Best gargoyles ever

Someone asked if I went to church yesterday. Yes. This one:


I was only there for the gargoyles, which are all of Ecuadorian wildlife.

(Now I have to go catch a plane to the islands…)


  1. John C. Randolph says

    Those gargoyles are far too phallic for Pharyngula. This type of posting is damaging PZ’s reputation.

  2. John C. Randolph says


    Posing as me wasn’t funny the first time you did it, and it’s getting less so with every repetition.


  3. Spinzoa says

    John C. Randolph is the definition of attention whore. He filled up one entire thread trolling nonsense, himself and people trolling him and it looks like he’s trying to do it again.

  4. MAJeff, OM says

    I said it on the other thread, stop fucking posting under other people’s names.

  5. SEF says

    Not merely turtles all the way up(!) but also pentangles (ie the stars often associated with witchcraft) as the mini stained-glass windows, instead of the usual 4-fold or 6-fold symmetry ones.

  6. says

    The turtles and pentacles are interesting, but I’m curious about what used to be in the circular space in the middle. It looks like something more interesting used to be there, but has since been rather sloppily filled in with masonry.

  7. John says

    How the Hell can you see anything in that little photo??!!?
    I can only make out the Pentagram thingies in the window…

    I don’t see the penises that John C. Randolph was referencing.
    Maybe that’s a good thing.


  8. SEF says

    I’m curious about what used to be in the circular space in the middle.

    • Sun-dial
    • Moon-dial
    • Planet X dial
    • Zodiac circle
    • Clock (with alien time scheme)
    • magic sigil of summoning
    • Eye of Mordor
    • Demon emerging from pit of hell
    • Dragon (likewise)
    • Cthulhu’s tentacles bursting out
    • bust of Darwin / Dawkins / PZ the elder one

  9. George Atkinson says

    I visited the Galapagos in 1985 (150 years after Darwin). My remembrance of the Quito cathedral was the contrast between that wall of gold inside and the horde of beggars squatting outside, all with pus-filled eyes.

  10. David Farley says


    Len, that church is still under construction (not sure how long it’s been in that state) but the empty circle is probably still waiting for whatever is supposed to go there (I see some suggestions).

    A friend of mine went inside and climbed all the way to the top by herself – no supervision, no guards, few warning signs (imagine that here). I posted one of her pictures on PZ’s other post, but you can see many more here (all towards the bottom of the page – look at the large versions of the images to see gargoyle animals up close).

  11. blueshifter says

    maybe it’s my hangover, but i’ve seen two sentences here that took me a while to parse:

    I was only there for the gargoyles, which are all of Ecuadorian wildlife.

    after reading it about 3 or 4 times, FINALLY I got this one; the gargoyles are [sculpted in the semblance of] Ecuadorian wildlife. Ah! gotcha, PZ. go, run – catch that boat.

    Here’s the other sentence i couldn’t grok. Actually, i still haven’t, i’ve really no idea what this is trying to say:

    For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;…

    the ‘semicolon-ellipsis’ doohickey at the end ain’t helping, either. Ok, so let me see if i can decipher this. Maybe “them that perish” is a clause describing to whom the foolishness applies, so it could be re-written:

    For the preaching of the cross is foolishness to them-that-perish.

    Ok – that parses, but what the hell does it mean? are ‘them-that-perish’ people that don’t go to heaven (i.e. pharyngula readers), and just die? not traditional christian thinking, really – we all ‘die’ but eventually end up in either hell or limbo… this interpretation fails to extract any useful information from the holy passage.

    maybe i got it ALL wrong, i’ll try another angle. perhaps instead ‘them that perish foolishness’ is WHO we are talking about, ‘the preaching of the cross’ is WHAT we are talking about, and then… wait, that doesn’t work either, were missing something to contrast the WHAT to. i’ll use ‘donuts’ as a neutral example:

    for the preaching of the cross is like donuts to them that perish folishness;…

    donuts… that sounds good… and some coffee… wait, focus, must understand the TEACHINGS OF THE GOOD BOOK!!! ok, this is a dead end also. wtf does ‘perishing foolishness’ entail? is it maybe the same as ‘suffering’ foolishness, as in … wait! this IS the source of ‘i don’t suffer fools’! ok, so it’s a translation problem. fine, i’ll google the stupid thing…

    [googles, comes back]

    wow, there are million translations of this passage. it’s a letter from Paul of Tarsus to the Corinthians (“ooh! what lovely columns your church has!”), and i was right, ‘thems-that-die’ are the nonbelievers. the omitted second half says those that DO believe will be saved. this passage actually wonderfully illustrates the biggest “OOPSIE!” in christian theology; he did literally write ‘those that die’, since my man Pablo was convinced of the fact that JC would return and take him up to the troposphere before he died. “Yup! any day now! iesu cristo! Gonna show up! yup! seriously, hang on, he’s coming! he’s very punctual. just… hang on…”. he did not of course, and ever since the christian thinkers [ahem] have been doing semantic acrobatics on the original explicitly short timetable.

    one last thing; my favorite translation:

    For the word of the cross seems foolish to those who are on the way to destruction; but to us who are on the way to salvation it is the power of God.

