Readers’ beefs of the week

There were a lot of angry and critical attempts to post this week; this is only a small selection. But my epidermis is thick, and sloughs them off.

Reader “William” comments on “The Jesus Delusion” (about Don McLeroy and his claim of 500 witnesses to the Resurrection).

The poor scoffers will never be able to explain away the empty tomb. It must be a real headache for them 😦

What empty tomb? Archaeologists have never found one, and I’ve never fretted about it for a second.

*******

Reader “Neil” commented on “Confused science writer claims that atheists might not exist

I’m confused why atheists would choose to bring a child into this life when they would only die in 70 or 80 years. At worse, a child could live a life of suffering with something like heart disease or depression. If there’s no purpose in life, what’s the purpose of reproducing? It seems just too cruel.

I’m confused about why religious people would choose to bring a child into this life given that it is likely to burn forever in the afterlife. As for “no purpose in life,” that’s the usual blatantly false claim that “purpose” can come only from God. We make our own purposes. In fact, as anyone knows, having children can be an immensely gratifying experience. Part of that gratification, of course, comes from evolution! All of our evolved morphology, physiology, and behavior was shaped to one end: leaving copies of our genes. That is why people strive to copulate so ardently (the orgasm is, of course, an evolved neurological device to promote reproduction, but we wily humans have short-circuited it), and why, to a large extent, they want children so badly and get such satisfaction by having them.

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Reader “Jason J” commented on “Another creationist drops by to show that there’s no evidence for evolution“. In that post, I countered a reader’s creationist arguments by claiming that he (“Steve”) was “blinded by faith.” Jason’s response:

“He’s blinded by faith.”

Isn’t that the truth.

“For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭7-10‬ NLT)

I hope this message reaches someone looking for answers. Look around you. God’s people are at work each day, are we blind to how many millions of people are spreading God’s word just as he commanded? Are we blind to the millions of missionaries feeding, clothing and caring for the underprivileged? Are we blind to God’s beauty? Just look at the night sky or the way the sunset dances on the mountains. Most of all, how long will we stay blinded to his grace? He has already forgiven us, we need only repent. Isn’t that the hard part though? We’re human. We should know everything right? We should know how we came into existence, how our bodies formed with nature to provide us with a justification for our godlessness. After all, if heaven is real, then we have a lot to account for. My friends, admitting I’m wrong is the hardest thing for me to do, but it lifts a weight off my shoulders. Christ is the only way, and once you choose the path of righteousness in your heart, you will positively never be the same. If you prayed right now, “Jesus, come into my heart. Forgive me of my sins. Empty all of me and fill me back up.” what could it hurt? Jesus wants a relationship with you, if you would just for one second let go of your pride. Just stop and think of your eternity.

In Jesus’ name.

I’m not sure where Jason has admitted he’s wrong! The telling statement here is “if heaven is real. . .”.  Well, what’s his evidence for that? I’ll believe in heaven if Jason can give me some real evidence for that paradise that isn’t based on wish-thinking, revelation, or dogma. What makes him think he’s right and that Jews, who don’t believe in Heaven, are wrong?

In Ingersoll’s name.

*******

Reader “Max” commented on “Burger King introduces a “gay pride” burger, Christians worried that believers may consume one inadvertently

SHAMESHAME on all of you QUEER basturds – You should be on your knees begging all mighty GOD for forgivness not crowing on this web site

This is all about a gay pride hamburger wrapper, for crying out loud! If haters and homophobes such as Max could just live their lives as a gay person for a week or so, perhaps they’d realize that it isn’t a “sinful choice,” but some form of internal imperative. Perhaps then they’d take a a different view. Or isn’t it pretty to think so?

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Reader “Anon” commented on “David Berlinski makes an ass of himself defending intelligent design

Psalms 10:7 “His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.”

Jerry, it seems like you have built a group of emotional haters and scoffers with no foundation. I Pray for You good sir 🙂

GOD RULES!

As Dan Dennett said, I’d much prefer the sacrifice of a goat (followed by a nice goat curry) than ineffectual prayer. As for “emotional haters and scoffers,” well, yes, we despise and scoff at false, delusional, and malicious beliefs (see Max above). But there’s plenty of foundation, to wit: no good evidence for God or the truth claims of Christians.

*******

Reader “Cliff Claven” (you’ll remember that as the name of the postman on the t.v. show “Cheers”) commented on my post “Dead genes for tooth enamel“, which reported findings of nonfunctional, vestigial genes for tooth enamel in animals that either lacked teeth or lacked tooth enamel. That is, of course, evidence of evolution from animals with enameled teeth:

This is all a great proof of devolution. It turns Darwin’s tree of life upside down and puts the more complex and complete prototypical forms at the top, with many tendrils of decaying forms branching down to the modern era where life limps along with bullet-ridden DNA, full of scar tissue and missing many functional genes that blessed antecedent life forms. If the ancient forms are superior to the modern forms, that poses a greater challenge as to origins.

And on the topic of tooth enamel, the teeth of neanderthal skeletons exhibits superior enamel density and folding. Neanderthals were also larger in size with modern proportions and larger brain cases. The genetic and morphological evidence is that modern humans are devolved, inferior forms.
The university of California at Santa Cruz has done some interesting work documenting loss of many genes in primates and humans.

The Occam’s Razor solution to fitting the genomic and phylogenetic timeline puzzle together in the most straightforward fashion is to start with order and complexity (i.e., low entropy) and progress downward to data loss and corruption (i.e., high entropy). This argument is especially strong when one realizes that speciation arises from loss of genetic diversity, not gain. It is the loss of countervailing genes that unmasks and increases the expression of those that remain, an effect which is multiplied in reproduction, particularly in small breeding populations with already limited genetic diversity.

