My Friend Billy

(Note – I saved this for the weekend, when people who might read this would likely be more relaxed. This is not the usual fare for WUWT, but it is something that is revealing, enlightening, entertaining, and educational, while at the same time sad and sunny all at once. If you want science, skip this article. If you want a perspective on life, read on  – Anthony)

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Warning: Viewer discretion advised. This post discusses adult themes and content. Oh, not the usual adult themes we get on TV, like D: Suggestive Dialogue or V: Violence. Instead, it is a discussion of the following well-known wanted criminal:

qf88585_createdFigure 1. The one with many names … the Pale Rider. The Grim Reaper. The Angel Of Death. Thanatos. Azrael. Cronus.

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. The gorgeous ex-fiancee is a Family Nurse Practitioner, and she and I have been taking care of her 86-year-old father in his final illness. “Billy”, that’s what the rest of the guys in the band always called him, so that’s what I called him when I came to be friends and play music with him over the past four years. He was a jazz drummer his whole life, and a very good one. Having had the honor of playing music with him myself, I can testify that he was a very skillful, fun, and inventive percussionist.  But when he came out of the hospital back in February, he hung up his sticks and said that was it. His time with music was over. I knew then that his days were short. So we’ve been giving him all the love and support possible in the face of his approaching death.

Here in the developed world, we tend to distance ourselves from death. But in the third world, it is ever-present. The first dead man I ever saw who wasn’t rouged, perfumed, and embalmed was on a side street in Trench Town, a dirt-poor, less than fragrant, and more than turbulent suburb of Kingston, Jamaica. It was a strange scene.

Trench Town is not a good place to be at night. Even in the middle of a hot afternoon, it’s a place where you feel a need to take an occasional look over your shoulder. I was walking down the street, the only melanin-deficient guy in sight. (I hear that the new PC term is “melanin-challenged”, by the way, to avoid hurting people’s feelings by making them feel deficient … but then I’ve never been politically correct.)

In any case, halfway down the block, a man was lying in the gutter. At first I thought he was just drunk and sleeping it off, until I got nearer, and I saw he was lying in the proverbial pool of blood. I remember particularly the sound of the flies. I was reminded of when I used to kill and butcher cows and sheep and other animals out in the farmers’ fields for a living, and how fast the flies would appear. Seeing that man lying dead in a cloud of flies, in the middle of just another average city afternoon, was a shock to me. The cities I was accustomed to back then didn’t feature much in the way of dead bodies in the gutter. I was beyond surprise.

But the bigger shock was the reaction of the people in the street. By and large it was ho, hum, another day in the life, step over his corpse and keep going, Many people looked once and didn’t give him a second glance. The public level of concern seemed to be on the order of “It’s the tropics, mon, cover him up ‘fore he stinks”.

I realized then that in such places down at the bottom of the economic ladder, the death of a stranger is no big deal. Oh, I don’t mean that people don’t mourn or grieve their loved ones the way it happens in the industrialized countries. That’s the same everywhere. But in countries where death is more common, countries where most families have lost a child, countries where malaria or some other tropical fever takes away the young and otherwise healthy, everyone lives in much closer proximity and familiarity with death and the dead. Like the song says about a tropical murder, 

Nobody talks about it no more, 
though it happened just a week ago. 
But people get by and people get high,
in the tropics, they come, and they go.

A decade later in the Solomon Islands, my good friend Willie died after a long wasting illness. Willie was a Solomon Islander who was loved by all, and in those fractious, jealous, contentious islands, that says a lot. There was no funeral home in the Solomons then, may not be one now. So family and friends do everything. Willie died in “Number 9″, which is rumored to be a hospital. In reality it is a collection of buildings left over from World War II that vaguely resembles a hospital. From the curbside, that is. If you don’t focus too closely.

I went there as soon as I heard Willie had died. Up close, it’s an ancient, sad collection of sticky hot rooms baking in the sun, most without even fans to cool the patients. I was already sweating before I got inside.

When I went in the room, Willie’s wife was there, weeping. I joined her. We spoke for a bit. She had brought his clothes, she said, to dress him. She wept. I wept. She made no move to dress him. We sweated. We waited. Solomon Islanders are good at that.

After a while, I asked if she wanted help dressing him. Oh, yes, she said. I stood up, and walked over and lifted the sheet off his legs … ah, the legs that used to run had been replaced by bone and parchment. I lifted them up one by one. They were almost weightless. She and I slid them into his pants. Dressing a dead man proved to be much harder than I thought. Perhaps unsurprisingly, their level of cooperation is quite low. I had the crazy urge to apologize to him for moving his legs. Finally the pants were on. After that it was easier. With his pants on, I could take off the sheet entirely. We put his shirt on. I’d been very close with him for two years. I’d never seen either the pants or the shirt before. My sense was that they were “Solomons new”, meaning bought from a Chinese store which imports used clothing by the bale. Willie looked good in his new outfit. I hugged his wife, and left her to her sorrow. It was the first time I had ever touched a dead body.

Tropical death plays no favorites. My friend Turk was in his forties, a local airline pilot. He went into Number 9 to have a doctor look at his hemorrhoids, and never came out … you learn to watch your step very carefully on small tropical islands, and in particular, do your best to never step into a “hospital”.

I was back in the US when my father died. The gorgeous ex-fiancee was his nurse in his final days. He refused an operation for his bladder cancer. Said he wouldn’t leave my beloved stepmother broke, and besides, he’d done everything he wanted to do. He’d been a well-known architect, made money, built the house he lived in, his kids all loved him, things were getting painful, there wasn’t much left to keep him here. Enough, he said. He didn’t want to go to the hospital, he wanted to die at home.

Sadly, bladder cancer is a painful way to die. When the pain got bad, he asked me to see if I could get some pills that he could take to end his life. He was in chronic intermittent but intense pain. I did not want to, but I had no choice, and I set out to do that. I would have said that I could have found the pills, because I’ve always knows lots of people with strange proclivities. But for whatever reason, I was unable to find any downers. I looked for reds, or any kind of barbiturates. I asked my friends in low places and I never got more than a couple of pills.

And so each time I saw my Dad again, and the pain was even worse, I had to confess that I had failed him. It was gut-wrenching, worse each time. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

The night that he died, the gorgeous ex-fiancee and I went to his house. Again I had to tell him that I hadn’t found the pills … dear friends, he smiled and said what he’d said the other times, that it was OK. It broke my heart. I hugged him and turned away so he couldn’t see my face.

That night I found out how thin the line is between tragedy and comedy. I had brought my guitar, because I knew Dad always loved to hear any of his kids play music. I sat on his bed. He was moaning as the waves of pain rolled over him. I sang for him the songs of his childhood that I knew he loved. I sang him the songs of my childhood that he used to sing to me, as he shifted restlessly and groaned in pain. Finally I was weeping too hard to go on singing, but I kept playing the guitar for a bit. And then I broke down entirely, and the music stopped. I couldn’t play another chord.

He opened his eyes, and he smiled his smile that went so deep, and he said “Oh please, don’t stop playing … I swear I’m not moaning on account of your music!”

We both broke up laughing. I didn’t know I could laugh and weep at the same time. I don’t know how he could laugh and moan at the same time. He fell asleep with without saying another word as I played and wept. What can you do with a man like that?

I left at around ten that night and went home. The gorgeous ex-fiancee said she thought she should spend the night with him. I got up at four thirty and went out commercial fishing, trolling for salmon. Around noon, my dear nurse called on the ship’s radio. I knew what the message was before I got to the microphone. I was glad I was on the ocean. I kept fishing, it calmed and soothed me. I was fishing with my long-time shipmate and fishing partner. He understood my silence.

My mom’s death, on the other hand, surprised everyone. When she knew she was dying of lung cancer, she wrote and asked me to come see her. I was in the Solomon Islands at the time, but that’s not a request you can ignore. I flew to Sedona, Arizona, where she was parking the RV she’d lived in for four years by herself, traveling all around the US. She was 69 at the time. I found out something strange. The main reason she wanted to see me was to find out whether I took my dad’s side of the ancient argument and whether, like him, I blamed her regarding their divorce thirty-four years earlier … go figure. She wanted absolution from me, or at least to know that I didn’t blame her for what happened, thirty plus years in the past.

I told her the truth, that I didn’t have a dog in their fight. I said that I used to think that one or the other of them had done wrong, and to be sure they had each caused the other one a lot of grief and sorrow, they had hurt each other deeply. But by then, I was old enough to know that both of them were just fools whose intentions were good, and that they had both striven in their own way to make it work. The fact that they couldn’t make it work was not important, I knew they’d both given it their best shot. She liked that, and she sent me on my way.

About a week later, she took a fistful of pills and was found dead in the morning. I was glad she found the pills somewhere, lung cancer’s not a good way to go. I was even gladder that she hadn’t asked me to find them for her. The family believed for years that I’d given her the pills because I’d visited just before her death, and they knew I’d tried to find pills for my dad. But I hadn’t given her anything but love and support, as best as I knew how, and at the end of the day no one ever knew where she got the pills.

Later, when we were living again in Fiji, my daughter was about 12. One night, the matriarch of a Fijian family I worked with died. Her daughter, grand-daughter, and son-in-law all worked alongside me for the same company. I took my daughter to the wake, which was the very next day. Without embalmers, tropical funerals are never delayed long. It was late, there were only a few people still there. The night was warm and enfolding. In back of the house was a wooden table. It was spread with a nice cloth. The matriarch lay in state on the table. The family welcomed us. We gave them our best wishes and condolences. I had told my daughter I wanted her to touch the dead woman. She caressed her shoulder. The mom saw it and smiled. I didn’t want my child to be the stranger to death that I had been. Touching a dead person makes it all real.

There’s an old tale about these matters, one that the Fijians understood without ever knowing the story. A man goes to a sage and asks him to write down a good luck charm. The sage gets out his inkstone and brush, grinds some ink, and on a crisp new sheet of rice paper he writes something down, folds it up and gives it to the man. The man opens it and reads it. In exquisite calligraphic script it says:

Grandfather dies.

Father dies.

Son dies.

The man can’t believe it. “What have you done! Did my enemies pay you? This is a curse on my entire family, it’s not a good luck charm!”

“Ah, no, that’s the best good luck charm I can give you,” the sage calmly replied. “If it happens in any other order, that is very bad luck …”

The first person I saw actually die was my sister Kristen. Well, half-sister, but us kids all decided among us early on that half- and step- were out, we were all brothers and sisters. She was about 50 at the time. She’d gone to the hospital to get some tests for intestinal discomfort, walked in the door, and passed out in the reception area. So they checked her, and after testing they decided that they had to do an immediate exploratory operation to see what was wrong. Her mother, who was our beloved stepmother Virginia, and a bunch of us brothers and sisters and I all went immediately to the hospital, to be there when she woke up from the operation.

When the operation was over around noon, the surgeon called us all in. She started talking, and she only got partway through the explanation of the operation before she started crying. She said that a 6-foot section of my sister’s intestines had died, and that was too much of a loss for her to live. She said medicine was powerless. She said when they saw what it was and how bad it was, they immediately closed up and got out to prevent further harm. They did not know why part of her had died, but there was no human power that could save her. She had maybe 24 hours. That was it.

We were stunned. What now, we said. The doctor said my sister was out of the OR and that she would be waking up soon. She’d likely stay awake for maybe an hour or two, perhaps a few more. But then the pain would start, and so she would be on a morphine drip. After that, she’d be awake some but she would mostly sleep. I felt so bad for the doctor. She had all of her knowledge and all of her skills and tools, and here she was, totally powerless. I could see she was shaken, frustrated and sad.

So we were all there when Kristen woke up. Of course, she was glad and surprised to see us. She remembered passing out in the lobby. But she was still kind of groggy. So as she became more alert we mostly made small talk. We told he she’d had an operation. We hadn’t though ahead about who would tell her the bad news, we didn’t have a plan or anything, the usual family deal. Finally she asked what the doctor had said about the outcome of the operation, what they had found … silence.

After a long pause, one of my brothers stepped in. But he kind of danced around the subject. He is a lovely man and he did his best, but he described it in all kinds of generalities, words like “preparing for the end” and “short time” and “so sorry”, and “inevitable”, but nothing concrete. I could see he wasn’t getting through, my sister wasn’t following him.

Finally I couldn’t stand her confusion. I said something like “Kristen, the doctors operated, but they can’t help you. They said that part of your intestines died, and there is nothing that they can do. They say that you will die within a day.”

Silence.

“Can’t be”, she said after a bit of thought. “I feel fine.” She wouldn’t believe me. I repeated that she was certain to die within twenty-four hours, by far the saddest and most final news I’ve ever had to deliver in my life. She looked in my eyes. She didn’t like what she saw. She turned to Virginia. “Mom,” she said, “that’s not true, is it?”

Her mother had to do then what must assuredly be one of the most difficult things that a human being can do. She had to tell her darling, her joy, her only daughter that she had only a day to live. Ah, my friends, I can only fervently wish that no one would ever, ever in their life have to say what she said to her daughter then—Oh, sweetheart, I’m so sorry. The doctors say you only have a day to live. It’s true. 

I couldn’t bear watching Virginia say it, how could she bear the saying of it herself?

Silence …

It can’t be true, my sister finally replied.

Yes, it is true, my stepmother said.

It is not true!, said Kristen.

Yes, it is true!

IS NOT!

IS TOO!

They voices had gradually raised until they were almost shouting, and all of us realized at about the same instant that it was such a prototypical grade-school playground level argument, and we all laughed at the absurdity. When death is present in the room, our feelings simply overflow, and tragedy and comedy get all confused and mixed up.

We talked for a while after that. Fortunately none of us had much that was left unsaid with Kristen, we were always pretty honest with each other. She’d been a good kid and was a good woman, and we told her so. So we talked, and even laughed some more. But all too soon, the pain from the operation started hitting her. Pretty soon, I couldn’t take it any more, my heart wouldn’t bear it. In the afternoon, I left her with her mom and the others and went home.

But then in the early evening, my brother called. He said everyone had gone home but him. He said Virginia couldn’t stop weeping, she was beside herself, and another sister had taken her home. He said he had to leave, he needed to do some things and then go to work the next day.

Well, there was no way she was going to die alone. That was not on the list of options. So once again I drove the solitary miles and miles back to the hospital. When I got there she was sleeping. She woke once, but didn’t say anything. She saw me, and it seemed to comfort her, or perhaps that was just my wishful thinking. Death was in the room. I stayed well to the side. Time slowed. I held her hand, and moistened her lips with ice water with the little pink lollipop sponges they use for that, and told her that she’d been a good sister to me and a good friend, and she had been, too. Around two in the morning, her breathing slowed, and then she slipped away.

I found out then that there is an odd kind of peace in being alone in a room with someone who has just died. After all the anguish and the turbulent emotions, the succeeding absolutely inalterable finality of her death obviated the need for any further struggle on anyone’s part. There was nothing more she could do. There was nothing more I could do for her. She was beyond my reach. Death had left the room, and with it, the need for wariness. I sat in the room with her for a while, and wept, and turned off my mind. The silence was so deep it was almost subsonic. If that silence of death had a color, it would be the darkest ebon, the deepest Elvis velvet black. I wrapped the silence around me and listened to my own breath, the only sound in the room.

Then after a while, I pressed the call button, and the doctor came and pronounced her dead.

===========

The main thing that I have learned in all of my curious interactions with the dead and the dying has been to take Death as my advisor. I have learned that Death gives me better advice than anyone. When it comes to sage wisdom, I found that Death beats all the books and advice columnists and psychologists and grief counselors and what all the authorities say. Whenever I’m all in a fluster about how bad things are at the moment, how everything’s going pear-shaped and I just can’t take it, at that time (if I have my wits about me) I’ll I look over my left shoulder and ask Death what he thinks about it all.

By this point, I know what he’ll say. He’ll say no, Willis, don’t worry about this penny ante booshwa. That’s nothing, he tells me … I haven’t touched you yet …

All of us, myself assuredly included, tend to live as though we are immortal. We talk of wasting time as if we had it to waste, when it is our most precious possession and we have so little of it. Taking Death as my advisor cuts through that fatal illusion. He reminds me that my days are numbered, that I need to live every day to the fullest. He tells me to work and play and laugh and produce and treat each hour as though it were my last. He reminds me that I am at war, and I need to acknowledge that this might be my ultimate battle. And as such, it is imperative that I forth to that battle in a warrior’s spirit of true abandon, holding nothing back.

Which brings me back to where I started this roundabout tale, back to William Alfred Schneider, my dear friend Billy, fellow musician, and father-in-law. I finally got to know him after they moved out here. The man was a jazz legend. He got his first gig playing drums in a St. Louis strip joint when he was a teenager in the 1940’s, and never looked back. He was the drummer for Barbara Streisand at the Crystal Palace in St. Louis in the fifties, and was a fixture in the famed “Gaslight Square”. He played with Liberace. He said when “Lee”, as he called Liberace, went on a minimum no-frills tour, he took only  two people—Billy, and Liberace’s hairdresser … with Billy smiling his silly grin and slightly emphasizing the word “hairdresser”. Unusually for a man born in the 1920’s, he didn’t care in the slightest what someone did in bed, as long as they could play good music and put on an entertaining show. But he was always ahead of his time.

