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Comments by RascoHeldall

Go to: Rare Protozoan from Sludge in Norwegian Lake Does Not Fit On Main Branches of Tree of Life

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by RascoHeldall

It's a shame because the creature seems interesting in its own right, despite the ludicrous hyperbole. Are borderline-false press releases are now the standard way of promoting one's research?

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 13:45:12 UTC | #937969

Go to: In Defense of Dawkins’s Reason Rally Speech

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by RascoHeldall

Wierd, isn't it, how so often the religious are embarrassed by the tenets of their own belief system? In their evasive failure to answer such a fair question, they demonstrate that they clearly know it's a pile of rubbish. They know that to admit to believing in the eucharist would make them look pathetic and gullible, but on the other hand, such an admission would indicate that they aren't as convinced by Catholicism as they feel it necessary to maintain. This is where Dennett has it spot on: these peoe are simply maintaining a charade, pretending to believe because they feel they have to, while knowing full well those beliefs are crazy and indefensible.

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 15:52:08 UTC | #931923

Go to: In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 285 by RascoHeldall

Brilliant, brilliant man.

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 16:09:23 UTC | #899861

Go to: Translations of my books

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by RascoHeldall

Richard wrote: think of the English words 'maid' and 'maiden' Spanish: pensemos en las palabras inglesas 'criada' y 'doncella' What it means: think of the English words 'criada' and 'doncella'

Oh come on, that's just pathetic!

Did they just run it through Google Translate or what??!

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 05:17:25 UTC | #886312

Go to: Palestinian arrested for insulting Islam on Facebook

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 40 by RascoHeldall

Can we not set up a petition for this dude?

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 05:09:07 UTC | #886310

Go to: Britain must be a country where people can be proud of their religion

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by RascoHeldall

Greater pride in their religious belief is just what British people need. After all, we only need to look across the pond to our neighbours in the U.S. to see how much benefit their greater religiosity brings to society - especially if you are a woman, a homosexual or an atheist!

Fri, 28 Oct 2011 16:09:36 UTC | #884983

Go to: Richard Dawkins Event Banned by Michigan Country Club

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by RascoHeldall

The guy is standing by his principles in defiance of the law of the land. There is a small part of me that has to admire that. (The larger part of me thinks he is a cowardly, foolish moron, in case you were worried.)

Tue, 11 Oct 2011 11:37:00 UTC | #879756

Go to: The Rapture aside, America's evangelical Christians deserve a little respect

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 151 by RascoHeldall

How can you be contemptuous of people for being stupid? That is as callous and despicable as being contemptuous of people for being disabled (which, in a sense, is what these people are).

Mon, 23 May 2011 14:56:42 UTC | #629892

Go to: The Rapture aside, America's evangelical Christians deserve a little respect

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 99 by RascoHeldall


I would argue these people deserve a LITTLE respect, not least because they have the misfortune to be unintelligent and gullible, in a society which encourages – nay, vaunts – such qualities. What hope did they ever have?

A low-IQ rating is not in and of itself a contemptuous thing. Although I do find the fact YOU find it so, as someone with a clearly very high IQ, to be a little contemptuous.

We should never stop highlighting and criticising this nonsense, but please, cut people SOME slack.

Mon, 23 May 2011 00:52:19 UTC | #629690

Go to: Pope's Holyroodhouse Speech Transcript

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 94 by RascoHeldall

A few choice quotes from wikipedia:

Hitler often associated atheism with Germany's communist enemy.[52] Hitler stated in a speech to the Stuttgart February 15, 1933: "Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and not international atheists are now standing at Germany’s fore. I am not merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity. Fourteen years they have gone arm in arm with atheism. At no time was greater damage ever done to Christianity than in those years when the Christian parties ruled side by side with those who denied the very existence of God. Germany's entire cultural life was shattered and contaminated in this period. It shall be our task to burn out these manifestations of degeneracy in literature, theater, schools, and the press—that is, in our entire culture—and to eliminate the poison which has been permeating every facet of our lives for these past fourteen years."[53]

In a speech delivered in Berlin, October 24, 1933, Hitler stated: "We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out."[54]

Thu, 16 Sep 2010 15:50:14 UTC | #519081

Go to: Dawkins books - where to start?

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by RascoHeldall

Richard - I am a great fan of The Extended Phenotype as it is so beguilingly complex and yet still accessible to the patient lay reader. Is there any chance you could write another book of similar complexity? Similarly, are there any other books pitched at a similar level you might recommend?

