Another oldie today.

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Discussion (61)¬

  1. botanist says:

    Welcome back Moses, always good to see you again. Keep thinking boys, and if you think you have an answer visit the C&B and Barmaid will put you right 🙂

  2. K P Spong says:

    Always a pleasure to see “The Lawgiver”, again

  3. john says:

    Great to see Moses again…..the voice of reason

  4. NSPike says:

    Been far too long since we saw Moses! Glad to see his return. A good one, again, Author. However, I personally side with J&M’s initial stance on this one, that science cannot be reconciled with religion. There will always be unknowns but religion is not a plug to fill those gaps with, the unknowns are simply reasons to keep investigating. I imagine many C&B patrons think along the same lines but I’d be interested to know if I’m wrong?

  5. JoJo says:

    Moses. What a basket case.

  6. il Bruto says:

    Why not just ask Moses to part the Red Sea, only measure it this time? That might answer all kinds of pending questions about life, the universe and everything.

  7. SpaceWeed says:

    Message to the followers of YWH-Ally-akbar:
    First, before you can reconcile your daft, petty, trivial, local and temporary little cult with anything reasonable and sensible, stop doing idiotic, demented and childish things like this:|ukt4|dl20|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D246241
    It’s a video by ignorant, silly, young and poorly-educated people who know nothing of history, anthropology or anything else much. It’s meant to be two things: a tiny bit of fun and a massively profitable earner for the record industry.
    It also insults many, many Egyptian gods far more than it does Wee-ally-akbar and you dont see their supporters screaming and yelling and waving sticks.
    Get over yourself. Grow up. Grow a set of gonads.
    Your cult is so trivial the video makers probably didn’t even *notice* they were mentioning it.
    Grow up, children, and join the adults.

    Of course, I’d never post that on a muslim site, would I?

  8. JohnM says:

    You would never see anything remotely critical posted on a Muslim web site – even if presented in a distinctly apologetic tone. Hopefully. this general attitude amongst cult members could one day prove its Achilles’ heel.

  9. SpaceWeed says:

    except for:

    “SpaceWeed, was that a dare?”
    “Hell, no. It was cowardice, pure and simple.”
    “Oh… Bugger.”
    “Why, what have you done?
    “Well … [very quietly] … I found the petition by Siggy Wizname, the Wee-Allyakbar humper and accidentally signed it. I inadvertently gave as my reason why this was important the entire quotation of your last message … quite accidentally, like … sorry …”
    “… I think I’m going to have to see about getting all you voices in my head fixed for good and forever someday. You lot are trouble.”
    Meanwhile thinks the non-terrran veggie, I have to start running. Yet again. Because even loony wee-allyakbarists won’t believe my excuse that a voice in my head done it and ran away. No one’s that gullible, are they?

  10. Jen Montes says:

    You know, the punchline of this comic is how I personally deal with the religion / science clash. I consider myself a religious atheist and I’ve found this school of thought pretty fulfilling. It’s the best of both worlds: you get to partake in the millennia of wisdom about human nature and yet still live in the real world.

    This comic, and the idea of “religious atheism”, is pretty funny but I invite you to try it!

  11. DocAtheist says:

    As just one of many, many Jewish atheists or atheist Jews (either way works for me), I think you’re onto something, Author!

  12. DocAtheist says:

    @JoJo, that was very punny!

  13. QuineDuhem says:

    On a related football theme: a few weeks ago in the Man City v Chelsea FA Cup game we had Jesus (Navas) and Mohamed (Salah) playing on the same pitch. If only Chelsea hadn’t loaned (Victor) Moses to Liverpool!

  14. SpaceWeed says:

    JohnM said : “You would never see anything remotely critical posted on a Muslim web site – even if presented in a distinctly apologetic tone.”

