I’m wrapping up my weekend work here at Skepticon in Missouri. It was a really great time. Many great speakers were heard and great times were had by many. There were a reported 1,100 attendees at this year’s event which was inspiring to me.

However, not everyone was pleased with our event.

Two separate people yelled at me and said my art was “wrong” and the theater that held the event refused to put the word Skepticon on the marquee. Most notably, an Italian ice cream shop just one block away from the event went so far as to refuse to serve us. This photo was taken by via Skepticon attendee @degreer75 at Gelato Mio:

Two thoughts on this. One, this is some exclusionary, bigoted bullshit. Two, maybe the religious message would have been better received if they brought us ice cream instead of taking it away.

On an up note, all the skeptics and atheists at the conference that I saw who interacted with the angry religious folks did so with grace and dignity. And many other local businesses offered us discounts and opened early or worked late to accommodate us. I’m pretty sure the skeptics drained almost all the kegs at the local gastro pub so having us around was probably good for local business.

EDIT: Just before going live with this story the owner of Gelato Mio wrote an apology. It can be found here at Gelato Mio.

I’m not sure if the apology was a result of his google review rating dropping to just 1 star after the internet reaction to the sign being posted or because he actually came to his senses. Either way the apology is a step in the right direction.

EDIT 11/21/11 9:36pm The owner of the Gelato store has issued a more detailed apology on reddit. Here it is:

To the World:
Hello, my name is Andy and I’m the owner of Gelato Mio, a gelato shop located in Springfield, Missouri. There has been quite a lot of buzz and discussion concerning a picture of the sign I briefly posted in my front window Saturday evening. I’d like to take this opportunity to tell my story and offer a heartfelt apology to your community. I messed up, plain and simple. This is NOT an excuse, but how it happened from my perspective.
I decided to welcome the convention downtown by offering the attendees 10% off their purchases at my store. A lot of the group from the convention were stopping by, being very polite and enjoying my Gelato. Saturday night started out as a great night. Once the store slowed down, I decided to walk down the street to learn more about the convention, fully thinking it was something involving UFOs (“skeptics”). What I saw instead was a man conducting a mock sermon, reading the bible and cursing it. Instead of saying “Amen”, the phrase was “god damn”. Being a Christian, and expecting flying saucers, I was not only totally surprised but totally offended. I took it very personally and quickly decided in the heat of the moment that I had to take matters into my own hands and let people know how I felt at that moment in time.
So, I went quickly back to my business, grabbed the first piece of paper I could find, wrote the note and taped it in my front window. This was an impulsive response, which I fully acknowledge was completely wrong and unacceptable. The sign was posted for about 10 minutes or so before I calmed down, came to my senses, and took it down. For what it’s worth, nobody was turned away. I strongly believe that everybody is entitled to their beliefs. I’m not apologizing for my beliefs, but rather for my inexcusable actions. I was wrong.
Guys, I really don’t know what else I can do to express my apologies. I’ve received dozens of calls and hundreds of emails since the incident, and have done my best to reply to each and every one and express my regret for what happened. For the thousands of you whom I’ve offended, I sincerely apologize. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. This is me as a human being sincerely apologizing for my actions.
To those of you who accept my apology, Thank You; it means a lot. To those of you who haven’t, I hope you will. I’m just a 28 year old small business owner who made a big mistake. I hope you see that I have not made any excuses, I’ve owned up to what I did, and I apologize.
For what it’s worth, an Atheist reached out to me to help me work through all of this and contact your community directly. I graciously accepted his offer.
I will give everyone who comes to my store this week 10% off as a token of my apology. Really, what’s more universal than ice cream?
Sincerely, Andy

Thanks, Andy. I for one really appreciate the apology and I wish you would have wandered in during one of the science talks. Maybe next year.

Amy Roth

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and writes about vegan food. She is the founder and president of the Los Angeles Women's Atheist and Agnostic Group: LAWAAG. Follow her on twitter: @SurlyAmy or on Google+.