Many thanks,


Wed, 15 Sep 2010 13:32:18 UTC | #518316

Go to: An Update from Christopher Hitchens

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 59 by RascoHeldall

All the best Hitch.

Thu, 01 Jul 2010 11:12:38 UTC | #485421

Go to: Another child killed by religion

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 57 by RascoHeldall

What about the other 9 surviving kids? Are they now going to be taken into care, or is the state willing to jeopardise their lives as well?

Or does the right to asinine religious beliefs supercede everything else, including the rights of innocent children to survive treatable illnesses?

Mon, 11 May 2009 00:51:00 UTC | #358259

Go to: Saudi judge refuses to annul 8-year-old's marriage

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 113 by RascoHeldall

There were, I trust, worldwide howls of protest from the Islamic community about this decision? How many thousands of pious Muslim folk have displayed their righteous anger at this grave insult to their beliefs and culture?

Or did they all stay at home?

Tue, 14 Apr 2009 01:22:00 UTC | #347619

Go to: Don't Say a Word

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 127 by RascoHeldall

Guys, I need your help.

I am so troubled by this that I would be prepared to give up my current career to stop it happening. My job is quite intensive and takes a lot out of me, and I wouldn't have enough energy to focus on this in my spare time to the extent that I feel I need to. So ideally I'd like to campaign against this in some sort of professional capacity.

The only problem is I have no idea where to start – any ideas?

Tue, 03 Mar 2009 11:02:00 UTC | #332507

Go to: Conversation between Richard Dawkins and Bishop Harries

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 103 by RascoHeldall


You are Hitchens in disguise right' Because nobody else could inflict the kind of damage to Islam that you're doing right now .

The damage is all self-inflicted, friend. Take off the blinkers, swallow a bit of pride, and you will see this to be self-evidently true.

Fri, 20 Feb 2009 12:47:00 UTC | #328199

Go to: Why should I respect these oppressive religions?

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 179 by RascoHeldall

Final proof, if it be needed, that terrorism works. Flying planes into buildings, stabbing film directors, gunning down nuns – it all sows the seeds in people’s minds, and this is the result.

I personally feel uncomfortable pointing out that Islam is a barbarous and idiotic doctrine, but not because I am afraid of hurting people’s feelings or causing “offence”. It’s because I’m afraid of having my throat slit. It’s all very well saying that it’s only an extremist minority doing this sort of stuff – of course it is – but how many Muslims do you see protesting about the actions of those acting in the name of their faith? How many so-called moderates, for example, sided with Salman Rushdie when the fatwa was issued? (Bearing in mind that the f*ckers that issued it did so because Rushdie SAID SOMETHING THEY DIDN’T LIKE.)

The latest Pat Condell offering on YouTube discusses the distrastous new law in Holland, which effectively bars Islam (or anything related to it, such as the activity of wife-beating barbarians) from scrutiny. To think I was planning to move to that country in a couple of years’ time! I’m sorry, but I’m not going to so much as set foot in a country where my OPINIONS constitute a criminal offence.

The West is caving into Muslim theocracy not out of respect, but out of fear. The very same fear that is already making life miserable for anyone born into the Muslim faith who isn’t a straight, freethinking male. (And has done for hundreds of years.)

We MUST start changing attitudes across the board. Coz if we don’t, if we keep appeasing this despicable violence and stupidity, there will be an all-out war. Most Muslims, I suspect (certainly the many I know and have met) are fundamentally good people. But they MUST accept that a civilised society is founded on debate and disagreement. Their beliefs cannot, should not and will not be ringfenced from criticism, and if they persist in insisting that they must be, they must understand that they are behaving like uncivilised barbarians in doing so.

Wed, 28 Jan 2009 13:55:00 UTC | #313657

Go to: New Bus Campaign

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 1235 by RascoHeldall

"The Bible is bollocks, the Koran is cack, throw these books away and read some science, you ignorant fuckwits"

Fri, 16 Jan 2009 00:52:00 UTC | #306511

Go to: Vatican divorces from Italian law

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 47 by RascoHeldall

The Vatican digs its heels ever further in its quest to stop the march of civilisation.

Hopefully this will at least have the neat side-effect of hastening its descent into utter irrelevance.

Fri, 02 Jan 2009 12:43:00 UTC | #296128

Go to: Religious Ed. rebellion

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by RascoHeldall

"Oh no! If my brainwashed children learn that there are other mythology-based belief-systems, they'll suss our one isn't true!"

As a blatant a subconcious recognition of the falsehood of their own faith as you could possibly wish for.