    There are two very good reasons for that: {1} biased filtering in that they do not allow contrarian views to be printed, unless there is an obvious flaw in them [for example, the islamophobic writer is a two-year-old gibbon with dyslexia and a Tennesseean education in English grammar] which can be roundly mocked to prove how superior the followers of the baby-rapist are and {2} the clever people who normally would lambaste, mock, deride and joke about the demented sophistry of the fraudulent “faith” are abjectly craven and terrified of reprisals and rightly so. The bad-guys don’t print valid objections anyway, but even if they did no one would be brave enough to offer any.
    That way, as others in the pub have said, they will win.
    They think they can ban videos over a ten-frame flash of one word. They WILL win.[They do not *ever* ask for the word to be blurred-out, as is done with car index number plates, they want the entire thing *banned*. This is cultural genocide. It is a slow islamification of the planet. It is a *WIN*]

    “Hopefully. this general attitude amongst cult members could one day prove its Achilles’ heel.”

    Why? It didn’t work for “Heaven’s Gate”. Their site had only pro-propaganda and they never faded into obscurity. True, they didn’t last as many centuries as some cults but their extinction has nothing to do with “truth” or “reason” or not allowing the infidels to speak.
    Although I do admit something does seem to have quietened down the Nibiru/Planet-X-for-Mystery-not-Ten lot ever since the calendar reached 2013. Whether that was a subtle sense of rationality creeping in or the realisation that 2013 is larger than 2012 and so “nibiru” isn’t in the future any more may never be known.[1] I, for one am not going to risk asking her.
    The same temporal creep effect did not stop the Wee-Jovy’s Witless lot. They started as a minor cult (and still are one, really, in spite of their noise) that followed a nutter up a USAlien mountain when he proclaimed the end of the world next week. When the world rolled on and some of them died of starvation, hypothermia and thirst, the survivors climbed down to ground level [but were never grounded in anything real] where the nut-job made new predictions and took them up a mountain some time later to await the new end of the world. This, too, did not come to pass. [Seriously, folks, this was a couple of centuries ago and we’re still here so I hardly think revealing the ending is exactly a huge spoiler.] Some of his people did experience a small end-of-the-world by dying of a variety of stupidities but that doesn’t really count. Note that each time he calculated a new doomsday his insane band of lunatic followers (and he always found some) gave away all their houses, money, lands and slaves (if any) and gleefully wandered up bloody huge mountains in horrendous weather without winter-gear.
    This went on for a while. Lonny-the-loony would calculate a bit, announce a new date and a new mountain, “rescue” a new bunch of “saved” from the evil clutches of a doomed world and kill a few of them. Then he’d regretfully wake up the next day on top of the not-dead planet that was still packed full of evil (and me and mine) climb back to Earth (which, incidentally, none of his followers were mentally linked to) and start the whole rotten business over.
    His little cult, in spite of all of the wrong predictions and dead poor and dead, poor guys slowly decomposing on various hills grew.
    Eventually the loony died, as even really zealous loonies have a habit of doing if one waits long enough.[Not, sadly, soon enough to be useful.] Unfortunately, his cult did not. It spawned off a series of weird, weirder and downright bonkers sub-cults, one of which claimed that “Millions Alive Today Will Never Die” (same message) but did a quite clever thing : they never mentioned a due date for the big boom. The fat-lady-song was always in the indefinite future, but sometime around next week. With that one single innovation, the Jovy’s Witlesses have been coming to your doors[2] demanding to save you from eternal lost-luggage status ever since. And, as the end-of-time is always just around the corner, they can now continue with their profiteering prophesying virtually without limit.
    A cult that learned a valuable lesson from reality and survived.
    It is entirely possible that even the YWH-ally-akbar followers can do something similar.
    No matter how we mock, deride or educate them they may escape from the searing Light Of Reason and squirm away into the filthy, noisome darkness of their delusions simply by subtly and slowly amending the dogma.
    According to the Novationists and other sedevacantist groups the “Roman Catholic Church” isn’t, it’s a schism, but it still thrives. As Sunni and Shia sub-cults attest, the islamics did the same at least once in a major way and thrived. So, no, I doubt if silencing the sane will stop them.
    If anything, hearing no voice but that of the lunatic fringe will ensure that those already inclined will become more vehement, violent and zealous and will “protect”their children from our evil cooties.
    If your house only has one book, how can you ever know whether Isaac Asimov was a great moral philosopher? Or whether Beyoncé is the next Great and Magical Prophet?
    If you only ever hear one voice and it is a scream of vileness and hatred and murder and bloodlust how can reason ever enter your life?

