Mixed metaphors

In his accommodationist book Rocks of Ages, Steve Gould importuned both science and religion to keep their distance from each other: “Thou shalt not mix your magisteria.” But he didn’t say anything about mixing metaphors.

Rocket surgery

Now that they’re starting to build atheist churches (a horrible idea), are we going to start making similar embarrassing errors on our signs?

Evolution, Mr. Roemer, is not rocket surgery!

h/t: Barry

~

44 Comments

  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Funny but maybe the sign was ironic? It could be an offline poe, but with poes we can never tell.

  2. Sastra
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    “It’s not rocket surgery”

    No, Jerry — not an embarrassing mistake. I think this is a popular joke phrase making the rounds and probably an intentional attempt at humor.

    • GP
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Not a new joke. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ThisAintRocketSurgery has some examples.

      • Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        That’s my guess to. Like saying, “look it up on the interweb.” Could be a mistake, but probably isn’t.

    • Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      “Is this a half-assed, but intentional, attempt at humor?”

      “Does the pope shit in the woods?”

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Is the bear Catholic?

        • TJR
          Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          Whoever heard of a protestant bear?

    • jesse
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      I heard this phrase on the Public Radio NPR just this past weekend. I can’t remember where but I think it was on one of the humor radio shows I listen to, such as Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me or What d’Ya Know. It was indeed meant to be jokey, it got good laughs, and I think it is a popular joke right now.

  3. Kevin
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Atheist churches primarily are peer groups for people who spent the majority of their lives believing nonsense. They need some guidance, but for an well formed atheist the church idea is useless and embarrassing.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      It sort of undermines the notion that atheism is not a religion in a very trivial way.

    • Sastra
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      “Well formed atheist?”

      Oh, come on. Different people enjoy and/or need different things. Sure I’d be happier if they used a word other than “church” — but after seeing how well Paul Kurtz’ term “Eupraxsophy Centers” went over, I guess I’m willing to wait for a semantic improvement over time.

      • gluonspring
        Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Churches are, for many people, just the unit of society smaller than a city and larger than your family or officemates (and, importantly, less invested than either of those). Also cheap group therapy. And some people like to sing. I think religion is an ancient example of product bundling, packaging some good things in with some crap you’d never buy by itself. And the good things are not for everyone, of course, but no product is.

        Now, singing atheist songs or pretend worshiping something or, for that matter, restricting your social club to atheists (why not just say that religion has no authority in the club, all are welcome), may be a bit silly, but I think the intuition that there is something belief-independent that appeals to people about “church” is not that far off base.

        • John Scanlon, FCD
          Posted November 21, 2013 at 1:33 am | Permalink

          +3.14

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        So, just another Bright idea?

  4. Lianne Byram
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Funny!

  5. Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Definitely deliberate. I’ve heard people use the phrase before. You can find it on Urbandictionary, too.

  6. TJR
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Does this mean that it is really Brain Science?

  7. Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    //

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      //

  8. E.A. Blair
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Anyone can go to http://www.says-it.com/churchsigns and make a picture similar to the one above. You can choose the name of the church and the message.

  9. Neil
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    This is definitely not a mistake. The mixed metaphor is intentional.

  10. Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Also, and I may be showing how shallow I am, this was on a commercial for some refrigerator with water in the door.

  11. bgporter
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s a recurring trope in TV and especially commercials:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ThisAintRocketSurgery

  12. JimmyHaulinHogs
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Anyone with half a brain can build a church these days. It doesn’t take rocket appliances.

  13. flies01
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    You don’t have to go to “atheist church”. Is there really anything so wrong with it (besides the name)?

    • Posted November 20, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      I have to agree. If people can find community and support there, I’m not sure what the objection would be.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      I think it gives ammunition to those that like to wrongly proclaim that atheism is a religion in a tu quoque way.

      • darrelle
        Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        Oh, MY! And here I though this was a family friendly site. I better lie down for a moment.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 20, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          Did I unknowingly say something salacious?

          • Jesper Both Pedersen
            Posted November 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

            It may have been a raunchy rooster pun.

          • darrelle
            Posted November 21, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink

            Sorry. A feeble attempt at humor along the lines of what Jesper guessed.

  14. Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Rocket science and brain surgery can mix as comedy, as Mitchell and Webb had shown.

  15. RFW
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Seems to me that the term “atheist church” misses correctitude by a country mile.

    First, they are NOT churches. No clergy, no liturgy, no divine this or that, no worship, no scriptures (though some writings might be called that).

    Further, the term misses two distinct types of groups that might fly that flag: mere social groups where one is guaranteed the absence of bibble thumpers; and support groups for those who have escaped the borg of religion. These are not the same.

    Let’s call them, instead of “churches”, clubs and support groups.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      You could just call them secular support groups.

      I don’t get why you’d call them churches… or maybe it’s just bad satire. 🙂

      • Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        See my post just above this one.

      • Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        OOps, should have said below, not above. Sorry.

    • Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      On Atheist Churches

      • Jesper Both Pedersen
        Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        All power to them and what they’re doing, and if that happens to take place in a church or chapel, then sure, go for it.

        It could be a cultural thing though… around here the churches are pretty much empty.

        • Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          I’m in Switzerland where churches are pretty empty too. Perhaps less so in the rural areas of the Catholic cantons, I don’t know. However, whenever there is a mass or service that will be relayed live on TV on Sundays, they suddenly fill up!

          • Jesper Both Pedersen
            Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

            That’s just about the same here in Denmark. People go to church for weddings and funerals et al and that’s it. Some may pop down for a quick christmas carol come december, but that is hardly the majority imo.

            We’ve got way too many churches that are just standing empty ’cause almost every town or village has an old church.

  16. Henry Fitzgerald
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    As others have pointed out, the phrase “rocket surgery” is, as they say, “a thing”. My wife and I use it frequently – and we first encountered it spoken, not on the internet (although internet searches confirm it is now fairly common).

  17. Posted November 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Very old switcharoo, been sayin it fer years

  18. Diane G.
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    I hope Love God does join them.

  19. lisa parker
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I believe that this is intended as a joke. These church signs/billboards have become a definite hit online and very competitive, especially if two or more churches are close together. They are all over the internet, so the pressure to find a humorous message, often when the churches are close enough to carry on a ‘dialoged’. Some of them are priceless, whether you share the belief of one creed or another. If you’ve never read any of them, you should. Nothing like a ‘cat fight’ (esp if both or all of the church doctrines are conflicting.


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