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



Dean Buchanan's Avatar Comment 1 by Dean Buchanan

I lived in Asheville for many years. It is filled with 'old time religion', Appalachian crafts, music and food. It is also filled with 'Haight Ashbury hippies, communes, artists, rastafarians, a lot of tattoo parlors, good coffee, and a TON of environmentalists.

I highly recommend a visit for anyone. 'Malaprops' bookstore downtown is a central gathering place for the 'alternative' crowd.

My mother lives there now, I have contacted her and she tells me that so far there is a great deal of support for Mr. Bothwell.
One interesting point, the man who brought this suit against him is a black man who parades around town dressed in some sort of confederate military gear with a large confederate flag proclaiming that he wants to preserve 'black southern heritage'.

viva Asheville!!!

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 02:27:00 UTC | #425758

Machinus's Avatar Comment 2 by Machinus

the hippies in Asheville might look smart compared to the country rednecks in buncome county, but they are still a bunch of mystics and morons. they sound like they care about the environment but more often than not they are just looking for some drama and end up getting in the way.

i know, i taught physics there and the university students spent all their time smoking marijuana and worshipping mother earth instead of doing homework. the school has so few students that go on to other institutions that they dont even charge for transcripts.

the councilman deserves your support, certainly, because the stoner idiots who live in asheville probably don't even read the newspaper, and are not about to do anything about it.

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 02:43:00 UTC | #425762

Dean Buchanan's Avatar Comment 3 by Dean Buchanan

I agree with much of what you say, however you have to admit that there are very few places in our country, (at least that I have been too), that are like Asheville. (Santa Fe, San Francisco, Portland OR, Burlington VT)

It has been a quirky place for the last 100 years or so. It was known for 'healing' hot springs, has been flooded with massive wealth from the wannabe European nobility Vanderbilt (Biltmore Estate) who owned almost all of Western North Carolina. It has always been an interesting mix of American cultures that has lead to many crazy movements.

The first time I took my wife to visit Asheville she said "do they have a law against combs and brushes here?"

By the way, there are a lot more people there than the students who are very responsible.

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 02:59:00 UTC | #425766

Machinus's Avatar Comment 4 by Machinus

the only reason asheville is notable anymore is the quantity and attitude of the young people there. some of them grow up to be middle aged looneys but most of them have to get a real job eventually. their indepedence and passion is wasted on mysticism and rebellion. supernaturalism pervades everything, for both the liberals and the conservatives. i know there is more to the town than the high school and college students, but politics and science lack the demagoguery and novelty of a culture without books or standards. without the hippies asheville would be little more than a winery and some campgrounds

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 04:11:00 UTC | #425774

notnecessarilyso's Avatar Comment 5 by notnecessarilyso

Re: Comment No. 1

. . . the man who brought this suit against him is a black man who parades around town dressed in some sort of confederate military gear with a large confederate flag proclaiming that he wants to preserve 'black southern heritage'

Your comments lead me to a few articles about Edgerton, the anti-constitutionalist, confederate, and would-be office blocker.

I am relieved to report that he seems to be a one man operation with no real constituents and very few supporters. How he ever got a job with the left-leaning NAACP is beyond me. How he became a spokesperson for the confederate cause is even harder for me to grasp.

I wonder if he is known to the state's mental health officials. He seems a little bipolar.

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 05:05:00 UTC | #425779

Mitch Kahle's Avatar Comment 6 by Mitch Kahle

This is not an issue that is subject to majority public approval.

It is a slam dunk lawsuit victory just waiting to happen.

Cecil Bothwell's going to kick some ass and we'll all be the better for it!

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 05:16:00 UTC | #425781

righton's Avatar Comment 7 by righton

Ineresting. We are witnessing a historical event.

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 06:19:00 UTC | #425783

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 8 by rod-the-farmer

I would like to see if it is possible for those who bring suit under this state law are assigned costs when they lose. That should shut them up.

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 12:42:00 UTC | #425842

TheLordHumungus's Avatar Comment 9 by TheLordHumungus

I would support this but it is utterly impossible for them to succeed at ousting him. The US constitution overpowers any state constitution and article 6's "No religious test..." makes this case dead before it even began.

NC will have to secede from the union in order to pull this off.

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 12:48:00 UTC | #425844

notsobad's Avatar Comment 10 by notsobad

This is the text from the original NC constitution:
That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.

So Catholics or people easting shellfish cannot be there either.

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 14:54:00 UTC | #425864

Notstrident's Avatar Comment 11 by Notstrident

As I chronic worrier, I don't want to be overconfident as to the favorable outcome of all this. Sonething like one or more stupid judges could ruin everything. Justice doesn't prevail until it prevails.

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 15:26:00 UTC | #425871

Rev.JeffroBodean's Avatar Comment 12 by Rev.JeffroBodean

Jesse Helms died, Elizabeth Dole got booted out of office, and an atheist is a city council member. Three good things that happened in NC this decade.

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 16:07:00 UTC | #425882

JustBusiness's Avatar Comment 13 by JustBusiness

Not sure if this was mentioned in the article or by anyone here, but the state law is unenforceable. The US constitution is the 'paper' to the state constitution's 'rock' (scissors don't exist in this metaphor)...

