I Am A Terrorist

Posted By on August 31, 2005

Or
“How I Threatened To Burn My Professor At The Stake”

.: Many of you by now have heard this story. Either I told you over the phone, through AIM, or in person. It’s a long story, and for the first time I’m going to write down as much of it as I can.

.: It all starts with a lecture in my Introduction to Neuroscience class. The professor, Dr. Patton, made a demonstration with two very important and influential books: The Bible and the Origin of Species. The lecture can be summarized in these four lines:

Holding up the Bible: “This is not a science book.”
Holding up the Origin of Species: “This is.”
Holding up the Bible again: “This is a book about relationships with God.”
Holding up the Origin of Species again: “This isn’t.”

.: This is a very basic idea that many people, unfortunately, do not yet grasp or are unwilling to understand. As Dr. Patton informally stated later: “The Bible says nothing about how I should repair my car. That’s not why it exists.” However, a student in the class did not agree with Dr. Patton and was deeply offended by his remarks. In a show of defiance, he walked out of the class mid-lecture in front of everybody. His name is Christopher Stone.

.: Later that evening, I received an email by Mr. Stone. He had sent it to almost everybody in the class, with the exception of the professors. (Intro to Neuroscience is a team-taught course; there are five professors.) I now reproduce his email in full:

Hi,

Most of you have no idea who I am, though some of you I know personally. To identify myself better, I am the guy who walked out of class today. In fact, that is why I am emailing all of you.

I realize many of you will not like or even agree with what I am about to say so feel free to delete this now if you’d like, but if you have a few moments I have something to say that you might like to hear.

The reason I walked out of class today is because I am a Christian. Unashamedly so. And after Friday’s performance by Dr. Patton I had prepared myself to do just that very thing if my beliefs were once again attacked. Sure enough they were, so I left.

I don’t know if anyone else has been deeply offended by some of the things Dr. Patton has said, but my guess is yes because of the usual make-up of Baylor Students. I’ve been thinking about what I should do in response — I can’t very well let my faith be trampled upon and I have no intention of doing so, but as a student I’m not given a lot of options.

According to our syllabus we can miss 11 classes before we fail, and Dr. Patton is responsible for 5 more. I plan on attending the first few minutes of Wednesday’s lecture, but beyond that I intend to boycott by being absent from his lectures. This may be crazy or irrational, but it is the only recourse I have.

I’d like to invite any and every one to do the same. Any who are interested in joining me, I will remain in the hall outside of the classroom for the remainder of his lectures. If you would like to join me, I’d like to hear from you and you may email me at my Baylor address. If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear those as well.

Thanks for your time. God bless you and please pray for Dr. Patton.

Christopher Stone

.: Amazed and amused by such staunch stupidity, I wrote a parody email and sent it to everyone in the class, including the professors. At this point, I had not yet realized that Christopher Stone did not send his email to everybody. I now reproduce my letter in full:

Hi,

Most of you have no idea who I am, though some of you I know personally. To identify myself better, I am the guy who walked out of class today. In fact, that is why I am emailing all of you.

I realize many of you will not like or even agree with what I am about to say, but rest assured if you delete this email Jesus will frown on you.

The reason I walked out of class today is because I am a Christian. Zealously so. And after Friday’s performance by “Dr.” Patton I had prepared myself to do just that very thing if my beliefs were once again attacked by logic and reason and scientific claims that can be proven. Sure enough they were, so I left.

I don’t know if anyone else has been deeply offended by some of the things “Dr.” Patton has said, but my guess is yes because of the usual make-up of Baylor Students (70% Christian, 20% Adamantly Christian, 5% Fundamentalist Christians, 4% Fingers-In-The-Ears-La-La-La-La-I-Can’t-Hear-You Christians, and Me.) I’ve been thinking about what I should do in response — I can’t very well let my faith be trampled upon and I have no intention of doing so, but as a student who accidentally signed up for a science course instead of the seminary I’m not given a lot of options.

According to the bible, “Thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live.” (Exodus 22:18) I feel strongly that “Dr.” Patton’s heretical teachings in the voodoo field of neuroscience constitutes witchcraft. Therefore, next Wednesday before lecture, I call on my fellow Christians to gather rope and kindling so that we may burn “Dr.” Patton at the stake. It is my firm belief that we must set fire to ALL heretics who seek to destory our most cherished Christian beliefs. This may be crazy or irrational, but it is the only recourse I have that might actually accomplish something. Sure, I could boycott class all semester, but who else aside from me would care?

I’d like to invite any and every one to attend the burning. If you would like to join me, I’d like to hear from you and you may email me at my Baylor address. If you have any other ideas (I already considered stoning, drowning, and drawing & quartering but feel fire to be more practical), I’d love to hear those as well.

Thanks for your time. God bless you and please pray for “Dr.” Patton.

Cody Cobb

P.S. If you don’t have any kindling, your textbooks should work just fine.

.: Almost immediately I received praise from fellow students. Most people understood the joke.

.: Most people.

