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Thank you, Vatican, for this week’s strip. And thanks Ophelia for flagging up the story.



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Discussion (77)¬

  1. Innocent Bystander says:

    Thank you, author, for making so starkly clear the similarity of mindset required of these two religions.

  2. machigai says:

    Oh, snap!

  3. Alan Pritchard says:

    Martin Luther will denounce this from his grave – once he stops turning in it.

  4. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    How’s this for irony; it was largely due to indulgencies that some of our finest colleges were built, and it’s in these colleges where people started to realise the truth of religion. If memory serves, the college at Oxford that Dawkins attended was initially funded by indulgence.

  5. That link to The Guardian Story about the Vatican Tweets – that’s really shocked me.
    Normally the RCC would make sure you paid monies for stuff like that.
    Surely another example of the wonderful work that Frankie da Pope is doing, to modernise & simplfy the RCC.
    Next week – Reddit & Pintrest?
    Sweet baby cheeses – They actually fall for this shizzle, don’t they? There has to be a tipping point between a religion expecting it’s followers to be “faithful to the church and it’s teachings” and a religion saying, “We are blatantly exploiting you to such a degree that you now have to blame yourself for being so horrifically gullible that it must be a form of incurable mental retardation”

  6. European says:

    “the Vatican’s sacred apostolic penitentiary” – what do we still need satirists for? (With all due respect to Author…)

  7. Lord Elric says:

    @ Alan Pritchard – Since Martin Luther considered Jesus the “hangman of his soul”, he very well could be spinning in his grave. Alternately, he could be feasting on a “Diet of Worms”…

  8. Hobbes says:

    Lovely! Hey author, I haven’t seen all your toons, but have you done one on the castrati? http://jdstone.org/cr/files/officialchurchpolicycastrati.html

  9. MarkyWarky says:

    @AoS, in reply to “where people started to realise the truth of religion”, surely you mean the truth ABOUT religion? ;)

    @The James Christ Story re “Normally the RCC would make sure you paid monies for stuff like that.”, I assume they’ve worked out how to monetize their twitter account?

    @Hobbes re “Hey author, I haven’t seen all your toons”, why the hell not? what’s wrong with you man; get onto those “First” then “Next” buttons immediately!

  10. white squirrel says:

    have to ask – how long is the time in purgatory reduced by in % terms rather than count of years

    if you dont do the things suggested do you get to stay longer

    if time in ‘purgatory is finite – does it not suggest that time in hell /heaven is also finite
    perhaps once you have used up all 72 virgins then the time in heaven is up and you have to go below to pay for all 72 episodes of ‘fornicatory sin’
    [assuming you believe the myth as stated]

  11. Dan says:

    You think you’ve got the measure of how stark staring bonkers the Catholic Church is and it out does itself.

  12. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Dan, as I was saying on the last thread, there is no point in attempting a Poe on religion anymore.

    James Christ & Marky, I know nothing about Twitter, but would the Vatican get an income stream from advertisements on its site? It would make sense that the more visitors they get, the more chance one of the saps will follow an ad link, what with their sheep mentality.

    Marky, the full quote, which comes from an essay on religion I wrote – and was inevitably punished for – at school was something along the lines of ‘The truth of religion is that there is no truth of religion, but by the time this was realised it was already too late; it had become too big and too powerful for the truth to inconvenience it’.
    Maybe it’s because of the way I was at school that I so admired the boy in the video I linked to in the last thread. Not that I am comparing myself to him (if indeed he’s genuine) as the worst I faced for my heresy was the cane.

  13. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Thinking about it, if Twitter does sell ads, what would be the chances of placing some for contraceptives on the Vatican page?

  14. Mary2 says:

    Does the Catholic church have an ‘app’ for confessions yet? “Press 1 for sinful thoughts, 2 for sins of omission …” Doing away with the need for real life contact with their dwindling number of priests may solve several problems!

  15. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    But of course Mo has has a different view on Twitter.

    You really can’t make this shit up….oh, hang on……yes they did :-)

  16. Dan says:

    Acolyte I agree and find myself in the Poe Dilemma on a daily basis.

    There’s a page on Facebook called ‘Calling All Atheists’ and even though it’s been going for about 2 years you read it and can’t be sure it isn’t someone’s masterpiece of Poe. That or the people who administer it are full-on bat. sh*t. crazy literally foaming at the mouth fundies. And I mean “literally” in the sense of “actually literally really”. Foam. Mouth. The proper thing.