Here is a fellow who knows almost noting about evolution, for he ignores the increase in complexity over evolutionary time in many lineages. Yes, of course genes have been “lost”, but many, many genes have been gained, including those genes that arise and diverge via gene duplication and selection: genes for globins, genes for the immune system, and so on. Drosophila workers, who have a great genetic toolkit, are only beginning to find out the large number of genes that arise de novo: not simply via duplication, but via snipping and fusing different parts of the DNA. Further, why do those “lost” genes remain in the genome, for that certainly testifies to evolution! There is no other explanation for why humans have three inactivated genes for making egg-yolk protein, or why cetaceans have hundreds of inactive olfactory-receptor genes, which helped their land-living ancestors smell.

As for speciation resulting from the loss of genetic diversity, the man is simply, flatly, embarrassingly, dead wrong. Speciation via allo- or autopolyploidy arises when new genetic information is incorporated into a population through hybridization. As for “small breeding populations,” some species do arise beginning that way, including those colonizing distant islands and evolving subsequently; but we have no evidence at all that their loss of genetic diversity has anything to do with the reproductive isolation that characterizes speciation. Rather, that isolation comes from natural selection producing new traits: new male features and female preferences, adaptation to new ecologies, other forms of selection that cause genes to diverge in ways that make hybrids inviable or sterile, and so on. We now know of many genes involved in reproductive isolation, and I can’t think of any case in which loss of genetic information is involved in speciation.

Of course, this fellow is only parroting his religious party line: we can’t have the creation of genetic novelty, but we can have de-evolution, which, of course resulted from the Biblical Fall.

*******

Reader “Winston Smith” (you’ll remember that that was the name of the main character is George Orwell’s 1984) had a short but sweet comment on my post about “Eben Alexander’s bogus trip to heaven”, about the neurologist’s “heaven” experience when unconscious from meningitis:

typical foul mouthed atheist

When you have no arguments, criticize your opponent’s tone. 

*******

And, just to show that atheists can be foul-mouthed too (something you should already know if you frequent certain websites), here’s one that didn’t make it through for using profanity and making no new points at all. Reader “Fuck You” commented on “Afghani mullah rapes ten-year-old girl; family wants to kill her“:

Fuck. These. People. I’m so sick and tired of these religious fucktards. That’s exactly what they are. They believe in this bullshit scripture telling them that they are apparently ‘God’s chosen ones’. Well, guess what? You’re not. There is no god, you stupid fucking cunts. Get your heads out of your arses and study science. There is no god and you are not important in the grand scheme of things. You do not get to dictate other people’s lives, you pretentious fucking dickwads.

I’m suggesting that this person go proffer his comments on Pharyngula, where he—I’m assuming it’s a male—can participate in the general scatalogical merriment and suggest rude actions with porcupines.

*******

Reader “Milan” forever lost his/her posting privileges by telling me not to post about religion in a comment on “Ken Ham calls U.S. space program a waste, since the Bible tells us that alien life doesn’t exist (and would be damned anyway)

Who gives a crap what bronze age goat herders and their lunatic advocates of today say about anything…stop giving them media attention.

Well, those lunatic advocates are causing harm, and if we ignore them, they’ll just get stronger. I suppose one could have said the same thing to Martin Luther King about the southern segregationists (not that I’m anything like Dr. King!). People don’t realize that shutting up about religion, particularly if you see it as inimical—as “Milan” apparently does—is just enabling its persistence.

But of course saying what I should or shouldn’t post about is generally a banning offense, so Milan sings with the choir invisible.

 

 

151 Comments

  1. Linda Grilli Calhoun
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    Re: the empty tomb.

    I was a caver in college, and I can guarantee that caves are a lot more complex than just the entrance and a few feet back.

    So, here’s my theory on the empty tomb: A pack of hyenas, or a bear, or some other predator(s) that were not obvious to the people who sealed the tomb ate the corpse, and didn’t leave a trace.

    Hey, Christers, were you there? L

    • Draken
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      I have an even more bizarre explanation.

      I see defenses of the sort William offers here regularly in discussions with the Biblicals. Someone’s just at length pointed out that that the bible is not a reliable source of, well, anything, and whop, they pull out another quote, preferably one that says the Bible’s true because it’s in the Bible (like Psalm 14.1).

      • Aelfric
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        I am, I confess, an atheist bible-lover (I was raised on myths of all kinds, and love them as literature and cultural artifacts). So, let me just proffer this–I agree that the bible is not a reliable source for much of anything, but there are parts that are better than others. Mainly, here, I speak of the so-called “Deuteronomistic History.” While the details are certainly debated, the history of two Iron Age kingdoms (Israel and Judah) should be interpreted in a way that, say, the Gospels or the prophets are not.

      • Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        I have an even more bizarrer explanation:

        There was no Jesus. The stories are, gasp, just stories!

        • Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          I still don’t get why people have such a hard time accepting that Jesus is just another myth. Perseus born of a virgin? Perseus is a myth. Bacchus turned water into wine? Bacchus is a myth. Æsculapius healed the sick and raised the dead? Æsculapius is a myth. All those, and Bellerophon, and countless others who Ascended to the heavens? Myths, all.

          But Jesus? No; somehow Jesus is supposed to be the one-and-only real god in all of history, not at all a myth — and this even according to atheists! Utterly bizarre and incomprehensible.

          b&

          • Reginald Selkirk
            Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

            I just heard an interview of Bart Ehrman this morning, pushing his theory about the “real” Jesus. You can find some great quotes from Ehrman about how unreliable the NT books are; how the authors were not eyewitnesses, etc. and Ehrman rejects Jesus-as-the-Son-of-God based on this. But when it comes to his own pet hypothesis, he turns to the NT for support.
            Example: the specific crime that Jesus was tried for. Ehrman says this was for claiming he was the King of the Jews, and cites as evidence the inscription nailed to his cross, that he was tried by the Romans, etc. – none of which have any support outside the Gospel stories he has made a career of questioning. Selective blindness.

            • Posted July 27, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

              Yeah — here’s this book that he’s demonstrated is completely unreliable any way you look at it…and then he relies on it to demonstrate that it’s solid evidence of the exact opposite of its repeatedly and emphatically stated purpose.

