The good Christians of Kentucky deface my posters again

I’m speaking at Murray State University in Kentucky on Nov. 21 and 22 (stay tuned for BBQ reports) under the aegis of the Murray State University Student Organization for Reason and Science. The head of that group just told me that the posters for one of my talks are being removed and defaced.  This is exactly what happened when I spoke—about evolution—at the University of Kentucky at Lexington several years ago.  The students sent me a photo of a defaced poster in which somebody—I’m betting a believer—ripped the “is true” part off of my book cover:

Damaged poster, Murray State

This doesn’t really anger me, but I’m sorry that the students have to replace the ones that were taken down.  And I’m always aware that this kind of acadmic vandalism, at least against evolution, is based on fear: fear that  people might hear the anti-Biblical truth about science. And that’s exactly why I prefer to speak in places like Murray, Kentucky. I am talking about evolution, but the talk touted above is on accommodatinism—a far more incendiary topic. You never feel the oppressive pervasiveness of religion in America more strongly than in the South.

The students, bless their hearts, have asked me if I’d like some campus security there in case there’s trouble.  I don’t really need that (though when I spoke in Augusta Georgia they provided a guard packing heat), but I told them I’d let the campus cops figure out if it was really necessary.

___

p.s. “Freed Curd” Auditorium sounds like it was named after a compatibilist yogurt.

64 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    sub

  2. francis
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    …did someone eat it???

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Freed Curd sounds like fries with gravy or cheeseless poutine.

  4. Kevin
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible that it was torn off to write a quick grocery list?

    • Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it’s a logical possibility but not a reasonable one (like God’s existence!). I suppose all the posters that were removed were used to make LARGE grocery lists!

      • Kevin
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        Laughing with tears in my eyes. I am just trying to hope that people are better than they act. Maybe it is like what they tell us at work: walk around the block before sending that emotional email to people…maybe these people need to walk around the campus before ripping posters off the wall. Maybe they will forget or run out of time to be spiteful.

  5. Coyotenose
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    In Southernese, “Bless their heart(s)” is generally translated as “they are morons”. Obviously not the case in context, but you have to be careful with the idioms of a foreign language. :-P

    Curiously, when speaking directly to the person in question,”Bless your heart” is better translated as a very sincere “Eff you”. A native speaker can convey worlds of contempt and dismissiveness with those three words while seeming to be the epitome of politeness and charm.

    Signed,
    One of the Natives

    • Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that explanation. In fact, I’ve never heard it used as an insult, and of course I didn’t mean it that way.

    • Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never heard it meant that way, and I’m from Virginia. My grandmother used it to mean “I may not understand you, but I sympathize with you anyway” or something like that.

      I spent nine years in KY and never heard it there, but many people in the southern states consider KY only marginally southern anyway.

      • Coyotenose
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Good point! I’m sure the usage becomes more common and pronounced as one moves farther south. Regions within a state matter also; I *think* the phrase is less negative near the mountains and coast of North Carolina than it is in the Piedmont area between them, for example.

        Consider the sentence, “He means well, bless his heart.” In your grandmother’s time, it’s easy to see how that might have meant, “He’s a good person, he just made a mistake.” But the way language slips, it often now reads as “He’s a good person, but he’s a moron.” Tone and accent matter, of course; listen to a Georgia Belle deliver the line with a smile full of venom; it’s AMAZING.

        • Posted November 12, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          Ive been transplanted Yankee for 5 years now in Murray KY (Im the faculty advisor to the two secular groups hosting Jerry in two weeks) and I hear “bless her heart” all the time, often in sympathy but regularly to nicely convey the person is a couple bricks short of a load. It’s quite expressive

  6. RFW
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    The vandalism of the poster advertising JAC’s talk is an example of a fundie whose “faith” is so weak they can’t tolerate even a hint of a whisper that their belief system is wrong.

    Or to put this another way, that poster-vandal knows in his(her) heart that all that b.s. s/he claims to “believe in” is just that, b.s., but can’t bring her(him)self to admit it. Sort of like a seven year old still nursing: can’t give up the comfort of sucking on that titty and face the cold cruel world of truth.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Next, I suppose you’ll be denying the existence of the tooth fairy, too…

      • Jesper Both Pedersen
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Blasphemy!

