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Comments by Morro

Go to: Richard Dawkins on The Big Debate

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Morro

MAN! When Dawkins kept asking over and over "what is the penalty for apostasy? What do you teach the children will happen if they leave the Muslim faith?" and the guy repeatedly would NOT answer... wow. I'm ususally not the biggest fan of Dawkins in these sorts of debates because I think his voice and delivery come off a little poorly when he gets riled, but this is one case where he just OWNED. That was just a slaughter.

Tue, 29 Jan 2008 15:39:00 UTC | #112202

Go to: Eugenie Scott on Intelligent Design and Young Earth Creationism

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Morro

Eugenie is the sexiest woman alive!

Sat, 27 Oct 2007 19:39:00 UTC | #79014

Go to: Christopher Hitchens at AAI 07

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by Morro

Wow. Is this the speech that PZ was referring to when he said that Hitchens argued for genocide?

Man. I always knew that bits of PZ's brain flew out his ear when politics was the topic of discussion but I had no idea that what a large fraction it was.

[edit] - Ah, that explains it, then. Thanks for the correction. Still, I have a hard time believing PZ's account of the speech. Is there a recording of that one that I can check out for myself?

Fri, 19 Oct 2007 20:34:00 UTC | #76362

Go to: Rational Atheism

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Morro

The word "militant" has to be the single most misused word in this entire debate. I would like someone to show one (just ONE) thing about the atheist movement that has been even remotely approaching militant. Is "outspoken" militant?

Also, I'd like to see where all this breaking of the Golden Rule is really going on - I've not seen it. Even Christopher Hitchens, characterized as the "meanie of atheism" is really only stating "your ideas are stupid." That is the golden rule in action - we state our opinion of their views, and I've yet to see an atheist who attempted to deny a theist their right to do the same. The say that the wording of the indictment is too strong is simply to coddle the opposition. That's not the golden rule, that's simply poor tactical decision making, not to mention dishonest.

I think there ARE a few atheists out there who are jerks, and I tell them so FAR more readily than I tell theists they are jerks, becuase theists don't reflect poorly on me. However, none of those people are among those atheists who get media attention. The five or six atheists who get quoted and interviewed and best-sellered are uniformly reasonable. I'm just not sure when "reasonable" became confused with "respectful." Not all ideas are worthy of respect, and it's not militant to put that truism into action.

Tue, 21 Aug 2007 22:14:00 UTC | #61443

Go to: These preachers of hate must be exposed

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Morro

but it also proves how right we were to suspect that the weight of the law might one day, in a climate where the mildest criticism of religion prompts hysterical over-reactions, be employed to transform culprits into victims.

FANTASTIC! Joan Smith, eh? Time to fire off an encouraging email.

Tue, 14 Aug 2007 00:38:00 UTC | #60033

Go to: Christopher Hitchens and David Allen White discuss the impact of Christianity on Western Civilization

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Morro

Great talk. Hitchens is on the ball, and the other guy is well spoken, if a little inchoherent.

Sun, 12 Aug 2007 22:26:00 UTC | #59713

Go to: Interview with Michael Behe

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Morro

Behe has all the understanding of evolutionary theory found in someone who has not yet completed Biology 101.

Literally. I TA Bio 101, and I see people come in with his views, and leave with them dispelled. I'm not sure how he got his PhD, but I know it wasn't by talking about this crap.

Sat, 04 Aug 2007 00:41:00 UTC | #57911

Go to: The Out Campaign

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Morro

I still don't like the parallel with homosexuality, but at least Richard addresse the issue. Thanks, Richard!

My problem with the parallel is that it seems to compare a state of being (straight/gay) with a set of beliefs (theist/atheist.) There are completely different rules as to how each may be treated, and should be treated. A state of being, whether it be gender, race, sexuality, etc. is not a choice. A world-view is. It's an opinion, albeit a fairly all-encompassing one.

I feel like the parallel is a reach for special respect that atheism, being a philosophy rather than a trait, just shouldn't be asking for. Just as the religious should not be able to claim that their views are equal to a race, neither should we be able to claim that our views are equal to a sexual orientation.