Billy played with Frank Sinatra, and with Dave Brubeck. He toured with Roger Williams. In the 1950’s Billy was the drummer for “The Nervous Set”, starring the recently-deceased Larry Hagman as the lead singer. It was the first Broadway musical with a jazz quartet instead of an orchestra, Kenny Burrell was the guitarist. Among other innovations of the musical, Billy played the tympani along with his normal jazz drum kit, to fill out the sound. You can hear Billy’s understated musical style on the drums here. The song is a masterpiece of late 1950’s angst, with lyrics that were hilarious in their own way then and now. The musical both celebrated and mocked the dawn of the “Beat Generation”.  Jack Kerouac came to a performance. He was drunk, and tried to force his way backstage, they wouldn’t let him in. Billy’s stories went on and on …

He went legally blind a couple of decades ago, macular degeneration. But he was doing OK, still playing music, until his wife had a stroke. She was half-paralyzed and bedridden after that, which was hard on him, and he stopped playing. About four years ago, my gorgeous ex-fiancee talked them into moving to California from St. Louis so we could take care of them. She found a nursing home for her mom, and we found him a mobile home to buy in a nearby mobile home park … he laughed about that. He said it proved he wasn’t trailer trash, he lived in a mobile home. He visited his wife in the nursing home almost every single day until her death a couple of years ago. She was the envy of the place to have a husband like that, all the poor souls in the nursing home who got one or two visits a year were jealous of her. I think he was atoning for previous misdeeds, the man was a jazz musician, and by all accounts a tom cat … but atone he assuredly did, and impeccably. When she needed him, really needed him, he was by her side every day. The only way we could keep him from going was to tell him we’d go ourselves, and we did, week after week, to give him some days off. He paid off all of his debts to his wife with true devotion.

Right up to the end his mind never weakened, and curiously, he was one of the few people with whom I could discuss my climate research. You have to understand that I’m a long ways out of the loop compared to many climate researchers. They typically have some circle of peers around them with whom they can discuss their ideas about the climate—other researchers, professors, graduate students, mentors, people from other departments and fields, they work and publish in teams and groups and can bounce ideas off each other.

I do all of my research alone. Around here, I have Billy and one other guy to talk to, neither one a climate scientist but both interested intelligent layman, and that’s it. So it was always a pleasure to read my work to him. He had me read each piece out loud, and then asked good questions. And we always had the music.

But his kidneys finally betrayed him. His last public appearance was in January, a couple of half-hour sets. He was as good as ever. Almost blind and nearly deaf even with his hearing aids, he never missed a beat. Then he was hospitalized, and they had to re-inflate him with a carload of IV fluids and such. His other daughter came out from Tennessee, she was a huge help during and after his hospitalization. But then, of course, she had to go back to work. She left with our profound thanks.

When Billy came out of the hospital, he told me he wasn’t going to play any more music. I said, you mean not play any more music in public? No, he said, he was done with music … my heart sank. He’d said the same thing when his wife had her stroke, and he didn’t play any music at all for a couple of years back then. But when he moved to California and still wasn’t playing, I knew that if I could get him to play again, he’d live much longer. So I just kept bugging him to play … and finally he gave in. We started to play a bit. I put my keyboard, amplifier, bass, microphone and guitar at his place so he could rock out anytime I or one of his friends was there. But he was kind of half-hearted about it, like he hadn’t made up his mind to get back into it.

And then he met some local musicians, and one of them told him that an old drum student of Billy’s from 50 years ago named George Marsh was now a music professor at the local university. Well, that put the cat among the pigeons. Just the rumor of George Marsh did what I couldn’t do. Billy immediately started seriously practicing, hours every day—Billy Schneider wasn’t going to have his student show up and find his old teacher unable to play the drums, oh, no, that wasn’t on. And so by the time George Marsh (who is now in his seventies and still teaching) made it over to his house, Billy was seriously playing his drums again and had his old chops back. And for the next four years, he played a lot, both with me and with various combinations of other musician friends in his house, as well as playing various gigs again in public as he’d done for so long. He played with a floating jazz group at a local restaurant, you’ve never seen a man so happy as when the band clicked.

Here’s a funny story. Billy met a friend of mine who’s up to his ears in Haitian drumming. So Billy started trading lessons with him, showing him jazz drumming in exchange for being taught something about Haitian drumming. Here’s the crazy part. My friend was taught Haitian drumming by a man named Kendrick. Kendrick was a very good drummer with sticks as well, in part because at the start of his drumming career he’d once spent six months on the waiting list to become for several years a student of George Marsh … who was, of course, taught drums by Billy himself, and so the circle was complete.

So when Billy announced he was hanging up his sticks, my heart grieved, I knew his time was short … not good news. Curiously, he told me that in some ways it was a great relief, because the music had always been a burden for him. I understood what he meant. I’m a musician, but not like him. I never practiced, even when I was making my living playing music. I just played and played and played, Oh, sometimes I’d play one song over and over for three hours, but I never called it practice. You’re doing the same thing, but from a very different point of view of music. I hate to practice, and I love to play, despite the fact that they’re the same. In my opinion, they call it “playing music” for a reason—because it’s not ever supposed to be work or practice. My aim is to play music like children play their games, for the simple joy of the sound and the passion of creating something stirring and moving and lovely.

But Billy was old-school. For him, there was practice, and there was performing. Billy had always driven himself to practice, a minimum of three hours a day until the day he quit. It was why he was so good. And now, he said, he was just tired to the bone. He didn’t want to practice like that any more … and if he couldn’t practice three hours a day, he wouldn’t play at all.

I told him that was OK by me. I told him he’d played music for people all his life, and all they’d had to do was sit back and listen. I said that now I could return the favor. I’d play, and all he had to do was listen. He laughed, he liked that plan. We joked about him being my captive audience. And so when I visited, I played for him the tunes that he and I had played together, over the following weeks, as he lay back in his easy chair. We talked about everything, including his impending death.

His health got worse and worse. The doctors said that he was a candidate for dialysis. But like my father, he refused treatment. His music was done, he said, and he’d had enough of being old and blind and deaf and most of all, he was just so tired. The only medical treatment he said he wanted was a morphine drip if things got bad.

For a while he could still take care of himself. We begged him to come live with us, but he was fiercely independent. His proud warrior’s spirit refused to let him to leave his mobile home even after he began to fail. So about two weeks ago, the gorgeous ex-fiancee and I moved in with him in shifts, with her there one night and me there the next. He was mostly sleeping. His voice grew less clear, with gaps in the words. I was reminded of times in the past when some friend and I were talking on our fishing boat radios, and my friend was in a boat going over the horizon. As the boat moved farther away, my friend’s words became indistinct, with static and gaps like Billy’s words, and both of us saying, Do you copy, do you read me, over? … I could see Billy was frustrated that his body wouldn’t obey him. It wasn’t that his mind couldn’t form the words. It was just that he was sailing over the horizon, and slowly getting too far away to send back final communications to those left behind on the shore …

When the pain got bad, his loving, ever-patient nurse, my dear wife, got him a prescription for morphine … and we dripped it into his mouth, just a bit from time to time, like he’d wanted. I think the fear of the pain was worse than the pain itself, and the morphine eased both his body and his mind.

On Friday night, he was nearing the end. I went down to his place, and my dear lady went home to feed the cat and get some sleep. It was proper. She had been at my father’s bedside when he died, and on that night long ago I had gone home. So it was right she should go home now. After she left, I put on some of Billy’s recordings from back in the day, the soundtrack from “The Nervous Set”, recordings he’d done with other musicians. I held his hand, and stroked his head. I sang to him. I told him he’d been a good husband and father, although neither were strictly true. But like my own mom and dad, he’d done his best with the poor interpersonal tools that were to hand in the 40’s and 50’s, and that’s all I could ask.

When I could feel his death approaching, I made myself small and turned sideways. I’m very careful when Death is in the room. First off, if you look at that joker’s eye-sockets, you can tell right away that his vision isn’t of the finest. Plus, his record isn’t that sterling either. It’s because he grew up outdoors, that’s my theory at least, where there’s plenty of room to swing a scythe. As a result, too often he’s been known to misunderestimate the distances involved inside a house, so his scythe bumps the refrigerator on the backswing or something, and as a result the blade hits the wrong man, and boom—Dick Nixon lives for another 117 years, and some good guy ends up dying young.

And although these days I’m mostly out of danger in that regard, being neither that young nor that good, I did not want to get mistaken for Billy right about then.

But Death found the right man, in my opinion at least, and probably in Billy’s opinion as well, and he died around nine o’clock. His breath went out, and it never came back. I leaned over and kissed his cooling forehead. His other daughter later said that for years, he’d had an evening gig, and the second set always started at 9:20 … that made sense. Much as he would have liked to stay and talk to me, he had to leave, the boys were headed back to the bandstand, Barbara Striesand was already on stage, the next set was about to start …

So I turned off his old recordings, and once again, I found myself sitting alone in a silent room with someone I’d just watched die. Again I wept. And again I took solace in the profundity of the silence, and in the soothing fact that there was nothing pressing any more, no urgency, nothing he needed to do, nothing I could do for him.

Then, when the time of silence was over, I went to do the necessary tasks. But of course, as I have learned in my life, death often brings both tragedy and farce, and this was no exception. Earlier in the day I’d called the mortuary, to see what the procedure was for them to pick up his body. The Mortuary Lady said they couldn’t pick him up without a Death Certificate. OK, I said, how do I get one of those? Oh, she said, you can’t do it, his doctor has to sign it.

Mmmm … but what if his doctor is out of town? Because, you know, he is out of town. Until Monday. And Billy will likely die before then.

Well, she said, after he dies you should call the County Coroner. They will send a doctor over to sign the certificate. They always handle that. It’s not a problem

So I did … but being a skeptical fellow, I did it right then, I didn’t wait until afterwords. I told the nice Coroner Lady the situation. She said oh, no, we don’t handle dead people at home in bed. You should call the Sheriff’s Department.  They always handle that. It’s not a problem.

So I did, right then. But the nice Sheriff Lady said they didn’t deal with dead people at home in bed. She said just call the emergency number 9-1-1. They always handle that. It’s not a problem … I guess not many people die at home with their family any more. Eventually my doctor said, just call the local police. They’ll know what to do. So after I’d sat in the silence in his bedroom for a while, I did that very thing.

However, the nice Police Lady said that unfortunately, his passing had to be classified as an “Unattended Death”, all capitalized and everything, because there was no doctor present. Again I was reminded of the difference between the first and the third world. What we call “an Unattended Death” they call “a death”—the presence of a doctor is a rarity, and absolutely not a necessity. In any case, the nice Police Lady said that she was sorry, but since his doctor was out of town, they’d have to send a detective out to investigate the Unattended Death for signs of foul play … plus of course the Emergency Medical Technician had to come out to to make sure he wasn’t still alive.

The mind works strangely at such times. I was tempted to say that it was clear that he wasn’t pining for the fjords, and that I took “didn’t breathe for the last fifteen minutes” as kind of a clue to his general state of animation, but I forbore … I could see that I was now just a pawn in the bureaucratic machinery. I had entered the zone where it didn’t matter what I said or did.

The detective turned out to be a pleasant young man. Clearly, however, he was hoping that this would turn out to be the crime of the century, that I’d just snuffed Howard Hughes or something. He came in, and first thing, we had to fill out some paperwork. I figured he’d want to see the body first, but no, it’s the government. Paperwork first, last, and in between, it’s the way we render modern death sterile and unthreatening.

While we were doing that, the EMT wagon arrived. I’d asked the nice Police Lady if they could leave the lights and sirens off to avoid disturbing the neighbors, and they did so. The EMT came in and went in the bedroom to see the body. He came out and told us that Billy was really most sincerely dead. He had a whole other set of paperwork, which I signed, and he gave his condolences and left. But of course he couldn’t sign the Death Certificate, so I’m not sure what his purpose was.

After the paperwork was done, the Detective said he wanted to see the “scene”. He did manage not to call it a “crime scene”. We went into the bedroom. He took out his camera and said he was sorry, but by law he had to take pictures for the record. I said I understood. He asked me to take the covers off of Billy’s body. I could see that he was disappointed to find out that it was just an ancient dead man weighing about 80 pounds, call it 35 kg, with pipe stem legs and sunken eyes, and not a crime victim of any kind. So the Detective took his pictures. And knowing that it made absolutely no sense, I put the covers back on Billy and tucked them in around him because it was night time, and I didn’t want him to be cold. We are truly bizarre creatures, we humans …

Then the Detective asked if I had a measuring tape. He said he had to measure the distance of the body from the walls of the room for his sketch of the scene, but he didn’t have a tape … I got the tape measure. Somewhere in there, it seems the gears in my mind had stripped entirely, and I found myself wandering around the bedroom,  numbly measuring how far it was from the walls to Billy’s body while the detective wrote down the numbers … life is endlessly strange. Somewhere in the bowels of the local Police Department there is an official “Unaccompanied Death” form with a sketch on it showing that William A. Schneider aged 86 died approximately nine feet from the south bedroom wall of his mobile home, and about seven feet from the east bedroom wall …

When all that was done, all the measurements and pictures taken, all the papers signed, I asked the Detective if now the mortuary folks could pick him up.

The Detective said no, first I had to get the Death Certificate …

I wanted to pound my head against the wall, but I was afraid I wouldn’t feel a thing if I did. It was that kind of evening. So I told the Detective the whole story, about the Mortuary Lady, and the County Coroner Lady, and the Sheriff Lady, and the Police Lady, and my Doctor’s advice, and he took pity on me. He called his boss, and she called someone she knew at the Coroners Office. In about five minues she called him back and said OK, Billy could be moved, the doctor could sign off when he returned on Monday.

So the Detective told me the body could go, and he gave his condolences. He was sincere and kind and professional throughout, and I thanked him for that and said I knew he had to do what he had done, and I was glad it was him that had done it. When he left I went back inside and called the mortuary.

Soon, the folks from the mortuary arrived. They brought a gurney. The mobile home was tight quarters. They had to stand the gurney on end to get it around the corners to his bedroom. I couldn’t figure out how they would get him out, there was nowhere near enough room. They wrapped him in a white shroud and put him on the gurney. Then they started lashing him on, with three webbed belts. I left the bedroom and sat down in the living room to wait.

When they came out of the bedroom, I found out that the gurney folded down, and it had wheels on one end, so they could use it like a hand truck. They came breezing out of the bedroom, wheeling him on what looked just like a hand truck, wrapped in white in a standing position. Their sudden appearance was so bizarre, they were moving fairly fast, or perhaps I was moving fairly slow, but in any case they looked for all the world like museum curators on the Discovery Channel merrily rolling one of the mummies to a new display location …

I must confess, I broke out laughing at sudden appearance of Billy disguised as a mummy on wheels in some museum. The attendants looked at me strangely, but I suppose they’d seen all kinds of grief, so they just keep wheeling the mummy on out to the van. Yeah, I know, I’m likely going to hell for laughing right then, but I knew that Billy would have seen the humor in it. He was a rascal and a gentleman and a rogue, crabby and thoughtlessly hard on the women in his family who loved him nonetheless, a wonderful musician and a bad family man who somehow managed to successfully raise a couple great girls to productive adulthood, and always someone with a great sense of humor and a profound enjoyment of the ridiculous, inane, bizarre things of this world. He’d have laughed at the mummy image. My old shipmate, the one I was fishing with when I heard of my father’s passing thirty years ago, remarked on Billy’s death, “We don’t grieve for him. We grieve for our own loss, that he’s no longer around to laugh with us.”

Anyhow, that’s why my mind has been revisiting the topic of death lately. I have no great insights gained from all of this, except to keep listening to Death’s excellent advice, and to keep the gas pedal firmly pressed to the floor. Oh, and what George Marsh told me. He said he’d been meaning to get over to see Billy again, he’d been invited, but this and that had gotten in the way, time went by, and now Billy was dead … he said he wasn’t ever going to let that happen again if he could help it.

After Billy’s death, I went for some long walks on the cliffs overlooking the ocean with my gorgeous ex-fiancee, and we let the immensity of the water and the insistent wind and the endless waves wash away the sorrow and the struggle of the last few months. We both fished commercially together, we both are children of the waves. We saw a whale spouting far out in the vasty deeps—there is no better balm for the heart than untamed wildness.

I give my good lady immense props for her role in all of this. She has been the captain of the good ship Nagelfar since the first day, I was just the crew. And having skippered my share of boats, I assure you that crewman is by far the easier job. Crewmen sleep well at night, while the skipper tosses and turns and considers tomorrow. Billy was not always nice or kind to her or her sister, but they both bore up under it without complaint to him, and simply kept supporting him and her mother in every way they wanted and needed, from before the time they moved out here until their deaths. I told that good woman that she was the perfect daughter, that she did everything they needed and more, and that she had done it with style and with a warm and open heart. She has my profound admiration and undying thanks for her unwavering support of both of our parents in their extremity.

My conclusion from all of this? Hold your family and friends close, remember to taste the strawberries, play your own music whatever that might mean to you, and do what you love … because the night is never far away.

Best regards, and thanks for coming on the journey. Everyone grieves differently. This time around, writing seems to be part of how I do it. Tonight, the midnight moon is nearly full, with a single band of altostratus on one side of the sky and a hint of summer in the air. The coyotes are mumbling to each other on the far ridge, the saw-whet owl is sharpening his lethal blade. The intoxicating smell of the lemon tree in the yard lies thick on the dark air. The moonlit forest around my house is alive with unseen eyes, predator and prey alike, hidden death on all sides for rabbits and mice … stay well, dear friends, life is far too short.

w.

William A. “Billy” Schneider

Jazz drummer extraordinaire 

1928-2014

He lived and died surrounded by his music

and loved by his family and friends.

Sleep well, my dear companion.

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538 thoughts on “My Friend Billy

  1. Seriously you should enter that in a short story competition. It was quite revealing. Having lost two sons, and my mother and father, All within 5 years of one another’ death is final and a loved one’s death remains a hole in your heart for ever.

  2. Hi Willis – that was a very moving story, your writing abilities and life experiences never cease to amaze me.

    In regards to your sister, while I’m sure the doctors did everything they could as there was very little time left, I’d like to add that it’s little known in the medical profession that intestinal transplants are actually done nowadays. In my travels across the internet I came across the blog of fellow whose medical story is simply incredible. Nearly dead from a botched colonoscopy and seemingly inconceivable medical malpractice, he was saved only because his wife discovered intestinal transplants actually existed (his doctors were clueless). I hate to promote someone else’s blog on WUWT but the story is amazing. The things I’ve learned from his posts make me wonder if the medical profession isn’t very different from climatology.

    http://roarofwolverine.com/wolverine

  3. Thank you. My father was born in 1928, and I know we don’t have forever. I completely agree with and hope for the proper order. I guess you’re the Carlos Castaneda of the Sea. As the notes of Ripple are playing again in my mind, I’ll just say, fare ye well.