    [1] On the subject of nutbar, fruitcake, entrenched insanity a quote from the Nibiru page:
    “[David Morrison, director of SETI, CSI Fellow and Senior Scientist at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute at Ames Research Center] Prior to the 2012 date, Morrison stated that he hoped that the non-arrival of Nibiru could serve as a teaching moment for the public, instructing them on “rational thought and baloney detection”, but doubted that would happen.”
    Yeah, pal, me too.
    One minor lunatic cult has lasted 1981 years, another 1435 years. Nibiru will last as long as oral tradition, longer than civilisation.
    There is one bright thought: so far adherents to Nibiru haven’t killed, burned alive or tortured and infidels.
    Maybe we have this to look forward to?

    [2] yes, your doors, not mine. They used to come to mine until a pair caught me just as I was getting into a bath. Pissed-off with the interruption I determined that they could accept me as I was or fuck off. They were not the casual nudity accepting type so they fucked off. They got out half of their “Have you seeeeeeeeeee…” before their eyes were glued in one direction then they mumbled a “sorry” and rapidly ran away. Not one has ever since returned. Nor, so far as I have seen do they bother my neighbours. I reckon that was a valid public service I did. Though it’s possible my entire town has now been listed as “Indian Country” among the proselytisers. That may be a bad thing when the jihaddies come a’burning and a’killing.

  15. SpaceWeed says:

    Dear, Gentle Author: could you place a bold-stoppy tag “lt” “/b” “gt” after “They WILL win.” in the previous?
    Muchly thanked.

  16. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    Religion and Science have crazy beliefs
    Some finally noticed, gracious, good grief
    Everything is based on faith and assumptions
    Preachers and Scientists, tend to be bumpkins
    Both emulate practices learned from a thief.

  17. Great strip, Author. I’m always impressed by the financial side of religion. The fact that the Templeton organization has a million bucks to give away should give anybody pause.

    JoJo. That was not a pun. That was a clever connection. 🙂

  18. Damn. Forgot to take out that plus sign again. Don’t have any idea why it bugs me but it do.

  19. Micky says:

    Sorry Spaceweed, I can’t get through a whole post of yours without going cross eyed (ah weed). But I disagree that ‘they’ will win. I think if you scratched the surface just a little bit you would find that the majority of ‘them’ are just normal people who happen to be associated with a cult by accident of birth, chill, rationalism will prevail.

  20. omg says:

    Darwin Harmless,
    I think your name evolved…

  21. SpaceWeed says:

    Micky, no need to apologise. I can’t get through a whole offworld plant-thing post without wanting to scream at him and edit it to “make it better”. No worries.
    But I think I agree with the pessimists. If we are even considering letting the evil nasties kill a pathetic little video then they have already won.
    It’s not the single events that matter, it’s the fact that they even think it is worth trying, that they could potentially get something so harmless and worthless banned that shows how effective their campaign of terrorism and murder has been.
    The author of this site dare not put his name to it. I dare not put my name to these postings [and I’m worried that some bright spark may be employed by the wealthy bullies to find my home address from my IP, even though I am at best a terribly minor irritant] [having invented the wee-ally-akbar meme [YWH-Ally-Akbar] even if it never goes viral is a gross offence to the loony lot] even though I am hardly a bug in their eyes.
    No, Micky, my friend, they have won.
    Should you need any confirmation of that, consider the Egg of Doom and C4 News.
    They have completely won. All that remains is to grind our faces into the muck, or to kill us. Possibly both.

    Of course, I could be wrong, so what say we party like it’s 20/12/12?

  22. SpaceWeed says:

    ………. I have cake!
    And beers.

  23. SpaceWeed says:

    Nice one, omg. It wouldn’t bother a priest, though.
    Here’s one I found earlier.
    I’m not really surprised, I too think they are disgusting. It just shows that even if YWH-Ally-akbar is a sadistic, psychotic, misogynist, peadophiliac nutter it does have some good taste.
    Figs are worse even than olives.

