More news on Jerry Coyne the Cat

Gayle Ferguson, Rescuer of Jerry the Cat, has forwarded a report from Jerry’s new owners in Christchurch, New Zealand, complete with two pictures of the boy. Here’s the email that came from his forever home (I’ve omitted the names of Jerry’s staff lest someone be tempted to kidnap the cat):

Was just thinking I should send you an update. Took Jerry to the Vet a week or so ago for his booster. Healthy wee boy. Weighed 1.6kg then but I think he is a lot heavier now as he is eating Loki’s food as well as his own! [JAC: Loki is the other cat who lives there.]

Loki seems to be getting used to the idea of Jerry and they play together with the  ball in a track- if the ball gets some speed up it lights up and then Jerry really gets excited. [Name of Jerry's male staff redacted] can’t resist buying cat toys.

Such a smoocher. Loves the lap but also getting right up close on your chest. We now have both cats sleeping on the bed at night which can be pretty interesting as they work out the territory. Never a dull moment.

He had his first time outside last night. We sat out on the patio and he jumped up and down on all fours in the long grass- very funny. Was keen to head inside at the slightest loud noise which is probably good at this stage.

How will you ever be able to be parted with the other two? [JAC: Gayle still hasn't found homes for the last two kittens of the batch, Isis and Hoover.]

(Note: These new pictures are smaller than the ones that used to come from Gayle).

Jerry and Loki and the ball-in-the-track:

IMG_2364

 

Jerry snoozing:

IMG_2365

 

 

Tips for atheists on Easter

Talk about haughtiness: this piece takes the cake. I guess that Easter brings out the self-styled superiority of Christians, for the Australian Broadcasting has published a pretty supercilious piece on its blog The Drum: “Top 10 tips for athiests this Easter.”  The author, John Dickson, is of course a believer—he’s described as “an author and historian, and a founding director of the Centre for Public Christianity.” And he’s a self-appointed Ann Landers for atheists, deciding to tell us the proper way to deal with Christianity.

To be sure, Dickson mentions some points on which he sees Christianity as vulnerable—the doctrine of Hell and some of God’s bullying in the Old Testament, for instance—but most of his piece simply tells atheists where we’ve gone wrong on Christianity. Would that the world would one day have the proportions reversed, so we could see articles telling Christians how not to distort atheism!

Here are just three of Dickson’s “tips”. They’re invidious and offensive:

Tip #1. Dip into Christianity’s intellectual tradition

This is the 1,984th Easter since 7 April AD 30, the widely accepted date among historians for the crucifixion of Jesus (the 1,981st if you find the arguments for 3 April AD 33 persuasive). Christians have been pondering this stuff for a long time. They’ve faced textual, historical, and philosophical scrutiny in almost every era, and they have left a sophisticated literary trail of reasons for the Faith.

My first tip, then, is to gain some awareness of the church’s vast intellectual tradition. It is not enough to quip that ‘intellectual’ and ‘church’ are oxymoronic. Origen, Augustine, Philoponus, Aquinas, and the rest are giants of Western thought. Without some familiarity with these figures, or their modern equivalents – Pannenberg, Ward, MacIntrye, McGrath, Plantinga, Hart, Volf – popular atheists can sound like the kid in English class, “Miss, Shakespeare is stupid!”

Okay, can we now advise believers to dip into the intellectual tradition of atheism? Well, I’ve followed a lot of Dickson’s “sophisticated literary trail,” and it’s not that sophisticated.  In fact, it’s littered with the leavings of male bovids, so one must step carefully. And Plantinga and Hart? We’ve had a taste of both, and, there’s no “there” there.

Tip #2. Notice how believers use the word ‘faith’

One of the things that becomes apparent in serious Christian literature is that no one uses ‘faith’ in the sense of believing things without reasons. That might be Richard Dawkins’ preferred definition – except when he was publicly asked by Oxford’s Professor John Lennox whether he had ‘faith’ in his lovely wife – but it is important to know that in theology ‘faith’ always means personal trust in the God whose existence one accepts on other grounds. I think God is real for philosophical, historical, and experiential reasons. Only on the basis of my reasoned conviction can I then trust God – have faith in him – in the sense meant in theology.

That’s a distinction without a difference.  How can you have personal trust in someone whose existence rests on no evidence? What are the “other grounds” that lead to belief in God?

