So, no.

No blinking this time.

└ Tags: ,

Discussion (93)¬

  1. Matt says:

    Ah yes, but we all know Scientology and The Moonies are bad, whereas Christianity and Islam are VERY GOOD THINGS.

  2. Ron+Murphy says:

    Off topic, but just a reminder to read the “What they’re saying…”, on the left. A special mention for Karl Gibserson of BioLogos. What a treasure.

  3. Alan Flynn says:

    Karl Gibberish, lol. Well you can’t please everyone I guess. Maybe Karl should be placed a little higher in the list in the interest of fairness to opposing views – not something Jesus & Mo are big on themselves however.

  4. pink+squirrel says:

    Christianity and Islam are VERY GOOD THINGS

    depends on your definition of good, otherwise your statement is just
    good ‘newspeak’

  5. Grumpy says:

    pink+squirrel: Think you need to re-calibrate your irony meter.

  6. machigai says:

    Thanks for the warning about blinking.
    You saved me some time.

  7. postmodernslavepoet says:

    The only difference between a religion and a cult is that one gets tax relief.

  8. Robert+Andrews says:

    A cult then is simply a belief system that hasn’t been around long enough to get an amount of members to publicly disagree about it’s not being a cult. So Mormonism is now rich and powerful. I would say Scientology is not got there quite yet.

    So it’s all about numbers and power resuling from the former.

  9. Ivar Husa says:

    Sorry not to include attribution, but somebody said “At the head of every cult is a leader who knows it is a fraud. In a ‘religion’ that person is dead.”

  10. jb says:

    I once heard one of my aunts, a devout Catholic, describe Catholicism as “the cult of Jesus.” Her point was that Catholicism was Christianity as Jesus intended, while the other Christian sects weren’t quite there. (I got the impression that this formulation wasn’t original to her, but Googling it doesn’t turn up anything interesting.)

    My own sense is that the only real difference between a cult and a religion is that a religion has acquired enough followers and political power to command the respect of non-believers. While the word “cult” generally has negative connotations, as the example of my aunt demonstrates, it’s certainly possible for mainstream believers to be comfortable with it, or even appropriate it.

  11. two cents' worth says:

    I agree with Robert+Andrews. I think that cult is to religion as pebble is to boulder. For example, in the first century CE, when Christianity had relatively few followers in the Roman empire, it was considered a cult.

    I wonder when a cult becomes a religion. How many followers is enough? Does the founding charismatic leader have to be dead (or, from the Christian point of view, gone to heaven)? If someone who is popular and/or powerful gives his or her sanction to a cult, is that alone sufficient for it to be considered a religion? Does it depend on how much harm the followers can cause everyone else? (The cult of Kali was not considered a threat to Christendom, but during the Crusades, followers of Christianity considered followers of Islam a threat, and the feeling was mutual.)

    “Cult” could also be used as a term of derision. On the playground, the big kids might tease a boy by calling him a baby; in the pub, we sometimes tease Christianity and Islam by calling them cults.

  12. two cents' worth says:

    Or, at least, the Barmaid does 🙂 .

  13. eddyline says:

    Someone once wrote that the difference between a religion and a cult is whether your leader is alive or dead.

  14. JRW says:

    You really it with this one! Bravo!

  15. JRW says:

    “Nailed” Doh!

  16. Moe, Larry & Curly says:

    @Alan – >>Maybe Karl should be placed a little higher in the list in the interest of fairness to opposing views – not something Jesus & Mo are big on themselves however.

    Seriously – not given to opposing views? Karl’s view is present – because in a list of accolades, it’s a;ways funny to include one that is the opposite. But note – Karl only comments on the humor aspect, and is not necessarily “an opposing view.

    When I first started reading this comic, I was astounded by the number of philosophical and historical responses – in academic fashion – (lacking vitriol or attack on the person, limiting it to the stated belief/quotation of either “book.”

    People have always had equal opportunity to comment here, quote scripture or theologians, – some with and without the fire & brimstone, and still received civil replies.

    Even more interesting is that when the cartoon was more targeted toward a specific aspect of Christianity OR Islam, I don’t recall either (note… I said ‘recall’) members of the other religion coming to the rescue of their opposite based on any grounds, from Freedom of Religion or simple respect of the other’s belief system. This is worth noting especially in the case of Islam, where Christ is considered to be an original prophet (if I’m not mistaken) and is in their book (think about it – a Jew not accepted by most Jews, responsible for the largest religious following, in the book of the second largest – but never defended by Islam within the comments!)

    Though difficult to subscribe to the notion that the audience response is demographically representative, it seems fair to think there might be ONE! in either group out of 2.5+ billion people already perverted by their respective systems to varying degrees.

    Although of late, the commentary just seems to be of the usual sort, •to say that this comic does not permit opposing views is just plain wrong• as the other comment sections of previous comics have demonstrated.

    (and to preserve the legitimate aspects of the responses, I was pleased to see that the Author closed comments after views were noted – and all that came afterwards were comments of vitriol – despite my own desire to add to the list, which likely would have just been redundant)

    The amount of information presented here by what I presume to be ‘scholarly’ is, at times, *outstanding* – and a learning experience, certainly for me.

    Such cartoons & the comments that followed provides both “the what” in the belief systems of others (via their comments) and the rational exploration of the flip-side by those that took the time to do so, and present a view that very specifically responded the “opposing view” with information permitting EVERYONE to learn something, about all sides.

  17. Reid+Malenfant says:

    …… and I had always thought that a cult was simply the derisory tag assigned to any upstart minority ‘faith’ by a smug self-assured majority one.

    Pebbles and boulders ……….. but no bedrock. Hmm, I’ve just Flintstone!

  18. Reid+Malenfant says:

    I’ meant to say: ” I’ve just come over all Flintstones” but, out of context, that sounds quite suspect.

    Best not post it at all …….. DOH! (Bugger, Simpsons now)

  19. Two cents worth, ” cult is to religion as pebble is to boulder” Nice comparison as to size but as an analogy it fails. Pebbles never become boulders. Mostly goes the other way.
    How about a cult is to religion as an ice cube is to a glacier or a cult is to religion as a snowflake is to an avalanche.
    A delightful resurrection, Author, though I do miss the blinking. That was such a precise way of showing the boys having just a hint of an epiphany.

