This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Light sensors cause religious row

Light sensors cause religious row - Comments

Szkeptik's Avatar Comment 1 by Szkeptik

Just when I thought it couldn't get any more stupid.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:21:00 UTC | #371686

LiberalGent's Avatar Comment 2 by LiberalGent

Quite simple answer actually. Their religious expression does NOT extend beyond the walls of their flat into a common area which would cause me to possibly trip and fall in the dark in a common use hallway wherein part of my rent goes to maintain a safe well lit passageway. Don't want the light to come on, stay in your flat. It has nothing to do with being anti-Semitic. Some of my best (and worse) friends are Jewish.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:22:00 UTC | #371687

retrotransposon's Avatar Comment 3 by retrotransposon

What about MY "religious code" or "personal freedom" to have automatic hallway light sensors?

These people are violating my "religion" of consevering energy and slowing down climate change.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:23:00 UTC | #371689

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 4 by Steven Mading

I think I'll invent my own religion called "way of the dollar". The way it works is this. The religion mandates that whenever you see me, you must give me a dollar. There. Now anyone who fails to comply is engaging in religious discrimination against me.

I don't see anything less self-serving and vile about the above scenario versus the one in the article.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:25:00 UTC | #371690

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 5 by rod-the-farmer

I hereby create a phrase to describe this issue.

"You could not make this stuff up."

There. All rights and patents pending. Use by any others is permitted, on written request, at no charge.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:29:00 UTC | #371691

Prankster's Avatar Comment 6 by Prankster

Fucking hell..... I give up, I really do.

If "The couple's religious code bans lights and other electrical equipment being switched on during Jewish holidays", then fine. But only in their own flat, I would imagine.

That religious conviction ends immediately they set foot out the fucking door of that flat surely?

Anti-semitism on the grounds of an automatic light sensor coming on? Yeah pull the other one!

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:35:00 UTC | #371694

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 7 by aquilacane

Horse shit. loads of Sids have automated crap so they don't have to deal with it. This is just pissing in the wind. Besides, it's my religious belief that auto lights must be used on the Sabbath, so if they win they lose as they will be discriminating against my beliefs. Pricks!

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:47:00 UTC | #371697

Prankster's Avatar Comment 8 by Prankster

Just replace the automatic lights with some big flashing strobe lights and maybe a disco glitterball-that should fuck them up good and proper!

Apologies. It's late where I am, and I'm tired and then pig-shit like this appears on the site and winds me up? I'm wasting energy on rubbish like this.

Fuck it...

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:58:00 UTC | #371701

BigJohn's Avatar Comment 9 by BigJohn

It's greed pure and simple. They thought this up to make some easy money. I hope that the judge rips them a new one...several new ones in fact. A really stiff fine for filing a frivolous lawsuit would be good too.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 13:59:00 UTC | #371703

kev_s's Avatar Comment 10 by kev_s

Shut their eyes and let their god guide them.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 14:02:00 UTC | #371706

Ygern's Avatar Comment 11 by Ygern

Rod, I agree, you could not make this stuff up. It's immensely silly, I can only wonder why this couple think this is a tenet of their faith that is actually worth going to court over. I can also only wonder why the inconvenience this religious code has caused them hasn't made them pause and re-assess why they bother to honour it in the first place.

Well, I know why... I hope they get mocked everywhere... but somehow I know that people will be far too well-mannered to do that.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 14:03:00 UTC | #371707

notsobad's Avatar Comment 12 by notsobad

clinically insane

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 14:10:00 UTC | #371709

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 13 by Border Collie

Oh, wow, their solicitors told them they have a strong claim. Looks like attorneys are a cancer on the UK just like they are on the US.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 14:20:00 UTC | #371712

SRWB's Avatar Comment 14 by SRWB

Makes perfect sense to me - why wouldn't one adhere to some Bronze Age religious rules when one lives in the 21st century?!

Seriously - there really is a restriction on using lights on the sabbath because it is considered the same as fire!

Here are some other restrictions (not all):
Slaughtering,Flaying,Salting meat,Curing hide
Scraping hide,Cutting hide up,
Writing two letters, Erasing two letters
Building, Tearing a building down,
Hitting with a hammer

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 14:27:00 UTC | #371716

JonLynnHarvey's Avatar Comment 15 by JonLynnHarvey

This certainly inconveniences other members of the apartment complex (or whatever it's called in the UK), but surely there was some sort of renter's association at which this was discussed before these were installed.

However, they never actually claimed "anti-Semitism" and comments that this is motivated by "greed" and is "self-serving" seem to me really really silly. Try to use some cultural imagination.

EDIT: Also, this seems to me to be relatively harmless in contrast to some of the draconian provisions of Sharia law which entails serious oppression.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 14:29:00 UTC | #371717

PERSON's Avatar Comment 16 by PERSON

Does this mean that they are not allowed to perform any action that will alter the state of any electronic or electrical equipment on the Sabbath? Is there CCTV in the flat? If not, it would at least mean they cannot go outside as they would be operating CCTV and spy satellite equipment.

Opening the fridge door is out, as that would cause the heat pump to operate. Similarly opening doors and windows if the heating is on and it's thermostatically controlled.

If one of them gets ill and needs to be put on life support, which AIUI takes signals from the person to provide regulation, does that need to be turned off on the holy day?

I'd love to know who their rabbi is and what he thinks about all this.

p.s. Tort reform is BS to make law breaking even more convenient for big companies. The "frivolous lawsuits" thing is an exaggeration perpetuated with urban myths and other memes.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 15:01:00 UTC | #371731

Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Comment 17 by Rawhard Dickins

Stay in then.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 15:12:00 UTC | #371734

Thelonious's Avatar Comment 18 by Thelonious

My understanding is that some orthodox jews hire gentiles to push the elevator buttons for them on the sabbath. Others have a special setting on the elevators so that on the sabbath the elevators just stop at every floor in a continuous cycle. I'm puzzled by how these cases are thought to differ from the light sensors.

