On the whole silly PZ-cracker episode:

“See, at the Last Supper, Jesus handed his guests some bread and said, “This is my body,” and then handed them some wine and said, “This is my blood.” Had Jesus sang “I’m a Little Teapot,” then today we’d see Catholics worldwide carefully choosing communion vessels of appropriate height and stoutness, ensuring that each one has both handle and spout for the dispensing of His Holy Oolong.

Metaphor: not the fundamentalist’s strong suit.”


For those just joining the whole fiasco, there’s a good succinct summary of “Wafergate” in Rebecca’s post.

And I would like to point out that the last time I wrote about religious folks wanting to kill people wasn’t that long ago. Take it seriously, PZ. These people will hurt you, if they can.

The post that started the whole kerfuffle at PZ’s blog.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. So you are saying that I’m the only person you have blocked.

    And you think you have a handle on this all and are a scientist?

    Look Bug-girl. If you cannot DO the job and BE a scientist then you have to step aside.

    Because the scientific ethos is something bigger than your career, your new Northern dumb-left friends and your Southern relatives its bigger than all of that.

    If you cannot live up to that you are going to have to step aside for some youngsters who can.

  2. I have let one of grame’s comments through for entertainment value.

    See what I put up with for you people?!

    What a wanker.

  3. I read as much of the original post, comments, responses, etc. as I could stomach. I’m posting here, Bug Girl, ’cause I’m new to the whole blogging thang, you blog about bugs, and you were cool enough to post on my new blog.

    I’m a skeptic and a Catholic who struggles with A LOT of things about ALL organized religions, including and most especially my own — especially since I’m a natural pessimist, skeptic, devil’s advocate, etc. Even more since I have some (ongoing) training in the natural sciences, “believe in” evolution (as if my belief or disbelief would make any difference to inherited genetic differences and population bottlenecks!), and am lawyer trained to search for and exploit the cracks in arguments, theories, etc. But I’m not writing to describe my own belief or disbelief in transubstantiation. And I’m not going to even attempt to defend the many crimes and shortcomings that the Catholic church is guilty of over the millenia. I freaking hate that my church hates homosexuality, oppresses womens’ reproductive rights, discourages condom use, and committed an endless list of outrages, genocides, and close-minded crimes against the dignity of humanity.

    Cracker or not (incidentally, my church uses a nice chewy whole wheat bread), I’m just shocked at the disrespect that I think is motivated by real hatred shown by all sides in this debate. Death threats and inability to understand metaphor and symbolism are just as offensive, in my opinion, as an attack on deeply cherished and guarded beliefs and rituals of any group.

    I just think that the great ongoing debate between skepticism and religion is one of humanity’s greatest assets — without debate, there’s no progress, right? And certainly life, nature, science, spirituality, humanity, evolution, etc. are worth debating. It’s the Great Debate that defines our species, in my opinion, and it deserves to be treated with respect and dignity by ALL sides.

    I’m outraged at the one-sided, manipulated, BS attack in that piece of crap movie _Expelled_. But I don’t think that my disagreement or skepticism about intelligent design and evangelistic born-again Christians entitles me to walk into a prayer service and disrupt it with all of the reasons that I believe the ID “theory” is flawed, or that I can’t understand or accept the hypocrisy of evangelists, fundamentalists, and their beliefs. That would be just plain tasteless and rude.

    I personally don’t believe in the LDS garmet (aka “Magic Underwear”), and REALLY disagree with a ton of things about the LDS church. But I don’t make fun of it around my LDS friends and colleagues. That’s just offensive and rude.

    I’ve attended my friends’ weddings, funerals, bat/r mitzvahs, etc. I don’t make a scene, or disrespect their rituals or beliefs, even if I believe that they’re ridiculous, silly, or downright harmful (see LDS).

    But, I still believe in human dignity and respect. Close-minded self-righteous zealots piss me off, regardless of their cause. Even if they’re trying to champion my own beliefs.

    I just can’t comprehend, defend, respect, or empathize with the incredible rudeness (or is it hatred) behind the original cracker-theft. Same goes for the death threats against the thief. Same goes for the ridicule and tenor of PZ’s blog entry — there’s genuine hatred in his words.

    I don’t know where venting and ranting comes into all of this. And, lord knows, PZ is entitled to vent some steam. I’m just terribly disheartened that “we” — skeptics, scientists, religious people, humanity — can’t resist wallowing in shit with the pigs, making death threats, ridiculing others’ faith, beheading infidels, oppressing women, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum (truly, I’m nauseated at this whole kerfuffle), instead of giving this debate the dignity that it deserves. And if this debate is the great triumph of humanity, then humanity’s historical and ongoing conduct must be the greatest disappointment.

  4. […] The shit hit the fan and several bloggers I respect chime […]

  5. Hi Dan. I agree that PZ can totally be an ass about this sort of thing.
    But that’s never an excuse for some of the threats made over what is (to PZ) only a cracker.

    Communion is a metaphor. Jesus was a Jew, and the likelihood he meant his comments literally is pretty much nil.

    But yes, people have behaved badly on all sides. One person’s rudeness should never have cascaded into a national campaign to get a student expelled and a professor fired (or killed), though.

  6. I would just like to repeat what Dan said

    “then humanity’s historical and ongoing conduct must be the greatest disappointment”

    This is a difficult story to understand as the two sides could never see eye to eye. As an Atheist, I cant understand a cracker being anymore than a cracker (or wheat bread) and a catholic cant help but see that same cracker as THE SON OF GOD. it makes compromise difficult when either side overreacts.

    just for the record I have taken communion as an atheist. I was bummed by the quality of christs blood.

  7. BTW, PZ has a nice post about his cracker desecration, with a very good historic context for the wafers.


  8. I think the analogy everyone is missing (at least I have not read it any where yet) is demonstrated in the whole Dover/ID mess, when some misguided ID’er burned a mural depicting evolution, painted by a student. Did that crude behavior help the ID cause?

    I have to admit that the thing which bothers me the most is the depth at which certain Atheists can rationalize (as demonstrated by the incredible waste of bandwidth/verbage devoted to this episode) only to justify bad, silly, and rude behavior. As Dan pointed out so well, many are troubled by a demonstrable unwillingness to empathize, acknowledge, or understand anyone with a different point of view, unless their ideas or dialog conform to definitions gleaned from “A” blogrolls. Many of us are working to bring about understanding, tolerance, and change. For the life of me, I can’t see a silver lining in this episode. (Heh, I guess I suck at rationalizing!)

    Something about Rebecca’s post bothers me, though. It’s this whole “at least we are reaching people” attitude that I find somewhat objectionable. It smacks of evangelizing, one of the worst behaviors of the Fundamentalist/Dominionists set, and something I’m surprised to see celebrated.

  9. Well, I just like Rebecca’s humor, which is primarily why I put this excerpt here.

    There was a very long argument over at skepchick about how best to deal with creationists; I and Donna argued that this sort of behavior was NOT the way to go.

    One of my comments:

    This whole discussion is symptomatic of an “all or nothing” mind-set I see a lot from atheists.
    And it really bothers me…..
    Donna is correct that a spoonful of theistic evolution makes the evolutionary sugar go down easier with believers. (ok, you know what I mean.)
    When I teach evolution (at the college level), I get a lot farther when I tell them that God and evolution don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

  10. O.M.G.
    Now people are naming each of PZ’s kids and suggesting that they be raped and killed.



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