  24. omg says:

    SpaceWeed ,
    I think you would like to browse this:

  25. SpaceWeed says:

    Regarding Nasty-bin-Hider [Nassar+Ben+Houdja ] (26th/1801):

    Science is NOT A FAITH OR BELIEF.
    Science is a tool, like a hammer or a screwdriver. You use science to do things. You do not “believe” in it.
    You don’t need belief for science works well without it.
    Science can teach you about the real world but it can never, ever teach you anything about Hogwarts, Avengers Mansion, Valhalla or Wee-ally-akbar’s Pet Farm in the Middle East.
    Science, and its applications in technologies and engineering, can build you rockets, send you to Mars, build cities there and allow you to buy a burger with or without chips. It can even help grow the burger-trees and potatoes.
    Science can never tell you whether a woman’s bare teat is “obscene”, whether being a poof is a “sin” or whether the imaginary pseudo-form recording device that copies some of your experiences will be stored on the top shelf or left in lost luggage at the mercy of equally imaginary baggage handlers.
    Science could give us a total and permanent cure, racially and individually for things like cystic fibrosis, HIV and toothache. It is even theoretically possible that science can give us a cure for death itself.
    Science, and the technical tools it generates could give us the stars themselves.
    As someone here once said: those who use and trust science and reason, those who have The Dream Of Stars see the Earth as a cradle. Those who do not, those who live by religion see the Earth solely as a grave.
    Science could make us immortal, eternal and ubiquitous. Religions can only give us pain, torture and death of the most meaningless and futile kind.
    Science is the very opposite of faith.
    Conflating the two is the last refuge of the frauds and thieves who run churches. It is an attempt to besmirch the honest work of scientists with their own filthy evil and disgusting dementias.
    It doesn’t work but it is irritating.
    It causes us work we should not need to waste time on. While we are busy countering the vile lies of the religious thieves and confidence tricksters we could have been teaching your children to fly among the stars.
    Your priests are *KILLING* you and trying to kill all of the rest of us with their silly little lies.
    Reject them. Reject unreasoning lies. Reject religion. become an immortal star-man. Tithe to NASA not a doomed, dying, foetid cult of paedophiles and peculators.
    NASA/ESA/JAXA could give us the worlds of millions of stars.
    Churches only ever take. Lives, money, your honour, even your sanity. Churches only ever take.
    Science is the tool that ALWAYS gives.
    Science is Mankind’s mental Swiss Army Knife for opening up reality.
    Science works.

  26. SpaceWeed says:

    For those who find that physics can indeed be fun, two of my favourite pages on the Web:
    on lethal neutrinoes
    on household pressure cookers.

    On a variety of oceans is also wonderful. In fact the whole blog is worth reading. He’s very funny.

    And I just adore the last two paragraphs of issue number 40.
    It makes my points so much more concisely than I ever do.

    I did once work out a way to test the properties of a couple of hundred tons of liquid tungsten. It involves a tokamak and several tons of wolfram.
    And that factor of 1,000,000,000 between the stellar even and a lit h-bomb on your eyeball is about right. Supernovae are bright.
    Isn’t Science cool?

  27. SpaceWeed says:

    … what I haven’t [yet] come up with is a safe way for an organic, oxygen-breathing chordate with iron in its blood to survive a little boating trip in a tantalum hafnium carbide skiff on a river of molten wolfram in a tokamak.
    Nor have I found anyone who volunteers to try it.
    I know I am not going to.
    Do you have any idea how utterly strange that experiment sounds?

  28. Rafael says:

    We want Ganesh back! He deserves more than one appearance!!

  29. NSPike says:

    …Agreed, Micky

    No offense SpaceWeed, but I get the impression you’re under the influence of some sort of narcotic. You choice of moniker might help that impression 😉

    (All meant in good humour so please don’t take this as a slight, rant-y people have been the backbone of conversation in the C&B for a while)

  30. SpaceWeed says:

    NSPike: “narcotic”? Moi? Heavens-to-betsy, what a dreadful idea.
    I’ve been known to take anti-histamines on occasion and I’ve sometimes tasted strong coffee when I can’t sleep. The odd hot chocolate drink has been known to pass my lips and even the very odder beer.
    But psycho-actives?
    I see reality. It’s dramatic enough. No hallucination could compete.
    And that, m’dears, is where the loony fringe fall down massively. Their nutbar lies are tiny, cramped, pathetic and so utterly petty.
    Reality is so much more vast, magical and beautiful.
    And you’re right, I do run on a bit at times. Sorry.