Mon, 30 Jul 2007 15:20:00 UTC | #56563

Go to: OUT Campaign Launched, 'Scarlet Letter' Shirts Now Available!

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 71 by Morro

Oh no! Tak about cringeworthy! I wouldn't wear an Atheist t-shirt anymore than I would wear a t-shirt saying that I was a Social Democrat!

Exactly. Well, I'm a Libertarian, but I'm with you in essence. :p

Sat, 28 Jul 2007 19:34:00 UTC | #56126

Go to: OUT Campaign Launched, 'Scarlet Letter' Shirts Now Available!

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 59 by Morro

Indeed. This just happens to be a silly prong. As I said, there is an air of petulance and childishness to this.

It's not that atheists should hide their beliefs, it's that it is obnoxious to wear your beliefs like a billboard. Yes, the religious do it. That's a good reason to take up the practice? We will not get anywhere good, parroting the practices of fools.

Sat, 28 Jul 2007 18:34:00 UTC | #56108

Go to: OUT Campaign Launched, 'Scarlet Letter' Shirts Now Available!

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by Morro

Some people seem incapable of handling even that minimal amount of self-expression, though.

Self-expression is being eloquent and firm in conversation. Only angry teens think expression is a fashion accessory. Go wear more eye-liner, hippie!

PS: Love your blog, PZ. =P

Sat, 28 Jul 2007 18:21:00 UTC | #56102

Go to: OUT Campaign Launched, 'Scarlet Letter' Shirts Now Available!

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 45 by Morro

I don't see anything wrong with the t-shirts.
They look nice, and I can't imagine atheists
using them the way religious groups use veils or
turbans. That would actually be quite bizzare
and unrealistic, wouldn't it?

Absolutely. Your Monty Python vision is amusing. :) My problem with the shirts is that they are another example of the annoying "F you, I'm an atheist" trend I see becoming stronger. I think there's an element of petulant aggression in these sorts of things, whether they say "Christ 4 life" or just have a big "A."

Sports teams are different, because that's all in good fun (usually.) People tend to take their overall worldview more seriously (usually.) ;)

Sat, 28 Jul 2007 17:40:00 UTC | #56093

Go to: OUT Campaign Launched, 'Scarlet Letter' Shirts Now Available!

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by Morro

Uh... I think the shirts are a bad idea, but what's with the upset over the union jack for English? Where did English come from? England. You may live in America, but you're speaking a British language. Get over it. This is like getting upset that French is represented by a French flag, and not a Haitian flag. Yes, they speak French in Haiti... but who cares? French is from France, and English is from England.

Can we stay on topic, rather than sniping about web design?

Sat, 28 Jul 2007 17:31:00 UTC | #56090

Go to: OUT Campaign Launched, 'Scarlet Letter' Shirts Now Available!

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Morro

This seems like a bit much, really. I'd feel kind of ridiculous as a heterosexual white male adopting the social break-in philosophy of persecuted minorities.

Well said. I might consider buying one, if it weren't so very, very "in your face."

I am afraid that atheists are on the verge of becoming petulant whiners. Stuff like this doesn't help. I find it annoying when people walk around in shirts saying "Jesus saves!" This is just as obnoxious. And the paralleling with the gay "come out" movement? Tacky.

Sat, 28 Jul 2007 14:05:00 UTC | #56054

Go to: Interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by Morro

Condemning BOTH counter-productive western policies AND Islam is not giving Islam safe haven.

It is when you condemn them both equally. To say that Islam is NO WORSE than Christianity, as it exists in the world today, is to downplay Islam's dangerous status. That is giving it safe haven, if only partially.

While I know few people would actually argue that Islam is exactly as dangerous as Christianity, in the current climate, that is essentially what you are doing when you demand that any criticism of Islam be ammended with a footnote about how bad Christianity is, as well. She can criticize Islam and nothing but Islam, and still have nothing but disdain for Christianity. They're utterly unrelated. By constantly bringing up the subject of other religions, and forcing her to constantly state the obvious truism that Islam is more dangerous than the other religions that get raised as examples, you are creating the illusion that she is pro-these religion, and EXCLUSIVELY anti-Islam. This is not the case.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali makes no bones about the fact that she is a one-issue politician. She says as much in her book, a number of times. She just happens to think that it's a very important issue.