    And you still won’t be sure because the world is full of all sorts and some people really are foaming at the mouth. bat. sh*t. crazy fundies and for some inexplicable reason they still have enough intelligence to operate a computer keyboard.
    OK so they have some kind of affliction in their left hand that means they can’t operate a caps-lock key correctly, but they can basically type to a degree.

    But I still didn’t see that coming from the Vatican. That gets a biscuit. Maybe even a packet.

    PS: Perhaps bits of foam fall from the corner of their mouths and somehow interfere with their caps-lock….

    PPS: Unless they’re all hoaxes and the Westboro Baptists are the worlds best Poe. In which case the Nobel institute needs to implement a Nobel Prize for Poe and give it to those guys. They’re good. I mean really good.

  17. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    The great unwashed teeming masses
    Are sophisticated latte swilling asses
    Their brains all a flitter
    From celebrities vapid twitter
    For thoughts, electronic regurgitation passes.

  18. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Dan, you know it’s a religious Poe when the comment is sensible.

    Nassar, yet again some wonderful thinking disguised as terrible verse.

  19. Meanwhile the reliably absurd Andrew Brown has actually asked, “Is it really ludicrous that the Vatican should be claiming you can get time off purgatory by following the pope on Twitter?”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2013/jul/17/time-off-purgatory-pope-twitter-followers

  20. JoJo says:

    WTF? I saw the original headline, but thought it was a spoof…

  21. Mike N. says:

    I’m not following the pope on twitter, after all, purgatory is the best I can hope for :-)

  22. MarkyWarky says:

    Ophelia, I actually can’t see much wrong with Brown’s article. He’s not suggesting that the whole concept of purgatory and indulgences isn’t ridiculous, only that it’s no more so just because it now involves Twitter.

    I think he’s right, and the only difference I see between this and earlier offers of indulgences is that this exposes the insanity of the concept a little more clearly.

    But, if a person believes this dross, I can’t see how sincerely using Twitter for their devout purposes would feel any more ludicrous to them than using a church does? And to a person who doesn’t believe, like me, it’s all utter nonsense anyway.

    It’s not whether or not god has any interest/use for Twitter that’s the question; it’s whether or not he has any interest in anything, and whether, if he does, the RCC has any insight.

  23. IanB says:

    The sound of irony meters pinging into pieces the world over whilst waiting for another daft announcement for the left footers.

  24. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Marky, I remember that app – or one very similar being released. No more sitting in dusty old booths redolent of centuries-worth (or decades at most in US churches) of sinners’ farts; no more having to sit opposite some hqzily-seen, potential child abuser (I wonder, is the confessional the only way that priests can get sex education?); no more risking your nosy neighbour with his ears to your booth, taking notes. It’s bloody perfect, really.
    Funny how selective they are over what science they accept though, isn’t it?

  25. MarkyWarky says:

    Oh it’s not meant to be a substitute for a “valid” confession AoS, whatever that may be!

    I love one of the sins you can confess to in particular: Q: “Have I been involved with superstitious practices or with the occult?” A: “Well durr, of course I have. What the hell do you think I’m doing now?!!”.

  26. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Heh heh! Just like the nun I referred to a couple of threads ago “Dr House, Sister Augustine believes things that are obviously not real”.
    The punchline writes itself.

  27. JohnM says:

    @ Dan “That gets a biscuit.”

    Err… A cracker, surely?

  28. steeve says:

    @JohnM “Err… A cracker, surely?”
    Nope; magic biscuits every time, please

  29. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Cheese is for crackers, religion for crackpots.

  30. Dan says:

    @JohnM: As in taking the biscuit.

    Though maybe we mean a wafer.

  31. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    That’s why the biscuit cried; his mummy had been a wafer so long.

    I’ll get my coat. TAXI!

  32. MarkyWarky says:

    Oh crumbs guys, packet in will you!

  33. Andrea says:

    As an atheist I’m going to hell right? So purgatory is kind of like a really bad motorway service station on the way to hell. If I pursuade people to unfollow the pope can I get longer in the services and less time burning? Is there a negative version of an indulgence?

  34. two cents' worth says:

    @Andrea
    Sorry, but according to the RC rules, Purgatory is only for people who need the spiritual equivalent of a de-lousing station on the way to heaven; people going to hell go directly to hell. (Do not pass GO; do not collect $200.00.)