This argument is like saying that  faith is “having personal trust in your giant invisible pink rabbit friend” when you were a kid, and then arguing that such a claim is somehow rational.

Tip #4. Repeat after me: no theologian claims a god-of-the-gaps

One slightly annoying feature of New Atheism is the constant claim that believers invoke God as an explanation of the ‘gaps’ in our knowledge of the universe: as we fill in the gaps with more science, God disappears. Even as thoughtful a man as Lawrence Kraus, a noted physicist, did this just last month on national radio following new evidence of the earliest moments of the Big Bang.

But the god-of-the-gaps is an invention of atheists. Serious theists have always welcomed explanations of the mechanics of the universe as further indications of the rational order of reality and therefore of the presence of a Mind behind reality. Kraus sounds like a clever mechanic who imagines that just because he can explain how a car works he has done away with the Manufacturer.

Give me a break again! Has Dickson even read any of the sophisticated literature he touts in his first tip? Serious theists may welcome explanations of the mechanics of the universe (except, of course, those serious theists whose faith is shaken by creationism), but they continue to tout things like fine-tuning, consciousness, and the origin of the universe as evidence for God. David Bentley Hart did this continuously in his new book, Alvin Plantinga adduces God as the reason why humans have true beliefs, and this morning we saw Amir Aczel use human consciousness as evidence for God.

I won’t give Dickson “tips for Christians” since they’re busy worshipping the nonexistent revival of their savior, but I will tell him that he needs to get out more. Tips like the three above are simply ludicrous, and #4 is palpably false.

Happy Easter!

 

Life in the slow lane: time-lapse video of corals and sponges

This video was on Daniel Stoupin’s Photography Blog (he made it), and gives us a nice biology break before today’s final Easter post, in which believers take the opportunity of this holiday to stomp on atheists. In the meantime, look at some wonderful marine animals in slow motion. Stroupin’s site has a nice long explanation of and rationale for his video; I’ve put an excerpt below.

“Slow” marine animals show their secret life under high magnification. Corals and sponges are very mobile creatures, but their motion is only detectable at different time scales compared to ours and requires time lapses to be seen. These animals build coral reefs and play crucial roles in the biosphere, yet we know almost nothing about their daily lives.

. . . To make this little clip I took 150000 shots. Why so many? Because macro photography involves shallow depth of field. To extend it, I used focus stacking. Each frame of the video is actually a stack that consists of 3-12 shots where in-focus areas are merged. Just the intro and last scene are regular real-time footage. One frame required about 10 minutes of processing time (raw conversion + stacking). Unfortunately, the success rate was very low due to copious technical challenges and I spent almost 9 long months just to learn how to make these kinds of videos and understand how to work with these delicate creatures.

More information, including the camera setup at the Vimeo site. 

h/t: Mark

More atheist-bashing at Salon

Will Salon’s string of atheist-bashing pieces ever stop? This week’s is an excerpt of a new book by Amir D. Aczel, Why Science Doesn’t Disprove God—a book that’s gotten a fair amount of press on the Internet.

Aczel is an Israeli-born writer and lecturer on science and mathematics who, now living in Boston, has written a lot of popular science books. You can hear Ira Flatow interviewing Aczel on NPR’s Science Friday here, where it appears that he’s a believer. Be sure to hear Aczel’s waffle-y logic that the existence of a multiverse, supposedly disarming the “fine-tuning” argument, actually strengthens the argument for God.

As Aczel notes in the interview, he was inspired to write his book by hearing Richard Dawkins’s response to a question from his daughter. And so the title of his excerpt is “Science doesn’t disprove God: where Richard Dawkins and new atheists go wrong.

While you might think that the book’s contents could consist of one line: “Science doesn’t disprove all deities absolutely”—Aczel’s excerpt is basically a God-of-the-gaps argument based on the existence of consciousness. So his piece boils down to the the six-word argument recently made by David Bentley Hart in his book The Experience of God: “Science can’t explain consciousness; ergo God.”

What is it with this revival of God-of-the-gaps arguments? Truly sophisticated theologians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer decried such arguments as being bad for religion, for when the gaps are filled, God shrinks. If you’re going to find your God in the gaps in human understanding, you’re putting yourself at severe risk. (Of course, religious people can always recover: recall that Darwin’s 1859 book was the greatest gap-plugger of all time, but didn’t severely weaken religion.) Given the remarkable success of science in understanding previously puzzling phenomena, and of neuroscience in unravelling how the brain works, one would think that Aczel would be a bit reluctant to proclaim that consciousness will never be explicable by naturalistic science, and therefore is evidence for God. But he wades right in.

