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

Comments by mixmastergaz

Go to: Evangelicals question the existence of Adam and Eve

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 46 by mixmastergaz

These Evangelicals can't do right for doing wrong as far as some here are concerned.

Here's one reason why I think we should welcome this limited concession:-

There are now fewer opponents to the teaching of evolution in American schools.

That's cause for some celebration - consider how many of the Republican presidential hopefuls are I.D.ers.

Wed, 31 Aug 2011 14:43:35 UTC | #865897

Go to: East Africa appeal

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by mixmastergaz

I've been an Oxfam supporter for a while.

What are you "wary" of Amos?

Karen: Of course Aid isn't the solution to long-term problems, but I'm struggling to see how making donations to provide food and water for people on the brink of starvation in a humanitarian crisis is going to make things worse.

jesusdiedLOL: Grow a fucking heart.

Thu, 07 Jul 2011 09:20:36 UTC | #847223

Go to: I think we've been insulted by American book publishers

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by mixmastergaz

Richard Wiseman was a guest on 'the infinite monkey cage' (a light-hearted science programme) on Radio 4 yesterday. Worth a listen I reckon. Not sure if the podcast is available outside the UK, but here's the link.

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 10:57:36 UTC | #846322

Go to: Why am I reading theology?

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 46 by mixmastergaz

I'm familiar with process thought and the process theology which Jerry refers to above (don't ask).

I think readers here might be interested to know that it's basically an attempt to address the problem of evil. Griffin (who follows on from Whitehead) makes the surprising concession that Hume was right about the inconsistent triad (that is, evil cannot co-exist with an all-powerful and all-loving being; since evil undeniably does exist then an all-powerful and all-loving being must not). Griffin's solution is jaw-dropping for believers and non-believers alike. He argues that God isn't all-powerful. Evil exists because God isn't able to prevent it; he lacks the power to do so.

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 10:47:44 UTC | #846319

Go to: Heard the one about the pope? Sadly, yes

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 98 by mixmastergaz

(Patrick McKearney is studying for an MPhil in theology and religious studies at Cambridge University. A scholar of the Cambridge Interfaith Programme and Queens' College, he is researching the implications of the contemporary ridicule of religion.)

Although it sounds as if he's already made his mind up about it.

The typical mosque is basically a copy of a christian original.

I stand corrected - must be the orthopaedic shoes I'm wearing.

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 14:37:01 UTC | #842273

Go to: Heard the one about the pope? Sadly, yes

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 90 by mixmastergaz

though them mistaking the round mosque for a church sounds like it should have been included in Monty Python and the Holy Grail


Most recently I seem to recall hearing Professor Diamaid MacCulloch pointing out this particular blunder in his excellent BBC4 series 'A History of Christianity'.

It sounds as though you admire the Templars. You should watch MacCulloch's series, particularly episode three. Having said that, I imagine you can hardly be in the dark about the Knights Templar. Do you really admire them?

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 15:33:59 UTC | #841940

Go to: Heard the one about the pope? Sadly, yes

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by mixmastergaz

I thought it was based on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre also round.

To be fair to the Knights Templar (which is more than they deserve) it was a common mistake amongst the crusaders. The story about it being based on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is just a later cover story to spare everyone's blushes. I called them "dicks" for comic effect. Odd that you picked me up on that, but let "hacked their murderous way" go by unchallenged...

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 12:42:18 UTC | #139

Go to: Heard the one about the pope? Sadly, yes

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 66 by mixmastergaz

That's a good one Simon Templar. I urge you to tell it to everyone you meet. They'll be rolling in the aisles I've no doubt.

Heard the one about the Knights Templar?

They lovingly hacked their murderous way to the so-called holy land and mistook a mosque for the Jerusalem temple. They returned and built a church (a round church - ha, ha!) based on it's design, thinking that they were basing it on the design of the Jerusalem temple, the dicks.

No, it isn't funny either - but at least it's true.

Wed, 22 Jun 2011 15:26:13 UTC | #641723

Go to: Freedom of information laws are used to harass scientists, says Nobel laureate

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by mixmastergaz

I think Sir Paul's conclusion would be obvious to anyone who's looked into the so-called "scandal" at East Anglia University. This was characterised by the odious James Dellingpole as a deliberate deceit and the biggest fraud in the history of science. In fact, it was simply that one single graph prepeared for a non-specialist audience had been simplified (almost a decade before certain right-wing sections of the media bothered to take notice), and a few experts had used a couple of phrases that were open to deliberate mis-interpretation by their opponents in what they believed to be private emails (they were hacked by climate-change denying phishers). In short, there was no case to answer for at all on the part of the scientists, and they were completely exonnerated by four (four!) independent enquiries. The climate-change deniers on the other hand were exposed as cherry-pickers of the very worst sort who had had to resort to dredging up one piss-poor line graph and a couple of emails from a decade ago in order to attempt to discredit climate change. Of course, the (overwhelming) case for climate change rests on a great deal more than the work of one university. Curiously, all the media outlets who had devoted the most space to the unfounded case against somehow failed to report on the four (four!) separate independent enquiries which all cleared East Anglia University of any wrong-doing.