.: Several people did not understand it. My email was sent after Mr. Stone’s so, following the law of stratification, it appeared on the top of many people’s inbox. Naturally, they read that one first. Some read only my email and not Mr. Stone’s; some read both my email and Mr. Stone’s at face value and disagreed with both of us; and some read both my email and Mr Stone’s at face value and agreed with both of us.

.: About this time I noticed my email was sent to certain email addresses that did not receive Mr. Stone’s original email. This led to some confusion. I forwarded Mr. Stone’s email to everyone I could–including the professors–but the damage was already done. At first I was told two students–presumably freshman girls who’ve never had an original thought in their quaint, conservative lives and who were tragically born without irony-detectors–sent a complaint to the Baylor DPS. Later, I was told the other professors in the class also alerted the DPS. They thought I seriously wanted to burn Dr. Patton at the stake. My guess is, in a place like Baylor, that kind of thing goes on all the time.

.: The next morning, after my first class, two Baylor police officers were waiting for me. They escorted me to their office and proceeded to interrogate me. Here is part of the conversation that I can remember:

(The two police officers would trade turns in speaking, but for all intents and purposes they are the same person.)

We received two complaints from students in your neuroscience class about an email you sent to everyone.

-Yes?

You are aware that what you have done is a felony? You have committed a terrorist act.

-Have you read the original email?

No, we have not received any original email.

-My email is a parody. Christopher Stone wrote the original email and sent it to almost everybody in the class. I wrote a line-by-line parody.

Well we got messages from people who thought it was real. In this day and age you cannot do things like this. We have Columbines and 9/11’s all over the place, and we can’t risk this kind of thing.

-It’s a joke. I emailed the professor and told him that.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a joke. I myself figured it out, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s written on the paper, and you said you were going to burn your professor.

-At the stake. It’s satire. I engaged in hyperbole to make a point. You need to read the original email.

We’ll get to that. You need to understand that this is no laughing matter. Smirk all you want, but what you’ve done isn’t a joke.

-In all honesty I did not think anyone would take it seriously. But some have, so I think I’ve learned a lesson here.

Let me get this straight, this is a parody, right?

-Yes.

Why didn’t you put a note at the bottom telling everyone it was a parody?

-In retrospect that would’ve been the smart thing to do.

The smart thing would have been not to send this stupid thing out in the first place. Now let me ask you a question: is this an English class?

-No.

So what are you doing writing stories?

-It’s not a story.

Yes it is. You said it was a short story parody.

-No I didn’t; I said it was a parody.

Well don’t you write that in English class?

-No.

.: The whole time I thought to myself, “Are these guys eventually going to arrive at some kind of a point in the near future? I can’t believe I’m missing Economics for this.” Alas, they never did go anywhere with their line of reasoning. When I told them that my email was a parody and that they needed to read the original email, they should have stopped what they were doing and let me show them what I was talking about. But they didn’t. The rest of the interrogation proceeded in the same vein. I suppose the two officers were just trying to scare me (“You can seriously go to jail for what you have written, and that’s no joke” x 15), but the whole time I was simply astonished by their utter lack of logical reasoning. Had Socrates been present, he would have weeped.

.: “It doesn’t matter that it was a joke,” they told me. “What matters is that your joke could be read a certain way that indicates a terroristic threat.”

.: In my affidavit, I used the introductory paragraph to explain and diagram the definitions of Satire, Hyperbole, and Irony–they never read those things anyway, do they? After I signed my confession, they told me that I could not go to class tomorrow. Otherwise, I was free to go.

.: After I was released, I immediately called my sister, my brother, my mother, my girlfriend, my dad, my grandmother, and my grandfather. Three of those people got in touch with my great uncle, who was the head coach of all athletics at Baylor. It’s nice to have connections.

.: After communicating with all of those people, I received an email from Dr. Patton. He called the Baylor DPS and told them to let me back into class. My short term as a terrorist was finally over.

.: This morning, I returned to Intro to Neuroscience, somewhat sick to my stomach. Dr. Patton explained the whole situation to the class without naming names, but it was pretty obvious that the guy slouching way down in his seat on the front row was me. He made a joke to me before class started:

“If you want I can go get my coat tree and we can use that as a stake.”

.: What a great guy.

.: And now, with all that said, I have a few reflections I’d like to share with you:

~Some people are not college material. They do not know how to think critically nor are they willing to learn. They are everywhere.

~American entertainment is sorely lacking in irony and subtlety. Everything is too loud and too obvious. At least, that’s my assessment. When people cannot discern that I am joking when I say I am offended by “logic and reason and scientific claims that can be proven,” I am simply amazed.

~If Jonathan Swift were alive in America today, would he be accused of eating babies?

~Black & White thinking is terrible and dehumanizing, as exemplified by the police officers who interrogated me. When someone with authority tells you, “Well, we can’t let you do this, otherwise we’ll have to let everyone do it too,” they are basically admitting that their argument is crap. They cannot explain why what you did in a particular situation is bad, only that such actions could conceivably be bad. This is not acceptable.

~I do not feel more secure.