  31. Brother+Daniel says:

    Hey people. Sad news.

    I don’t know how many of you know David B, a kind and gentle chap who has commented here occasionally. He died this morning.

    I’m told that he expressed a wish that those who care about him consider making a donation to the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

  32. Brother Daniel says:

    It occurs to me belatedly that I don’t actually know whether the David B who has posted here occasionally and the David B who was among the founding members of the Secular Café are the same person. Just a hasty inference on my part. And if my inference is wrong, then I apologise to the (presumably still living) former David B for mixing him up with the (sadly deceased) latter David B. I think the latter would have been quite amused.

  33. Author says:

    That is very sad news. Thank you for letting us know, Brother Daniel.

  34. Author says:

    @Brother Daniel – I believe it is the same David B. He always linked back to the Secular Cafe in his ID when he posted here.

  35. Brother Daniel says:

    Here’s a thread about David B at SC, in case anyone wants to drop in.

  36. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Sad news indeed.
    Hi all, I’ve not been around much lately, just so busy at the moment I barely have time to think, let alone visit the world’s best local.
    Normal service will be resumed in a couple of weeks.

  37. AoS – good to hear you’re OK, was starting to worry. Take care.

  38. JohnM says:

    @SpaceWeed – “They will win”
    Others have said the same thing, and this is how they will do it. Simple child molestation is all it takes.

    Sunday Times
    “identify poor-performing state schools in Muslim areas; then Salafist parents in each school are encouraged to complain that teachers are ‘corrupting children with sex education, teaching about homosexuals, making their children say Christian prayers and mixed swimming and sports’.

    “The next steps are to ‘parachute in’ Muslim governors ‘to drip-feed our ideal for a Muslim school’ and stir up staff to urge the council to investigate. The strategy stresses the importance of having an ‘English face among the staff group to make it more believable’.

    “Finally, anonymous letters are to be circulated to MPs, press and ministers. ‘All these things will work towards wearing the head down, removing their resolve and weakening their mindset so they eventually give up.'”

    Weakening the mindset won’t be necessary. The Brits have already done that to themselves.

  39. hotrats says:

    Thanks for the tip, JohnM.

    The Sunday Times piece itself needs a subscription after the first half-page, but you can read the whole story here:

    It includes a link to a brave speech by Boris Johnson on the need to identify extrtemist radicalisation as just as abusive as FGM, and the need to resolutely fight against both as being destructive of British values, whatever the PC cultural apologists might claim.

  40. SpaceWeed says:

    JohnM and hotrats : it is called “assimilation” and it is supposed to work the other way round. Indeed, it did for most of the Industrial Age. We Englishmen bestrode the world spreading our message of good cheer and wealth, teaching Johnnie Savage how not to let all his little native-babies die of the horribles and how to feed themselves while showing them that those pretty stones could be used for more than bashing each other over the head. We taught them that some rocks had minerals in them that were valuable and useful and could be made into iPods and phones.
    Then we got a serious case of the stupids and let “self-determination” raise its ugly head. We allowed them to “rule themselves” in a “democratic fashion”. This was the daftest thing England ever did, even dafter than feeding sheep and sewage to cattle.
    It has cost us the Earth, the Moon and all the stars. It has cost us our future. It has cost us our children, and it has cost us our lives.
    A truly Imperial London would never have retreated from the Moon. It couldn’t. It is not in the nature of Empire to retreat. Empires grow or die.
    We had a chance to make this an Imperial world to take the stars and make it a human galaxy.
    Instead, the Musselmen will make it our grave.
    Infiltrating schools? They’ve been slowly doing that since at least the Crusades and they have become damned good at sneaky tactics.
    So have we but we’ve given up. We no longer care nor fight for our survival. That will cost us. It will cost us everything.
    There is no way to fight their insidious, evil assimilation of our next generations. It just can not be done. No MP is going to rise up on its hind legs and scream defiance at the endless swarming hordes of invaders. It would get him censured, fired and possibly burnt alive in his bed. The last guy to try was Enoch Powell with his famed “Rivers of Blood” speeches. He knew what was coming. He saw us weakening and the Axis of Darkness growing in strength. He was slightly hysterical and decades ahead of the Ascendency of Evil but he got the main point right.
    There is no way to fight them. Short of turning the entire Muslim Crescent into Trinitite we can’t even slow them down.
    They think they can ban popular music videos, TV shows, cartoons in papers and websites and even images on TV News programmes and they are more often right than wrong.
    They are not going to win. They have already won.
    We are the dead. Still walking but they could change that at any time of their choosing.
    England is over. All Hail the Global Islamic Republic.