Here are a few excerpts from his piece:

  • “We don’t know how from the chaos and fuzziness and unworldly behavior of the quantum, the structured universe of macro objects we see around us came about, with its causality, locality, and definiteness—none of which are characteristics of the quantum realm. We don’t know how self-replicating life emerged from inanimate objects. And we don’t know how and why and at exactly what point in evolution human consciousness became a reality. The inexplicability of such emergent phenomena is the reason why we cannot disprove the idea of some creative power behind everything we experience around us—at least not at our present state of knowledge.”

Well, if that’s his argument, every unsolved puzzle becomes a way to keep the idea of God alive. Isn’t it enough, in the absence of evidence for a divine creative power, to simply say, “We don’t know the answer”? After all, the “inexplicability “of such phenomena also means we can’t disprove the idea that the “creative power”, if there was one, was an elf, a space alien, or, indeed, Fred Postlethwaite in Poughkeepsie, New York, who looks like a man but is really a Creative Power in disguise. Such possibilities, however, give no solace to adherents of the Abrahamic faiths.

  • “Dawkins does make an interesting point: to whom do we accord “humanness”? But he skirts the main issue: To what extent can evolutionary theory answer this question? Evolutionary science cannot indicate to us the location of the point on the continuous evolutionary scale, which Dawkins believes is there, at which human consciousness arises. Evolutionary theory is unable to tell us how life began, how eukaryotic cells evolved, how intelligence came about, or how consciousness arose in living things.”

This is misguided because it all depends on the subjective criterion for “humanness”. If by that you mean a certain level of consciousness, then that almost certainly emerged gradually in evolution, and drawing a line between “prehuman” and “human” consciousness is arbitrary. If you mean the advent of symbolic language, there’s another arbitrary line to be drawn.

But who cares, anyway? We evolved from ancestors probably more similar to modern chimpanzees than to modern humans, and our diagnostic genetic traits emerged gradually. The question of “when did we become human?” is not only profoundly boring, but meaningless.

And, of course, evolutionary theory can’t tell us how anything happened, for the ambit of theory is to make suggestions: to see what is theoretically plausible and what is not. But theory can never tell us how things happened.  Here Aczel, despite his background in popular science, simply misuses the term “evolutionary theory.” To know what really happened, we need empirical observations.

I’ll give just two more quotes showing Aczel reprising Alfred Russel Wallace’s old argument (also reprised by D. B. Hart) that the ability of humans to create powerful works of art, as well as refined achievements like calculus, could never have been the mere product of evolution, and hence provides still more evidence for the divine:

  • We have not created even a shadow of consciousness in any machine thus far. Consciousness, symbolic thinking, self-awareness, a sense of beauty, art, and music, and the ability to invent language and pursue science and mathematics—these are all qualities that transcend simple evolution: they may not be absolutely necessary for survival. These attributes of the human mind may well be described as divine: they belong to what is way above the ordinary or the compulsory for survival. The origins and purpose of consciousness and artistic and musical and literary and scientific creativity remain mysterious. Why would evolution alone bring about such developments that appear to have little to do with the survival of an individual or a species?”

Building submarines and skyscrapers aren’t absolutely necessary for survival, either. Are those things evidence for God?

  • “Dennett and his collaborators consider the human mind from two problematic viewpoints: looking at the brain as a kind of computer, and looking at the brain as the result of animal evolution. The human brain is far more than a computer: computers have no consciousness. And to think of the brain as simply something that has evolved out of animal ganglia and primitive brains is also a mistake: there is a giant leap from the brain of a monkey or a dog to the brain of a human being.

    Neither approach explains Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, Picasso’s Guernica, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, or the palaces on Venice’s Grand Canal. Neither do they explain Einstein’s general theory of relativity or Freud’s invention of psychoanalysis. Both the mechanistic and animalistic views of the brain fall flat in their attempts to explain any of these great historic achievements of the human mind. We are not machines, and we are not simple animals, either.”

Mona Lisa: ergo Jesus. That should be known as The Argument from Fine Arts.