  20. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    For example, islam’s a cult
    Criminal violence is the result
    Of a profit who was insane
    Some one else to always blame
    In everything seeing insult

  21. two cents' worth says:

    Good point, DH. Pebble:boulder came to my mind because a boulder can be more destructive than a pebble. If a snowflake represents a person, and a cult must have more than one person as a member, I’d now go with cult:religion :: snowball:avalanche.

  22. ebs001 says:

    The problem is that there is no hard and fast definition of “cult”. Case in point this cartoon, Author made up a definition to suit his belief that religions are cults. That’s fine but not particularly brilliant.

  23. June Skelton says:

    Just noticed that too, Ron. “… humor is humor and this cartoonist doesn’t have it.”

    Unlike Karl Giberson, who seems to have it in abundance, albeit a rather warped sense of humor. I mean anyone who pontificates on “scientific fundamentalism” is clearly having a laugh. And in the same blog he imagines that “Richard Dawkins grows ever more desperate and shrill.”

    Desperate? I’ve never noticed. And shrill? Does Karl actually know the meaning of those words, or is this simply another example of his oddball sense of humor? Richard Dawkins is perhaps the calmest and most decided scholarly gentleman I’ve ever had the privilege of listening to, while he held the auditorium spellbound with his discerning delivery.

    Here’s a link to Karl’s diatribe:

  24. David+Amies says:

    In French, ‘la religion’ implies Roman Catholicism. Les cultes are all the rest: Islam, Hinduism, Protestantism etc. So as far the French are concerned, there’s your answer.

  25. Ford Prefect says:

    ” I do miss the blinking. That was such a precise way of showing the boys having just a hint of an epiphany.”

    And that is why I don’t think blinking is appropriate here – there is no epiphany, they are absolute in their certainty that their religion has nothing in common with a cult.

  26. steeve says:

    Your real problem is when The Guardian describes you as a ‘cult’

  27. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Moe, Larry & Curly, that was quite the impressive rant my triumvirate friend, but did it not occur to you that Alan might just have been referring to the actual bloody prophets? You know, those two chaps revered by billions of people worldwide, the same two chaps not exactly renowned for their tolerance of opposing views?

    Hi all. Did you miss me?

  28. BobUnco says:

    Ivar Husa’s paraphrase about the originators of religions/cults knowing they are frauds is something I have pondered for a while. I have a couple of brothers-in-law who are clergy. I’ve known both since we were all young – around the half-century mark in one case, and I’m as certain as I can be that both are sincere, if deluded. (It’s a bit hard to keep from commenting when one puts up his forthcoming sermon topics on the net e.g. ‘What is God like’. I’m betting genocide, obsession with sex and playing games with his devotees’ heads didn’t get a mention.)

    If we go back to the originators of various religions, there doesn’t seem to be a general rule about their good faith. Some founders must have known that they are frauds e.g. Joe Smith. Mo’s victim, Aisha is reputed to have recognised that Mo’s revelations mirrored what he wanted to do anyway. The hadith describing how Mo overcame her father’s objections to handing over his under-age daughter is a case in point. Jesus’ bona fides is harder to form an opinion about. The story has been massaged so much that the reality, if there be one, is long lost.

    So to my point: With regard to founders of religions, how do you tell the frauds from the deluded, and does it matter anyway? Reckon there’s a PhD in it for someone. Anyone know a university with a good program in Anti-Religious Studies?

    And good to hear from you, AofS.

  29. two cents’ worth: well that settles it then. Snowball to avalanche it is.

    Acolyte of Sagan, I’m very sure I would have missed you if I were reading carefully enough to notice you were gone for a while. Now I feel bad for not missing you. Welcome back.

    On an excessively personal note, I had a prostate biopsy yesterday. Apparently gentlemen of my vintage are prone to prostate cancer, and I’ve been generating a high PSA count for some time now. The procedure removed any doubt about whether or not I might enjoy being the bottom for anal sex. Not that I had any doubt. A most unpleasant and painful experience, even ignoring the indignity involved. Thank you all for letting me share. Mortality can be a drag, eh.

  30. Dysania says:

    @June Skelton
    I think “shrill” describes every atheists, as far as religious believers are concerned.

  31. martin_z says:

    jb – “Her point was that Catholicism was Christianity as Jesus intended.”

    Yes, I’ve come across this one. I was never quite sure why he would have wanted everyone to worship in Latin. (OK, I know it’s changed now, but that was the case for over a thousand years….)

  32. FreeFox says:

    AoS: *Hugs* Sure did. What you been up to, old man?

  33. FreeFox says:

    @DH: Hey, don’t diss it until you’ve had a skilled practitioner go to work with tongue, massage oils, and warm hands. 😀 You know doctors, they like it when their procedures are scary and painful, it’s all a remainder of that religious conviction that it can’t be good for you unless it’s unpleasant. You know, you have way more nerve endings inside your butt than in your cock (especially if you’re circumcised). Either way, best of luck with the whole thing! Hope the results are as negative as Abrahamic religion’s relationship to fun sex. 😉

  34. FreeFox says:

    @ML&C: I agree, the quality of discourse in the Cock & Bull has deteriorated badly in the last 2 years. It’s sad, but it happens. I blame the complacency on the fact that the intellectual discussion with literalist religion has basically been won.

    With that victory in their pocket, most atheists are not prepared to deal with more serious theological or sociopolitical questions regarding religion, but rather conveniently (and intellectually dishonestly) mix them with new age quantum mysticism anti-vaxxer woo crap as a strawman and brush it all off together.

    Of course, to be fair, 99% of all religious people are literalist morons, and their religion is more of a psychological disease than a valid paradigm. Still, even then sometimes it seems that stopping at stating the obvious is like thinking you’ve done your part of dealing with depression when you slapped someone on the shoulder and called them a crybaby because their sadness isn’t rational.

  35. Ah, FreeFox. You I had been missing. It’s like old home week around here. Now if Haggis for Brains would drop in we’d have the core of the gang back together. Not meaning to leave out anybody. Ophelia and Miss Piggy leap to mind. NBH has been a constant, and mostly improving with the occasional relapse into mocking atheists. Have we heard from Florida lately? I do lose track.

    Anyway, FreeFox, no doubt you are correct about my recent experience, medical attitudes, and a similar experience under the influence of eroticism.. Still, that’s an investigation I shall avoid.