Thu, 26 May 2011 08:20:29 UTC | #631018

Go to: Unspoken Truths

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by mixmastergaz

I'd like to second that. When I read 'God is not Great' I could hear Hitch's voice so clearly it was as if I had the talking book. As Ian McEwan said recently "some people speak in full sentences; Hitch speaks in full paragraphs."

Wed, 11 May 2011 13:21:09 UTC | #625819

Go to: Who Wrote The Bible and Why It Matters

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 87 by mixmastergaz

Just on the point about Moses not being the author of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy 34: 6 -10 provides fairly conclusive evidence too.

" 5 And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. 6 He buried him[a] in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. 7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. 8 The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.

9 Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit[b] of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses.

10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face...

(my emphasis)

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 15:44:04 UTC | #609189

Go to: Vatican tells U.N. that critics of gays under attack

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 95 by mixmastergaz


You said something to the effect that those who dissent from the majority view on issues like this are themselves treated very intolerantly. What form does this "intolerance" actually take? I'm not aware of anyone being beaten, imprisoned, rejected by their families and communities, or even murdered for example. These are the sort of excesses that homophobia may lead to, though not inevitably of course; this is well-documented. No, no; those who dissent from more liberal views about gay people are basically just criticised aren't they? They have to suffer not beatings, rejection, imprisonment and murder, but merely the equivalents of strongly-worded letters to The Times. Yet your sympathies lie with the poor homophobes. I think you need to think about your priorities here Andy.

Also, using the phrase "political correctness gone mad" is such a cliche, and suggests that you might be a Daily Mail reader.

As for the failed Pentecostalist foster carers you mentioned, I'm afraid they rather brought it on themselves. That was a fight which they started, having been encouraged (and funded) to do so by an unholy cabal of conservative and fundamentalist Christian lawyers. Was that 'fundamentalist correctness gone mad' do you suppose?

Fri, 25 Mar 2011 14:22:57 UTC | #606963

Go to: Tsunami and earthquake in Japan: latest pictures of the damage

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by mixmastergaz

I heard someone trying to pin this tragedy on we fallen human beings.

Apparently this was caused by the testing of nuclear weapons, so it's not God's fault (phew!) - it's our's for using our freewill irresponsibly. Presumably all those Christian right-wingers will be turning anti-nuke then...

There's something desperate about the apologist's attempts to try and reconcile this with belief in an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God. Almost like they know the game is up.

Tue, 15 Mar 2011 17:25:25 UTC | #603184

Go to: Muslim fined for burning poppies on Remembrance Day

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by mixmastergaz

Personally, I'm undecided.

I partly agree with Sandman's assessment of where tolerating this may lead - the excesses he alludes to in the US. And I agree that the EDL is clearly a response - a reactionary response at that - to the sort of fool who would do his best to cause offence by burning poppies. This just ratchets up the rhetoric on both sides and makes 'diplomatic relations' impossible.

Freedom of speech is not complete, unbridled freedom to say or do anything. One may rightfully be prosecuted for displaying an obscene placard in public for example. So let's stop pretending that there aren't in fact limits to freedom of speech. But it's hard to imagine how to legislate in a way that wouldn't close the door to other, legitimate forms of protest, and it is difficult to know where to draw the line.

Tue, 08 Mar 2011 13:42:42 UTC | #600040

Go to: Pakistan minorities minister shot dead in Islamabad

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by mixmastergaz

I was re-reading part of TGD last night in preparation for a class I'm teaching today.

I came across Richard's reply to a letter he recieved from a woman who had suffered religious abuse in the form of mental torture about hell. One part of Richard's reply seems relevant. He said something to the effect that part of the reason some people place such undue emphasis on the torments of hell is because the existence of hell is so obviously implausible that it needs to be exaggerated in order to have any persuasive force. If those people in Pakistan who are threatened by this victimless 'crime' were confident in their Islamic faith then they would have no need of a blasphemy law.

Methinks the ladies doth protest too much.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 11:14:16 UTC | #598000

Go to: The Scopes Strategy: Creationists Try New Tactics to Promote Anti-Evolutionary Teaching in Public Schools

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by mixmastergaz

its the ingroup that will suffer with the poor education

Actually, it's the ingroup's kids who will suffer.

By all means let adults choose to decieve themselves, but children have the right not have other people's bad ideas forced on them.

