:
    Cool, like your still here. 4reals. Like, shouldn’t you be watching Hanna Montana or something?
    Oh my gah! Have you, like, decided where you’re going to college? It’ll be so cool when you like rilly get to kiss a boy or if you ac’shully learn how to argue a valid point.
    Like someday, you might ac’shully have something relevant to say…
    But you’re, like, a poser, so STFU and stuff.

  195. Dustin says

    Re: #153

    It is somewhat telling that the people who think they have a monopoly on morality are the ones who are committing the morally atrocious acts. Religion doesn’t create morality and, far from creating accountability for one’s actions, it destroys them by shifting them to institutions and inscrutable deities. The Al Aqsa intifada required religion. Nobody would plunge a region into warfare over a worthless desolate hill without religion. No one would say “I do not have the right to negotiate for the Mosque, it is by divine mandate”. It is a ready made excuse facilitated by religion to take up arms and kill people over petty hatreds, and it is because of the religion that the perpetrators are absolved of responsibility for their actions.

    Incidentally, people who claim that their morals flow from God are simply lying, at least if they’re religious moderates. The Bible, and I am getting tired of repeating this, is a prescription for witch hunts, fratricide, genocide, patricide, and other forms of unbridled slaughter — people who don’t realize this have put too much stock in their Sunday School lessons and not enough in reading the book for themselves. Now, I will grant that some of the Catholic fundamentalists who are posting here would of course carry out those kinds of crimes if they thought they could get away with it, but this is not generally true of most American religious moderates. So, if they evidently aren’t getting their morals from God, where are they coming from?

    They’re coming from the same place we get ours — they come from being decent, accountable human beings who look out for one another. So, kindly take your moralizing and your piety and your sanctimony and cram them up your asses until you start practicing what you preach — and that means that your dark age mafia is going to need to stop sheltering child molesters.

  196. tsg says

    However, I must admit to being disappointed and offended at Myers’ pointless attack on a matter that Catholics feel strongly about. We don’t knock on doors, hand out pamphlets, or conduct grand tv money-grabbing specials to promote our views on faith.

    Death threats, physical assault, legal threats and trying to ruin another person’s life for not following your faith. That is what this is about. Ignoring that won’t make it go away.

  197. says

    “Moderate” – You clearly haven’t read the whole story, please go back and do so. As to your threatening to leave the Democratic party – please do. If you are willing to jettison your principles because someone allied with that faction annoyed you, you are a vapid fool and no one we need on our side.

    Good day to you sir. I said GOOD DAY!

    Posted by: Gavel Down

    WTF!?!

    I seem to have missed Moderate’s post, but is he or she actually leaving the Democratic party because of PZ’s involvement in Crackergate?!?

    That actually may be the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen on these threads packed with many, many ridiculous things.

    I can’t even find the words. It’s bat-shit, tub-thumping stupid, but somehow worse and weirder. It’s like being date-raped at Lookout Point in a very tiny car by a one-legged Shriner with an eye-patch kind of weird.

    Please Moderate. Write more. Tell us again how you’re leaving. I promise I’ll pay attention next time.

  198. Feynmaniac says

    Empathy? Ah! There’s some rational, scientific language for you!

    Empathy has been observed in apes, other mammals and of course humans. Several studies have shown human beings have a universal morality, alot like how humans have an innate ability for language. Empathy also plays a role in the evolution of groups. So yeah it’s pretty “scientific”.

  199. raven says

    Dylan is the type that can watch a Catholic priest rape a little boy and say it didn’t happen.

    Well, no. But I do wish that during the course of the scandal, people recalled the rudimentary principle of American jurisprudence : innocent until proven guilty.

    I just googled the priests name. He was Paul Shanley and he is now in prison.

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A judge sentenced Paul Shanley on Tuesday to 12 to 15 years in prison for child rape, condemning the defrocked priest for using his revered status to prey on a vulnerable little boy.

    Dylan just admitted he can watch a priest rape a little boy and say it didn’t happen.

    The problem with xian extremists like dylan isn’t that they aren’t as moral as other people, it is that they are far more evil than the general population. When you can’t tell a xian from an Anti-xian, what the hell is the point?

  200. k8 says

    “Crackers aren’t “sacred scrolls” moron.”

    Boozer,

    Both are the CENTRAL element to the religious ceremony for each respective group and, therefore, stealing and attacking the Holy Communion is akin to stealing and attacking the Jewish Scrolls.

    I don’t suppose you will understand; however, they are both hate crime and will be treated as such by authorities.

    PS – anti Catholic bigotry is just as bad as anti Semitism.

    SO – are you a BIGOT???????????????

  201. Alex says

    “Empathy? Ah! There’s some rational, scientific language for you!”

    Actually, it is you moron. Your lack of exposure to these concepts shines through. LOL!

    You are a complete knuckle-dragging mouth-breather.

  202. BobC says

    I applaud the comments in #197 by Logicel. I agree completely. Moderate Christians are part of the problem. Actually, there’s really no such thing as a moderate religious person. There’s nothing moderate about believing in a magic man who hides in the clouds. It’s pure insanity to believe that.

    The Christian extremists, the wackos who believe the entire universe is 6,000 years old, need the moderate Christians. If the moderate Christians became atheists, the wackos would be isolated and very likely to go extinct sooner rather than later. It’s the same for Muslims. The terrorists need the moderate Muslims, and the moderate Muslims need the Christians.

    This is why I think every Christian in America, no matter how moderate they think they are, is partly responsible for the 9/11 religious attacks. Anyone who believes in heaven, the belief which made 9/11 possible, is indirectly supporting the terrorists. The terrorists think they’re normal because even Americans believe in heaven. But there’s nothing normal about the heaven belief. To believe in life after death, a person has to be stupid, gullible, insane, and a coward.

  203. K.Pilgrim says

    People who cower before their cultural traditions then defiantly boast about its universal efficacy while never once questioning why they think and know what they think and know, should not just be considered ignorant and quietly pitied, but should be considered willfully stupid and loudly ridiculed.

  204. sinmantyx says

    “Surely a man of such hate and bitterness does not compartmentalize these views and feelings when he enters a classroom or has interaction with students. Is this representative of the open-minded pursuit-of-truth-and-conflicting-ideas environment that the University wishes to cultivate?

    All the Best
    Darren Libscomb”

    This angers me. I have heard nobody accuse Myer of treating students with disrespect. Implying that he does because of his strong opinions about religion – without any evidence what-so-ever – is simply awful.

    Teachers are not asked to never voice an opinion, especially outside of the classroom, that could offend a student. If that is what is asked of me – I’ll quit today.

    I’ve had racists in my classroom. Should I avoid talking bad about forced sterilization or race purity?

    Holding a material object as sacred offends me. It offends me within the religion of my youth, which was decidedly iconoclast. It offends me as a humanist. Comparing treating an object with disrespect with kidnapping and hate crime, is obscene and repugnant.

    I’m sure there are Catholics in my classroom. Why don’t you try to get me fired? Go ahead. Write a letter.

    Name: Marian Aanerud
    Department: Computer Science, Engineering Science and Physics
    Institution: University of Michigan – Flint

  205. k8 says

    Raven, you are a anti – Catholic/Christian bigot…

    Do you hate Jews as well?

    I bet you do, you piece of shit.

  206. Flex says

    K8 wrote, “YOU ARE A LOW LIFE BIGOT…..understand? “

    Hmm. And I thought I was rather respectful in pointing out to the moderate Catholics that suggesting a consecrated host has more value that a human life is in direct opposition to my, and many others, personal beliefs.

    However, should the inane troll want to resort to name calling rather than actually considering opposing points of view, I suppose a brief bout of playground insults could help the slow Friday afternoon pass.

    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.

  207. SteveM says

    bill said:

    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.

    You are truly a moron if you think that the only thing that gives a diploma value is the graduation ceremony.

    [sorry if this has been said already, this thread is growing faster than I can read]

  208. says

    I am offended by this post! Take it down right now! Or… Or… I’ll get you fired!

    Okay… maybe not so much. But boy, will I ever stamp my feet! And just watch this pout!

    (Pouts, shakes fist angrily…)

    Also: boy, aren’t you a sad, angry little man! I’m so gonna kick yer butt!

    Oh, also: bigot! You’re a bigot! You made fun of me for believing something really silly. Ergo: bigot! It’s just the same as if you called me names because I’m black. Or lynched me or somethin’. It’s exactly like that. Ergo: bigot! (I’m told whoever shouts this the most wins…) Anyway, it’s not allowed! You’re not allowed to ridicule me! It’s in the constitution or somethin’. Making fun of what I believe is illegal, now… Should be, at least! If I want to believe AIDS is a magical sky man’s revenge on the gays, or condoms make you explode, or Bozo the clown flies around the skies throwing pies at all the bad little boys and girls, that’s my right! And you’re not even allowed to laugh! Stop! Stop that right now! I saw you smiling! NO SMIRKING! That’s blasphemy! Bigot! Bigot!

    (Takes deep breath… Whew… This whole being really, really outraged thing, it’s tiring…)

    Bigot! Bigot! Bigot! Bigot… (Counts on fingers… Looks like I need one more for good measure…) Bigot! Oh, also, why don’t you go pick on the blacks? Or the gays? Or, hey, why don’t you pick on the Muslims, if you’re so brave? Here, I’ve a Koran for you to pee on right here! Pee on it myself daily, I do… Oh, also: bigot! Also, you’re just doing this because we Catholics are such nice people… Shut up, we are too! Much better than those terribly violent Muslims… those guys are crazy! And we’re not bigoted at all! We’re nice! Really! Say otherwise again, and I’ll cut you, motherfucker! And I’ll pray for you! You just watch!

    (Stamps feet again…)

    Okay. No, that wasn’t a prayer. That was me stamping my feet. I’ll get to the prayer bit in a bit. Anyway, you clearly don’t understand Sophisticated Catholic Theology(TM), or you wouldn’t mock us so! Don’t you know this whole transubstantiated host thing is all deep and mystical and transcendental and theological and cosmological and other-thingsological ‘n shit? Clearly, you plebeian atheists have no understanding of the finer points of our profoundly sophisticated theology! Only the truly jejune will be taken in by your silly incoherent, uncouth, unschooled, drooling ravings on subjects you clearly aren’t qualified to discuss… on these our holy mysteries ! In which this bread becomes the body of a dead guy! See, that’s deep. It’s beyond me, beyond you (makes scary/wiggly fingers)… It’s… erm… a mystery. Oh, also: Aquinas! I win. And see, watch me think deeply on it, all deep like…

    (Chants, swings incense ball around a bit…)

    You didn’t eat some bread that was handed to you? You horrid, horrid people! That’s so wrong, breaking into churches en masse, beating up priests, throwing over the altar, having your way with nuns! How can you live with yourselves? Clearly, that’s against the law! Stop it! Stop it right now!

    Oh, okay, actually, so you didn’t do any of those things, and you’re not proposing to do any of those things, and okay, it probably isn’t actually illegal merely to make fun of us nor to palm a piece of bread… yet… But nice people don’t go shoving our silliness in our faces anyway… Ever! Doesn’t matter what led up to it, it’s just asking for trouble, and clearly since it’s asking for trouble It’s All Your Fault I’m here bitching at you about it, so you should shut the hell up about the really, really silly things we believe. We’re not hurting anyone if we happen to like mumbling in Latin now and then! That is too all there is to talk about here. Death threats? Expulsion demands? Kid? What’s that? La la la, can’t hear you…

    Oh, okay, maybe I can, but just ’cause some kid got a few death threats, what business is it of yours? Shut yer trap, dammit! I was talking. You’re just pouring fuel on the flames! Expelled? Who said anything about asking for some kid to be expelled? Or death threats? We were talking about you being a bigot… Millions dead. Milllllions! Really! Atheism kills! Murderers! Hitler! Stalin! Pol Pot! Aquinas! Erm… wait… no…

    Anyway, okay, actually, I made all that up. Actually, I used to be an atheist, but I got better… Or, no, wait, I am an atheist, yeah, that’s the ticket, yeah… and… and you and your extremism is making me look bad! Stop being so extremist… you… you… extremist, you! Making fun of mystical beliefs, flagrantly eating bread, what will be next? Pogroms, salt mines? Breaking into churches? I know your type!

    Anyway, the point is: you’re all so immature. I’m above all of this. Waaaay above it. Can’t even see the tops of yer heads from the superior soapbox upon which I perch. The Catholics are kinda crazy and Donohoe’s a nut but Myers is a such a potty-mouthed troublemaker. So tiresome, these things just aren’t done in polite company. A plague on all of yer houses. Look… the line of my very jauntily upturned nose points to higher ground and higher things! Now, worship my Olympian objectivity.

    Also, clearly you’re just doing this to drive traffic to your blog. So… umm… I’m leaving!

    (Flounces off…)

  209. Odie says

    Does anyone else get the feeling that k8’s head is about to explode (like in Scanners)?

  210. WRMartin says

    Hey cracker people! Fuck you. And your cracker.
    Fuck your pope and his silly hat. Fuck your host.
    Hey Bill Donohue! Fuck you.
    If anyone has a problem with that then fuck you too!
    Send your god(s) to get me. I won’t be holding my breath waiting.

    Thanks PZ. I feel better now.

    POETS!

  211. mayhempix says

    “People are making death threats and calling for the ouster of a tenured professor over a cracker”
    No, they are calling for a censure because he attacks their religion with foul mouthed mean spirited regularity and they pay his salary.
    Posted by: Civil to Others | July 11, 2008 2:00 PM”

    But for Christians to claim athests are condemned to a torturous eternity is just fine because of a book written by men thousands of years ago who believed in an all-powerful man in the sky told them so…

  212. says

    jeez, you people are commenting at lighting speed! This is a response to Chiroptera at #13 on the previous thread regarding the Webster Cook’s UCF being a proxy for the Catholic League. I think that is unlikely, although UCF has been pretty wishy-washy on the whole subject.

    When I first read the story I was taken aback because I never thought UCF was a religious school. In fact, you have to look long and hard on their website to find the campus ministries page. UCF has made some big investments in their basic science research programs, including recruiting a fairly well-known person in my field to head their Biochem dept, and are building a new medical school to meet Florida’s always-growing need for docs. My guess is that the scientific stakeholders there are holding their collective breath and hoping that this episode doesn’t bring adverse attention to the state’s investment in the biomedical enterprise.

    FWIW, I think this all started b/c Webster Cook was using the opportunity to draw attention to the fact that state monies are used to support religious activities in a university system with explicit prohibition of such use of funds. In fact, the “church” where Webster snagged the heavenly host was in room 316 of the Student Union, not even in the Catholic Campus Ministries center.

  213. says

    It is like calling for the stealing of the sacred scrolls from a Jewish temple and then burning them in public.

    IS THAT HATE SPEECH???

    It is! and it is the same principle of what PZ has suggested for Catholics.

    You people need to get a grip.

    Posted by: k8

    Wow. You’ve moved from “BIGOTRY!!! OMG, I’M A BEING BIGOTY’D!!!!” To:

    “IT’S HATE SPEECH! HATEHATEHATESPEECH! I’m a being hatespeech’d at by TEH BIGOTRY!”

    Of course, you clearly have no fucking clue what constitutes hate speech or BIGOTRY!, and you’re doing a damn good job of proving that every time you puke up something you believe is an opinion.

    Now… Go be smart of something.

  214. dylan tenelux says

    #169 Gavel Down:

    Okay. I’ll give it a try.

    We are all sinners, and in the case of the Church, I guess one could say, corruptio optimorum pessima. There have been scandalous views held and vile deeds done by churchmen as well as by the unchurched. I do know that in the 20th century, the societies that were most diligent in their attempts to eject God from the public square and from the popular mind were also the most cruel, bloodthirsty, degrading of human dignity, etc. Neither Hitler’s, nor Stalin’s, nor Mao’s misdeeds can be laid at the feet of any priest or bishop.

    That’s the best I can do! Apologies if it doesn’t meet with your approval.

  215. Salt says

    So when someone becomes a professor they are suppose to refrain from expressing views that may upset any taxpayer? Even if those views were made on their private blog and had nothing whatsoever to do with his position at the university?

    Posted by: Feynmaniac | July 11, 2008 2:22 PM

    Absolutely not. But there is a caveat to this, and that is remaining civil. But I am sure you define civility in your own way, one to which PZ adheres.

    Also, PZ is expected to adhere to the terms and conditions associated with his employment. I’d not rely on on U of M, Morris, defining civility the way you do.

  216. cicely says

    Starbuck @ #83:

    For cryin’ out loud, with all this hate, why don’t you start a war against Christians and get it over with!

    I think you must be projecting, dude.