    Bugger … I’m all out of beers. And cake. And here.

    Author, thank you for fixing the 5-minute-edit-option and thank you for trying, but they will find us. Just as soon as they can be bothered.

  41. hotrats says:


    Then we got a serious case of the stupids and let “self-determination” raise its ugly head. We allowed them to “rule themselves” in a “democratic fashion”. This was the daftest thing England ever did… They are not going to win. They have already won.

    I am rarely moved to criticise a fellow punter at the C&B, but if this is the best you can do, I wonder why you bother to contribute. You seem to hold elitist views about self-determination, atavistic nostalgia for empire and its associated racism and exploitation, corrosive defeatism in the face of the mad mullahs and contempt for those who try to redress the balance.

    Boris’s forthright Telegraph piece exemplifies a spirit of constructive anti-extremist engagement which is often found here and on associated sites, which for some reason you are prematurely writing off.

    Perhaps you could consider helping those currently active in the legal challenges to child indoctrination, or the defence and recovery of ex-muslims, or the publicity of extremist abuses, before you declare the battle irrevocably lost.

  42. SpaceWeed says:

    Hotrats, to clarify, I am not nostalgic for a trace of empire and I recognise its imperfections. I just have the vague feeling that a one-world government in which religion is weak, innocuous and plays not legislative part would be nicer than a racist, sectarian, misogynist, fascist, theocracy run by demented paedophiles and assorted other nutjobs but that there is now no way to achieve “peace in our time’.
    It’s pessimistic, but I see these and I despair.
    In the meantime, before the rabid mobs burn all that was good and pure and worthy, I see little point in band-aid work. All that would get me is tired and the attention of the berserkers.
    A Muslim said he didn’t find a cartoon personally offensive and they called for his head. You can’t defeat that.
    Oh, and I’m not “racist”. Muslim and fanatical Christian are not races. Anyway “race” is diversity and it is diversity that got humans onto the Moon and helped eradicate smallpox. We need diversity. The very diversity the Army of Darkness would crush the life out of.
    Will crush the life out of.
    Why bother to contribute? Good question. I won’t.

  43. white squirrel says:

    curious that the fourth panel appears to be showing J and M trying to write entries to win the cash prize
    why would either want money given they are both dead or supposedly in ‘heaven’ and if the myth about them were true – could they not just ‘wish magic ‘ as much cash as they need- which they must be doing as they seem to spend their lives in the cartoon either sitting on a park bench, lying in bed together or drinking in the pub, neither of them seems to do a stroke of work?
    are they ‘benefit scroungers’ [sic] ?

  44. AllahATtheBar says:

    @SpaceWeed- here’s something for you: Go forth and spew.

  45. Gotta agree with Hotrats here, SpaceWeed. You’ve had your fun. Time to stop monopolizing the thread and back off a bit. We’re generally a friendly and tolerant group but at least one of us, speaking strictly for myself, is getting tired of you. Take a break, old chap. Lurk for a while.

  46. Thank you, Hotrats and DH.

    On the subject of education, the British Humanist Association has uncovered collusion between faith schools and exam boards in the UK to redact exam questions about evolution, to avoid upsetting their religious sensibilities. Fortunately the BHA is challenging this dangerous move, which goes against stated Government policy on the Primary National Curriculum. We often feel superior here in the UK to our friends across the pond, particularly the southern states, when it comes to keeping creationism out of the classroom, but it looks like we have to keep a close eye on things here at home. I was never happy about the concept of state funded “faith” schools, and now we are starting to see their true colours.