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 19:28:00 UTC | #53758

Go to: Interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Morro

What Ayaan does, which is so offensive to many of the bleeding-heart liberals, is two-fold:
1) She is not afraid to point out that religions are not equally good/bad.
2) She draws a distinction between the hypothetical religion, and the actual religion, as it truly exists.

For instance, take her comments about Christians. She is not saying that the Old Testament is all that "better" than the Quran. She's saying that Christians today show far LESS obedience to their psychopathic book, than do Muslims to theirs. Nobody is arguing that there are evil passages in the Bible, but those passages are largely ignored; the evil passages in the Quran have become the basis for a system of government.

Ayaan is a realist, in the sense that she will point out the obvious truth of the matter, rather than make excuses in the name of being politically correct. To say that Islam is not compatable with liberal democracy is not Islamo-phobic, it's realistic.

As to the word Islamophobia, it's impossible. As has been pointed out, anti-semitism is not a hatred of religious Jews, it's a hatred of the Jewish RACE. You can not be classified a bigot for hating someone's views and beliefs, only for what they ARE. If they have the ability to change it, you have to right to dislike it.

By the "Islamophobia" logic, I'm a Scientologophobe!

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 14:22:00 UTC | #53715

Go to: Interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Morro

Why can't all Abrahamic faiths be condemned for the violence, misogyny, and bronze age thinking? What Christianity and Judaism lack in barbaric ideology, they make up for with indiscrimate firepower that kills thousands. What Islam lacks in military force, it makes up for with particularly unenlightened doctrines. In terms of actual impact, you can't just single out one and blame everything on them.

I don't think she's ever said that there's nothing wrong with the other religions - she is an atheist, after all. But there's nothing wrong with saying that one is by far worse than the others.

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 11:25:00 UTC | #53671

Go to: Interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Morro

Ayaan absolutely destroyed that fool. Avi really did come off like an total incompetent.

I love Ayaan. She gets flak for being "right wing," though I've yet to find a definition of right-wing that includes black atheist pro-gay femenists. The fact is that she is part of the center - she avoids the idiocy of both sides.

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 11:16:00 UTC | #53666

Go to: Fears Grow Over 'Mega Mosque'

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Morro

Don't justify government oppression by pointing out that your enemy does it too. We are BETTER than them, specifically because we have more freedom than they do.

As a libertarian, I simply can't support government intervention into a privately funded institution. If they do something wrong, nail them to the wall. Have the citizens protest its building. But an actual government injunction is a separate matter.

Mon, 16 Jul 2007 18:13:00 UTC | #53503

Go to: LA Church 'agrees abuse pay deal'

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Morro

Not to defend the Church that was complicit in child rape, but I do have to wonder what percentage of that 500 were actually abused. There's almost no chance it was all of them. I'll guess 50%. Some are gold diggers, far more probably constructed the memory with the guidance of an alternative therapist.

Beyond that, I agree with Exegesis_saves.

Sun, 15 Jul 2007 21:34:00 UTC | #53313

Go to: Police plea on genital mutilation

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 34 by Morro

All three of your examples are of MISTAKES, though. A "successful" male circumcision is not anywhere near as extreme as a "successful" female circumsisions.

Thu, 12 Jul 2007 15:35:00 UTC | #52720

Go to: Police plea on genital mutilation

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by Morro

Female genital excission is as follows:
The clitoris and inner labia are cut or carved, (occasionally scraped) away, and twine (consecrated holy twine!) is used to stitch the outer labia together. A small hole is bored just off to the side, to allow the flow of urine and blood, both from periods and from bleeding due to the excission. The girl is then bound at the legs for a period up to two weeks, in order to facilitate healing of the abominable wound that they've created. The upshot of this is that the vagina forms a mass of scar tissue that makes intercourse literally impossible, outside of extreme physical trauma, usually caused by either a knife, or extended periods of rough thrusting on the wedding night.