  4. A few months ago, I almost died.

    One Friday I took my little girl swimming, I felt what I thought was mild indigestion. By the afternoon it had grown into a nasty pain in my stomach, so I saw a doctor. The quack sent me home, he diagnosed a strained muscle.

    By the next morning, after a very bad night, my pain had grown unbearable. Worse, my waterworks had shut down – so I knew something was very wrong. My wife called an ambulance.

    I had emergency surgery that evening, after a day fighting to control my temperature. I had been walking around for a week with a ruptured appendix and Peritonitis.

    After I woke up from Surgery, the surgeon gave me the bad news – I was still probably going to die. He had washed litres of puss out of my stomach, from a very widespread infection – but he couldn’t get it all.

    Yet somehow I found a reason to hope. For at least 5 days, I was walking around with my insides rotting away, driving thousands of miles, moving heavy boxes (we were moving house at the time) – yet my immune system was doing such a good job of containing the infection, I didn’t even know I was ill. It was only on the 6th day that my body started to lose the battle.

    And I was blindly, utterly determined to live. My wife and daughter depended on me. This was not my time to die.

    Somehow, whether it was the antibiotics which drenched my system, my abnormally strong immune system, by determination to do everything they told me to do, to help my recovery, no matter how painful, I pulled through, and have now made a complete recovery.

    Death is the enemy Willis. There is no quarter with that which makes your loved ones cry. When the reaper finally catches up with me again, he will have another fight on his hands, I will hang on to the last gasp of my strength.

  5. That story on wolverine was horrific. I had a colonoscopy other than finding a vein to put me asleep, it was a painless procedure throughout and afterwards. But was given a paper with warnings if I bled or had problems to come right back. I didn’t like the diet I was given before hand and the stuff I had to drink beforehand although it was flavored. It was cleared and the surgeon told me not to come back for 10 years, I had a bit of diverculitcus. (Sorry spelling). I have never heard of intestinal transplants, but we learn everyday.

  6. Hoser says:
    April 18, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you. My father was born in 1928, and I know we don’t have forever. I completely agree with and hope for the proper order. I guess you’re the Carlos Castaneda of the Sea. As the notes of Ripple are playing again in my mind, I’ll just say, fare ye well.

    Ah, yes, Ripple

    Ripple in still water
    When there is no pebble tossed
    Nor wind to blow …

    Thanks,

    w.

  7. Willis; Coming from the St. Louis area myself….Just curious if Billy lived in one of the many suburbs, or in St. Louis proper. Most “St. Louis” people don’t live in the city itself. My condolences to you and yours on losing Billy. Guys like him are getting hard to find.

  8. Thanks, Willis, as always.

    I nursed my father hand and foot for four long years. I was still a kid going in. Afterwards, not so much.

    My cousin died less than a year ago. He was the brother I never had, and he had been bunking out in my livingroom for over six years. He was two years younger than me. He suffered a stroke and never fully regained consciousness. For the months he had left, I worked ten hours, then visited him every day after work, sometimes twice a day on weekends. But I was somehow certain he’d get better care if he was seen to be getting a lot of visiting. I would bring the nurses cookies and pies regularly because I figured that couldn’t hurt either. Lori didn’t visit him much. Instead, she served him (well) by keeping me from going to pieces.

    I would talk to him and ruffle his hair, sometimes, because physical contact can reach a person, though I am definitely not a touchy-feelly type . One time I showed up and he opened his eyes and looked at me sternly and then put his hand up to his hair, so maybe I was getting through. I was reading Skylark to him, of all things, and we had just gotten to the point where the space pirates had been thwarted, the hostages rescued, the planet saved, but before the wedding scene and the escape of the evil Duquesne, he passed on within an hour of when I last saw him.

    Sometimes people are lucky enough to have someone that they can call and say, like the song goes, “Andy, did you hear about this one?” It can be a lonely thing when that happens and there is no one to call.

  9. Dear Mr. Eschenbach,

    Thank you for honoring us with your words about your dearly loved Billy. No one can ever take his place. The ebb tide of grief will flow high and ebb many, many times before it finally rests. Just remember, though, every time grief floods up the beach, it is, overall, flooding a little less far up the beach each time. Eventually, there will be calm. You know this, I know, just a little encouragement from someone who cares (yeah, really).

    “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
    but the heart of fools in the house of pleasure.”
    Ecclesiastes 7:4.

    You are wise, Mr. Eschenbach, to listen to Death…… to a point. Death can make a person live wisely, but, Death cannot give you joy. Death cannot give you love. And Death is sometimes a l1ar, gleefully whispering in your ear about the peace it can bring. Death, per se, will not bring peace, for the soul lives on…. somewhere. And Death will not be going along with it to comfort it. Death has no interest in a soul released from the body. At that point, Death washes its hands of the soul.

    Most importantly, Death, while wise, cannot give you hope.

    Do you realize how COOL it is to KNOW where your soul is going when you die? THAT is peace, man, powerful peace.

    For hope, you must listen to Life.

    How can one do this?

    In case you might be interested in the answer I found to that question,
    there is only one Life Who can change despair to hope (and I mean enduring, rock-solid, unshakeable hope), the one who said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life… .” John 14:6.

    Of course, that takes faith.

    “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen… .” Hebrews 11:1.

    And if you don’t have it, you just don’t have it. No one can gin up faith. But, you CAN be open to receiving it (and you can choose to stubbornly resist it whenever it whispers to your heart).

    I have been, though, and will be, praying that you and your family come to have that faith, that hope. So, HOPEFULLY (smile), one day, you WILL have faith and, thus, Hope.

    What you DO have, right now,
    and will always have,
    is your love for Billy
    and his love for you.
    Memories will start to fade,
    but the love will remain — always.

    “… these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
    I. Cor. 13:13.

    With heartfelt sympathy…. and prayers,

    Janice

    P.S. A Christian song (just a heads up so you can skip it if you don’t want to hear that kind of music) that I love and that I HOPE will be an encouragement to your own faith.

    “Where There Is Faith” — 4 Him
    [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpJOUboKgV0 ]

  10. A grand farewell and meditation. On Good Friday the thought of death and the possibility of resurrection is not far from my mind.

    A bit of luck and Billy will play on.

    Thank you for this.

  11. Do you realize how COOL it is to KNOW where your soul is going when you die? THAT is peace, man, powerful peace.

    I dunno, Janice. Unlike with my beloved climate stations, I have no data on that. What is, is.

  12. Dear Evan M. Jones,

    If I may…
    “… what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Ii. Corinthians 4:18.

    Jesus walked the earth. And he left LOTS of data (in the form of words and actions) for you to analyze.

    Your query to resolve: Was he Lord? Liar? or Lunatic? Those are the only 3 possibilities.
    (from C. S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity)

    Best wishes in YOUR faith journey!

    Janice

  13. Thanks Willis for another story well and lovingly told and beautifully written. My wife and I went through a somewhat similar sequence with her mother about a year and a half ago. Similar may be a bit of a stretch as the only real commonalities were her adamant wish to die in her own home and the morphine soothed final days of her life, which in her case stretched to five days from the point she fell into a terminal coma. Your bit about the death certificate brought back a detail of our story which was both entirely infuriating and yet almost comical. Mom finally passed about a quarter to midnight on Halloween. In the small Iowa town where this occurred the local EMTs must come to pronounce an unattended death. Since the ambulance garage was only a couple of blocks away they arrived in very short order and after what was probably similar paperwork they pronounced her dead. During our discussion with the crew they had asked about the time of her death and my told them 11:45 PM. Although they didn’t officially pronounce her until well after midnight they put that time onto the paperwork. They then volunteered to deliver her body to the local mortuary.
    The next day her last Social Security check was direct deposited into her account at the local bank.
    As part of the friendly service of the local undertaker he sent copies of the DC to all pertinent authorities, including the SSA. They almost immediately informed the bank that they must return the deposit because the payment was for October and she hadn’t lived through the “entire month”.
    I know the odds of something similar happening again are way against, but if you should get caught don’t say you weren’t warned.

  14. Janice Moore says:
    April 18, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Dear Mr. Eschenbach,

    … [bunch of pre-boiled religious pap blah blah blah] …

    Janice, you using my father-in-law’s death as an excuse for proselytizing for your religion is disgusting. I have no problem with Christ’s message, but your actions here represent one of the most despicable parts of Christianity—the fact that you and your co-religionists all too often want to batten on to another person’s loss and pain in order to spread your beliefs.

    Your attempt to take advantage of my grief is absolutely not welcome, and is totally inappropriate on this thread. Please take it elsewhere. That kind of aggressive preaching is not wanted here.

    Me, I’d prefer it if you didn’t post again on this thread. However, people’s preferences obviously matter little to you, otherwise you wouldn’t try this kind of unpleasant witnessing. This can’t be the first time you’ve had your face slapped for exactly this behavior. And yet here you are again …

    I hope that’s clear enough. If not, I’m happy to tell you how I really feel.

    w.

  15. Easy, Willis, easy now.

    Please don’t get mad at her. We all have our own ways of dealing with these things, as you have poignantly demonstrated. If we believed what and in the way she does, we might react the same. That’s one of the reasons I tend to excuse the howls of the CAGW believers — if I actually believed what they actually believe, I might be howling, too. Noblesse oblige, you know.

  16. Willis, from now on I am going to refer to you as “R” instead of your “W”…

    “Renaissance”

  17. evanmjones says:
    April 18, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Easy, Willis, easy now.

    Please don’t get mad at her. We all have our own ways of dealing with these things, as you have poignantly demonstrated. If we believed what and in the way she does, we might react the same. That’s one of the reasons I tend to excuse the howls of the CAGW believers — if I actually believed what they actually believe, I might be howling, too. Noblesse oblige, you know.

    Yeah, I know, you’re right, Evan, thanks for that … looking back, it’s just so predictable that some jerk will always try to leverage someone else’s grief, I should have been ready for it. Janice’s actions are just like the unscrupulous morticians trying to upsell some poor family on a much more expensive casket at the time they’re most vulnerable, after their loved one’s death … entire predictable.

    So I likely should have been ready for her, but I wasn’t, and I tend to bite back … my bad. Hey, I’m a passionate guy, what can I say?

    Janice, please don’t take it personally. I don’t think you’re a bad person. I think your actions are despicable, insensitive, and insulting, which is very a different thing, because you can change your actions. Truly, you do more harm to your own cause than good by blundering around and witnessing and praying and being the freakin’ bluebird of happiness and cheer where it is totally inappropriate. That just angrifies people’s blood. You doing that kind of thing turns people away from your message.

    Or as the man said himself,

    “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.”

    Janis, I’m not saying that prayer and witnessing are wrong or bad, absolutely not. They are wonderful things, and you should continue doing them … just not here.

    This thread is not the place for prayer and witnessing. Blogs are a public place. Please consider this as a street corner, and take your prayers elsewhere, thanks …

    w.

  18. luca turin (@lucaturin) says:
    April 18, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Man, that was beautiful writing. I can barely see the letters as I type.

    I cannot think of a higher compliment. My thanks.

    Oatley says:
    April 18, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Willis, from now on I am going to refer to you as “R” instead of your “W”…

    “Renaissance”

    When I was a kid, my heroes were Leonardo da Vinci and George Washington Carver … the odd couple, I suppose.

    w.

  19. A beautiful telling of a story of life, Willis.

    …. but I am sorry you feel you had to reply to Janice in that manner. It somehow spoils it, for me at least, even though I am and always will be an atheist. (I say that with some certainty as any change in that regard will undoubtedly be a symptom of the losing of my mental faculties).

    I am sure she meant it as a message of love and care.
    We all spend our lives passing on thoughts, ideas, ‘how to’ instructions, solutions, facts about ‘climate change’, etc, etc to others. Sometimes the ideas, or the solutions we pass on are wrong, but not because we intend them to be. It is simply that we think they were meaningful, factual, or we believe that they worked for us at the time.

    Peace and love to you, and to Janice. Such is life. And death.

  20. John Coleman says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Willis, my very best to you and your ex-fiancé. I hope to meet you in person in Las Vegas in July.

    I look forward to it, John.

    w.

  21. Janice’s actions are just like the unscrupulous morticians trying to upsell some poor family on a much more expensive casket at the time they’re most vulnerable, after their loved one’s death … entire predictable.

    But there is one important difference. The mortician goes *ka-ching*. Those like Janice believe that what they are doing is a Good Thing. It isn’t. But the motivations are not as venal.

    So I likely should have been ready for her, but I wasn’t, and I tend to bite back … my bad. Hey, I’m a passionate guy, what can I say?

    “It”, not “her”, I think. And you do yourself a disservice here. You don’t tend to bite back. You “tend” to be wise, understanding, broadminded, and compassionate. And that ain’t always easy.

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  22. Eric Worrall says:
    April 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    and

    evanmjones says:
    April 18, 2014 at 10:51 pm
    and this as well, with which I agree
    evanmjones says:
    April 18, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Thanks.

    Willis, loved the “freakin’ bluebird of happiness and cheer” bit.

  23. markx says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:10 am

    A beautiful telling of a story of life, Willis.

    …. but I am sorry you feel you had to reply to Janice in that manner.

    Put it down to my lack of grief counseling. Look, Mark, I’m a complex guy. But you’re not seeing what’s happening. Here’s the deal.

    I just got done expending a bunch of sweat and tears to tell a detailed, complex, moving true account of my own personal life.

    Up jumps Janice, and she wants to hijack what I’ve written. She starts twisting my true account of my own life into an argument for her particular brand of religion. Bad religious person, no cookies.

    I took a long time and a lot of effort to craft a powerful story, and she wants to jump in and use the drama and the strength and the pathos and passion of my story for her own personal, private, parochial religious ends. I’m sorry, Mark, but that’s plagiarism and worse. I will not let her ride on my work that way. I will not let her twist my words in that fashion.

    So you’re right, I was likely too harsh on her. And I apologize to her for wherever it was over the top. Janice, you have my sincere apologies for my excesses of passion.

    But I will not have her stealing my heart-felt song of life and death for her own religious purposes. Not gonna happen. I wrote that story as it was. I was there. I didn’t see Jesus anywhere. If she wants to tell a powerful story about death and Jesus, then I encourage her to do so.

    But by God, (as they say), she’s not gonna be allowed to stuff Jesus into my story. No way.

    w.

  24. We know how to cure cancer now. All kinds. The secret is that cancer cells have a receptor that induces apoptosis. It is against Federal law to fill those receptors with any material you can grow yourself.

    Biochemist Dennis Hill, who cured his stage 4 prostate cancer explains how it works

    Look it up.

  25. Lovely story Willis….very honest and refreshing. We all need a reminder from time to time of our humanity and frailty

  26. A mocking scoffer tells stories designed to pull at the heartstrings of anyone reading, then acting like some kind of baboon about a woman’s emotional outburst when she worries about you to her God in her heart.

    I thought you were already low rent but I hope I never see another word about you that doesn’t start with the letters rip.

    You cretin.

  27. Willis,

    Thank you for writing such a beautiful essay. I am still choking back the tears.

    Cordially,

    Perry

  28. M Simon says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:27 am

    As someone who used to be virulently anti-marijuana before May 2008–I removed you as a friend, and I would not allow relatives into my house who used drugs of any kind–I am happy to read accounts about Dennis Hill who killed cancer in his body with cannabis. Jesus, I was a s**t and ignorant. People need to wake up to the medical evidence. Check out Spain’s Dr. Manuel Guzman. And use google with these search terms: =>> marijuana alternet guzman ford NIH 1974

  29. Norman Woods says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Whoah, there. Ramp it back. Uncalled for, particularly under the circumstances.

    policycritic says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Ah, she isn’t, properly considered — because she can’t. It isn’t “part of the story”, it’s outside of the story, just a comment.

    (Thanks for earlier.)

  30. evanmjones says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Janice’s actions are just like the unscrupulous morticians trying to upsell some poor family on a much more expensive casket at the time they’re most vulnerable, after their loved one’s death … entire predictable.

    But there is one important difference. The mortician goes *ka-ching*. Those like Janice believe that what they are doing is a Good Thing. It isn’t. But the motivations are not as venal.

    Thanks, Evan. Again you are correct … but isn’t there a religious saying about people believing they’re doing a good thing?

    Oh, yeah, I remember it now:

    The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

    So while you are right about her thinking she’s doing a Good Thing, I fear that her good intentions don’t mean much.

    In climate science, what we’re discussing is called “Noble Cause Corruption”. It’s where you truly and completely believe that you are Saving The Planet from the Evils of CO2. In that world it’s OK e.g. for Peter Gleick to engage in Mail Fraud, because he’s on the side of the angels, and if only we were smart enough to realize it, yes he’s committing a felony, but it’s for our own good.

    The similarity of this belief structure to religion has been noted by a number of commentators …

    The mortician gets paid in money. Janice gets paid in converts. I fear I see little difference.

    Finally, the mortician isn’t trying to twist my work and my words into an argument to sell more of his caskets, as Janice is doing to my work and words in trying to sell more of her religion …

    w.

  31. Thanks Willis for the thoughtful anecdotes. I witnessed the quiet passings of both my parents and I’ll always cherish those opportunities as fitting since they were there for the beginning of my life. Your story reminded me of my favorite quote, one which I try to live by. It’s from Paul Bowles…
    “Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

  32. Norman Woods says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Low rent is where all the interesting things happen. I wish you a long, dull, boring life.

    And just to tweak you some further. I favor the old time religion. If it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for me. Because we are all Sons of God. Or Sons of B******. I’ll take either. Or both. Depending on what is on offer.

  33. Thanks, Evan. Again you are correct … but isn’t there a religious saying about people believing they’re doing a good thing?

    Oh, yes. And I, in essence, agree. Case in point, the more genuine of the CAGW believers. Like all good intentions. But the mortician dude doesn’t even have those.

    The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions, but let’s not leave out the bad intentions, either.

    Getting paid off in converts is one thing. And I agree: Not a Good thing. But then, there’s the fake preacher who collects money, ostensibly to send to the starving kids and then keeps it. That’s more in like with what the mortician does, and I really believe there is a significant difference.