UPDATE: More interesting comments to be found here

About The Author

Comments

452 Responses to “I Am A Terrorist”

  1. Naked Ape says:

    Wow, Welcome to America land of the free*
    *(certain restrictions may apply)

    You are quite correct to surmise that some people are not college material, sadly those sorts of people are in control of your country right now.

    One minor quibble though, you seem to have this misspelling throughout your piece: “Baylor DPS” . Clearly there should be an ‘I’ located between the “D” and the “PS”. The signs on campus probably need correcting too.

    Perhaps they would have gone easier on you if you has included the following in your email?
    [carnivore catch phrases]infidel president murder bomb assinate washington nuke kill anthrax disaster bush terror[/carnivore catch phrases]

    Cheers,

    Naked Ape

  2. loser says:

    In general, arguing over email doesn’t get anywhere with the self-righteous. Also, you have learned an important lesson – police and the like have no sense of humor.

    I would have gone with “let’s all bring cameras and take a photo of the idiot standing outside while we go in to learn something”.

  3. Bob says:

    I’d say you definitely learned the correct lesson, and not the one the authority figures wanted you to learn. Things don’t change after college. Speaking as someone who’s committed a similar faux pas in college, I can truthfully say you will be dealing with humorless assholes for the rest of your natural life, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. As much as possible, aurround yourself with good people.

  4. James says:

    I noticed your reflections about your situation. I totally agree with you. This behavior was well-documented in Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” He attributes television mainly to the decline of critical thinking and more substantial discourse although fundamentalist Christians may not be allowed to watch anything beyond Pat Robertson and if they did, it would be the most watered down (censored) entertainment they could watch. This book was written in the early 80’s and seems very prophetic given today’s even worse superficiality. Based on your conclusions, I think you will find this book very interesting.

  5. Hendrik says:

    I had a good laugh while reading your blog. Keep up the good work; a candle
    in the dark will always bring light to those who search for it. I can only
    try to imagine what Mr Sagan’s response about this might’ve been if he was
    still with us!

  6. Tim French says:

    You are absolutely ape-shit brilliant. Keep writing.

  7. Dorath says:

    While I’m not exactly a practicing Christian these days, I’ve taken enough science classes to see that there is plenty of room for God in evolution. They simply aren’t mutually exclusive as some people are bound and determined to believe. “God created the heavens and the earth” is a hell of a lot easier to understand than “God set the strong nuclear force at X, the weak nuclear force at Y, the electromagnetic force to Z, and made the influence of gravity inversely proportional to distance.” Look at the target audience when the book was first written.

  8. Tony B. says:

    Way to go. You *so* need to move and go to school in a blue state, dude. We still have the First Amendment, or whatever’s left of it…

  9. Jake says:

    I too am a Christian, and i think this is hilarious. Oh, and by the way, i heard from a friend of mine (insane science geek, is building an electromagnetic railgun in his spare time and has a brother who goes to Case Western for a Physics Major) that Darwin’s Evolution was proved wrong. I cant remember the details, nor the website that he had given me for it. Thought you’d kind of like to know.

    Good show, I like your parody. Funny as heck.

  10. michael Autin says:

    I have been on the OTHER side of this debate for 38 years now. SERIOUSLY since 1986 when challenger blew up…. I was 23 (probably THAT 23!) and after 18 years of constant harrasing for my like and talent in science I reached drinking age, and had to confront “Life” and dating and knowing I was isolated in my belief of Darwin, and not really UPSET with religion, many older adults were cool with my avoidance of the issue. I have graphite in my hand, and todays religious people exploit that fact, so did the kids I had to athletisize with.
    I have had old men scrape their souls on MY plate, I have been chastized for enjoying the growth of the bay area WITHOUT god, but by man’s hands… so this debate is old hat for me. I have children call me “Father” meaning my sperm is neutrino based and impregnated their mother… (SHRUG) So I know the next generation will be warped… Your e-mail was rather harsh, but to an educated person like me it was sarcastically humorous. I prefer to make fun of science and nature topics, rather than people though. I have been ridiculed in tv shows and movies, but WITHOUT pay which hurts. a few bucks would sooth the wounds BUT NO, regular poor joes like me don’t get ribbed we get broiled, and humor is my only defense, and EXPANDING science is my only reward at this point.
    I have had run ins with scientology, and performed a “LUTHER” in the catholic church, I go back and honor my dead grandparents, but have no contact otherwise. I find my Darwin and my Asimov very comforting, as well as the addams family reruns. Good luck on the education… Keep the finches flying with the dragons!

  11. Thursday says:

    Lovely stuff, this. I love it when authority figures use the word “seriously” – it always brings Wayne’s World to mind, and after that I just can’t take them… well, you know…

    James (comment 54) – An even more interesting counter argument is this year’s “Everything Bad is Good for You” by Steven Johnson (“Wired” and “Discover” magazines). Postman missed that effect that VCRs and DVDs would have on the complexity of popular entertainment, and there’s no way he could have forseen computer games and their effects. Popular entertainment has changed dramatically since Amusing came out, and I don’t think he’d reach the same conclusions today.