    What you’re seeing here isn’t (IMO, of course) hatred of Christians, but ridicule for an idea some of them hold sacred. Get a grip.
    ___________________________________________________

    I can’t help but thinking that there would be an easy way out of this whole mess if Jesus, having instilled his essence into the ordinarily-mortal cracker, simply reserved the right to vacate it at any time, if he (being omnipresent) perceived that it was about to be used inappropriately. The crackers would then be useless for profane and/or magical purposes not sanctioned by the Church underwriting this belief in transubstantiation.

    And, on the repeated insistence that everyone else must respect the Catholic belief in the divine presence in the consecrated cracker….I trust that they will now respect the beliefs of people holding other (or no) religious beliefs, and recall all of their missionaries whose job is to “convert the heathen”?

    Somehow, I am skeptical.

  217. young european says

    Can someone explain the need for all these letters to the university’s president — I mean the university couldn’t possibly take the complaint from the Catholic League seriously, or could they??

  218. raven says

    All these cracker threads have shown is that Xian terrorists are the same as moslem terrorists.

    The moslem terrorists are ahead on body counts lately but the xians have a deep bench and a lot of points ahead from the last 2,000 years.

    There is no reasoning with psychotic killers who think god gave them permission to kill. Best I can say is we have an armed forces, police, and prisons to keep them in line. Paul Hill murdered two MDs and the state of Florida executed him for it.

    I keep saying the fundies want to destroy our society and set up a theocracy on a pile of bodies and an ocean of blood. It wasn’t hard to figure out, look at the people involved and they say exactly that often.

    PZ Myers is the new Salman Rushdie, complete with a Catholic fatwa on his head.

  219. Odie says

    Ok, so this is off topic but…

    Abel Pharmboy@241:

    jeez, you people are commenting at lighting speed! This is a response to Chiroptera at #13 on the previous thread regarding the Webster Cook’s UCF being a proxy for the Catholic League.

    I totally sympathize. I can’t tell you how many times I started to write a response, then updated the page and decided not to post it because of how many new comments appeared (with some already making my point).

  220. E.V. says

    ahh, K8 (KATE) is just a lie perpetrated by the same little douchebag who is crying,
    ‘Cook din’t git no deaththreats” “It wuz just 2 peoplr”and “you be hatin’ the Cath’lics”

    So you lie and create different characters to gain credibility? Oh you have issues my little immature pimply college boy. Perhaps you should consult your school councilor or local priest about your habitual lying, it’s a sin you know… Naw, skip the priest, you might have to blow him.

  221. says

    Neither Hitler’s, nor Stalin’s, nor Mao’s misdeeds can be laid at the feet of any priest or bishop.

    Wrong.

    For an especially compelling case, I’d invite you to look into the role of the church (priests, bishops and nuns) in the Rwandan genocide.

  222. says

    Does anyone else get the feeling that k8’s head is about to explode (like in Scanners)?

    Posted by: Odie

    “That’s HATE SPEECH!!! UR TEH BIGOTRY! Don’t BIGOTRY me!”

    I think the little dude’s getting a smidge twitchy, but head exploding? I don’t think so. Explosions usually need some sort of spark to set them off.

  223. foldedpath says

    #180:
    Although I have been a supporter of the Democrats in general, and Obama in particular, after reading so many hateful comments about my Church and my faith in these statements, it does cause me to wonder.

    The right wing courts the Catholic vote though they want to convert us: The left courts the Catholic vote though they hate our beliefs.

    Speaking from the “left” (although not for the left, just my opinions), it’s not a question of hating your beliefs in the abstract. If all religions kept their beliefs private and outside the public sphere, then I would just think it’s a silly way to approach reality. That’s a long way from “hate.” We just don’t share the same world view, and that’s okay.

    Where hate and resentment come in, is when the religious impose their views outside their community, and try to tell me how to live, who I can marry, and what can or can’t be taught in public schools. Additionally, it affects me and everyone else on the planet when an effective method of birth control and disease prevention like condoms is opposed, because your personaly Sky Fairy doesn’t approve. All of this is reaching way beyond the simple practice of a personal religion, and trying to impose your will on others.

    Remember, this whole kerfluffle started not because a kid didn’t follow protocol in church, but because people like Bill Donohue demanded that the kid be expelled from his university as punishment. When you step outside the doors of the church and demand that the rest of the world follow your edicts, you’re going to get some push-back and resentment.

  224. Gavel Down says

    Well Dylan, I’m sorry but it doesn’t. You talk about fallible churchmen and authoritarian governments (an inaccuracy I refuse to be distracted by, btw), and that’s all well and good but your original point had to do with god’s idea of morals being unchanged and unchangeable, as opposed to morals that come from less divine sources. If those unchanged and unchangeable morals come from the bible, current religious thought has them being violated every day, biblically, things we think today are gross moral violations were considered fine. If the morals god expects us to live by don’t come from the bible, then where is this constant source? How is interpreting god’s morals differently over the years any different from the way we get morals without god as a cover?

    Your entire response had no bearing on this point. I am very disappointed in you.

  225. k8 says

    “PZ Myers is the new Salman Rushdie, complete with a Catholic fatwa on his head.”

    Raven,

    You wish, you drama queen atheist…

  226. Michelle says

    After so many comments I think I just gave up following and replying to the delusional folks. :P

  227. tsg says

    Can someone explain the need for all these letters to the university’s president — I mean the university couldn’t possibly take the complaint from the Catholic League seriously, or could they??

    Short answer: PZ asked for them.

    Long answer: Relying on university administrations to do the right thing rather than the easy, cover-their-ass, good-for-PR thing isn’t always the smartest move. Drowning out the vocal minority in a sea of rationality can only help.

  228. Gavel Down says

    Dylan – Your typo correction, while surely invaluable, does not address Ugly in Pink’s point. Please try to do so.

  229. Dustin says

    That’s the best I can do! Apologies if it doesn’t meet with your approval.

    Your best is feeble. Communism advanced not by rejection of religion, but by embracing a shoddy metaphysics and a religious belief in historical imperative and in a cult of personality. As for Hitler, well, I’m sure I don’t need to drag out his quotes about his mission from god, but I’m going to anyway.

    I say: my feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to the fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as sufferer but as fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and of adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before – the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago – a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people.

    We are a people of different faiths, but we are one. Which faith conquers the other is not the question; rather, the question is whether Christianity stands or falls. … We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity … in fact our movement is Christian. We are filled with a desire for Catholics and Protestants to discover one another in the deep distress of our own people.

    The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.

    We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.

    There may have been a time when even parties founded on the ecclesiastical basis were a necessity. At that time Liberalism was opposed to the Church, while Marxism was anti-religious. But that time is past. National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary, it stands on the ground of a real Christianity.

    I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.

    …I’m getting tired of this. I think you get the point.

  230. Damian says

    dylan tenelux, meet the Euthyphro dilemma:

    Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?

    The first horn of the dilemma (i.e. that which is moral is commanded by God because it is moral) implies that morality is independent of God and, indeed, that God is bound by morality just as his creatures are. God then becomes little more than a passer-on of moral knowledge.

    The second horn of the dilemma (i.e. that which is moral is moral because it is commanded by God, known as divine command theory) runs into three main problems:

    First, it implies that what is good is arbitrary, based merely upon God’s whim; if God had created the world to include the values that rape, murder, and torture were virtues, while mercy and charity were vices, then they would have been.

    Secondly, it implies that calling God good makes no non-tautological sense (or, at best, that one is simply saying that God is consistent and not hypocritical).

    Thirdly, it involves a form of reasoning that G.E. Moore classified as a naturalistic fallacy; to explain the claim that murder is wrong (or the prescription that one should not commit murder), in terms of what God has or hasn’t said is to argue from what Moore classified as a putative fact about the world to what Moore classified as a value (see is-ought problem).

    And tell me, how do you objectively decide between the competing accounts of religious morality — not only between the different religions, but also the different sects within the same religion? You have just introduced an element of subjectivity in to the equation, however you do it.

    And how you deal with the thousands of modern moral dilemma’s of which there is no mention in the bible?

    Morality doesn’t quite seem so easy now, does it, Dylan?

  231. FeloneousCat says

    Dad is a retired Episcopal priest. I seriously thought about sending him the story of the “cracker” (aka wafer). But, his response would be (because I know him too well), “Oh, dear, you know some people will fight over anything.”

    Here is the deal: yes, the chalice of wine and the wafer are purely representative, but in order for them to mean ANYTHING requires belief – in other words, without belief, the wine remains wine and the wafer is, well, just carbohydrates in a nice circular form.

    Reminds me of a story my Dad told me: he was in Seminary when one of his roommates woke him up early. They headed to Lake Michigan where, after the proper words, salt, etc. were said, he smiled and said “There, now the whole damn LAKE is Holy Water!”

    So, my young theologian wannabes, the question is, does the act make it so? Or does belief make it so? And were non-Christians as well as Christians bathing, drinking and showering in Holy Water?

    BTW, I never liked those wafers. Dad always used to buy real bread from a bread shop. Tastes better with the wine.

    :)

  232. says

    I’ve just put the following into snail mail:

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

    Dear President Bruininks:
    I am given to understand that you have received a number of complaints about the blog of one of your professors, Paul Z. Myers, who has written critically about Catholic communion wafers. I urge you to support Dr Myers’s right to free speech as a free citizen of the United States.
    Dr Myers’s weblog, Pharyngula, has been a shining light of advocacy for scientific knowledge, rationality and common sense at a time when science and reason have been under attack. It is worthy of support.
    Efforts to intimidate people into silence should not be tolerated, and academic freedom needs to be supported. I hope you agree with that.
    Thanks for your consideration.
    Sincerely,

    F.S.J. Ledgister

  233. dylan tenelux says

    #225 (I hope that’s right) raven:

    Well, that’s downight calumnious. I admitted no such thing. I merely enunciated the elementary principle of American jurisprudence which, apparently, no longer applies to Catholic priests.

    Shanley was vile. But for every Shanley, there were may false accusations which the newspapers later had to retract. The accusations were on page 1, or in the first minute of the evening news. When the priest in question was cleared, the news was buried on page 35, or twelve minutes into the telecast.

  234. Worst. President. Ever. says

    The Catholic Church doesn’t seem to give a shit about Bush and the boys starting a war for false reasons.

    Or the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that have been killed.

    Or the millions of Iraqi refugees.

    Or the Bush administration torturing and killing people in Abu Gahraib and Gitmo.

    But you are full of moral outrage when somebody hurts a stem cell or a cracker.

    You make me puke.

    And from what I’ve read in the New Testament, you’d even make Jesus puke.

  235. Coriolis says

    Ok, so instead of all this “outrage” these clowns should just go ahead and “desecrate” (burn, whatever) their biology or physics books. Just to solidify their ignorance.

    Go on, let’s see if their is going to be any “outrage” from the “militant” evil atheists over that. I expect we’d instead have a good laugh like when expelled came out.

    The problem is of course religious people don’t stop at the books, traditionally it’s more about burning the authors. And that’s when it gets really bad.

  236. charley says

    I propose a deal. You Catholics quit infiltrating the public schools to teach lies about science and deprive kids of sex ed, blocking medical advances from stem cell research, trying to outlaw abortion for religious and non-religious alike, protecting child molesting priests, Christianizing the military, lying about Christian U.S. Founding Fathers, claiming all morality comes from God and blasting fake-bell hymns from crappy church-top P.A. speakers, and we’ll lay off your God crackers.

  237. Kate says

    jb:
    I suggest that you read what I wrote, because I think you either missed my point, or are being intentionally obtuse.

    I have never once thought someone should be harmed for their beliefs. Never. I have never suggested that anyone be denied a job for holding an opinion. I have never, and will never, condone violence in any form. I will never condone anyone laying hands on another in violence. (It’s called pacifism, try it sometime!) I feel disgust and pity for those who make threats, try to get people expelled and fired for something that happened in a church and threatening their lives, as well.

    I am tired of Christians making death threats to atheists and feeling as though they are justified in doing so. Those who do so are really ugly, nasty, hypocritical people. They glorify death and violence in a way I find abhorrent. They seek vengeance at every turn, for the slightest, and even for imagined, slights. It is beyond me how they can not see how far they are from the lessons of their savior. They do not understand the concept of loving thy neighbor as they would love themselves, they are unable to understand even the basic idea of charity, and they plead special treatment when they would deny it to those who do not believe as they do.

    This is not, and should never be defensible behavior. There is no excuse for being that selfish and hateful. If you think there is, I pity you and those around you. You are leading an empty life, but I, for one, would never want any part of that life taken from you for what you think.

  238. JJR says

    Any professional historians among us? When was the last time the Catholic church had someone put to death in an official capacity for host desecration?

    I mean, I would think it would be during the height of the Spanish Inquisition, but then again it’s my understanding the Inquisition actually stretched into the 19th century in some parts of the world (like Mexico). The office that Benedict aka Ratzinger held before becoming Pope was basically the functional equivalent of Grand Inquisitor, only with a nicer, more modern name.

    Anti-Catholic bigotry my ass…the Church used to KILL people over this insane shit. We’re supposed to be grateful you just rough people up now and *threaten* them with death?
    And this is different from radical Islam…how exactly?
    (other than the Islamists still actually do put their words into practice a bit more often, to the collective horror of all)

  239. Vaal says

    PZ, here is what I sent to the Catholic league…

    Dear Sir(s)

    I should like to add my voice of indignation to the appalling witch hunt being instigated by the acerbic Bill Donohue against Professor PZ Myers. The disgusting hate speech and attempt to get the Professor ousted from his job is disgraceful, and to put it bluntly, unchristian. The Professor has every right to criticize religion, or any other subject, under the US constitution. If your religion is so weak so as not to be able to stand up to satire, criticism and ridicule, then yes, it deservedly should be relegated to the graveyard of history.

    I suggest you look to your own doctrine before you embarrass yourselves any further. Have you ever heard of “turning the other cheek” or in this particular case very aptly, the quote “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye”.

    You do your cause no favour in this asinine diatribe. In fact, you are doing a sterling job of making your religion a laughing stock. I sincerely hope cooler heads prevail and you tone down your rhetoric and show some tolerance.

    Yours Sincerely

  240. Mechalith says

    “Death threats would also come about from the unhinged wing of Atheism if someone suggested that Darwin buggered little boys…”

    Speaking as one of the most aggressively anti-theist proponent of rational thought I know, my personal reaction would consist of “I don’t believe you have any evidence for that accusation, although I’m willing to investigate the matter if you do. Frankly though who cares? It makes no difference at all to his theories validity and I don’t particularly care about the man himself other than a distance sense of respect for his work. He could have been a baby-eating psychopath, it wouldn’t change the fact that his scientific work was valid and important.”

    It’s amazing to me that so many theists and woomeisters don’t grasp that most of us simply don’t get that worked up about things like that. If Jesus had been a genocidal maniac it would seriously devalue his contributions to their religion but the personal qualities of most of our heroes simply don’t have any effect on their contributions to science.

    Also, I deeply pity the empty-headed troll in this thread who was too mentally bankrupt to even come up with the usual drivel to sling at us, but instead had to resort to copy and pasting the contents of the page into their post. It must be truly devastating to know that you’re incapable of even coming up with your own poorly constructed ad hominem attack or transparent strawman. Esprit de escalier is one thing, but not being able to come up with even a limpwristed misspelt personal attack on the Internet? I’m not sure I’d be able to look in the mirror without crying.

  241. Don says

    I can’t get over the idea that the cracker was taken hostage. It was going to be eaten, right? So it was a rescue mission, they should be giving the kid a parade.

    But if Donohue really believes that the actual body of christ is being held hostage, this could lead to some interesting negotiations. Preferably involving a pink tu-tu, Macy’s window and a large cucumber. You wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to your buddy now, would you, Bill?

  242. tsg says

    Well Dylan, I’m sorry but it doesn’t. You talk about fallible churchmen and authoritarian governments (an inaccuracy I refuse to be distracted by, btw), and that’s all well and good but your original point had to do with god’s idea of morals being unchanged and unchangeable, as opposed to morals that come from less divine sources. If those unchanged and unchangeable morals come from the bible, current religious thought has them being violated every day, biblically, things we think today are gross moral violations were considered fine. If the morals god expects us to live by don’t come from the bible, then where is this constant source? How is interpreting god’s morals differently over the years any different from the way we get morals without god as a cover?

    Quite. Morality has more often influenced religious beliefs rather than the other way around.

    As someone once said (somebody will tell me who it was, I’m sure): Religious morality can be summed up in two sentences. “My god hates what I hate. My god likes what I like.”

  243. Rey Fox says

    Brownian, so nice of you to let Starbuck out of your cupboard again, he’s so amusing!

    cicely:
    “I can’t help but thinking that there would be an easy way out of this whole mess if Jesus, having instilled his essence into the ordinarily-mortal cracker, simply reserved the right to vacate it at any time, if he (being omnipresent) perceived that it was about to be used inappropriately. The crackers would then be useless for profane and/or magical purposes not sanctioned by the Church underwriting this belief in transubstantiation.”

