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We happy hooligans - Comments

themanchoo's Avatar Comment 1 by themanchoo

I'm a proud hooligan, too :-)

Plus I now have a new word to add to my vocabulary... *jots down pettifogging*

Wed, 28 May 2008 10:20:00 UTC | #176301

b0ltzm0n's Avatar Comment 2 by b0ltzm0n

We rational, logical, skeptical and happy hooligans

Wed, 28 May 2008 10:30:00 UTC | #176306

Colwyn Abernathy's Avatar Comment 3 by Colwyn Abernathy

Wed, 28 May 2008 11:02:00 UTC | #176316

Quine's Avatar Comment 4 by Quine

Thanks Colwyn. After watching that, all I can say is:

PZ v. Theologians ... Bring it.

Wed, 28 May 2008 11:36:00 UTC | #176328

Colwyn Abernathy's Avatar Comment 5 by Colwyn Abernathy

"You fucker, c'mere!"
"Nope! Got to catch us! You corner me I might become a...scalywag!"

Miss you, Bill. :_(

Wed, 28 May 2008 11:40:00 UTC | #176329

newskin's Avatar Comment 6 by newskin

It's pretty much a given that people of a religious persuasion apply double standards in terms of evidence. They are happy to go down to the most minute of minutia to critique evolution (coagulation cascade vs. irreducible complexity) but completely suspend such reason when it comes to god. In gods case, a mere assertion is sufficient.

Thus they are content to believe that a murderous, misogynistic deity (now reformed, having previously been bizarrely both all knowing yet capable of mistakes) somehow created everything on the proviso that it could maintain an unhealthy interest in our sex lives and that we all grovel on a regular basis. That's logic!

Wed, 28 May 2008 11:49:00 UTC | #176334

Colwyn Abernathy's Avatar Comment 7 by Colwyn Abernathy


Unhealthy INTEREST?! That's an understatement. Seems like an extreme fetish if you ask me. Now I'm usually game to try almost anything once, but actively controlling someone else's sex life thru guilt, shame, and emotional blackmail? That's a kink I'll never touch, thanks. ;)

Wed, 28 May 2008 11:53:00 UTC | #176335

MelM's Avatar Comment 8 by MelM

Using "theology" as a keyword in book search, I get 2,530 results with a publication date of 2008 alone.

If I use "systematic theology" (no dates), I get 7,857 results.

It would be much easier if believers would just tell us which book proves the existence of god(s).

Wed, 28 May 2008 12:02:00 UTC | #176339

Dr Benway's Avatar Comment 9 by Dr Benway

Scientists obey rules of evidence. Theologians do not.

Scientists are ruly. Theologians are unruly.

And there it is.

Wed, 28 May 2008 12:06:00 UTC | #176340

MaxD's Avatar Comment 10 by MaxD

That was a terribly hard blog to read. Talk about missing the point. What I found so strikingly stupid was his assertion that the critique of PZ Myers in his Courtiers Riposte can the charge of calling sophisticated theologians liars. WTF? He is saying they are wasting a lot of time, in fluffy debate about what is likely a nonexistent subject, namely God. He isn't calling them liars he is saying they are wrong and wasting their time.

Wed, 28 May 2008 12:17:00 UTC | #176342

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 11 by the great teapot

Stop it, enough already, you can only flog a horse to death once.

Wed, 28 May 2008 13:11:00 UTC | #176361

LeeLeeOne's Avatar Comment 12 by LeeLeeOne

Ahhh.... THIS is why I love! My newest t-shirt logo - Enough already! You can only flog a horse to death once.

I print my own logos on my own very cheaply recycled t-shirts. It's actually quite a lot of fun!

It gets my neighbors chatting.

Wed, 28 May 2008 13:31:00 UTC | #176367

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 13 by phil rimmer


Scientist obey rules of evidence. Theologians do not.

Scientists are ruly. Theologians are unruly.


Wed, 28 May 2008 13:48:00 UTC | #176371

ligfietser's Avatar Comment 14 by ligfietser

Why do these people always use so many words. Can't these people just make their point with a few sentences? I'm getting tired of it. How can they expect us to study their writings if it's a hoggabyte of data with an information density approaching zero?

Wed, 28 May 2008 14:10:00 UTC | #176376

stephenray's Avatar Comment 15 by stephenray

Comment by the great teapot "Stop it, enough already, you can only flog a horse to death once."