        • Mark Joseph
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          Agreed; we’d better keep a close eye on this RFW fella…

      • RFW
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        The Tooth Fairy is a myth.

        So is Santa Claus.

        And the Great Pumpkin.

        And the Easter Bunny.

        [Does this consign me to a new circle of hell a la Dante?]

        • Jesper Both Pedersen
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          That’s like a blasphemy quadruple. Oh, you gone dun’it now!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 1:01 am | Permalink

        Mum with a seven-year old on the tit would have words for the tooth fairy too!

    • slpage
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      I had a friend who taught English at Lansing Community College many years ago. He was an atheist and used to post cartoons on his door making light of religion – pretty mild stuff. He would routinely – I mean on a weekly basis – have not just the cartoons, but class announcements, etc., ripped off his door, defaced, threats written on them, etc. And, none too surprisingly, just a few doors down was a physiologist, advisor to the campus (LCC is a huge community college) anti-abortion group (he was also known for spewing anti-evolution in garbage in his classes) , whose door was festooned with large pictures of crucifixes and fetuses. These were never (to my knowledge) defaced. Funny how that seems to work.

  7. foggybottom
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    There used to be a good catfish restaurant in Murray, but I can’t remember its name.

    • L. Grady
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      The best fish restaurant was ‘Sue and Charlie’s’ in Aurora on Ky Lake, which is now ‘Willow Pond.’ Also good fish is served at ‘Country Crossroads’ in Hardin.

      • Richard Olson
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        In the early ’70’s my occupation at that time obliged me to reside briefly in communities in Arkansas and Tennessee, and travel on occasion to several Deep South states. Restaurants recommended as great fish joints invariably served (salty) breaded, deep fried catfish, with the exception of coastal cities where there is more variety. (It pays to be wary of salty additives in some southern sea food restaurants, too, more so in my experience than the rest of the US or Europe.) In pretty short order I found reasons to be too busy to join diners at the inland fried catch places. Is breaded/fried at these restaurants still the norm? With hush puppies?

        • L Grady
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 7:04 am | Permalink

          I’m afraid so, Foggybottom. Seems us Southerners enjoy our deep fried ‘fats’. However, these places do offer ‘ocean boneless'; ocean cod instead of slimy, bottom-sucking catfish! Very few places offer baked fish in these parts. Guess that’s why we all die young!

          • Richard Olson
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            My comment comes off as very judgemental, but I don’t mean anything personal against the hundreds of millions of those who enjoy deep fried food. I consider myself fortunate in never particularly appealed to me. Well, except for breaded shrimp and french fries.

            Blood pressure/weight control issues that set in decades ago required me to wean myself from food prepared this way, and in time satisfaction derived from its flavor departed. I have no doubt that if I eat this stuff daily it, like sweets, will swiftly trip a craving switch in my brain, though, so I refuse to entertain kind memories of fried anything.

            So, this opinion about southern fish cuisine is about me, not about other diners. If y’all want to ruin a perfectly good piece of fish this way, and double down on cooking health risks adding oil saturated clumps of processed flour, salt, and sugar rolled into a ball on the same plate, you’ll roll on regardless of any unsolicited yankee opinion anyhow. These two items combined do enhance the flavor of tangy coleslaw (a dish suthrens get right), I’ll give ‘em that.

  8. foggybottom
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Wear your W&M sweatshirt. It’ll disorient them.

  9. Richard Olson
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Talk the talk & walk the walk. I admire that.

  10. bob level
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    The people who defaced your flier are likely the same that think Islam is a violent religion, yet they don’t seem to realize how they are just a step or two away from physical violence in the name of their god as well.

    • Posted November 12, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      I actually heard of Xian physical violence at the KY Freethought Convention. A mother and hi school age daughter told of the daughter and younger son, not only getting teased and threatened but shoved and punched over being outed non-believers in rural KY around Louisville.

