Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Panda’s Thumb Denizens?


These three guys been reading the hate speech at Panda’s Thumb too long?

Update: It’s absolutely amazing that so far no commenters here have comdemned what these three men did. They targeted and burned down 9 fundamentalist Christian churches. They terrorized the communities surrounding these churches in so doing. Not to mention the property damage, any of those churches could have had people in them when they were torched and lives would have been lost. Is there no outrage here?

Update 2: To those of you saying PT does nothing to encourage things like this I will remind you of PZ Myers (Panda’s Thumb author and Professor of Biology) saying scientists are not angry enough, not martial enough, and these [Christian fundamentalist] lunatics deserve responses involving righteous fury and butt-kicking. Maybe he got more than he wanted in this church burning incident. Then again maybe that’s just what the doctor ordered.

Update 3: To everyone writing to say I’m asserting that Panda’s Thumb is responsible, that is a straw man. Observe the question mark on the subject line and the original line of text at the top. To all of you who don’t know, a question marks denotes a question, not a statement or assertion.

Update 4: This advice about growing up should be read by all PT apologists.


Where did scordova's post go about this topic? It was there just a second go.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Sal must've had second thoughts about it. And I had SUCH a good comment in there too. :-( -ds egbooth
Maybe the Methodists put them up to it. (They deny it, of course.) http://www.al.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-20/1142189662104360.xml&storylist=alabamanews Methodist bishops distance the faith from Alabama church fires 3/12/2006, 12:46 p.m. CT By JAY REEVES The Associated Press BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Methodists and Baptists have a friendly rivalry, one that centers more on being first to the restaurant for Sunday lunch than anything dark or unsettling. That long-standing relationship had a new, uncomfortable twist thrown in last week when three young men linked to a United Methodist college were charged in a string of arsons at rural Baptist churches. No one has suggested that the school, the United Methodist Church or religious faith was tied to the blazes in any way. An attorney for one of the men said the fires weren't motivated by religious bias, and investigators agreed. I've also heard they were Satanists. No idea if that's true IDthink
>>My opinion is that hateful speech leads to hateful acts. Thanks for making an exception for my previous comment. Upon reflection, I agree with this opinion. I think most of the time the hateful acts are manifested as some form of discrimination, but history certainly shows us that violence is the result all too frequently. Your initial method of making your point put me off, but your point is taken. You've given me something to think about. appalled
"PT is no more a “haven” for church arsonists than UD is for clinic bombers." The key difference is people here don't actively engage in discussion about how much they despise abortion. jasonng

Can I try and post again or am I on the automatically banned list?

Here it goes:

You may remember typing this:
"Our only problem is that we aren’t martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough, or angry enough. The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some professors, many university adminstrators, and vast numbers of sleazy far-left politicians.

Comment by DaveScot — December 2, 2005 @ 7:14 am "

Now I am perfectly aware that you were being sarcastic with this quote but if you we were just concerned with semantics, here...wouldn't that be hateful speech as well? Something abortion clinic bombers could take comfort in???

In fact your next commenter took offense to your remarks on the very next comment:

dbergan wrote:
"Mr. Scot? What is to be gained by that? It is preferred that we patiently mete out the truth of the issue...Nothing will be gained by your suggested tactics of anger, fury, and humiliation…"

Interested in your response.

Didn't your momma teach you that two wrongs don't make a right? Give me her phone number. I want to call her up and tell her what a stupid child she had. -ds


"I want to make myself clear that PT is not to shoulder any of the blame for this terrible crime whatsoever; I also want to make clear that I do not accuse any of the moderators there of having the sort of mentality that is conducive to acts such as this. I do, however, think that PT is the sort of place that can be a haven for those who do. I think this is what Dave is trying to get at."

Anyone suggesting the burning of a church on PT would be excoriated (and reported to the police if they seemed at all serious).

I would hope that anyone suggesting the bombing of an abortion clinic would get a similar reaction on Uncommon Descent.

PT is no more a "haven" for church arsonists than UD is for clinic bombers.