  12. Mike Calkins says:

    Mr. Stone and the officers involved remind me of a Josh Billings quote, “Nature never makes a blunder. When she makes a fool, she means it!”

  13. Mark says:

    Found you via Fark. What a terrifically chilling illustration of just what happens under a paranoid theocracy. Thanks for not shrinking from the struggle you went through.

  14. Jaymz Gordon says:

    Wandered over from James Randi’s site… Just wanted to say well done for writing and sending a parody of that hideous e-mail from the bible-bound fool and for standing up to the policemen. Some folks crack under pressure from authority, despite the fact that putting a badge on an idiot doesn’t stop him (or her) from being an idiot.

    Here in the UK, we’ve always been a touch disparaging about American humour (over-the-top, blatant, unsubtle… all with a laugh track that lets the audience know when a funny has come bounding over the horizon), but every now and then it’s pleasant to have those stereotypes disabused.

    Hellelujah!

    *chuckling*

  15. senob says:

    You shouldn’t have said you were going to burn your professor. No one cares about your email no one cares about a boycott who isn’t Fox News. To tell you the truth no one cares you’re a college kid set out to save the world from itself. Anyway i’m going to burn your whole family tomorrow at midnight.

    This is a parody because I want to be a funny guy and I have rights too damnit.

    This mishap happened because both e-mail capers are attention WHORES. thanks

  16. senob says:

    To all the people who back this kid up:

    Would you joke about carrying a bomb onto a plane while being at the security check point?

    The obvious answer is no. DPS was right you should have put “Parody” somewhere in there because not everyone is super intelligent crossword solvers like you. _|_ (O_o) Blow me

  17. Robert Gordon says:

    You know the old saying:

    CULT (n): a small, unpopular religion.
    RELIGION (n): a large, popular cult.

  18. peeve says:

    If you aren’t willing to struggle for satire, then irony has won.

  19. goat says:

    I’m an atheist and I found this hilarious also. Oh, and cops put themselves in danger every day. Which means that they aren’t so smart in general, but they
    know how to bully.

  20. John McClennan says:

    Serves you right!

  21. Mike says:

    To #66 up there: of course no one would joke about a bomb on a plane at a security checkpoint. Jeez. If you’re going to joke about a bomb, do it ON the plane. Why waste potentially great timing on airport security?
    “Finger in the ears, lalalalala Christians”…, that’s classic.
    And no, I don’t think I’ll take you up on the blow job offer. Thanks just the same.

  22. David says:

    I think you should be tarred and feathered and run outa town on a rail (with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth) for writing such a poor parody. What it lacks in sarcasm and irony it more than makes up for with hyperbole, though, so perhaps my response is a tad strong.

    Other than that, what’s the problem?

    :-)

  23. Mike says:

    When I was in college we always said it wasn’t a party unless the cops showed up. Party on! Most cops actually do have a pretty good sense of humor, but the smart ones don’t have to investigate cyber witch burnings.

  24. Dr AJ says:

    Maybe it’s the diet, but it seems that all of Baylor has a severe irony deficiency.

  25. Aaron says:

    Basically, I understand that anyone in this world has a right to believe what he/she wants, whether it can be explained with logic or faith. As for your action against Chris, you mocking him is more base than his attempt to stand up for his faith. It doesn’t matter if he offends you or offends the teacher anymore. He did not attack you or call you names or make you look like a dumb ass. You did that to him. Think about who is the real black and white thinker here. You let yourself be threatened by an action and a request from someone making themselves fully vulnerable in the process to be persecuted. You took that chance. You basically hide behind the logic of science (what you believe in) and satire to which you use as a weapon against someone that believes something different. There were definitely more things that Dr. Patton had to say to make Chris do this. If he did it so abruptly, it is a natural reaction to someone that feels they are being attacked. The reasoning behind his actions were as basic as you childishly mocking him. Its called intolerance, and you both were full of it. The fact that he instead passively declined from exposing himself to a man that was probably being more vehement in his attempt to prove an impossible instance of evolution. Read his book clearly! On the Beagle, Darwin was a christian and think for yourself, evolution still has not been proven. I’m not attacking you, but doesn’t me saying that make you want to stop listening? He was doing something he thought was right for him, without hurting anyone else. The consequences of your actions, however much chagrin you display, effected you and your family. I wonder if your parents were embarassed by this incident. I would be embarrassed if I knew you, for the fact that you attacked someone that did nothing to hurt you. You used him as an example that ultimately proved how inane you are by acting against him. If you truly want to defend your beliefs, choose your battles and don’t pick on people. In the end everyone wants to have tolerance of all beliefs, you acted against that. Most leaders of faith (Jesus Christ, Muhammed, Siddhartha Guatama, any Lama out there, etc) agree on one action of shedding prejudice. They teach tolerance and to teach people what they believe is the right way. It is an ethical threshold that you’ve crossed by being intolerant. It wasn’t an innocent action you performed. Chris didn’t call you names and put a gun to your head to follow his beliefs, he requested if anyone would like to join him. Comparing you two, i would think that you are the smaller minded person. You seem like a hateful person and I don’t understand why you would attack someone but as I am an advocate for tolerance, just understand that you are the wrong one in this situation no matter what.