Yeah. If you want to kill it over and over again for two millennia then you have to crucify the horse.

Wed, 28 May 2008 15:03:00 UTC | #176384

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 16 by Border Collie

Richard Dawkins is a "rude upstart"? I mean, hell, RD will admit that people get pissed off at him, but "upstart"?! Calling RD an upstart is like the villian shooting the cute little dog in a Hollywood western. It would take a fundamentalist to say something that stupid. And, I guess Einstein was a pubescent physicist. Seems that when their tiny little brains get overloaded, name calling comes to the forefront ... a common trait of four year olds.

Wed, 28 May 2008 17:10:00 UTC | #176405

Zaphod's Avatar Comment 17 by Zaphod

We few. We happy few.

Wed, 28 May 2008 17:14:00 UTC | #176406

Geodesic17's Avatar Comment 18 by Geodesic17

Funny thing about the name calling, I attended an embarrassing Intelligent Design vs Evolution Debate while an undergaduate. The ID side was represented by some obscure upstart named Bryan O'Neal, ABD (still working on a PHD in Philosophy and Design Theory, as I understand it). Anyhow, he took a few cheap shots at Dawkins even though the man wasn't even there. If he was in a crowd of ID Proponents, he might of gotten a few slaps on the back. The funny thing is, very few people that the school probably heard of Richard Dawkins at the time. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit by thinking that it is an attempt to discredit the man before people even hear his name.

Wed, 28 May 2008 17:32:00 UTC | #176410

chuckg's Avatar Comment 19 by chuckg

"I" am a rude upstart(and damn proud of it, too), but Richard Dawkins... He is neither rude(remarkably kind, gentle, and eloquent, considering what he's up against, IMHO), nor an upstart. Seems like he's been at this Biology "thing" for more than a few decades, and is being charged with leading the general public's enlightenment of science at a leading university in a major Western European country. My opinion of why it takes a biologist to really confront the religious, and why the religious feel most threatened by science, especially biology, especially evolution, is that evolution took away the need for any designer, and adequately explained the origin of all the diversity and wonder/beauty in the natural world. This enormous revelation by Darwin in the last half of the 1800's help to free up scientific inquiry that followed and has helped all the subsequent discoveries. This is especially true of cosmology, which is related to evolution by time scales, origins, and big lumpy space rocks. I proudly raise up this hand of a hooligan.

Wed, 28 May 2008 18:56:00 UTC | #176422

Christopher Davis's Avatar Comment 20 by Christopher Davis

Clever Dr. Benway. Very clever.

Thu, 29 May 2008 00:19:00 UTC | #176464

King of NH's Avatar Comment 21 by King of NH

*sigh* How are we supposed to provide evidence for NOT believing, especially given that deities are specifically non-falsifiable on purpose? Theologists are academic charlatans and an embarrassment to the intellectual community!

King of NH, PhD of Niniwicketology
Professor of Ricket-Ricket Comminitir / Frawxio College and Hardware Store

Thu, 29 May 2008 01:05:00 UTC | #176470

Tycho the Dog's Avatar Comment 22 by Tycho the Dog

I got this far and figured the rest wasn't worth my time...

Without the right training and receptivity, a great deal of the world remains unavailable to us. This is perhaps most classically demonstrated in art appreciation, or jazz, or wine, or any of the "acquired tastes."

I might not have the 'right training and receptivitity' to appreciate jazz and fine wine, but I can tell whether of not they f%cking-well exist. What an idiot.

Thu, 29 May 2008 01:56:00 UTC | #176474

~manic-depressive's Avatar Comment 23 by ~manic-depressive

You don't know how little I desire to play "God's advocate"; I hope there is at least someone here who won't condemn me before at least listening to my point (I really don't get any pleasure from being outcasted, being of a poetic temperment)...

I am rather glad that theologians like Tillich existed. Let's tell the likes of Alister McGrath to contend with with the likes of Tillich, for whom "God" was something beyond existence and non-existence.

If the theologians want to whittle away the definition of "God" into such obscurity that "God" is nothing more or less than "Ultimate Reality", why not let them? Surely that's far better than the fundamentalist nonsense we hear all-too-much.