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64 Comments

  1. Profile photo of James Fox
    November 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm —

    The ice cream inquisition! Fucktards.

  2. Profile photo of Elyse
    November 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm —

    I want to say something, but I’m too disgusted.

  3. Profile photo of Clair
    November 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm —
    • Profile photo of weatherwax
      November 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm —

      I doubt it was any online reviews. It was probably more like “Holy crap, these large groups keep coming to the door and then walking away instead of coming in and buying ice cream”.

  4. Profile photo of Jieming
    November 20, 2011 at 5:38 pm —

    I’d like to know what “event” the owner claims to have seen. In other news, Skeptics are associated with Atheism now? :-(

    • Profile photo of Amy Roth
      November 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm —

      A lot of skeptics are atheists and a lot of atheists attend this particular event because it embraces the application of skepticism to religious claims. No one that I saw was being overtly anti-religious in any sort of rude way and many of the talks were about science and critical thinking. Im sure many attendees felt as though they were in a safe environment where they could express their non belief which I think is important especially when living in such an extremely religious part of the country.

      • Profile photo of Jieming
        November 21, 2011 at 2:07 am —

        I realize that. Still I’d like to know what the owner saw that was so objectionable for him. If past experience is any guide, it might just be something trivial like watching someone write into a bible.
        As for the need to express your non-belief, I am 100 percent on your side on that one.

  5. Profile photo of Elyse
    November 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm —

    Is anyone else put off by the complete vagueness of the apology? If you’re going to make a public apology, then make it public. Don’t make it public but write it so only the people you are addressing will understand it.

    • Profile photo of Kammy
      November 20, 2011 at 8:15 pm —

      Having hauled off and said some stupid shit myself sometimes, I can appreciate his apology. I think his owning up to making a mistake is the key here. He doesn’t blame anyone else for his actions and seems to realize that he shouldn’t have done what he did. He seems like a guy who will benefit from good examples of atheists and theists getting along and finding common ground – like the love of ice cream, for starters. :)

    • Profile photo of Rei Malebario
      November 21, 2011 at 3:12 am —

      Well, to be fair, the guy is most likely not a professional communicator. What this guy should be required to be good at is making and selling delicious ice cream. He’s not a politician and not used to having his communications be the subject of public scrutiny.
      He’s apologized in public and that’s certainly good enough for me.

  6. Profile photo of Draconius
    November 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm —

    Hi there!

    Skepticon should come to Point Pleasant, NJ (not to be confused with that OTHER Point Pleasant. We don’t have any Mothmen here) :( My lovely Wifey manages an ice cream store nearby that would NEVER discriminate against Skeptics.

    And their ice cream is amazing. [nods]

    — Craig

  7. Profile photo of palataltrill
    November 20, 2011 at 6:56 pm —

    Actually, my husband took this photo. We didn’t want gelato after that. It was taken just after Sam’s revival.
    Gina

    • Profile photo of Amy Roth
      November 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm —

      Gina, did I give photo credit to the correct person?

      • Profile photo of palataltrill
        November 20, 2011 at 8:08 pm —

        I think @degreer75 got it to the right people, so it’s not a big deal. Thanks! Husband and I are glad so many people picked up on it.

      • Profile photo of palataltrill
        November 20, 2011 at 8:08 pm —

        And thanks for helping it go public!

  8. Profile photo of Otoki
    November 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm —

    Whether or not his apology was sincere, I see it as a good thing. Still, it was really crotchy to put up that sign, and I wouldn’t want to give him any of my business.

  9. Profile photo of bschilli
    November 20, 2011 at 7:20 pm —

    Religious discrimination is illegal.

  10. Profile photo of scottsigler
    November 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm —

    A public apology is a public apology — it takes courage and class to admit that you made a mistake. Forgiveness is one tennet of Christianity that makes sense.