  47. Mary2 says:

    Woah, SpaceWeed: Dude, Buddy, Pal.

    A little Over The Top with the ‘glorious white-man saving the savage from himself’ ne cest pas?

    I think you may find that several civilisations later destroyed in violence and greed by European colonisers, rather than being either Noble or Ignoble Savages in need of saving by the superior culture, were, indeed, leaders of the world in terms of science, art and civilisation during the peak of their own societies – Ethopia in C12(ish – can’t remember dates), the Muslim world a little later, the Egyptians a little earlier, the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs to name but a few.

    I have stated here before (before your time SpaceWeed), that I hold little truck with the philosophy of “We’ll all be rooned” (as the classic Australian poem has it – google ‘Said Hanrahan’). It’s bad enough when Christians are always claiming that ‘the end is nigh’ without us doing it as well. It took 500 years for the decline of the Roman Empire to become the end of the Roman Empire and, while I totally agree that some scary concessions have been made pandering to those who would see us under a totalitarian theocracy, I think there is much life in the old dog yet. Never once, in the history of the human species, has a campaign of terror actually achieved its objectives. If we continue to be loud and strong and fight all subversive attempts to undermine ‘our freedoms’ (as my American friends would say – if I had any 😉 ) we will keep the Infidel at the gate til long after any of us are here to care. To finish with a quote from that fine English philosopher Mad-Eye Moody: “Constant Vigilance!”

  48. JohnM says:

    @ SpaceWeed
    I hope you were just being OtT with your earlier remarks. This kind of Jingoism doesn’t gel with the ethos of the C&B. Surely we can disseminate our notions of RealCulture™ without actually putting the student body into a camp or a compound. To fight fascism with fascism is not the way to go.

    That said, I can certainly approve Boris Johnson’s wish to keep certain parents away from the developing minds of their offspring, at least to the extent that those offspring are saved from irreversible indoctrination. Non-selective schooling for all children, regardless of their eye colour or their parents delusions, must be the goal here. The BHA are doing a good job with their campaign.

  49. two cents' worth says:

    Mary2, may I count myself as one of your American friends? 🙂

    When I get discouraged, I remember what Theodore Parker and Martin Luther King, Jr., said–that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. I am encouraged by seeing progress in my lifetime–for example, witnessing the election–twice!–of a mixed race president, and seeing how quickly same sex marriages are becoming legally recognized by an increasing number of states in the US.

    I think that the people of the non-Muslim world (perhaps just the Chinese all by themselves!) outnumber those in the Muslim world. I’ve heard that the Muslim world now might be undergoing its own version of the Christian world’s Reformation. More Muslims are speaking out against the fundamentalists. These things also give me hope that reason is in the ascendancy. I think that it will never fully triumph–it’s just the rider on the back of the immense elephant of human irrationality, after all, and we’ll always need to work to counter fundamentalism and similar -isms. But I think that, as we work on “forest management” (such as supporting the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, and promoting the education of Muslim girls and women), we are moving towards the day when, instead of the challenge of today’s wildfires of fundamentalism, we’ll have only small flare ups to face.

  50. Mary2 says:

    Yay, two cents’ worth, of course. In reality I have several American virtual friends (from this site) and only one, at the moment, non-virtual one who is working hard at getting me addicted to iced-tea (Who the hell thought of drinking that? I can barely tolerate hot tea let alone invent drinking the cold stuff!). I actually like the beverage: I haven’t yet stooped to drinking it out of a jar…

    I agree that reason and the better nature of humanity will never triumph fully; I think history shows us well enough that culture and politics ebb and flow or gains in human rights/civil liberties are lost through war or destruction. In the case of Muslim extremism (we must never forget that the loonies make up only a small percentage of the Muslim population), we can already see that, although destructive gains are being made in laws and education – precisely because we are too liberal to clamp down on ‘religious tolerance’ – the violent parts of their cause are already imploding into civil wars which should keep most of them occupied for the next couple of decades (unfortunately for the civilians in Afghanistan, Syria and potentially Egypt). The fad for Western converts blowing themselves up or attacking people with machetes will die out just as surely as did Left Wing bombs and plane hijacks of 60s and 70s Europe.