    Another case in point: I think the number Norman Woods pulled was considerably worse than anything Janice attempted.

    In climate science, what we’re discussing is called “Noble Cause Corruption”.

    And in other venues as well. But — as bad as that is — it beats ignoble cause corruption.

    Finally, the mortician isn’t trying to twist my work and my words into an argument to sell more of his caskets, as Janice is doing to my work and words in trying to sell more of her religion …

    No. But he would if he could!

  34. policycritic says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Also look up Dr. Christina Sanchez who is a molecular biologist at Compultense University in Madrid Spain.

  35. Norman Woods says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:30 am

    A mocking scoffer tells stories designed to pull at the heartstrings of anyone reading, then acting like some kind of baboon about a woman’s emotional outburst when she worries about you to her God in her heart.

    I thought you were already low rent but I hope I never see another word about you that doesn’t start with the letters rip.

    You cretin.

    And yet, here you are, reading what I wrote, complaining about what I wrote, reading my response to your complaints … go figure.

    My friend, there are a million stories out there on the internet. Some you’ll like, some you won’t. Since you obviously don’t like mine, my advice would be, go find one you do like.

    I say that because going around and abusing everyone on the internet that you disagree with is a really boring way to go through life … and more than that, life’s too short to take on such an immense task. The number of people out there who you strongly disagree with is endless, and that’s true for me and everyone else, not just you.

    So give them all a pass, everyone you disagree with, including me, and find something that speaks to you, that you enjoy reading.

    As to what I said to Janice, she’s a grown woman. She’s perfectly capable of defending herself, and is totally free to say whatever she wants in her defense.

    Your assumption, that she needs some big strong man like yourself to defend her, and your description of her as an emotional woman, is both a stereotype and an insult to her.

    All the best, and truly, I hope you find things on the web to enjoy rather than bitch about.

    w.

    PS—Here’s a tip for future discussions. Wishing for my death, as you did in your message above, automatically means you lose. Nobody respects someone who wishes for their opponents to die.

  36. Norman Woods says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Pay him no mind, Willis. He’s just riffraff. We’ll deal with him ourselves, never fear.

  37. Yes. Death does give the best advice. I haven’t played much music since the 80s. But these days Death has whispered in my ears and I’m a designing fool. My hope is one great last design before I get called. It doesn’t seem like soon. But one never knows.

    http://spacetimepro.blogspot.com/

  38. evanmjones says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:48 am

    The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions, but let’s not leave out the bad intentions, either.

    Getting paid off in converts is one thing. And I agree: Not a Good thing. But then, there’s the fake preacher who collects money, ostensibly to send to the starving kids and then keeps it. That’s more in like with what the mortician does, and I really believe there is a significant difference.

    Evan, I do appreciate your patience with me, and the peaceful tone of your posts. Let me say a bit more about it.

    Is Janice morally equivalent to the mortician, or the bogus preacher taking the donations? No, absolutely not. I agree with you there.

    However, is Janice morally equivalent to the mortician in that they both are taking advantage of someone else’s grief and strong emotions to convince people they should do something that Janice or the mortician want them to do?

    Absolutely.

    The issue is what they do, not the reason for doing it. It’s the same way the law works. If you shoplift a picture of Jesus from a store, the Judge doesn’t care whether you were going to sell it or worship it. The issue is the theft.

    In this case, it’s the same use of the same grief, and I don’t care why they are doing it. It’s the same transgression.

    I freely admit I’m not 100% tranquil about this. This piece was hard for me to write. It brought up a lot of stuff. And my friend Billy just died.

    So yes, I was harder on her than I would have been on another day. It was a shock. I dig down to write about what is really important to me, and she tries to turn it into some self-serving Jesus morality play.

    Perhaps in her eagerness she didn’t consider that it’s not just some story to me. That’s my loss and mygrief and mylife she’s trying to get a free ride on to further her own personal aims … so yes, I take it personally, and I simply won’t have it.

    I agree she has good intentions. I don’t think she’s a bad person. She just made a mistake. She poked a grieving grizzly bear with her Jesus stick, and got it bitten off.

    Because having good intentions and being a good person is not enough. As the Australian rabbits can testify, about half the damage in the world is done by good people with good intentions.

    So when someone turns up uninvited, and tells me that they are here to help me, they want to assist me in dealing with my grief, I reach for my wallet and watch their hands very carefully.

    Janice wanted to give me good advice. She didn’t believe me when I said I have the adviser I want, Death. I was perfectly serious. Compared to the advice Death gives me, her advice pales to insignificance.

    My thanks to you for calming me down. It’s not been an easy time. And yes, I flew off the handle at Janice. And I’ve apologized to her. Still not gonna let her take her Jesus story for a free ride on my grief, though … she’ll have to tell that story on her own, with no help from me.

    w

  39. Willis, you are absolutely right to be angry at what Janice has done. You do not need to calm down on this matter because even though you have taken us through a powerful and emotional journey. at the end of the day they are just words. It is not as if there are likely to be any physical consequences.

  40. Evan, I do appreciate your patience with me, and the peaceful tone of your posts.

    You merit it. I find myself envisioning some of your writings as I drift off, like one will do with great masterpieces of literature. Every now and then some circumstance triggers the term “premium bride” in my head and I chuckle out loud. You’ll be needing to string all that end to end someday and get yourself a Library of Congress number, you know.

    Let me say a bit more about it.

    Yes. There we go. Good man.

    Only bear in mind that, in the end, she can’t intrude on your story. She is below the fold, as are all the comments. Your story is what it is. It stands alone.

    Maybe think about it this way: Your story caused me to tell one of my own. So have some of the others. In one sense that is not so very different than what Janice was trying to do (and, no, I do not approve of her post), but everybody does these things in his own way. And that’s when a writer succeeds best. When he connects, you know.

  41. Thank you,…
    for good advice,…
    for better writing.
    .
    .
    Janice, thank you. mere, Thanks
    John Moore

  42. Willis makes a good point about how distanced people in the West are from visual death. It didn’t used to be the case, but when you face it all the time the shock reduces. The other point I want to make is how people in Western cities are distanced from the killing of the animals they eat. Chicken drums, rump steak, fillet of fish etc are animals that have been killed and gutted.

    The first dead person I saw was lying in the road after being hit by a van – he was a tramp who was suspected of suffering from mental problems. I saw a baby die of malaria in front of my eyes in hospital. The look and sound of grief from the mother was heart wrenching. I still see the scene as she was dragged away from the corpse by hospital workers. I see people everyday with either polio, leprosy, malaria, unknown illness or just disabled crawling on the ground without a wheelchair. Welcome to the poor, death and suffering.

  43. The story of Joe (not his real name) 1991-2010 19 years, 6 months, 19 days, 20 hours…

    Our beautiful son: Joe, was born in June 1991 by emergency ceasarian – he always was obdurate! He walked at 13 months, but could not stand himself up.. we had to teach him how at 19 months because his sister: Susan (name changed), was due to be born.. At two and a half he failed some developmental checks.. he could not climb stairs.. or run.. or clamber.. and was easily tired.. and if he fell, he went over like he had been pole-axed. The contrast to his 12 month old sister was obvious. We had been to the doctor’s a few times, but were dismissed as neurotic parents. After his failure of this developmental check the doctor referred us to a local paediatric clinic. I remember the day we went, we felt a bit fraudulent because Joe seemed stronger than he had been a couple of months before. The doctor took a blood sample and sent us on our way, saying it was unlikely to be much, but the blood sample would prove one way or another.. what we did not know was the doctor had grave suspicions and had a specific blood test taken. He said to make a follow up appointment for 6 weeks hence. The following Monday, we had a ‘phone call from the hospital “About your appointment this Thursday….” What appointment? Why did they want to see us? They would not say.. we went along that Thursday in trepidation.. the appointment was in the Doctors lunch hour… “The blood test has confirmed that Joe has Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).. a serious, genetic, muscle wasting condition…” What’s the prognosis? “He’ll get steadily weaker, will stop being able to walk sometime between 7years and 11years and will live maybe 15-18 years…..”

    Well, as you can imagine: total devastation. Joe was a bright child – DMD does not affect their academic capabilities (other than the affect of being tired… and eventually not having the strength to hold a pen), he was in the top sets at school. Joe had a quick wit, was polite and was always (well.. mostly) smiling and most people remember him for that. Joe eventually stopped walking on November 13th 2000 he was just about nine and a half. One morning he just could not stand.. it had been coming, we were not surprised. He then got an electric wheelchair from the NHS – not having the strength to propel himself in a manual chair. We moved in 2002 prior to him starting High school at 11. The school he would’ve gone to where we were living was not good academically. The state high school he went to (well all three of them actually), is one of the best in Hampshire, if not the country. He did very well and was happy there.

    When he was 14, as is common with boys with DMD, the muscles of his back could no longer support the growth boys go through at that age and he developed scoliosis. Just before his year 10 schooling (ages 14/15) he underwent a spinal fusion operation (that is a long story in it’s own right) where 2 titanium rods are screwed to his vertebrae in an 8 hour operation. He was always in pain due to the fusion, even after it had healed, though he bore it with great fortitude. The operation meant I could no longer just pick him up and put him in his wheelchair, we always had to use a hoist and sling from then on. It was also the end of him feeding himself – though the strength to lift his arm to his mouth was almost gone before the operation anyway. During the following year he was losing weight and no-one knew why. At Easter before his 16th birthday a large infection manifested itself at the base of his spine.. he had to have the spinal fusion removed in a 6 hour operation (or he would have died within weeks). He was in hospital for 7 weeks. We “escaped” from hospital in early May, but still had to administer intra-venous anti-biotics via a central line for a further 3-4 weeks.

    So, in the 2 school years he had missed over 1 full term (12 weeks) including all the formal review/revision. He was still bed-ridden when the exams started. The school turned his bedroom into an exam room, and for each exam he had an invigilator and his scribe present – to whom he dictated his answers. He had only been well enough to start revising 3 weeks before the exams started, and was still very tired and weak. The results came out in late August.. he achieved 1 A*, 5 A’s and 2 B’s. As a result of that he was in the local, and some of the national newspapers, interviewed on the local radio and television news! Joe then went onto “Sixth form” college to do his “A” (Advanced) levels – the 2-year pre-university required level of education. Joe took A levels in Classics (Greek & Roman Literature, plays, architecture and society), History and Sociology. Joe wanted to go to university. He was offered a place at a University of London college to read History. Unlike during his GCSE’s he had no time off sick during his time at sixth-form college, even though his scoliosis had returned and he was in constant pain due to that and was, by this time, on medication to control his pain and because of deterioration of his heart – due to DMD. He attained grades A B B and his place was confirmed at university.

    Going to university brought a whole host of new situations both for Joe and us. He now had to have 24hour carers employed to look after him at university (as we had always done his personal care), plus a string of other university students employed to take his notes in lectures with him and for them to scribe for him when doing his essays. Academically, he did very well, socially, life was a struggle for him and we spent more time with him (especially Saturdays). Fortunately it was only an hours drive away.. In the early November 2009 in his first year, he got a terrible cold, was unable to breath and was rushed to hospital via emergency ambulance.. – Boys with DMD find it very difficult to cough due to muscle weakness, and therefore chest-colds are very dangerous for them – We rushed up to the local hospital.. we were thinking.. “is this going to be it?”. Joe, fortunately, did not have a bacterial infection, so they let us bring him home.. Where we had to perform vigorous chest physiotherapy for about 3 hours each morning for about a week to loosen and shift the mucus in his lungs… He eventually went back to university after 2 weeks off.. but the illness had left its mark both on his confidence and it had affected his ability to chew, he had developed sever acid reflux and feeding became a problem…

    Feeding problems aside, Joe continued and finished his first year at university.. we had a 5 week holiday in the US.. we travelled there and back by the Queen Mary 2 – Joe could not fly since his spinal fusion and then the return of this scoliosis. There were problems with feeding and him feeling nauseous regularly, but it was a good holiday nonetheless. He started his second year at university that September, but the nauseousness was causing him serious problems and various remedies were tried. In early November, he was so upset by it all that he came home, partly because he also had an upset stomach.. Due to the upset stomach he spent over a week in hospital and during this time (I could say a LOT LOT more here!!) he started to get angina pains. After he came out of hospital, we pestered to get him a proper cardiology appointment (another long story).. anyway, after getting Joe’s neuromuscular consultant involved, we managed to get a cardiology appointment with the top local cardiology consultant for roughly the end of November 2010.

    The consultant inspected his heart via ecco-cardiagram for 45 minutes! then he had another ECG. Then.. “well.. Joe.. mm basically.. you shouldn’t be here.. your heart is in a very bad state.. I am sorry…” – Can he go back to university? (that may seem like a daft question, but he was feeling a lot better) “ehm no, best give up your university career” – Can we take him on holiday “ehm no, just take him home and make him comfortable…” total and utter devastation. We were not expecting that outcome, if we had thought it a possibility we could’ve prepared him in someway…

    I could write a lot about the last 4-5 weeks, there were some ups and downs, some false hopes, but ultimately on Monday 20th December he woke in crisis and pain, the doctor was called and he was put on morphine – though not enough to put him “out of it” if you understand. Though, he knew and we knew, he would not get up again. We had to ask him painful things like: What did he want to do with his savings? What sort of funeral did he want “A nice one.. like grandmas” – does he want to be buried or cremated? Buried.. Various people came to visit over the next 3 days, like people do. Apart from a short period on the Tuesday evening when he asked the doctor, in frustration, if she could do anything to “end it” for him, she said: “no I can’t”, he faced it with great fortitude and stoicism, and typically was still cracking jokes on the Wednesday afternoon when his best friend John came to visit. I hope I have his strength when my time comes. Wednesday evening, crisis again, doctor came, he had a heart attack, struggled for a (long.. very long) few minutes.. and though he had been rambling a bit and not talking sense, he suddenly became focused and clear, looked at his mum (who was closest to him), and then uttered his last 2 sentences: “I am dying.. I love you” then he was gone….. Absolute and utter devastation…

    His funeral was 2 weeks later at the local church, over 200 people were there to pay their respects, it was a good send off, the funeral lasted nearly 2 hours, because quite a few people wanted to read out their eulogy of their memories of Joe. His sunny, wise-cracking, up-beat nature, in the face of constant pain, had touched a lot of people over the years.. and although, due to DMD, in his later years he was practically a quadraplegic, he said, in the last few weeks, because he was now attached to his ventilator (which formerly he only used when asleep) a lot of the time to alleviate the angina pains – that he had never really felt disabled until then!!!!! Almost incomprehensible considering his level of disability, but a great testament to his character.

  44. By the way, I could delete that obnoxious post by Norman Woods. I have that power.

    But I prefer to let it stand and let him twist slowly in the wind.

  45. Well said Willis, will be forwarding this to everyone in my family…

    Simply, WOW

    Like I say, Willis, it stands alone. Q.E.D.

  46. “The other point I want to make is how people in Western cities are distanced from the killing of the animals they eat. Chicken drums, rump steak, fillet of fish etc are animals that have been killed and gutted.”

    In my youth I worked near the killing floor. I used to help gut 2,000 hogs a day. I earned my meat. And I enjoy every last bite. And before that I used to slice and dice chickens for display in my Dad’s butcher case. And of course there was the day (I was 4 or 5) my Dad killed a chicken in the back yard. It got away. And ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. Because it was a chicken with its head cut off. Spurting blood all the way.

  47. No onto a lighter note about death. Below is a comedy sketch from a UK TV programme back in the day. Here is a sample.

    …………
    C: “VOOM”?!? Mate, this bird wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it! ‘E’s bleedin’ demised!

    O: No no! ‘E’s pining!

    C: ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker!
    ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies!

    ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig!

    ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!!
    THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!
    ……………..

    http://www.davidpbrown.co.uk/jokes/monty-python-parrot.html

  48. Willis, I think you are being a bit harsh with Janice. Its your grief, but I don’t think Janice meant harm – from her perspective she was trying to help. The bible and her religious belief obviously brings her a lot of comfort, and I think she was looking to extend that comfort to you.

    The Mortician in your example is acting from brutal self interest. I see why you drew that parallel, but I think there are some important differences between what Janice did, and what the Mortician did.

    Perhaps I can explain best by sharing part of my life experience with religion.

    I’ve been an atheist all my life, but about half my family are evangelical Christians – Jehova’s Witnesses. For a while I was confused about what they said, then I learned how to pick holes in what they said, taking malicious pleasure in quoting some of the darker passages from the bible. Then I finally chilled out and realised that what they were doing was an expression of love. They did love me, they showed it in so many ways – its just they wanted to make sure I joined them in a heaven I didn’t believe existed. We learned to agree to disagree – to love each other, but to understand and accept that there was a facet of our lives which would never be in harmony.

  49. Eric Worrall,
    Humm… Many who wish to force upon everyone their personal beliefs, whether those be religious or political (eg Malthusian Eco-loons), for certain honestly and completely believe they are doing good. They are not. What they are doing is insulting the intelligence of all those they purport to help; it is pure and simple arrogance. They should just make decisions for themselves and leave the rest of us to do the same. The parallel you attempt to draw with your immediate family is a false one; you and your family have a joint interest in working it out. Willis does not need to be lectured to by a stranger, and IMO, he is justified to tell her to pound sand… I would do the same.

  50. stevefitzpatrick
    Eric Worrall,
    Humm… Many who wish to force upon everyone their personal beliefs, whether those be religious or political (eg Malthusian Eco-loons), for certain honestly and completely believe they are doing good. … Willis does not need to be lectured to by a stranger, and IMO, he is justified to tell her to pound sand… I would do the same.

    A legitimate viewpoint – Willis is well within his rights to say what he did. I just wanted to point out that there was a difference between Willis’ Mortician example, a person who knowingly acts out of brutal self interest, and someone who sincerely believes they are trying to help. The outcome might be just as annoying, but the motivation is most likely different.

  51. Hold your family and friends close, remember to taste the strawberries, …
    You drove the point home, thank you so much for sharing.