    I doubt the man is crapping his pants because of a one-star on Google. We web-savvy types tend to overestimate the value of the tools we use on a daily basis. I would wager that a random poll of visitors to ice cream shops anywhere in the US would show a very small percentage of them chose it based on such reviews. In our culture? Absolutely. In the larger marketplace? Not so much.

    The man reacted poorly and he apologized. As Skeptics, we can show class or rub his nose in it. I sent him an email (from the contact email on his site) thanking him for having the class to admit he was wrong.

    Everyone screws up; not everyone apologizes for it.

    (I first posted this on Amy’s Google+ page).

    • Profile photo of Amy Roth
      November 20, 2011 at 9:10 pm —

      I’m glad he apologized. I hope he posts it in his window too.

  11. Profile photo of athanatic
    November 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm —

    Well, I agree that the apology was a good thing to do, but freedom of speech was never recognized to be consequence-free except in the acutely naive.

    Unlike some, I would defend a private business owner’s right to exclude anyone on any basis, even one more neanderthal than this.

    I think that cultural pressure is one of the most major factors in moving humanity into the future.

    So, did go ahead and send an email to [email protected].

    Subject: (Yet Another?) Person categorically banned from your Missouri store… (if only briefly…)

    I am a person who believes in intellectual honesty over all other values. I also love Gelato (let me tell you that the best Pompelmo Rosa I have ever had is right next to the Pantheon, but I digress.)

    I am one of a bunch of people who, though very different in many ways, tend to come together on the fact that belief requires evidence, from science to politics to religion inclusive.

    If the appearance you want to portray with your Trademarked name and franchise specifics (http://skepchick.org/2011/11/no-ice-cream-for-atheists/) is not the one recently put forth during the 2011 Skepticon 4 conference, perhaps you might have some things to say to the location owner.

    Thank you for reading!

    • Profile photo of marilove
      November 21, 2011 at 12:12 am —

      Would you defend the “right” for someone to deny service due to their race?

      Really??

  12. Profile photo of Floyd Zamarripa
    November 21, 2011 at 5:39 am —

    The part that pisses me off more than absolutely ANYTHING is that we talked to this guy -twice- over the phone and he was totally down with Skepticon and wanting to sponsor the event (check your flyer if you have one, he’s listed as offering 10% off!)

    I was so pissed when I realized he did this.

    *breathes*

    Alright, so, 1 SHITTY business reaction, what about the good?

    We gave the Farmer’s Gastropub their BUSIEST WEEKEND OF THE YEAR. We drained a SHITLOAD of kegs, they literally ran out of EVERY WHEAT BEER. Keg AND bottle.

    Trolley’s Opened early for us and had a special Skepticon Menu and stayed late to keep serving people.

    Both sandwich shops saw a HUGE spike in business.

    Oh right, and we absolutely packed a hotel that is usually empty this time of year. Try the restaurant in the lobby? They had been open for a -week-. They appreciated everyone :)

    So, I’m totally cool if one guy doesn’t want our business, plenty of other places downtown will want us next year :D

    • Profile photo of Amy Roth
      November 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm —

      That pub had great beer! Cool place. :)

    • Profile photo of Otoki
      November 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm —

      Great point:) It’s nice to see the positive things that came out of Skepticon interactions with local businesses.

  13. Profile photo of SkepLit
    November 21, 2011 at 6:41 am —

    I was at CSICon in New Orleans just a few weeks previous. It was not uncommon to hear remarks from the speakers disparaging religion (comments which often elicited laughter or applause from the audience) and I made it a point to glance around the room at the hotel staff.
    The Marriot staff was absolutely profressional. If they were thinking, “I’ll be glad to watch you fuckers burn in hell from my seat in heaven” it was not betrayed in their eyes or actions.
    So a quick shout out to the people at the Marriot Hotel on Canal in New Orleans for their pitch perfect professionalism.

