Good morning, Professor Ceiling Cat!

June 8, 2014 • 4:40 am

A lovely comment from the conservative website The Blaze, which published a piece on the Lebanon prayer fracas this week, and mentioned me in passing.  I don’t look at the comments on pieces like this, but reader Ben sent it along, knowing it would amuse.  It’s obviously from a believer.

How lovely these people are, and how quickly their their facade of geniality crumbles when their beliefs are challenged!

Screen shot 2014-06-08 at 6.32.40 AM Screen shot 2014-06-08 at 6.32.50 AM


I don’t know what a “codsack” is, but I can guess.

I used to think that people like Anthony Grayling were exaggerating when they said that were the faithful to gain full power over the government, even today, we’d see some pretty horrible repression. Now I’m beginning to think he’s right.

And, no—neither flames nor codsack nailing could convert me.


72 thoughts on “Good morning, Professor Ceiling Cat!

    1. As you know, I know hundreds of them from my previous life. And, as long as you don’t disagree with them in any way, they can be as nice as the next guy. But question their beliefs, their practices, or even their politics, and they, almost without exception, get haughty, nasty, or violent.

      I’ve read a reasonable explanation that somewhere deep down they know their belief is ridiculous (after all, this is the 21st century), and that these reactions are an attempt to hold on to an ill-conceived faith which, of course, allows them to live as they want, and to shunt responsibility for the world’s problems and how to fix them on to others.

      1. The comedian, David Cross, who grew up in the south says exactly that as well. As long as you were just like them, the people there were very nice.

        1. Somehow, I didn’t think that I was the only one to have formulated such an opinion, based on observation.

          An idea has occurred to me (don’t be so shocked; it happens): 15 years ago there was a whole church full of people who hung on my every word, and who really, really wanted me for their Sunday school teacher. Now, although it’s still me, but with an additional 15 years of learning, most of them won’t even talk to me, and most of the few who do, do so only to scream. Proof positive that their mindset is “My mind is made up, don’t bother me with the facts”.

        2. This is basic tribalism. Friendly to in-group, hostile to out-group. It’s a strong human tendency. I dare say that everyone slips into it from time to time. Singer and others have argued that much of our moral progress over time has come from expanding our in-group to include more and more of humanity (and eventually possibly animals as well). Religion is regressive in many cases exactly to the extent that, rather than try to overcome this destructive tribalism, they embrace it and stoke the flames.

  1. I am sure that a Christian theocracy would be no more pleasant than the Islamic theocracy in Iran, ultimately. This is why constant vigilance is needed; you and many others at the forefront provide a necessary, vital service to liberty and democracy.

    1. As gravityfly commented, “You got that right.”

      Or, as I once read, if the religious right takes power, who will they kill first, the Catholics or the Jews?

      Answer: The Catholics.

      Reason? Business before pleasure.

      1. Perfecto! Love it!

        (Though one more instance of someone confusing “dominant” with “dominate.”)

        1. And no Republicans in Canada please. Our own politicians have already picked up their rhetoric and that is bad enough.

    2. If Tony Abbott has his way we’ll see the experiment done in Australia pretty soon. If its main proponent (Tony himself) is anything to go by it won’t be pretty or pleasant.

  2. And, yet another Xian demonstrates that he’d rather have compliance than sincerity. L

    1. The whole religion is based on the premise that what you SAY you believe is more important than what you ACTUALLY believe. That’s why Pascal’s wager is considered sensible by them.

      Btw, I would not hesitate to lie and say “I believe in Jesus” if that’s what it takes to avoid torture. I do not think it’s a virtue to die for atheism. Nor do I think any atheist would actually have a problem lying and claiming conversion, after all there’s no delusion that’s there’s a reward in heaven for being martyred for lack of faith.

  3. torture can make someone say anything, but not believe anything.

    So many comments like the one above show how shallow is the philosophy of these dangerous simpletons. Just getting someone to utter trite words through violence is enough for them.

    1. That is true.
      However, I’ve heard that we atheists are just angry with god. So they must think we believe deep down and won’t admit it.
      In his fevered, self-abusing mind, a bit of codsack nailing just might make us confess what we truly believe.
      What a moroon.

  4. Torture always was a favourite instrument of conversion, wasn’t it?

    Those of the true xtian faith, always so cuddly in their non comprehending idiocy.

  5. Isn’t “spank the monkey” a term for masturbation? Helluva user name. The anger and hostility expressed by rightwingers is truly pathological. It’s also childish. Think of a 2 year old not getting his way, then having a temper tantrum.

    1. When I read comments like SpankDaMonkey’s I do sometimes wonder if there isn’t actually an argument for eugenics.

  6. So, a demonstration that God allows vicious evil in the world, which Jerry has said is one of the strongest arguments against God’s existence, would cause him to instead believe in that deity’s existence?

    A piece of logic truly worthy of a brain that’s soggy with religion.

  7. SpankDaMonkey clearly knows that religion is bullshit and that there simply isn’t even a single intellectually valid reason to accept it as true.

    I mean, seriously? Torture? That’s the best they’ve got? Even if you tried, you couldn’t get more morally or intellectually corrupt than that.