    You’re missing the point. When you start thinking about the actual feasibility of the actual transubstantiation, and how Jesus could protect himself from blasphemy or else just avoid awkward social situations, you’re missing the point. And the point is mind control. Controlling the way people think about objects, and what they should consider “sacred”. Trying to actually judge a ritual objectively robs the ritual of its power, thus we see why the ritual is so fiercely guarded by those who have been appointed its guardians. From the previous thread:

    “Did you not read what Bill Donohue said? He doesn’t care that Professor Myers has no respect for Catholic beliefs. He cares that the professor has threatened to desecrate the Eucharist.”

    Judging from Donohue’s actions in the past, I see no reason to believe this. No, I think it all comes down to beliefs, and belief in those beliefs.

  244. says

    From the latest thread:

    As a result of the hysteria that Myers’ ilk have promoted, at least one public official is taking it seriously. Thomas E. Foley is chairman of Virginia’s First Congressional District Republican Committee, a delegate to the Republican National Convention and one of two Republican at large nominees for Virginia’s Electoral College. His concern is for the safety of Catholics attending this year’s Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Myers’ backyard. Accordingly, Foley has asked the top GOP brass to provide additional security while in the Twin Cities so that Catholics can worship without fear of violence. Given the vitriol we have experienced for simply exercising our First Amendment right to freedom of speech, we support Foley’s request.

    Says k8:

    You wish, you drama queen atheist…

    You’re illiterate, you whiny Catholic.

  245. Rachel says

    Please don’t forget Webster Cook, the student who took the cracker along for a trip. I am sure he’s being targeted as well since the Catholic League has posted the UCF president, John C. Hitt, email address: jhitt@mail.ucf.edu

    When you’re done writing in support of PZ, shoot an email to Hitt in support of Cook.

  246. raven says

    After so many comments I think I just gave up following and replying to the delusional folks. :P

    Posted by: Michelle

    Good idea. Waste of time here now. Most of the off the wall comments are all one guy with dozens of sockpuppet IDs. K8, dustin, dylan, etc.

    He is known to be seriously mentally ill and believed to be either in a secure lockup or closely supervised group home. When you can’t go anywhere and you are crazy, spending all day vomiting your sickness on the internet is about all they can do.

    Myers usually deletes them but unlike the sockpuppets, he has a life besides the threads.

  247. mayhempix says

    “Crackers aren’t “sacred scrolls” moron.”
    Boozer,
    Both are the CENTRAL element to the religious ceremony for each respective group and, therefore, stealing and attacking the Holy Communion is akin to stealing and attacking the Jewish Scrolls.
    I don’t suppose you will understand; however, they are both hate crime and will be treated as such by authorities.
    PS – anti Catholic bigotry is just as bad as anti Semitism.
    SO – are you a BIGOT???????????????
    Posted by: k8 | July 11, 2008 2:47 PM”

    The only one who needs to “get a grip” is k8. Stealing the scrolls would be “robbery”, not hate crime. Plus equating mass produced crackers with ancient one of a kind scrolls is silly and stupid.

    Stating how ridiculous Catholic rituals are is not bigotry, nor is pointing out the same thing about Jewish rituals. But claiming that a particular group of people be they Jews, Christians or homosexuals are racially/genetically inferior is bigotry. Claiming that k8 is intellectually inferior is not.

    There will be no hate crime prosecution for stealing a cracker, but in a perfect world k8 would beprosecuted for hate crimes against reason, logic and intelligence.

  248. keith says

    Darn I hope no one diminishes the publics right to read Pee Wee Myers and the sewer pig cult of neo-nazis who follow him around with their tongues hanging out and spittle dripping from their lips.

    The more the American public can be exposed to these animals the better.

    Perhaps along the way Americans will see the absurdity of their pseudo-science and recognize all their blathering about ID and their hate speech toward anyone disagreeing with them receives is simply their entry point into society as they seek to destroy western culture and create a totally secular technocracy.

    I remain disappointed that PZ’s liver, pancreas, lungs, and brain haven’t exploded with virulent forms of cancer yet but perhaps before long. I’m keeping an extra hundred dollar bill handy to buy a few rounds of beers in a local pub in great celebration.

    I have written my local senator to ask if all taxpayer funded scientific grant awarding agencies are being properly audited to insure under congressional oversight that people are not using their grant resources, hardware, software, and supposed in-kind time to post insults and BS science , legal blather, and such on these neo-nazi web blogs.

    As a retiree my time is my own, but it is curious that all these so called scientists, during regular work hours, have time to post long, elaborate screeds all day when their supposed to be working on their big projects.

    If we could shut down such illegal use it would silence this psychotic band of wireheads, since apart from your welfare access to the net you’d be reduced to crystal radio sets and telegraph keys to screech with from your trailerpark, chickenwire patios.

  249. Dustin says

    A YOU TUBE EUCHARIST CHALLENGE !!!

    I love the idea, but you’ll probably need someplace else to host them — YouTube will submissively urinate as soon as Bill comes a’whinin’ and ban everyone who posts a host desecration.

  250. says

    Also, I deeply pity the empty-headed troll in this thread who was too mentally bankrupt to even come up with the usual drivel to sling at us, but instead had to resort to copy and pasting the contents of the page into their post.

    In that person’s defense, I did the same thing a few posts back. Fully unintentional and may be a result of some database glitch from the massive traffic.

    That or i just fatfingered the cut and past of one comment to include the whole page.

  251. Odie says

    My son is 15 months old. Even though most of his speech is still jargon, it’s starting to become a little more understandable. As I am telling my wife about this whole cracker debacle, our son has been running around the room playing with some toys and singing to himself. Intermittently, he will come over to us and say something in his jargon.

    A minute ago he came over and said something that wasn’t immediately recognizable, so we asked him to repeat it. He said it again and my wife and I just looked at each other and started laughing. Our 15-month-old son just said, “Jesus cracker.”

  252. E.V. says

    K8 just exposed himself. He’s taken on a female avatar to vent his frustrations with us mean ol’ nonbelievers.

    The “drama queen” reference was classically Freudian. Self-hating are you K8? It’s ok, we support gay rights here. We don’t feel that repression is bad for you. So just let your freak flag fly, we don’t care.

  253. Feynmaniac says

    k8 blathered while off his/her meds @ 206,
    Calling for the public stealing and desecration of religious objects is HATE SPEECH. I.e. the incitment of violence and hate against a particular group.

    PZ NEVER advocated violence against Catholics, you moron. What he advocated was getting crackers. He never even once said to steal the crackers. The crackers are GIVEN to you by a priest. As for hate, PZ, and many here, don’t hate Catholics, just the idea of Catholicism. That’s not the same thing.

    Enough with all of this talk of death threats – they are examples of 2-3 extreme individuals NOT the entire Catholic population and are the RESULT of the call for the stealing of a important part of the faith.

    When you get death threats you can say to stop talking about them on your blog. Is just saying you are going obtain holy crackers really worthy even 1 death threat?

    How about the more realistic (altough really quite harmless) threat to PZ’s job? The Catholic League and MANY Catholics have called on people to try to get PZ fired. That’s more that just a few poeple.

  254. Civil to Others says

    For everyone here who is making the argument that the host is just a cracker and nothing more – that the import associated with it is meaningless, articificial, and that those who have it should be mocked – I propose an experiment for you. Take an American flag, walk into an American Legion hall on a Sat night, and light it on fire. After all, it’s just a piece of cloth. Any association with it is mythology and meaningless. People assign nonscientific, silly allegience to it. So come on warriors of intellectual clarity – step up. Oh and please have you friends take and post pictures of the outcome.

  255. Ando says

    I am a Catholic. I have no problems with evolution. I’ll go ahead and say what few others have said: I apologize for those religious fanatics who would threaten the life of a fellow human being in response to the disrespect shown towards the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the “source and summit” of the faith, the great mystery of God’s relationship with man. For Catholics, it is the sacrament above all others.

    I don’t expect atheists to respect my religion, nor do I demand that they respect a cracker (By the way, as an aside, feel free to buy up all of the communion wafers you want and do whatever you want with them. They don’t gain their supernatural properties until the consecration upon the altar). However, I do expect respect as a fellow human traveler in life. I’m a big supporter of science and hold no ill will towards the scientific pursuit of knowledge. I don’t look for ways to goad an atheist into a confrontation. I’m saddened that there are those who would disrespect the humanity of people of faith and their desire to worship as they see fit. I’m even more saddened that there are members of my faith capable of reaching such depths of anger over the whole incident.

    I’m not angry, just incredibly sad. I would hope to see more people, on both sides, who see this whole situation as a remarkably poor way of dealing with our differences. It’s not the least vitriolic side that wins; we’re all losers in this one. At any rate, everybody go have a beer or two and enjoy the weekend.

  256. IBY says

    As a former Christian, I say this to you extremist Catholics: You guys are batshit nuts, and I would have thought the same thing even if I was still a Christian. I mean really, do you think your god cares if you go on raving like a bunch of lunatics? You think God’s feeling is hurt when a person “kidnaps” the cracker? Then your view of God is a weak God, or perhaps you are insecure of your beliefs. I thought he preached “love.” This is the kind of things that makes the reputation of religion go bad.

  257. Mewton says

    Just sent my letter. I would hate to have to sort through that guys mailbox, but I’d love to know the final tally of support letters sent.

  258. says

    @ 244 Dylan:

    Neither Hitler’s, nor Stalin’s, nor Mao’s misdeeds can be laid at the feet of any priest or bishop.

    Perhaps not, but it seems odd that the Vatican would apologize about the Holocaust if they didn’t feel at least a little bit responsible.

    And what of the situations in Bosnia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, the Phillipines, and Uganda, to name just a few?

  259. says

    Brownian, so nice of you to let Starbuck out of your cupboard again, he’s so amusing!

    I know; isn’t he just the height of just-too-muchery?

    I wonder what ethnic group he’s going to quaintly disparage this time.

  260. says

    Dear Prof. Myers,

    It would be great if you published the hate mail, just as Prof. Dawkins does on his website. What better way to expose the minds of these people? It should at least be an embarrassment and a shining example of how not to behave. Perhaps even a few Catholics would be willing to disown these people.

    Regards
    IK

  261. Dustin says

    At any rate, everybody go have a beer or two and enjoy the weekend.

    Tell ya what. When you nice moderate Catholics make Bill and his inquisition shut the hell up, we won’t need to do it for you, and you won’t have a problem. Otherwise, you’re just bleating and accommodating his harassment and death threats.

  262. Eilish says

    Prof. Meyers – there is nothing to support in the actions of that other students or your assorted comments/threats to do worse to something some faiths find sacred.

    Your position is indefensible.

    What comes through loud and clear is your displaced rage – taking it out on the Roman Catholic Church for the non-support of the student by his college administration.

    In closing, out of curiosity – would you tell us all what item(s) YOU hold sacred so someone can desecrate that if you manage to desecrate the Blessed Sacrament.

  263. dylan tenelux says

    #262 Damian:

    Yes, quite right, it’s not easy. Or not as easy as the atheists would make it out to be! (If we just get rid of God, the world will be a better place … a more “moral” “empathic” place …)

    I skimmed the Dilemma, because I’m afraid (forgive the rudeness, bred of a slight fatigue) my interest in this thread is flagging. But I’ll have a go at two of its propositions:

    (a) God as a “passer-on” of morality. Uhm, not quite. There are commandments, of course, to be kept; but the phrasing “passer-on” seems somehow inadequate to describe the transcendent Source of all Beauty, Light, Love, Truth, Good. God communicates Himself in various ways — to a Roman Catholic, most notably through the Sacraments, One of Which the eminent Dr Myers has pledged to desecrate.

    (b) Is God bound by morality? Well, that’s an odd question. God does not, in fact, cannot, command that which is contrary to His nature. I think that’s sound.

  264. IBY says

    As a former Christian, I say this to you extremist Catholics: You guys are batshit nuts, and I would have thought the same thing even if I was still a Christian. I have never met a group of people so angry over something so trivial, nor are any Christians I have met been crazy. I mean really, do you think your god cares if you go on raving like a bunch of lunatics? You think God’s feeling is hurt when a person “kidnaps” the cracker? Then your view of God is a weak God, or perhaps you are insecure of your beliefs. I thought he preached “love.” This is the kind of things that makes the reputation of religion go bad.

  265. Rey Fox says

    “It’s amazing to me that so many theists and woomeisters don’t grasp that most of us simply don’t get that worked up about things like that.”

    Since Ichthyic tends to work the night shift, I’ll say it for him: It’s projection.

    Everyone’s favorite performance artist, Keith:
    “I have written my local senator to ask if all taxpayer funded scientific grant awarding agencies are being properly audited to insure under congressional oversight that people are not using their grant resources, hardware, software, and supposed in-kind time to post insults and BS science , legal blather, and such on these neo-nazi web blogs.”

    Wait, I thought in your first paragraph, you said exposure was a good thing for us horrible godless folk:
    “The more the American public can be exposed to these animals the better.” You’re losing your touch, man. Must be disappointed about the box office failure that was Expelled. I was wondering why you didn’t produce any work for a few months after it opened.

  266. mayhempix says

    Christians are the real bigots because they believe they are spirtually superior to the rest of mankind and everyone else will rot in hell for an eternity.

    In other words… k8 is bigot.

  267. Doug Little says

    (Puff, Puff) Can’t keep up…. (Hack, Cough) Been reading for hours, still no end in sight. Someone get me a defibrillator and an ambulance ….. and an ice cold beer now I think of it.

  268. says

    I’m not angry, just incredibly sad. I would hope to see more people, on both sides, who see this whole situation as a remarkably poor way of dealing with our differences. It’s not the least vitriolic side that wins; we’re all losers in this one. At any rate, everybody go have a beer or two and enjoy the weekend.

    I’ll drink to that.

  269. Dustin says

    I wonder what ethnic group he’s going to quaintly disparage this time.

    It’s even more adorable since he’s doing it from inside that strikingly gilded demitasse tea cup.

  270. tsg says

    For everyone here who is making the argument that the host is just a cracker and nothing more – that the import associated with it is meaningless, articificial, and that those who have it should be mocked – I propose an experiment for you. Take an American flag, walk into an American Legion hall on a Sat night, and light it on fire. After all, it’s just a piece of cloth. Any association with it is mythology and meaningless. People assign nonscientific, silly allegience to it. So come on warriors of intellectual clarity – step up. Oh and please have you friends take and post pictures of the outcome.

    What, exactly, would this prove?

  271. says

    Darn I hope no one diminishes the publics right to read Pee Wee Myers and the sewer pig cult of neo-nazis who follow him around with their tongues hanging out and spittle dripping from their lips.

    You fail.

  272. Steverino says

    As a practicing Catholic (’cause we never get it right) I have always thought the Body of Christ would go well with a bit of onion dip…or maybe a nice salsa….Yeah…onion dip…would go well with the Blood of Christ (red wine, for those not lucky enough to be a member of the chosen ;-)

    Hey, participation is down…what the hey!

  273. Gavel Down says

    Civil to Others – Should one make such a display, you rightly assume violence would result. You wrongly assume that it would be any more acceptable in that case than in this one.

  274. Jody says

    #230: I’m with you. Every lunatic movement has it’s “moderate” members to give cover to the crazies. That’s how this shit gets out of hand.

    Step A): Batshit loony makes crazy statement.
    Step B): Reasonable public is appalled.
    Step C): So called “moderates” from batshit loony’s movement come out in defense of said movement, they are not all that bad, have a little respect, look at all the good said movement has done, yadda yadda yadda.
    Step D): Zeitgeist shifts a bit towards loony’s pov.

    It also pretty much explains the last 40 years of American politics.

    So yeah. The moderates are just as bad as the extremists.

  275. E.V. says

    “If we could shut down such illegal use it would silence this psychotic band of wireheads, since apart from your welfare access to the net you’d be reduced to crystal radio sets and telegraph keys to screech with from your trailerpark, chickenwire patios.”

    Ahh, the impotent whine of a stunted little man, but in his mind – he is LEGEND. His opinions matter little to anyone. His is powerless in his rage. Poor pitiful hate-filled Keith. Spittle spewing from his lips. He’d show US!( thinking of the cruelest ways to exact his revenge!!) It must be tough to feel so powerless, so insignificant, Keith…

  276. Johnnyjoe says

    Nice to see that the “intelligent” folk here who villify the Church can use four letter words so….. frequently.

    “Without education, we are in the grave danger of taking educated people seriously”
    G.K. Chesterton

  277. Rich P. says

    Letter in the mail sir! Hope the good President does not mind some dust on the front, the envelope feeder on my office printer hasn’t been used in years :P.