              I know! Let’s use Star Wars to prove that Luke Skywalker really was a real person, and that he didn’t live a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, and that he wasn’t a Jedi Knight, and he didn’t have a lightsaber, and he couldn’t fly spaceships blindfolded or otherwise, and he couldn’t move things with the power of his mind…but he really was a real person and Darth Vader really was his real father!

              b&

          • Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            Of course, it wouldn’t bother me at all if we somehow discovered that the Jesus character in the bible was based on some real person. That wouldn’t vindicate theism.

            But I think total fabrication should be the null hypothesis. And so far, not only has the null hypothesis not been shown to be wrong, it is more it less confirmed by all your usual talking points on this issue.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Do you see this invisible dwarf unicorn in the palm of my hand? No? Well, that proves that it is invisible!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        It is sad that people assert these things without question because they have been taught that blind acceptance of biblical assertions is a virtue instead of questioning everything and exploring where the evidence takes you.

      • Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        Nice analogy.

        “You say they found a tomb near Jerusalem? And it’s empty?! Well, case closed!”

        • Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Indeed. Unless you can show me Cinderella’s chariot, how do you expect me to believe it didn’t turn back into a pumpkin?

          b&

  2. Graham
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    “There is no god, you stupid fucking cunts.”

    “I’m suggesting that this person go proffer his comments on Pharyngula”

    To be fair to PZ Myers, I don’t think that someone who thinks it’s OK to use ‘cunt’ as a term of disapprobation would be welcome over there.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      Because British and Commonwealth English usage is not tolerated.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        The C word does seem less sweary in the UK than it does in NA.

        • Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          Well, regardless of how sweary it is perceived in various places, it’s still a gendered insult based on the idea that women are inferior.

          No likey.

          • Posted July 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

            I’m not so sure that it is necessarily based on perceived inferiority. Isn’t it normally reserved as an insult toward a woman, whereas “dick” or “cocksucker” are the correlative insults directed at men?

            I do agree that the male insults usually are viewed as less vile, though I don’t know if that is gender based bias or the prevalence of their use, or something else.

            • Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

              I’m certainly not an authority, but it seems to me both “dick” and “cunt” are supposed to work as insults by reducing the insultee to the pure masculine or the pure feminine, with no other redeeming characteristics. I think, with the current gender dynamics, that “cunt” is usually perceived as the stronger insult. Also, look at “cocksucker”. That one obviously derives its insultiness from accusing the insultee with being less masculine and more feminine.

              I usually just stay away from gendered insults.

          • Posted July 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            +1

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

            You’ll enjoy this Oatmeal cartoon I think.

      • Hypatias Daughter
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        As a Canadian who has lived in the U.S. for twenty years, I can attest that in the Commonwealth country of Canada, the word “cunt” is considered the same nasty, vile insult that it is in the U.S.
        I suspect it may be commonly used in the locker rooms and bar rooms in Britain and Australia, as it is in Canada and the U.S., but I doubt it goes over well in other social settings.
        Also, about two years ago the Pharyngula crowd decided that it was hypocritical for them to tolerate the “rotten porcupine” and “rusty knife” insults and banned them.
        Now, the word “fuck” is tolerated there, as it is here, but any post that contains more profanity than normal words is usually mind-numbingly boring and a waste of space.

        • Diane G.
          Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          I hope they apologized to all those they excoriated for objecting to the rusty-knife lingo before they decided to ban it.

  3. francis
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    //

  4. steve oberski
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Reader “Neil” who says “I’m confused why atheists would choose to bring a child into this life …”

    Well Neil, I’m confused why christians would buy life insurance, health insurance, invest in a retirement fund or pension plan or educate their children … oh wait, you really don’t dothat last one very well, do you ?

    Matthew 6:25-34

    25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

    34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      If Neil is reading this: I’m confused about belief, and about Christ’s redemption, salvation, and eternal life. It seems to me that Christians with conviction in their beliefs in eternal life and so forth would eagerly take advantage of every opportunity to place their lives in mortal danger, if necessary, for God’s word to prevail. Mostly, though, what occurs instead is scolding, nagging, and ominous threats about Divine retribution. Why aren’t there more news reports about Christians preventing horrific crime at great personal risk, or dying/injured in the attempt, all on account of faith in guaranteed salvation for acts of altruistic heroism, than there are stories about horrific crimes committed? I gotta be honest with you here, Neil: I can’t help but be skeptical about the sincerity of most personal faith claims practitioners forward. I suspect they’re lying to themselves and everybody else, too.

  5. Rob
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    What empty tomb? Archaeologists have never found one

    I’m sure plenty have been found. You can even tell the real one by the coin stamped with the date 33AD found on the floor.

    Hey William, you do know even the bible can’t agree about the empty tomb, right?

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      33 Altairian dollars? I hear that’s more than enough for one day of seeing the Universe. I wonder if that was before the collapse.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Yes and the tomb with the SPQR stamp on it.

      • Draken
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        I thought that was a wine cellar. Or is that VSOP?

    • Susan
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      I heard they also found the stable where Jesus was born. They know it’s the right one because they find a coin dated 3 BCE.

      • Draken
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        And a newspaper with the heading “Census upcoming, baby boys to be killed” on the front page.

        • Posted July 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

          …and the newsreel coverage of the earthquake and eclipse an mass zombie invasion of Jerusalem 37 years later….

          b&

      • Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        They also found the temple in Jerusalem.

        Airtight evidence, right there.

        • Mark Joseph
          Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

          They found London, too. Harry Potter is true!

  6. Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    “The poor scoffers will never be able to explain away the empty tomb. It must be a real headache for them”

    It is those guilty of faith for whom the accounts of the Bible are a headache and problematic in a rational sense.

    Today, if a cadaver were placed in a tomb and three days later the tomb was discovered wide-open and empty, rather than suppose a miracle had happened, the assumption would be that a human opened the tomb and stole the body. If the body of Jesus was not removed from the tomb by humans and had disappeared supernaturally, it wouldn’t have been necessary to open the tomb by rolling the massive stone from the entrance. The tomb being found open indicates natural removal of the body rather than a supernatural resurrection and ascension.