  26. Pete says:

    Oh bloody hell, I can’t believe you people. You idiots are the type that give skeptics a bad name.

    First of all, the “parody” email, supposedly a joke, was simply pitiful. Jonathon Swift you ain’t, mate. You were trying to be funny, but you missed the mark on so many levels. Twisting people’s words isn’t a joke. Neither is sneering. So, the cops missed the joke in your email. Not surprising, really. The joke was microscopic.

    Then, you complain about your interrogation. Do you really not understand why they did this? You threatened to kill someone. They had to take this seriously. Do you honestly not understand this? So you told them you were trying to be funny, and they didn’t accept this straight away. I’d be much more worried if they had done so. Some people really do carry out this sort of threat. They had to make absolutely sure before they released you. Can’t you understand this?

    What happened to you was the result of your own stupidity. The cops did the only reasonable thing given the circumstances.

    You are right that some people aren’t college material. Good luck with your degree. And try not to go shouting ‘fire’ in crowded theatres again.

  27. Irony Detectors
    the cops seem to think that if anyone is stupid enough to not get Swiftian satire, it makes whatever you wrote a criminal threat. And just how stupid do you need to be to not get that this is a joke, even without seeing the original it satirizes

  28. Pete says:

    Mike, (post 71) In fact that DID happen to a British tourist a few months/ couple of years ago. She thought it would be a great joke to tell the security guard she had a bomb in her luggage, funny girl. She was promply arrested, charged with someething like submitting a false bomb report, kept locked up for a few months, then (IIRC) deported.

  29. Cody says:

    Aaron-

    Tolerance is overrated. You’re right to say I’m an intolerant person: I have little patience for people who pander homeopathy, magnetic healing, and other silly junk, like creationism. These are not reasonable positions and should not be treated as such. Should I tolerate the belief that “it’s minus thirty degrees in the room” when I’m sweating like a pig? Of course not; that’s what thermometers are for! Likewise, I’m not going to tolerate a subversive punk who tries to undermine my class with his crybaby tactics.

    I didn’t write the email for Mr. Stone’s edification or even consideration; I wrote it for the other students in the class who, by and large, appreciated it.

  30. Cody says:

    Pete-

    I didn’t merely “threaten to kill someone”–I threatened to burn him at the stake. If you don’t see the fine distinction there, then we’ve got bigger problems on our hands.

  31. Jim Lippard says:

    Pete:

    There’s no death threat in that email, and talking about burning someone at the stake in an email is not equivalent to talking about bombs in a security screening line at the airport. Finally, twisting words and sneering certainly can be used to comedic effect, and can be jokes, though need not be.

    It was probably reasonable for the police to see if Cody was a disturbed youth, but the claim that he had committed a terrorist act and a felony was itself “twisting words”–an example that’s not a joke, though it qualifies as absurd. The police themselves clearly didn’t believe that he had actually committed a terrorist act, or they wouldn’t have let him go.

    BTW, re post 78: post 71 is a joke.

  32. Frumious Bandersnatch says:

    Re: #59:

    “Darwin’s Evolution” has not been proved wrong any more than Newton’s Gravity has been proved wrong. The original theory was incomplete, and the last 200 years of study have refined it and introduced new mechanisms.

  33. Jake says:

    Actually, Newton’s Gravity was proven wrong simply because none of the experiments to prove it were precise enough. (Scientific Method FTW, they had too many variables.)

  34. Richard says:

    Cody, et al.: I think you guys have this all wrong. Look, more or less, a smart guy (Cody) got tattled on by someone dumber for the crime of being smart, and then a couple of dumb college campus cops wasted their time and burned a few tax dollars in the process…who cares? This kind of stuff happens all the time and (in this country) almost always ends with similar inconsequential consequences.

    You are all missing the bigger picture here. Personally speaking, I am desperately thankful that people like Christopher Stone still exist. In fact, people just like him represent the majority of American citizens, thank God!

    For those who aspire to financial success but were not born of wealthy means, the relative stupidity of others is the only thing that gives poor smart people a fighting chance to rise above the chaff.

    Bill Gates is the richest man on the planet solely because some big executives at IBM were dumb. In fact, I can’t think of a better example of how intelligence took advantage of dogma. For those of you who don’t know the story of how Bill Gates got IBM to license his OS instead of buying it, or the fact that he didn’t even have an OS at the time he made the deal with IBM, I highly recommend researching it. To summarize, in order to reinforce their hardware dogma, IBM was too busy laughing at ‘Gates the geek’ instead of thinking things through. Thus, IBM’s mindless surety that hardware was the future (and software was of little value), gave Gates the chance of a lifetime.

    I was born into a lower middle class family and dropped out of high school, yet I am now a ridiculously wealthy Internet poster boy because of other people’s stupidity. I have never broken the law or done anything even remotely unethical; but I have consistently relied on the one thing I could always count on – most people are stupid and even the ones who aren’t born stupid don’t bother to think (therefore get classified as stupid). The smug confidence they display in their arbitrary belief systems is rivaled only by their frantically desperate adherence to said dogma. Thus it is stupidity – and stupidity alone – that has allowed me to consistently capitalize on resources controlled by others that were either grossly undervalued or misunderstood.