Hateful speech leads to hateful actions. Write that down. -ds woody

To be fair to Panda's Thumb, I'm sure they would condemn the actions of these three students, and I'm sure that at least most of the frequenters of that blog find their actions utterly reprehensible. Still, the fact remains that the most stalwart defenders of Darwinism do their defending with fervent religious zeal (The now infamous post by Dr. Myers serves as case and point.), and the religion to which most of them adhere follows from a brand of either agnosticism or philosophical naturalism which finds religious theism to be especially distasteful.

Just as there are extremist Christian fundamentalists who advocate bombing abortion clinics, so I believe there are extremist agnostic or atheist Christian haters who would burn down churches. I want to make myself clear that PT is not to shoulder any of the blame for this terrible crime whatsoever; I also want to make clear that I do not accuse any of the moderators there of having the sort of mentality that is conducive to acts such as this. I do, however, think that PT is the sort of place that can be a haven for those who do. I think this is what Dave is trying to get at.

You're wrong about what I'm trying to get at. Hateful speech leads to hateful acts and PT admins breathlessly participate in it (like PZ Myers) or they let it flourish without attempting to stop it in any way. If someone actually conspired or threatened to commit a specific criminal act they might draw the line there but I'd have to see it to believe it. As far as I've seen they have no lines drawn and divest themselves of any responsibility for what's said there. I think they should seriously consider the consequences of their anti-religion rabble rousing speech and shoulder some blame for where it can lead - hateful speech leads to hateful acts. If they were over there making the same kind of hateful mocking speech about blacks, homosexuals, jews, women, native Americans, handicapped, or whatever there'd be mega-outrage. The sad fact of the matter is that it has become politically acceptable to mock and hate fundamentalist Christians. And you're so inured to it you don't even care that it's directed at just about all the authors on Uncommon Descent except me. And I'm the one that's belligerant about it instead of you all. Go figure. There's no way I'm apologizing for acting like a teed off Marine. -ds crandaddy

>>Politicians are trying to stop mobs of angry Southern Baptists from forming to burn down the university in retaliation.

And if they did so, that, too, would be a hate crime, and contrary to what they stand for. And so, unlikely, in my opinion. Certainly, the pastors and members interviewed by the press didn't show any desire for retaliation.

>>I suggested the perps were probably exactly the kind of anti-religion zealots that Panda’s Thumb attracts.

There is certainly a tremendous amount of "religious war" on the Pandas Thumb, but I don't think much of it would occur if "religion zealots" didn't show up to stir the pot.

The arsons conducted by these three individuals were appalling and reprehensible. They were further compounded by their purported purpose of the later arsons - to throw off the investigators. They certainly did terrorize the communities involved, and I hope they spend much of their remaining lives in prison. Society has no need of them, since they have so little respect for us.

But really, this has nothing to do with PT, and trying to tie the two together is nothing but inflammatory. And the use of punctuation marks ("?") does not disguise or excuse your intent.

I expect more reasoned commentary from this blog. Some jokes are best left to your own circle of friends.

You're entitled to an opinion and even though I'm not obligated to let you do it here I'll make an exception. My opinion is that hateful speech leads to hateful acts. There's hateful speech against religion on Panda's Thumb, it's encouraged by the admins there and sometimes originated by them. If you don't like my opinion that's just too darn bad as I really couldn't care much less what you think. So there. -ds appalled
Thanks to DaveScot for telling it like it is! Who knows how many anti-religious fanatics would burn down a church if they could get away with it. The fact that they targeted churches and not just any building makes it obvious that this wasn't just some random alcohol-fueled attack. Imagine the most unapologetic Christian fundamentalist, take away their sense of moral responsibility, and you have your Darwinian fundamentalist. jasonng
DaveScot is right on the money as usual. I appreciate his insight and hope he continues to call it as he sees it. Anyone who's read the PETA peanuts has experienced the struggle between speaking their mind and remaining politically correct. Fortunately for all of us, DaveScot is blessed with both incredible insight and the courage to express it. It is not at all surprising that the other side would react as they have to his comments - the guilty usually do. Keep it up, DaveScot. dougmoran


I think nobody's expressed outrage because that wasn't the content of your post. Had you approached this from the angle of "Wow, this is sad and horrible; let's condemn whoever did this and use this incident to promote the importance of respect for religion," people would have responded to your post with the emotion you call for in your update. Instead of being productive, you made a snide comment that, clearly, nobody buys (I think tb responded in the joking tone most people assumed you intended).