    Anyway, no rationally thinking person is troubled by an unsubstantiated two-thousand year old tale from a time of general ignorance that predated the concepts of historical chronicling and journalistic standards of reporting.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Unless Chris Angel was involved. 😉

  7. Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Interesting news coming out of Morocco this week. Unfortunately didn’t make it to major news outlets.
    There’s a new decree that more or less prohibits Imam’s from talking politics. Of course the king’s intent is probably self-serving, nevertheless, it’s probably a step in the right direction.

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Interesting news from Iowa:

      Iowa Governor Formally Asks His State To Pray And Repent

      https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/hawkeye-revival-iowa-governor-formally-asks-his-state-to-pray-and-repent

      • Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        How does that square with the law? Is it not a violation?

        • Aelfric
          Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          As a lawyer who often deals with First Amendment issues–I think that is a clear violation, for its reference to Chronicles. Absent that, under current jurisprudence, I’d say it’s safe. The government can, in theory, interact with religion, so long as it does not prefer one religion over another (or religion over non-religion, but I think that may well be a dead letter). Personally, I don’t think that’s possible, but there apparently exist jurists who think it is.

      • Diane G.
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Praying is working so well with the Texas drought…

  8. wads42
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I have travelled extensively round the Mediterraneun, and the lands of the former Roman Empire. I have seen hundreds of empty tombs. I assumed that over the centuries they had all been looted by graverobbers; am I wrong? Did in fact their inhabitants all come back to life and ascend to Heaven, leaving an empty tomb behind? I never thought of that. Please someone; I MUST KNOW!

  9. wads42
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    The purpoe of Creationists having babies is to breed little Creationists,–right?
    Likewise the purpose of atheists having babies is to breed little atheists. Why is that so difficult to understand?

  10. Hempenstein
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    SHAMESHAME on all of you QUEER basturds – You should be on your knees begging all mighty GOD for forgivness not crowing on this web site

    To some astonishment, he did get one thing right.

  11. Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    So much stupid here; so little time.

    The “sunset dances on the mountains” as evidence for the divinity of an iron age carpenter who became a vampire was probably my favorite.

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I think we should rename Jason “Cliché McTroperson”.

  12. Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    “Jerry, it seems like you have built a group of emotional haters and scoffers with no foundation. I Pray for You good sir.”

    I avoid unkind, mercurial, hate-filled people. One reason I frequent this site is because Dr. Coyne impresses me as a particularly kind, caring person. Anyone thinking most of the commenters on this site, tend towards emotional hating and scoffing is markedly imperceptive.

    And I am not part of a group; I am an individual who happens to frequent this website.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      I was disappointed that he only prayed for Jerry. What about the rest of us, suckered into the “group of emotional haters and scoffers with no foundation”. The smiley at the end was a nice touch though.

      • Diane G.
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        The Bible could use a few smilies. And frownies.

    • Matt G
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Well I used to have a foundation, but he took me away from all that, and now I work for him. His name is Jerry.

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      For many theists, speaking the plain truth equals hating.

    • Marella
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, this is the case for many of us. The politeness and erudition of the commenters on this site (as enforced by The Management) is one of it’s prime qualities. The lack of the same is one reason why I ceased to frequent the Squidly One; I just got sick of teenage boys yelling at each other. While I am no fan of tone-trolls and am perfectly capable of fitting several “fucks” into a sentence, I find the general considerateness of this site very welcoming.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted July 28, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      We are all individuals!

  13. Alfonso DiLuca
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Coyne,

    I have been following your site and carefully studying and reading every single
    post for the last year or so.
    Just want to thank you very much for all the time you have devoted to teaching
    and defending truth. Your book “Why Evolution Is True” really influenced me a great
    deal. Thanks to you and to Richard Dawkins I was able to turn my life around and
    finally see the light. Now I have become an amateur naturalist, if there is such a thing.
    Thank you also for all the great photos, cat images, food, travels, and your sense of
    humor and clarity.
    Please do not ever stop debating and teaching what it is of so great importance.
    Thank you.
    PS. Can’t wait for the day you come to LA for a lecture or book signing (hope I didn’t miss
    that already).

    Alfonso DiLuca

    IMDB http://www.imdb.me/alfonsodiluca

    Demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCESMI5d9Kg

    Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2014 12:36:01 +0000
    To: alfonsodiluca@hotmail.com

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Many thanks; that is very kind of you!

      jac

    • Matt G
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to a bigger and brighter world!

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Hello Alfonso:

      You’re not the only one waiting for Jerry to come to LA!

  14. DV
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    “If there’s no purpose in life, what’s the purpose of reproducing?”

    Too bad. Reproduction exists! Deal with it.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      I guess we are very much like the lilies in the field.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Religious crazies are especially good at falling into the “appeal to consequences” fallacy.

      In short sentences with easy words, in case any of them are lurking here, waiting to ambush us with a bible verse or two:

      Even if evolution and atheism means that there is no purpose in life, that does not make them incorrect. Whether they are right or not depends on the evidence, which is solidly in favor of both.

      And here’s an example for you:

      If I were to stop off a cliff or out a window, I would fall helplessly, crash into the ground and be smashed to smithereens in an instant. My wife would be a widow, my kids would be orphans, my friends would be bummed out, and after a few days my body would bloat up and smell horribly. All of these are completely negative consequences; “it seems just too cruel”. Are we, then, to say that gravity is not true?

  15. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I think some of these people need a few more mirror neurons. Is it really that hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is gay? How would they feel if things were reversed and straight people were treated in that kind of bigoted way?

    The sweary post also now makes me feel that I should apologize to spiders for calling them “sociopathic bastards”. Sorry spiders, I did it for the LOLz.