  278. tsg says

    For everyone here who is making the argument that the host is just a cracker and nothing more – that the import associated with it is meaningless, articificial, and that those who have it should be mocked – I propose an experiment for you. Take an American flag, walk into an American Legion hall on a Sat night, and light it on fire. After all, it’s just a piece of cloth. Any association with it is mythology and meaningless. People assign nonscientific, silly allegience to it. So come on warriors of intellectual clarity – step up. Oh and please have you friends take and post pictures of the outcome.

    What, exactly, would this prove? That is, other than some people value the symbol more than what it stands for.

  279. Civil to Others says

    Gavel Down
    My point is not that you’ll get a butt kicking. My point is that human beings strongly associate meaning to items. to argue that those items are “just a cracker” or “just a piece of cloth” is a ridiculous line of argument. To mock these meaning filled items is to incur the wrath of those who attach meaning to them. This is obvious, yet it seems to be an unaccepted reality in these threads. Just taking it out of the religious realm. To walk up to someone, poke them in the chest, and tell them they are an idiot is to ask for a punch in the nose. PZ is getting punched.

  280. Nick says

    Dear President Bruininks;

    I’m writing in support of Professor Paul Zachary Myers regarding his recent controversy with the Catholic League over his website’s post about the desecration of the Eucharist. Professor Myers is one of the internet’s most prominent advocates for the application of reason and free speech, providing thought-provoking insight on some of the most controversial topics in our society today.

    The fact that Professor Myers is receiving death threats shows just how dangerous religious fundamentalists can be. Professor Myers open skepticism and unwillingness to “take things on faith” simply isn’t compatible with these overzealous individuals.

    I encourage you to support Professor Myers right’s to free speech. His voice is a much-needed influence in the public sphere.

    Sincerely
    (Real Name)

  281. dylan tenelux says

    #260 Gavel Down:

    To address Ugly in Pink’s point on the “irrelevant” status of a “fetus”:

    There’s all the difference in the world between not donating bone marrow and the direct taking of innocent life.

    Wasn’t it Alex of Heaven-knows-what-number-comment who said “Taking a life without proper warrant is wrong”? I agree with that sentiment.

  282. Don says

    Eilish #298

    would you tell us all what item(s) YOU hold sacred

    You really don’t get the point, do you?

  283. says

    @ Ando
    I hear ya, I do think this is meaningless. However, the disrespect was done by the extreme Catholics, and yes, PZ did the cracker post, but he was responding to the idiocy of them threatening and harassing a young man’s life just because he pulled a prank he thought was harmless. The post, then, surely is directed to those who are most offended by it, those who are the least tolerant.

  284. Fenymaniac says

    Salt @ 245,
    Also, PZ is expected to adhere to the terms and conditions associated with his employment. I’d not rely on on U of M, Morris, defining civility the way you do.

    I doubt the U of M, Morris has bothered to define how “civil” their professor should sound when speaking as private citizens on their personal blogs. Even if the university has guides to this, which I highly doubt, they would probably be found to be unconstitutional. Lastly, PZ himself has said:
    “I am not concerned about my job — tenure!”

    Your threats are meaningless and stupid.

  285. negentropyeater says

    Moderate #180,

    but then why do Catholics belittle so much their own faith by reacting so strongly ?

    If you have faith in Christ why bother ?

    Don’t you see that it doesn’t make any sense to react to those who do not have faith ?

    Why, because blessed Eucharists are going to be wasted ? Do you really believe this was the message of Jesus ?

    When he said to his disciples giving them bread, this is my body, do you think that he meant, that it’s still his body when a non believer consumes it ? Don’t you see that it’s only supposed to be his body for those who have faith, so for those who don’t it looses all its significance obviously, and there is nothing to worry about if some non believer desecrates it. So why react at all ?

    Why can’t catholics be a little bit more intelligent for once and if they really have faith in something live up to the significance of what they are preaching ?
    No this is just exposing this old very bad reflex that religions have to play the strongman and to force others to obbey their rules, afterall that’s what they’ve been doing for centuries.

  286. mayhempix says

    For everyone here who is making the argument that the host is just a cracker and nothing more – that the import associated with it is meaningless, articificial, and that those who have it should be mocked – I propose an experiment for you. Take an American flag, walk into an American Legion hall on a Sat night, and light it on fire. After all, it’s just a piece of cloth. Any association with it is mythology and meaningless. People assign nonscientific, silly allegience to it. So come on warriors of intellectual clarity – step up. Oh and please have you friends take and post pictures of the outcome.
    Posted by: Civil to Others | July 11, 2008 3:18 PM

    Burning of the flag is constitutionally protected free speech. It is not a hate crime. The flag in and of itself is a piece of cloth that means nothing. It is all in the mind. Bestowing spirtual power on an inanimate object is projection that is usually a symptom of ideological indoctrination.

    Why do Catholics get so upset? Nothing is personally taken from them. Nothing changes. Are they so insecure that the removal of a cracker somehow undermines the foundations of their belief?

    It is intereseting to note that those who get upset about the burning of the flag are most likely right wing and religious.

  287. says

    “For everyone here who is making the argument that the host is just a cracker and nothing more – that the import associated with it is meaningless, articificial, and that those who have it should be mocked – I propose an experiment for you. Take an American flag, walk into an American Legion hall on a Sat night, and light it on fire. After all, it’s just a piece of cloth. Any association with it is mythology and meaningless. People assign nonscientific, silly allegience to it. So come on warriors of intellectual clarity – step up. Oh and please have you friends take and post pictures of the outcome.”

    The answer to that in my opinion, is I don’t care whether it gets burned. So what? Getting angry over it would be like slapping a child because he called you stupid.

  288. says

    Gavel Down
    My point is not that you’ll get a butt kicking. My point is that human beings strongly associate meaning to items. to argue that those items are “just a cracker” or “just a piece of cloth” is a ridiculous line of argument. To mock these meaning filled items is to incur the wrath of those who attach meaning to them. This is obvious, yet it seems to be an unaccepted reality in these threads. Just taking it out of the religious realm. To walk up to someone, poke them in the chest, and tell them they are an idiot is to ask for a punch in the nose. PZ is getting punched.

    In other words, it is best not to tell a deluded idiot he is a deluded idiot?

  289. Midnight Rambler says

    As someone once said (somebody will tell me who it was, I’m sure): Religious morality can be summed up in two sentences. “My god hates what I hate. My god likes what I like.”

    Or as the Austin Lounge Lizards so memorably put it, “Jesus loves me, but he can’t stand you”.

  290. George Smiley says

    Procedure:
    1. Grind body of Jesus into a powdery paste whilst incubating at ~34 degreees C.
    2. To this paste, add a master mix of hydrolytic enzymes that will tear its very molecules asunder (“spit”).
    3.Add to this mixture approx. 2 volumes of Jesus’s blood (if you are a priest, add larger quantities of blood).
    4. Take the degrading jesus-paste and pass it into reaction vessel containing strong acid to be further torn apart. Add additional hydrolytic enzymes. Incubate with agitation at 37 degrees C.
    5. Pass the resulting Jesus-slurry into an alkaline chamber to be further degraded and partially extracted. Incubate Jesus-slurry (again, at 37 degrees C) with fecal coliform bacteria and other bacteria, to be transformed (transubstantiated) if you prefer – into human fecal matter.
    6. Extrude Jesus-based fecal matter through rectal sphincter.
    7. Collect and freeze at -20 degrees C for further use, or discard into municipal sewer system.

    Notes:
    a. This Procedure is Good.
    b. Failure to follow this Procedure is really, really, Bad.
    c. Remember to wear a laboratory coat and proper eye protection.
    d. Wash hands with warm soapy water prior to step 1, and after steps 6 and 7.

  291. az says

    Why do we condemn pedophilia? And why do we condemn people who issue death threats?

    Because this is the only life the abused and threatened are ever going to get, and nobody’s going to make it up to them with pie in the sky when they die?

  292. says

    Why, because blessed Eucharists are going to be wasted ? Do you really believe this was the message of Jesus ?

    Because symbolism and ritual is more important than message, obviously.

  293. Boosterz says

    Civil to Others,

    If you can’t handle being mocked then that’s your problem. There is no law that shields you or anyone else from being mocked. Freedom of Speech trumps your fragile little ego. As for PZ being “punched in the nose”, how do you figure that? That bleeting jackass from the catholic league and his mindless minions have been exposed as complete idiots over their little cracker drama and they continue to make fools of themselves here in these threads. Given that, who’s the puncher and who is the punchee? lol

  294. Dahan says

    Keith! You’re here! Lol!

    “it is curious that all these so called scientists, during regular work hours, have time to post long, elaborate screeds all day when their supposed to be working on their big projects.”

    Good to see you out there thinking. I though you got tossed in the dungeon for some reason…
    Hey, I can’t speak for everyone, but a lot of us are educators. It’s summer. I only teach one class. It’s on Saturday morning. I can work on my own projects whenever I wish, which allows me to do time-wasting things like talk to you if I want at almost any hour of the day. Next week classes start up again (damn quarter system) and I won’t have as much time to post.

    Hope that clears things up a little. If you had actually spent any time around a place of higher learning, you might know these sorts of things. Heck, even in HS and gradeschool they get time off in the summer. Well, reasoning never was a strong point of yours. Chow!

  295. Odie says

    Gavel Down@316

    My point is that human beings strongly associate meaning to items. to argue that those items are “just a cracker” or “just a piece of cloth” is a ridiculous line of argument. To mock these meaning filled items is to incur the wrath of those who attach meaning to them. This is obvious, yet it seems to be an unaccepted reality in these threads

    So, we should all kowtow to some people’s refusal to accept that, in reality, those items ARE JUST THINGS?

    You are suggesting that I must submit to another’s refusal to see reality.

    THAT is a ridiculous line of argument.

  296. Ando says

    RE: #320

    Mostly agreed. However, why are so many (Catholics) satisfied by a line of defense that generally amounts to: “He started it!”. On the other hand, why are so many (the other side) satisfied by a line of defense that generally amounts to: “He hit me harder!”. Come on, as I said before, there aren’t any winners in this one. There are better ways to deal with these issues, and I stand by my earlier idea that the most beneficial methods generally involve a nice chat over a good brew (can you tell I’m a fan of good beer?) or something similar. Talk to the people who annoy you and find out what makes them human. It can work!

  297. tsg says

    Prof. Meyers – there is nothing to support in the actions of that other students or your assorted comments/threats to do worse to something some faiths find sacred.

    Yet another assertion that because some hold it sacred, all should.

    In closing, out of curiosity – would you tell us all what item(s) YOU hold sacred so someone can desecrate that if you manage to desecrate the Blessed Sacrament.

    Not directed at me, but I’ll answer it. There is no symbol you can desecrate that would injure me in the slightest. Wipe your ass with my mother’s picture. I’ll send you one. It’s only paper. It doesn’t hurt my mother and it can only hurt me if I care what you think about my mother. I don’t.

    Burn the flag. I don’t care because I don’t care what you think about my country. I also understand what that symbol stands for and value it more than the symbol itself.

    Your offense is entirely your own doing.

  298. Steverino says

    As a practicing Catholic (’cause we never get it right) I have always thought the Body of Christ would go well with a bit of onion dip…or maybe a nice salsa….Yeah…onion dip…would go well with the Blood of Christ (red wine, for those not lucky enough to be a member of the chosen ;-)

    Hey, participation is down…what the hey!

  299. Midnight Rambler says

    Is God bound by morality? Well, that’s an odd question. God does not, in fact, cannot, command that which is contrary to His nature. I think that’s sound.

    No it isn’t, because it doesn’t define his nature. What is clear is that his nature isn’t the morality that’s given out in the Bible, because that’s clearly contradicted by some of God’s direct orders. I’m not an expert and I can name two off the top of my head: Adam was ordered to sacrifice Isaac, and Onan was ordered to impregnate his brother’s(?) wife, and then murdered by God for doing what most reasonable people would see as the right thing instead of following that order.

  300. dylan tenelux says

    [your religion] deservedly should be relegated to the graveyard of history

    #273 Vaal,

    (If you’re still there …) What will you do to us if we will not go gentle into that good night?

    I think I know.

  301. Doug Little says

    Civil to Others,

    Your analogy doesn’t hold water I’m afraid. A piece of cloth doesn’t become a flag until it is sewn into one. It is physically different to just a piece of cloth. On the other hand the wafer doesn’t physically change when a man wearing a dress says some “magic” words over it. If it did we wouldn’t be having this argument, but I’m afraid that fairy tales aren’t real so we are.

  302. E.V. says

    Ando:
    “They don’t gain their supernatural properties until the consecration upon the altar).”
    Did you read what you wrote? Bwaaaaahahaahaahaaaaaaaaa. How can ANYONE in the 21st century take that seriously????????

    Eilish:
    “out of curiosity – would you tell us all what item(s) YOU hold sacred so someone can desecrate that if you manage to desecrate the Blessed Sacrament.

    Ma’am, we hold life, the pursuit of knowledge, human rights and human dignity to be dear (see: Humanist). I doubt you really want to desecrate any of those things either.
    Sacredness, however, is a concept for those who worship pretend deities. So actually, nothing is truly
    “sacred”. (and “sacred” is truly nothing)

  303. Salt says

    You are suggesting that I must submit to another’s refusal to see reality.
    Posted by: Odie | July 11, 2008 3:41 PM

    What is reality notwithstanding, that’s democracy.

  304. Joel Rosenberg says

    Well, I couldn’t stand being left out of the fun, so:

    PZ Myers has asked for support . . .

    . . . and who am I to say no?

    I’ve just read http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/fight_back_against_bill_donohu.php

    As I understand it, Professor Myers has asked that one of his readers or friends send him a page of the Koran, and announced his intention in some way treat it disrespectfully. (He has said he’s going to document it photographically. Not having much experience treating piece of paper disrespectfully in a way that would be visually interesting; not having much experience in that line of work, I’m not sure how, but the mind does boggle, ) “IT’S A FRAKKIN’ (sic) PIECE OF PAPER”, he says.

    As a result, he’s received thousands of hostile emails, including hundreds of death threats that have frightened him, and he has gone into hiding, protected by U of M Vice President Greg Hestness’ crack team of law enforcers, as there have been, worldwide, so many cases of people being murdered for what was perceived by some Muslims as showing disrespect for the Kora, and I think it’s very important to show support for Professor —

    Oops.

    Seems I completely misread his posting. How clumsy of me.

    As I understand it, now:

    * it wasn’t a page from the Koran that Professor Myers has been seeking, but what the Catholics call a “consecrated host.” (Not being a Catholic, or terribly well educated in such matters, I don’t know much about such things, but I understand it to be, rather than a piece of paper, some sort of consumable item that Catholics not only treat reverently, but ask that others do, as well.) And he didn’t call it a FRAKIN’ PIECE OF PAPER, at all, but a FRAKIN’ CRACKER. (Capitalization in the original.)
    * It wasn’t thousands and thousands of hostile emails, but 39, including four death threats that he doesn’t appear to take as actually meaning an intent to do him harm, but merely grossly impolite behavior (and it certainly is at least that), and thirty-four demands that he be fired. (Why somebody would send him an email demanding that he be fired does escape me; does he think that people think that he would fire himself?)

    Ah. Bizarre. I’d apologize for the confusion, and I don’t quite know how it happened. Still, it’s close to the same thing, after all. While many people have been murdered over the past few years in things under the category of Stuff I Can’t Make Up (I mean, lethal cartoon riots? Folks murdered over being peripherally involved with publishing Rushdie?), and while far as I can tell, it’s all been over actual or perceived disrespect toward Muslim religious symbols, not Catholic ones.

    Still, some people have been criticized, just as Professer Myers apparently has been, for showing of disrespect to non-Muslim religious symbols, and at times — as is apparently true in this case — the criticism has gone beyond the bounds of polite society (I’m reminded of the words attributed to the late [and, at least by me, unlamented] Richard Daley — “they have vilified me, they have crucified me, yes, they have even criticized me.”) and even of law.

    So: while you and I — and, one presumes, Professor Myers — all know that the chances of him being fired or otherwise officially disciplined for threatening to (or to, in fact) act disrespectfully toward an item of religious significance to Catholics are nil, please don’t fire or otherwise officially (or informally) discipline him for threatening to (or to, in fact, should that come to pass) act disrespectfully toward an item of religious significance to Catholics.

    Enough support for what appears, from this remove, to be in actuality a minor fooforah?

  305. Dahan says

    @ 325

    “Take an American flag, walk into an American Legion hall on a Sat night, and light it on fire.”

    Flag burning has been held up as a constitutional right. I wouldn’t do it in their place, that would be illegal and dangerous. If I did it off their grounds but in sight of them and they came over and beat the shit out of me, they’d be in jail, and would show themselves to be complete nutcases.

    Your analogy sucks balls.