  52. That was wonderfully and beautifully written. I’ve shared some of your experiences, the death of close loved ones before their golden years, and you very eloquently described the bizzare mixture of humor, pain, sorrow, and serenity.

  53. Willis you are a gifted communicator. I have a 73 year old piano tuner and player friend who loves his whiskey so much it’s brought him to death’s door in a few short years. it is very difficult to see a man once vibrant and active now unable to get up out of his wheelchair without help. He told me last week at the local elder care center, “I don’t want to give up…” and as always, “I love you man” His name is Bill also. Bill buried his beloved Elaine a decade ago, and he is the only person besides my lady who has continually encouraged me to keep at my electric weather project. I will miss him when he inevitably moves on to the great beyond.

    I appreciate your presence here, in spite of often disagreeing with you Willis. And like Janice, I believe our essence carries on beyond this existence.

  54. What a beautiful yet very sad tale! You write Willis, very well indeed. Having just interred my Mother’s ashes this morning, & soon the attend an family Aunt’s funeral in the next few days, Death is no stranger to any of us! Happy Easter to all my WUWT friends, & critics alike.

  55. Thank you Willis. It was very real.
    My father died suddenly while I was living a thousand miles away. I moved home to care for my mother. She died in her bed about eighteen months later. It was not the normal experience, but I am glad I had it.

  56. Cheered me up no end., thanks Willis.

    Seriously your experience in finding the dead body reminded me of a most recent thread on a weather forum
    UK Sci weather where a weather contributor shared his experience of an elderly woman collapsing on a bus in the UK and not a single person helped her except him and then he (Joe) went on to say just how shocked he was at peoples attitude towards her. Off course this is slightly different as the person in your case was already dead , however you some how rationalised the reaction of ignorance and avoidance of those ignoring the dead body as be caused by poverty, I would and used to when a left winger , always look for excuses for peoples behaviour but I now think that a standard of living and indifference to cruelty to others situations are not mutually exclusive, in fact I think our vastly improved western standard of living which has given us the ability to abort young babies at 22 weeks has taken its toll on our human spirit and morals.

    Here in the UK abortion run at 200,000 per year and although we all agree many children are thoroughly spoiled in the west there is also a growing callousness and cheapness of a child’s life on the opposite side of the coin with those that were wanted and not aborted living a totally different life to those that if not aborted were not really wanted and grow up with a single mother and many step fathers , are surrounded by porn , drugs , alcohol, vicious dogs , violence and no real discipline and love. It really is a nightmare that has no bearing on affluence.

    Anyway I digress and I have a bunch of weeding to do but suffice to say there are I feel, moral issues that are now manifesting themselves and they are not purely based on poverty. I will say I’m an atheist so my anti wholesale abortion stance has nothing to do with God. I would also point out that the same AGW people that want to save the Polar bear are generally the same people that support abortion i.e. left liberals. I could say more but the sun is poking its head out here in SE London and I’m off.

  57. While sad when it happens to those we love, death is the inevitable result of life. Nobody gets out alive. Perhaps that sounds a bit callous but as with many others who have served in the military and who have been influenced by too much death, you just have to desensitize yourself. My Wlfe used to ask me why I do not have any close male friends, she finally was able to understand I had lost too many and it just wasn’t worth the pain. But that was long ago and maybe it’s time for a change.

  58. My wife died of complications from her cancer and treatment last month. I was her caregiver 24/7 for the last 2 years.
    I’ll keep my eloquence to myself for the time being, but am happy to see your’s here.
    Yes, Willis, we do all grieve in our own way. Thank you for sharing with us.

  59. Thanks W – ‘a lot of effort to craft a powerful story’. Great writing from such experience.

    W. Re Janice – There is so much wrong, hypocritical and offensive with your criticism of janice, I wouldn’t know where to begin the show. I’m sure you will see most of it when you calm down some more.

    To Janice – and W – I would second the ‘Life’ theme as opposed to the death theme in regard to having an ear for wisdom.

    Thank you too Janice – clearly a heartfelt compassion for another human being in reflective moments. That W. posted and you replied on Easter w/e is interesting and topical for free thinking and open minds. Notwithstanding the charged foul reaction from Willis, you have every right to post as you did on a forum that claims to be and usually is one of the best of its type. Forgive Willis as he knows not… He would claim he sees…

    Get over yourself Willis, it wasn’t about you – or was it? As I read it I felt your experiences, felt I got to know you somehow, WUWT has become somehwat famillial. Then your reaction to Janice just filled me with horror, killed my empathy with/for you. You certainly are a complex fellow.
    Please please make it right.
    Neil

  60. As usual, beautiful writing, Willis. There are two kinds of death; the expected, sometimes lengthy and often painful type you experienced with your friend and father-in-law, and the sudden and unexpected type of death. I lost my brother to brain cancer in ’97, a glioblastoma, after a nearly 20-month battle. At the time of the diagnosis, the tumor was already the size of a grapefruit, and surgery was scheduled immediately. Aside from that, though, he opted for alternative therapies thereafter, though he did seriously consider the doctors’ reccomendation afterwards of radiation and chemo therapies, since not all of the strands of the tumor could be removed. There were no guarrantees that it would extend his life, much less cure the cancer, and would itself be a travail, and uncomfortable. Despite our wishes, he opted out.
    He did quite well for a while, even with a chunk of his brain missing. Eventually, though, the tumor came back, and this time, surgery wasn’t an option. He died in hospice care, on Thanksgiving Day. My brother loved music, and although not trained, had a sort of innate ability with it. I and a musician friend of his played some music for him in his room at hospice. I had brought my fiddle, thinking I’d play alone, but the friend also happened to be there, with a guitar, so we had an impromptu jam session of sorts.
    My dad died unexpectedly a little over two months ago, just a couple days before he would have turned 93. He caught pneumonia, and went to the hospital, and appeared to be recovering. But, a little less than two days after being admitted, he died in his sleep, some time around 3AM.
    Thank you for your story, Willis, and the reminder that we don’t know when our time will be up, nor indeed, our loved ones’ lives, and that we should treasure what we have.

  61. “I put the covers back on Billy and tucked them in around him because it was night time, and I didn’t want him to be cold. We are truly bizarre creatures, we humans . . .”

    This reminds me of the time I spent in a remote Papua New Guinea village. An old man had died. The villagers asked if I could help with some clothes to dress him in before being placed in his coffin. I agreed and gave them some money to buy them. We dutifully dressed him in a white shirt and blue tie and smart trousers – truly fit to be buried !

    They then asked for some blankets. I questioned the need to blankets, but they responded that it was “cold down there”.

    I gently explained that the deceased have no sense of hot or cold, and no feeling at all. But they were worried that he would be cold, so we purchased some blankets to “keep him warm”.

    Some truly great feelings expressed above and my condolences to you.

  62. Thanks, Willis. My wife died just before Christmas after a two year battle with cancer and it was a truly terrible death. There were surgeries, radiation and chemo treatments, nursing homes and loss of control of bodily functions. There were short recoveries and endless pain. I almost never left her side and was always watching, waiting, and praying. When the end came and she wanted home hospice with just me and the kids sent home to their own lives, I agreed. I spent the last two weeks changing her and giving her oral morphine and listening to her moan and and watching her writhe in agony. And after I kissed her forehead and told her I loved her the last of thousands of times she sank into a non responsive state and after four days more days during which I didn’t sleep she died in our bed of 48 years beside me.

    Well, food still tastes good, the birds still sing, children laugh and dance and the world is a beautiful place. But not for me. I think most of me died too. Perhaps, my faith will be enough (it is strong),
    and like an old wolf, I will shake the snow from my pelt and move on, but it no longer matters where I go.

  63. No dry eyes here, Willis. Wonderful writing.
    May I offer a quotation I used as an epitaph when my dear brother died:

    “Let no one weep for me, or celebrate my funeral with mourning;
    for I still live –
    as I pass to-and-fro through the mouths of men.” 

    Quintus Ennius

  64. Willis, your heart is as profound as your prose are eloquent. As a religious professional I have buried my share, including some good friends. You are very right that many, many… too many people are unprepared to experience death. Your narration of your journey with death would be a fine place for anyone to begin to prepare. Thank you.

  65. Having just lost my father a couple of months back after a long illness I found it very difficult to read your story without tears welling up. I mean that in a good way, it was very emotional.

    I think we sanitise death too much in our western way of life and your story highlights that. I missed out saying goodbye to my grandparents due to this, but made a purposeful decision to see my father in the mortuary because I was at home when he passed away (the rest of the family was with him though). Those 15 minutes I had alone with him were very very helpful to me. As you say, we mourn the passing of those who die because we can no longer involve them in our continued life.

    As for the bureaucracy of death. Tell me about it. One of the most complex parts of living in a modern society is death. And because we don’t like to talk about death, it’s not optimised and fine tuned and de-cluttered of all it’s baggage.

  66. Willis: Your writing had me spellbound, thank you.

    Weathep: ….and I had only just recovered from reading Willis,

  67. Willis, thanks for the post.

    It reminded me of a greek myth, which you also must know.

    When the goddess Eos asked Zeus to make Tithonus (her lover) immortal, she forgot to ask for eternal youth. Tithonus indeed lived forever:
    “but when loathsome old age pressed full upon him, and he could not move nor lift his limbs, this seemed to her in her heart the best counsel: she laid him in a room and put to the shining doors. There he babbles endlessly, and no more has strength at all, such as once he had in his supple limbs.” (Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite)

  68. Willis,
    Thanks for that.
    It was an enjoyably morning with hot coffee, a beautiful sunrise and some tears on my face . An above average start to Saturday.

    As an atheist, I particularly enjoyed your tale of life and death being told without the usual religious overtones. I think there was only one “hell” buried in there somewhere.

    I’m a proponent of end of life “assisted suicide” and a death with dignity. Your unenviable task of trying to collect enough illegal street drugs to euthanize a dying loved one is a duty i’m sure is secretly assigned to many others as well. I’m continually amazed at sciences ability to improve life and extend it yet, how slow society is to accept and dispense “a humane demise”.
    Hopefully, as the population ages these attitudes will change and will eventually be accepted and written into law…but this is probably best discussed in a different thread.

    Thanks again for a great story.
    I think I’ll go phone My Dad while I still can. Maybe we’ll chat about the weather…or climate..

    “Life’s short….Call now”

  69. Willis,

    I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to have friends who would die or kill for me. You are that kind of person, a blessing for your family and friends.

    We will never meet, but you are an Honor to the Community of Man and I am pleased to have discovered your work.

    Ray

  70. Thank you Willis. I too sat with my father when he died, counting out his heartbeats and breaths until they came no more.

    Please, please consider publishing your essays. They are truly a treasure, and I am honored and blessed to be able to read them.

  71. I was busy fishing last night and didn’t catch your post until this morning, Willis. Thank you very much.
    One particular power of your story is the memories and emotions it evoked in those of us, similar in age and similar in experience, recalling the deaths of our loved ones. Some have shared their memories in comments above, while many more of us will keep and hold our recollections.
    All the memories you have caused to be summoned are unique, but the emotions are universal.
    Thanks again, Willis.

  72. Thanks Willis for sharing life and its loss with us. Ignore the naysayers, the depths of your humanity need no apology.

  73. A number of commenters have identified themselves as atheists, so I will venture to identify myself as a Christian. Like many others, of whatever religious belief, I read your writing with interest, finding information, entertainment, and occasional wisdom. This current post is certainly worth reading, as it is both thought provoking and compelling.

    Now it seems to me that publishing an essay on death the day between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, and then expecting Christian readers to stand by in mute silence is a bit unrealistic, if not unreasonable. So I’d give Janice a pass. But of course I share her hope…

  74. “and she wants to hijack what I’ve written”. It appears to me, you were the one who allowed this thread to be hijacked, not Janice’s innocent message. Other than the message section, great writing as always.

  75. Your story brought back memories of my own parents deaths. There are always regrets, but cherish the good memories and hold them close. I sincerely wish you peace and grace as you overcome your loss.

  76. God bless you and your family Willis. Thanks for sharing this story, it brought tears and smiles for me.

  77. As usual, great writing, Willis. It was an honor to read your words.

    Death has also been a part of my life. Within the last 6 weeks, I have lost an aunt, a fellow choir member and a dear friend to death. Two were of the age where death is no surprise. One simply went out for a ride on his bicycle, fell and hit his head so hard he never woke up.

    During this time, I have also read two books that were given to me shortly before these loses occurred. The first was titled: ‘Soul Survivor’, the true story of a toddler who kept reliving the death of a WWII fighter pilot in his nightmares. The book is not particularly well written, but is perhaps the most compelling story of reincarnation that I have ever come across.

    The second book I began reading the day my friend fell off his bike. I finished it 24 hours later, as my friends body gave up the fight his brain had surrendered too the day before. It is called ‘Proof of Heaven’, the story of a surgeon who came down with bacterial meningitis and lay in a coma for nearly 7 days, brain dead for all practical purposes, before a miraculous recovery. His experience of the ‘after-life’ is compelling, to say the least.

    By definition, the word ‘proof’ implies some physical measurement or observation. Consequentially, it is oxymoronic to look for ‘proof’ of spirituality, which by definition, is completely non-physical. The surgeons story is not actual ‘proof’ of heaven, but it is completely in line with the countless non-physical experiences that so may have shared, from people that I know to the great mystics of the ages. It is completely in line with my own, non-physical experiences. Consequently, I have complete faith that life is eternal.

    I have shed many tears recently, but I am not crying for those who have died. I am crying for me, and all the others who live on without them. I believe the dead are on a different journey now, and I do not think they cry for us. From there perspective, there is nothing to cry about.

    Perhaps it would be better to “seize the day” for the joy of living rather than for the fear of death, yet that fear is a powerful motivator. Either way, seizing the day is the right idea.

    Bless you, Willis, and your gorgeous ex-fiance and family.

  78. Dear Willis, I was having a “bad day” this morning. I just cried and laughed through your post and am now trying to figure out why I was so mad at the world. I have been through some of what you experienced with family deaths but never have seen them described so beautifully. Thank you so much for your love and understanding and for making my life better.

  79. From the little bird that fell from the tree before my 5 year old eyes that struggled for its last breath, to all those whom I’ve loved that smiled and talked and laughed with that were gone the next day. Or the stranger that I perchance met with one day who held my hand and looked into my eyes with complete terror as she breathed her last. Or a dear young friend who would die the following day of a brain tumor who said as the credits from ‘The Wizzard of Oz’, “This can’t be the end, I know there’s more!”
    The only thing I know is that I have know idea how any of us got here or why we exist. Yet here we are.
    So, as Willis advises, live it up and love.
    You too, Janice. Willis was an ass about it but just because it comforts you doesn’t mean it comforts others. Keep your condolences honest and simple and without the pretense of knowledge, because you don’t know. That’s why they call it faith.
    As for you Snowsnake, your story is gut wrenching because your pain is in store for many of us. I think the best way to honor those we’ve loved and lost is to up our life game and not give in to our sorrow. It sounds like she loved you more than any man on Earth and you certainly were the best man on Earth for her when she needed it. Have courage, friend, don’t stop being that best man.
    If there is an after life, she’ll be very disappointed that you tapped out.

  80. Not at all unusual for one person’s sincere poignancy to easily clash with another’s.

    At risk of doing just that, here are some lyrics (Where is love now / Sam Phillips) that I have recently had cause to find poignant. (Not on Youtube yet, but Nickel Creek has a “poignant” version – but still distinct, which always assures that some will honestly not like it.) I’ve watched a few lights fade away right in front of me and this feels accurate:

    If I could wait here for you,
    Without hope or knowing what to do…
    Watch the light fade away,
    Without fear or knowing what to say…
    Cry the tears from my eyes.
    Leave me here long enough to realize.

    Where is love now?
    Where is love now,
    Out here in the dark?

    If I should hold all my dreams,
    Through the night of the way life sometimes seems…
    And if I can’t see which way to go,
    I’ll stay lost in silence ’til I know.
    Cry the tears from my eyes.
    And leave me here long enough to realize.

    Where is love now?

  81. Mods: Please feel free to snip this if it risks turning this wonderful post into a poetry blog:

    This is by an unknown author. I found it in a national newspaper (fresh then) in 1996. It helped me through a loss.

    It’s Her Voice That Haunts me Now

    It’s her voice that haunts me now.
    Through all the years
    I feel her whisper take me by the ears;
    Speaking words of – almost – love (but just
    Denying me that final, blessed, trust).
    I hear her echo, clearly in my head.
    Even when forgetting
    What she said.

    It’s her voice that haunts me now.
    Her touch is gone
    Forever from my sense; but, ringing on,
    Her laughter thrills my heart again and, keen
    To dream of how else fortune might have been,
    I wish away the pain, once more beguiled,
    Even when forgetting
    How she smiled.

    It’s her voice that haunts me now.
    As passion palls
    Her portrait fades, neglected, on the walls
    Of memory. And when she breathes a sigh
    So sharp, so real, so near again, that I
    Can feel her presence, just as long before.
    Even when forgetting
    What she wore.

    It’s her voice that taunts me now. I cannot tell
    How good she tasted when we kissed; her smell
    Was sweet, but drifted from me on the breeze
    Of time. Yet her ‘Goodbye’ returns to freeze
    My soul anew. And still I feel – bereft,
    Even when forgetting
    Why she left.

  82. Had to remove my glasses reading that, couldn’t keep my eyes dry.
    For what it’s worth, I agree with what Janice said. I agree with you too: this was the wrong place and time to say it.
    Death and grieving seem to me to be a unifying human experience. Whether it’s your stories, my own experiences with friends and family, the family of MH370 victims, or other tragedies where the news agencies have felt they had license to invade people’s grief to share it with the world, I think there is a commonality. Despite widely different religious beliefs about where we go and what it takes to get there, we all feel the same grief.

  83. Ernest Becker’s Denial of Death has this book description on Amazon:

    Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life’s work, The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker’s brilliant and impassioned answer to the “why” of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie — man’s refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than twenty years after its writing.

  84. Willis,

    What a great story about death. I was holding a tissue while reading.