    • john frum
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      No, spiders are what you called them, especially the dinner plate size huntsman we get in Oz.
      They really give me the willies.
      I have handled venomous snakes but spiders freak me out.

      • Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        //

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Yes, those huntsmen scare the crap out of me.

      • SinSeeker
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        We have a few “pet” Huntsman around our way. We leave them alone because they help keep other insect pests away.

        They’re generally harmless to humans, although they still make me jump if I come across one unexpectedly. 🙂

        • john frum
          Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          I don’t jump.
          I run away screaming hysterically and then shudder thinking about it.
          It’s a great source of merriment to my friends. 🙂

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Imagining the shoe on the other foot seems to be a skill a certain type of person just doesn’t posses.

      • Matt G
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        For example, “I would unhappy if I didn’t have God and Jesus in my life, therefore atheists must be unhappy.” It’s so egocentric. They think it’s all about God and Jesus, but it’s really all about themselves.

  16. Kevin
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Scoffer:

    someone who speaks to someone or about something in a scornfully derisive or mocking

    That almost never happens at WEIT. That is a fact. What is also a fact is that there is no evidence for a resurrection. Here is some good wisdom to apply to oneself before one thinks others might be scoffing them:

    “Always train your doubt most strongly on those ideas that you really want to be true.” Sean Carroll

    The best known advice for humankind and also a good prescription to follow before you think someone might be unfairly critical.

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Well, I’d agree that a very large majority of the comments here at WEIT are thoughtful, serious critiques or arguments.

      But I sometimes see (and post myself) comments that take a mocking or scornful tack. This is not always a bad move. The hope is that the more we point out how ridiculous or abhorrent a given action or ideology is, the more the Overton Window will move toward a rational worldview.

  17. Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    “they want children so badly and get such satisfaction by having them.”

    Lots of research shows that couples without children are happier than those without. And couples with children experience a great increase in satisfaction with life once those children leave home.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      I can accept that those without children are generally happier than those with them, but for myself it has been just the opposite. Raising kids has been by far the most enjoyable activity that I have ever experienced. Part of this is b/c through them I can re-enact parts of my own childhood without being judged.

      • Matt G
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        I have a friend who has said that a parent is only as happy as his/her least happy child. Any truth to that, parents?

        • Posted July 27, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          No happier.

          It’s surely possible to be less happy than your least happy child.

          /@

      • gluonspring
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Ditto. I didn’t want to have any children, but when one arrived anyway it was like it immediately felt like it was what I wanted all my life but didn’t know it. It was like a billion years of evolution kicked in somewhere inside my brain and issued a sigh of relief: mission accomplished.

        Most of my friends don’t have children, and I didn’t until fairly late in life, so I know how irritating it can be for people with children to try to encourage you to have them. Nonetheless, I recommend it. For me, at least, it has been 1/10th the effort and 10x the reward that I had imagined.

        I have puzzled over the research on the happiness of parents versus non-parents a bit. I’m not sure what to make of it. From watching many of my parent friends I have to wonder how much of the negatives are self-inflicted. As a tiny example, I have lots of parent friends who feel it is an imperative that every meal their children eat be fully balanced and nutritious, and they make therefore every single meal into a contest of wills. I don’t doubt for a second that their life is an unending misery. The feeling that you need to optimize the raising of your child is a curse on all who embrace it.

        • gluonspring
          Posted July 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          That is, they feel the need to ensure that their child eat every bit of the very balanced meal they provide. Thus the contest of wills.

          • wilzardthespy
            Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            This is my own personal experience.

            I am miserable.

            I just want my kids to eat their dinner and most definitely I do not want them to argue or resist eating, or cry and fuss about it, or just hardly eat anything at all because it is then even more frustrating for me to later hear them cry how hungry they are 30 minutes after not having ate their meal.

            This happens nearly every meal that doesn’t involve some kind of sweets. Ie – breakfast cereal is never an issue. Peanut butter and jelly is never an issue. Offer up a bologna sandwich or pasta meal and it is like I set off a fit throwing bomb.

            If I could get my wife to agree to just let them go hungry until the next meal when they decline to eat what is put on their plate then most of my misery would evaporate. Or so I am wont to believe.

            It doesn’t help that I have ADD, that my 7 year old son has ADHD, or that my nearly 5 year old daughter probably has it too. Dang genetics…

            • gluonspring
              Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

              I’ve been lucky that my own wife early on adopted the stance that we’d put out food choices and the kid could eat it or not but that we were neither going to force her to eat anything nor be a short order cook later if she didn’t eat when the food was out. We didn’t really follow that to the letter all the time, especially when she was small. If an hour after the supposed meal she was hungry we might break out leftovers or hand her a banana, but the spirit of the thing was there: provide decent food, assume she will eventually eat what she needs, and keep your eye on the ball of not letting it become a battle ground.

              But still, kids are definitely not all alike and I’m not fool enough to think that any particular strategy will always work. I’ve been around a lot of kids now and it’s clear that some are just more difficult than others intrinsically. I have a friend with an autistic son and his life is very hard indeed, and I have other friends who have children with no obvious diagnosable problem but who are, nonetheless, much more loud, uncooperative,prone to fits, and generally difficult than mine has been. There is only so much control you really have.

              And also, like any life event, people are going to have different experiences and even different reactions to the same experience. Some people love being married, some hate it, some hate the same job others love, etc.

        • Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Raising my kids to enjoy the wonders of the world and watch them learn about it at the same time is amazing. Not worrying about them be damned eternally in a lake of fire lessens the stress too.

          What I can say is I perfectly understand when others without kids are annoyed with children’s public behavior and some stress for many parents is likely due to them also placing their children on pedestals they didn’t earn. My kids are only 7 and 3 and when the three year old is upset, no one in the house is happy, but less happy than he is? Likely not, for whatever his fit is about, it’s not proportional to the problem. Having kids is fine and often very enjoyable, but I also don’t recommend having them because society wants you to. That’s yet another undue stress so many parents put on themselves and others; the judgmental condescension towards those who choose not to, or can’t have kids.

        • Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          Another happy parent here.

          My experience has been that the bond I have with my daughter is something unique. It is a different kind of relationship – a more intense kind of love that I don’t feel with friends or even other family members.

          I can certainly understand not wanting to have children, and I can absolutely picture myself being totally happy having not had children. But now that I know what that bond is like, I don’t think I could go back in time and choose not to have a child.

          I recognize that not everyone’s experience is like this.

          • Diane G.
            Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            Parenthood is an arc, though. It’s natural to be besotted when the babes are small and you’re still God…Not every child gets too difficult, but even the best (esp. the best?) go on to lead their separate lives, like we always said we hoped they would, and thought it was true…until it happens.

            • Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

              Yes. I hope we can maintain some kind of unique relationship over the years, even if the specific dynamics of that relationship change.

              But I suppose I won’t really know how that arc will unfold until it does.

              • Diane G.
                Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

                Tangentially…I find myself saying that I loved having kids but hate being a mother. Such a freighted term. Now that they’re adults, I’d like to lose some of the expectations that go with the role…

                OTOH, I certainly expected my mother to always be my, uh, mother. I guess it goes with the territory.

                (I’m sure this makes no sense to anyone else!

            • gluonspring
              Posted July 28, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

              That part definitely sucks. No doubt about that.

        • Jeff Engel
          Posted July 28, 2014 at 4:26 am | Permalink

          I wonder if perhaps the happy non-parents are all or almost all people who would not _want_ to be parents, so they’re happy in large part because they’re in the sort of lifestyle they want, while some large portion of parents are people who would otherwise prefer _not_ to be parents. You’d get the result of generally happier non-parents that way, without leaving it a mystery that many of us who _are_ parents are much happier being parents than we would be as non-parents.

          You’d also get a fine argument (as if we really needed more) for easy access to and acceptance of contraception, abortion, and adoption: fewer parents who would rather not be parents, and in the adoption case, fewer non-parents who would rather be parents, too.

          It’s not the sort of question that lends itself to controlled experiment, but it would at least predict that the less happy parents would tend to be those with less acceptance of or access to contraception or abortion before/during pregnancy (or at any rate, who were not in a position/state-of-mind to exercise choice in parenthood, to cover fathers). That should be testable, anyway.

    • Nick
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I read Jerry’s book right after it came out and then typed “why evolution is true” into my search engine and found this site. I have read it nearly every day since, and can probably guess pretty well which of the commenters have children and which don’t. And dammit it pisses me off! (I’m being hyperbolic; please don’t yell at me.)

      Bright people, like many of the people who post here, NEED to procreate. If they don’t we will see more of the behavior shown in the recent “falling out” video for centuries, rather than being able to hope it declines significantly in the next few generations.

      What kind of world can we expect if we continue to let it be overrun with the stupid?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        I’ve often made the joke that our society selects for “stupid” but sadly, I am evolutionarily unsuccessful. You will only be able to enjoy me while I’m here because I’ve left no copies – limited time offer, get my wit while you can. LOL!

        • Matt G
          Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          Oooo, I LOVE wittiness! Please begin when you’re ready.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            Well that wasn’t very nice.

            • Matt G
              Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

              I was only teasing….

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, I know. I was sort of being sarcastic about the wit. I also tell my friends they are friends with me because I have nice hair.

              • Matt G
                Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

                Funny, my friends hate me for my nice hair [sarcasm!].

      • Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        The main Eason I never wanted children was when at a young age I read about DNA and either read or realised that it was my DNA that wanted me to have them and I thought I’m not letting my DNA tell me what to do.
        Oh, and the other reason is that I can’t stand the little bastards. Heh heh.

      • Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        We can’t outdo the religious nuts in a procreation contest. My parents were practitioners of Natural Family Planning and we often attended conferences (yes, they have conferences) featuring many families with 4 to 8 kids and several with up to a dozen or more.

        If all of the world’s population reproduced at this rate, we’d surpass even the high end estimates of sustainable population within a few generations. Most estimates already place us there if Western affluence were to be attained globally and we don’t move fully off of non renewable resources. In any case, there is no denying that a finite limit for population exists and it will be exceeded if we continue our rapid population growth.

        That said, I do have two kids, but likely won’t have a third. Three was always the high end limit we’d ever discussed and it would be irresponsible to get in a breeding contest with the “be fruitful and multiply crowd.”

        • gluonspring
          Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

          Especially since the problem with the people like those the falling out video isn’t that they are dim, it’s that they are victims of a con. Helping existing people out of that con is probably a better use of energy than trying to mint brighter people. Plenty of bright people are suckered by religion so that’s not really where the problem is.

  18. Posted July 27, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The poor scoffers will never be able to explain away the empty tomb. It must be a real headache for them

    Oh yeah?

    Well, William, how do you explain the perfect fit of Cinderella’s glass slipper? Or the sword-shaped hole in the rock after Arthur pulled Excalibur from it? Or the horrific corpse called “Grendel”?

    For that matter, how do you explain the Great Lakes? We all know they formed when Paul Bunyan went stomping around Minnesota. The Grand Canyon, too, is clear proof of Bunyan’s axe that he so carelessly dragged behind him. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon. Have you been to Jesus’s tomb?

    And who do you think ate the cookies and drank the milk you set out for Santa, if not Santa himself?

    I mean, seriously? Using a plot device in a third-rate faery tale to prove the truth of the story?

    And you don’t expect people to think you’re woefully immature and…well…stupid, because…why, exactly?

    Cheers,

    b&

  19. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    The Occam’s Razor solution to fitting the genomic and phylogenetic timeline puzzle together in the most straightforward fashion is to start with order and complexity (i.e., low entropy) and progress downward to data loss and corruption (i.e., high entropy).

    Multiple fails by Cliff.

    – His ‘solution’ would only work if the universe started out ordered and complex correlated with its admittedly low entropy. But it did not, our patch of spacetime underwent a Cold Inflation that diluted it to an extremely simple ~ 0 K emptiness. That was later followed by a Hot Big Bang that filled our universe with a chaotic mess of particles at ~ 10^30 K or so.