We are in the early days of neuroscience, and the brain, much less its subjective sensations, are among science’s toughest nuts to crack. But we’ve cracked tough nuts before—ones thought uncrackable.  So what makes Aczel so sure that 1) consciousness could not have been a product of evolution, either selected for directly or piggybacking on some other adaptations; 2) consciousness will never be explained mechanistically, much less evolutionarily; and 3) when the brain reaches a certain level of complexity, phenomena like art and music (an ability to create things that please our evolved senses)—and even chess—will emerge as mental spandrels? After all, even chimpanzees and macaques have a kind of cultural evolution, though it doesn’t involve symbolic language.

I wish people like Aczel would be content to admit ignorance instead of fobbing off on God. (I recall Robert G. Ingersoll’s quote, “ Our ignorance is God; what we know is science.”)

I think one of the reasons for this is that scientists, and those who truly love science, are not only content with doubt, but happy with it. Give us a big, juicy unsolved problem, and we’re like a dog with a meaty bone. Once the problem’s solved, it’s on to some other problem. We’re happy only as long as we don’t know something.

As H. L. Mencken observed, the scientific researcher is like a dog sniffing at an infinite series of rat holes. Once we get a rat, it’s onto sniffing those other holes. In contrast, believers aren’t content with ignorance; it bothers and discomfits them, and they spend a lot of mental effort to explain it away. That is, after all, what apologetics is all about. And the biggest Apologetic is the use of an imaginary God to plug the gaps in our understanding.

 

 

 

Free godless book for Easter

As The Friendly Atheist announced a few days ago, Dan Riley’s 2012 book Generation Atheist is available free through today only in the Kindle version. You can obtain it here.  And here’s the precis from Amazon:

The human journey is an emotional quest to find truth and meaning.  Countless books have presented this journey through the eyes of people who concluded their search with devotion to God, salvation by Jesus, or commitment to religion.  But there’s a changing zeitgeist in America and the world: a growing number of people are finding truth and meaning from the opposite perspective. Through 25 personal narratives, Generation Atheist tells their stories. The people in this book come from different religious upbringings, races, sexual orientations, and genders. Many have gone through very emotional journeys in coming to a sustained, open atheistic worldview.  Most were quite religious at one point in their lives. Through the internet, humanity is engaged in a global conversation unlike any before in history — about who we are, why we are here, and how we should live — and these individuals have an important perspective to share.  

Although I haven’t read this one, the customer reviews are pretty good.

Reader Robert, who sent me this link, added:

The cultural backgrounds of the contributors constitute an interesting  array.  All but several of the contributors cite the facts of evolution as having been important for their development of atheistic worldviews. A majority, but not as many as for evolution, cited Dawkins’ God Delusion as a significant factor.

 

“That Jew Died for You”

Via reader Diane G. (who sent me the link with the comment “execrable vid,” we have this clip made by the Jews for Jesus—an organization whose name is roughly equivalent of “Lions for Broccoli.” The video shows Jesus as a Holocaust victim, sent to the gas chambers because he was a Jew. It was posted on the Religion Dispatches website (the title of this post is the title of the clip!), with a comment by Evan Dercaz:

Below is a new little Easter greeting from the good people at Jews for Jesus (aka evangelical Christians) called, tastefully enough, “That Jew Died For You.” (Note to self: thatjewdiedforyou.org still available.)

It’s like JfJ are PETA now…willing to do anything for publicity. I fully expect them to open a Jesus deli downtown: ThatJewCooksForYou.com

As one friend put it: “It’s got potential. Kosher style. Lamb-of-God chops. Wood-smoked bacon.” The upside there is that it’d pit PETA against JfJ in a tasteless deathmatch.

If Jesus died for the Jews, he/his dad sure didn’t treat them very well at Auschwitz.

(BTW, I’m not nearly as down on PETA as Dercaz or many of the readers here. Yes, it’s done some bad stuff, like breaking into labs, but it’s also drawn a lot of public attention to the horrific treatment of animals raised for food.)

The passion of the Christian

UPDATE: Within minutes of posting this, I received this post from “angelaflight”:

What a disappointment. I chose your book for my home school book club on Evolution and it was my daughter’s favorite because you made the argument in favor of Evolution in a respectful, straightforward way, without all the anti-anybody mean-spirited negativity that one usually sees in such a book. And here you are with little, small-minded, spiteful posts on your blog. Do grow up.