There's a passage about some of this in one of Feynman's autobiographies - he thought some students were interested in physics and all they really wanted to know was whether electricity "really" counted as fire so they could obey the sabbath rules. He was properly disgusted, as I recall.


>Does this mean that they are not allowed to perform any action that will alter the state of any electronic or electrical equipment on the Sabbath?

I believe "alter the state" is too broad. They aren't supposed to "make fire" which they interpret as turning on any electrical device - though turning off might be permitted and "allowing to run" is permitted, I'm almost certain.

>they cannot go outside as they would be operating CCTV

I think that would fall under "allowing to run" unless there are motion sensors.

>Opening the fridge door is out

Yes, they likely set out all food for the day before the start of sabbath.

>Similarly opening doors and windows if the heating is on

Probably either shut the heat off for the day or have a bypass so it stays on (in winter).

Life support? That one I don't know; there's probably an exemption for life-threatening emergencies.

Pretty wacky stuff

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 15:17:00 UTC | #371736

nalfeshnee's Avatar Comment 19 by nalfeshnee

Gordon and Dena Coleman said they cannot leave or enter their Bournemouth flat on the Sabbath because the hallway sensors automatically switch on lights.

At the risk of sounding childish:

like I give a shit.

"They did come to a meeting and put their point of view forward.

Yeah, I can imagine how that went:

Couple: So, that light sensor has to go.
Others: Well, we appreciate that you're Jews an' all, but don't you think...
Couple: Huh? You don't get it, do you? Look: we make stuff up and you agree to toe the line. Understood?
Others: Yes, but the environment, it's the lights...
Couple: We repeat: We can wear funny hats and make stuff up and you agree to toe the line. Understood?
Others: Now come on, you have to appreciate there are others in the house...
Couple: Who cares? You're breaching our rights to be mad bastards! Anti-semites! Nazis! Holocaust

Etc., etc.

(Update: what just struck me, would be that it would be most amusing to design a system of light sensors arranged throughout the flats building. If the building were large enough and one had enough sensors, one could "guide" the Colemans up and down, left and right like rats in a maze. Would certainly be one interesting way to spend a Saturday morning. Mind you, you'd have to switch off the sensor by their door of a Sabbath.)

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 15:18:00 UTC | #371737

nalfeshnee's Avatar Comment 20 by nalfeshnee

they aren't supposed to "make fire" which they interpret as turning on any electrical device -

Jesus wept. So a round of Wii Sports Resort is "making fire"?

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 15:30:00 UTC | #371738

daverussell's Avatar Comment 21 by daverussell

Goog for them. Jewish folks have been switching electrical appliances of for 3000 years every Sunday. Why do they need to change?

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 15:37:00 UTC | #371740

Crazycharlie's Avatar Comment 22 by Crazycharlie

Please, someone in the UK,(I live in the US), keep an eye on & follow this story to its end. If this couple gets their way then the legal system in the UK is as f***ed up as it is in the US. The couples religious code should, obviously, apply only to their flat! Of coarse their "solicitor" thinks they have a strong claim, he stands to make a fair amount of money I would imagine.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 15:55:00 UTC | #371743

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 23 by Rich Wiltshir

Crazycharlie... I'm in the UK. This one is so daft I made a note of it in my diary when it appeared over here last weekend. I can't believe they'll get anything out of this though.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 16:17:00 UTC | #371749

Antheist's Avatar Comment 24 by Antheist

I'm fairly certain the good Lord won't hold them responsible for lights switching on automatically in their presence. By a religious person's logic, He bestowed the technology on mankind anyway, so he is no doubt aware of the likelihood of occasional accidental deployment by observant Jews.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 16:35:00 UTC | #371757

Crazycharlie's Avatar Comment 25 by Crazycharlie

Rich Wiltshir,-- Keep us posted, you're probably right, at least I hope you're right, that they won't get anything out of this but, as you know, we've all been surprised in the past with cases like this.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 16:52:00 UTC | #371762

Drool's Avatar Comment 26 by Drool

Barkin' mad case.

Anyway, possibly biased source - but according to another article on the story, the directors may have already bowed to demands and agreed to the override switch??

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 17:04:00 UTC | #371763

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 27 by Bonzai

This is so ridiculous that it deserves to be put in the Onion.

I find it curious that Orthodox Jews have all these crazy rules and yet they would try every means to circumvent them in such a way that they would violate the spirit of the rules without technically breaking them. Do they think their God is so stupid that he would fall for such lawyerly tricks?

I think it is worth studying the psychology of these guys and find out what they really think their God is like.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 17:11:00 UTC | #371765

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 28 by rod-the-farmer

I thought of a couple more electrical/mechanical things they might be forced to object to....a set-back thermometer, which causes the heating system to run less during the day when (perhaps) no one is home, but which turns back on to warm the house when people come home from work & school. Not sure these are available or required in the UK. Also, the automatic thermostat in the fridge/freezer. It shuts the cooling system down when the temperature is below a certain point, then turns it back on due to heat gain from the outside.

Oh, to be in the UK in summer, when the gits are out.

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 17:14:00 UTC | #371767

SRWB's Avatar Comment 29 by SRWB

How about electronic clocks, computers, phones, etc? Aren't these all in violation of the sabbath laws?

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 17:25:00 UTC | #371770

Mayhemm's Avatar Comment 30 by Mayhemm

The stupid! It Burns!

Thu, 18 Jun 2009 18:08:00 UTC | #371787