Posted By Caulimovirus on October 4, 2005
“Reflections On Becoming A Terrorist”
.: By now my I Am A Terrorist post has received over 240 comments, thanks in no small parts to Randi.org, Pharyngula.org, and Cruel.com. So now I’m taking this opportunity to offer you, dear reader, the highlights of this recent discourse. As such, I will subjectively organize select comments (from this site and others) into three categories: The Good, The Bad, and The WTF?!
.: Do not automatically equate “The Good” with praise for me. Among these are some valid criticisms and questions, and I’m taking this time to respond to them.
To Cody, think about what you experienced, the event, what was written in this blog, to what your family did to help you, what would you do differently, if anything? Would you have put in a disclaimer that this was a parody? Would you have approached Dr. Patton yourself instead of your uncle? Would you have had tolerance for Chrisâ€™ email/action or would you have approached him and talked directly to him? Would Dr. Patton have allowed a debate to occur? Would you be as swift to send an email to the class dist list or done a reply all? – Mark
.: If I had to do it all over again I still wouldn’t have put a disclaimer in the email, because I consider that to be the literary equivalent of the laugh track, which is just plain evil. I would still have relied on my uncle to help sort things out, given that I was forbidden from approaching Dr. Patton at all. I wouldn’t have approached Mr. Stone directly for a discussion, because he has a lip ring and that thing is scary looking. Dr. Patton wouldn’t have allowed the debate to occur (what is there to debate?), but he did say that he would be willing to discuss the matter privately with Mr. Stone. And the one thing I would change: I would hit “reply” instead of “send to all.”
.: As for the written account of the incident on my blog, I would have changed “weeped” to “wept”. Damn, I can’t believe I missed that one.
“Here is where your perception was skewed: Christopherâ€™s email was so easy to skewer because it was so dumb. Yet, you complained about the dumbness of what came about. You canâ€™t have it both ways.” – Richard
.: Richard was one of the few commentators to offer a different perspective that didn’t straddle the line between the “Death to the religious!” / “Science is a sham!” modes of thought. For that, he deserves a gold star. But I do think he’s wrong in the instance I quote, and here’s why:
.: I knew nothing but stupidity would come from Mr. Stone. I would not have complained if he responded with words–which I anticipated but, sadly, never received–no matter what they said. However, the dumbness that came about is only indirectly related to Mr. Stone’s own stupidity. It depended on other people being stupid in a different manner than that of Mr. Stone. One could reasonably assume the police would take notice of my email and investigate, but what is unreasonable is the manner in which they investigated.
“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.” – Peter
.: The moment they sat me down and I explained to them that it was a satire, they should have let me shown them the evidence and then dismissed it right then and there. Anyone in a position like that should have recognized my email for what it was. My qualms with the Baylor DPS was how stupidly they handled the situation. I only posted the part of the interrogation that I remembered, but rest assured it was much more absurd.
“Richard wrote that Cody must have paused before sending his satirical email knowing it would hurt Christopherâ€™s feelings, but I donâ€™t know that there is any evidence to suggest that he did so.
Did you pause Cody? Cause i am curious to know that if the zeal that prompted you to defend both your Professor and Scientific Boundaries allowed room for consideration of a religiously minded personâ€™s feelings?” – Davina
.: I didn’t give a damn one way or another what happened to Mr. Stone’s esteem. He’s a big boy; he could handle a little criticism, right? . . . right? I was attacking his ideas, yes, but his personal well-being was of no concern to me at the time.
Now, you need to learn how to look beyond what they spoon feed you and dig deeper. – Uncle Ted
.: I must ask: who are “they” and what is it they are feeding me?
In general, I found the satire and the tone of the post amusing. This statement, however, was less so: “At first I was told two studentsâ€“presumably freshman girls whoâ€™ve never had an original thought in their quaint, conservative lives [told the police about the email]”
Why should Cody assume that it was freshmen girls who were insular and without irony when it was a boy (Stone) whose lack of irony and original thought was what started the whole thing? Perhaps he should have the thought, original enough at Baylor, that girls are capable of originality and irony as well as boys. – Dianne
.: It was stupid and sexist of me to assume that females are less perceptive of irony than males, even if the first hatemail I received was by “♥Mfrie♥“. I’m leaving that part of the post up, if only to show others that I am capable of faulty judgment.
Thanks for the good laugh; and do â€œstand tall and donâ€™t [slouch]. – Magillia
.: My mother enjoyed this comment significantly more than I did.
“You are absolutely ape-shit brilliant. Keep writing.” – Tim French
.: Damn right.