    Good to find that you have been lurking. Oddly enough, I suspected that my comment might bring you out of hiding. And with your old snap and superior, might I say supercilious, attitude intact. Have a pint on me, lad.

    My partner and I had been volunteering to help acclimatize Syrian refugees. Yesterday I was teaching some vocabulary to a young boy, pointing at various animal pictures and getting him to name them with me. When we got to “pig” he frowned and shook his head, indicating disgust. I told him that I like pigs. They are delicious. He doesn’t have the vocabulary to really discuss the subject, so I didn’t bother explaining that pigs are far from unclean. In fact they are the cleanest and most intelligent of farm yard animals. It made me a little sad to realize that already he has been indoctrinated with irrational bullshit and it’s probably going to stick with him for life.

    And yes, I realize that there are valid reasons to stop eating pigs. But it’s not because they are unclean in some spiritual/mystical way. They are delightful animals.

  36. HackneyMartian says:

    BobUnco –
    “The hadith describing how Mo overcame her father’s objections”
    Have you got the ref to hand? I’d like to file that one away.

    “Jesus’ bona fides is harder to form an opinion about”
    I’ve just read Reza Aslan’s ‘Zealot’. Anyone here have a view about it?

    Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods is a nice comic take on how cults grow & wither. I’m sure everyone here’s read that.

    Cult used to just mean worship; its modern journalistic use is what in the 18th century they called cant. cf Humpty Dumpty.

  37. pink+squirrel says:

    a cult is to a religion as a protest group is to a governing political party

  38. Oh Pink Squirrel. I like that one.

  39. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Darwin, just the standard prostate examination was enough for this old git after a lifetime of having the back alley a one-way street. Hope the results of your biopsy are good.
    Any farm parks (petting zoos) near you? Might be nice to take a group of those kids to see some little piglets for themselves: a cuter, cuddlier beast is not to be found anywhere outside of a chimp nursery. Sorry, cat fans, the internet has failed to corrupt me to your way of thinking????

    FreeFox, how are things? I gave myself a self-imposed ban from all internet stuff for reasons I haven’t time to explain this morning, save to say that I felt the rabbit hole fast approaching, and I had no intention of following Alice!

  40. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Those question marks left my device as a smiley emoticon.
    See, still can’t do tech!

  41. smartalek says:

    Whether the founder is dead or alive won’t suffice as the cult/religion determinant unless we’re willing to accept Scientology as having graduated. I suspect that’s a bridge too far for most readers here.
    I’d suggest adding in some/all of the following:
    Size of bank accounts and/or landholdings
    Number and power of lawyers, esp IRS specialists
    Number and relative fame of celebrity adherents
    Number of members who have run (is that the right idiom in the UK? I seem to recall thinking it might be “stand” on that side of the pond?) for President of the USA

  42. smartalek says:

    Or am I making some bad assumptions — and the consensus here would be that any such distinctions are bogus, and that they’re all cults?
    But that wasn’t the impression I was left with by the snowball-snowflake/avalanche analogy…

  43. JohnnieCanuck says:

    “A cult creates sharp distinctions between its members and the rest of society.”

    Whereas a religion has grown to the point where, by conversion and pogrom, its members constitute nearly all of a society. When your biggest concern is suppressing schisms involving a thousand congregations, rather than a hundred followers, you have arrived.

  44. dr John de Wipper says:

    Whether the founder is dead or alive won’t suffice as the cult/religion determinant unless we’re willing to accept Scientology as having graduated
    AFAIK, Scientology has graduated… They are accepted as religion in several countries. (but, also, considered for being forbidden in others; which brings them on par with eg Xtianism in Saud land)

  45. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    I always thought that the difference between cults and religions came down to the size of their following. In its formative years Christianity was a cult; even now its more extreme offshoots are seen as cults by mainstream Christians.

    I’m just glad that atheism isn’t following the example of religion and splintering into warring factions……….

  46. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    An afterthought; among the religious, a cult is any religion other than one’s own.

  47. Grumpy says:

    One delusional man’s cult is another delusional man’s religion.

  48. Acolyte, great ideas regarding the petting zoo. I’ll get right on it. You are indeed correct that no animal is cuter than a piglet. I might be able to arrange a visit while still appearing innocent.

    “I’m just glad that atheism isn’t following the example of religion and splintering into warring factions……….” Damn. There are signs that this could happen, or is happening, or has happened. We have “Dictionary Atheists” (a coin termed by PZ Myers) who insist that atheism only means not believing in any god, but has no social implications beyond that. Then we have the Atheism+ folks, among whom I stand, who believe that atheism automatically has logical extensions that go into rationality, feminism, and social justice.
    With Richard Dawkins putting his foot in his mouth far too often with Twitter, and Sam Harris advocating genocide and war crimes, we already have quite vitriolic debate between the factions. Who would have thought that Social Justice Warrior, or SJW, would ever become a pejorative term? What is the alternative? Fighting to prevent social justice? It’s all barking. Sometimes literally.
    I don’t think the groups have quite coalesced into distinct factions yet though I understand that the MRA (Mens Rights Activists/anti-feminist) atheists have adopted the fedora as their badge of membership. That’s a disturbing development. I like me a Borsslino and wish I could afford one now.

  49. Chris Squire says:

    ‘Religion . . 5. a. Belief in or acknowledgement of some superhuman power or powers (esp. a god or gods) which is typically manifested in obedience, reverence, and worship . . ’

    ‘Cult, n. . . 2.a. A particular form or system of religious worship or veneration, esp. as expressed in ceremony or ritual directed towards a specified figure or object . .
    1679 W. Penn Addr. Protestants ii. App. 245 Let not every circumstantial difference or Variety of Cult be Nick-named a new Religion . .

    b. A relatively small group of people having (esp. religious) beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister, or as exercising excessive control over members.
    . . 2013 C. Jones Child for Devil ii. 26 She went missing down south two years ago, joined a cult.’ [OED]

    I am a Christian
    You practice another religion
    He joined a cult.

    It all depends on your point of view.