    I agree with you, and like sleeper, wish I had not gone on to comments. This was the worst time to evangelize, proselytize, witness or whatever Christians call it. Your reaction was justified.

    My dear Roman Catholic, nurse practitioner wife has never asked me to join her church in the 35 years I have known her. And I even sing, as the token skeptic, in her church choir.

    Billy and your family would have loved having my wife as a nurse, with Jesus nowhere to be found.

  85. Norman Woods says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:30 am

    A mocking scoffer tells stories designed to pull at the heartstrings of anyone reading

    then acting like some kind of baboon about a woman’s emotional outburst she worries about you to her God in her heart.

    I thought you were already low rent but I hope I never see another word about you that doesn’t start with the letters rip.

    You cretin.

    ========================================
    Norman Woods comment to Willis happened after I went to bed last night. Had I seen it, I probably would have deleted it with an admonishment.

    Mr. Woods, there were TWO caveat ahead of this story, and yet you chose to read it anyway, and then proceed to tell us how how is was “designed” and then proceeds to call Willis a “cretin” for pouring out his soul in a way that benefits everyone while being a way to reconcile his own grief.

    In my policy page, I say that I treat WUWT as an extension of my own home:

    Welcome to my home on the Internet. Everyone who visits here is welcome to post, but please treat your visit like you would a visit to a private home or office. Most people wouldn’t be rude, loud, or insulting in somebody’s home or office, I ask for the same level of civility and courtesy here.

    If you had said what you had written in polite conversation in my actual home, I would have shown you the door immediately, and very likely kicked you in the butt on the way out with an utterance of “…and don’t come back!”.

    Consider that same action to apply here in cyberspace.

    As for Janice and Willis. Death conjures up strong emotions, some of the emotions aren’t even valid, but are just the subconscious raging at what it can’t reconcile in its war with consciousness, and emotions. Emotions over death, be it from grieving or from attempts at consolation are often flawed in their execution, because of that war going on in your head. I speak from experience on both sides.

    Janice has done some very caring things that many at WUWT don’t know about. Willis has does the same but in different ways. I count you among my friends and hope you can make peace without lasting damage.

  86. Will, I enjoy your writing. This piece was wonderful. As a former cowboy, now a blue water sailor and the father of a fusion jazz drummer, and now the oldest member of my extended family, only you can imagine how this story touched me. Thank you…

  87. {All bold emphasis mine – JW}

    In the Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach, he said,

    “My conclusion from all of this? Hold your family and friends close, remember to taste the strawberries, play your own music whatever that might mean to you, and do what you love … because the night is never far away.”

    >>99% of my dearest friends and the vast Whitman family clan have profoundly diametrical world views (aka philosophies) that are incompatible with mine. They are expected to continue to remain my dearest friends and my cherished family. Intellectually we dual endlessly and with great enthusiasm, but benevolently (mostly).

    : )

    So I do not see the boarder issue some have with Janice’s first comment, given the context of Willis’ guest post.

    John

  88. Willis, thank you for sharing your grief. My uncle passed away on my birthday this week. I had just read his obituary when I looked on WUWT. Your writing was one of those cosmic moments when everything seems to intersect for a sub atomic instant and make sense. Before it slips away, and before I go back to the common plane, thanks for sharing so openly your life experience. It is a precious gift.

  89. The first time I died I had no idea I had died. Many years later I died again. A pleasant relief, but it was so surprising. I wondered why I was still here. Really wondered. What is it I was supposed to do? Still not sure. I stood and cared for others as their days came to a close. Watched, helped with things that really made that did not really matter, made their toast, endured the emotional drama, as others did the same in their own way. I new their day would be so pleasant for them, but for them it came so slow, agonizingly slow and definite. Time passes by. So don’t waste it on acquiring junk. Be available.

    And….”My conclusion from all of this? Hold your family and friends close, remember to taste the strawberries, play your own music whatever that might mean to you, and do what you love … because the night is never far away.”

  90. What a lovely, saddening, moving, uplifting article, Willis. So many emotions now playing in my heart. Thank you.

  91. Good writing Willis , death is what we have to get used to, all of us. Like birth, hospitals in western society have made death antiseptic.

    Your encounters were with people leaving this world after some decades having lived with their faculties intact most of the time.

    ” weathep says:
    April 19, 2014 at 2:45 am

    The story of Joe (not his real name) 1991-2010 19 years, 6 months, 19 days, 20 hours…”
    This moved me too, for a parent nothing can be worse than a sick child with a date by.

    May they rest in peace.

  92. Best damn eulogy I’ve ever read, moving even heart rending but you left me grinning . . . a piece about death very full of life. That was a skillful blending of grief, humor and love. Thanks.

  93. evanmjones says: I dunno, Janice. Unlike with my beloved climate stations, I have no data on that. What is, is.

    willis, evanmjones: I have data on that!

    As a captain of a ship you know that lookouts very often tell you what you already know. It is the captains job to be one step ahead of events. When a lookout tells you about the same bouy for the third time, do you tell him off? No! Because, discouraged, the next time he might see something and not tell you, and murphy knows that will be the one unlit marker you didn’t see before him.

    As an engineer by training, if I have a problem, then whoever comes up with a solution is the man/woman of the moment. Since Janice knows of a solution, then she is right to tell you. IN any other situation you would scold her for staying silent. Whether you know or not, use your look outs, don’t abuse them. They are collecting data in the places you are not even looking.

    Ok, my data: I help victims of PTSD. Currently new methods are in trial which can resolve PTSD for a room full of survivors simultaneously. The process being used is repeatable. I have personally repeated this process in one on one settings between 1 and 20 times a week for more than 10 years, collecting a lot of data, written and recorded. In each instance, after a lot of investigation into the cause and effect behind the PTSD, the curative moment occurs about 20 seconds after praying a specific prayer asking Jesus to speak. He speaks to the victim and they are healed of that issue within 20 seconds. A scientifically repeatable scenario, which is open to analysis. I say this here because if you would like access to this data, you can have it.

    If you write a piece on Death in all its agonies, you have to expect people to mention the only hope known to man. The only man ever known to have cheated Death, witnesses record that he left the two pieces of his grave clothes still wrapped as if around his body which was no longer present. We are also told that since one man overcame death, we all can. This is good news, not just good news, it is the best news.

  94. Thanks for sharing Willis. May your ability to do so bring peace and comfort to you and yours during these times.

    This should be a reminder to many to take advantage of the precious time you have with your loved ones. Say those things and do those things you always wanted to with them before your opportunity escapes forever.

    Sing the songs of life while the band is still playing folks!

    Kindest regards, Ed

  95. Eric Worrall says:
    April 19, 2014 at 3:07 am

    Willis, I think you are being a bit harsh with Janice. Its your grief, but I don’t think Janice meant harm – from her perspective she was trying to help. The bible and her religious belief obviously brings her a lot of comfort, and I think she was looking to extend that comfort to you.

    First, Eric, my thanks for your reasoned and calm words. You are likely right that Janice is a good person who is only trying to help. And you are correct that my response was to use a sledgehammer to swat a fly, and I do regret using a sledgehammer. She did not deserve that, and I apologized above to her for it above.

    But while I regret using a sledgehammer, I don’t regret swatting the fly.

    As I said upstream, the Australian rabbits can testify that about half the real, permanent damage on this planet is done by good people who are trying to bring help and comfort.

    Consider, for example, the billions of dollars wasted and the millions of people negatively affected, impoverished, or even killed by good people who are all trying to help the climate with the best of motives … are you willing to give them the same pass you give Janice? Are you willing to say hey, it’s OK that they’ve pissed billions down a rathole, billions that could have helped the poor? Are you going to say that it’s fine that their policies bring death and poverty to millions in the Third World, that it’s all OK because they are good people who are trying to help? Is it all right that their policies kill people simply because their motives are noble?

    Not on my planet. I consider a man’s or a woman’s actions, and I do my best to stay away from their motives.

    In part I do this because my own motives are often murky and unclear to me, and sometimes only apparent after the fact. So how on earth can I tell what truly motivates Janice?

    And in part I try to stay away from motives because time after endless time, people have questioned and attacked what they assumed were my motives … and much of the time, their assumptions were wrong, in some cases 180° wrong.

    So I do my best not to comment on or even try to guess what motivates someone on the intarwebs that I’ve never met.

    My point is simple. If someone tries to appropriate and twist and piggy-back on my heart-felt words to advance their personal religious beliefs, I don’t care in the slightest if they are doing it from the noblest of motives. I will do my best to swat them if they try that. They can find their own dang blog and write their own dang heart-felt words, but they can’t have mine.

    Rudyard Kipling said that you were a man, inter alia …

    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

    I can do that. I can bear to see my words twisted. And I do continue the building, regardless of breakage or the state of my tools.

    But if I find someone in the act of twisting my words, I am going to register my strong disapproval.

    And yes, Eric, you are correct, and I thank you for saying it … a more Canadian manner in the expression of my disapproval is my goal as well, but as you can see, it’s a work in progress …

    w.

  96. Norman Woods says (April 19, 2014 at 12:30 am): “…then acting like some kind of baboon about a woman’s emotional outburst she worries about you to her God in her heart.”

    Not to worry, Norman. Janice has already forgiven Willis. I mean, she has to, right? :-)

    Speaking of which, aren’t you supposed to do the same (nudge nudge)?

  97. If there is any hope known to man, it is that medicine will improve fast enough to catch up with our maladies physically and cure us before they can kill us. (Or after, if cryonics turns out to work.)

    I’m sure religions are very reassuring to those who already believe. But to someone like me, they are just “counterfeit cryonics” — promises of immortality by people who have neither any possible means, nor any intention, of delivering.

    There are laws against scams praying on the elderly. I wish someone would enforce them against religions.

  98. sleeper says:
    April 19, 2014 at 7:10 am

    I wish I had stopped reading at the end of the piece.

    Sleeper, I am a complex man, as we all are, neither saint nor sinner. And I am a passionate man, it is part of what empowers my writing.

    I have gone through my life as best I knew how. I have no “sacred” texts to provide guideposts. Unlike Janice, I have no invisible friend who is all powerful and yet has time to listen to my every request and who might (if asked properly) be convinced that they should suspend the laws of physics on my behalf. I’m sure that her belief in her invisible friend gives her great comfort. I don’t appreciate her trying to use my life to sell her beliefs.

    I am not a theist … but I am not an atheist either. I guess you could say I’m a non-theist. And my story might have been subtitled “A Non-Theist Dances With Death.”

    So when someone tries to appropriate this exposition of my hard-fought non-theistic life and my heart-felt words about my struggles, when someone takes my pain and stuffs Jesus into the middle of it and turns it into some kind of pabulum Sunday-school parable to convert people to her personal particular parochial religion? …

    Obviously, I was less than delighted. Did I over-react? Well, duh … like I said above, if you poke a grieving grizzly bear with a Jesus stick, you might get it bitten off.

    Would I do it again? Well, not that way, we never swim twice in the same river.

    But yes, I would do it again. I’m sorry, but she can’t use my life to push her invisible friend on other people.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t disapprove of her trying to spread her particular brand of joy and comfort. I just won’t have her using my life and my words to do it.

    All the best,

    w.

  99. Go Home says:
    April 19, 2014 at 7:56 am

    “and she wants to hijack what I’ve written”. It appears to me, you were the one who allowed this thread to be hijacked, not Janice’s innocent message. Other than the message section, great writing as always.

    I don’t mind the thread becoming a discussion on the appropriateness of using someone else’s words and experiences to push a particular religion. That’s a useful discussion to have.

    I won’t have this thread hijacked to push a specific religion, and that’s what Janice tried to do. She tried to use my thread and my life’s experiences to push her religion. Not happening.

    w.

  100. My view of WUWT is a soap box of sorts; partially regulated by its owner. Open to those mostly with a better heart and good character rather than the lesser. I see Janice as a sweet well intended lady whose remarks are often funny, comical, sincere, lonely, dancing, joyful…laughable, sometimes sarcastic, spirited and sticks to her conviction(s). Never mean. Am I wrong? (no response necessary)

    If one is to share such openness as is this post, then there is going to be, and should be expected, such from Janice. Its a great post. It assume reached many who have not posted a remark. Maybe just let it evolve without the gnashing of teeth.

  101. Anthony Watts says:
    April 19, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Janice has done some very caring things that many at WUWT don’t know about. Willis has does the same but in different ways. I count you among my friends and hope you can make peace without lasting damage.

    Janice, let me echo what Anthony says. Please be clear that I am not saying that you are a bad person, I do not think that. I responded to your actions out of shock and grief. Your attempt to use my story to push your religion was deeply distressing to me.

    My first hope in this is that you take Christ’s words to heart and that you stop doing your praying in public. Let me repeat my quotation of his words from above, which was:

    Or as the man said himself,

    “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.”

    Janis, I’m not saying that prayer and witnessing are wrong or bad, absolutely not. They are wonderful things, and you should continue doing them … just not here.

    So that’s my first hope.

    My second hope in this is that you come to understand that good intentions are not enough to prevent you from doing damage. The fact that you are convinced that are engaged in the “Lord’s work”, or that you are spreading the Word of Christ, means as little to me as someone who tells me that they are engaged in Shiva’s work, or that they are spreading the Word of Kali … so what? That doesn’t give you license to intrude on someone’s grief and spread the peanut butter of the Lord over everything in sight.

    Like the Bible says, Janice, to everything there is a season. There is a time and place for everything. This thread is neither the time or the place for pushing your religion.

    Let me repeat what I said above. I apologize for the strength of my response. It was over the top, and you did not deserve that.

    But I do not apologize for its content. Your actions, despite being well-meant, were deeply offensive and intrusive.

    So my last hope is that next time you’re all ready to pop up and start witnessing and spreading your unbearably chipper message about how death means nothing because there’s really cool stuff on the other side of death, I hope that you stop for just a moment and think … is this really the right time to be pushing my own private, personal beliefs on other people?

    My best to you, Janice. I do think you are a good person, that is evident in your words. And thanks to you, Anthony, this blog is a gem whichever way the discussion goes.

    w.

  102. Dear w
    I sat up with a patient one night who was dying of heart failure who had no family when I was a resident doctor, this was before the hospice movement, the nurses could not care for her as they were too busy. I felt she should not be alone, she was conscious and aware right up till her heart stopped. She was in no pain or air hunger.

  103. Willis

    A very nice piece. You do have a talent for this type of writing as I found your UK travelogue equally interesting.

    As is often the case, I read the article then started reading the comments from the bottom up so was increasingly bemused as to what Janice must have done to have earned your annoyance.

    When I finally got to her comment I was surprised that you took her loving message in the way you did. Hijack the thread? I didn’t see that at all. Janice appears to be a very caring person. Grief takes different forms and in your case it came out in a rather unfortunate way. Her great support for WUWT in general and the various key people involved in it in particular-including you- surely means she deserved better.

    A beautiful piece Willis, and some reconciliation between the two of you would provide a suitable bookend to it and leave a number of us feeling rather more comfortable.

    tonyb

  104. This was one of the most moving pieces I have ever read. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this. I will always remember your story, and take inspiration from it.

  105. safeprayer says:
    April 19, 2014 at 10:11 am

    … If you write a piece on Death in all its agonies, you have to expect people to mention the only hope known to man. The only man ever known to have cheated Death, witnesses record that he left the two pieces of his grave clothes still wrapped as if around his body which was no longer present. We are also told that since one man overcame death, we all can. This is good news, not just good news, it is the best news.

    Let me give you the same counsel I gave to Janice, but in a more composed manner.

    The message is, this is neither the time nor the place for you to selfishly push your own personal, private, parochial religion to the exclusion of all others. If you want to do that, I strongly support you doing it … somewhere else. But you can’t hitch a free ride on my life and the power of my stories to do it.

    This is a story about the most common human experience, the only thing other than taxes that is sure. Moslems die. Hindus die. Sikhs and Shamans die. Atheists, theists, and agnostics die. Catholics and Bahai’s die. Rich and poor die.

    That was what my story was about, the commonalities of death, not the exclusivity of religion. My life and my story is not a vehicle for you to use in your selfish push to get others to believe what you believe to the exclusion of all others. You can do that, and I’m sure I can’t stop you from proclaiming things like the Christian idea that two-thirds of humanity is going to be eternally punished after death because they don’t believe what you believe …

    But doing it here is pushy, selfish, offensive, and intrusive.

    Please take it elsewhere. This is a story about how death binds us together, not about how religion tears us apart.

    w.

    PS—Writing this, I just realized why this piece would be so frightening to you. If people actually listened to Death’s advice, they wouldn’t pay any attention to your claim that your invisible friend is insanely vindictive enough to condemn two-thirds of humanity to eternal punishment after death for not believing what you believe …

    Dang … ten times as many atheists as Jews … wouldn’t have guessed that.

  106. If there is someone here who really sounds frightened, this is you…

    You could have posted the percentage of Christians in Western Society (your society), and I am confident that you can understand that calling the God of the overwhelming majority of your neighbours an “invisible friend” and other such infantile atheistic snippets IS most offensive for them.

  107. I never thought to insult our host in his own home. i appreciate your work; thanks for doing it, and for not deleting my post.
    david

  108. climatereason says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    A very nice piece. You do have a talent for this type of writing as I found your UK travelogue equally interesting.

    As is often the case, I read the article then started reading the comments from the bottom up so was increasingly bemused as to what Janice must have done to have earned your annoyance.

    When I finally got to her comment I was surprised that you took her loving message in the way you did. Hijack the thread? I didn’t see that at all. Janice appears to be a very caring person. Grief takes different forms and in your case it came out in a rather unfortunate way. Her great support for WUWT in general and the various key people involved in it in particular-including you- surely means she deserved better.

    A beautiful piece Willis, and some reconciliation between the two of you would provide a suitable bookend to it and leave a number of us feeling rather more comfortable.

    climatereason, thank you for your kind and interesting comments. I share your hope for reconciliation. As you must have seen if you read up from the bottom, I have apologized to Janice. My response was over the top. Actually, I think I’ve apologized three separate times at this point. That’s who I am. I admit when I’m wrong. I’d love to hear from her again. But I can understand if she doesn’t reply. Like I said above, she’s a grown woman, free to speak for herself. It’s her choice.