So yes. While male circumcision is an obscene religious blood sacrifice, it's nowhere NEAR on the level of female "circumcision."

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 16:40:00 UTC | #52483

Go to: Police plea on genital mutilation

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Morro

Mutilation involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for cultural reasons.

Cultural reasons? Cultural reasons? God damn the liberal media! It's not the culture that encourages it, it's the RELIGION that encourages it. But of course, you'd need half an ounce of balls in order to say that in a leftist publication, and we all know how likely we are to find that. Ugh. Cultural reasons!

We get no mention of harsh anti-female rhetoric in the Quran, but a paragraph dedicated to some Muslim scholar claiming that Islam is not the reason for this atrocity. Ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali whether Islam encourages genital excission.

Wed, 11 Jul 2007 13:53:00 UTC | #52440

Go to: Charles Darwin - Legacy

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Morro

A well done piece. How old is this? Dawkins looks younger.

Tue, 10 Jul 2007 23:11:00 UTC | #52256

Go to: Scientists Urge a Search for Life Not as We Know It

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Morro

why would it need base pairs in order to maintain heredity?

You wouldn't. But, and maybe I just lack imagination, but I think you would need some sort of complementary pairing system, wherein the "code" is matched with a second string. This second string is a different but equal expression: If A always pairs with T (and it does,) then A and T become functionally identical when it comes to replicating DNA.

Again, maybe I lack imagination. But some sort of redundancy seems to be necessary, and I can't think of another way that could come about via the non-evolutionary chemistry that would give rise to the first hereditary unit.

Sun, 08 Jul 2007 11:22:00 UTC | #51551

Go to: Scientists Urge a Search for Life Not as We Know It

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Morro

Well, any theoretical hereditary unit would probably mirror DNA in a few key ways - complementary base pairing, most obviously. The physical structure of it would almost certainly be different, but it would be functionally similar due to the necessity of duplicating the hereditary information.

Not to be a party pooper, but aren't there more important issues? I mean, finding ET life would be huge, but given the chances of it actually happening... there are better uses of the time and money, right now.

Sat, 07 Jul 2007 11:13:00 UTC | #51371

Go to: Inferior Design: Richard Dawkins reviews Behe's lastest book

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 92 by Morro

Oop! Looks like we've either got a theist horrible at hiding it, or an atheist horrible at hiding his existentialist nonsense. Either way, annoying.

Thu, 05 Jul 2007 00:30:00 UTC | #50919

Go to: Intelligent Design and Creationism/Evolution Controversy

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Morro

I love Eugenie. She's got a soothing voice, and a great mind. A fantastic voice for evolutionary science.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 08:15:00 UTC | #50837

Go to: Inferior Design: Richard Dawkins reviews Behe's lastest book

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 84 by Morro

Oh my word! That has to be one of the most savage eviscerations in recent memory. Well done, Mr. Rottweiler, sir! Actually, what's nastier than a rottweiler? Bulldog is taken. Maybe hellhound? Or is that too cute? :p

Tue, 03 Jul 2007 16:14:00 UTC | #50771

Go to: Hitchens vs. Hitchens

Morro's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Morro

Man, one of these days it's going to come out that Hitchens has some crazy sort of cancer, or something, and we're all going to feel really bad for making fun of how he looks. =P

I personally think Hitchens is the best of the four atheists currently out there. As far as supporting his views in real-time debate, and in making the most convincing argument in his book, Hitchens leads the pack. Above and beyond his atheism, he's still just an amazing writer. Read his Letters to a Young Contrarian to be impressed.

I really think that atheism does not need more scientists. It already has more than enough of those. Atheism needs people who don't have a discreet separation from society, people who have real-world experience with religion around the world, people who don't seem to have emerged from some logical think-tank, but who seem like actual human beings.

That's my biggest problem with Sam Harris. He's a great thinker, but he is SO logical, so unemotional, that he comes off like a robot.

Thu, 21 Jun 2007 20:26:00 UTC | #48160