    Didn’t Terry Pratchett or Piers Anthony write about a world where a person’s experience after death was whatever they had believed it would be while they were alive? If that turns out to be true, you have nothing to worry about–death is the end for atheists.

    One of the things that annoys me about religion is that it causes some followers to focus so much on “life after death” that they spend much of their lives before death mistreating others, the planet, and even themselves.

  35. Andrea: “If I pursuade people to unfollow the pope can I get longer in the services and less time burning?”
    What is infinity minus any finite number? Does it make a difference? Our fate is sealed and it’s only a matter of time before it begins. Oh the horror. I live in shivering dread. :-)

  36. This has been just a great thread so far, but then it was kicked off by the best news from the Catholics since they announced they would train priests to do exorcisms so that they could tell mental illness from “genuine” demonic possession. As somebody said, you can’t make this shit up. But they can and did.

  37. Dalai Llama says:

    In less-cheerful recent news, a Norwegian woman in Dubai on a business trip has been sentenced to 16 months in jail, for the crime of “extra-marital sex”. She was arrested upon going to the police to report being RAPED.

    Religious “morality” at its finest… ¬¬

  38. Dalai Llama says:

    And, of course, the tragic thing is that this has only made the news because the victim was a foreigner. It makes one shudder to think how often this happens to non-Western women.

  39. Dan says:

    OK, So I’m coming round now.
    This headline is basically:

    Crazy people who believe nonsense decide they’re going to believe more nonsense along with all the nonsense they already believe.

    I think I’m surprised because I didn’t know they still did indulgences. I thought that particular nonsense died out in the 16th century.

  40. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Thanks to Stephen Fry, I discovered this evening that according to the RCC, superstition is a sin.
    (to the tune of ‘Oh Holy Night)
    Oh holy shit
    I think my brain’s blown.

    Dalai Llama, that is horrific, and yes, it does happen all the time to the women who actually live in those ‘civilised’ nations ruled by the ‘religion of peace’.

  41. JohnM says:

    In mathematics, I always had a particular soft spot for problem solving using recursive methods. So when I learned the Pope says superstition is a sin, presumably the remedy being belief in JC, ghosts (holy variety, of course), miracles, etc., you can imagine how my senses have suddenly become ‘all-of-a-quiver’.

    This is my kind of religion, indeed Ourobouros queues at the confessionals?

  42. JohnM says:

    Interesting. My spoof HTML tags disappear without trace, even though they are meaningless: to whit , but without the spaces

  43. JohnM says:

    Even more interesting. The typing of “less than””space” “slash””space””greater than” gets expunged by J&M’s ‘comment-rendering’ software. That really is paranoia :)

  44. MarkyWarky says:

    @AoS, I thought that was the sin we mentioned above in relation to the app. I’m deeply offended that you think Fry is more informative than me! ;)

    Of course in this context superstition is defined as “believing in shit other than the shit I want you to believe in because if you believe in my shit I have control over you whereas if you believe in other shit you’ll see my shit as shit. Which would be shit.”.

  45. Dan says:

    JohnM, Surely there’s a difference between a solution being recursive and disappearing up your own ar*e.

  46. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oops, sorry Marky! I blame my ever-decreasing memory – after all, it took me two hours from hearing Fry say it to remembering to post it here.
    On a related note,have a peek at the warning Dan Delzell gives about ‘magic’ to keep the flock safe from Beelzebub’s grasp. It is fucking hilarious; I mean, gullibility is a requirement for religion, but this guy is swimming in it.
    Thanks to Avi (A Million Gods) at FTB for the link.

  47. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oh, (I forgot to add….;-)) something I wouldn’t normally recommend, but spend 10 minutes or so reading some of the comments after that article; they’re almost as funny and even his own side take the piss mercilessly.

  48. MarkyWarky says:

    Ha, good link AoS. The complete lack of irony from the Christians telling him to get real is amazing!

    Recent conversation with my fundie sister in law (thanks bro; great move):

    Me (thinking I’d demonstrate that a strong belief in something, and personal experience, means nothing regarding truth): “So what do you think about people who believe in astrology? They’ll swear blind they’ve had personal experiences too.”.

    Her (thinks for a while, as if the truth or otherwise of astrology needs much thought): “Well, I believe there’s something going on, but what they don’t realise is that it’s dark forces at work.”.

    Give me strength. I have a cellar and a chain saw, and am beginning to think I should make use of both.