    My larger points remain. First, the fact that someone is a caring person and a wonderful person who only has my best welfare at heart may only make them a road construction worker, laying down a pavement of the finest intentions on the well-travelled highway to eternal perdition …

    Not only that, but your good intentions are not a license to try to fix what you think is wrong with me. Call me crazy, but when someone says, “Hi, I’m representing an invisible being I call “God”, who gives me instructions personally, and I’m here to help you …”, well, for me it’s like when someone says “Hi, we’re from the Government and we’re here to help you”. I tend to turn and flee in both instance. Either that or (as was my unfortunate choice above with Janice) to snarl and bite back. I don’t want help, thanks. Read my story again. I have all the help I need.

    Next, I won’t let someone use my stories about my life to sell their personal beliefs. I’m happy for them to do that, I encourage everyone to be a wordsmith and describe their world … but they need to write their own stories about their own lives to do sell their ideas. They can’t use mine.

    Next, religions, like morticians, tend to focus their sales pitch on the grieving. That’s not right. I don’t care in the slightest if you think Jesus is Lord. That doesn’t mean you should discuss that at a Hindu funeral. That is preying on the emotionally fragile. You want to sell your religion, fine. But do it during office hours at your own place, not at the ceremony where some Sikh just buried his wife’s father. That is intrusive and out of place.

    Finally, the question of the sincerity of her intentions. Do I think that Janice and the others are doing that intentionally, setting out consciously to use my story to sell their religion? I doubt it greatly. My sense is, she truly thinks she’s out there doing good … that’s part of the tragedy.

    But as I said above, I look at the actions, not the motives. I don’t know what motivates me half the time. So while I can guess, how could I possibly know what Janice’s motives might be? Nor do the motives matter. If you refuse to fund a coal plant in India where coal is cheap and plentiful, the lack of cheap available electricity to run refrigerators in medical clinics means that poor people will die. Simple fact. They will die as a result of that decision.

    I ask you … does it matter to the relatives of those dead Indian folks that the people who refused to fund the coal plant did so out of the most noble motives?

    Best regards, and thanks to you and the many voices of reason out there. Gotta love WUWT …

    w.

  109. Typically wonderful story, Mr. Willis Eschenbach. Thank you very much for sharing it with us.

    I think Death is like the rest of us. With an easy, quick task it gets it done right away. However, I think there’s a certain kind of ornery individual that presents an unappealing task for the specter. So, like the rest of us Death procrastinates and puts it off with these people.

    That’s maybe one explanation I can come up with for myself. In 2004 (from the results of a test performed in Sept. 2003) the doctor gave me 5 years. In June 2006 a Thoracic Surgeon asked me if I was willing to undergo the risks (oh, something about a 5 year 50-65% survival rate) of really major operation (I think it’s called a lung transplant) that, at that time, the guidelines stated to only perform on someone with a life expectancy of 2 years or less. Being possessed of a spine of jelly, and unable to look when I get a shot, I told the surgeon, “Fat chance.” Then, in 2011 another doctor told me I had 6 months to a year. Maybe I’m still around because I decided not to pay him.

    Or, maybe I’m still around because I’ve made myself a new friend. Last summer I’d determined I’d had enough with these estimates from the doctor so I took the issue in my own hands – literally. I’m left handed, so on the index finger of my lesser used right hand I asked a manicurist to paint a little art on the fingernail. And, that fingernail friend has evolved over the many months since I made its acquaintance. Right now, in jet glossy black, that nail juts out a proud 3/8″ beyond the other ones, and with a sharp, rounded, talon shape to it. Most important is the character painted on and portrayed on the black background: a silver death’s head – a skull. And each of it’s two black eye sockets have a glistening, ruby red garnet affixed and looking at you. A very dear friend of mine hates it and calls it creepy. Maybe Death thinks it’s creepy too and so maybe it keeps Death at bay. Or, perhaps, as Abraham Lincoln once said; keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. One can’t get any closer than wearing it.

  110. Your good friend and colleague ‘saved’ [what an awe-full word] a message for the most important day on my calendar. Could G-d’s Providence have been clearer? An earlier comment mis-read the date. Other persons of faith [not necessarily bound to any personal particular religion] have refrained from stating the obvious, invisible only to those who will not see: Good Friday’s message.

    Decades ago, my daughter corrected me on ‘criminal.’ Mr/Ms Death will not attend his judicial hearing, and no one will sit on that jury – who is her peer? Mr. Death is no criminal.
    Your composition, compelling and heart-rending, is now more than a private grief: you put your Self before us. Again, you deliver. Thank you for the memoirs. For the investigations. For diligently digging and unearthing. This blog draws thoughtful readers because of the owner’s openness to surprise: thank you, A W
    You claim to be neither saint nor sinner. Invisible, a miserable word for I AM. Vindictive? He promises light and warmth to all his creatures, however unworthy. Faith and religion: two terms often confused. I know that your attention to detail in matters great and small will lead you to a fuller understanding. Today’s comprehension test: Writers lay bare themselves, their heart, history, children and parents. They cast their ware before swine, sycophants, and serious lectors. We choose to give you our ear – knowing tears may flow. weeping as we are reminded of our failures, our losses.

    Thank you, again John Moore

  111. José Tomás says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    If there is someone here who really sounds frightened, this is you…

    You could have posted the percentage of Christians in Western Society (your society), and I am confident that you can understand that calling the God of the overwhelming majority of your neighbours an “invisible friend” and other such infantile atheistic snippets IS most offensive for them.

    Thanks, José, y bienvenido.

    My society is the world. I have lived and worked and wandered all over it. I have friends in every continent and of most religions.

    As to the term “invisible friend”, you seem to think that by that I mean the Christian God. Nothing could be further from the truth. By “invisible friend”, I mean all of the gods, Allah, Shiva, the whole pantheon. I’m an equal opportunity offender.

    As to whether the term “invisible friend” offends people, if there is one thing that the internet has shown me, it is that someone somewhere is always offended by what I say. Always.

    As a result, I make no particular effort to trim my sails to the vox pop., knowing that no matter what I say or do, some people will be offended. This time, it’s you.

    To me, “invisible friend” is an accurate description of what people tell me about their “personal relationship with God” … which seems like an oxymoron to me, but never mind.

    So heck, you tell me. My problem is, I believe you when you say you think there is an invisible being who rules the universe, but despite that he listens to your every wish no matter how small, and protects you full-time from unseen dangers, a friend who may (if you ask nicely) suspend the laws of physics to satisfy your desires … so what am I supposed to call him? And in any case, if he’s that powerful and that good a friend of yours, does it really matter what I call him? If he’s really The Invisible JHVH with all of that power, and he listens to what you say … then why on earth would it matter to you in the slightest how I refer to him?

    All I can do at that point is nod my head and say, OK, it’s your call. How would you like me to refer this protector of yours that no one can see? Your Galactic Majesty? José’s really powerful amigo? Mr. Ruler Of The Universe?

    Heck, José, something like 40% of Americans think that humankind is less than 10,000 years old … do you recommend I don’t offend them either?

    w.

    PS—a point of order. You said my infantile words were offensive. Something can be infantile, or it can be offensive. It can’t really be both, infants are just infants, they can’t offend.

  112. Willis,

    I imagine a couple degrees of separation from Billy. I had the privilage of sitting in on a drum clinic by his successor, Joe Morello of Time Out fame when I was a teen. That gave me a whole new appreciation of great drummers. I would have loved to hear Billy give such wisdom to a bunch of garage band wannabes.

  113. Number of words in Janice’s original post: 484

    Number of words in Willis’ continuous response to Janice’s original post: 4700

  114. “…I figured he’d want to see the body first, but no, it’s the government. Paperwork first, last, and in between…”

    Excellent line.

    When Death walks into a bureaucrat’s bedroom, the bureaucrat likely asks to see his papers.

  115. Another of your heartfelt stories Willis – masterfully written. You help make the reader part of your experience.

    Please don’t take Janice’s words as an affront – I think most of us understand her efforts were intended to comfort, in her own way and as her beliefs and life experience provide, not to proselytize.

  116. There are many ironies here.

    Today is for Billy.
    Listen to some west coast jazz today.
    It’s a good day on this side of the dirt.
    Thank you for this post Willis.

  117. Haven’t read all the comments, so this may have been mentioned before; the lyrics quoted from “tropical song” were written by Jimmy Buffett

  118. PS—a point of order. You said my infantile words were offensive. Something can be infantile, or it can be offensive. It can’t really be both, infants are just infants, they can’t offend.

    ===================================================================
    That depends on what’s in the diaper.8-)
    (Sorry. Infantile remark.)

  119. highflight56433 says:
    April 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Number of words in Janice’s original post: 484

    Number of words in Willis’ continuous response to Janice’s original post: 4700

    Inadvertently, she raised important issues. Also, I was over the top, so I needed to both explain some things and apologize for others … so sue me.

    w.

  120. [SNIP - insults delivered by proxy server using fake names while touting "magic gas" theory are prime candidates for immediate bit bucketing. Right "Norman"? Congratulations you're a winner - Anthony]

  121. Willis, I’ve long been fond of Alan Watts’ piece “what to tell children about God” (it can be googled). According to that story, each of us is a manifestation of a source consciousness that is playing hide-and-seek with itself. While incarnate, it forgets who it really is. You, me, and Billy are actually instantiations of the one incomprehensibly magnificent being, and it’s good that we aren’t around in the one “physical form” forever and thus forever forgetful.

    I tend to think there’s something to it, based on occasional spontaneous personal experiences I’ve had where everyone is perceived as an aspect of the one being, just as fingers are part of the one hand: and why would one finger ever not love another? Maybe that lady who expressed her particular understanding of Christianity, like you, is just another aspect of the one source consciousness, and if you had perceived her that way in the moment, you wouldn’t have become a little annoyed. When having the experience it’s impossible not to love everyone, even climate alarmists–heck, even terrorists.

    If Jesus existed, maybe he was permanently in this state of perception, and at a much more profound level. Maybe he didn’t “die” on the cross; maybe none of us actually die, and the resurrection motif is an allegorical pointer to that: maybe we’re here for a while in the flesh to learn something more about how to rediscover who we really are, and maybe we have repeated attempts at doing that. Maybe we’re all in a sense sons and daughters of God, all chips off the old block, and nothing happens to us that doesn’t also happen to source consciousness, which puts good and evil in a new perspective.

    In the absence of such permanent perception, maybe we make up stories. Maybe we invent the bearded guy in the sky who, like our forgetful egos, is wont to use and respond to carrots and sticks. Maybe we don’t like the sound of him and decide not to believe in him. I know I don’t, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a source consciousness that is very different from that doesn’t exist.

    Maybe, just maybe.

    Namaste, and have a happy Easter.

  122. Steven Mosher says:
    April 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    There are many ironies here.

    Curiously, as you point out, this thread is a confirmation of what I said above about the contradictions, oddities, and ironies of death.

    Today is for Billy.
    Listen to some west coast jazz today.
    It’s a good day on this side of the dirt.
    Thank you for this post Willis.

    Thank you for that good thought, my friend. Indeed, since my heart attack, every day on this side of the dirt is, as you say, a very good day.

    Regards,

    w.

  123. Willis I appreciate the emphasis on the differences between attitudes to death in the West (where it is seen as unnatural and to be avoided at all costs) and those “developing countries” (for lack of a better description) where people very frequently take care of their own, or their neighbours.

    After a funeral in Africa you come away feeling like you really buried them, because you literally did. Everyone shovels and some jump down to stomp the dirt property. But first everyone exhausts themselves through an all night vigil. As one gets older it is a privilege to start taking responsibility to deal with the details from the documents, the box, the place, the digging, guarding the hole, the procession, the family, the friends, the food, the memorializing, and dealing with the reality of the hole in everyone’s heart. The more it is hands-on, the more therapeutic and healthier we are.

    I loved the story about the detective and the papers. My, my, we are so comprehensive. One of the hardest we dealt with was a young couple who died in a light plane crash leaving a 4 year old and one of the most rewarding at overcoming bureaucracy was a young teen. He had been killed by a passing flatbed with a protruding box. The family was very concerned about avoiding the legally compulsory post mortem. My wife was a star, and successfully argued there was no need because the cause of death was patently obvious. Very…rare. It doesn’t sound like much but sometimes it does seem to be “everything” in the moment.

    You have done your elders proud. Thanks for sharing.

  124. I’m sorry willlis, but your (continued) deep felt problems with Janice comment show exactly that – your own deep problems, closed mind and a twisting of words and meaning that cast doubt on the real feeling, depth etc of your writing above – that you spent a lot of energy ‘creating’

    From the top, (…If you want a perspective on life, read on – Anthony)

    For me you have wiped all the good from the connection/sharing of your piece. I’m now more inclined to the Norman Woods view, and suspect a huge ego dependent on praise for emotive writing, incredibly intolerant of the mere mention of a Christ.
    twisted, hijacked, pushed, etc etc ‘your’ piece – what on earth are you goin gon about?
    My other comment stands too.

    Sorry for your loss last January, but come on…

  125. Atheists: keeping Soviet values of intolerance for anyone and everyone alive and well!

  126. “You claim to be neither saint nor sinner. ”

    Here’s the everlasting rub: neither am I good or bad.
    I’d give up my halo for a horn and the horn for the hat I once had.
    I’m only breathing. There’s life on my ceiling.
    The flies there are sleeping quietly.
    Twist my right arm in the dark.
    I would give two or three for
    one of those days that never made
    impressions on the old score.
    I would gladly be a dog barking up the wrong tree.
    Everyone’s saved we’re in the grave.
    See you there for afternoon tea.

  127. Willis: “[of any of your Gods]…I’m an equal opportunity offender.” Just f*ckin’ A!!! (an American friend (to this naive Brit) taught me that).

  128. You speak on a highly spiritual plane without offending the reader with talk of any particular system of belief (or god). It’s a pity some insist on invoking their own particular belief systems, seemingly missing the spiritual joy you convey.

  129. Those that spit out the testimony of the Lord
    The testimony of the Lord shall also spit them out
    Revealing them fooled; and being fooled,
    Busying themselves deceiving others
    In much false testimony.

    Not sure where that comes from; sure seems appropriate though.

  130. Michael Larkin says:
    April 19, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    If Jesus existed, maybe he was permanently in this state of perception, and at a much more profound level. Maybe he didn’t “die” on the cross; maybe none of us actually die, and the resurrection motif is an allegorical pointer to that: maybe we’re here for a while in the flesh to learn something more about how to rediscover who we really are, and maybe we have repeated attempts at doing that. Maybe we’re all in a sense sons and daughters of God, all chips off the old block, and nothing happens to us that doesn’t also happen to source consciousness, which puts good and evil in a new perspective.

    In the absence of such permanent perception, maybe we make up stories. Maybe we invent the bearded guy in the sky who, like our forgetful egos, is wont to use and respond to carrots and sticks. Maybe we don’t like the sound of him and decide not to believe in him. I know I don’t, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a source consciousness that is very different from that doesn’t exist.

    Maybe, just maybe.

    Namaste, and have a happy Easter.

    Thanks for the good wishes, Michael. Are such things possible? Sure. Like the song says:

    "Let it be known, there is a fountain,
    That was not made by the hands of men."

    I think that is true.

    On the other hand, what happens after death? For years I was a Zen Buddhist. Here’s one of their stories:

    A samurai once asked Zen Master Hakuin where he would go after he died. Hakuin answered ‘How am I supposed to know?’

    ‘How do you not know? You’re a Zen master!’ exclaimed the samurai.

    ‘Yes, but not a dead one,’ Hakuin answered.

    The Buddha was way in advance of Godel and his incompleteness theorem. Consider this dialog:

    ” But, Gotama, where is the priest reborn who has attained to this deliverance for his mind?”

    “Vaccha, to say that he is reborn would not fit the case.”

    “Then, Gotama, he is not reborn.”

    “Vaccha, to say that he is not reborn would not fit the case.”

    “Then, Gotama, he is both reborn and is not reborn.”

    “Vaccha, to say that he is both reborn and not reborn would not fit the case.”

    “Then, Gotama, he is neither reborn nor not reborn.”

    “Vaccha, to say that he is neither reborn nor not reborn would not fit the case.”

    As Gotama (the Buddha) pointed out early on, and as Godel later proved mathematically, every logical system contains statements for which we simply cannot determine the truth-value. On this planet, they include statements about what happens after death.

    As a result, when well-meaning folks start telling me of the glories of the afterlife, and describing the eternal torments of the two-thirds of the world that are eternally damned because they didn’t believe as these well-meaning folks want me to believe, in a well-meaning attempt to “save my soul” after my death … well, I fear I tend to ask them for observational data …

    My basic feeling about all of this is that the world of the spiritual and the world of the scientific are incommensurate … that is to say, they simply do not share a system of common units that allow us to discuss them in the same breath.

    w.

  131. Willis.
    Another wonderfully crafted and pasionate story. I just this morning read something so different and yet hautingly similar, Siddhartha by Hernman Hesse. Tomorrow as facilitator for a “Living the Questions” group at our Unitarian Universalist church, I’ll be leading a discusion of it and its differences and similarities to the Christian and other religious mythologies. The two stories, Siddhartha and yours put my own confusion in relief. How do I reconcile my agnosticism and my pain with the Budhist and the Christian myths and with science and contemporary events? Like you and most here, I ” consider, for example, the billions of dollars wasted and the millions of people negatively affected, impoverished, or even killed by good people who are all trying to help the climate with the best of motives … ” which include my Unitarian Universalist friends and acquaitances who mostltly, knowing nothing about climate science, consider me a d-enier. Like your heartfelt feelings about Janice’s post (but not her person) I feel so upset by the liberal climate change meme (which pigeonholes me) that I no longer feel comfortable in the UU setting. I feel so estranged.
    After reading Siddhartha (again!), I wondered if I should not just move on, no longer read or angiish over, or teach (as I do in a autumn OLLI course at Furman U.) about global warming/climate change, try to free myself from the attachments to my own cleverness, my own vanity, my own arrogance which, of course, accompany my beliefs based on years of climate study and devotion to scientific method . I am old, and death can not be far away from my present state of fitness and health. How might I become the ferryman (as in Siddhartha) and both help a hurting world and feel some sense of tranquility?
    Your novella pulls me in the opposite direction where I want to fight, despite the sleepless nights and feeling those so familiar pangs of abandonment (my mother died when I was two in 1942 after visiting my father who 2 weeks later went to the Pacific Theater) now from my UU friends. Willis, I remember an outrburst you had on Climate Etc. (I think it was) regarding religion and atheism. I can tell that you too feel hurt by what passes for religion and conventional wisdom. Willis, I thank Anthony for his mensch-ness (I too had to look up the definition) for featuring so many of your thoughtful essays and scientific studies.