  14. Profile photo of digger
    November 21, 2011 at 8:54 am —

    @SkepLit: Did the disparaging comments make you uneasy? What you wrote kind of made me sick just a bit. Let me explain really quick. I think that jokes and disparaging comments directed at individuals based on belief,sex, race, and other factors are fucked up in general and a group doing so in the presence of individuals who have to “serve” them is even more fucked up.

    Now that I think on it, maybe Gelato guy just didn’t want to be made fun of or bullied because of what he believes.

    • Profile photo of fatherdaddy
      November 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm —

      You can’t help what color your skin is, or what gender you are, or where you were born. You can change your belief with a little education. You may make yourself into a jerk by calling them out, but, that’s up to you. Where do we draw the line? Can we mock anti-vaxxers for what they believe? What about the Harold Camping followers? What about Libertarians? Not many people seem to hold back on these beliefs. What beliefs are too sacred to mock?

    • Profile photo of marilove
      November 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm —

      So what is the line?

      I know many religious folks who find, “God is not real” as offensive and disparaging.

      Shall I never tell anyone I am an atheist, because someone might find it offensive and disparaging?

    • Profile photo of Amy Roth
      November 21, 2011 at 7:09 pm —

      I saw no one bully or make fun of anyone. Not even the people who came in yelling at us were bullied. Every one I saw was treated with respect. I’m sure it is possible that something like that happened when I was not around but my table was was directly by the front door during the conference.

      • Profile photo of Floyd Zamarripa
        November 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm —

        And then there was the guy who came in to pass out his angry religious screed… I mean, we let him and politely accepted his papers and all had a laugh at what he wrote.

      • Profile photo of BeardofPants
        November 23, 2011 at 2:39 am —

        Were the people who yelled at your art fellow skeptics or non-skeptics? Just curious.

  15. Profile photo of allecher
    November 21, 2011 at 9:03 am —

    On Sunday there was some sort of church service going on in another section of the Gilloz theater building. My husband struck out on a search for coffee and stopped another fellow on the street who had some to ask where he got it. He said he had gotten it from the church event and “I know which convention you are with, but I’ll be glad to get you a cup”. Nice guy!

  16. Profile photo of mrmisconception
    November 21, 2011 at 11:10 am —

    I have a half-serious question.
    What is the point of having any kind of gatherings if we are not allowed to discuss anything that may upset somebody?

    Just try to think of any important topic that won’t piss somebody off. Got one? I’m sure we can find someone who is offended by your choice.

    Skepticon is ostensibly an atheist conference despite its name (something they have been taken to task for before) so expecting them to not disparage religion is like expecting a tea-party meeting to not attack liberals. Might be nice, but it’s not likely.

    As for the sign. It is rediculous but if a business goes out of its way to tell me to fuck off they shouldn’t be surprised if I do and take my money with me.

    • Profile photo of Amy Roth
      November 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm —

      I agree. No topic should be off-limits.

      • Profile photo of BeardofPants
        November 23, 2011 at 2:41 am —

        I don’t necessarily agree fully. Sometimes our privilege can lead us to say stupid exclusionary things (without even meaning to be disrespectful).

    • Profile photo of marilove
      November 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm —

      And, furthermore … what is the line for “disparaging comments”? How do we determine what is disparaging and what is not?

      Many, many religious folks consider even simple statements such as “I don’t believe in god.” Or, “I am an atheist.” Or, “God does not exist.” or similar statements to be offensive and disparaging.

      • Profile photo of Amy Roth
        November 21, 2011 at 7:04 pm —

        Which is exactly why I was told my art was “wrong” by two separate people. It was wrong they said, because it went against their (belief in a) god.

        I had one woman actually flip over my necklaces that she disagreed with. I calmly let her do it and then just turned them right side up when she left. Was her behavior acceptable? Should I not discuss it for fear of offending her? Was she afraid of offending me?

        The religious preach and pass judgment. The rational investigate and openly discuss.