  50. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Darwin, I must be out of practice, my sarcasm in my ‘splintering’ post went unnoticed.p
    There is a discussion further up this page about intolerance of opposing views; have you tried to post anything that even slightly deviates from the ideals held by P.Z and his adoring crowd? Would you believe that some poor sod would get torn a new one over there for daring to suggest, when one of them ‘came out’ as a dragon complete with ‘phantom’ wings and horns, that maybe they really weren’t a dragon, and that there may just be other factors at play? That they would delight in hounding probably the best writer the network had to the point that Ophelia eventually up and left, because she followed the wrong person on twatter, and because she refused to give a yes-or-no answer to a highly nuanced question that they demanded she answer, even after she gave a very good explanation as to why it was impossible to give a one-word answer? Or even that they say that a ‘dictionary’ atheist isn’t an atheist at all? Or that “if a minority member tells you something, you don’t question them or argue, you listen, learn, and accept”, even if what you are being told is obviously wrong or highly suspect? How about, despite it being explained that ‘butt hurt’ means acting like a child that’s had its bottom smacked, the phrase is not allowed there on pain of a bloody good kicking -albeit a verbal one – because it could be misinterpreted as a reference to anal rape?

    Going back to the dictionary atheist thing, there’s something they’re overlooking: sexism, racism, and all the other ills that plague society are, they say, approved by the three Abrahamic religions and so have no place in atheism, but that is missing two glaringly obvious points. First, look elsewhere in the holy books and you will find the promotion of love and charity and so on, so inclusion in those texts does not automatically make a virtue unworthy of inclusion in an atheistic philosophy; and second, the holy texts were not written or dictated by the gods, they were written by people, and people are a horrible, discriminatory species, and holding negative views whilst not believing in gods does not make that person a non-atheist, it just makes them an atheist who just happens to be a horrible person.

    As for SJWs, do they even know what a fucking warrior is? I’ll tell you what it isn’t; a person sitting at a keyboard accusing people of being transphobic shit-stains because they used a gendered pronoun without knowing the gender identity and preferred pronouns of the person being referenced, or ripping some poor devil to shreds for being so insensitive as not to give a trigger warning in a comment that contains something other than fluffy loveliness.

    I’ve always been an advocate of equality but a) I’ve always known that people are people, with all that entails, and b) I’ve never been a holier-than-thou arsehole about it.
    And shouldn’t equality for all mean just that, and not equality for all that agree 100? with us and the rest are not worthy?

    That rabbit hole is looming again!

    Oh, and I prefer a flat cap 🙂

  51. Jerry+www says:

    That 4th panel screams for the return of the blinking eyes.

  52. Jerry+www says:

    FreeFox says: @ML&C: I agree, the quality of discourse in the Cock & Bull has deteriorated badly in the last 2 years…… I blame the complacency on the fact that the intellectual discussion with literalist religion has basically been won.

    Strange, but I had attributed that all to the cost of drinks being raised, or as we say locally “That’s enough to piss off the pope”.

  53. plainsuch says:

    have you tried to post anything that even slightly deviates from the ideals held by P.Z and his adoring crowd?

    1. Sharp distinction between insiders and outsiders.___a ‘dictionary’ atheist isn’t an atheist at all/_check_

    2. adored leader ___P.Z. /_check_

    3. behavior must conform to rules ___ hounding Ophelia, because she followed the wrong person /_check_
    ___ ‘butt hurt’ the phrase is not allowed there /_check_

    Atheism isn’t a religion, but apparently people can make a cult out of anything.

  54. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Jerry, if it’s cheap beer you want there’s always Wetherspoons! I don’t know about the standards of conversation there, but at those prices you pays your money and you takes your chance.

  55. Acolyte, sorry I missed the sarcasm expressed by your ellipses. Yes, I’ve heard all of that, and experienced some of it myself. Mostly I agree with PZ, but he does set a very low bar for calling somebody a terrible person, as for example when he went off on Elon Musk simply for dreaming about colonies on Mars.

    Generally I agree with PZ. His horde of followers is another matter. I don’t post on his threads, with a couple of exceptions, because the slightest hint that you are disagreeing with the consensus opinion calls for a flame job.

    I made the mistake once of observing that a company marketing an egregiously sexist slogan on a shirt might not be stupid, but making a bid for attention in a crowded field. That caused the assumption that I agreed with the sentiment on the shirt, which I didn’t, and therefore I am a sexist pig with no brains at all.

    I find the opposition to be far worse with their vulgarity and dirty tricks. I do consider myself a SJW, but I hope I keep a sense of humour about it, being far from perfect myself. I generally try to be PC, simply because that means trying not to offend minority groups who get enough shite from our culture already. I like multiculuralism, provided that means allowing each culture to share cuisine, dress, dance, art, music and fellowship with all of us, provided it is additive and not an attempt to stop us from enjoying our own culture. And mostly provided that the abominations of other cultures, the FGM, forced marriages, honour killings, and repressive/intolerant social attitudes are left behind when they move to my country.

    I detest cultural relativism, which I think was an attempt by anthropologists to counter the moralizing missionaries, but got way out of hand.

    I do get very tired of the language police, but I certainly don’t long for the good old days of sexist and racist jokes and demeaning terms accepted as normal.

    I’m not a big fan of patriarchy, and I think rape culture does exist and was very recently accepted. (“Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker”) Not sorry to see some changes.

    But enough about me. What do you think about what I’m saying? 🙂

  56. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    I think that we are of one mind, Darwin, and I fully agree in principle with the goals of the social justice advocates. Hell, it’s what I’ve stood for all of my life so far.
    Please don’t think it”s just the horde I have a problem with, I simply used them as they typify what I see as the biggest problem facing our side, what Jerry Coyne labelled the authoritarian left. Their mission statement could easily read ‘Aiming for equality by alienating one ally at a time’.
    How many times have we laughed when believers have come here calling us’fundamental’ atheists? Yet there now exists a growing number of atheists and liberals who, were they a religious group, we wouldn’t hesitate to call fundamentalist literalists; a group who seem to believe that their way is the only way and who will not tolerate deviation from the script, and see any criticism, or even requests for clarification as an attack on their ideals in exactly the same way that questioning or criticising Islam gets one accused of Islamophobia; Christ, it’s often these same supposed liberals who are the first to throw the Islamophobia label at us.
    We are also seeing – and I know that this will leave me open to all kinds of accusations – a concerted attempt by what I will probably unwisely call a new generation of trans-women to take over the whole feminist movement because traditional feminism has neglected to include the needs of women with penises. There can be no conversation, no open debate; they are women purely by dint of saying so and theywill have immediate access to all that women have struggled to gain for themselves. Please forgive the following analogy but I can think of no better way of describing how it looks to an outsider. It is as though a splinter group of the patriarchy have donned dresses and gone to reclaim all that those bitches have wrested from their grip over the last century or so.