The people who should grow up are those who try to indoctrinate their kids in fictitious stories such as the torture and resurrection of Christ. Time to put away those childish things, anglaflight. Peeps are better than whips!

_____________

Welcome to a Special Easter Edition of WEIT! Readers sent me too many items to show, but I’ll feature today a series of posts highlighting the behavior of those celebrating Jesus’s Resurrection. (I”m puzzled about one thing, though: if he was crucified on Friday afternoon, and was resurrected THREE days later, why is Easter on a Sunday instead of a Monday?)

But first I’ll show you a lovely present my friend Carolyn gave me: Resurrection Eggs, in both Spanish and English!

The lovely box:

Carton

Inside: a carton of a dozen plastic eggs. What is inside? Candies? No way!

Carton closed

It’s Jesus symbols! Note the pieces of silver, the shroud, and the crown of thorns:

Eggs open

A handy bilingual pamphlet tells you what each item symbolizes. The white is an empty egg, symbolizing of course the Empty Tomb:

Pahmphlet

Easter FUN? Imagine a kid hoping to get, say chocolate inside the eggs, and finding instead a WHIP!:

Whip

Fortunately, Carolyn supplemented this ghoulish form of child indoctrination with some real treats—my favorite Easter candy, but one good at any time of year:

Peepes

Let’s hear from the Peep-lovers (I like mine slightly stale). If you don’t like ‘em, don’t bother to tell us below.

Sunday: Hili dialogue

Hili has her Easter breakfast al fresco:

Hili: We must arrange breakfasts like this for me besides the blooming magnolia more often!
A: Hili, Easter is just once a year.
Hili: Only for believers.

10011426_10203188395818048_8975289698134725237_n

In Polish:
Hili: Musimy mi częściej urządzać takie śniadanie na murku przy kwitnącej magnolii.
Ja: Hili, Wielkanoc jest tylko raz w roku.
Hili: Tylko dla wierzących.

 

David Bentley Hart tells us that God is bliss and consciousness, not to mention reality

A riled-up theologian, whom I shall neither name or link to, has written a diatribe about my remarks on David Bentley Hart’s book: The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss.  This theologian says that I’ve completely misunderstood the book, which was, as Hart claimed, to distill the essence of God from all faiths, and not to give evidence for that God. The captious theologian says that Hart spends only a very small portion of his book giving evidence for God.

That’s bogus. Most of the book is in fact devoted to adducing such evidence, which resides in the existence of consciousness, rationality, mathematics, our search for truth, our love of beauty, and the Fact that There is Something Instead of Nothing. And when he’s not adducing this “proof”, Hart’s making fun of those who claim that these phenomena can be based on naturalism. But none of them, argue Hart, can be explained by science, ergo God. (We never learn how Hart concludes “Ergo Jesus and my own Eastern Orthodox Faith.”)

Part of Hart’s tactic is to assert not only that consciousness, rationality, bliss, and so on are evidence for God, but are in fact God, a grifter’s trick if ever there was one.  It’s a form of pantheism, something that almost no believers accept.

Now bear with me while I quote a page from the book that shows not only Hart’s sophistry, but the relentlessly annoying and pompous style of his prose. This, my friends, is what you must deal with to get your Official Credible Atheist Card. Do note how Hart shows off as often as he can, liberally sprinkling this paragraph with signs of his erudition. And please read it, because, after all, I had to copy it out from pages 248 and 249.