  11. Jonathan Smith
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Jerry,

    You must try Bad Bob’s Bar-B-Que on Chestnut Street, great food and atmosphere

    • Ben
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      This is indeed a place we plan on taking him! :)

  12. teacupoftheapocalypse
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I’d take their actions as a complement and and a reasonable indication that the perpetrators know that they don’t have a rational argument to counter yours. Censorship is the first refuge of those who fear for their own cosy existence.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      +1; getting to the heart of the matter with no waste of words.

  13. Dave
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    If this is how the “good Christians” behave I shudder to think what the bad ones are up to.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      For that, see Dr. Coyne’s immediately preceding post, on religion as child abuse.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 1:04 am | Permalink

        No, no, no ; the preceding post is about REALLY good Christians.

        • Chris
          Posted November 11, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

          Same difference?

  14. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Still burning books after nearly 2 millenniums…

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      The reaction of choice by totalitarians everywhere!

  15. markus koebler
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    The moment they defaced your poster you won.

  16. Michael Fisher
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Statistically it’s highly likely that the poster was defaced by a Christian, but there’s some small chance it was another religious belief system…

    MSU has a Muslim Students Organisation & href=”http://campus.murraystate.edu/org/mso/Islam.html”>HERE [scroll down to the "What is the Qur'an" section] you’ll find this as the 5th bullet point:-

    The Quran has it own miracles and challenges to prove to anyone that it is a revelation from God and not just a forgery made by Mohammed. From the scientific miracles of the Quran its discussion of embryology and the stages that an embryo takes inside his mother’s womb in chapter 23 verses 12 through 14 “And We (God) created man from an extract of clay, then We made him a Nutffa (mixed drops of the male and female discharge) and lodged it in a safe lodge (the mother’s womb), then We made the Nutffa into a clot then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh, then We made of that lump of flesh bones, then We closed the bone with the flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation”. [please note that the word WE has been used when God addresses himself because in the Arabic language there are two kinds of pleural, the pleural of numbers and the pleural of respect, so "we" has been used as a pleural of respect and not that God is more than one person]

    ALSO…

    There are some interesting uses of language throughout the whole page I linked to above. Written [I believe] by an Islamic scholar apologist constructing a worldview for consumption by the Kufr [in this waiting time prior to Islam finally owning the world & minds of everyone]

    Examples:-

    This sounds very fair until one considers the implications:-

    Although an Islamic state may be set up in any part of the earth, Islam does not seek to restrict human rights or privileges to the geographical limits of its own state. Islam has laid down some universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, which are to be observed and respected under all circumstances whether such a person is resident within the territory of the Islamic state or outside it, whether he is at peace with the state or at war

    …this makes more sense given that the MSO believes that Islam trumps the U.N. [note the veiled threat at the end ~ given that "disbelievers" are not treated equally under Islam]:-

    The charter and the proclamations and the resolutions of the United Nations cannot be compared with the rights sanctioned by God; because the former is not applicable on anybody while the latter is applicable on every believer. They are a part and parcel of the Islamic Faith. Every Muslim or administrator who claim themselves to be Muslims, will have to accept, recognize and enforce them. If they fail to enforce them, and start denying the rights that have been guaranteed by God or make amendments and changes in them, or practically violate them while paying lip service to them, the verdict of the Holy Qur’an for such government is clear and unequivocal: { Those who do not judge by what God has sent down are the disbelievers } (5:44)

    Freedom of expression is your right, but…

    6. Freedom of Expression: Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression to all citizens of the Islamic state on the condition that it should be used for the propagation of virtue and truth and not for spreading evil and wickedness.
    The Islamic concept of freedom of expression is much superior to the concept prevalent in the West. Under no circumstances would Islam allow evil and wickedness to be propagated. It also does not give anybody the right to use abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism. It was the practice of the Muslims to enquire from the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) whether on a certain matter a divine injunction had been revealed to him. If he said that he had received no divine injunction, the Muslims freely expressed their opinion on the matter

    And finally ~ a curiously appropriate LOLZ misspelling of “revealed” [what was in the mind of the author of this webpage?]:-

    When the Quran was first reviled was the intent, 1418 years ago, women was treated like less than human. They didn’t have the right to do anything, they were literally treated as body’s without brains

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      The link I screwed up IS HERE

    • Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Apparently, some folks never progress much beyond the clot stage…

      /@

  17. Larry Gay
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I always admired Hitch for wading into the Bible Belt. Of course he was combative by nature.

