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back to article CERN confirms neutrinos don't break light speed

Neutrinos are most definitely not faster than light after all, says CERN. The laws of physics got the good news last Friday at the 25th International Conference on Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics in Kyoto, in a talk titled “The neutrino velocity measurement by OPERA experiment”. Slides (PDF) accompanying the talk say the …

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Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

“The story captured the public imagination, and has given people the opportunity to see the scientific method in action – an unexpected result was put up for scrutiny, thoroughly investigated and resolved in part thanks to collaboration between normally competing experiments. That’s how science moves forward.”

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"Try that with mythology (aka Religion) "

Somehow there always seems to be a loudmouth, smug atheist who, with pointy head firmly up ass, makes some obvious and irrelevant remark about religion and science, when it should be plainly apparent to all but the most ignorant, that the real questions with which religion deals are moral and existential, and that the issues which agitate human society and civilization are moral and existential, and have little to do with science, and in which science is powerless..

But then again, as long as you can be smug, why would you care?

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Meh

Re: "as long as you can be smug, why would you care?"

"the issues which agitate human society and civilization are moral and existential, and have little to do with science, and in which science is powerless"

Many people are unhappy with the efforts of the religious to interfere with the areas of human endeavour in which science and education can benefit us; this sort of wilful interference despite hundreds of years of effort to separate church and state are bound to generate a little bad blood, wouldn't you say?

And that leaves aside the fuzzier issues where the morals of one group conflict with the desires of another. Dogma is a religious concept, and utterly inflexible rules benefit no-one and yet we continue to have them imposed upon us.

So, as unpleasant as the loudmouth, smug atheists are, unlike the smug apologists they are merely a symptom of the problem, not part of the problem itself.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"... and have little to do with science, and in which science is powerless.. "

But 'science' never claimed to have 'power' in dealing with moral and existential questions; wheras religion claimed to have ultimate power to answer questions such as whether the sun revolved around the earth, or vice versa. The religious method of 'proving' assertions involved harassment, torture and execution of dissenters. While they were busy advancing these religious theories of astronomy (and the vitally important theory about eating meat on Fridays), did they consider the moral or existential aspects of what they were doing? Or, is it the case that morality has changed as far as religion is concerned and so the religious people have changed their methods?

I suggest that the 'religious method' changes the fundemental principles of its own beliefs in order to make itself appear valid within whatever society it exists. This would be the equivalent of scientists changing the speed of light, or the mass of the proton, to make science more relevant to society. As we know, this is impossible, because scientists don't create their own fairytale world.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"...'science' never claimed to have 'power' in dealing with moral and existential questions..."

Oh dear, your copy of "My First History of Science" seems to have several chapters missing.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

> "That’s how science moves forward.”

Since when does religion move forward? A significant(ly vocal) proportion of believers seems stuck in the Middle Ages.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

Um... science and religion are fundamentally different. Saying we should apply the scientific method to religion only shows a lack of understanding of that fact, just as theists denying well-tested scientific evidence shows their own lack of understanding.

A fundamental axiom of the scientific method is that experiments are 100% repeatable (except for probabilistic/uncertainty effects) and the system being observed doesn't [i]know[/i] it's being observed.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

It seems to me that many of the commentards here are confusing religion and religious thinking (also OP's mythology) with organisations that promote a certain brand of religious ideology.

I read the OP's point about science as implying that science is informed by facts and is able to accept its errors and move forwards. History tells us that many scientists have deliberately rubbished facts that contradict their own position - usually those scientists who have a personal interest in maintaining the status quo.

Disregarding the childish language in Turtle's response, there is a valid point: religious and mythological ideas are generally the result of philosophical thinking that cannot be done by science.

I would suggest that both organised religion and organised science are equally involved in dogmatic ideology, but it is the _organisations_ like churches, universities, academic funding bodies, multinational corporations (i.e. big pharma) who are at fault.

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Trollface

Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

Smug? errr quite likely.

Atheist? errr yes, if you must use a label.

Get my moral from religion? Shudder the thought.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

But Religion does move forward, though some more quickly than others...

When most Western Atheist talk about Religion they often mean the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) which is just one of many branches of Christianity, let alone the religious sphere and happens to be one of the most dogmatic main branch of Christianity.

When you compare the RCC to (for example) some branches of the Anglican Church it becomes rather stunning how much faster the latter moves with the modern times. The Anglican Church is having an ongoing public debate about the acceptance of woman bishops (which some now have) and openly gay priests/bishops. Some moving allot quicker than others.