    While religious beliefs and racism are simply two examples of stupid people’s willingness to put their intellects on autopilot, both of these beliefs do speak to the dramatic scale of mindlessness humans are capable of and both certainly represent a classic hallmark of the lazy mind. For example, if I sense that a person has genuine religious or racist beliefs, it instantly tells me they are likely to be intellectually lazy in other areas as well – and thus are ripe for manipulation. As a process, it is almost like cow tipping…

    This is not to say that religious zealots can’t rule a country or gain extreme wealth. Blind idealism usually fuels the kind of spectacular sacrifices necessary to ensure grand accomplishments (though not necessarily ethical accomplishments). After all it was Plato who said, “Those who are too smart for politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” Also, let me add that just because a person is stupid (i.e., malleable) does not mean they should be unethically taken advantage of; quite to the contrary, in fact. I pride myself on not taking from others, but rather profiting from their resources in ways they would have otherwise never leveraged. Moreover, I always share the fruits of my superior intelligence in some proportion to the degree in which I leveraged a given sheep’s resources; this ensures they walk away from a transaction with more tangible value than they came into it with.

    I took the time to write this because I read a couple of comments here that appeared to be written by individuals who may have legitimate potential and I’d hate to see them waste their energies getting worked up over the unchangeable reality of human stupidity. Ignorance can be reduced through education, but unless you are suggesting genetic tampering with future generations, relative stupidity will always govern most people’s lives. Besides, without rampant stupidity we’d all be equal – and who wants that? Some of you will instinctively smile at the joke in the previous sentence and some of you won’t. If you didn’t get it…well…that should tell you something, but it probably won’t.

    In conclusion, I suggest not pitying the stupid because more often than not, they are far happier than the smart…and I also suggest not complaining about them either because, in the larger scheme of things, we need them more than they need us…

    Richard

  35. Cody says:

    Well are we still allowed to laugh at the stupid people?

  36. Patrick Tinkham says:

    I always did like “reductio ad absurdum”. But for the sake of tactics, the “RELPY TO ALL” button is very useful

  37. craig says:

    Anyone who sees this as anything but an OBVIOUS attampt at humor is a complete moron. As for those who complained it was badly written or not funny, that may be a valid opinion – but if an obvious attempt at humor that fails to be funny is a crime, I demand the immediate arrest of Carrot Top.

  38. EPT says:

    I think it should be codified in law that any communication with the line 4% Fingers-In-The-Ears-La-La-La-La-I-Can’t-Hear-You (whatever) should be defined as satire.

  39. Peter says:

    I found your story from the link on James Randi’s website. I didn’t read all 85 comments that were posted up to this point, so I don’t know if what I’m about to say has been expressed better already but…

    If you are truly a dispassionate, critical thinker, my suggestion is to take a step back and consider whether these cops might not have a point. When they reminded you of Columbine and 9/11, they were well aware that those were examples of huge tragedies that might have been prevented if warning signs had been taken seriously. That’s what they were doing with you — taking a warning sign seriously. I imagine that they had a pretty good idea before they talked to you that you were only fooling, but if there was any chance at all that you were truly contemplating violence against your professor, they were absolutely doing their jobs to ask you tough questions about it.
    You also must realize that you were wasting their time. Perhaps by coming on strong, they were hoping to discourage you from doing it again. Nobody knows better than them that they have real threats of violence on campus to deal with.

    That said, I did like the joke. I would probably like your professor also.

  40. Richard says:

    Cody: Of course we are! (Reference comment #85)

    However, I must point out what I would consider to be a fallacy in your perceptions and subsequent reactions.

    Sequence of events: A religious guy in your class calls attention to himself and his beliefs, and in the process helps introduce and/or reinforce said beliefs to him and others – pretty efficient if you ask me. You respond by easily making a total mockery of his email. Of course, he invited your response by initiating the string to begin with, and battle lines were drawn. Religion, as you know, depends upon battle lines. Things escalated and you complained about the trouble that ensued.

    Here is where your perception was skewed: Christopher’s email was so easy to skewer because it was so dumb. Yet, you complained about the dumbness of what came about. You can’t have it both ways. Had Christopher brought a more intelligent process or verbiage to his cause, then it would have been much more difficult for you to have lampooned his actions and would likely have resulted in a more intelligent outcome than what actually happened. But Christopher took it to the extreme and you followed.

    The people in your class who complained about your email, along with the cops who valued procedure and bureaucracy over humorous discourse are morons. It is not logical to engage morons and not expect a moronic response. Did you honestly think Christopher was going to respond to your lampoon with some witty repartee that would eventually result in both sides learning more about the other while perhaps agreeing to disagree on a few issues?

    Give me a break! Christopher was no more interested in having a real discussion than having a hot poker shoved up his ass. Yet you somehow seemed surprised at the level of inanity that followed.