Sun, 21 Dec 2008 04:06:00 UTC | #290076

Go to: 'Child-witches' of Nigeria seek refuge

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by RascoHeldall

This is a perfect example of why the question mark in Dawkins’ ‘The Root of all evil’ documentary should be omitted.

But it's not the route of ALL evil, is it - that was Richard's point.

If anything, this latest horror to me demonstrates that IGNORANCE is a better candidate - every individual's religious belief is mediated through their level of ignorance, so if they know nothing, their beliefs are free to run in any screwed-up direction. British Christians, save for an insane minority, don't think like this sick Nigerian representative of their cowardice (sorry, 'faith').

A programme of education throughout these ignorant cultures would surely wipe this evil out in a generation.

Tue, 11 Nov 2008 05:30:00 UTC | #268213

Go to: Quentin Letts ranks Dawkins 30th on list of 'people who have wrecked Britain'

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by RascoHeldall

I don't for one second propose to treat this Mr Letts character seriously. All I will say is that this peice does demonstrate how some people (including, apparently, the author) have certain needs that can only be met if plain speakers like Dawkins are suppressed. Theists are, after all, on the losing end of a difficult and emotive argument.

This does in the very least suggest that a certain sympathy with their plight wouldn't go amiss.

Tue, 04 Nov 2008 22:42:00 UTC | #264895


RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 289 by RascoHeldall

Thank you America.

Tue, 04 Nov 2008 20:15:00 UTC | #264764

Go to: For many evangelicals, it will be the end of the world if Obama wins

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 569 by RascoHeldall

I have read two reports that Republican canvassers were handing out leaflets in Virginia, saying that Republicans had to vote on Nov 4th, Democrats on Nov 5th! I wonder if anybody will fall for it.

If this is true then surely it is an out-and-out criminal offence? I would have thought it was worthy of a prison sentence.

Tue, 04 Nov 2008 10:52:00 UTC | #264335

Go to: Bill Heine interviews Richard Dawkins

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 114 by RascoHeldall

Steve Zara wrote:

Discoveries of scientific facts don't inform ethical decisions. Scientific findings don't have moral weight.

To imply that because Natural Selection involves survival of the fittest means that we should select humans based on our idea of who is fittest is absurd.


Can't you read?!?

What part of "the example of Hitler should be used to remind us that we ARE vulnerable to the brutal forces of nature and that the relative panacea we currently live in (in the West) should not be taken for granted" did you fail to understand? If you SERIOUSLY took this to mean that "because Natural Selection involves survival of the fittest means that we should select humans based on our idea of who is fittest" then I simply feel sorry for you.

I was attacking the idea that "survival of the fittest" - a fact of nature - was not a Nazi propoganda theme, when it so obviously was (however badly misunderstood and mangled). If you read what I wrote in any other way, then either you don't understand the English language, or my grasp of it was insufficient to convey what I meant. Looking back over my last post, I find it hard to believe the latter is true.

This is a really dumb argument that is easily dismissed.


Lots of ways I could say in reply to that, none of which would be flattering. Or, to take your tack, I could pretend you wrote "the moon is made of cheese" and reply to that instead? (It isn't, by the way.)

Lol mahmood wrote:
Rasco, that kind of misses the point that; even if the Nazis did reference Darwin (and I understand there's little evidence of Darwinism in National Socialism), they weren't acting according to any 'natural selection' or 'evolutionary' principle. They were engaged in a giant eugenics programme, coupled with a genocide.

Well, that wasn't quite what I was driving at, but thanks for at least paying me the courtesy of reading my post. My point was simply that the notion of "survival of the fittest" does fit into the Nazi ethos (i.e. the concept of the Arian race surviving at the expense of the Jewish, or whatever twisted drivel it was), and so to refer to such a grotesque policy as Darwinian is not INACCURATE, regardless of how objectionable or moronic such a policy was. (Unless human activity - even activity which actively affects the relative frequencies of genes in gene pools - is somehow not to be regarded as a part of Darwinian evolution.)