  49. LostJohn says:

    Innocent Bystander @ July 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm says:
    “Thank you, author, for making so starkly clear the similarity of mindset required of these two religions.”

    The monotheistic religion of the book is *one* religion. Judeo-Maryamo-Jesuano-Islam is a single religion split into millions of schisms, from Orthodox Satanism to Mormon and Scientology. There are tiny, microscopic variations in the dogmas and they continuously squabble amongst themselves about which particular version is best but it is *one* single religion.
    They have a spooky big daddy in the clouds.
    Spooky daddy has robots, or puppets that sometimes rebel.
    Ghostly daddy in the sky uses mud to make a collection of toy puppets that resemble human beings but are “chosen” and “special” people whom the spectral daddy alien super-being gets to play with.
    The spooky big ghost daddy loves its toys but its toys did a bad thing for some stupid reason the big daddy was too inept to prevent (eating an apple that was not fenced in, not washing with the left hand, something else really rebellious and significant) and this created evil and caused the toys to be kicked out of the playpen the daddy made. At the same time the toys were deprived of the immortality they once enjoyed. This “sin” continues to the present day, even though the original “sinners” are *long* dead because the inept daddy spook bears a grudge.
    Somehow, the robot puppets the spooky daddy super-being made before it made humans managed to rebel, as said earlier, and one of these is the great adversary to the super-magical, all-powerful big daddy in the sky, who is totally unable to re-program the faulty robots. Poor design and poor maintenance.
    Punishment for any infraction of the big daddy ghost’s masses of intricate rules is eternal, awful and massively out of proportion to the effect of the “sin”. Example: seeing a naked teat when a girly bends over too far can lead to torture and burning and other nastiness.
    There are *rewards* for hurting, harming, killing, raping, enslaving, maiming, torturing, lying to and stealing from the Other People who are not part of the descendants of the ghostly daddy’s mud-puppet people. “Infidels”, “heathens” and other unbelievers are not worthy of compassion or humane treatment.
    Eternal rewards in a sky-borne version of the original play-pen made by the spooky big daddy can be had by killing infidels, leading a life totally dedicated to praising the boss daddy super-being and never breaking any of its rules.
    Each and every schism of the one religion of the book is the Only One True Faith and only True Believers in this One Truth Faith are rewarded. False Believers are eternally tortured for their false beliefs. The determination of who is a True Believer and who is a False Believer is done by the True Believers.
    Picking the wrong schism can be fatal. Choosing to have no belief at all can also be fatal.
    There may only be one boss big ghostly daddy in the sky but he has millions of super-powered magical helpers.
    All big daddies love their mud-puppet people but also love cancers, the bacteria that cause tooth-ache, the design flaws that lead to back-pain and the agony of childbirth. All big daddies *hate* the reasoning tool we call Science because it can help to prevent or reduce the pain of its other loves.
    See? One religion. Differences between the schisms too small to be seen with a scanning electron microscope.
    Big-endians fighting little-endians over which end of the boiled egg to open and eat from.
    Were it not causing so much suffering for absolutely no reason whatsoever, the squabbling about which ghost big daddy in the clouds is the best big daddy would be farking *hilarious*.
    And it makes me glad I’m one of the Other People.

  50. LostJohn says:

    Acolyte of Sagan @ July 20, 2013 at 12:10 am says:
    “Thanks to Stephen Fry, I discovered this evening that according to the RCC, superstition is a sin.”

    That just has to be the funniest thing I have read in *months*. Thank you, Sir.

  51. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Marky, re. “Recent conversation with my fundie sister in law (thanks bro; great move):. By some strange quirk of fate, I’ve got one brother who converted to the RCC to marry (which gave me a laugh; who’da thunk the RCC don’t take divorce into account if the divorcee was just CofE at the time?) and another who morphed into a full-on, happy-clappy Born Again.
    We don’t see much of each other anymore, but those inevitable family do’s can get……interesting.

    Lost John, thank you for the compliment, but credit should really go to MarkyWarky for this post

    MarkyWarky says:
    July 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm
    Oh it’s not meant to be a substitute for a “valid” confession AoS, whatever that may be!

    I love one of the sins you can confess to in particular: Q: “Have I been involved with superstitious practices or with the occult?” A: “Well durr, of course I have. What the hell do you think I’m doing now?!!”.