My only problem is that theologians of this variety never quite come down from their ivory towers and frankly tell the "average believer" what they really think:

"Ever so sorry, but you're quite wrong in thinking that an anthropomorphic version of God has any credibility whatsoever. Please stop embarrasing us with your simplistic literalism of ancient man-made texts."

Thu, 29 May 2008 02:13:00 UTC | #176476

brainsys's Avatar Comment 24 by brainsys

I am with the blogger in his criticism of PZ's abuse of leading theologian/churchman as 'liars'.

Some maybe. Others not if by lying you seek deliberately to misinform people.

Today (BBC Radio 4 this am) reminded us about cognitive dissonance, the theory that our brains are heavily programmed into seeing a world that supports our beliefs and having remarkable powers to reject what independent observers would see as strong objective evidence to the contrary. The report rather aptly spelt out evolutionary advantages to this condition!

To an independent observer Tony Blair appeared to lie to the House of Parliament over Iraq. Hansard is there to prove it if you search out the quotes.

But Tony will not accept he lied. I'm inclined to believe he believes that truthfully. Maybe its no coincidence that he is extremely religious too.

Now I can cope with honest liars. They at least accept the same reality as me even if they won't admit it. Its the people who able to deny truth truthfully that are really scary. And calling them liars (when they think they are not) just cements antagonism.

PZ IMHO does us no favour by this abuse. He may entertain us but just makes it harder in trying to get these (often good in every other way) people to begin to recognise that what appears to be true should always be questioned.

Thu, 29 May 2008 02:16:00 UTC | #176477

SteveN's Avatar Comment 25 by SteveN

Brainsys (comment 24).

PZ accuses the theologians of 'perpetuating lies', which they surely do irrespective of whether they believe them or not. I see no problem with that.

Thu, 29 May 2008 02:34:00 UTC | #176479

brainsys's Avatar Comment 26 by brainsys

SteveN says:

"PZ accuses the theologians of 'perpetuating lies', which they surely do irrespective of whether they believe them or not. I see no problem with that."
Neither do I. But how is that relevant when the quote in question was:

"It's time we saw through the con game of these lying leeches ... "

Thu, 29 May 2008 02:45:00 UTC | #176481

SteveN's Avatar Comment 27 by SteveN

##Dammit! Post lost in cyberspace. Try again...##

Reply to brainsys (#26):

Yes, sorry about that. I assumed you were referring to PZ's article posted at the top of this page. 'Lying leeches' is indeed not ambiguous.

However, if you read the article by PZ in which he makes the 'lying leeches' comment (here), which is one of his best, by the way, it is clear that he was referring to those who deliberately attempt to manipulate and distort history to give religion credit for everything good (end of slavery, science etc). Anyone who does this is worthy of the label 'lying leech' in my book.

Actually, I think Underverse is guilty of a subtle bit of quote-mining here. Of course, PZ might actually believe all theologians and moderate church-goers to be part of a 'con game of lying leeches', but I don't think that was his original intention, when the quote is taken in context.

Thu, 29 May 2008 03:52:00 UTC | #176492

MC1R's Avatar Comment 28 by MC1R

The very fact that no real evidence can be provided for this invisible, inaudible and unknowable sky daddy pretty much gives free license to say what ever you want about him,
her, it………
So no matter how many times we nail up that horse, like jebus it 's going to keep coming back.
Oh yes! How much fun and how much easier it must be, the lot of a theologian.

Thu, 29 May 2008 05:26:00 UTC | #176501

MaxD's Avatar Comment 29 by MaxD

Manic Depressive,
No worries.

The problem though is that theologians by and large, except for maybe Tillich, want to have that God is the ground of all being Cake and they want little of the Jesus Magic Elixir cake too.

McGrath seems fairly standard in his christian beliefs when you get him to state them plainly-which is not at all easy because if stated plainly, they don't look terribly less silly. He just seems to be more secularized than his fundi bretheren.

I've found this in my limited encounters with theologians.

By all means though if Theologians want to reduce god to simply meaning something like "mystery in the universe and attendent phenomena" I say go to it too. Theologians of this sort though tend to be largely ignored by the traditionally pious.

Thu, 29 May 2008 05:46:00 UTC | #176506

Wendy M's Avatar Comment 30 by Wendy M

What about the majority of religious believers, who are not expert theologians? Presumably, Underverse thinks they are equally ineligible to express an opinion on God's existence.

Thu, 29 May 2008 05:54:00 UTC | #176509