61 thoughts on “My first security

        1. the KR-111 – which unfortunately for Richard III, didn’t go into service until after the battle of Bosworth; in other news – Spartacus really did have a Piper Cub.

    1. With rational argument & evidence! (In fact Jerry has a test tube full of specially trained Drosophila that he will release when under attack, crying “fly my pretties”!)

        1. If Jerry didn’t spend so much time out of the lab, we could even have gone with “Flies, my precious…”.

  1. It’s bad enough that you’re an atheist Jerry, just don’t also tell them that you voted for Obama.

  2. Looks like the autodidact version of Jason Statham escorting a gentle, meek, and mild infidel to the Fernbank Museum.

    1. If he’d been doing his job properly, he’d have been watching the audience and listening to the earpiece from the auditorium staff. No time or attention to the one person you can be sure won’t shoot the speaker (repeatedly).

      1. Yes, he did this. He was up front and watching the audience while our plain clothes security was in the back watching lecture attendees.

  3. Whoever thought an academic would need security for a public lecture oops I forgot you are in that region of the country where john Scopes came from and evolution is the topic.

  4. Reminds me of an apocryphal Einstein story.

    There’s a story about how Dr. Albert Einstein was travelling to Universities in his car , delivering lectures on his theory of relativity. During one journey, the driver remarked ” Dr. Einstein, I have heard you deliver that lecture about 30 times. I know it by heart and bet I could give it myself.”

    “Well, I’ll give you the chance”, said the Dr. “They don’t know me at the next University, so when we get there, I’ll put on your cap, and you introduce yourself as Dr. Einstein and give the lecture.”

    The driver delivered Einstein’s lecture without any mistakes. When he finished, he started to leave, but one of the professor stopped him and asked a complex question filled with mathematical equations and formulas. The driver thought fast. “The answer to that problem is so simple,” he said, ” I’m surprised you have to ask me. In fact, to show you just how simple it is, I’m going to ask my driver to come up here and answer your question”.

          1. Come on Haggis! Does it seem likely to you that, even if Al did go on some big barnstorming relativity tour (US or Europe) with his own personal driver, that no one at a particular University that booked him, including the learned audience members, would not have known what he looks like? Wouldn’t his notoriety have been the reason that he could have embarked on such a tour in the first place?

            Also, did his driver do the lectures in a thick accent as well?

            Finally, even if the driver heard the lectures 30 times, what is the likelihood that such a person could give a flawless lecture on something like relativity? Was the driver also physics professor who drove people around as a second job?

            Are interested in some bridge real estate? : )

            1. Are you telling me that my title deeds for the Brooklyn Bridge are worthless? At least I didn’t fall for that London Bridge scam, although I nearly exchanged my genuine solid gold brick for it.

              Naรฏve? Me?

  5. Actually the security guard is a fellow heathen and a friend of our group. We hired him specifically because he was amenable to hearing what Dr. Coyne had to say last night.

    And yeah, we did have a few nut-jobs present at the lecture who we were concerned about.

      1. Thank you Atlanta — for taking real dangers seriously and for refusing to be intimidated. BTW Mr. Security, security doesn’t smile. Check out the Secret Service sometime.

      2. Unfortunately, our videographer got stuck at work and arrive at the lecture almost 15-20 minutes in, so no video.

  6. I have been to three atheist conventions which had to have armed guards. At 2 of them, everyone who walked into the room had to go through a metal detector and pass a couple of bomb-sniffing dogs who had already gone over the area.

    The speakers whose lives were threatened were Ayan Hirsi Ali and Mikey Weinstein. And their lives (and possibly our own) were in danger from the violent “retribution” of fundamentalists. In Ayan’s case they were Muslim, in Mikey’s they were Christian. Same damn thing: they can’t handle dissent.

    My understanding is that the death threats these activists received beforehand were very specific — and very credible. I’m curious as to whether Jerry’s security detail was just on general principles … or what?

    1. We hired him since Dr. Coyne was giving his most inflammatory speech, “Why Religion and Science are Incompatible”, and not his book speech in this area. The event was well publicized in the community and we had a good many religious types in attendance. It was just a safety precaution.

      1. Yes, I’m grateful to Pradeep for having security there, and equally grateful that they weren’t needed.

        I myself am not afraid of being hurt; I’m a small fish and if somebody wanted to damage atheism, they’d go after a big gun. I don’t take death threats seriously.

      1. I concur. And since we’re speaking in gross generalities, I’ll add that for the most part Southerners are very nice people.

  7. Stonyground Says:
    It would be really cool if the big guy was a fan of Douglas Adams and was just waiting for the right moment to say, “I’m Prof Coyne’s body guard, I’m responsible for Prof Coyne’s body, I’m not responsible for yours, so take it away before it gets damaged”.

  8. Religions that preach that human morality consists of obeying divine commands undermine morality by teaching people that they should not make moral decisions but simply obey orders perceived to be divine in origin. Because the followers of divine commands do not make moral decisions, they don’t feel guilty for their actions โ€“ since they are simply obeying orders โ€“ and without guilt, they do not care about the consequences of their actions. Such a preachment allows people to feel that they are not responsible for the consequences that their actions have on others and that all responsability for making moral decisions falls on religious authority.

    It’s the ultimate excuse for leaving moral responsibility behind.

    1. Oddly enough, I’ve seen that exact argument made against Prof Coyne’s position that everything we do is predetermined by outside causes acting on our brain (I hope I haven’t misrepresented that too badly!).

      (Personally I take the view that I *seem* to be making decisions for myself so I’m responsible for them. Or at least, as a methodology for living it seems to work, probably because most people implicitly assume the same thing).

    1. Yeah, he may look “wimpy” to you, but I am sure he could take down and neutralize any threat to Dr. Coyne at this event. And do realize that we had one other plain clothes security person on hand to manage the back of the crowd. Most of our audience were not us atheists. They were mostly curious Christians. The back ranks were filled with the crazy folks. We had our plain clothes man stationed behind them even before Dr. Coyne took the stage.

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