    I think I’ve said enough for now.

    Please note that these views are my own, and are not to be taken as representative of the opinions of Author or other users of this hallowed site.

  57. dr John de Wipper says:

    DH & AoS:
    You have really expanded upon one of my basest principles

    DH & AoS:
    You two have really expanded one of my deepest principles:
    “Be very tolerant except towards intolerance”
    (Although my deepest principle is not to be too principial about principles)

    “Be very tolerant, except to intolerance
    (although my deepest principle is not to be too principial about principles)

  58. dr John de Wipper says:

    Where the heck did that duplication come from…

  59. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Welcome to the echo chamber, Dr. 🙂

  60. Jerry+www says:

    You can say that again, if the echo chamber doesn’t do it for you.

  61. Acolyte: And just this morning, a perfect example of what you were saying on a Pharyngula thread:

    19 March 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Brett: “Folks in India have lots of access to antibiotics, for example.”

    Do you ever take a moment to listen to yourself? To realize what a massive fucking asshole you are? Take a few minutes out, you need them.

    Read more:

    It’s like Caine was trying to make your point for you. No explanation of why the commenter is a “massive fucking asshole”. Just a very hot flame.
    I know PZ has tried in the past to chill this kind of behaviour, but he seems to attract followers who have hair triggers and no restraint.
    I’ll save my comments for the Cock and Bull.

  62. And now i’m feeling a certain amount of shame for telling a new commenter to fuck off, very quickly, with no explanation of why, because he showed up on one of these threads and lobbed criticisms of the commenters and our beloved Author (Who fairly quickly corrected my behaviour.)
    I do hate it when I am both the pot and the kettle all at once.

  63. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    I don’t see a need to feel guilty. There’s a world of difference between being pounced on for an innocent comment or question, and being shown the door for coming in and insulting everybody.
    I speak, of course, from the experience of many years standing doors in pubs and clubs. I’ve never ejected anybody for asking where the loos ate or if the beer’s decent, but anybody who came in with the sole intention of causing trouble very quickly found a hand on their shoulder guiding them rather rapidly back outside.

  64. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Heh, I:be just recalled one poor mutt who walked to the bar and, not being served immediately, shouted to the two busy barmaids,
    “Oi, which one of you tarts do I have to fuck to get a drink in here?”
    One of those tarts was Mrs. o’S.
    The other tart was my sister.
    I enjoyed saying goodnight to him. His enjoyment was somewhat muted..

  65. pink+squirrel says:

    interesting Typo AoS

    “asking where the loos ate ”
    not sure I would want to visit a pub with carnivorous toilets

  66. Acolyte, having now met and had conversations with a few trans men and women, I must say that I agree with them. We don’t want a trans man forced to use the ladies washroom, nor a trans woman forced into the gents.

    One part of me wants to say that denying reality is a symptom of insanity, and if you’ve got a pair of balls and a dick you are a man. But it seems that gender is not quite so binary. I’m told that trans is the new gay, and I can see why. They are a group that has had a lot of shite thrown at them for no damn good reason.

    I could see it as the patriarchy trying to reclaim what they have lost to feminism, except that it seems to be not the patriarchy, not men, but women who happen to have the wrong bodies. I’m okay with accepting them as women. Or men, if they trans the other way. The ones I’ve met seem very convinced that they are what they are. Who am I to cause them problems?

  67. pink+squirrel says:

    Applause for Darwin Harmless

  68. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Datrwin, I have no doubt that the vast majority of transgender people are fair and decent folk who just want to be accepted for who they are, just like anybody else. Who could have a problem with that?
    My beef is, as usual, with the one percent who make ninety-nine percent of the noise and presume to speak not only for the entire spectrum, but also for the entire gender they identify with, all despite having views, demands, and expectations far removed from what the mainstream are seeking. Transgender’s very own Horde, if you will, with the same authoritarian stance and ‘disagree even slightly and you are the enemy’ mentality.
    Youthful arrogance is one thing, but when a bunch of twenty-something trans-women fresh from or still at university decide that they are better qualified to run the feminist movement than those know-nothing cis-women, well, that’s simply breathtaking.
    When they tell us that non-transitioning trans-women have vaginas, wombs, clits and breasts; that they do have periods, can get pregnant and have abortions, is it not right to call them on those claims or would that genuinely be denying their womanhood?
    All of the above does, of course, qualify me as transphobic in the eyes of that vociferous minority. Were I a cis woman and a feminist activist and public speaker then I would be labelled a TERF and find myself no-platformed at events organised by or involving the transHorde.
    Yet my opinions really amount to no more than:
    Transgender people are real.
    Transgender people know their own gender, and the sooner this is accepted by society in general the better.
    Transgender people deserve the same rights and protections as everybody else; no more and no less.
    Physical impossibilities are physical impossibilities, claiming otherwise does not make it so, and nobody should be compelled to accept them. Leave credulity to the credulous.
    Is any of that in any way dismissive of transgendered people? I don’t think so. Dismissive of bullshit claims certainly, but then I’ve always been been bullshit exclusive.

    Now that’s been said, I will add that seeing this issue brought to the fore as it has been is very encouraging, but I would advise patience; anybody hoping for an overnight, society-wide attitude change is going to be disappointed, especially when the issue at hand is one that is very little known of or understood by the majority
    But, take heart. I have now been alive long enough to have seen newspaper articles running the whole gamut from the prosecution of, to the marriage of homosexuals. I’ve seen mixed-race relationships turn from something bringing shame on families and being the focus of violence from workaday bigots, to something so commonplace as to barely merit mention. I’ve seen one of the most racist countries in the developed world elect a black man as president …twice.

    I’m not claiming that all problems are solve, far from it, but I have noticed a tendency for change to happen quicker. We are a pretty accepting bunch really, (most of) us humans, especially when we have the relevant information laid out nice and clearly
    All that needs to be done is to keep the momentum going, to keep pressing your claims, and I think that I may yet live to see another great change in society, another victory for equality.
    And it wouldn’t hurt to gag the lunatic fringe for the duration; it helps in attracting the support of the general populace when they’re not being asked to support impossible claims (Trump notwithstanding, Republican and credulity go hand in hand).