  17. Profile photo of digger
    November 22, 2011 at 6:48 am —

    Riiiight….look, one day avid religous and avid atheists are going to have to accept that they are just polar opposites of the same spectrum. When the two meet they live for the thrill of the confrontation. I’ve seen enough religous propaganda and Hitchens/Dawkins videos to know that neither side are innocent victims of the other when it comes to derogatory or inflammatory language. All of that said, my only point was to illustrate that snide comments and jokes directed at anyone are in bad taste. It makes it especially bad when you have a captive audience like servers or wait staff. I don’t see a difference in atheists joking that the belief in God is equivalent to believing in unicorns than a religous person saying that dead atheists are all dressed up with nowhere to go. Neither joke is “that” bad but, when it’s over and over and over and you can’t say a word while people put down your beliefs, values and traditions….that sucks. That’s my point.

    • Profile photo of dxman
      November 22, 2011 at 7:16 am —

      “joking that the belief in God is equivalent to believing in unicorns”
      But that isn’t a joke. That’s a factual statement. Religion is of course more than the belief in a god, but the belief itself is really quite arbitrarily chosen.

  18. Profile photo of digger
    November 22, 2011 at 7:09 am —

    One last point and I will shut it. Amy, you’re a great writer and I know you’ll appreciate the constructive critism when I say that the statement “The religious preach and pass judgment. The rational investigate and openly discuss” is, ironically, in itself horribly judgemental, discriminatory, and generic. I may be not understanding your thoughts in the statement and may be reading it wrong…can a person in your opinion be religous and rational? There are plenty of doctors and scientists that identify themselves as religous but, I’m curious about your opinion.

    • Profile photo of DataJack
      November 22, 2011 at 8:13 am —

      What Amy said is factually correct. Religious folk do, by definition, preach. They also judge. Rational folk do indeed investigate and openly discuss. She didn’t say these two positions were mutually exclusive (though I think they mostly are).

      And you are right, many doctors and scientists do consider themselves religious. I think that means they arent very good skeptics.

      Unfortunately, not everyone who practices science also practices critical thinking.

      • Profile photo of digger
        November 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm —

        I don’t agree. I looked up the term religous, preaching and judging isn’t a part of the definition. Maybe I need a new dictionary.

        Doctors and scientist that are religous may not be religous skeptics but, I don’t see that as evidence that they cannot think critically or test in a skeptical manner in any other field such as philosophy or science.

        My question is, why do some atheists feel that they should have the rights to the term skeptic? It would be like christians having the rights to the term charitable. We all know atheist social groups that run outstanding charities. I think it’s safe to say that we know or know of religous persons who are very intelligent, critical thinking, and use a sceptical approach to problems and issues.

        To be quite honest I have so many right wing christian family members and acquaintances that when I grow tired of their tirades I have to come to forums such as this to level myself out with atheistic tirades and affirm how completely moderate and normal I am…it’s a comforting thought.

        • Profile photo of marilove
          November 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm —

          Have you ever been to church? Read the bible? Because one of the main things most religious hold dear is their desire to bring others to their salvation. There is a reason why mostly christian religious groups go to poor countries devastated by natural disasters, or 3rd world countries — it’s not with the main goal of providing aid; the main goal is to preach and convert.

          This is a very central part of their doctrine!

          It seems odd (there is that word again) that you are ignoring that while claiming to know a lot of religious folks. A simple definition of religion might not include that, but it’s very clear even if you only have a rudimental understanding of the bible, or have ever heard anyone preach.

    • Profile photo of marilove
      November 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm —

      This was a convention for atheists. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to have some light-hearted jokes about the religious? It’s not as if they are in church, or in public, or at school. This is a convention. For atheists.

      Of course, many religious seem just fine with preaching in public — on the bus. By going house-to-house. Posting religious crap all over facebook.