    There isn’t anything that SpankDaMonkey wouldn’t say, either, if we nailed his own cod sack to a chair and set the chair on fire. He’d curse Jesus, bless Muhammad, foreswear motherhood and Apple pie, sing the praises of PowerPoint, express burning desire for sexual congress with a pollock — anything the torturer “asked” of him.


    1. Well, he _has_ the cod piece for that: “… there are species suggested to belong to genus Gadus that are not called cod (the Alaska pollock)” [ ]

      I’m thinking his (or her!) sexual pretenses is a bit fishy.

    2. Spank strikes (ha ha pun) me as one of those Christians that finds a nice place for his vulgar and violent tendencies because you can be vulgar and violent as long as you do so within the context of a soldier for Jesus.

      I read all of those comments and there was one or two sensible ones but many of them were along these lines or worse.

    3. Even I’d do all those things, Ben, if tortured. Well, all of them except sing the praises of PowerPoint. A man’s gotta have some pride, nailed codsack or no.

    4. Of course he, or you, or I, would *say* anything under torture. We might, in a 1984, 2 + 2 = 5 sort of way, even *believe* it for a moment.

      But that would not make it true.

    5. “…anything the torturer “asked” of him”.

      Which is why (apart from the fact that they are barbaric and immoral) ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ such as water-boarding and other forms of torture should have no place in ‘the fight against terrorism’. The information it produces is simply not to be trusted.

    1. Clearly torture is the key to converting the masses.

      (The Inquisition seems to have figured this one out centuries ago.)

    2. Yes, a bit of honesty is indeed rather refreshing. Along with the tacit admission that anything less draconian will not work, as more and more people begin to understand why their religion has no basis in objective reality.

  8. Seems that SpankDaMonkey has forgotten the tenets of his own fear-based faith because those bouts of masturbation of which he publicly boasts eventually will cause his own codsack to be swathed in eternal flames.

  9. “There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs.” -Barry Goldwater

  10. What I see in that first graph is that the shift upward of “no-god evolution” comes largely at the expense of “god-guided evolution.” There seems to be no significant change in the percentage of evolution deniers. Are those (deniers) percentages within the margin of error, I wonder?

    1. “God-guided evolution” is evolution in the same way that “god-guided falling” is gravitation or that “natural GW” is climate science.

      It’s like how a cat accepts distasteful facts – just barely. Or rather, it is a showing of cognitive dissonance, having your cake and attempt to eat it too.

      I don’t think small letter creationism (“god-guided”) should be encouraged by conflating it with religion. It is still magic belief, just rarefied as much as needed to try to defend the indefensible even harder.

  11. On suppression in a theocracy: When Mary, Queen of Scots, took the throne in England (which led to the widespread persecution, torture, and killing of Protestants) someone said: “Right now, you’re ringin’ the bells; soon, you’ll be wringin’ your hands.”

      1. She was of course followed by another of Henry’s daughters, Elizabeth I, which led to the widespread persecution, torture, and killing of Catholics. Ain’t religion grand!

  12. Dr Coyne:

    I was a little surprised that you would have thought that Prof. Grayling was exaggerating, but I guess that’s because you haven’t had the rather dubious privilege of having spent considerable time in a fundamentalist church. My own guess is that Grayling and others are probably being a bit conservative in their criticisms.

    For anyone who might be interested, I’ve mentioned two books, both thoroughly terrifying, about the looming possibility of an American theocracy, in earlier posts on this website:

    “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” by Chris Hedges
    “Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism” by Michelle Goldberg

    There are probably others. There are also a few science fiction novels that treat of life in a christofascist dystopia, of which Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” is surely the best-known. Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” and “Parable of the Talents” are both excellent. And, there is a simultaneously funny and horrifying deconstruction of the second coming in Joe Haldeman’s “The Accidental Time Machine”.

    1. There is a book coming out in 2015 that I am really looking forward to reading. It is different than the ones you have mentioned but I think will complement them nicely and provide a European perspective. Also, it’s by the same author I just read recently who wrote about Putin and Russia so well. The book is called Preachers of Hate and talks about the recent rise of the right in Europe.

  13. Where did Grayling say that? (I don’t doubt that he did, I just want to know where as a reference).

  14. I’m betting that, I could nail any part of Spanky’s anatomy to a chair and get him admitting to worshiping Satan. Or anything.

        1. Not surprising 😉

          A friend of mine took a college class last year; it was a critical thinking class, and the subject was “Is ID Science”. One of the papers that he had to read was titled “Grow a Pair of Testables”.

          That just may have been in the back of my mind when I posted…

  15. Perhaps the solution is for a division of the country along the same lines as India and Pakistan, with the faithful in the south and the rational in the north. Sort of as though the South had been allowed to secede in 1860. I often wonder what would have happened if the USA had simply said good riddance to the South, instead of undertaking one of the nastiest wars in American history to keep them in the fold.

      1. They do tend to be poorer, and poor people tend to be more religious, so maybe! But Australia is pretty hot and not very religious.

  16. Having the fall back on torture as a way to change someones beliefs seems barbaric. But then again maybe to a believer such actions are validated. After all the bible is full of such abuse.
    And, like you I don’t think there would be a religious awakening.

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