  69. pink+squirrel says:

    One of the notable things with gender dysphoria is that it does not appear to have a single origin but would seem to be a common shared manifestation of a variety of different causes.
    I have read somewhere that it is far more common than popularly supposed.
    It is only extreme cases that take the path – milder cases would likely not notice this condition in themselves .

  70. Gotcha, Acolyte. And agreed. No quarrel here.

    Pink squirrel, yes. mild gender dysphoria might go unnoticed and be dismissed, just as mild homosexual attraction might go unnoticed and be dismissed. But all shades of human sexuality are far more common than many people might think. I like the saying: Normal is just a word we use for people we don’t know very well.

  71. jb says:

    If you are going to be talking about “trans-people,” I think it’s helpful to know something about BIID.

    My question is this: while one should never want to deliberately make another person’s life more difficult, at what point should intellectual honesty compel you to acknowledge that you have finally stepped out of the realm of normal human variation, and into the realm of flat out mental illness?

  72. pink+squirrel says:

    that you have finally stepped out of the realm of normal human variation, and into the realm of flat out mental illness?
    A good question in relation to Religion
    the answer would be somewhere in the era of
    ‘when the condition disables normal mental life function’
    thus trans-people are sane because the condition is not damaging to life function
    whereas BIID probably is because it does interfere
    the info on BIID does indicate that it arises from a neurological pathway that is unusual
    the answer would be somewhere in the era of
    ‘when the condition disables normal mental life function’

    thus trans-people are sane because the condition is not damaging to life function
    especialy if they have had the upgrade operation
    whereas BIID perhaps is because it does interfere with normal life functions

    this also means that belief in ‘god’ is insanity because it often does interfere with the sufferers life and/or the physical/mental health of their children

  73. pink+squirrel says:

    apologies for the cut and paste error causing a repeat mid comment

  74. two cents' worth says:

    DH, I hope you feel better soon–both in body (after that procedure) and in spirit (coping with the suspense while awaiting the biopsy results).

    As for the time when you told off that new J&M commenter, you’re human, just like the rest of us. We don’t always live up to our own standards. But you are a humane person. When the Author expressed his feelings on the matter, you didn’t react defensively, and you haven’t repeated the mistake. I think you should treat yourself with compassion when the incident comes to mind and think of it as a lesson learned.

  75. two cents' worth says:

    David+Amies, Latin is similar to French, in that religio was the term for the state religion of ancient Rome; superstitio was the term for all the rest. On the other hand, Roman Catholicism has been a comparatively discrete religion, while the state religion of ancient Rome was syncretic, so the line between religio and superstitio isn’t distinct. Christianity was unusual because it started as a superstitio but eventually became the religio .

    By the way, superstitio didn’t mean “superstition,” but “doing or believing more than was necessary” to keep the gods on your side.

    More interesting info. about this is available at

  76. two cents' worth says:

    FreeFox, it’s good to hear from you! You sound better than you did the last time you posted. I hope you’re safe and well.

  77. two cents' worth says:

    AoS, it’s good to hear from you, too! Your description of the incident involving the “poor mutt” made me smile. I know what you mean about the rabbit hole–I fear I’m about to step over its edge. I think I’d best go back to lurking for now 🙂 .

  78. dr John de Wipper says:

    Pink squirrel
    this also means that belief in ‘god’ is insanity because it often does interfere with the sufferers life and/or the physical/mental health of their children
    Hear, hear!!!
    (and good to meet someone in the echo chamber; now it seems less lonely)

  79. two cents’ worth, thanks for the kind words. I appreciate.

    jb, “At what point should intellectual honesty compel you to acknowledge that you have finally stepped out of the realm of normal human variation, and into the realm of flat out mental illness?” A difficult question.

    I posted recently about attending a Catholic funeral for a teen, and from my understanding of reality the delusion was very thick there. I would call it insanity. It’s impossible for me to compare that delusion with the delusion a woman might have that she’s in the body of a man, even If I classify this conviction as a delusion. I think, in both cases, it’s wiser and kinder to keep whatever thoughts I might have on the validity of these judgements to myself. Not much good would be served by telling the boy’s parents that he hasn’t gone to meet Jesus, that he’s gone and all that remains is a bag of meat and formaldehyde in the casket. And not much good would be served by me telling a trans woman that she’s really a delusional man. In both cases, the bearers of the conviction are otherwise very high functioning. It would be presumption on my part to be “intellectually honest”.

    Where this discussion becomes important is in cases such as recent laws passed in Texas calling for a high fine for a genetically male person (whatever that means) using the female washroom.

    The trans men I have met came complete with masculine physiques and beards. Only an idiot would want to force them into a ladies washroom. Some of the trans women I have met were petite and attractive. Forcing them into a mens washroom would put them in obvious danger.

  80. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    two cents’ worth, it’s been a while, I trust everything’s good with you.
    Lurking wouldn’t have helped me as it was reading the increasingly bizarre, disconnected from any definition of reality rantings of the social justice lunatic fringe (ironically a phrase that would cause untold rage among the very people it applies to. Lunatic is a verbotten word, defined as an ableist slur in their alternative dictionary) that was giving my arse a headache. If all of the energy expended in expressing their self-righteous anger could be collected and stored, the world’s impending energy crisis would no longer be a problem. Well, for the next billion years or so.
    It’s hard to appreciate the mature, calm, and considered discussion of a subject as sensitive as transgenderism (is that a word?), that we’re having here unless one has seen how attempts at similar discussions go pretty much anywhere else on the web!

  81. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    jb, your question about mental illness is a valid one, if in all likelihood impossible to answer definitively.
    First, one has to accept that mental illnesses do exist, which should be an unnecessary thing to say were there not people who would tell us that to even mention mental illness is ableist, and others who claim that there are no mental illnesses, all behaviour sits somewhere on the spectrum of normality (they do love their spectra, the ideal way to avoid dealing with reality and end debates. Well, spectra and shouting).
    Such people are, of course, dangerously wrong. Tell a person they might have a mental illness and they might just seek help; tell them that they are behaving perfectly normally in accordance with their positioning on a spectrum and they won’t.
    I find pink squirrel’s answer to be far too simplistic. There are many things we do that can impact our lives, very rarely are they mental illnesses. Alternatively, there is no consensus that says something has to be deleterious in order to be a mental illness.
    As much as some would love to be the case, we simply cannot fit people into neatly labelled boxes or place them on reality-denying spectra. Not every child with behavioural issues has ADHD or sits within the spectrum of Asbergers, but apparently many people have lost sight of the fact that sometimes kids are little shits. Why admit to having a horror for a child, which carries the suggestion that you may not be the best parent in the world when you can saddle it with a psychological disorder and ease your own conscience. Besides, naughty kids are hard work; get it labelled and on sedatives instead.