      I’And that’s regularly seen as normal in our society. Accepted, even. Atheists can’t do that. Hell, even if I make a post on my facebook, “I don’t believe in god” or, “God doesn’t exist and it’s okay!” I would probably get a shitstorm of crap. People would be offended. I don’t say that sort of stuff because I’d rather not start “drama”, yet of course people plaster religious crap all over their facebooks without a second thought, every day, like it’s no big deal.

      So maybe, when like-minded atheists are together, they want to get out a little steam, and joke around a little, since it’s pretty much forbidden to even talk about atheism in most public spaces, without fear of “offending” someone, and then having to deal with that aftermath, which is never fun.

      It just seems odd that you are offended at people joking around at an atheist convention, but don’t seem at all offended that it’s seem normal in our society to shun and stigmatize even the slightest mention of atheism, while preaching about god and salvation all over the place is the norm.

      • Profile photo of digger
        November 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm —

        “It just seems odd that you are offended at people joking around at an atheist convention, but don’t seem at all offended that it’s seem normal in our society to shun and stigmatize even the slightest mention of atheism, while preaching about god and salvation all over the place is the norm.”

        How in the world did you come up with that conclusion about me?

        I’m not offended by jokes at an atheist convention, I just thought that maybe the wait staff that do have a little religon in them would find the jokesters to be pompus, arrogant, no account, assholes. Nobody wants that label do they? I mean come on, what if you had to work at a Muslim function in a burka listening to jokes about how infidels are going to hell….because you had to…it is your job…the way you put food on the table.

        And yeah, I get just as miffed as you at those Witness jerks who like to smack people in the face with their bibles or kabala bracelets but, I don’t let it get to me…do you? Sweet baby Jesus, just because some religous folks are jerks doesn’t give everyone license to be an inconsiderate ass…does it?

        • Profile photo of marilove
          November 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm —

          It was an atheist convention! If they don’t like it, they don’t have to listen. Seriously, we are allowed to joke around at atheist conventions. It’s okay. No one is going to kill themselves over a few light-hearted jokes. You shouldn’t be cruel, but a few jokes are okay.

          I am all for being sensitive, but there are times and places for being able to joke amongst like-minded people. It is okay. I promise.

          • Profile photo of digger
            November 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm

            You’re right. It’s ok. I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill. The way the jokes were described to me just reminded me of something that happened to me last month.

            I was at a poker table at a local casino. The waitress had on a very short skirt that climbed halfway up her thigh and a vest that bulged her breasts. During the game the guys at the table began to make jokes and statements and I felt bad. Guilt by association you know? I could see the anger and hurt in her eyes but, you gotta give it to her…she kept her professionalism and the drinks coming. What did she really expect waiting on a poker table full of guys?

            Horrible story right? Why should anyone be subjected to treatment in the workplace like that? Just because you have the right to offend or that you feel justified in offending doesn’t mean you should. Just saying, any thought I’ve given to supporting active atheists is always continually being tempered by how justified they come off in their put downs and insensitivity.

          • Profile photo of mrmisconception
            November 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

            @digger
            Really? You’re going to liken it to misogyny?
            Women are an oppressed group, Christians are not.

            *poof* good-bye mister strawman.

            If any Christian waiters who were there were that offended by the jokes it’s their oversensitivity that is at issue.

            I’ll give you a different analogy that I believe better suits the situation you imagined.

            Say I work at a sports bar and I am a huge Chicago Bears fan; my boss books a party for the night of the big Packers/Bears game for a group of Packer fans.

            Why should I have to put up with a group of jerks making snide remarks about my team all night? Don’t I have the right to work in a place where my feelings won’t be hurt? I might feel bad when I go home that night because my team was belittled.

            Tough! Get over it.

            Being put out because a group of jerks made fun of my group of uniforms does not justify anything more than a bad mood on my part; neither does being put out because a bunch of jerks made fun of my invisible friend.