.: These are the bad comments. Most of them are criticisms that have no merit, yet I’m responding to them anyway, just for shits and giggles.
“Would you joke about carrying a bomb onto a plane while being at the security check point?” – senob
.: Only the most paranoid of minds would see no problem with this comparison to my email. Fortunately, they do not reside on planet Earth.
.: I think.
“First of all, the â€œparodyâ€ email, supposedly a joke, was simply pitiful. Jonathon Swift you ainâ€™t, mate. You were trying to be funny, but you missed the mark on so many levels. Twisting peopleâ€™s words isnâ€™t a joke. Neither is sneering. So, the cops missed the joke in your email. Not surprising, really. The joke was microscopic.” – Pete
.: I’m going to do you, dear reader, a favor and outline the structure of this paragraph:
Opinion. Opinion. Opinion, followed by claim with no supporting evidence or examples. Subjective claim purporting status of objective truth. Additional subjective claim purporting status of objective truth. Falsehood. Claim based upon earlier falsehood.
“Hey look, the echo chamber rattles on. â€œlol CHRISTIANS R DUM!!â€ Do I get to join the club now?
What amuses me the most about this business is that the parody misses the point of the professorâ€™s lecture JUST AS BADLY as the student who is boycotting class.
But I suppose that the congenital syphilis your slutty of a mother passed on to you and the rest of her sniveling brood (product of six different boyfriends, no doubt) has finished off what tiny parts of your brain werenâ€™t dissolved by inhaled toluene fumes.
â€¦what, you couldnâ€™t tell that I was just being satirical?” – DensityDuck
.: This one’s particularly nasty. Ignoring his first paragraph, we find DensityDuck making an egregiously illogical claim in the second. How exactly does my parody miss the point of the professor’s lecture? I just don’t know, but DensityDuck apparently does. Too bad he won’t share his reasoning with us.
.: He then writes what he claims to be a satirical passage but fails to include within it a particular vice, folly, or instance of stupidity to ridicule. He then asks us if we could tell what he wrote was satirical. Short answer: no.
.: Long answer: no, because what he wrote was not, in fact, satire. As much as he might have intended otherwise, his passage was nothing more than a vulgar insult.
“…it seems to me that all concerned in your little tale only did what they were programed to do.” Carl P
.: Q. Are We Not Men?
.: A. We Are Devo!
You have a lot to learn before joining us here in the real world. – Elisha
.: ATTENTION READER: Never, ever listen to anybody who uses the phrase “real world” in this context. No good can come of it.
.: For starters, the speaker invariably assumes that his or her lifestyle is the only one in concordance with the “real world”–a vaguely defined phrase to begin with. Noting that, he or she proceeds to chastise you for not making the exact same decisions in life that he or she made. Likely, as has often been my personal experience in dealing with this type of person, the speaker’s lifestyle is nothing to envy. Their bitterness at the “real world” reflects their own displeasure with it. Be wary.
it is interesting that the most vociferous, strident â€œpatriotsâ€ in this country are also the ones whose reactions to dissenting opinions and things they donâ€™t understand most closely resemble Stalinâ€™s policies for dealing with dissent and satire. – other lord
.: Come now, don’t exaggerate unnecessarily. It’s not like I was sent to Siberia. My post is more concerned with important matters like science, religion, and rationality than it is with petty politics.
I think you are a little on the ignorant side to start with. Why are you going to a christian school in the first place? You would probably be more at home at a liberal arts college, or maybe a school for the alternately gifted. Grow up and learn something about life before you start complaining about other peoples religious beliefs. Maybe youâ€™ll start to realize how stupid you sound. – Mitchmadeit
.: Ah, I see where you’re going with this: my kind with my kind, your kind with your kind. Divisiveness–that’s what we need! It’s okay for people to think irrationally as long as they’re grouped together, right?
.: Of course, if that’s not what you intended with your post, feel free to correct me.
The author and many posters are assuming that they are correct in stating that a death threat was not made, because the threat was embedded in a parody.
Here is the definition of a terroristic threat in the state of
Terroristic Threat is a penal code offense. A person commits the offense of Terroristic Threat if he or she threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with the intent to place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Penalty: Class B misdemeanor. â€
No mention of parody here. – Stephen Williams
.: Stephen must have skipped over the word “intent” when reading that definition of Terroristic Threat, otherwise he would have known his comment was baseless and wouldn’t have posted it. For you see, reader, I wrote a silly parody. It was laced with irony, which means everything I said in it was opposite of its literal meaning. My beliefs aren’t offended by the use of logic and reason and scientific claims that can be proven. Likewise, I didn’t really intend to burn my professor at the stake.