    So it appears that Stephen Fry plegiarised Marky for his material, and I plegiarised Fry for mine, not realising I was closing the circle :-)
    Love your synopsis of religion, by the way.

  52. Mary2 says:

    LostJohn, love the mud-puppet people. Very nice job.

  53. LostJohn says:

    I thought a lot of you guys would just love the logic involved in this one:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23388205
    ###########

    “We have decided that women will not visit bazaars without a male relative,” the cleric, Maulana Mirzaqeem, was quoted as telling AFP news agency.

    “Those who will visit markets without male relatives will be handed over to police.

    “They spread vulgarity and spoil men’s fasting in Ramadan.”
    #################

    So, a female human wandering about on her own spreads vulgarity and spoils men’s fasting *but* if followed by a male the very same female does nothing of the sort.
    Run that one by me again?
    Okay, so I’m less likely to try to pick up a lady who has some hulking brute of a husband attached, that’s only polite, she’s made her choice of male and it’s not my place to tell her she picked a lesser creature than she could have. But there would be nothing slowing me down if I wanted to chat up a potential partner who just happened to be accompanied by Daddy or Big Brother. That is socially acceptable, so far as I know.
    In spite of the “logic” of those fun-dies, I actually *married* a woman while dozens of male relatives were around.
    But one aspect of this really puzzled me. Why do the women not mess up the stoic, steely, iron-clad concentration of the males accompanying them?
    And what about males who like males? Should all *males* be accompanied so the religious focus of their male-liking countrymen are not distracted?
    Or are the males in that country too ugly to be lusted after?
    Religidiots are a strange bunch.

  54. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    LostJohn, what puzzles me is how the sight of an unaccomanied female causes fasting muslims to turn to food. I’ve yet to see a lone female and immediately think ‘ooh, I don’t half fancy a steak’.

    And ‘males who like males’? In a Sharia law country? Are you mad, man?
    Even though I’ve heard ‘boys for pleasure, women for marriage’ more than once from the mouths of some of Mo’s lot, I’m sure homosexuality is itself at best a risky undertaking over there.
    Thinking about it, is there a difference between those men who use boys for pleasure, and prisoners using weaker prisoners for the same? I’m sure both use the same ‘reasoning’ that ‘it’s not gay if it’s only sex’!

  55. MarkyWarky says:

    To me, the worst aspect of that is the idea that women (most of whom are covered head to foot in that community anyway, according to the article), spread vulgarity. I’m assuming they mean the men will have vulgar thoughts which don’t promote the piety required by Ramadan, but whether or not a woman has a male relative with her has never yet changed how I react to her in my head. If I’m going to have vulgar thoughts (it’s been known), I tend to have them regardless of who else is around.

    Of course their goal isn’t actually lots of women shopping with accompaniment, it’s women staying at home.

    Not that I think thoughts of sex with a pretty woman are in any sense vulgar anyway, even if that was what seeing her prompted, and I’m sure women have similar thoughts about men. I guess because they are lesser beings in the eyes off god, those thoughts don’t matter so much, and anyway, it’s what women are given to men for, so such thoughts are dutiful?

  56. Hypatia Alexandria says:

    so women “spread vulgarity and spoil men’s fasting in Ramadan.”
    how exactly ?
    are muslims now saying that if devout males see a woman they have the urge to eat her?
    or are they just compelled to stuff their mouths with food ?
    or indulge in copious drinking ?

    does the ban have a minimum age?

  57. Hypatia Alexandria says:

    I have a simpler solution than banning women from shopping

    blindfolded gimps masks for devout muslim men
    all the time not just Ramadan

    no problem with males being distracted by us then

  58. Hypatia Alexandria says:

    to MarkyWarky
    I would argue that a thought cannot be ‘vulgar’ until it is expressed in public or acted upon

  59. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    A good point, Hypatia. It would make more sense restraining or restricting the ones incapable of controlling their urges.
    Islam; the religion of peace and sex-pests.

  60. Hypatia Alexandria says:

    And what about males who like males? Should all *males* be accompanied so the religious focus of their male-liking countrymen are not distracted?

    to be vulgar
    for that matter what about other orientation beyond gay and hetro
    should children and large domestic animals be accompanied as well?

  61. Hypatia Alexandria says:

    “We have decided that women will not visit bazaars without a male relative,”

    so a mother with her male baby or toddler is permitted to visit shops then?