    I do have some thoughts on the psychological aspect of trans. issues, but I still need to get them straight in my own mind before adding them here.

  82. jb says:


    Evaluating people on the basis of “life function” is certainly meaningful, but I don’t think it works very well as a definition of “mental illness.” There are people with schizophrenia, or autism, or OCD, who nevertheless manage to be higher functioning than many people who qualify as “normal.” That doesn’t mean there is nothing wrong with them though! Also, I should mention that — just as with trans-people — people with BIID who manage to get the offending limb disappeared often report feeling much better. (Consider, for example, the case of One Hand Jason). I guess I’m happy for them all — but there is no way in hell I am ever going to pretend that I see their condition as anything other than horrifying and tragic mental illness.

    (Also, whatever else it may be, as the default condition of humanity for hundreds of thousands of years, religion definitely does not count as mental illness! Whether or not any of it is true is, or course, an entirely separate question…)

    @Darwin Harmless

    I like your analogy of the Catholic funeral, but I don’t think you have lined it up properly. It’s one thing to politely sidestep the issue of the final disposition of the teen in question. It would be quite another if you felt pressured to positively affirm that you truly believed the boy was in Heaven, because to do otherwise would hurt the parents’ delicate feelings, and that would be unkind. (Which is, of course, the worst thing in the universe). Are you telling my you wouldn’t resent that?

    Well I resent being told that, as a matter of kindness, I have an obligation to pretend I believe that surgery and hormone treatments can change a man into a women, or vice versa. I believe no such thing, and I am not going to pretend that I do! Further, I value truth above kindness, and I believe that a society where it is normative for people to speak what they believe to be the truth is a healthier society, and in my opinion a more admirable one, than a society where people feel intimidated into hiding their beliefs.

    This works both ways of course: I am perfectly comfortable with the idea that some people who I consider disordered might tell me that they don’t give a damn what I think, and that they are going to live their lives as they see fit. In fact I think that’s the right attitude! What I am not going to do is let anyone manipulate me by holding themselves hostage, and demanding that I submit, and say the words they want to hear, or else I will be responsible for their feeling really really bad about themselves. Not going to happen unless they beat those words out of me. (Which, of course, is exactly what the Transgender Horde is trying to do!)

    (As for which restroom men should be allowed to use once they’ve modified their bodies to the point where they can pass as petite women, well, you’ve got a point. (sigh) And what about the freaky people who are only half way there? I’m glad I’m not the one writing those laws! Maybe we’ll just have to get rid of multi-person restrooms entirely, and go with the single user locked door restrooms you see in a lot of stores now days. Seems like an awful lot of trouble though to placate a tiny but loud minority!)

  83. jb says:


    I didn’t see your post because it came in while I was composing mine. I don’t have anything pointed to say about it though, because it seems sensible enough. Also, because it’s my bedtime. If you have anything to say transwise before the next comic I’ll be interested to see it.

  84. HaggisForBrains says:

    Good dialogue AoS and DH. I’m still lurking here, but unlike you two, seldom have anything substantial to add. I do like a bit of entertainment, though, so you should check out this apt commentary on Donald Drumpf

  85. Micky says:

    JB, your link to the’tiny but loud minority’ article was worth wading through all the PC gibberish preceding it, thank you.

  86. dr John de Wipper says:

    OT, but,
    what about Bruxelles today?
    All in the name of the hideous moon-god.
    But even more shocking (to me): in several schools in NL. MANY pupils of the-religion-of-peace were CELEBRATING the events! Still more shocking: a teacher twittered his horror over it, and soon was visited by 3 police officers.
    No, NOT to point out the celebraters, but to ORDER him to REMOVE the tweet (on order of the maire, in other words, otherwise his job was in jeopardy).
    ….. this world really has gone mad….

  87. pink+squirrel says:

    What I am not going to do is let anyone manipulate me by holding themselves hostage, and demanding that I submit, and say the words they want to hear, or else I will be responsible for their feeling really really bad about themselves. Not going to happen unless they beat those words out of me. (Which, of course, is exactly what the Transgender Horde is trying to do!)

    So Basically what you are saying is that you refuse to be polite to those who have changed their gender prefix.
    are you therefore going to refuse to use the new name of anyone who has changed their name for whatever reason including hetro marriage
    whatever the precise cause of the condition Transwomen are women and deserve to be treated as such – to whatever that means to someone
    true some MTF are only part way along, however given the ever increasing waiting times in the UK and the high expense in it cannot be too surprising that not all can in a preferred timescale.
    IT IS NOT a lifestyle choice

  88. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    pink squirrel, the’transgender horde’ jb referred to isn’t transgender people in general, it’s the phrase I coined earlier in this thread to describe those who insist that all must accept whatever they’re told to accept. jb is insisting that he does not believe that a man can really become a woman, and that he will not be coerced into saying anything other.
    That’s fine; I’m sure nobody here wants anybody to believe anything just because we’re told to. That’s religion’s way of doing things.
    But that’s as far as I’ll defend jb. Everybody has the right to be a grumpy sod; everybody has the right to think whatever they want. I respect those rights, but I will not respect somebody who describes people going through the physical and psychological trauma of gender realignment therapy as ‘freaky’!
    As a rule, intelligent and mature folk don’t react to something they don’t understand with childish insults; they either take the effort to understand or ignore it.

    Haggis, I’ve been watching the rise of Trump with a mixture of fascination and horror. My only comment for now is that I am amazed at how easily he has brought the racist undercurrents to the surface. Nigel Farage must be exhausted from taking notes!