What we have is the movement of institutions rather than ideas. Throughout history whether it be the Scientific body or Religious believing in theory x (such as the existence of Aether or the static state model of the cosmos) have only moved forward when the group which holds the contrary theory outnumber the people who hold the original (usually through the death of the latter) and not, as most zealous Scientists would argue, though experimentation and logic (though this does help produce the opposition group).

What happens in religion is that the various churches split over theological points (see the split in the Eastern and Western Branches of Christianity over the argument over the nature of the Divinity of Jesus [water/wine water/oil debate]) whereas Science does not tend to so openly.

Yours sincerely

A Devout Agnostic who has spent years debunking the Bible to "believers"

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

@mccp: Well put, says this man of science.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"and that the issues which agitate human society and civilization are moral and existential"

No, dude. Those are the issues which agitate people with too much time on their hands who don't till their own fields. Just as it's always been.

The issues which agitate the majority of human society outside of the comfortable world from which you dictate your missives are "Where is my next meal coming from?", "Why is there a 50% infant mortality rate" and "Can we have some potable water?": Questions which science helps with, and religion can only answer with either "there, there; it's ok: God loves you." or "because you DESERVE it, sinner".

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IT Angle

Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

Would you mind taking this discussion over to Yahoo! Answers! please? That seems to be the forum for this kind of mass debating.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"Get my moral from religion? Shudder the thought."

But you do. Like it or not.

You are a product of a society which derived their morals from their religion. You might not be following them because an invisible policeman might punish you, and you might have added a few or taken a few off the list; but the core of them stem from religion, and they would be different morals that if you had been raised under a very different culture.

I'm not saying that I support organised religion, but at least recognise the marks that it has left on you *for better* as well as worse.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

Wrong analogy - faith isn't within the domain of science and there are many scientists who have faith and for whom faith was encountered and confirmed by entirely reasonable means. These areas are concerned with different questions and have different methods of evaluating evidence.

Science is concerned with statements by witnesses which are reproducible. The law, like history and faith, doesn't follow that standard and neither can nor should. These areas are concerned with statements by witnesses which tend not to be reproducible. Few witnesses of the Kennedy assassination are still alive and this case is still disputed. We almost all reasonably believe JFK existed and was assassinated and we'd think anyone who disagreed with either point to be either fully ignorant or fully unreasonable, but who was behind this assassination is still disputed. If you sit on the jury in a court of law deciding whether someone is innocent or guilty, you have to make your mind up about the reliability of the witnesses, and either the defendant gets to suffer the consequences if you find him or her guilty or the claimed victims see the defendant go free. You don't get to visit the scene of the crime yourself in person at the time it allegedly happened, because history can't be reproduced in that way, but you have to decide what happened anyway.

When you carefully evaluate statements made by those who led faith movements or were witnesses to their origins (as opposed to dismissing these with prejudice), you also decide for yourself the reliability of the witnesses, and you get to benefit from or suffer the consequences. Sometimes this may not matter, but when someone tells you the building you are inside is on fire it might.

Witnesses to faith are not restricted to those who lived thousands of years ago. If you have ever personally had an encounter with someone then you will either believe them to exist or believe your memory deluded. You may be unable to pull them out of a hat to satisfy those whose prejudice demands reproducible as opposed to legal or historical standards of proof. I'm satisfied with the personal qualities and reliability of the long standing witnesses to my faith. But in my case it took a personal encounter before I chose to go beyond the prejudice which had blocked my impartial and honest evaluation of the key witness statements. Better for those who believe without first having to encounter for themselves.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

We should all have a massdebate and thrash it out in the open.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

bollocks!

religion has nothing to do with moral and existential issues it is all about social control.

you do what i say or else my invisible friend will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my.... meme.

bloody sheep

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Coat

50% mortality

at least half of the kids are protected from the <ahem>attentions of the priests then :-)

mines the one with a silver lining

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snigger...

i thort that

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

>>Disregarding the childish language in Turtle's response, there is a valid point: religious and mythological ideas are generally the result of philosophical thinking that cannot be done by science.

I would probably take exception to the word generally because there are very few religious and mythological ideas that are philosophically based, philosophy is (should be) a respected area of thought where you take known facts and extrapolate rationally, or where you take known facts and then add a "what if X was true", the testability of X may or may not be possible - either way X is never stated as a fact, Einstiens thought experiments were an example of this.