I'd add the connection is more tenuous than suspecting PETA folks of burning an animal-testing lab, because the PETA folks accuse animal testers of murder, a truly heinous crime, if you believe that's what it is. Nobody believes teaching ID is murder. While Dawkins may accuse religious people of child abuse, he never calls for violence in response--he specifically despises religion because he believes it has caused violence. Any student of his wouldn't burn churches.

Any student of his wouldn't burn churches. That's an unsupportable assertion. I still fail to see why making a connection between speech that contains mockery and hatred of Christian fundamentalism, such hate-speech written by university faculty and students, is unreasonable when university students torch a dozen fundamentalist churches. This seems very reasonable to me and I stand by it. To anti-religious zealots posting all their bigotry on Panda's Thumb I say if the shoe fits, wear it. -ds ThePolynomial
LOL DaveScot, Ya just killed me with laughter. Kinda surprised myself to hear the *shock* from the other commentators tho. Way 2 put 2 & 2 together. I thought this was hilarious :). Charlie Charliecrs


Have you no shame? Really, now! I'm a Christian, but I enjoy reading Panda's Thumb for the science articles and links. The Thumbsters are free to practice any religion or no religion-- they have freedom of conscience, as we all do. These flame wars can get pretty intense, but I'm sure that if a science department at some university burned down, they would never stoop so low as to blame it on an ID sympathizer!

Yes, they certainly would. they conflate ID with Christian fundamentalism. They immediately blamed the Paul Mireki attack on Christian fundamentalists. This connection I made is no more tenuous than suspecting PETA.ORG denizens of destroying a facility that performs medical testing on animals. -ds Karen

This post is not worthy to be placed on Uncommon Descent. Maybe I didn't read the right news article but I saw no link between the arsonists and the ID debate.

DaveScot, do you have any evidence that there is a link? If not, then apologize and delete your post.

I'm not deleting anything except your name from the unmoderated list. How's that grab ya, Stu? -ds StuartHarris

I am sure you are kidding about the perpetrators being PT readers - even though the world-views might correlate well (I don't read PT by the way, so am speaking from ignorance on their views) - but I would hate to see this kind of gag escalate to making a Mirecki of the situation.

I'm not kidding at all. There's a lot of mockery and hatred of fundamentalist Christians expressed by college students on Panda's Thumb. Nine (fundamentalist) churches were torched. They were obviously targeted since it wasn't nine churches all lined up next to each other and no other buildings were lit on fire. That kind of inflammatory hyperbole has consequences and I won't let it go unquestioned. -ds


I'm curious, did you read any of the articles from the link?

Gov. Bob Riley said after the arrests that the arsons did not appear to be "any type of conspiracy against organized religion" or the Baptist faith.

An attorney for Cloyd, Tommy Spina, declined comment on the charges, but added: "This is not a hate crime. This is not a religious crime."

"There is no indication that this is a hate crime," said Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

I suppose that it's technically not 'gratuitous or unwarranted' if all you read is the headlines.

Of course I read them. Politicians are trying to stop mobs of angry Southern Baptists from forming to burn down the university in retaliation. It was just a joke? It's not a hate crime? Excuse me, but unless someone can convince me that 9 baptist churches and no other buildings getting torched by these arsonists was just a wild coincidence then it was a hate crime. They singled out those churches. Burning down buildings that might have people in them is no joke in ANY case. Now do you have any more stupid comments or will that be about it for you today? -ds


This seems like a gratuitous and unwarranted accusation - what in the world do these church burnings have to do with anything that is discussed at the Panda's Thumb?

College students and hate speech directed at religion abounds on Panda's Thumb and you know it. All the dopey Dawkins "religion is the root of all evil" fans are drawn to it like flies to shi bees to flowers. I suggested the perps were probably exactly the kind of anti-religion zealots that Panda's Thumb attracts. That's neither gratuitous or unwarranted. -ds Jack Krebs
Or they have watched Dawkins athiest palaver on "Root of all evil?" one to many times and thought to prove him wrong :)! tb

Leave a Reply