    Only later structure formation, and eventually life, followed. And it was seeded by quantum fluctuations during inflation. Life and its environment didn’t start out with “order and complexity”, it was a long process of internal phase changes that made that happen. That continued even as life started, because all our pathways takes systems from simple, unordered states towards more ordered and complex. Akin to how a crystal is forced to seed and grow by entropy increase.

    – Technically data loss is not increasing the entropy of a system.* Data erasure increases the entropy of the environment, because while you can compute with zero energy loss you need energy to erase data.

    I would like to suggest to Cliff to study up on cosmology and biology, so he can recognize how he is fooled by creationism in regards to science.

    *Unless you are analyzing information entropy and its measure on your coded information, which isn’t thermodynamic entropy at all. We should probably jot that down as another fail in Cliff’s notes.

  20. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    William comments …

    “The poor scoffers will never be able to explain away the empty tomb. It must be a real headache for them :(“

    I wonder how William will be able to explain away Al-Burāq ?

    “Then he [Gabriel] brought the Buraq, handsome-faced and bridled, a tall, white beast, bigger than the donkey but smaller than the mule. He could place his hooves at the farthest boundary of his gaze. He had long ears. Whenever he faced a mountain his hind legs would extend, and whenever he went downhill his front legs would extend. He had two wings on his thighs which lent strength to his legs.

    He bucked when Muhammad came to mount him. The angel Jibril (Gabriel) put his hand on his mane and said: “Are you not ashamed, O Buraq? By Allah, no-one has ridden you in all creation more dear to Allah than he is.” Hearing this he was so ashamed that he sweated until he became soaked, and he stood still so that the Prophet mounted him.”

    Surely only Allah could create and provide Muhammad with such a miraculous creature! 🙂

    “While he was resting at the Kaaba, the angel Jibril (Gabriel) appeared to him followed by the Buraq. Muhammad mounted the Buraq, and in the company of Gabriel, they traveled to the “farthest mosque”. The location of this mosque was not explicitly stated, but is generally accepted to mean Al-Aqsa Mosque (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. At this location, He dismounted from the Buraq, prayed, and then once again mounted the Buraq and was taken to the various heavens, to meet first the earlier prophets and then God (Allah). Muhammad was instructed to tell his followers that they were to offer prayers 50 times per day. However, at the urging of Moses (Musa), Muhammad returns to God and it was eventually reduced to 10 times, and then 5 times per day as this was the destiny of Muhammad and his people. The Buraq then transported Muhammad back to Mecca.”

    To this day the followers of Islam heed the call to pray five times a day. How does William explain this ?

    It must be a real headache for him. 😦

  21. wads42
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Posted July 27, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    “If there’s no purpose in life, what’s the purpose of reproducing?”

    Natural Selection has selected those who have the strongest urge to reproduce; ie to have sex. We are all sex maniacs,–therefore Darwin was correct.

    • gluonspring
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Yeah. I can clearly remember in my religion-soaked days in high school wondering what the hell God was thinking to make us into sex maniacs but then spend so much effort trying to reign that back in. I knew enough of Darwin to realize, in my gut, that Darwin had nailed it.

  22. Posted July 27, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    “…are we blind to how many millions of people are spreading God’s word just as he commanded?”
    ___

    The Word is not good enough as spoken language comprises just a minority of communication. Non-verbal communication rules. But since nobody today was alive when Jebus was making the rounds, sorry, the majority of his message is lost despite all the present verbiage. Therefore Christers could be getting it all wrong — maybe Christ supported gays and abortion. 🙂

    • Hypatias Daughter
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      And, the task of “spreading God’s word” would be considerably easier if He hadn’t done that whole “confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” thing.
      Ya’know, sometimes it’s like God just doesn’t think more than one step ahead.

      • Matt G
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        “He’s making it up as He goes along!”. Just like His followers. You survive a plane crash, God saved you; you die in the plane crash, God wants you in heaven sooner than expected.

      • gluonspring
        Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        And if he’d provided a FAQ so we could clearly know whether the Baptists or the Catholics or someone else is promoting the TRUE gospel. Why does God write so badly that even his most devoted followers, given a thousand years to try, can’t sort it all out?

        • Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          But they can! *Every* devoted follower knows that *they* are right!

          churches-christian-movements.jpg

          /@

        • Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          Link fail : cwoznicki.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/churches-christian-movements.jpg

          • gluonspring
            Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            +1

  23. Posted July 27, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I confess, I’m a bit confused why an empty tomb would be hard to explain. The pyramids are full of empty tombs, and I doubt Christians think pharaohs were all messiahs. Even if an empty tomb were found, you’d have to somehow demonstrate that the body left under its own power, a much more difficult endeavor, I imagine.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Of course it left under its own power. It blasted the tomb open and went stomping off in search of braaains…

  24. Taz
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure where Jason has admitted he’s wrong!

    Jason’s not trying to admit he’s wrong. He’s trying to convince us poor, benighted heathens to admit we’re wrong by telling us how good it’ll feel.

    • gluonspring
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      It did feel good, he’s got that right.

      It felt very good when I admitted I’d been wrong about Jesus and God and the Bible. I feel so much better now not having to justify all the crazy reality-defying stories, not having to pretend that prayer does something when it so obviously doesn’t, not having to try to justify God’s questionable morality to myself or others, to finally say what I’d been sort of thinking all along: this Bible book isn’t really very good. It was a big relief to just let the world be whatever it is and not have to labor day and night to shoehorn it into a fairy tale. It was like having a constant headache that suddenly goes away.

  25. Posted July 27, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    “[A]dmitting I’m wrong is the hardest thing for me to do…”

    The irony is literally dripping, metaphorically speaking, of course. 🙂

  26. Mark R.
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Whenever I read these weekly beefs, the Bene Gesserit ‘Litany of Fear’ comes to mind (from Frank Herbert’s Dune). I tend to think that the atheist-haters main emotion is fear, accompanied by an unhealthy dose of projection. So for all of you religious scaredy cats out there…please memorize.