Tue, 21 Oct 2008 13:31:00 UTC | #254625

Go to: Bill Heine interviews Richard Dawkins

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 108 by RascoHeldall

I don't understand why so many atheists feel the need to hysterically deny that Nazi nastiness was informed (at least in part) by Darwin's discovery of the mechanism behind evolution. To suggest Hitler's invocation of evolution MUST have been erroneous BECAUSE IT WAS HITLER is facile and emotive. Note, and wince at, the similarity with the creationists' even stupider position: Hitler had an interest in evolution so evolution MUST be erroneous BECAUSE IT WAS HITLER.
Nature doesn't care a fig for right or wrong and at a fundamental level, evolution is indeed about "survival of the fittest". If the Nazis had managed to subjugate the entirety of humanity to their vulgar vision, then in some respects Hitler's insane desire to demonstrate "survival of the fittest" would have been borne out. After all, humans are an evolving species like any other, and such a catastrophe would clearly have been evolutionarily significant.
Hitler therefore wasn't 'wrong' on this point, in a broad sense, just grotesquely in violation of the moral code that most of us agree upon. If anything, the example of Hitler should be used to remind us that we ARE vulnerable to the brutal forces of nature and that the relative panacea we currently live in (in the West) should not be taken for granted.
Where creationists use Hitler as an argument against the fact of evolution, then, we have only to make the point that it is arrant nonsense. Their suggestion that, because Hitler referred to Darwinian ideas in his vile propaganda, the entire scientific theory and supporting evidence should be thrown out, is about as stupid as saying that since Einstein's theory of relativity must be false because it was utilised in the making of the atom bomb.
That's all that needs to be said â€" we don't need to pretend evolution is something it isn't. (If you're feeling particularly pugnacious, you could also make the point that no benign omnipotent creator would ever sanction the existence of such a creature as Hitler, and that Hitler's very existence is direct evidence against the existence of such a being. But I digress.)

Tue, 21 Oct 2008 11:35:00 UTC | #254530

Go to: Video Game Pulled Due to Qur'an Quotes

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by RascoHeldall

One day, the fact that people used to pander to this sort of nonsense will seem like a bad dream.

Or am I just a dreamer?

Sat, 18 Oct 2008 21:20:00 UTC | #252846

Go to: In conversation with... a computer program

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by RascoHeldall

Ok, who managed to last more than a minute with Elbot before swearing at it?

Sat, 18 Oct 2008 21:16:00 UTC | #252844

Go to: 'God as Science Fiction'. Richard Dawkins at the Edinburgh Book Festival

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 60 by RascoHeldall

Spinoza wrote:

Starbucks requires a fairly strict dress code, black or khaki pants, black or white polo shirt, same colour undershirt as your polo, no exposed piercings except ears. Etc.

But they make a point of adding a caveat that says "Unless you've got a piercing or extra jewelery, etc for religious reasons." and they're very clear that the ONLY reason one could, say, have a nose ring, is if it were religiously inspired (I won't say mandated, because most of the time these things aren't strict "mandates", and MANY people who follow these self-same religions DO NOT follow these cultural traditions).
The point for me is - either there's a good reason to have a "no jewellery" code, or there isn't. If there IS a good reason - for example, safety - then by definition people who wear religious jewellery should be expected to abide by it. The same goes for any other code or regulation.

On the other hand, if the reasons for instituting the dress code (or regulation, etc.) are sufficiently feeble and arbitrary that the simple act of citing "religious grounds" is considered a sufficiently compelling excuse to ignore it, it rather suggests the code, and the justification behind it, are not worth the paper they are printed on. It then becomes a simple case of discrimination against those who dare to decorate themselves for reasons other than delusional piety. If Starbucks had a genuinely good reason to ban jewellery, then crucifixes would be as impermissible as heart-shaped lockets or lizard broaches.

Having said that, if the dress code IS there for a good reason, and DESPITE this religious people are still allowed to ignore it, this is where it gets to the point of self-evident absurdity and stupidity. And in these cases, I'd be much more inclined to come down hard on those drawing up/enforcing the rules, rather than the religious people that have been meekly allowed to circumvent the rules in spite of their best interests.

As an example, I don't know how many British Sikhs have died unnecessarily in motorbike accidents by exercising their legal exclusion from the requirement to wear crash helmets, but statistically it seems likely that one or two of them must have done. Now obviously, there is only so much you can do for someone who considers cultural traditions to be more important than the possibility of splitting their head open, but the Government should nevertheless consider itself directly culpable in every instance of such deaths. They are a direct consequence of their feeble, automatic acquiescence to religious idiocy. (Hmmm...Freedom of Information Act, anyone?)

Thu, 02 Oct 2008 13:32:00 UTC | #245502

Go to: Art teacher made student pray to Jesus for forgiveness

RascoHeldall's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by RascoHeldall

This teacher is a child abuser and has surely forfeited his right to employment.

Sat, 20 Sep 2008 15:39:00 UTC | #237771