    CATS: How are you gentlemen !!

  12. Valerie says

    Why do you hate religion, especially Catholic Christianity, so much? Why do you waste your time and energy when you could be doing things that would better humanity instead of making yourself hated by so many? Why do you openly break the law by defiling the Eucharist? Maybe your open hatred for people and their religions means that you really do acknowledge that God does exist, but you are trying to fight Him in your heart.

    If you really felt you knew that God didn’t exist, then why bother trying to prove your point? As I said, maybe you are just trying to convince yourself. I will keep you in my prayers so that you and your family will find peace and that you will be rid of all your unhealthy anger.

  13. MAJeff, OM says

    I will keep you in my prayers

    And a cheery “fuck you” right back at you this lovely day.

  14. Tony says

    You are so untarget, why don’t these guys just do the science that I come here to read instead of bitching about how bad Christianity is.
    You know what? I don’t beleive in the toothfairy and I don’t go around talking about it because for me it is not even an issure.
    Those who comment on her must really have difficulty with the concept of God. They gotta be closet believers and angry has hell.

  15. Ian H Spedding FCD says

    I still can’t help by being amazed by the fact that when Darwin visited the Galapagos, it would have taken months to get letters and pictures back to the UK from there and now it’s a matter of minutes to have pearls of PZ’s wisdom and full-color pics available around the world. Can you imagine how dazzled Darwin would have been?

  16. LordJiro says

    I’d only voluntarily go to any church for the architecture. Some of the cathedrals are gorgeous buildings.

  17. LordJiro says

    @Tony: Tooth fairy believers do not constantly try to force their religion down the throats of non-believers. Nor do they try to turn America (a secular republic) into a Christian theocracy. And they don’t send death threats because someone threw a cracker in the garbage.

  18. LordJiro says

    Third and last post (Sorry, keep thinking of extra things to add): That should have been Toothfairian theocracy. Or something.

  19. Confused says

    You should see the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona; the East facade. It’s got quite a few animals, including two pillars built on a turtle and a tortoise. Although I’m perplexed why a depiction of the nativity includes tortoises…

  20. charles says

    This summer I visited the Museum of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy in Paris which is not only filled with great specimens, but also incorporates animals into much of the architecture. Immediately upon entering the building, you’re confronted with a large sculpture of a man being throttled by an enraged orangutan.

    Next time you’re in Paris you should check the whole Natural History Museum, including the Grand Gallery of Evolution and the surrounding Jardin des Plantes.

  21. SEF says

    look at the large versions of the images to see gargoyle animals up close

    So the missing component is a circular plaque with some sort of critter in the centre (perhaps a dragon/demon or an eagle attacking a snake on some stylised plant material) and spanish words around the outside: “ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS”.

  22. El Herring says

    Valerie #25 and Tony #29:

    I’m not speaking for PZ but I’ll give you one very good reason for hating Catholic Xianity, in two words:

    Crimen Sollicitationis.

    I personally don’t need any other reason.

  23. Rey Fox says

    “Maybe your open hatred for people and their religions means that you really do acknowledge that God does exist, but you are trying to fight Him in your heart.”

    Does this kind of shit make sense to believers? Because to me it’s a complete non sequitur.

  24. Rey Fox says

    Wow, I thought that one gargoyle in a picture linked to by someone else in the equator thread looked like an armadillo. Now I know, it is an armadillo. Sweet.

  25. Peter Ashby says

    Are they gargoyles? a gargoyle is a water spout from guttering that is carved to resemble something. They don’t look like that. A carving on a building like that which is not functioning as a water spout is termed a grotesque. Vis the ones on the Natural History Museum in London.

  26. Scott B says

    If you’re looking for unusual gargoyles and their less watery cousins, grotesques, the National Cathedral in DC has a few. They even did a grotesque of Darth Vader during a renovation a short while back.

  27. says

    These aren’t gargoyles but they’re part of the carvings on the wall above one of the side entrances to Lincoln Cathedral. I love Cathedrals even if I’m not a fan of the religion and I was taking a photo of these carvings when a local guy spotted me and explained a little about them.

    Apparently, the (now) headless goat thing with the huge erection is about to sodomise the poor unfortunate displaying his naked arse to the right of him.

    More cathedrals should have stuff like this ;-)

  28. Iain Walker says


    Toothfairian theocracy

    Where if you lose a tooth and throw it in the trash instead of putting it under your pillow, you get death threats, plus trolls like Valerie demanding to know why you hate Toothfairy-ists so much.

  29. Iain Walker says


    Does this kind of shit make sense to believers? Because to me it’s a complete non sequitur.

    I don’t think they care much about whether it makes sense or not. In fact, the more bizarre the claim, the more one demonstrates one’s commitment to the group by espousing it. It’s a group identity cohesion thing.