    FYI: Be prepared for the visceral reaction fraught with irrationality and egocentric justification typically brought on by these kinds of exchanges with these kinds of people.

    Am I suggesting that you should have not sent the email or, worse, offered some sort of disclaimer on it? Of course, not! In fact, I would have never been even remotely as gentle as your lampoon was. The difference would simply have been that I would have anticipated the fallout amongst my classmates and school employees and not complained about it when it occurred.

    Remember, even the smallest statement of opinion (that may differ with the establishment) will often come with a cost to express it. Get over the cost, or hold your tongue.

    Be loud, be angry, be the next Abbey Hoffman! But don’t forget that Abbey’s message could have never flourished had there not been forces aligned against him, and he never was surprised at their irrational desire to silence him.

    In conclusion, a more effective course of action for Christopher would have been to lodge a formal complaint with the school claiming that the professor’s statements were tantamount to the denouncement of his religious beliefs. At the very least, he could have circulated an email amongst the class with this kind of flavor and perhaps enjoined you in a healthy discussion. Hell, even an atheist could acknowledge the professor’s comments could have been construed inappropriately and perhaps have let Christopher off the hook a little easier. But Chris didn’t really want to talk about it, and if someone doesn’t want to talk, it’s usually not worth your time to try and make them.

    In general, it is best to assume a person is stupid until unequivocally proven otherwise – you will live a more efficient life with less disappointment. And probably make more money.

    Richard

  41. captroy says:

    Way to go! Cody!! ROF,L!!! And at the comments,too!

  42. Bailey says:

    Hey, “senob”…how about a sense of humour? Geezus, you’d think someone could tell that it was a parody by the many, ridiculous terms he posted. But I’m not going to be (too) repetitive.
    Cheers, Cody, and remember…I still owe you.

    …Could THAT be a threat? Oh, heavens! o=

  43. Steve says:

    Before walking out of his next class, Mr. Stone would do well to remember Bertrand Russell’s observation, “People who wish to live in a democracy must be become accustomed to having their senses outraged.” If you live where people are free to express themselves, you are going to hear things that offend you. He’d also do well to remember Voltaire’s quote, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”ê

  44. chris says:

    Steve, what makes you think people like Mr Stone want to live in a democracy? Isn’t that the scary part?

  45. Mikey D says:

    I’m figuring the reson that there is little irony or subtlety within American comedy these days is to say “read between the lines people…this is a nation of idiots”.

  46. sunil says:

    ouch……….

    i thought your email was hillarious, and quite brilliant……..then i read the rest of your post…….

    i’m sorry…:-(

  47. Phil says:

    Aaron:

    Your discourse is one of the most basically false, deceitful and insidiously evil there can be.

    You say:
    Basically, I understand that anyone in this world has a right to believe what he/she wants, whether it can be explained with logic or faith.

    You understand wrongly. The “right to believe” is based on faith, exclusively. This is the meaning of the word belief. What is based on logic is a duty to know, or to shut up and learn if you are ignorant. By supposing a “right to believe in anything”, you surrender your ability to judge anything: genocide, racism, rape, murder, mockery… become equally defensible.
    But this was not your point. In fact, you do not believe in what you have written, because you clearly judge Cody’s answer with a very different yardstick than the one you use for Chris:

    As for your action against Chris, you mocking him is more base than his attempt to stand up for his faith.

    If Chris has to stand up for his “faith”, then this faith cannot stand by itself. Especially the faith in thousands-of-years old scientific knowledge and car-repair dogma of a mythology book. When Cory mocked him by parodying his email, he was teaching him a way out of obscurantism, through humour.

    It doesn’t matter if he offends you or offends the teacher anymore. He did not attack you or call you names or make you look like a dumb ass. You did that to him.

    No. He did that to himself. All by himself. He decided wrongly to play offended where no offense existed, because he felt threatened by the use of logic in the vicinity of his holy book.
    In fact, he was offensive to the other students, to the teacher, to the college and to the whole concept of education, simply by wanting to submit logic to belief.

    Think about who is the real black and white thinker here.

    Chris was. Demonstrably.

    You let yourself be threatened by an action and a request from someone making themselves fully vulnerable in the process to be persecuted.

    Hahahaha! What a tremendous perversion of logic! It is glorious in its casuistic misrepresentation of the behaviors of the people involved.
    So Chris “made himself fully vulnerable in the process to be persecuted” ? Poor baby, did it hurt ?
    No, Chris merely expressed a fierce and bold and misguidedly courageous dumbness, stupidity, idiocy, asshattery, whatever.
    And Cory proved he didn’t “let himself be threatened” by it: he mocked it.

    You took that chance. You basically hide behind the logic of science (what you believe in) and satire to which you use as a weapon against someone that believes something different.

    Hmmmm. Science is not “what you believe in”, science is “what you know”. And logic is what legitimizes the use of satire against someone who prefers to “believe in something” instead of “knowing something”.