  89. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Dr. John, I’m all out of words right now except to say that terror attacks are going to do the Muslim population of Europe no favours
    When the IRA changed tactics in the 1970’s and extended their bombing campaign to mainland Britain, it wasn’t very long before an Irish accent produced immediate suspicion and fear. A stranger with an Irish accent was in real danger of ‘preemptive’ violence from that small section of the populace that needed little encouragement to get physical with outsiders.j
    That minority notwithstanding, the UK is a very successful example of a multicultural country, surprisingly so since mass immigration only really began during my lifetime. The initial hostility and mistrust of the black and brown faces appearing on our streets soon abated when it was realised that there was nothing to fear, but whilst it lasted the hostility and violence was horrendous.
    I for one never again want to see gangs roaming our cities on missions of ‘Paki-bashing’, but I fear that every terrorist attack on Europe brings those gangs ever closer. Many people are still on tenterhooks here over the London bombings and Paris attacks. I dread to think what yesterday’s attacks will do to the minds of people already jittery around brown people.

  90. Haggis, thanks for that link. I’m still laughing. The guy totally nailed it.

  91. jb says:


    So Basically what you are saying is that you refuse to be polite to those who have changed their gender prefix.

    Wow, you are really into politeness, aren’t you! But I’m a little confused. Are you telling me that, out of politeness, I ought to pretend that surgery and hormones can change a person’s sex? Or are you telling me that, out of politeness, I ought to believe it? If it’s the former then discussion is possible. But I suspect it’s the latter, and that’s, well, disturbingly similar to certain conversations I’ve had with religious fundamentalists.

    Your question about names is kind of a non-sequitur. There is no dispute that names are arbitrary, so changing one’s name is hardly analogous to changing one’s “gender prefix.”

    I certainly do agree though that mental illness is not a lifestyle choice.


    I will not respect somebody who describes people going through the physical and psychological trauma of gender realignment therapy as ‘freaky’! As a rule, intelligent and mature folk don’t react to something they don’t understand with childish insults; they either take the effort to understand or ignore it.

    You do understand, don’t you, that not everyone using a public restroom will be as supremely “intelligent” and “mature” as you are? Do the sensibilities of those sorts of people deserve any consideration, or are they too far down the food chain to matter?

    And again, what’s with the hypersensitivity about language? If I had screamed “freaky” in some poor freak’s face as he was doing his freaky business, that would be something to get upset about. But if my use of mildly colorful language while trying to express myself on an Internet forum is enough to give you the vapors, you are a delicate flower indeed! (Seriously, I’m pretty sure that most of the world’s population right now would find the people we are talking about to be highly disconcerting, at minimum. Do they lose your respect as well if they say what they think?)

    the UK is a very successful example of a multicultural country, surprisingly so since mass immigration only really began during my lifetime

    One word: Rotherham.

    A great big lesson came out of Rotherham, and that’s the lengths to which British elites will go to deny and suppress information about problems stemming from mass immigration and multiculturalism. Given that, why should I trust you when you tell me everything is wonderful? How would you really know anyway? I do know the country isn’t falling apart; that there are no “rivers of blood.” (So far, anyway). Yet I have also read numerous accounts of serious problems associated with immigrant communities, in Britain and in other European countries. I don’t live there, I don’t go those communities, so what do I believe? The sunny official story, or the darker story that seeps out through the cracks?

    What does seem undeniable to me is that there was no gain for the British or European peoples. Their leaders threw away the benefits of ethnically homogeneous societies as an act of moral exhibitionism. Look at us! See how virtuous we are! Hitler would never have flooded his own country with aliens who were foreign in race, culture, and religion. But we have, and that makes us as different from Hitler as it is possible to be! The fact that there were no benefits for their own people, and potentially serious long-term downsides, wasn’t even interesting to them. It was all about bloody showing off.

    (BTW, so far I haven’t heard of any terrorist attacks in Poland or Hungary. Have I missed something…?)

  92. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    jb, I would certainly wonder at the sensibilities of people who feel the need to check the genitals of others using public toilets (restroom? How twee. It’s a room for shitting, not for resting), and besides, you were talking about your opinions, not those of a ubiquitous ‘they’. So I have to ask, how would you know if that person who’s just gone into the cubicle has a penis or vagina, or if their tiny penis is just that, or is being deliberately shrunk prior to realignment surgery? Or in other words, by what criteria do you decide whether that person is a man, an unfortunate man, a woman or a freak?
    To answer another part of that question, there are people far better educated than me who can’t deal with the idea of transgender people and there are those far less educated who will have no problems with the idea. If the sensibilities of supposed adults are so shaken by somebody else’s genitals then I would suggest that the problem lies with them. But I ask again, why the fuck are they checking out other peoples’ genitals anyway?
    Do you really not see the problem with your (not the anonymous ‘they’ you invoke) use of ‘freaky’? It has nothing to do with vapours and everything to do with tact and discretion when dealing with a sensitive subject which is prone to enough discrimination already. Or is that all secondary to your valued honesty? Just out of interest, do you refer to black people as niggers? Gay men as faggots? Women as bitches? I’ll hazard a guess that you don’t, so why do you revert to childish taunts when the topic is one that you are so obviously squeamish about?

    As to your views on immigration: ethnic homogeneity? Really? Racial purity by any other name still smells like white supremacist bollocks, and if that’s the level you want to debate at I would suggest you find one of the many far-right, National Socialist sites on the internet.

  93. jb says:


    Although there are things I could say, I’m really just not particularly interested in making the effort (composing these tiny little essays always ends up taking way more of my time than than I intended) to defend my casual use of the word “freaky,” and after rereading the paragraph in which I used it I’m comfortable just letting it stand.

    I’m more interested in talking about immigration. I raised some substantive questions: Can the official story be trusted? Were there any benefits for the natives (other than their elites being able to feel good about themselves and how tolerant they are)? Are there advantages to homogeneity over diversity? You gave what is the classic liberal response whenever the value of mass immigration questioned, which is to gasp in horror, and allude darkly to racism and Nazism. So I’m going to double down.

    One of the central dogmas of the liberal religion is that bigotry is the Devil. It is the greatest of all evils, it is hiding under every bed, and no quarter must ever be given to it. And yet, occasionally, horrifyingly, the bigots seem to be right. I am going to assert that Europe would have been vastly better off today if it had refused to allow immigration from Muslim countries. This would clearly have been bigoted, according to right thinking liberal principles. And yet, in retrospect, it seems clear to me that, in this particular case at least, the people of Europe would be enormously better off today if their leaders had had the wisdom and courage to be bigoted.

    Do you agree? Or will you argue that, despite everything, Europe is better off with the large Muslim minorities that tolerant, open-minded liberal policies have given it? I’m interested in seeing whether you will have an argument, or whether you will simply gasp in horror again.


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