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 16:52:00 UTC | #425889

theseanze's Avatar Comment 14 by theseanze

I'm a UNC Asheville student. You can't generalize about what kind of people live here, but there definitely is a lot of alternative medicine centers and spiritual groups that meet here. I've done what I can to stir things up but for the most part religion and voodoo here are more about private dabbling than any agendas.

Like any college town, there's a lot of weed and other drugs circulating, but since when does that mean people are stupid? Steve Jobs smoked weed and tripped LSD, for goodness sake...
It would be unheard of if he was kicked out of office, and the community would be in an uproar. If anything, the town motto is on the "Coexist" stickers on so many cars.

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 20:20:00 UTC | #425947

Dean Buchanan's Avatar Comment 15 by Dean Buchanan

Hi theseanze, good to hear from a student about the Asheville situation.

If anything, the town motto is on the "Coexist" stickers...

I think you are right about that. There have been discussions, sorry I can't locate the source right now, about whether the serious woo heads that live in places like Asheville are the same as religious fundies in the danger to humankind department. I personally don't think so. Although the anti-vaccination, anti-scientific mindset is very troubling, I feel that that type of movement is very anarchic and individualistic at its core, at least for now, and does not present as much of a problem as 'organized' religions.

Fri, 25 Dec 2009 01:48:00 UTC | #426001

Machinus's Avatar Comment 16 by Machinus

"coexist" is the moderate supernaturalist agenda, which is a load of horseshit and plainly contrary to secular humanism and general scientific literacy. that is quite a low standard to be praising

Fri, 25 Dec 2009 06:43:00 UTC | #426018

Dean Buchanan's Avatar Comment 17 by Dean Buchanan

"coexist" is the moderate supernaturalist agenda,...contrary to secular humanism and general scientific literacy.

Machinus, I am not sure how coexiting with those with other viewpoints is contrary to secular humanism and general scientific literacy. One of the tenets of secular humanism (SH) is to have an open dialog with people of all views as a means to building a better world. see here.
While I agree that the supernaturalist pagany/newagy folks generally have a low scientific literacy and are full of horseshit, they are also disorganized and represent LESS of a barrier to human progress than organized religions. Whether or not they have a weaker resistance to rational thought I cannot say.

Fri, 25 Dec 2009 16:50:00 UTC | #426062

Machinus's Avatar Comment 18 by Machinus

supernaturalism is not tolerable. it is the source and justification for everything wrong with faith and religion. it is the definition of scientific ignorance and it is the single biggest enemy to progress and education in the world.

this applies to native religions, organized religions, so called "progressive" faiths, and all the rest. if supernaturalism is part of your belief system, then you are an enemy of science and of humanity.

Fri, 25 Dec 2009 20:37:00 UTC | #426075

Dean Buchanan's Avatar Comment 19 by Dean Buchanan

hmm, as long as your intolerance of such people does not extend to advocating limiting their civil rights or shutting them up(here) I agree with you.
However in my opinion the problem is not a simple dichotomy between tolerable and intolerable beliefs, it is an ongoing dialog between those who want to impose their supernatural beliefs on others, those who hold their beliefs weakly (because they feel better with them or such things), and those of us who are attempting to challenge these views.
Picking apart these views will take time, probably generations, and I personally feel sorry for people whose potential has been stunted by their lack of scientific literacy and training in rational thought. As Dan Dennett has said, these are not part of our genetic toolkit, they are prostheses that we have developed to aid us in further understanding our world.
So, I agree that supernaturalism is a dead end street, I simply am assessing the battlefield, so to speak, and evaluating the most immanent threats and approaching the others as long term objectives.

Fri, 25 Dec 2009 23:49:00 UTC | #426087

theseanze's Avatar Comment 20 by theseanze

I at least partly agree with you, Machinus, I'm not a big fan of the coexist stickers. I actually made a spoof of it, and started a local community zine for political cartoons and whatnot to keep this kind of so-open-minded-brains-falling-out thing in check, but its not exactly a battle that's raging. There's enough common sense around that there's not much to push against.
But the point I was making is that conservative religion (despite us having a highway named after Billy Graham, etc...) has been tamed by being forced to coexist with new age, hippy-ish religious views, plus the presence of a liberal arts university. It might be the most progressive NC city, so the main issue is the rest of the state's ignorance.

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 20:03:00 UTC | #426484

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 21 by SaintStephen

20. Comment #445096 by theseanze on December 28, 2009 at 8:03 pm

I hate to be a nagging geek, but your post above would not look nearly so strange (meaning the large spaces between the words would disappear) if you would merely Edit it, copy the entire text inside the box using CTRL-A followed by CTRL-C, and then paste the text back in (over the still-highlighted previous text; yes it sounds weird) using CTRL-V. Then click "Update and Exit."

It's a fairly common occurrence here on Further details are available in this post, and in the link provided inside said post.

Sorry, but just had to help someone displaying Phishy avatars like Trey Anastasio. ;-P

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 20:22:00 UTC | #426490