  306. Scott says

    This professor deserves to be reprimanded or fired. And he and all of his supporters need lessons in basic civility, judging by the hate filled anti-Catholic and anti-Christian rhetoric being tossed around. And I suspect that if he were to do something so offensive to a muslim, or an ethnic minority, or some other sacred cow of the left, all of you stalwart supporters of free speech would be strangely silent. And there is more hate on these pages than anything he’s having to put up with. You all act as if Catholics don’t even have the right to be angry about this. You are all perfect examples of the hypocrisy inherent in political correctness.

  307. Mechalith says

    @312 (Johnnyjoe)

    Lacking a reason not to swear, we generally find it cathartic and usefull for emphasis. Also, you’ll notice that due to the conversational standards of our culture consciously avoiding swearing tends to sound pretentiously pseudo-intellectual.

    Also, I enjoy a fair bit of Mr. Chesterton’s work, especially his poetry, but while I enjoy reading his wordplay and turns of phrase, I frequently disagree with his sentiments and conclusions. That said, I do agree that respecting education for it’s own sake is a stupid thing to do, much like respecting a hammer. Education is a worthy tool, but it is ultimately what nails you choose to hammer in with it that matters.

  308. Civil to Others says

    “The answer to that in my opinion, is I don’t care whether it gets burned. So what? Getting angry over it would be like slapping a child because he called you stupid.”

    And that is fine for you. It still has no bearing on the fact that these things have incredible meaning to people other than you. You not agreeing doesn’t change the importance or sacredness of the items, and to ignore the meaning to others is self centered, fantasy world living.

  309. Gavel Down says

    Civil – You seem to be missing how this started. I’ll sum up:

    A kid wanted to show the host to his friend in the same pew and got assaulted. He got scared and angry, left, and was met with death threats and attempts to get him expelled from his college.

    PZ didn’t start this. You are allowed to react with anger when someone is mistreated, and it IS relevant that this mistreatment was prompted by something so ridiculous.

    Odie – that comment was TO me, not BY me.

  310. phantomreader42 says

    Eilish @ #298:

    Prof. Meyers – there is nothing to support in the actions of that other students or your assorted comments/threats to do worse to something some faiths find sacred.

    Your position is indefensible.

    What comes through loud and clear is your displaced rage – taking it out on the Roman Catholic Church for the non-support of the student by his college administration.

    In closing, out of curiosity – would you tell us all what item(s) YOU hold sacred so someone can desecrate that if you manage to desecrate the Blessed Sacrament.

    I notice that in your screed you couldn’t bring yourself to call the death threats “indefensible”. It seems that a piece of bread means more to you than the lives of living, breathing human beings. Now THAT position is indefensible.

    And of course you don’t really have any trouble with desecration of something other people or faiths hold sacred. You just hide behind “tolerance” as an excuse to defend your magic biscuit. That’s all you care about. It’s the same bullshit your fellow cultists have been repeating through all these threads. Pretend to be about “respect” for other people’s beliefs, when all you really want is to prevent people from criticizing YOURS.

  311. says

    OK, I’ve been trying to think of YouTube-friendly ways to desecrate holy symbols, be they idols of religion or its cousin nationalism. Here are a couple favorites:

    1. As a commenter suggested a few threads ago, glue a bunch of crackers to a Koran, wrap it in an American flag, and set the whole shebang on fire with liquid oxygen and a blowtorch. (The liquid oxygen part is my touch.)

    2. Put a cracker through its paces inside a scientific laboratory: view it under a microscope, run it through a gas chromatograph, etc.

  312. Ando says

    RE: #340

    I don’t know, but I do take it seriously. Oh, well. I guess I’m just a dummy. Everyone thinks I’m weird because I think Palestrina and Monteverdi are more talented and more pleasing to listen to than Justin Timberlake. I try to tell them that U2 is the way to go if you’re going to listen to contemporary music but they just call me old fashioned. I may be anachronistic, but I try to be pleasant about it.

  313. E.V. says

    Tsk tsk, such naughty words
    “Without education, we are in the grave danger of taking educated people seriously”
    -G.K. Chesterton

    (blink, blink)
    (I. can’t. resist…)

    “Fuck You.”
    -David Mamet

  314. says

    In closing, out of curiosity – would you tell us all what item(s) YOU hold sacred so someone can desecrate that if you manage to desecrate the Blessed Sacrament.

    D-uh! Everyone knows atheists worship chili peppers (haven’t you ever been to an atheist church?), and thus the worst thing you could do to us would be to score one or two lengthwise (to allow a little of the sacred juice to come out–we abhor spilled chili pepper juice) and insert it into your rectum (as believers of the Divine Colon, we believe chilis should only contact the rectum after being digested.)

    So please, please, please, please, please, I beg of you, do not, I repeat: do not shove chilis in your ass in an effort to desecrate us atheists’ only Holy Fruit, for that would offend us more than you can possibly understand. Please?

  315. Boosterz says

    “SO – are you a BIGOT”

    Yes actually. I can’t stand willful idiots. I’m a bigot of morons.

  316. dylan tenelux says

    #337 Midnight Rambler,

    It was Abraham, not Adam, who was told to sacrifice Isaac.

  317. Feynmaniac says

    Keith typed fiercly in #289,
    I remain disappointed that PZ’s liver, pancreas, lungs, and brain haven’t exploded with virulent forms of cancer yet but perhaps before long. I’m keeping an extra hundred dollar bill handy to buy a few rounds of beers in a local pub in great celebration.

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in your power of prediction considering you thought that Expelled was gonna make hundreds of millions of dollars, change biology and get Myers fired. My crystal ball did a better job predicting the diaster.

  318. Odie says

    What is reality notwithstanding, that’s democracy.

    Posted by: Salt | July 11, 2008 3:50 PM

    I think I’m just completely missing what you’re trying to communicate. I don’t mean for this to be snarky or sarcastic, because I have a feeling that you’re making a good point that I’m not understanding. I’m not afraid to admit I don’t know everything. So, if you see this, Salt, could you please explain what you mean. Thanks.

  319. Salt says

    Eilish:
    “out of curiosity – would you tell us all what item(s) YOU hold sacred so someone can desecrate that if you manage to desecrate the Blessed Sacrament.”

    Ma’am, we hold life, the pursuit of knowledge, human rights and human dignity to be dear (see: Humanist).
    Posted by: E.V. | July 11, 2008 3:47 PM

    Elish, have an abortion. That’ll piss of this ilk.

  320. bill says

    For a group of enlightened intellectuals you are really full of hate and intolerance – OK not all of you – I over simplified to make a point. What I see on this post are overused, simplified, thoughtless caricatures. You are smarter than that.

    Just take a step back. Many/most of you are acting just like Bill Donahue: someone stepped on his dogma and he went bananas. He stepped on your dogma and you’re all bent out of shape – like him – posting nothing lucid.

    Isn’t it wonderful everyone is not the same and everyone has their dogmas. It would be a boring world otherwise. In the end we all defend our dogmas zealously. And while people may disagree, your dogma takes as much faith as Donahue’s does.

  321. says

    In closing, out of curiosity – would you tell us all what item(s) YOU hold sacred so someone can desecrate that if you manage to desecrate the Blessed Sacrament.

    Posted by: Eilish | July 11, 2008 3:22 PM

    Nothing. Thinking adults do not consider inanimate objects to be sacred.

  322. co says

    For those calling for PZ to publish the threats he’s received privately: Totally understandable, and we’re all considerably curious about them. However, because threats of serious bodily harm and even killing aren’t taken lightly by the state and federal agencies which should investigate them, it’s probably better that he doesn’t spread about details, at least yet.

  323. John says

    And I suspect that if he were to do something so offensive to a muslim, or an ethnic minority, or some other sacred cow of the left, all of you stalwart supporters of free speech would be strangely silent.

    Well Scott, you have just proven yourself to be a clueless idiot. The folks hear ridicule follishness, Christian, Muslim, or of any other sort.

  324. Odie says

    Gavel Down@347

    Odie – that comment was TO me, not BY me.

    Apologies. Brain not keeping up with fingers, apparently.

  325. spurge says

    “And I suspect that if he were to do something so offensive to a muslim, or an ethnic minority, or some other sacred cow of the left, all of you stalwart supporters of free speech would be strangely silent.”

    You suspect wrong.

  326. Gavel Down says

    Again, for the slow children among us:

    No, it’s not nice to make fun of things other people hold sacred. However, it is INEVITABLE that whatever your particular sacred cow, it WILL be disrespected by someone, somewhere, sometime.

    Death threats and calls for someone to be fired are about the worst possible response imaginable.

    Me, I hold sacred rationality, justice, and kindness to others, each of which I see flagrantly disrespected all over, all the time, and not a bit in this thread. My response is not to threaten the offenders with death or seek to shut them up. But keep in mind that you are disrespecting things I hold dear just as much as I am you by my support of Professor Myers in his defense of this student.

  327. Dustin says

    Most of the off the wall comments are all one guy with dozens of sockpuppet IDs. K8, dustin, dylan, etc.

    All this time I’ve been in charge of the Catholic trolls and nobody told me? Damn, I’ve been negligent. Well, it’s time to put that authority to good use.

    RETREAT, YE MEN OF FAITH! PZ IS TOO POWERFUL, WE MUST HIDE AND NEVER SHOW OURSELVES OR SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN!

  328. Josh says

    Take an American flag, walk into an American Legion hall on a Sat night, and light it on fire. After all, it’s just a piece of cloth. Any association with it is mythology and meaningless. People assign nonscientific, silly allegience to it. So come on warriors of intellectual clarity – step up. Oh and please have you friends take and post pictures of the outcome.

    I guess you presume that the vets would go all ballistic on their asses? Probably so. And they would be wrong. Flag worshiping bubbas drive me crazy. I have sworn to defend that flag three times in my life. Guess what, jackass? It’s a fucking symbol. My oath covers those who would burn it as much as it covers those would salute it. Want my lighter? Anyone who says otherwise is as ignorant as those who say protesting the war constitutes not supporting the troops.

  329. Midnight Rambler says

    It was Abraham, not Adam, who was told to sacrifice Isaac.

    Argh…yes, I knew that. Begins with A-, ends with -am, easy to mix up. And also telling that you didn’t mention anything about what it (or the Onan story, which is equally bad) says about God’s morality.

  330. tsg says

    This professor deserves to be reprimanded or fired. And he and all of his supporters need lessons in basic civility,

    “Basic civility”, in this case, being defined as “allowing us to force our religious views on others”.

    judging by the hate filled anti-Catholic and anti-Christian rhetoric being tossed around. And I suspect that if he were to do something so offensive to a muslim, or an ethnic minority, or some other sacred cow of the left, all of you stalwart supporters of free speech would be strangely silent.

    More Koran envy.

    And there is more hate on these pages than anything he’s having to put up with. You all act as if Catholics don’t even have the right to be angry about this. You are all perfect examples of the hypocrisy inherent in political correctness.

    Wait, because we’re not just rolling over and observing your sacred rituals we are politically correct? I don’t think that means what you think it means.

  331. says

    Salt (#357):

    Elish, have an abortion. That’ll piss of this ilk.

    Nope. To paraphrase the late, great Bill Hicks, that cute li’l parasite feasting on a woman’s body is not a human being. It’s a clump of congregated cells. It has no wants, no desires, no feelings to be hurt, no organized brainwaves. It fails at personhood.

  332. Remy-Grace says

    These Catholic loonytunes are starting to make the Pentecostals look good.
    Now there’s something I never thought I’d hear myself say.

  333. Bill says

    PZ Myers in the original post is inciting his rabid followers (you guys here) to steal a priceless religious artifact. No, it is not the case that it has no monetary value, go try and buy a consecrated host on the street. It is not a matter of opinion, it has either been consecrated or not. That is a matter of fact. One can still chose to disbelieve that it has been consecrated, if they don’t trust the source, for example. Nevertheless, the genuine article is priceless. You may be able to obtain one on the black market, so lets say it has value similar to illegal drugs. He has asked one of you rabid horde to take him seriously enough to steal one under false pretenses. Yes, fraudulently getting someone to “give” you something is stealing, unwashed heathens. He is wrong, and possibly committing a felony, though I’m neither a lawyer nor a policemen, just a scientist.

  334. HitchFTW says

    “”Religion has run out of justification. Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, it no longer offers an explanation of anything important….Confronted with undreamed-of vistas inside our own evolving cortex, in the farthest reaches of the known universe, and in the proteins and acids which constitute our nature, religion offers either annihilation in the name of god, or else the false promise that if we take a knife to our foreskins, or pray in the right direction, or ingest pieces of wafer, we shall be ‘saved.’ It is as if someone, offered a delicious and fragrant out-of-season fruit, matured in a painstakingly and lovingly designed hothouse, should throw away the flesh and the pulp and gnaw moodily on the pit.”

  335. says

    SC, thanks for the link/tip at #216.

    Te metatroll at #236 – a scream, thank you, thank you.

    K8, the village called, they want you back at your old job. Apparently Starbuck was just not able to adequately replace you.

    Oh, save any insults for me for later, made it up to #256 and that is more than enough for a while.

    Pax Nabisco

  336. mayhempix says

    What will you do to us if we will not go gentle into that good night?
    I think I know.
    Posted by: dylan tenelux | July 11, 2008 3:47 PM

    Damn! He figured us out. How did he know we have genetically designed a new breed of lions to get them?

    The victimized paranoia of religious fanatics never ceases to amaze me. They love to fanatasize themselves on the cross persecuted by satan possessed atheists.

  337. tsg says

    Many/most of you are acting just like Bill Donahue: someone stepped on his dogma and he went bananas. He stepped on your dogma and you’re all bent out of shape – like him – posting nothing lucid.

    Isn’t it wonderful everyone is not the same and everyone has their dogmas. It would be a boring world otherwise. In the end we all defend our dogmas zealously. And while people may disagree, your dogma takes as much faith as Donahue’s does.

    “Atheism is a faith” argument, again.

    Atheism is a faith like not collecting stamps is a hobby.
    Atheism is a faith like bald is a hair color.
    Atheism is a faith like not having a cold is a disease.

    Atheism is a lack of faith. Period.

  338. Salt says

    @ 325
    Flag burning has been held up as a constitutional right. I wouldn’t do it in their place, that would be illegal and dangerous. If I did it off their grounds but in sight of them and they came over and beat the shit out of me, they’d be in jail, and would show themselves to be complete nutcases.

    Your analogy sucks balls.

    Posted by: Dahan | July 11, 2008 3:50 PM

    Your statement reminds me of Bruce Willis in Die Hard with a Vengeance, standing naked on a street corner in Harlem wearing a sign proclaiming “I Hate Niggers”.

  339. Bill says

    Oh, and in response to BobC about my being a religious wacko just because I attend church, I never said anything about belief in a Sky Daddy type God. The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while he slept, someone crept in and planted weeds.

  340. says

    And while people may disagree, your dogma takes as much faith as Donahue’s does.

    It takes faith not to believe that there are fairies that live in my bedposts or god-men that live in wafers?

    If so, I must be one of the most faithful motherfuckers around, since I do not believe in fairies; elves; goblins; chupacabras; orcs; giant ants that live in cities below Spiderman’s 1970s-style Manhattan; sentient Melba toast; Yahwehs; qi; the aliens that Alex fought in The Last Starfighter; Shiva; Tom Thumb; non-cokehead George W. Bushes; gremlins (not the cars–I’ve seen those); Ananzis; Allahs; Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web; Spaghetti Monsters, flying or otherwise; Triglavs; Gukumatzes; Zeuses; witches; warlocks; tarrasques; tasty low-fat sour creams; or unicorns.

    Clearly, if it is true that the non-belief in all those things takes faith, then according to your own Jesus, I should be more than capable of moving mountains with only the faith contained in my atheist little finger.

    Now why don’t you try thinking again, only this time try involving a neuron or two?

  341. says

    From Bill

    steal a priceless religious artifact.

    How does one steal something that was freely given to them for their own use (Consumption)?

    You (and so many others) are forced to lie to make your arguments manke any sense. Once the lie is exposed, your position is silly.

  342. Bill says

    Incidentally, I don’t believe in fiat currency, so is it OK for me to run into a bank and take some? It’s just paper after all.

  343. E.V. says

    Ando:
    “I don’t know, but I do take it seriously. Oh, well. I guess I’m just a dummy.”
    What is that? An argument from an appeal for pity?
    ” I think Palestrina and Monteverdi are more talented and more pleasing to listen to than Justin Timberlake”

    Irrelevant. Your opinion is no more special than those who prefer what you don’t like. For the record, I don’t care for Timberlake either. I love listening to Palestrina, latter Mozart, Bach, Verdi and Puccini -but they were composers. Only Verdi and Puccini have a few poor quality wax recordings of their personal performances on piano. I also love Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughn and a host of other talented musicians – so what?.
    Having percieved unique taste doesn’t make you weird, inferior or superior, but is still irrelevant to the matter here.
    You state that you believe in the supernatural changing of a cookie into flesh. This can be easily proved to be false unless you resort to the “accidental/essence” sophistry.