However, religious thinking tends by it's nature to separate itself from philosophy because it starts with dogma (the myths) which are asserted to be true and cannot be challenged, i.e. when philosophy asks "what if X was true" religion asserts "X is true".

Imagine there are two philosophers, one says anything can be challenged with an argument testable or otherwise and the other says there are several unprovable assumptions that can never be challenged and I will base my philosophy on it. - which one is more credible? if you chose option #2 or think they are equally credible then next consider another philosopher, one who also bases their philosophy on immutable unprovable assumptions, however they contradict the other ones.

Religious people are not philosophers.

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Trollface

Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"religion has nothing to do ..."

and science has everything to do with blah blah blah and I know it because I'm bloody ignorant!

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Re: "as long as you can be smug, why would you care?"

"Many people are unhappy with the efforts of the religious to interfere with the areas of human endeavour in which science and education can benefit us; this sort of wilful interference despite hundreds of years of effort to separate church and state are bound to generate a little bad blood, wouldn't you say?"

Notice that in my original post, I said that "the issues which agitate human society and civilization are moral and existential, and have little to do with science, and in which science is powerless". And further notice that the word "religion" is *not* in that statement. Even if every aspect and trace of religion were to completely vanish today, a conflicting array of morals, ideologies, sentiments, emotions, etc would still all exist, and exert a powerful influence on society. And you can trust that some of those sentiments will be sentiments of which *you* do not approve. "Science" is *not* going to make everyone see the world the way you see it. That seems to be an unstated premise of people who worship Science: if everyone believed in Science, the world would see substantial unanimity on all questions.

"Many people are unhappy with the efforts of the religious to interfere with the areas of human endeavor in which science and education can benefit us; this sort of wilful interference despite hundreds of years of effort to separate church and state are bound to generate a little bad blood, wouldn't you say?"

"Education" by the way, is not "science". Don't confuse the two.

Incidentally, the idea that society will somehow improve if religion were to disappear, is itself an unquestionable dogma - the chief dogma of, naturally, atheists.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

How can you be Devoutly Agnostic?

That's like saying "I strongly believe that I have no beliefs"

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

There's no such thing as religion, it simply doesn't exist.

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Stop

Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

I would rather children were taught to question everything and give them the tools to discover new and interesting facts, than have them trained to blindly accept what they are told as immutable scripture. Religion does nothing to explain anything - if it offered anything testable or provable, then it would, by definition, be science. The fundamental difference between science and religion is a choice between the freedom to think or the slavery of being told what to think.

PS. ad hominem attacks against atheists really do nothing to strengthen your already irrational argument -most stheists I know are not loudmouth, smug, or pointy-headed. Nor are they usually as vitriolic as yourself.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

Yep, scientists can be smug because they're right and religion is wrong.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"The issues which agitate the majority of human society outside of the comfortable world from which you dictate your missives are "Where is my next meal coming from?", "Why is there a 50% infant mortality rate" and "Can we have some potable water?": Questions which science helps with, and religion can only answer with either "there, there; it's ok: God loves you." or "because you DESERVE it, sinner"."

Err, no, "dude". What is done about each of the problems you list is *not* a matter of science because science has already provided the answers. What is done about the problems is a matter of morals and sentiments, and how they determine what a suitable course of action is. Let me put it this way: supplying potable water is not a matter to be solved by science, because the technology exists to solve the problem. Whether or not the technology is actually deployed to solve the problem is not a matter of science; it is a matter of morals, ideology, sentiment. Science might find various means to deal with certain problems, but people with ideas, emotions, likes and dislikes, decide how to react (or even whether to react at all) to problems, and what means (if any) to use to solve the problem. (Because one can always take the Paul Ehrlich point of view, which is to let everyone of the "wrong" color and social class die.)

"Religion can only answer with either "there, there; it's ok: God loves you." or "because you DESERVE it, sinner". Right, because atheists are so well-known for their great humanitarian efforts to help the poor, while organized religions have never done anything. Oh wait...

There's a Salvation Army Mission over on Skid Row here. I have also frequently various church groups distributing food and clothing to the poor. Somehow I have never seen any atheists get together to do anything similar. And as for religious organizations that work to ameliorate social ills, well, I guess in your world, they don't exist at all.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"Somehow I have never seen any atheists get together to do anything similar."

Seriously, do some research and go back to your cave.