    There were definitely more things that Dr. Patton had to say to make Chris do this. If he did it so abruptly, it is a natural reaction to someone that feels they are being attacked. The reasoning behind his actions were as basic as you childishly mocking him. Its called intolerance, and you both were full of it.

    It is always legitimate to be intolerant of willfull and deliberate ignorance, of obscurantism, of book-burning. Chris’s actions were childish : he kick-started his offensedness because he was told the bible contained an absence of coverage on the topic of car mechanic. Oh, and of evolution too.
    But wait, could it be that…

    The fact that he instead passively declined from exposing himself to a man that was probably being more vehement in his attempt to prove an impossible instance of evolution.

    YES! You’re a creationist! Truly, who’da thunk it!

    Read his book clearly! On the Beagle, Darwin was a christian and think for yourself, evolution still has not been proven.

    So THIS was the reason behind all the mischevious misrepresentation of Cory’s actions! To promote fairytales, to promote the dogma that the greatness of the human mind has to be limited by a chosen ignorance, over the patient, checked, careful construction of a more complete understanding of the world.
    You say Darwin was a christian : everybody was at the time, under penalty of ostracism at best, torture and death at worst. You say “evolution still has not been proven” : you are wrong. Tiredely wrong. Again and again, just like any random tedious creationist. Evolution theory has been proven to be a satisfying theory, with strong explanatory power on many phenomenons. It has been replaced by other theories, containing in themselves the Darwinian theory, when phenomenons were observed that couldn’t be explained by the theory they replaced. But evolution has been seen, observed, documented, in bacterias, plants, laboratory animals. The whole domain of agriculture and race breeding is a human-chosen and oriented evolution.
    What you are trying to instill here is FEAR (of a bearded fairy in the sky, or his pal, a horned red guy underground), IGNORANCE (because knowledge is empowering : religion has always been and is still about POWER. The secular and temporal power of who disposes of the money, of the slaves and of the soldiers.) and DOUBT (in the capacity of the individual human being to learn, create, CHANGE things, and threaten authority). Well, FUD you too, man.

    I’m not attacking you, but doesn’t me saying that make you want to stop listening? He was doing something he thought was right for him, without hurting anyone else.

    Liar. You are attacking him. The rhetoric question you ask, not only wrongly presupposes his actions, but is engineered to place you in the “rightful victim” role, in the vain hope to “prove” him an abuser. And Chris was definitely hurting people, when he tried to invite them to ignorance by leading them out of the classroom.

    The consequences of your actions, however much chagrin you display, effected you and your family. I wonder if your parents were embarassed by this incident. I would be embarrassed if I knew you, for the fact that you attacked someone that did nothing to hurt you. You used him as an example that ultimately proved how inane you are by acting against him.

    Ah, yes. The village priest’s weapon of choice in the guidance of the herd : peer pressure, shame, social stigmata. You will make your mom and baby Jesus cry. Well, I AM embarassed you have a genetic code similar to mine. Cory did not attack, he mocked. Chris was definitely nefarious in his obscurantist ways. And the moral duty of any worthy human being is to fight hypocrisy, ignorance and consensual stupidity. Of whose you are a fine representant of the defender team, by the way.

    If you truly want to defend your beliefs, choose your battles and don’t pick on people. In the end everyone wants to have tolerance of all beliefs, you acted against that.

    Some beliefs are undefendable. The fact you try to wish blame away for any belief proves you fear that your belief is vulnerable : courage people, tallyho! and we will soon be rid of obscurantism and religions!

    Most leaders of faith (Jesus Christ, Muhammed, Siddhartha Guatama, any Lama out there, etc) agree on one action of shedding prejudice. They teach tolerance and to teach people what they believe is the right way.

    You don’t deserve to speak about these guys, much less in their names.

    It is an ethical threshold that you’ve crossed by being intolerant.

    The countless milions of people burned, tortured, mutilated, killed, led to misery and slavery and death by religious people worldwide just hate you for what you’ve just said. I just pity you.

    It wasn’t an innocent action you performed. Chris didn’t call you names and put a gun to your head to follow his beliefs, he requested if anyone would like to join him.

    Comedy, sarcasm, mockery are “non-innocent” INNOCENT actions. No wonder they were forbidden by religion and that actors were excommunicated. You are a perfect example why the right to laught is a victory.

    Comparing you two, i would think that you are the smaller minded person. You seem like a hateful person and I don’t understand why you would attack someone but as I am an advocate for tolerance, just understand that you are the wrong one in this situation no matter what.

    No. You do not think. No matter what, your point of view is an abdication of thought. Religion, especially in the way you are cynically trying to enforce on the students minds, is a defeat. You don’t deserve the brain evolution took milions of years to give you. Get out of my internet now.

  48. Phil says:

    Damn, didn’t check all my italics tabs. Sorry

  49. Brian says:

    Christopher Stone seems to be a bit too touchy for college. Perhaps he’d feel more comfortable at a seminary where he can be assured there will be no conflict with his opinions?

  50. "surlethe" says:

    You are a comic genius. This is getting sent to everybody I know, both as good laugh material — the parodies — and as a good object of reflection upon our society.

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