    You’re obviously a nice guy. I wish the best for you; just try to look objectively at your own beliefs and see if they withstand scrutiny.

  344. tsg says

    Incidentally, I don’t believe in fiat currency, so is it OK for me to run into a bank and take some? It’s just paper after all.

    Should you be put in jail for accepting a $1 a millionaire is giving out in the street?

  345. oldtree says

    clearly, abortion is the same as eating crackers. Does the poop know this and what will the cathartic league do about this travesty?
    congrats PZ. This is the best way to allow lunatics their day in public. Just take a little notebook out and you have a ton of names in a half hour. As George Carlin said, three categories: stupid, full o’ shit, and fucking nuts.

  346. notaquinas says

    As to the previous posting, it is dishonest to imply that it is the cracker itself that is the issue these people find so offensive. It is the wholesale disregard displayed by the learned professor for what is deemed a holy rite by millions. It is interesting how the professor, and many others rushing to his aid, fail to address the real issue and instead insist on pointing out the flaws of the church. Obviously the church has flaws as any honest churchgoer would attest.
    It seems that those of the liberal persuasion stress tolerance(which I find admirable) and these same heralds of tolerance will turn and vilify those of a different community. Doesn’t consistency demand that civility be extended to all groups?
    As to the previous post regarding flag burning; the activity mentioned is substantially different to desecrating the Eucharist. The difference lies in what meaning is attached to the symbol. Flag burning bothers some but it is really only a symbol of an idea we call “America.” Obviously some people love America and are justly upset by the flags desecration. If there really were nothing to it then why are people burning that symbol particularly instead of bedsheets and baseball cards?
    They burn it in effigy to display their hatred of an idea. If someone does something with the intention of disrespecting an idea or value that another holds dear, is it any wonder that they would be upset by it?
    The “cracker”, in this instance, is a symbol for something far greater than the idea of America or any other nation. What that professor so blithely threatens to desecrate is a symbol of the church with 2,000 years of history; one instituted by Jesus Christ himself. One wonders what empirical evidence the professor has stumbled upon that makes him so certain of the invalidity of the story and person that the cracker he would desecrate, stands for.
    The professor should not be removed from his position. It is within his right to behave as a fool. It does seem that there should be a greater degree of consistency. Those who are affronted by a lack of tolerance should be first to extend tolerance to other groups. Otherwise they are merely hypocritical; a flaw these same people are often eager to point out in others.
    By the way, nothing discovered by science has disproved God’s existence.

  347. Gavel Down says

    Your statement reminds me of Bruce Willis in Die Hard with a Vengeance, standing naked on a street corner in Harlem wearing a sign proclaiming “I Hate Niggers”.

    Salt – it’s wrong to hit that guy too. What part of “free speech means even speech you don’t agree with” don’t you understand?

  348. tsg says

    That should be “$1 bill” in #387.

    But, really. If you think you can convince a judge that a communion wafer is a “priceless religious artifact”, I say go ahead and press charges. Make a citizens arrest.

  349. Bill says

    It was freely given under false pretenses, as I said. If I con you out of $40000 by pretending to be a banker, and you give it to me freely, is it a crime? Yes, actually.

  350. Aaron Logan says

    Were I a catholic and had observed the original events of the student not eating the wafer and then putting it in and removing it from his mouth, I could only conclude that he was suffering a crisis of faith or of conscience and and at best would react with compassion and at worse with pity. All of the other reactions by the catholics show me just how much contempt they actually hold for their faith and for their fellows.

  351. says

    If it helps, our belief in the Eucharist is an ancient belief that has its roots in the Old Testament where the people of Israel believed that God was a personal, close, and present God. If anyone believes in God, the alternative, a God that is distant and caring – is unlivable. The Eucharist is a sacred sign (sacrament) of Christ’s presence. We believe that people are made to communicate with signs – our written language, wedding rings, stop signs, a wink – are examples. In very basic terms, bread is a sign of nourishment therefore spiritual bread, is a sign that we need spiritual nourishment, which comes from Jesus and his promise to be with us always.

    I don’t expect anyone here to agree with me bit for those of you who are reading this and want to see some hope that our belief goes beyond superstition and does have some rhyme and reason behind it.

    Posted by: Mary Herboth | July 11, 2008 1:58 PM

    Your explanation of the Eucharist contains nothing but superstition, so if convincing us your belief goes beyond superstition was your goal, you have not acheived it.

  352. PZ is EZ says

    “Wait, because we’re not just rolling over and observing your sacred rituals we are politically correct? I don’t think that means what you think it means.”

    When did anyone ask you to observe anything? That kid came into their house of worship. They didn’t show up at his dorm and ask to to observe their sacred rituals. He went to their joint and screwed around with what they found sacred. Just like going to the American Legion and burning the flag is the same thing. Burn it in your living room all day long. Go to where people find something sacred and then screw with that item and you are an asshole not a free speecher.

  353. Bill says

    I have no interest in having PZ Myers arrested, fired, killed, or otherwise punished. I am freely exchanging ideas, namely, the idea that he was wrong, and perhaps gravely so, it what he did. Certainly morally and ethically, possibly legally. A person in a position of influence cannot simply write publicly that someone ought to go commit an illegal act.

  354. Josh says

    By the way, nothing discovered by science has disproved God’s existence.

    THANK YOU. Now, would you please go around and repeat that to all the ID supporters about 100,000 times?

  355. Odie says

    Incidentally, I don’t believe in fiat currency, so is it OK for me to run into a bank and take some? It’s just paper after all.

    Posted by: Bill | July 11, 2008 4:16 PM

    Another flawed analogy. Belief in fiat currency has nothing to do with ownership. Lack of faith in it does not provide a valid excuse for stealing it from others. In contrast, the wafers are GIVEN to people in church, so ownership transfers. Once I own it, I can use it or misuse it as I see fit.

  356. Doug Little says

    Nevertheless, the genuine article is priceless. You may be able to obtain one on the black market, so lets say it has value similar to illegal drugs

    Now that’s wishful thinking, Ha HA HA Ha.

    Anybody want to hit a line of jesus, administered through a rolled up dollar bill with “In gawd we trust” printed on it.

    Now that’s priceless!

  357. says

    Oops, hit post by accident.

    Ahem.

    priceless religious artifact

    Like a Golden Calf?

    I’ll give a thousand bucks to the first of you that can prove that God didn’t command PZ to destroy the symbol of your idolatry.

    Of course, PZ’s testimony here doesn’t count, as he might not even be aware that he is God’s pawn; after all, God does move in mysterious ways, does he not?

  358. dylan tenelux says

    #369 Midnight Rambler,

    I believe (prepare yourself for a shock) that even the Bible is too small to contain “God’s morality”, or, God.

    Proof-texting of any kind, atheist or fundamentalist, does tend to be something I ignore. But since you press me on the point, I believe I am on solid ground when I say that some of the passages in the Old Testament are allegorical. I leave it to those more learned in theology than myself (and I concede, unlike many posters here, that there are persons more learned than myself!) to interpret the passages you mention.

  359. tsg says

    When did anyone ask you to observe anything?

    Right here:

    That kid came into their house of worship. They didn’t show up at his dorm and ask to to observe their sacred rituals. He went to their joint and screwed around with what they found sacred. Just like going to the American Legion and burning the flag is the same thing. Burn it in your living room all day long. Go to where people find something sacred and then screw with that item and you are an asshole not a free speecher.

    Newsflash: protecting speech you like is trivial. Protecting speech you don’t like is what freedom of speech is all about. Insisting that an act is wrong solely because it upsets people without looking at why it’s being done is simplistic and stupid.

  360. Salt says

    Your statement reminds me of Bruce Willis in Die Hard with a Vengeance, standing naked on a street corner in Harlem wearing a sign proclaiming “I Hate Niggers”.

    Salt – it’s wrong to hit that guy too. What part of “free speech means even speech you don’t agree with” don’t you understand?

    Posted by: Gavel Down | July 11, 2008 4:19 PM

    Yes, technically I agree with you that “it’s wrong to hit that guy too”, but your missing the point is verifiable proof of being socially autistic.

  361. Bill says

    Re: priceless religious artifact
    From: http://www.marys-touch.com/history/consecration.htm
    “In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest uses three ingredients: water, wine and a host or wafer of bread. The total monetary value of these is very low. Yet, when the priest pronounces the words of consecration, these articles take on an infinite value, and become the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
    So yeah, they consider it to be priceless.

  362. says

    It was freely given under false pretenses, as I said. If I con you out of $40000 by pretending to be a banker, and you give it to me freely, is it a crime? Yes, actually.

    The person who is extending the offer has a responsibility to perform due diligence. If they don’t it is their loss. Only if they perform due diligence, and you took some sort of action to hide your true intentions from them about what your plans were for the $40,000.00 dollars is there a crime.

    So, what due diligence is preformed prior to communion that makes the acceptance of a cracker without the intentions of eating it and eventually expelling rectally, a crime?

  363. Dustin says

    But since you press me on the point, I believe I am on solid ground when I say that some of the passages in the Old Testament are allegorical.

    Remember, kids, when God says you’re supposed to stone heretics and homosexuals and execute women for being raped — he’s only talking in the most metaphorical sense.

  364. Ragutis says

    [Graham Chapman] Stop! Stop it! Now, I’ve noticed a tendency for this blog to get rather silly. Now I do my best to keep things moving along, but I’m not having things getting silly. Those two last threads got very silly indeed, and that last one about the cracker was even sillier. Now, nobody likes a good blasphemy more than I do…except perhaps my wife and some of her friends…oh yes and Captain Johnston. Come to think of it most people likes a good blasphemy more than I do. But that’s beside the point. Now, let’s have a good clean healthy cephalopod thread. Get some water into your siphon. Ten, nine, eight and all that.[/Graham Chapman]

    PZ, if I may ask a humble favor? Would you please avoid any scandals for the next few days? These threads are moving so fast, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. Now, in no way am I trying to ask you to censor yourself. I’m just saying take it easy for a couple of days so I can work through the 2500+ comments on the topic. ;)

    Snail mail of support going out in tomorrow’s post. Keep up the good work, Professor.

    Stay safe!

  365. Doug Little says

    A person in a position of influence cannot simply write publicly that someone ought to go commit an illegal act

    Are you serious, take said comment and apply to any of the main Xian fundies that manage to get their 15 minutes.

    Pot meet Kettle.

  366. tsg says

    I have no interest in having PZ Myers arrested, fired, killed, or otherwise punished. I am freely exchanging ideas, namely, the idea that he was wrong, and perhaps gravely so, it what he did. Certainly morally and ethically, possibly legally. A person in a position of influence cannot simply write publicly that someone ought to go commit an illegal act.

    a) Yes, he can.
    b) He didn’t.

    Despite your delusions to the contrary, taking something your were given is not against the law.

  367. Dahan says

    Scott @ 344,
    You are 532nd person to make this claim of how all of us would be silent if were something to do with Islam, or some other religion. We’ve even got a new name for it because of idiots like you: Koran Envy. All that shows is that you’ve never been to this blog before, and that you don’t actually know what’s going on.

    Atheist does not equal anti-Catholic. It means we think all your fairy-tales are equally silly and are happy to point this out. Get over yourself.

    “You are all perfect examples of the hypocrisy inherent in political correctness.” Lol! What! When have any of us ever claimed to be politically correct? We’re the most politically incorrect group on the face of the Earth! Everybody says it. We don’t respect your laughable beliefs and special ceremonies. That’s the exact opposite of

    political correctness! If we were actually politically correct we’d never do that. Hooboy! You’re amazing. :)

    To bill at 358, we don’t have a dogma. I spend some time explaining this to someone in the FIRST thread, complete with definitions, etc. please traipse over there and check it out if you actually want to understand.

    and @ 374, You most certainly ARE a lawyer! An Internet one. The absolute worst kind (except maybe sea lawyers when you’re out with the Navy).

    josh @ 368, right behind ya, although I only took that oath once.

  368. says

    Look: the fact that an action-type offends someone –whether or not it is offensive in a normative sense — provides a moral reason against performing an instance of it: other things being equal, one shouldn’t go around offending people. But the fact there is a moral reason against performing an action -type does not mean that it is inappropriate all things considered to do so. After all, there may be moral reasons for engaging in it that outweigh the reasons against so doing.

    The various actions one might take vis-a-vis a consecrated communion wafer aside from consuming it in church are a case in point. Apparently removing one from church and putting it in a baggie, among other things, is offensive to a lot of Catholics. And that counts against engaging in actions of these various kinds. But Catholic theology has had policy impacts around the world which have been seriously harmful to very many people. It’s influence on abortion policy, the legalization of gay marriage, birth control and the spread of HIV in various nations has been devastating. Insofar as ridiculing that theology by actions of these kinds reveals how specious it is and as a result undercuts its policy impact, doing so is appropriate despite any offense caused. After all, a little offense is far less harmful than the policies Catholic theology has bred.

  369. tsg says

    So yeah, they consider it to be priceless.

    That doesn’t make it so.

    Take it before a judge and he’s going to ask you “What would it cost to replace it.”

    “Well, there $1.50 per thousand and we have to get a guy to wave his hands over them.”

  370. Bill says

    My fiat-currency idea is not that flawed. The premise is that I don’t believe in fiat currency. So let’s say that I write a post to people over whom I have influence asking them to pretend to be a guard, go to a bank, and take the currency and mail it to me, so I can burn it to prove it has no value. Is that right, morally? Ethically? Legally? What did he do that was so different, except perhaps for the legal part, which might not be recognized by a judge in the case of hosts. I guarantee you in the fiat-currency example that doing that would be illegal.

  371. Odie says

    It was freely given under false pretenses, as I said. If I con you out of $40000 by pretending to be a banker, and you give it to me freely, is it a crime? Yes, actually.

    Posted by: Bill | July 11, 2008 4:21 PM

    Another failed attempt. Here we go:

    Do Catholic churches allow practicing Catholics to receive communion? Yes.
    Are the wafers given with an implicit agreement that the receiving party will hold that wafer either in trust or as a bailment for the grantor? No. The grantor assumes that they will never get the wafer back and they are freely giving it away.

    Please feel free to try again.

  372. says

    To walk up to someone, poke them in the chest, and tell them they are an idiot is to ask for a punch in the nose. PZ is getting punched.

    Hey, PZ? How do you get your blog to walk up to people and poke them in the chest? They have to actually visit mine to be told they are an idiot.

  373. Rey Fox says

    “He stepped on your dogma and you’re all bent out of shape”

    What dogma?

    “It is the wholesale disregard displayed by the learned professor for what is deemed a holy rite by millions.”

    So what?

    “The “cracker”, in this instance, is a symbol for something far greater than the idea of America or any other nation. ”

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

  374. says

    A person in a position of influence cannot simply write publicly that someone ought to go commit an illegal act.

    Posted by: Bill | July 11, 2008 4:24 PM

    Comptetent adults aged 18 and over who want to ought to smoke marijuana. There, I did it. Except I’m not in a position of influence.

  375. tsg says

    What did he do that was so different, except perhaps for the legal part, which might not be recognized by a judge in the case of hosts.

    The legal part is the only part that matters since it was your argument that taking the host without consuming it is illegal and “stealing a priceless religious artifact”. Everything else is just moving the goalposts.

  376. Rich P. says

    “I am freely exchanging ideas, namely, the idea that he was wrong, and perhaps gravely so, it what he did. Certainly morally and ethically, possibly legally.”

    You’re right. I am going to go down to the police station now to file a missing cracker report. See you guys after they let me out of the psych hospital.

  377. says

    A person in a position of influence cannot simply write publicly that someone ought to go commit an illegal act.

    If you say should not write i would say that it was a reasonable position, but it doesn’t since it doesn’t apply here. PZ clearly has not asked anyone to perform an illegal act.

  378. Ando says

    RE: #386 (E.V.)

    Actually, that whole post was a tongue-in-cheek attempt at levity, I’ll try to remember that it often doesn’t translate on the internet. I wasn’t trying to make a point other than to say a lot of people find me anachronistic and it doesn’t really bother me that much. It was just a semi-humorous way to respond to your assertion that it was nuts for someone to believe in the Eucharist in the 21st century. There are lots of people who do, and miraculously they still manage to be productive members of society.

    Now as for myself, being in the Architectural field, I just try to refrain from foisting bad buildings on my fellow man. Talk about needing to be scared of a group of people, watch out for ultra-modernist architects, they’re much scarier than Catholics (and more vindictive too). My work is not necessarily challenging to my faith unless you count Rem Koolhaas as being proof that the devil does exist. I have a brilliant friend, however, who is managing to complete her PhD in Neuroscience at a prestigious school and is involved in some exciting new research, all while maintaining a healthy God delusion! We’re not the enemy and we are capable of being nice people to boot!