Seen from the perspective of a variety of theistic traditions, this ["the indissoluble bond between the intellect and objective reality" that is a "kind of love" and "a kind of adherence of the will and mind to something inexhaustibly desirable] is nothing less than the reflection of absolutely reality within the realm of the contingent. It is bliss that draws us toward and joins us to the being of all things because that bliss is already one with being and consciousness, in the infinite simplicity of God. As the Chandogya Upanishad says, Brahman is at once both the joy residing in the depths of the heart and also the pervasive reality in which all things subsist. The restless heart that seeks its repose in God (to use the language of Augustine) expresses itself not only in the exultations and raptures of spiritual experience but also in the plain persistence of awareness. The soul’s unquenchable eros for the divine, of which Plotinus and Gregory of Nyssa and countless Christian contemplatives speak. Sufism’s ishq or passionately ardent love for God, Jewish mysticism’s devekut, Hinduism’s bhakti, Sikhism’spyaar—these are all names for the acute manifestation of a love that, in a more chronic and subtle form, underlies all knowledge, all openness of the mind to the truth of things. This is because, in God, the fulness of being is also a perfect act of infinite consciousness that, wholly possessing the truth of being in itself, forever finds its consummation in boundless delight. The Father knows his own essence perfectly in the Mirror of Logos and rejoices in the Spirit who is the “bond of love” or “bond of glory” in which divine being and divine consciousness are perfectly joined. God’s wujud is also his wijdan—his infinite being is infinite consciousness—in the unity of the wajd, the bliss of perfect enjoyment. The divine sat is always also the divine chit, and their perfect coincidence is the divine ananda. It only makes sense, then—though of course it is quite wonderful as well—that consciousness should be made open to being by an implausible desire for the absolute, and that being should disclose itself to consciousness through the power of the absolute to inspire and (ideally) satiate that desire. The ecstatic structure of finite consciousness—this inextinguishable yearning for truth that weds the mind to the being of all things—is simply a manifestation of the metaphysical structure of all reality. God is the one act of being, consciousness, and bliss in whom everything lives and moves and has its being; and so the only way to know the truth of things is, necessarily, the way of bliss.

I’ll add a bit more for you budding scientists:

In any event, I do not believe the physicalist narrative of reality can ever really account for consciousness and its intentionality (or, alternatively, eliminate the concepts of consciousness and intentionality from our thinking); still less do I believe that it can account for the conscious mind’s aptitude for grasping reality by way of abstract concepts; and I am quite certain it can have nothing solvent to say about the mind’s capacity for absolute values or transcendental aims. All of these things lie outside the circle of what contemporary physicalism, with its reflexively mechanistic metaphysics, can acknowledge as real. In one’s every encounter with the world, one is immersed in the twin mysteries of being and consciousness; and, in the very structure of that encounter, a third mystery appears: that of the absolute. . . In the very midst of our quotidian acts of awareness we are already placed before the transcendent, the infinite horizon of meaning that makes rational knowledge possible, and thereby presented with the question of God.

See what you’re missing? If you can’t give a naturalistic account of consciousness (indeed, just by thinking about that problem), you’re giving evidence of God.

If this sort of bullpucky is not not God-of-the-Gappism, I’ll eat my hat. And speaking of eating, I’m contemplating a fine dinner tonight, which, I suppose, is also evidence for Hart that there is a God. Indeed, my enjoyment of that meal will be God himself!

There will be one more quote tomorrow and then I’ll leave you in peace.

New Jersey rejects atheist license plate, approves Baptist one

I wish this stuff would just stop happening, and that people would read the U.S. Constitution. On the other hand, if it did stop, what would I have to kvetch about.

Thanks to several readers who sent various links to the story, which appears to be genuine. According to HuffPo, a New Jersey woman applied for an atheist license plate and was turned down. As a controlled experiment, she then applied for a similar sounding but religious plate with the same number of letters, and it was fine:

A New Jersey woman who says she was denied a license plate referencing atheism filed suit this week, claiming her online application was rejected because it was deemed potentially offensive.

Shannon Morgan, of Maurice Township, said in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that the Motor Vehicle Commission violated her First Amendment rights when its website rejected the plate reading “8THEIST.” She said she received a message stating that her vanity plate request was ineligible as it “may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.”

Really? “Good taste and decency”? Well, if flaunting nonbelief on a public motorway is offensive, what about belief? Morgan cleverly did the control experiment:

Morgan then filled out the online application using the phrase “BAPTIST” as a test, which the website accepted. Morgan claims in her lawsuit that she sent the agency a letter of complaint by registered mail and made several attempts to contact them by phone, all of which went unanswered.

I guess flaunting belief in front of nonbelievers, or even non-Baptists, is perfectly fine. That’s unconstitutional, and good grounds for a lawsuit. What makes this particularly puzzling is that New Jersey, after a bit of foot-dragging, had previously approved a request for a license plate that read “ATH1EST” (with a one instead of an “i”). Maybe it’s the “8″ they object to!

More public money wasted on a losing state lawsuit. The second most ironic thing is this:

Messages and emails left for the Motor Vehicle Commission by The Associated Press on Friday were not returned. A recorded message said the offices were closed in observance of Good Friday.

 

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