    I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Muad’Dib! Muad’Dib!

      /@

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      LOL! I memorized that litany when I read Dune as a pre-teen.

  27. Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    🐾

  28. Barry Lyons
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Regarding Cliff Claven’s comment, I never understood this “devolution” idea. It’s a popular idea in creationist circles and, frankly, I really don’t know what they mean by it or how they even arrived at it. Very strange.

    • Shwell Thanksh
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Cliff seems to think he has made a discovery that will overturn the field of evolutionary biology — and it’s Occam Razor! Someday the world will see his brilliance.

      And the best way he could convince us of his theory of the inferiority of Homo sap. would be to refer us to some actual studies, preferably ones published by (presumably superior) Neanderthal scientists in peer reviewed Neanderthal journals.

    • Posted July 28, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Borrowed residual teleology, no doubt.

  29. bobkillian
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I remain puzzled why these people feel so certain about their grip on the truth, from something called The Bobble. Why the name itself should raise doubts.

  30. William George
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    but we can have de-evolution…

    Are we not men?

    • Matt G
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      We cease to be men when we put oversized red plastic cups on our heads.

    • Posted July 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      No. We are Devo!

      /@

  31. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Steve” : God’s people are at work each day, are we blind to how many millions of people are spreading God’s word just as he commanded?

    Ah, the old “five million American housewives can’t be wrong” argument. It must be … hours … since I heard that one. (Admittedly, that last one was in the context that “Saturday night karaoke is popular, so that gives me the right to sing loudly outside your hotel window at 2 in the morning”. But that doesn’t make the argument any more convincing.)
    Sorry, “Steve”, but 5 million American housewives can be wrong. For the very least, that’s the purpose of every advertising campaign – to convince the heretics who buy the wrong product.
    Science isn’t a popularity contest.

    • gluonspring
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention that a billion Muslims are doing whatever it is they think Allah commanded, etc.

      So, yeah, opening my eyes and noticing how many people are spreading *mutually exclusive* versions of “God’s word” really did help clarify things a lot for me.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 28, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Glad to hear I’ve helped your conversion to heresy and apostasy.

  32. Posted July 27, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Assuming for a moment that Jesus lived—that some guy walked around claiming to be the Son of God—I am intrigued by something I read concerning “Veronica’s Napkin.”

    Veronica is supposed to have wiped Jesus’s brow. But some have pointed out that Jesus died remarkably quickly for someone being crucified. Death by crucifixion usually took several days. Sometimes friends would break the prisoner’s legs so that his weight would collapse, and he would suffocate and die much more quickly. And yet Jesus was supposed to have died quickly, and been buried Saturday.

    What if Veronica’s handkerchief was used to deliver a soporific, so that Jesus appeared to die? Then Jesus could have “risen” as easily as we get out of bed in the morning.

    And that would neatly and non-supernaturally explain the empty tomb.

    • Matt G
      Posted July 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Does this leg breaking business have any connection to the modern practice of leg breaking for failure to repay debt?

    • Posted July 28, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      There’s a much neater, much simpler, and much more non-supernatural explanation.

      It’s a story. It’s make-believe. It’s all made-up. None of it ever happened, and it doesn’t need any more explanation than Dorothy’s ruby (or silver) slippers, or warp drive engines, or Sarah Palin’s foreign relations credentials.

      b&

  33. microraptor
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    I had a guy I knew try to use the empty tomb thing on me.

    I just looked at him and asked why if someone found an empty hole in the ground with no body in it, the first assumption to choose was because the body rose from the dead and walked away instead of being eaten by scavengers, stolen by looters (or archeologists, not that there was really much of a difference in the beginning of that field), or simply that there never had been a body placed in that particular hole to begin with.

    • Rikki_Tikki_Taalik
      Posted July 28, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      How do you explain that god shaped hole in the ground ?

      Got a headache yet ?

      Yeah, that’s what I thought Mr. Unbeliever.

      • microraptor
        Posted July 28, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        That hole was perfectly formed for the puddle that was in it prior to evaporating.

        • Mark Joseph
          Posted July 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          Then we need to invent a “hole-istic: religion! (Are you listening, Deepak?)

          Sorry, couldn’t resist…

          • microraptor
            Posted July 28, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            The important thing about inventing a hole-istic religion is to make sure that your hole-y book contains the hole truth.

  34. krzysztof1
    Posted July 28, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Jason J wrote: “Are we blind to God’s beauty? Just look at the night sky or the way the sunset dances on the mountains. ” Yet earlier he talks about how Christians are eager to get off this Earth and into Heaven!

    I suppose he would say that all this beauty we see around us is God’s way of giving us a theatrical trailer for heaven. Not to be enjoyed for its own sake, but only to serve as a reminder of what God-Jesus has in store for us if we will only let him into our heart, bla bla.

    So everything that is good reminds us of God. Everything bad reminds us of our willfully turning our backs on God, and our need for him to save us. That so many would still think like this in the 21st century is something I do not understand at all.

  35. Posted July 28, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The empty tomb? Ah, yes, the one Jesus was left in after he died. And then, the next day, when Mary of Magdala and another adjective-less Mary went to pay their respects, there was a great earthquake and the stone that served as door fell, and all the guards around the place quaked with fear. And the tomb was empty! But no, no, wait, I got it wrong: there was no earthquake, and when the girls got there the tomb was already open, and there were no guards around. Just one guy who told them Jesus wasn’t dead anymore. No, wait, I must be confused or something, there were TWO guys in shining clothes who told them that Jesus wasn’t there. Or… wait, I screwed up again; Mary went up there alone, saw absolutely no one, but got scared when she saw the open tomb and ran back to Peter, who came back with her.

    Reader William is partly right: if Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have a hard time getting their story straight, what hope do we atheists have to make sense of it?


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