          • Profile photo of Otoki
            November 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm

            Also, who’s to say they haven’t had to be servers at other conventions that they found distasteful? Feminist servers at an MRA convention. Atheist servers at an evangelical Christian convention. Gay servers at a Prop-8 fundraising meeting. When you’re in the service industry you don’t always have the luxury of fucking off when you don’t like the people you’re serving. I’m sure those servers had to remain professional during other meetings that they didn’t like, and I DO think that digger is making a mountain out of a molehill.

            And digger, if you were really embarrassed or feel bad about people you’re with sexually harassing someone who, due to “professionalism”, can’t retort appropriately, tell them the shut the fuck up and act like adults. As skeptics, sometimes we have to snap people out of their groupthink/follwer mentality and make them realize that being intellectually lazy may be easy for them, but it’s making someone else’s day suck.

      • Profile photo of mrmisconception
        November 22, 2011 at 1:26 pm —

        It really all comes down to acceptance.

        Irrationality in the name of religion is much more tolerated than intolerance in the name of rationality.

        There is little difference between the belief in alien visitors and the belief in God.

        The biggest being that if you profess that you have been communicating with space aliens and that you bring a message of love and peace and hope you will be locked up for your own good; If you profess the same about God you will be given a ministry to lead.

        The word skeptic is, of course, not owned by any one but simply saying you are one doesn’t make you one either. My grandmother used to say, “you can sleep in the garage but that doesn’t make you a Chevrolet.”

        We skeptics all have thing we are unskeptical about and we all have things we believe should become clear if you follow skepticism to its logical conclusion. Not everyone sets those lines in the same place but many (not all) skeptics put belief in God in that second category; I personally don’t but I do put a lot of the trappings that come with some God belief in that category. Things like the power of prayer, the infallibility of the church, the over-riding misogyny, etc.

        I know God can’t be proven one way or another but, for me, the null hypothesis would be no God and I simply haven’t seen enough “proof” to make me move away from that position.

  19. Profile photo of punchdrunk
    November 22, 2011 at 7:14 am —

    Are all Skeptics(tm) atheists? I’m confused on this point.

    • Profile photo of hortoncrow
      November 22, 2011 at 7:44 am —

      No, only the good ones.

    • Profile photo of DataJack
      November 22, 2011 at 8:05 am —

      No. Many skeptics hold irrational beliefs. Some are religious, some believe in UFOs. Some are conspiracy theorists.

      However, many skeptics think that atheism is a natural conclusion of skepticism. I Agree with this position.

    • Profile photo of digger
      November 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm —

      Thanks punch drunk your question made me smile. No, not all skeptics are atheist. Nor are they all novel writers, YouTube celebrities, bloggers, facebook emporers, twitter totalitarians, round table leaders, feminist movement organizers and there is definitely no Trade Mark on the word skeptic unless Socrates patented the term long ago. Skeptics are all over the board on their thoughts and opinions but, the idea that everything is under the scrutiny to be proven and judgement withheld until it so proven, should be the common tie of all skeptics.
      Neither theists or atheists have yet to prove to me personally with substantial and empirical evidence why God does or does not exist. Therefore, I’m withholding my judgement…like a skeptic should. I’m also a capitalist, and I believe Gelato man should have a right to refuse service if he so chooses…his loss. As a capitalist, I think he missed a huge opportunity and is a jackass.

  20. Profile photo of Danarra
    November 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm —

    I have believed in a lot of different stuff over the course of my life. Occasionally, I’ve been moved to anger and felt the need to take action and defend those beliefs. I can totally empathize with this guy and respect that he’s acknowledged making a mistake and is trying to do the right thing.
    10% off for a small business that deals mainly in small purchases is not a minor thing to offer.
    He made a mistake based on an emotional reaction. He’s human, it’s expected.
    He’s trying to make a sincere apology. On my part fully accepted.

  21. Profile photo of punchdrunk
    November 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm —

    Thanks for the replies. So, agnostics are better served elsewhere. Got it.