    I’ll do my part and try to chastise the radicals I run into. I’m not a huge fan of the Catholic League and I’m also not afraid to tell them so. You’re talking about a faith that has included both Dorothy Day and Bill Donohue, we certainly contain a wide range of opinions.

  379. E.V. says

    Notaquinas
    “By the way, nothing discovered by science has disproved God’s existence.”

    And none of you pre-Copernican twits have ever proved he/she/it exists.
    The burden of proof is on you, just as if I said that leprechauns existed, I would have to define what I meant as “leprechauns” and thenprovide verifiable evidence of their existance. Oh wait. I know, I’ll just produce some written scrolls, which will be pronounced holy by the priests of the order of leprechauns, that say they are inspired by the invisible sky leprechaun and that you will be doomed if you don’t believe leprechauns are real and have pots of gold at the end of rainbows.
    You are a tedious smug little boor. I respect your right to be a tedious smug little boor, but I still can tell you I think you’re intellectually dishonest and, well, a smug little boor.

  380. Doug Little says

    #425
    The proof of Leprechauns is written on the back of Guinness beer mats not scrolls, everyone knows that.

  381. Salt says

    Donovan is definitely pressing, but PZ has lost the high ground he could have held by reducing himself to Donovan’s level.

    It’s one thing to point out to Donovan that he is making a mountain out of a molehill concerning the lad and the Host, but then to construct one’s own mountain, make it even higher, climb it and crow, is not rational.

  382. Dahan says

    Salt,

    We know about the reality of the VFW/flag burning thing. Although, as a vet, I’d be trying to save that poor guy… would you?
    We know that society works this way. However, that doesn’t mean we have to accept it happily and say “Well, can’t say or do anything to piss someone off no matter how fucked up their beliefs are or how little evidence there is to support them. Guess I’ll sit in a corner and die along with the rest of the world.”

    Do you sweep the ground in front of you so you won’t step on ants as some Jains do? Do you refuse to eat beef? You realize that a McDonalds commercial would be to others what seeing PZ or me smashing your cracker in a video would be to you, right?

    Concern Troll…

  383. Robert McAuley says

    I guess that the fact you can link to porn off of google means it should be shut down. I hope the pres of the university has more sense than to listen to these whining fools.

  384. E.V. says

    I have a brilliant friend, however, who is managing to complete her PhD in Neuroscience at a prestigious school and is involved in some exciting new research, all while maintaining a healthy God delusion!

    That’s a sadder thought than you can imagine…

  385. Longstreet63 says

    @291
    “At any rate, everybody go have a beer or two and enjoy the weekend.”

    You realize you’ve just mortally offended the many religious sects for whom the consumption of alcohol is abomination, right? You’ve managed to offend both Muslims and Baptists at once. And Calvinists probably are offended by ‘enjoy the weekend’. And maybe Jews and Adventists, if you mean Saturday.

    See how slippery that slope is?

    It is almost impossible to avoid offending somebody’s religious beliefs at any given time.

    Theologically, every Christian offends some other type of Christian by his very existence–not even considering the feelings of the various nonchristian believers.

    But for the emergence of civil over theological law, each would be wholeheartedly engaged in killing the others.

    Except the Quakers, possibly. But they’d all be long dead.

    And we get told we need to respect those beliefs? that we shouldn’t say or do things that offend them? Impossible. And a burden believers themselves do not bear, either with each other or with we atheists.

    I’d ask believers what made them so special as to be excused from this, except for the fact that they’d tell me, in excruciating detail, exactly why they so consider themselves. Each in turn, with a full complement of religious offensiveness and not a shred of self-consiousness.

    So, to all of you offended by our esteemed hosts’ and posters’ oh-so-horrid failure to appropriately kowtow to your own version of the One True Faith, please be advised that your threats and advice are a waste of breath.

    The gauntlet is down, and that’s where it should be. Your outraged squirming shows the weakness of your house-of-cards faith. Call on your gods and demons to defend you, if you will, but step into the temple of reality and you lose.

    Steve “As for me, I’ll take that beer.” James

  386. tsg says

    Donovan is definitely pressing, but PZ has lost the high ground he could have held by reducing himself to Donovan’s level.

    It’s one thing to point out to Donovan that he is making a mountain out of a molehill concerning the lad and the Host, but then to construct one’s own mountain, make it even higher, climb it and crow, is not rational.

    At least, not if you completely ignore his reasons for doing it in the first place.

  387. Randy says

    “You’re right. I am going to go down to the police station now to file a missing cracker report. See you guys after they let me out of the psych hospital.”

    Doubled over laughing.

  388. Bill says

    By the way, I just want to go on record as being Bill, not bill. I didn’t say anything about “your dogma”. I believe evolution is fact, fyi. You’re really fighting the wrong battle here. To get attention for this issue is stupid, and to continue to wrongly defend it is also stupid. P.S., Catholics are also largely believers in evolution, though I am not a Catholic. Finally, I readily admit that death threats are wrong as are the people who made them; Catholics who physically grab a guy who misuses a host are wrong; Bill Donahue is wrong in his approach to this teachable moment; Priests are wrong to abuse people; Bishops are wrong to cover it up; Muslims are wrong to jihad; Presidents are wrong to start wars on false pretenses; atheists are wrong to be closed-minded to spirituality; dogmatists are wrong to force their beliefs on atheists; church and state ought to be separated; Spanish inquisition was wrong; I’m almost certainly wrong about something, as I often am; etc., etc.

  389. spgreenlaw says

    @ keith #283
    “I remain disappointed that PZ’s liver, pancreas, lungs, and brain haven’t exploded with virulent forms of cancer yet but perhaps before long. I’m keeping an extra hundred dollar bill handy to buy a few rounds of beers in a local pub in great celebration.”

    As someone who just watched his mother die due to cancer in the lungs, liver, and elsewhere, I feel the need to ask you if you know just how awful the suffering brought about by this disease is. Do you?

    If not, then I would suggest reading a book or two on the subject before you condemn someone to what amounts to hell on earth. (Of course, the group you are defending frequently condemns people to an eternity of hell. Pleasant.)

    If yes, then a trip to the psychiatric ward is in order, you twisted little shit.

  390. Salt says

    Salt,

    We know about the reality of the VFW/flag burning thing. Although, as a vet, I’d be trying to save that poor guy… would you?
    We know that society works this way. However, that doesn’t mean we have to accept it …
    Posted by: Dahan | July 11, 2008 4:53 PM

    You are correct, you do not have to accept it. But remember, actions have consequences, not all actions or consequences are rational, and what is rational is admittedly arguable, which is one reason we have courts.

  391. negentropyeater says

    Bill,

    for such claim to be held in court, the church would need to have all church attendees to sign a note, prior to church services, whereby they acknowledge that any Eucharist that may be distributed to them during mass remain the property of the church until they are fully consumed.

  392. Joel Rosenberg says

    Well, of course it’s offensive for PZ Myers to write (and perhaps publicly act) to disrespectfully toward an object that at least many Catholics are taught to treat as sacred.

    But that is, of course, his right, and in a civilized society the appropriate penalty for such behavior are social sanctions: some people will speak disparagingly of him, and I’m sure he’ll console himself with his enhanced status in among the anti-fundamentalist left.

    But — just to be clear — while there’s nothing particularly brave in what Myers has written (it’s not, as poster after poster has argued, implicitly or explicitly, like he’s drawn a cartoon of, say, Mohammed taking his first wife to bed at the tender age of nine — hers, not his) it is, at a minimum, grossly inappropriate to threaten his life, even if such threats are neither meant nor taken seriously.

    Telling somebody who everybody (including Myers) knows damn well isn’t going to discipline him, much less fire him, to fire him?

    That’s just chin music.

  393. E.V. says

    Dammit, it’s 4 and I have wasted another afternoon. No trolls hit back and now I have to log off ang get something accomplished. Have fun, kids.

  394. tsg says

    atheists are wrong to be closed-minded to spirituality;

    Most aren’t. I think you’ll find the majority of people calling themselves atheist will tell you that, given sufficient evidence, they would change their minds. They would have to.

  395. Salt says

    #432: At least, not if you completely ignore his reasons for doing it in the first place.

    Posted by: tsg | July 11, 2008 4:58 PM

    Ah! An eye for an eye. Quite biblical. Is this what you will teach your children regarding social interaction? If someone makes an ass out of them self, show him up – make a bigger one out of yourself?

  396. Bill says

    @Doug on 422, banks willingly give guards money all the time. That’s how they transport it.

    Are you people just being willfully ignorant for the sake of argument, or what? What he did was wrong. Period. I have no problem with anything else but that last paragraph, where he I assume quite seriously says

    “So, what to do. I have an idea. 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.”

    This type of behavior is not new; centuries ago people placed bounties on these very things, so the idea that it is a priceless religious artifact is not new. And the idea that because it wouldn’t hold up in court makes it right?
    That’s enough for me. Sheesh.

  397. tsg says

    Ah! An eye for an eye. Quite biblical. Is this what you will teach your children regarding social interaction? If someone makes an ass out of them self, show him up – make a bigger one out of yourself?

    Do you understand the concept of civil disobedience as a means of effecting change?

  398. Salt says

    Bill,

    for such claim to be held in court, the church would need to have all church attendees to sign a note, prior to church services, whereby they acknowledge that any Eucharist that may be distributed to them during mass remain the property of the church until they are fully consumed.

    Posted by: negentropyeater | July 11, 2008 5:03 PM

    Not true. As I stated in another thread, there is an implied contract like attending an all you can eat buffet. Consumption is to be there (its purpose), it is not a grocery store.

  399. Johnnyjoe says

    @345 (Mechalith)

    “Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.”
    G.K. Chesterton – Orthodoxy, 1908

    The “modern” science of hyper-exitential-atheistic-rationalism ala darwinism is the secular “religion” of our day, and is claiming a “modern tradition” of it’s own. Of course the notion that God would humble himself to be present in simple bread and wine is “unbelievable” – but much of this natural world is just an inexplicable.

    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 think reading this profane thread has given me to observe that the heart of these harsh critics of the Church is a lack of wonder and gratitude at the shear gift of Life and the abundance of goodness available to us in this world… if we but have the charity and unselfishness to observe it.

  400. tsg says

    This type of behavior is not new; centuries ago people placed bounties on these very things, so the idea that it is a priceless religious artifact is not new. And the idea that because it wouldn’t hold up in court makes it right?

    You said it was illegal. It isn’t. Your just moving the goalposts.

  401. 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?

    For the same reason we don’t believe in God: we’ll believe in God or the general rationality of theists when we see evidence for such ludicrous concepts.

  402. Bill says

    @446: I said morally wrong, ethically wrong, and possibly legally wrong. Who is moving the goal posts? I admitted I’m not a lawyer, but as I have now been proclaimed an Internet Lawyer I tried to give some legal justification, which was backed up by Salt. I think there is a legitimate legal issue there, though I don’t care one way or the other. Wrong is wrong.

  403. negentropyeater says

    Bill #442,

    what’s wrong with that last paragraph ?

    You are saying it’s not new, that it can’t be held in court, that it doesn’t make it right, but what’s wrong with it ? Can you try to be specific please ? What are you afraid of ?

  404. Philbert says

    We Catholics must not judge PZ Myerz or the other jerk. Even if they were to piss on a crucifix or jack off on a Virgin Mary icon, only God knows what’s in their hearts that makes them disrespectful.

  405. Doug Little says

    Doug on 422, banks willingly give guards money all the time. That’s how they transport it

    OK so what, how does this relate to someone walking out of a church with a cracker. I am assuming that when the guard enters into a contract of employment with the bank that it specifically states that he cannot take the money he is transporting.

  406. Sir Jebbington says

    #110:

    Does the University sponsor attacks on religion? Is this man’s actions to ridicule and vilify the faith of over a BILLION people really something the University can watch with bemusement?

    Well, first of all, yes; but to clarify, the University doesn’t sponsor it, it allows it.
    Secondly, I hardly think that the University is confused about his action. Mr. Myers explains exactly what he plans to do and why he plans to do it.
    And I love that even you make the distinction between attacking the people and attacking the faith. Ideas are not sentient. Even better? Those who profess love and morals wish to attack a person, and Mr. Myers, an atheist whom you people put into the category of evil, wishes to attack an idea.

  407. tsg says

    I said morally wrong, ethically wrong, and possibly legally wrong. Who is moving the goal posts?

    I apologize. I misread the post.

  408. Odie says

    Not true. As I stated in another thread, there is an implied contract like attending an all you can eat buffet. Consumption is to be there (its purpose), it is not a grocery store.

    Posted by: Salt | July 11, 2008 5:13 PM

    Not the same. You PAY to eat at a restaurant. There is a transaction. There is (generally) no payment required to attend a Catholic church and receive communion, if you are Catholic. At the most, it looks like the church may have a case for promissory estoppel, if you think there is an implied promise here. However, even that looks doubtful because the church would have to suffer some harm (above being offended) due to their reliance on that implied promise.

  409. says

    I think reading this profane thread has given me to observe that the heart of these harsh critics of the Church is a lack of wonder and gratitude at the shear gift of Life and the abundance of goodness available to us in this world… if we but have the charity and unselfishness to observe it.

    You were wrong from the very first two words.

    The “modern” science of hyper-exitential-atheistic-rationalism ala darwinism is the secular “religion” of our day, and is claiming a “modern tradition” of it’s own.

    You haven’t a clue what ‘Darwinism’ is. The science of geology, for instance, is just as ‘hyper-exitenstial-atheistic-rationalist’ as the theory of evolution, and is certainly not Darwinism. The fact that you indict Darwinism when all of science makes your god obsolete is the surest evidence that your knowledge of science is so fucking pitiful that a hand pump for well water must be goddamn magic to you.

    Why don’t you come back when you’ve got some idea of what the fuck you’re talking about? For someone who’s knowledge of the modern scientific understanding of the world is so poor, you’re in no fucking position to lecture anybody on the ‘inexplicability’ of the natural world or whether or not atheists experience wonder and gratitude.

    By all means though, keep yourself ignorant if it helps you sleep through the night surrounded by your strawmen and other plush toys.

    Oh, and as for profane? Your pride in your own willful ignorance is far more disgusting than any four-letter word could be.

  410. Salt says

    Do you understand the concept of civil disobedience as a means of effecting change?

    Posted by: tsg | July 11, 2008 5:12 PM

    Absolutely. And civil disobedience may have severe consequences. The best antidote to any negative consequence is having the high ground.

    Does one hold the high ground by climbing into the gutter?

  411. Dahan says

    Bill at 434,

    Sorry for screwing your name up. That’s why I don’t go by “Dan” anymore. WAY to many of them. I guess we’ll disagree on some of these matters. So be it. And yes, I am aware that many Catholics are believers in evolution.

  412. Salt says

    Not the same. You PAY to eat at a restaurant. There is a transaction. There is (generally) no payment required to attend a Catholic church and receive communion, if you are Catholic.

    Posted by: Odie | July 11, 2008 5:25 PM

    And again, another Pharyngulan misses the point. Would you go to an invitational buffet, no charge to you, and load up food to take home for later? Is it explicit that you are to do so? Is it not implied that consumption is to be there?

    Are you really this socially inept?

  413. Salt says

    BTW, Odie, please note that you admit the purpose is to “receive communion”, not as a snack for later on with a coke.

  414. E.V. says

    “I think reading this profane thread has given me to observe that the heart of these harsh critics of the Church is a lack of wonder and gratitude at the shear gift of Life and the abundance of goodness available to us in this world… if we but have the charity and unselfishness to observe it”

    And with a final indignant “harumph!!” Miss Johnnyjoe Betterthanyou flounced off the internet presumably to commiserate with Miss Shea, unaware of the dozens of “fuck you and your high horse, Miss Priss” murmered after reading his last post…
    .

  415. Odie says

    And again, another Pharyngulan misses the point. Would you go to an invitational buffet, no charge to you, and load up food to take home for later? Is it explicit that you are to do so? Is it not implied that consumption is to be there?

    Are you really this socially inept?

    Posted by: Salt | July 11, 2008 5:33 PM

    Go back through the comment history. You were responding to a comment about the legality of taking the wafer. Whether or not it is considered to be proper etiquette is another question entirely. You’re trying to move the goalposts.

  416. Dahan says

    Brownian, OM at 455,

    That was very nice! A fine PWNING!

    …lack of wonder… a quote by Mr. Adams about gardens and fairies comes to mind…

  417. notaquinas says

    E.V.