“Of course, I donâ€™t believe for a minute that youâ€™ll let this comment stand. Guess your tolerance doesnâ€™t extend that far, does it?” – Adam Nonymous
.: Does showcasing this comment make me even more of an ass? Good.
.: As for the last entries in The Bad category, I’m afraid the comments are far too long to post here, yet it is necessary to read them in their full. So, be sure to read both posts by Aaron. And then check out Phil’s response to his first post, and my response to his second. Then read Naruki’s assessment of Aaron’s situation:
“I’d say he certainly was shamed.
Sadly, his kind don’t understand personal shame and assume it means “doing good, keep going”. His response shows that he just doesn’t get it.
And he should be horsewhipped for failing to use more white space.” – Naruki on Aaron
.: These are the ridiculous comments that were just so out there that I was forced to share them with you.
“ur a douche.” – Anonymous
.: Historically, most of the world’s wisdom has been provided by Anonymous. Let us pray thanks to the gods that he is still with us.
“I have been on the OTHER side of this debate for 38 years now. SERIOUSLY since 1986 when challenger blew upâ€¦. 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 â€œLifeâ€ 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 manâ€™s handsâ€¦ so this debate is old hat for me. I have children call me â€œFatherâ€ meaning my sperm is neutrino based and impregnated their motherâ€¦ (SHRUG) So I know the next generation will be warpedâ€¦ 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 donâ€™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 â€œLUTHERâ€ 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 educationâ€¦ Keep the finches flying with the dragons!” – michael Autin
.: It’s okay if you didn’t understand all of it–neither did I.
“Science is great, logic is great too, but if what is said is true, the more we know the more we realize how much we donâ€™t know, then my friend I donâ€™t know which slope is slipperier, Faith or Reason.” – Guy
.: I’m guessing Guy doesn’t know a lot of things. Call it a hunch.
Stating seriously, that one is going to kill someone is a crime.
Stating seriously, that others should kill someone is also a crime.
â€œI call on my fellow Christians to gather rope and kindling so that we may burn â€œDr.â€ Patton at the stakeâ€ is on its own certainly a crime in both above respects.
It is ridiculous to blame the police, that, after they were notified by someone, who was not certain whether it is meant as a joke, they had a look at it and, although they saw the intent of a joke, interogated the author. After they realized, that the author didnâ€™t take the matter seriously, they were right to take their time to drive the point home, that a threat of killing is serious, unless it is blatantly obvious to complete idiots, that it is only a joke. Even â€œterroristâ€ is applicable because killing somebody, because he threatens oneâ€™s own belief is exactly what islamic terrorists claim to do.
Furthermore if Patton would have felt offended by this, the author might have been persecued for insult.
What we can learn from this:
-the author needed to learn a lot. When making jokes about killing(or jews in Ausschwitz, starving africans, traffic victims, â€¦), one is required to know, who will hear the joke, and make sure all in the audience are capable of understanding, that it is a joke.
-even if it is a joke, it still can be insulting and even a breach of law and rightly so. There are things, one should not make jokes about.
-the mail is a stupid way to fight nonsense as it creates a straw man, there is a serious difference between asking to protest against someone who disreagards oneâ€™s own beliefs and burning or stoning him – ask refugees from Iran or former Taliban-Afgahnistan. This hurts fighting nonsense.
-Believers always believe itâ€™s about believe.
-Believers have problems do not see the content of a argument against their belief, but see it as an offense.
-there are students, who seem to be unable to identify the above mail as a joke. Sad.
-the general mood today is, that there could be people writing such things seriously – sad – and there are actually even a few – very sad.
I personally think the first half of the mail is funny, but the second half about burning, stoning and so on is not funny anymore, overall a bad joke. – Florian
.: Somewhere in there Florian is trying to say something meaningful. Personally, I think it’s this line: -Believers always believe it’s about believe.
The whole thing is sad. Not funny at all. And, the writer of the 2nd email ought to have been at least ‘booked’ down at the station so he would not forget how unfunny this was. – ChiasmaSunbeem
.: I have similar sentiments regarding Carrot Top.
Good use of satire always attempts to place its audience into the appropriate context, and e-mail is a *horrid* medium for this, when there isn’t a specifically designed target audience. E-mail will continue to bite us in the ass every time, until we realize this. E-mail is not face-to-face communication. E-mail is not a book. E-mail is the absolute definition of Non Sequitur, and *must* be treated as such. – Berrew