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 09:51:26 UTC | #597974

Go to: If you're not religious, tell the census so

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by mixmastergaz

The BHA are as bad as that little creep Dawkins kicking Christianity because it won't bite back, but leaving Islam well alone out of self-admitted cowardice

I must have missed Richard's confession of cowardice too!

Either that or this is just another liar for Jesus.

Mon, 28 Feb 2011 16:44:13 UTC | #597246

Go to: "Walking Cactus" called missing link for insects

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by mixmastergaz

But surely this means there are now twice as many gaps!

Just kidding.

Thu, 24 Feb 2011 09:06:43 UTC | #595292

Go to: Beddington goes to war against bad science

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by mixmastergaz

Hear! Hear!

James Fucking Dellingpole (yes, it is an unusual surname) you're next sonny!

Wed, 23 Feb 2011 16:32:04 UTC | #595009

Go to: Make anti-Catholicism as unacceptable as drink driving, says Peter Kearney

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by mixmastergaz

I'm no fan of Rupert Murdoch (actually I can't stand him), but recently when he said something to the effect that if people don't just want ill-informed journalism by ranting bloggers then we're going to have to pay for our newspapers. So not everything he says is necessarily wrong just because he says it.

Apart from seeing Richard's complaints against Peter Kearney, I know nothing else about him. However, I do know from personal experience that there really is a problem of anti-Catholic prejudice and discrimination in Scotland, which is something I've never experienced south of Hadrian's Wall.

Alright, so most here don't much care for Peter Kearney for reasons that are largely unrelated to the remarks reported here. But it's not inconceivable that he may have a point or two in there somewhere. The following is from just one of Wikipedia's 14 pages on anti-Catholicism in Scotland.

In 2004 and 2005, sectarian incidents reported to police in Scotland increased by 50% to 440 over 18 months. Scottish Government statistics showed that 64% of the 726 cases in the period were motivated by hatred against Catholics, and by hatred against Protestants in most of the remaining cases (31%).

Just because he was wrong about the forwarded email it doesn't necessarily follow that he's wrong about the mistreatment of ordinary Catholics in Scotland.

Just saying.

Mon, 21 Feb 2011 16:11:26 UTC | #594031

Go to: UPDATED: British GCSE exam: evolution FAIL

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by mixmastergaz

...Forgot to add...

I took all three available science GCSEs (biology, chemistry and physics), oh about 20 years ago. There was definitely no woo-woo of this sort then. When did it change I wonder, and what was the 'thinking' behind it?

Tue, 15 Feb 2011 16:32:57 UTC | #592137

Go to: UPDATED: British GCSE exam: evolution FAIL

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by mixmastergaz

Fuck me, I wouldn't have expected that here in dear old Blighty!

I can understand talking about creationism and intelligent design in religious studies lessons...

...but these 'ideas' have no place in a science examination.

Do please post the address for complaints Richard. I'll certainly write and complain.

Tue, 15 Feb 2011 16:29:41 UTC | #592135

Go to: Bible Writers Intended to Deceive

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 66 by mixmastergaz

So basically Christianity caused the Holocaust.

That's (probably) over-stating it, but it was a significant factor certainly. My guess is that this goes some way towards explaining the frequent attempts by Christians to lay the blame at the door of atheists ("Hitler was an atheist" etc.)

I've read a little Ehrman and would recommend him to others here if you're interested in this sort of thing.

This article is old news to me as a theology graduate and, unlike Ehrman, it was learning about things like this that caused me to lose my faith. What I couldn't understand when I was a student (and still don't get) is how on earth most of my lecturers and fellow undergraduates managed to remain within the fold. Many of them privately admitted that they didn't believe in the contradictory birth narratives for example, but would publically profess belief. No one ever says at midnight mass "of course, this is just a myth - we've combined two contradictory accounts by different authors who weren't present when the supposed events they describe are said to have occurred." No one seemed in the least bit alarmed by the fact that the final chapters of Mark and John (containing the ressurection accounts) were clearly added later by different authors. The fact that the Gospels of 'Matthew' and 'Mark' don't actually claim anywhere in their texts that these were the names of their authors (and we only have a later emergent tradition's word for it) causes little or no pause for thought, when it really ought to.

Ehrman was one of the contributors to the following documentary on the 'Lost Gospels' (which of course, paint entirely different pictures of Jesus all over again). Don't be put off by the fact that the presenter is an Anglican clergyman. His conclusion is a treat, and reveals him to be more of a 'Sea of faith' type.

Thu, 10 Feb 2011 09:09:02 UTC | #590352

Go to: Richard Dawkins, the Protestant atheist

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 175 by mixmastergaz

It didn't make any sense to me either. And I'm a theology graduate and a former Catholic to boot (and boot very hard indeed some might say).

I had to read an awful lot of guff like this whilst an undergrad. On the bright side it helped me to see the emperor's balls.