  62. Hypatia Alexandria says:

    which leads to another thought-
    are women allowed to breast feed babies during the fasting daylight hours of Ramadan?
    [which is currently 5 am till 9 pm]
    denying a baby milk for 16 hours or thereabouts would definitly be a cause of distraction

  63. LostJohn says:

    Hypatia Alexandria @ July 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm says:
    {An interesting question about micro-humans being a distraction.}

    I think, dear lady, that depriving a micro-human of food for 16 hours could be considered child abuse. In the heat of England in 2013 it may even kill the little buggers. Doing it repeatedly for a month in civilised countries like England could lead to the Law coming down on you like a bag of hammers and stuffing you in the tanty for millennia or longer. [Unless it was my offspring. One of them would merely wander off and cook something.]

    I had a look at the “Guardian” report on the Vatican Daddy’s nonsense about cutting down your time in the Great Waiting Room.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/16/vatican-indulgences-pope-francis-tweets
    Some of the rules seem a little unfair. For example, *I* can’t get time off for climbing *those* stairs because I don’t keep a passport and I prefer England to just about anywhere. That’s racist of them, that is. And not giving us time off for climbing *English* stairs, like the ones in my house, is *definitely* restraint of something and anti-EU.
    Also, time off requires I have “faith”? Well, I have a certain amount of faith in the equations and processes of physics. Enough to do the pendulum test without flinching (much). But I’m sure they don’t count that sort of “faith”. And that’s cultist or something. It’s definitely discriminating against me for my religion (which I don’t actually have one of) and that’s got to be unlawful.
    Them practitioners of that temporary, insular little cult aren’t playing fair.

    The pendulum test of “faith” in Physics: Stand at the very edge of a large bowl shape in a huge room’s floor. Attach a pendulum with a multi-ton metal bob to a very high roof right above the middle of the bowl. Let the pendulum swing a few times so you can see Physics at work. Stop it. Put the huge metal bob just touching your nose. Let it swing freely. When it comes back, do *not* bend forward. Congratulations if you don’t flinch.
    Physics *is* fun. Especially if you’re the one swinging the pendulum.

    Oh, and HA, you asked if men are distracted by pretties because they might have the sudden urge to eat them… that thought did spring to my mind, too, but there are limits to “free speech” and discussions of not-cannibalisms is possibly well beyond them.
    I did wonder whether that sort of eating was allowed during fasting or in those countries at any times but I’m not sure how to phrase the enquiry inoffensively.

  64. JohnM says:

    On a somewhat different matter, I received “tweets” from followers I didn’t know I had, when I re-tweeted the J&M offer of free foot massage (in heaven) to my twitter a/c. They contained no message, just a very long URL encoded into something smaller and hidden under something rather different. Suffice to say I simply reported them to Twitter as spam without opening the link, and then blocked the senders. Has anyone else has had this experience? I am wondering if my Twitter a/c, or worse, author’s a/c has been compromised.

  65. JohnM says:

    @ LostJohn

    Love the pendulum test, and am currently thinking of a refinement which uses a Foucault pendulum of sufficient period such that its precession at the given latitude will allow one to lean forward as the pendulum returns, only to have it whistle past one’s ear :)

  66. European says:

    @Hypatia: Islam does NOT recommend fasting for under 7-year-olds (and does not require fasting before reaching puberty), and the breastfeeding woman herself would also be excused from fasting (though recommended to make up for it after stopping to breastfeed)

  67. European says:

    @LostJohn: Seems your kids were quite precocious, running to the cooker when not being breastfed?! ;-)

  68. Hobbes says:

    @MarkyWarky – I’ve been far too busy writing and publishing a novel, then doing what I can to market it. Not enough time to indulge myself in the old J&Ms. I’m lucky to find the time to post this.

  69. LostJohn says:

    Acolyte of Sagan asks, @July 21, 2013 at 12:23 am: ” Are you mad, man?”