    I may be a boor. However, I would like to point out that at basis you hold several beliefs you cannot prove. You believe in a real past for one thing. You also take on faith the idea that , “Nature is all there is, was, or ever will be.” What experiment in what lab has led to this bit of undeniable evidence? Everyone holds as a basis for their thinking a set of unprovable set of presuppositions.
    God exists, why must he be discoverable empirically? You demand that God be evident to your physical senses. Why would he be? Assigning all theists to the realm of intellectual dishonesty does nothing to change the fact that
    better minds than yours have attested to the existence of God.
    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 he said it does not make it so. However, such a phrase coming from a thinker of his stature should surely give you pause.
    If you care to debate I’m game. What else is an insufferable boor to do?

  418. tsg says

    Absolutely. And civil disobedience may have severe consequences. The best antidote to any negative consequence is having the high ground.

    Does one hold the high ground by climbing into the gutter?

    In this case, I think fighting for one’s freedom of religion is the high ground.

    PZ Myers is actively refusing to submit to Bill Donahue’s insistence that all people hold the communion sacred because some do. Myers is standing up in protest, using satire, and deliberately defying that decree. And the only argument you have is that it upsets some people. Duh. That’s the point. And the beauty of it is the people it upsets are the very people he is protesting against. The target is self-selecting. Those who are offended by this act are those who believe that their religious beliefs should be observed by everyone. He is using their offense as a tool. They are offended because we don’t believe what they do. That is intolerance. That is what we are fighting. Offending them exposes their intolerance so it can be fought.

    We don’t worry about offending other bigots’ sensibilities. No one says you can’t say racism is wrong because you will offend racists. Why should this be any different?

    Saying that it shouldn’t be done because it offends some people is completely ignoring the fact that their offense is completely due to their own intolerance.

  419. gaypaganunitarianagnostic says

    “Anyone who attends church is a religious wacko.” as a Unitarian I resent that.

  420. Ariel says

    Here’s mine!

    Dear President Bruininks;

    Though a blog I frequent, I received notice that one of your associate professors, Paul Meyers, is having difficulty with some members of the very vociferous Catholic League. Though I don’t know Mr. Meyers personally, he and I do belong to several web groups and I have read his work with interest and amusement.

    I found the situation Mr. Meyers finds himself in initially amusing, but it seems to have taken a more serious turn. Apparently, the Catholic League’s Bill Donahue has charged his followers to begin campaigning for Mr. Meyers’ removal. I certainly hope you do not consider this request.

    Freedom of religion means any religion, or none at all. Having that freedom means we can comment on the practices of other beliefs, even if that commentary pokes fun. A cracker is still a cracker after all, no matter what symbolism one group places on it. Mr. Meyers might have been imprudent, but Mr. Donahue and his followers’ suggested recourse goes against one of the founding principles of this country. And we have had too many of our country’s founding principles publicly attacked lately.

    Terrorism isn’t nearly the threat that hysteria is. Hysteria can do more to destroy this country than any external enemy, and that is exactly what Mr. Donahue is trying to whip up in his followers. Please look past the sheer numbers of those followers’ emails and see reason. No one should lose his job for a crack about a cracker.

  421. Odie says

    BTW, Odie, please note that you admit the purpose is to “receive communion”, not as a snack for later on with a coke.

    Posted by: Salt | July 11, 2008 5:35 PM

    Sorry, but this is inaccurate. I’ve never made a statement about any purpose. When I write the term “receive communion,” I’m merely referring to the portion of the service where people line up to get the wafer and wine. It’s simply a descriptive term for a particular part of a church service.

  422. says

    Donovan is definitely pressing, but PZ has lost the high ground he could have held by reducing himself to Donovan’s level.

    You mean Donohue right? or am I missing some other drunk Irishman that is involved?

  423. tsg says

    I may be a boor. However, I would like to point out that at basis you hold several beliefs you cannot prove. You believe in a real past for one thing. You also take on faith the idea that , “Nature is all there is, was, or ever will be.” What experiment in what lab has led to this bit of undeniable evidence? Everyone holds as a basis for their thinking a set of unprovable set of presuppositions.

    I think you will find that the beliefs of most rationalists are conditional. I know the religious have a problem with that concept, but it’s true none the less.

  424. E.V. says

    “God exists, why must he be discoverable empirically? You demand that God be evident to your physical senses. Why would he be?”

    You fail with your first sentence.

  425. says

    Ah! An eye for an eye. Quite biblical. Is this what you will teach your children regarding social interaction? If someone makes an ass out of them self, show him up–make a bigger one out of yourself?

    Don’t be silly, Salt. This whole fiasco has shown us that theists can out-ass us any day of the week.

    Congratulations on a well-deserved win! I’d hand you a gold medal, but I understand your churches are already lined with the stuff you as you stole it from Mesoamericans. Blessed indeed are the poor, the meek, and those enough with enough political power to not have to give a shit what Jesus purportedly said so long as they eat their crackers, kiss their poisonous snakes, or stand up and ‘witness’.

    Truly a model to us all.

  426. tsg says

    “Anyone who attends church is a religious wacko.” as a Unitarian I resent that.

    <tongue-in-cheek>I’m not sure Unitarian qualifies as church</tongue-in-cheek>

  427. Johnnyjoe says

    Amazing.

    The bears on this tread are do easy to poke.

    What an amazing amount of energy wasted on personal villification and profanation.

    I think I will get back to real life…. it’s more sane out here where real people live…..

    “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”
    G.K. Chesterton – ILN, 4/19/30

    “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”
    G.K. Chesterton (Where All Roads Lead)

    “I do not feel any contempt for an atheist, who is often a man limited and constrained by his own logic to a very sad simplification.”
    G.K. Chesterton
    (“Babies and Distributism” The Well and the Shallows)

    “Atheism is indeed the most daring of all dogmas . . . for it is the assertion of a universal negative.”
    G.K. Chesterton (“Charles II” Twelve Types)

    “The atheist is not interested in anything except attacks on atheism.”
    G.K. Chesterton (“Frozen Free Thought” The Well and the Shallows)

  428. tsg says

    Amazing.

    The bears on this tread are do easy to poke.

    With a pack of fallacies that have been refuted many, many, many times? You’re going to have to try harder than that.

  429. Clayton Miller says

    Here’s the text of the email I sent to President Bruininks:

    President Robert H. Bruininks,

    I am writing in support of Associate Professor P.Z. Myers’ First Amendment rights to free speech.

    It is my understanding that he is currently the target of a campaign designed to put pressure on you and the University of Minnesota Morris administration in order to convince you to censure him, reprimand him, or even terminate his employment. I also understand that Professor Myers has not used any University resources or his paid time at the University to communicate his personal opinions and beliefs, and that this campaign is a personal and emotional response from a group of people who believe he has offended them. Being personally offended is one of the natural side effects of living in a country that supports freedom of expression.

    Thank you for your time, and please feel free to contact me using the information below.

    Clayton (etc. etc.)

    I CC’d PZ at his gmail address as well. Not as specific as many emails and letters, but I was sending from my work address with my work autosig, so I wanted to be as professional as possible.

  430. E.V. says

    No aquinas:
    If he wrote “mene mene tekel upharson” on a wall, if he appeared to Moses as a burning bush -If he interacted in any way with our physical material world, there has to be evidence of the nexus. There is no actual fingerprint of god, no carbon exhaust from his holy chariot, no foot print, no digital recordings despite the fact he seemed to be Chatty Cathy in the Old Testament. Zip, Nada. Period. Physics – study it.

  431. says

    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 he said it does not make it so. However, such a phrase coming from a thinker of his stature should surely give you pause.

    notaquinas, since you offered this paragraph in good faith, I’m going to helpfully suggest you not use Einstein to bolster your position, as recently discovered letters of his (goddamn science, always revising in light of new evidence) show that he was in no wise a believer:

    The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.

    As you noted, Einstein’s belief or lack thereof in god(s) isn’t evidence for or against their existence, but such a phrase coming from a thinker of his stature should surely give you pause, no?

  432. Ted Powell says

    #464

    … Albert Einstein himself, whom I assume would be revered on a page such as this, said …

    Ironically, on this very page, the Random Quote in the left sidebar says:

    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
    [Albert Einstein, 1954, from “Albert Einstein: The Human Side”, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Princeton University Press]

  433. says

    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 he said it does not make it so. However, such a phrase coming from a thinker of his stature should surely give you pause.

    No more than this:

    The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.

    Or this:

    It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

    Or this one over here:

    It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere…. Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

    I suspect that when faced with a great unknown, the truly humble course of action is not to paint a caricatured human face upon it and elevate one myth out of the millions produced during our ignorant past to the position of Ultimate Answer. The origins of the Cosmos may indeed be stranger than we have ever imagined, but by that very token, a loftier, longer-lived, superpowered version of what we see in the mirror does not qualify. It is not that we have two authorities, science and religion, and when one fails we must turn to the other; rather, our history has given us a superfluity of faiths and factions, creeds and canons, none of which have demonstrated their fluency with quarks, quasars or any of the other discoveries of modern science.

    We do not have “faith” in science. Instead, the scientific method has earned our trust through the rewards it has brought. That’s quite a different matter. Should the tools of science turn out too feeble to handle some deep Cosmic mystery, then the cosmologists will be able to go home and fix the plumbing (I daresay other areas of science might continue unaffected, just as Einstein’s General Relativity doesn’t affect the daily life of the molecular biologists all too much).

    Walking the path of minimum faith requires admitting ignorance when necessary. Those who choose the path learn to avoid inflating the relics of bygone eras to fill the voids which honest inquiry reveals.

  434. StuV says

    Hoo boy. notaquinas, here we go:

    I may be a boor.

    Naah, you seem fairly polite. Just very, very ignorant.

    However, I would like to point out that at basis you hold several beliefs you cannot prove. You believe in a real past for one thing.

    What the holy hell? This is a joke, right?

    You also take on faith the idea that , “Nature is all there is, was, or ever will be.”

    No, if we discover something outside of nature science will incorporate it. But we haven’t, and there’s no need to assume we ever will. A god is an entity that needs proof, since there is no need for one to exist.

    Everyone holds as a basis for their thinking a set of unprovable set of presuppositions.

    Nope. That’s kind of the point.

    God exists,

    Why? Says who?

    why must he be discoverable empirically?

    The Great Green Arkleseizure exists, why must he be discoverable empirically?

    BECAUSE YOU ARE ASSERTING SOMETHING SILLY. PROVE IT.

    You demand that God be evident to your physical senses.

    Any sense will do.

    Why would he be?

    Because it would prove he exists?

    Assigning all theists to the realm of intellectual dishonesty does nothing to change the fact that
    better minds than yours have attested to the existence of God.

    Oh no… argument from authority. Better minds than yours have attested to the non-existence of God as well. You are aware of this, right?

    But, let me guess…

    Albert Einstein himself,

    Yep, I win.

    whom I assume would be revered on a page such as this,

    No, assclown, science doesn’t revere anyone. That, again, is kind of the entire everloving point.

    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 he said it does not make it so.

    You’re damned skippy it doesn’t. Are you aware that he also said:

    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

    “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

    However, such a phrase coming from a thinker of his stature should surely give you pause.

    Nope, and not in the least because you willfully misinterpret him. Smart people can be (and often are) spectacularly wrong about things. For a good part, the scientific method exists specifically to combat that.

    If you care to debate I’m game.

    Sure, but you’ll have to do a lot better than this around here.

  435. notaquinas says

    EV

    I seem to recall that Einstein was at least passingly familiar with physics. Logically, the fact that you have not seen physical evidence of God’s existence does not negate that existence. You again demand empirical evidence. Perhaps you did not understand what I meant about naturalistic presuppositions. Your lack of physical evidence means nothing.

  436. negentropyeater says

    Salt,

    Not true. As I stated in another thread, there is an implied contract like attending an all you can eat buffet.

    Correct, but you can also take away a piece of bread from an all you can eat buffet. Actually as long as the amount that you are taking away is within reasonable proportions, it is perfectly lawful.

    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, and desecrate it at home for example in front of my webcam, without having in any way shape or form disrupted church services, all I have done is perfectly within the law.

    When I enter in a church and take communion there are no legal or implicit requirements that I do this as a believer. I can do this as a non believer. The only requirements that exist are to respect the property and not to disrupt church services. So, as long as I do this, what I do next outside of the church at home with the Eucharist which is my property, is protected by the 1st amendment.

  437. Adrienne says

    Notaquinas: very important rule of debate that you are not adhering to: the burden of proof is on the person making the claim.

    You assert God exists. Now it’s up to you to provide evidence backing up that assertion.

    Just as if I were to demand that you believe there are elves living under my kitchen sink, you wouldn’t believe me unless I gave you proof of such elves.

    Now do you get it?

  438. E.V. says

    No aquinas:
    There were, and are, religions that predate the Hebrew Yaweh, whose gods bear no resemblance to the Abrahamic God. Without being the oldest, original religion, it fails.
    Back to the immaterial god/material world cunundrum. If god is beyond our material world he has no relevance to it or it to him.
    Comparitive Religion shows fascinating patterns in human belief in the supernatural – it may be ubiquitous but its completely dependent on the level of civilization and their geography. …Yadda yadda yadda

    Actually, this is just an excercise in futility with you. You win. There is a God. You proved it. But, unfortunately I have to go prepare dinner for the family.

  439. Salt says

    #462: Go back through the comment history. You were responding to a comment about the legality of taking the wafer.
    Posted by: Odie | July 11, 2008 5:41 PM

    Yes, I was. My response revolved around an implicit contract.

    Whether or not it is considered to be proper etiquette is another question entirely. You’re trying to move the goalposts.- Odie

    Not so. I was also merely noting the tendency to social autism.

  440. Spinoza says

    The IRONY of these two quotes is quote humorous:

    “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”
    G.K. Chesterton – ILN, 4/19/30

    “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”
    G.K. Chesterton (Where All Roads Lead)

    Sorry G.K., but that second quote is a fallacy. It’s called affirming the consequent, and you did it!

  441. Adrienne says

    Notaquinas wrote:

    Logically, the fact that you have not seen physical evidence of God’s existence does not negate that existence.

    The fact that you have not seen physical evidence of the magical elves and fairies under my sink does not negate their existence. Now you believe in them right?….No? Why not?

    You again demand empirical evidence. Perhaps you did not understand what I meant about naturalistic presuppositions.

    What other kind of evidence besides empirical evidence is there? How can something be evidence if it cannot be tested?

    Your lack of physical evidence means nothing.

    The same could be said back to you. The lack of physical evidence means nothing. It certainly doesn’t mean that some sort of supernatural being exists, right?

  442. Ted Powell says

    “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”

    There isn’t and there are.

    The utility of the term atheist comes from the existence of theists, not from the hypothesized existence of gods.

  443. Mez says

    Tried to post this in the previous thread, but it was closed while I was reading/typing. I recommend #151 in that thread to everyone.

    “Has anyone else read this entire thread thus far?” (#829)

    Yes. Up rto #1114, the total when I arrived.
    My eyes hurt now, and my mind is quite tired too, so I’m not going any further [especially the 500 new comments here]. But Sydney is running headlong into the World Youth Day events — a Catholic religious event costing our State government over $AU100 million. If I find any good postcards I’ll send some over there.

  444. Odie 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.

  445. Salt says

    re #465
    In this case, I think fighting for one’s freedom of religion is the high ground.

    PZ Myers is actively refusing to submit to Bill Donahue’s insistence that all people hold the communion sacred because some do.

    Posted by: tsg | July 11, 2008 5:45 PM

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

    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.

  446. dubiquiabs says

    Dear John Lewandowski (in case you’re still here),

    it’s no business of mine what you, any other Catholic, or anybody else believe, nor would I ever disturb or disrupt any religious observance. If, however, your doctrinal beliefs are displayed in public with claims to truth beyond your organization, they are as much subject to examination as is any hypothesis about anything.

    It does not matter how deeply I believe my hypothesis to be true that, say, eating wheat wafers cures leukemia. To be taken seriously, I would have to show evidence that can independently be replicated by others. If you want your belief to be taken seriously outside your organization, show evidence that consecration of a wafer changes anything that could be construed as ‘transsubstantiation’. Until you can do so, your claim that (wheat wafer + incantation = God) amounts to, technically speaking, a pile of buffalo bagels.

    It does not matter that billions of Catholics (and to be ecumenical, other credulous souls) believe in various piles of same bagels, because there are more plausible reasons than truth claims for holding absurd beliefs. One reasons being group identification. The more far-out the shared beliefs are, the greater will be the cohesion of the believer group and the sharper the “us versus them” boundary.

    This “if you are not with us, you are against us” effect of believing in crap is one of the more insidious consequences of what you blithely call “harmless” beliefs. Contrast that with the relentless doubts and critiques of each other’s ideas and findings in science, and you see a very different set of consequences.

    Any unsupported belief is potentially harmful. Don’t tell me that the doctrine of ensoulment at the “moment of conception” is harmless when it is used to hinder research designed to alleviate suffering on a scale you can’t imagine. Take a good look at the trail of gut-wrenching cruelty perpe