A google of "Atheist/Humanist Charities" reveals:

http://www.freethoughtpedia.com/wiki/Charities

http://www.humanism.org.uk/humanism/humanism-today/humanists-doing/charities

and so on... Epic Fail.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

>>There's a Salvation Army Mission over on Skid Row here. I have also frequently various church groups distributing food and clothing to the poor.

I'm not going to dis the Sally Army (too much) because the genuinely do a lot of good without imposing their views (too much), however (not so much in the UK) there are some very bigotted people working for the SA, those who refuse to help gay people for example.

>>Somehow I have never seen any atheists get together to do anything similar.

Perhaps you should open your eyes then! for example, the Atheist Centre of India, changing peoples lives for the last 70+ years, and don't forget that any secular charity that doesn't have a religious axe to grind is an atheist charity; Oxfam, UNICEF, Red Cross, Amnesty International, ACLU to name a few rather obvious ones.

>>And as for religious organizations that work to ameliorate social ills, well, I guess in your world, they don't exist at all.

Oh they do, but their social ills often include increasing suffering (Mother Theresa), stopping AIDS prevention (condom prevention), irradicating womens rights, removal of gay rights, protecting paeophiles (describing paedophiles as victims of temptation), some religious organisations do some good, that's because many people who work for them are good people wanting to make the world a little better, they should take that energy and direct it in a secular way and do much more good, with non of the harm.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 50% mortality

"50% mortality

at least half of the kids are protected from the <ahem>attentions of the priests then"

Not from the necrophiliac ones...

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Re: Religious people are not philosophers.

@ No, I will not fix your computer

"because there are very few religious and mythological ideas that are philosophically based"

I've only spent the last year helping my daughter with her Philosophy AS homework so I don't claim to be more expert than you, but I think you'll find that _philosophers_ (Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Peter Vardy to name three from one essay) develop religious ideas from philosophical first principles.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"Religious people are not philosophers."

Quite.

There's a word from religious people who publicly philosophise: Heretics.

Religion isn't for discussing; it's for obeying.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"Err, no, "dude". What is done about each of the problems you list is *not* a matter of science because science has already provided the answers."

Quite. Religion had no answer for a few thousand years apart from either 'sorry' or 'good!'. Science enabled the technology that has driven away those problems for much of the world. Or would you prefer to live in the religiously-driven bygone times where you had no freedom of speech and you buried half your children?

"What is done about the problems is a matter of morals and sentiments, and how they determine what a suitable course of action is."

And capitalism, economics, and power. Plus: Self-actualisation. You are very optimistic as regards the reasons why we have these things. Those of us who have them (The First World) do NOT have them because any religious organisation handed them our gratis. We have them because we demanded them, and because someone made a buck from it. Whereas those who cannot afford such things do not have them on the whole. What religious charities have done pales into insignificance next to the mighty dollar. Indeed: Religion has often opposed these advances and hindered them.

"Let me put it this way: supplying potable water is not a matter to be solved by science, because the technology exists to solve the problem."

That technology stemmed from scientific progress. That's the point of applied science and engineering. Is that not self-evident? Plans for desalinisation plants didn't just fall on the factory floor from the heavens.

"Right, because atheists are so well-known for their great humanitarian efforts to help the poor, while organized religions have never done anything. Oh wait..."

Plenty of people give to charity without thought of religion. Look at the efforts of Live Aid and all the other secular charities. Organised religion contributes, but you can't scoff at what secular charities achieve. That's provably drivel.

"There's a Salvation Army Mission over on Skid Row here. I have also frequently various church groups distributing food and clothing to the poor. Somehow I have never seen any atheists get together to do anything similar."

Never heard of OXFAM. How about...y'iknow... the Red Cross? Can you just take off your blinkers for a moment. Religion is not some world-saving charitable organisation that is the only one giving a toss about these people. Charity and social conscience does not depend upon a religious leaning. We were social, caring creatures long before someone herded us into a temple and told us to give the bloke at the front some money so that he could give it to the poor (and by the way support his own lifestyle of sitting on his backside while everyone else sweated in fields).

"And as for religious organizations that work to ameliorate social ills, well, I guess in your world, they don't exist at all."

They exist alongside the numerous secular ones. Although the religious ones sometimes [I won't say alway: That would be unfair] have a life-changing agenda that they want to convert you to.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

' "Let me put it this way: supplying potable water is not a matter to be solved by science, because the technology exists to solve the problem."