    • gbjames
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      And strident! ;)

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 1:08 am | Permalink

        So, he waded stridently into the Bible Belt, or strided wadently … no, that’s enough already.

  18. Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Is this talk open to the public? It’s only a 40 min drive, I’d like to make the trip if I thought I could get in when I got there.

    I looked at Murray State’s web page for info, I did not see this event listed.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 10, 2013 at 1:26 am | Permalink

      It’s a student society, so it’d be unlikely to be on the university’s website itself. (Plausible deniability!)
      The link on the poster isn’t working for me here … though I am getting the organisation’s name, so the header has come back. (D)DOS’d? Or do they just have some (a lot) of their media hosted out to another site, which itself appears to be down.
      It looks like the MSU Secular student’s site is down at the moment, but it looks like normal web failure rather than a directed attack (wix.com, the hosting provider is up, but parastorage.com – presumably a media host – is borked).
      Try .. oh, it’s back up. 09:23 CET.
      Try this page, and see if they’ll answer your question through the “contact us” link at the top of the page. (Prof.CC’s presentations are at the bottom of the page.)

    • Posted November 12, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      It is open to the public, we are just a student group so its not university sponsored.
      Here a link to the info: http://wearedone.org/?p=204
      Our bio dept is sponsoring him to speak on Evo the nite before also at 7, in Mason Hall.
      We’d love to have anyone come up and hear Jerry.

  19. Diane G.
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    sub

  20. Hempenstein
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    As you note, it appears that the vandal has a problem with the proposition that Evolution is valid. But at least it seems you’re both on the same page with the incompatibility of Science with Religion.

  21. Ben
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the talk is free and open to the public! Please come and join us! :)

    • Posted November 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Ben, will do my level best to get there. It is a pretty short trip, so it will take an extraordinary act of Murphy’s Law for me and the wife to not make it.

      I look forward to the experience.

  22. Ben
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    If anyone wants more information on both of the talks, you can visit our website at secularmsu.org and view the schedule. We hope many of you that are close by will be able to make it! :)

    • L Grady
      Posted November 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the Link. Wish more people were aware of it.

  23. Posted November 9, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Having grown up not far from there in West Nutsack, Tennessee, I am not at all surprised. However, I am thrilled to see that there is a Murray State University Student Organization for Reason and Science!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 10, 2013 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      West _Nutsack_ ?

      Is that a real name (like Fucking, Germany or Hell, Norway) or is it a mythical one like Hicksville or Sleepy Hollow? Please excuse my geographical ignorance…

      • Posted November 10, 2013 at 5:00 am | Permalink

        Oh, are those towns twinned? Even better than the Dull-Boring alliance.

        /@

        /@

        Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse all creative spellings.

        >

      • gbjames
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        There are real places called Sleepy Hollow!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 11, 2013 at 2:40 am | Permalink

          Google tells me there is a real Hicksville, too. AND a Foggy Bottom.

          It gets really difficult to think up an imaginary backwoods name, doesn’t it? :(

      • Posted November 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        Entirely mythical. Names have been changed to keep the backwater pristine.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted November 11, 2013 at 3:52 am | Permalink

          Well, congratulations. My attempt at dreaming up mythical names was a miserable failure.

  24. Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Please Jerry, tell the organizers to give you the defaced poster(s), sign them and give them to us! Defacement by christians make these potentially collectible :) .

  25. Filippo
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    You may wish to broach with your Murray State point(s)-of-contact (and they with campus security) the possibility of student (and non-student) opponents dirupting your presentation.

    One occasionally hears of university student groups across the fruited plain, of various ideological mindsets and refulgent in their solipsism and sense of entitlement, presuming to interrupt and shut down speakers.

  26. Dominic
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    Lamination.


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