    I love your final sentence and agree fully. Just because the patient will never be ‘cured’ of the disease does not mean you stop treating and let them die. We keep fighting to improve the quality of life for those who are here because the alternative is that we are complicit in their, and our own, destruction.

  51. Mary2 and two cents worth – for some reassurance on the future of the human race, you should read The Better Angels of Our Nature – Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker. This is an extremely thorough analysis of violence and its causes throughout history up to the present. I was able to get a used hardback in excellent condition for under £10 here (I have no connection with Amazon or any of its marketplace sellers).

  52. Mary2 says:

    HFB, you really think human behaviour is improving – no matter the culture or circumstances? That’s a little too telelogical for me: I’m not comfortable with the idea that human behaviour is evolving along an upwards plane, that history is somehow leading us in a linear progression towards a higher end. Forgive me if I am overstating your position but I find it difficult to believe we are ‘better’ people than those of the Roman Empire just because we are 2000 years later. I think it’s likely that the future of the human race will be exactly like its past – some beautiful people and cultures doing wonderful things and some dark times and places that others will look back on and shake their heads.

    “Steven Pinker argues that modernity and its cultural institutions are actually making us better people” – I have no doubt that our modern cultural institutions are making giving the average ‘serf’ much more power and freedom from tyranny than ever before and making violence a lot harder to get away with but one only has to look at photos of Iran or Afghanistan in 60s and photos now to see how quickly those institutions and safeguards can be done away with. I DO have high hopes for the future of humanity – people are wonderful creatures but, as much as most of us strive to bask in the light, there will always be some who drag pockets of the planet back to the dark ages (maybe I’m overly pessimistic after watching the current Australian government???)

    You have piqued my curiousity HFB; I should read the book. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your reasoning for a less violent future.

  53. Mary2, they’re not my reasons – read the book, already!

  54. two cents' worth says:

    Thanks for the tip, HFB! I’ve heard about the book before this, but haven’t read it yet. My local library turns out to have a copy of it, so I’ve made a note to borrow and read it.

    I wonder what Pinker has to say about the role of telecommunications in reducing the amount of violence world-wide. I’m sure thousands of people were unintentionally injured or killed due in WWII and earlier wars, but I think collateral damage wasn’t discussed much; today, any collateral damage makes the news and is deplored. I suspect that the focus on collateral damage began when the news brought video clips of the Vietnam War to everyone’s TV. As the talk of collateral damage has risen, the number of people unintentionally injured or killed by military action has gone down significantly.

  55. hotrats says:

    It is an interesting sideline in the arguments on the impact of violence in the media, that the gory images of dead Vietnamese peasants and badly injured US troops on nightly network news actually played a significant role in turning public opinion against the war, and the corrupt Johnson and Nixon administrations that had pointlessly prolonged it.

    Similarly in Egypt and elsewhere mobile phones were on hand to record the snipers and police brutality, as well as the true scale of the protest and other facts not shown on state TV. Outside of North Korea, land of the Official Denial, it has got much harder to suppress the facts on the ground, so even if we are not becoming better en masse, at least it is getting easier to show what the real villains are up to.

  56. Mary2 says:

    Good point hotrats.
    HFB, damn. You saw through my cunning plan to get you to save me having to read the book.

  57. Mary2, Stephen Pinker backs up his thesis with numbers and facts. It’s hard to argue the point. We are living in the least violent time in human history, by any and every measure.
    The thing is, our perception has been skewed by the media because violence makes the news. “If it bleeds it leads”, the old newsroom motto. And with modern communication, a horrific violent act anywhere in the world is brought to our attention instantly. But the numbers don’t lie.
    It’s a very comforting book, probably less so if you are being robbed at gunpoint but at least you have the comfort of knowing you are a statistical anomaly.

  58. DH – summed it up nicely, thanks. Moving on to this week’s offering now.

    Look out Mo – IT’S BEHIND YOU!.

  59. ‘Ditching theism’ is how I argue we can combine scientific materialism with religion in a way that’s healthy for everyone


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