That technology stemmed from scientific progress. That's the point of applied science and engineering. Is that not self-evident? Plans for desalinisation plants didn't just fall on the factory floor from the heavens.'

Studies of the nature of scientific breakthrough tend to come up with or address the concept of inspiration. But the serious methodical study leading to such breakthroughs tends to be motivated based upon the viewpoint and understanding that laws of nature pre-exist for us to be able to discover these and benefit by doing so. Inspiration ( a word with interesting origins) applies to novel engineering applications of science as much as breakthroughs in understanding this science.

Scientific progress has now got to the point where people rarely question where the idea of the existence of laws of nature came from, to the point where this existence is simply accepted as given. But the idea that such natural laws exist didn't arise from Athiest dogma that the universe is essentially chaotic, that everything came into existence from nothing and for no prior reason, and that natural laws exist without a legislator.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

"it should be plainly apparent to all but the most ignorant, that the real questions with which religion deals are moral and existential, and that the issues which agitate human society and civilization are moral and existential, and have little to do with science, and in which science is powerless."

Leaving aside the fact that science is hardly 'powerless' to address the origins of human morality (hint: it existed long before people wrote down Sky Fairy Tales on magic tablets), are you aware that over 50% of Americans now reject the theory of evolution solely on the basis of religion?

Sorry to be so smug as to point that out.

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Re: Religious people are not philosophers.

@mccp

You are quite right of course, but you're addressing the question logically (quite right), don't forget I said "there are very few religious and mythological ideas that are philosophically based", I didn't say there were none - that said, you have kind of made my point for me, I strongly disagree that people like Thomas and Vardy (philosopher? wash your mouth out! how old is the earth?) develop their ideas from "philosophical first principles" - arguably Thomas didn't have the benefit of modern education and was going to be a Monk but Vardy is a creationist ffs!

Seriously, if you're genuinely interested where philosophy starts and how religion conflicts then try Hegel or kirkegaard for something a bit more judeo/christain "honest". If you remove all dogma can you really trust someone who through "philosophical first principles" concludes, not only is there a god (which may be rational), but can even specify the exact flavour of that god such that the dogma coincides with your "findings"? see Bauer for more info (or not, the choice is yours).

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Re: Religious people are not philosophers.

I saw 53 comments on the story and thought there might be an interesting Physics discussion going on here. But no, some self-righteous type has started another needless and divisive flamewar so that we can get a huge page of Relgion vs. Science ranting.

Nice one, OP.

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Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

And as for religious organizations that work to ameliorate social ills, well anything they accomplish is more than written off by the actions of 1 pedophile priest, and there have been thousands, if not tens of thousands of them, and your church, christs vicar himself, whats his response? cover it up, discredit the victims, move the offenders on to new hunting ground.

there! fixed it for you

how amazingly..... altruistic of him, but i suppose he is only enacting your gods will.

burning at the stake is too good for some

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Try that with mythology (aka Religion)

Religion is a basic, ingrained human behavior. Some attach an supernatural being to their religious behavior, others are content with being closed-minded Scientific Fundamentalists or Angry Atheist Vegans.

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@Naughtyhorse

And as for religious organizations that work to ameliorate social ills, well anything they accomplish is more than written off by the actions of 1 pedophile priest ...

Is everything Atheists accomplish written off by the atrocities of Pol Pot and Stalin ? Not a fair comparison ? If not, then please explain why should all Atheists, and all of Atheism be judged based upon a different standard from every other faith position ?

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Unhappy

Awww...

Well, I for one am bloody disappointed.

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Re: Awww...

you would have been disappointed a long time ago.

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Re: Awww...

I'm going to start being disappointed tomorrow so I can end being disappointed today.

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Anonymous Coward

So that means all the time I spent fitting a neutrino source to the car in an effort to get to the pub before I left work was wasted?

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Pint

There is a simple solution to your problem...

You only have to work at the pub!

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Coat

Yup

Hopefully you can part exchange the neutrino source for a flux capacitor. Though you'll need to supply your own jigga-watts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yup

Or a tachyon shunt? Braking distances could be an issue though...

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Anonymous Coward

eh?

If you're driving to the pub what non beer drinking activity are you in such a hurry to do?

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Re: eh?

Ah, but if he can arrange matters so he can leave the pub *before* he gets there, then he should be sober for the drive home right?

Of course, he might end up getting the hangover the day before, which wouldn't be pleasant.

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