However, theologians of a certain bent will be calling this a victory.

"You see - they think they're so clever yet they can't understand our obfuscation. They're only atheists because they don't understand."

Whether or not believers understand it is irrelevant. As long as they can be assured that some clever chap knows where those no-good atheists are going wrong, it hardly matters if they personally cannot refute our arguments. They'll have faith that this fraud knows what he's talking about, even if they don't. Of course, Jackson doesn't know what he means either.

If the postmodern essay generator was subjected to a Catholic hostile take-over, it would sound an awful lot like this.

Wed, 09 Feb 2011 16:00:48 UTC | #590064

Go to: Free schools 'divisive' says Manchester anti-extremism tsar

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by mixmastergaz

We all need educating about how to think

I agree, if you're advocating the teaching of critical thinking. However, I have a problem with this bit:-

Religion, as collective identity, needs throwing out as a de facto inclusion but treated as 'ways' some humans think about the world - which essentially ought to be taught as the subject matter of present day equivalents to historical myth prior to scientific enlightenment

Don't get me wrong - I agree with this as an assessment of religion in general, but this strikes me more as an example of educating about what to think, not how to think. I'm no more happy with a teacher endorsing atheism than I am with a teacher endorsing, say Christianity.

I agree with the sentiment behind the first post. Teachers shouldn't abuse their positions by trying to steer their students' thinking on questions of politics, religion etc. Depending upon the subject specialism, this could become none-too-subtle indoctrination very easily, and all too often does already. I see the free-school proposals as making an already far-from-ideal situation worse.

I'm glad at least one prominent UK Muslim agrees with me, as does this enlightened rabbi:-

Mon, 07 Feb 2011 16:19:25 UTC | #588961

Go to: Sir Paul Nurse and BBC TV's Horizon programme

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by mixmastergaz

Personally, I find this fudge of data foolish considering how important this subject is, and how under scrutiny the data is, as the entire subject has developed into a political football.

It wasn't a data fudge!

If this was so heavily scrutinised why did it take ten years after the publication of one simplified chart for a non-specialist audience, and the hacking of private emails to bring it to light?

No one questioned the graph at the time.

The sceptics went phishing for a badly-worded email to exploit. This wasn't a case of finding fault with the science, but rather the manner in which one scientist expressed himself in a private email ten years ago.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 16:48:14 UTC | #584440

Go to: The All Pervasive Toxic Atmosphere of Religious Intolerance and Bigotry Experienced by John Lennon

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by mixmastergaz

I've no idea how it happened, but the scousers I live and work with seem to me to be a pretty secular bunch.

Don't get me wrong - they're not outspoken atheists. Mainly, people just show little or no interest in religion (unless you think of football as a religion - in which case this is the holy land and I'm the village atheist).

My partner teaches in a "Catholic" school. She tells me that few of the students practise their parents' faith (few of the parents, or the other staff at the school for that matter).

However, we do have not one but two cathedrals here, and most people self-identify as Catholic or Protestant (and then quickly add something like "but I'm not religious" - go figure).

Older colleagues tell me that it wasn't always like this, and religious colleagues yearn for a time when religious observance was more commonplace. We do still have Orange marches and the like, but most people one speaks with regard them as nutters, or "plastic Irish" (i.e. they have a rose-tinted view of Ireland because their parents, or more probably their grand-parents came to Liverpool from Ireland). I think the so-called 'plastic Irish' may account for some of the religious bigotry the article claims in years gone by, but I get the feeling that this has been exaggerated by the article's author.

Hungarian Elephant asked how we got from there to here - but I'm not sure Liverpool was ever there.

I said that most scousers will self-identify as Catholic or Protestant. But the first thing they'll say is "I'm a scouser", and it's clearly much more important to them than religion.

Thu, 25 Nov 2010 17:05:11 UTC | #553117

Go to: Bang Goes The Theory: Richard Dawkins on Eye Evolution

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 81 by mixmastergaz

Fantastic to think that this was shown on a kids' TV programme.

It was just Grange Hill and Crackerjack in my day.

Fri, 01 Oct 2010 14:19:44 UTC | #527653

Go to: Francis Collins prays for Hitchens

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by mixmastergaz

What is the best atheist equivalent of "I'm praying for you"?

I'm thinking about you too.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 12:10:17 UTC | #525608

Go to: A dirty little girl, her head hanging in shame

mixmastergaz's Avatar Jump to comment 44 by mixmastergaz

A wonderful article Miranda.

As a recovering Catholic myself, lots of this was eerily familiar.

Thank you for writing this and thanks to Richard for making it available for us to read.

How unsurprising that our resident Catholic apologist and troll hasn't commented. Too busy complaining about a swear words I see. Obviously that's the more pressing issue...

Mon, 20 Sep 2010 12:42:49 UTC | #521867