    @digger, I was trying to distinguish between organized skepticism as a movement, and the way the word is more commonly used. Only semi facetious. :)

  22. Profile photo of kittynh
    November 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm —

    And remember the nut job that took on Adam Savage about the moon landing hoax at TAM is an atheist. Atheist does not mean you are a critical thinker about other stuff. After the moon hoax atheist I asked the 257 members of the alien abuctee group I work with what their religious beliefs are. Atheist was number one choice. A lot wrote “Science is my religion” and “Searching for the truth is my religion” and “that Bible stuff was not miracles, it was aliens!” 80% atheists! Others were “agnostic” and only a few had a personal religious choice…like Jewish and Christian. (More Jewish than Christian). In the “woo” community (remember they often call themselves the REAL skeptics as they are “open minded” atheism has a happy home)

  23. Profile photo of bellingman
    November 23, 2011 at 4:27 am —

    Boy, how quickly I went from hating this X-ian F-tard to sympathizing with and forgiving him. A sincere apology sure goes a long way.

  24. Profile photo of gregladen
    November 25, 2011 at 11:22 am —

    Humans seem to be self limiting. Space junk is the new tell, and it’s the new dirty fishbowl.

    This is one way in which religion has majorly ruined our species and planet.

    Lots of people put up exclusionary messages, usually not directed specifically at atheists but exclusionary nonetheless. We live fairly near a car dealership that flashes midwives on its’ big board out front clearly designed to attract fundies and keep everyone else away. This particular ice-cream related message was more explicit about keeping certain people away rather than attracting certain other people,but they are all offensive and pretty much have the same purpose.

    NEVER do you see these signs quickly taken down and ANY kind of apology provided That just never happens. Can anyone cite any examples?

    One can criticize various aspects and details of this apology, but given the circumstances it seems fine to me.

    Regarding the other question emerging here: Are all skeptics atheists, or should they be? I’ve got a couple of very close friends who happen to be religious and they are skeptics, I know some atheists who are not very good skeptics, I know people who are atheists and who are skeptics but who are pretty piss-poor at their sketpicism (they have skeptical beliefs, if you get my drift).

    In fact pretty much everyone I know is imperfect in some way, damn them!

    I still love them, though (except the ones I don’t) and I’m fond of telling my religious but skeptic friends that they are doing it wrong but eventually see the light and become atheists, etc. etc. But always politely and respectfully and they know what I mean.

    Jesus once said, to the extent that he may or may not have existed, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Few people appreciate this link between Jesus and Geology. But anyway, he has a point. Even while Fukushima reactors were melting down many self proclaimed “skeptics” were insisting that they could not melt down because of their received beliefs in nuclear power. I once saw a skeptic claim that a particular “natural” remedy … one of the few for which there is some evidence that it might work … had been “disproved by numerous double blind studies” but he said that only because he had received the knowledge that this is what one says to claim that something is woo…. there was no such collection of studies. Almost every study that attempts to measure non-genetic effects on variance in intelligence has found those effects, while most studies that attempt to show a genetic determination of variance in intelligence show only weak relationships or are based on poor data, yet a large portion of the skeptics community insists that it is a cold hard fact that we must all accept that we inherit our smarts or lack thereof and many even place this in a race-based concept where our skin color predicts our intelligence better than our upbringing or nutritional health as babies, etc. This is entirely because these models are the received knowledge of much (but certainly not all) of the skeptical community.

    If someone is religious (to some degree) but at the same time thoughtful of everything they do and capable of and engaged in critical thinking, they may well be “doing it right” to a much much greater degree than many self proclaimed skeptics who happen to be atheists. And, I’d hold out a much more positive prognosis for the former, because their critical thinking may eventually lead them to atheism, while the latter show little sign of changing their minds about their received skepticism.

    • Profile photo of gregladen
      November 25, 2011 at 11:41 am —

      Funny how part of somebody’s email I was responding to got into that comment. Just ignore the first two sentences regarding Chinese Space Junk and how we are all doomed.

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