    Many have thought so, Acolyte. Including, sometimes, me.
    I was indoctrinated (very poorly, and half-heartedly and without much enthusiasm on anyone’s part) as some sort of “Jesuan” (what is erroneously called “Christian”) when younger, but I still mock religion and religidiots at almost every opportunity. By the logic of that culture of fairy tales and delusions that would mean I am courting eternal pain, torture and damnation for the sake of a little fun. By any rational measure [in their world] that has to be nuts. The rewards, apoplectic priesties going rabid and chewing the carpet after ten minutes of my company, are (in their strange world of ghostly big daddies in the skies) *vastly* outmassed by the punishments for my arrogance and temerity.
    Eternity is quite a long time. Longer than waiting for the next bus in a Winter rainstorm. Longer than a queue in the Post Office, even.
    If you put even the tiniest, smallest, most minuscule credence in any of the daddy daemon super-being stories then poking fun at their followers is an exceedingly stupid move and indicative of titanic nutiness.
    Luckily, I don’t.
    So I mostly think *I* am the sane one and all those religiodits are candidates for rubber rooms.
    *That* is where the arrogance comes in.
    I am *RIGHT* and six or seven milliard humans are *wrong*. Some very.

    Humility? What’s that?

  70. I am *RIGHT* and six or seven milliard humans are *wrong*. Some very.

    Everybody in the world was wrong about quite a few things in the past; the earth being flat the most cliched example. When it comes to humility, I’d scale yours far higher than those millions who think humans are so very special that this whole show, the earth, the animals, the stars, the galaxies, the other galaxies, the whole vast and incredible diversity of nature and reality, was put here just for us, with humans at the centre, the reason, the cause and meaning of everything. They go further, and believe that the creator of everything is privy to their every thought and sex act and cares about them and what they do.

    Compared to that arrogance, you are a shining beacon of humility.

  71. John The Geologist says:

    I had all this toot explained to me when I worked for a geophysical company in Saudi Arabia a long time ago in a medieval galaxy far far away (from any sign of civilisation).

    The problem (theirs I hasten to add, not mine) is that women are “impure” for five days per month. Moslems cannot deal with this somewhat natural “impurity” for some unfathomable reason.

    So any collection of 7 or more women are almost guaranteed to have at least one menstruating woman. It is this alleged impurity that offends the fasting men, although how they know is somewhat beyond me.

    Maybe they have invented a Mensometer (a bit like an Irony Meter) which goes spoing in the presence of a woman with the painters in downstairs. However, as they have not invented anything else in the last 1500 years this seems a bit unlikely.

    More likely they are merely ignorant, misogynistic and oppressive. Seems a better explanation.

    I think the male companion (preferably the husband) is designed to ensure that any woman who appears in public is not impure at the time. How this works with men other than the spouse is another effing ineffable mystery – how many brothers, uncles, nephews etc are likely to know when their female relative is up on the blocks.

    When I had had enough of living in a medieval theocracy (five months – stuff the money) I worked in financial services IT. At first I could not work out why men from Arab/Moslem banks would not shake hands with our female consultants. At first I thought they were just bad mannered c***s, then it dawned on me that they were scared of impurity. I think they thought that menstruation could be acquired through hand contact.

    (Please insert “alleged” and ironic quotation marks where necessary in the above text)

  72. John the Geologist, thanks for these insights into the medieval mind. Welcome back to civilization. I can’t think of any inducement that would get me to the places you have been. Uh wait. Maybe enough money would do it. But not for long.

  73. John The Geologist says:

    Thanks Darwin H

    Been back in the real world since September 1975. Five months in “Life of Brian Land” was more than enough. Might be worse now/might be better. Probably the latter. At least they did the beheadings and amputations in private then.

    Money was an insufficient inducement for living in AD 1437.

    The IT stuff was in the eighties, nineties and noughties! Some might say that defies belief but it is true. I also heard of the refusal to shake hands with a woman quite recently – I believe from some high up mullah or mufti in the Moslem Council on meeting a mixed sex delegation.

    Always liked your J&M name, mostly because Darwin C was anything but harmless. He turned the world upside down and confounded the dog botherers. Good enough for me.

  74. Thanks, John the Geologist. I chose Darwin because he’s one of my most revered heroes, and I chose Harmless because of “Another Roadside Attraction” by Tom Robbins in which the narrator chose Marx Marvellous because he admired Marx and no real man would say the word “marvellous” I think no “real man” wants to be considered harmless, but I do. I’d really like to be harmless.
    But Charles Darwin WAS harmless, despite turning the world upside down and confounding the religious. After all, what’s the harm in that. I see it as a definite and major advance for humanity.

  75. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    John The Geologist says:
    July 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm
    [....]
    Maybe they have invented a Mensometer (a bit like an Irony Meter) which goes spoing in the presence of a woman with the painters in downstairs. However, as they have not invented anything else in the last 1500 years this seems a bit unlikely.

    That’s very good, John the G.; I love it and will be using it in the future.

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