  132. neillusion says:
    April 19, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    I’m sorry willlis, but your (continued) deep felt problems with Janice comment show exactly that – your own deep problems, closed mind and a twisting of words and meaning that cast doubt on the real feeling, depth etc of your writing above – that you spent a lot of energy ‘creating’

    From the top, (…If you want a perspective on life, read on – Anthony)

    For me you have wiped all the good from the connection/sharing of your piece. I’m now more inclined to the Norman Woods view, and suspect a huge ego dependent on praise for emotive writing, incredibly intolerant of the mere mention of a Christ.
    twisted, hijacked, pushed, etc etc ‘your’ piece – what on earth are you goin gon about?
    My other comment stands too.

    Sorry for your loss last January, but come on…

    Not sure what it was I lost last January … Billy died a little over a week ago.

    As to Janice, yes, I do have problems with her comment. My friend Billy was an atheist. His comments on Janice trying to stick Jesus in the middle of his eulogy might not have been fit to print.

    Look, Mr. Illusion. Suppose Janice were to write a lovely Christian tribute to her Christian father-in-law, and wrote about how much Jesus meant to him and to her in their time of grief.

    Now, suppose I came along and decided that it was a great place for me to declaim the virtues of atheism, and set the Christians straight, save their souls in fact … how would Janice feel? How would you feel if I did the same to your funeral oration for your own father-in-law?

    All of you good pious Christian people clutching your pearls about my position would not dream of giving a stirring witnessing for Jesus at a Moslem funeral. You would see that as totally inappropriate.

    But because Billy was an atheist, and I’m a nontheist, our time of grief is somehow fair play for you to come in and try to sell your religion? Sorry, Mr. Illusion. You might get away with that nonsense with your friends, but not with me. I gave Billy’s funeral oration without a single mention of Christ, because I knew him well and I knew he wanted it that way.

    For you and Janice to think that this is the opportunity to jam Jesus down people’s throats, however gently and however well-meaning you might do that … I’m sorry, but that’s not going to happen. You can try to guilt-trip me all you want, it won’t work.

    It’s you that should feel guilty, for insisting on your presumably “God-given” right to interrupt someone else’s time of mourning in order to insert an advertisement for your particular parochial point of view. The insensitivity of that is stunning.

    w.

  133. Joshua Richardson says:
    April 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Atheists: keeping Soviet values of intolerance for anyone and everyone alive and well!

    Let’s review the bidding here, Joshua. Some Christians came to a funeral oration for an atheist. They decided it would be a great time to witness for Christ.

    I objected to this crass, insensitive action … and I’m the intolerant one???

    Christians: keeping intrusive, unpleasantly aggressive proselytizing alive for two millennia … you want Christ at your funeral oration for your father-in-law, Joshua? Fine. I promise I won’t come and proclaim the beauties of atheism. How about you extend me and mine the same courtesy? You want to bitch about intolerance? Get a grip.

    Billy didn’t want Jesus at his oration. I followed his wishes, and they coincided with my own. As such, picking this time as an occasion for witnessing for Christ is incredibly insensitive, intolerant, and offensive. That’s just the facts.

    w.

  134. Leon Brozyna says:
    April 19, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    You speak on a highly spiritual plane without offending the reader with talk of any particular system of belief (or god). It’s a pity some insist on invoking their own particular belief systems, seemingly missing the spiritual joy you convey.

    Thanks for seeing that, Leon. My intention was to be inclusive.

    w.

  135. Darren says:
    April 19, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Those that spit out the testimony of the Lord
    The testimony of the Lord shall also spit them out
    Revealing them fooled; and being fooled,
    Busying themselves deceiving others
    In much false testimony.

    Not sure where that comes from; sure seems appropriate though.

    If I ever hear “the Lord” give a testimonial, I assure you, I won’t spit it out.

    Until then, I haven’t a clue what you mean. Which Lord’s testimonial are you talking about, and who was it that took the Lord’s testimony? And the real question …

    Before the Lord gave his testimony, did he have to swear on the Bible to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

    w.

  136. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    highflight56433 says:
    April 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Number of words in Janice’s original post: 484

    Number of words in Willis’ continuous response to Janice’s original post: 4700

    “Inadvertently, she raised important issues. Also, I was over the top, so I needed to both explain some things and apologize for others … so sue me.”

    We all got something special from your post young man. And no one is suing anyone, so no need for throwing in baiting comments.

  137. “You could have posted the percentage of Christians in Western Society (your society), and I am confident that you can understand that calling the God of the overwhelming majority of your neighbours an “invisible friend” and other such infantile atheistic snippets IS most offensive for them.”

    I include the word ‘Christian’ in the description of who I am, and I do not find Willis’s words the least bit offensive. On the contrary, if I heed the teachings of my invisible friend, there is simply no room in my heart to be offended. If I am honest, I must admit that Willis’s position is far more rational than mine. Still, on this point, I have been motivated by my own experiences to be ‘irrational’ when it comes to spirituality.

    I have known many who call themselves Christian, yet behave as if they have never heard a word that Jesus spoke. And there are others who denounce spirituality for very rational reasons, yet live as if they were trained at the feet of the Master. I would rather be in the company of the latter.

    When most Christians throw out the “way, truth and light” scripture verse, they are not being loving. What they are actually saying in no uncertain terms is “You must believe as I do are you are going to hell!” (For you Christians who will protest that you do not mean it that way, think again. There is really no other way for a non-Christian to take it.) Not only is this offensive to the receiver and a misinterpretation of the scripture, it is also an insult to Jesus. How dare we limit the power of Christ to the machinations of us seriously flawed followers. If Christ needed us to bring people to heaven, the place would be empty.

    As one who includes the word ‘Christian’ in the description of who I am, it is not my place to judge either Willis or Janice, but to love them both and appreciate them as fellow travelers.

    The two great mysterious of my life: 1) that professed Christians so completely misunderstand the message of love spoken by Jesus that they end up killing people over it, and 2) the failure of professed climate scientists to so completely misunderstand how climate works that they end up killing people over it (through restrictive policies that reduce the life expectancy of the poorest among us).

  138. Dear Willis,

    I am very very puzzled by your remarks. You appear to be professing atheism, in which case applying logic, matter exists, and nothing immaterial is real, love, joy, peace, sadness, or sentimentalism, none of these things have substance, none of these things are real, in a real sense. I can understand that if you feel sad or sentimental then this must be a trick played on you by the chemicals in the brain for some reason, but they are not real. They exist as a pure illusion.

    Again positing atheism as true, can we place an actual value on life? Let us take two fixed points and calibrate a value equation for life, then we can decide objectively if life or death has any value… At the beginning of the universe, fixed point one, life has no value or existence, call it a zero point on our calibration. At the end of the universe which dies, life has no value either, call it another zero. Join the dots, at all intervening points, logically life has no value. So objectively speaking, assuming atheism, life has no objective value at any point. Any perceived value is merely a relative opinion, the actual data speaks the truth.

    Whether a person live or dies, thrives prospers or suffers makes no difference, in the end everyone dies. Nothing you do or say makes any objective difference to the outcome. The universe tends to heat death.

    So… you spend much time writing about many interesting subjects, including death… for what objective purpose? Since it makes no measurable difference in the end why bother?

    You write on emotive topics, you growl like a bear and mourn like a dove when you think someone else is being insensitive. BUT in your world view neither your sadness, your sentimentalism over the departed, nor your emotions of offense have any actual objective reality or value, in your world view.

    Finally as an atheist you have no objective basis for defining what is good or what is bad, so what gives you the right to tell someone off for being insensitive?

    So I find it offensive that you act so hypocritically.

  139. Wow,
    Has Janice Moore’s heartfelt comment been denigrated enough, or should we start a whole new post.
    Sympathy ain’t what it used to be.
    Shameful.

  140. This loop-de-loop to try to conduct a private funeral eulogy in a public place is the kind of situation inappropriate activity I already know of and laugh at, atheists for attempting.

    You’re on a site where two million people a month visit. You’re as wrong, as you’d be for thinking you’d get a parade application approved and not see any signs remarking on others’ beliefs on the street.

    You brought Billy’s Eulogy to a public place then pretended it was a private reserve and have spent the past thirty hours posturing over your right to be free from theists.

    Go find a country where atheists provide you all the theist ones do, and live there.

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 19, 2014 at 5:12 pm
    Joshua Richardson says:
    April 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Atheists: keeping Soviet values of intolerance for anyone and everyone alive and well!

    Let’s review the bidding here, Joshua. Some Christians came to a funeral oration for an atheist. They decided it would be a great time to witness for Christ.

    I objected to this crass, insensitive action … and I’m the intolerant one???

    Christians: keeping intrusive, unpleasantly aggressive proselytizing alive for two millennia … you want Christ at your funeral oration for your father-in-law, Joshua? Fine. I promise I won’t come and proclaim the beauties of atheism. How about you extend me and mine the same courtesy? You want to bitch about intolerance? Get a grip.

    Billy didn’t want Jesus at his oration. I followed his wishes, and they coincided with my own. As such, picking this time as an occasion for witnessing for Christ is incredibly insensitive, intolerant, and offensive. That’s just the facts.

    w.

  141. Good story.

    “I went for some long walks on the cliffs overlooking the ocean with my gorgeous ex-fiancee, and we let the immensity of the water and the insistent wind and the endless waves wash away the sorrow and the struggle of the last few months. We both fished commercially together, we both are children of the waves. We saw a whale spouting far out in the vasty deeps—there is no better balm for the heart than untamed wildness.”

    I liked that part. I’ve taken some walks like that, and I agree that there is nothing more serene for the mind than untamed wilderness, especially the oceans.

  142. Thanks Willis for writting your accounts with death they hit very close to home for me.

    This year I had my own close call with the grim reaper resulting in new coronary plumbing, and then experienced the loss of three close family members in a matter of months.

    You are so right death brings both tragedy and comedy together. As I read your account of dealing with the mortician, sheriff, coroner, and the police investigation it reminded me of Arlo Gutherie’s Alice’s Resturant..

    Keep writing I always enjoy the stories.. and keep playing the songs you shared with Billy..

    All the best to you..

  143. Josh Richardson says:
    April 19, 2014 at 6:36 pm
    =====
    Amen ;)

    but the real questions are:
    Is Janice going to wish Willis a happy Easter?
    …and if she does, will we have to medicate Willis?

    Stay tuned…..

  144. Great writing Willis. Its obvious that you are not only objectively in touch with your feeings but willing to put them out there for others to see and share. I also admire your sense of justice by not letting Janice and others here to walk into your grieving with their very false “moral superiorty”. Your response was spot on and in my opinion does not warrent apologies. BTW – what exactly is a nontheist and how does that differ from atheist?
    Ken

  145. Thank you Willis, a truly well written piece about mortality and care for our loved ones.
    This bastion WUWT in search of truth in science is a far cry from alarmist sites, that tend
    to preach a dislike for mankind. That WUWT publishes pieces like this , and the amount of comments, gives us all an insight into the hearts and minds of those searching for truth.

  146. Coldish says:

    Thanks, Willis. A science blog is no place for religion.

    I feel the same way about CAGW Believers. They belong on a religion blog.

  147. In CAGW blogging such as here, you’re definitely on a religion blog. There’s no more science to that worthless crap than there is to claiming atheism has some right to make us all shut up, in a theist generated civilization, because their ears are burning.

  148. Finally as an atheist you have no objective basis for defining what is good or what is bad, so what gives you the right to tell someone off for being insensitive?

    So if I’m an avid follower of Zeus I now have an objective basis?

  149. To paraphrase Anthony’s comment above, ‘anger and grief often go hand in hand’. I’ve been to a few funerals where there was plenty of both so I would say, “Willis you have apologized to Janice and that should end it”. From: ‘too old to die young’
    “If life is like a candle bright
    Then death must be the wind
    You can close your window tight
    And it still comes blowing in”

  150. safeprayer says: April 19, 2014 at 10:11 am

    “……. I help victims of PTSD. Currently new methods are in trial which can resolve PTSD for a room full of survivors simultaneously. The process being used is repeatable. …… 1 and 20 times a week for more than 10 years, collecting a lot of data, written and recorded. In each instance, after a lot of investigation into the cause and effect behind the PTSD, the curative moment occurs about 20 seconds after praying a specific prayer asking Jesus to speak. He speaks to the victim and they are healed of that issue within 20 seconds. A scientifically repeatable scenario, which is open to analysis….. access to this data, you can have it….”

    This is interesting:

    I would theorize the answer is reasonably scientific. If you note that PTSD is effectively ‘rewiring/reprogramming/short circuiting’ of neural connections in the brain by concussions, violent events and the resulting circulating stress hormones and other created signalling metabolites associated with those events. (These neuronal connections are originally created by the body as we grow and learn and train throughout our lives, and ‘program’ our memories, thought processes, movements, skills and all bodily functions).

    Religious belief too has always relied upon (a more subtle) reprogramming of the brain: The churches, cathedrals, chants, hymns, prayers, ceremonies, prayer leaders, preachers, repeated statements of loyalty/submission to a higher being, ceremonies, etc. (Note as a more extreme example of reprogramming: military training with stress, ritual, physical exhaustion used to effectively ‘program’ command following troops).

    In this case with PTSD treatment, the religious ‘reprogramming’ would appear to have been very effective and beneficial.

    By the way, this is not a criticism; I admire you for your wonderful work, and respect the time and effort and devotion to this you have undoubtedly applied.

  151. safeprayer says:
    April 19, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Dear Willis,

    I am very very puzzled by your remarks. You appear to be professing atheism, in which case applying logic, matter exists, and nothing immaterial is real, love, joy, peace, sadness, or sentimentalism, none of these things have substance, none of these things are real, in a real sense. I can understand that if you feel sad or sentimental then this must be a trick played on you by the chemicals in the brain for some reason, but they are not real. They exist as a pure illusion.

    My friend, if you are puzzled by my remarks, I am totally baffled by yours. I have no clue what it is you think I believe … but whatever it is, it’s not that. I never said anything like you are claiming. I never said that love, joy, peace, or sadness are not real. Read my post again. They are all quite real.

    In other words, safeprayer, I read and re-read your post, and I’m sorry but I have absolutely no clue what you are on about. Your post is incomprehensible to me. You have some kind of views about atheists that don’t seem to intersect with reality anywhere.

    w.

    PS—Sorry, I’m not an atheist. I don’t know enough to be an atheist.

  152. Wow. Just…wow.

    I read this story of Billy and cried so much I had to spread it out over 3 sessions, couldn’t do it in one shot.

    Then, as someone else said, I wish I’d stopped after the story and skipped the comments. Not because I find religious talk offensive, but because I find the author’s replies to the comments offensive. I feel like the customer in the funeral home being sold something and it isn’t a more expensive casket. To write a story that tugs at the heart strings and then be so abrasive in your comments shows a side of the Willis I’d rather not have seen. And since I was unaware that reader comments are by invitation only, I would like clarification on whether that goes for all of WUWT or only for articles by Willis. If it’s the latter, fine, I’ll skip his articles but if it’s the former ill skip the whole site.

    Personally, I don’t think this was the place for Willis to air his grief. If he doesn’t want certain comments made then he should have kept it private and only sent it through emails to those he wished to share it with. I understand grief can be a bitch, but it doesn’t give anyone the right to be a prick. Willis, you owe Janice a real apology. And no, you didn’t give her a real apology, all you kept doing was rationalizing your own bad behavior. Re-read your posts. If you can’t see the problems a little therapy may help.

    My condolences to Billy’s daughter, I feel for her. You, not so much.

  153. u.k.(us) says:
    April 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Wow,
    Has Janice Moore’s heartfelt comment been denigrated enough, or should we start a whole new post.
    Sympathy ain’t what it used to be.
    Shameful.

    u.k., I fear that you entirely missed what is going on. My father-in-law was an atheist. I gave his eulogy. Janice, while professing sympathy, turned it into an advertisement for Jesus. She started by quoting from the Bible. Then she followed it up by telling me that I was wrong about Death. Then she gave me another blast from the Bible. She told me that she was praying that I would find the truth. Then another Bible verse. Then another prayer.

    That is not sympathy. That is a sermon.

    You know this concept, a “sermon”? It’s where you tell people things would be better if they accept Jesus, then give them a Bible verse, then tell them you really care about their wellbeing, then give them another Bible verse, then hit them with what they are missing by not being Christians, and close with a Bible verse and a prayer? Does this sound familiar? If not, re-read her comment … because that’s exactly what she did.

    If she tried that shite at a Moslem eulogy, giving them a sermon like that, lecturing all the Moslems and saying that she was praying for them and quoting extensively from the Bible, you’d blush and be embarrassed for her, because of the inappropriateness of her actions.

    Why?

    Because that’s not sympathy. That’s advocacy. That’s praying on the street corner, the exact thing Jesus warned against.

    And not only that, it is hugely inappropriate. Praying on the street corner is bad enough. But preaching Christianity at a Moslem eulogy represents the very height of unpleasant religious paternalism. When your Moslem friend is eulogizing his father-in-law, are you going to stand up and tell your friend and all the guests that if they only accepted Jesus they wouldn’t feel so bad? Would you tell them you’ll pray for them in their benighted darkness, and read out Bible verses? I doubt it greatly.

    And for the same reason that it is not OK to push and advertise for Christianity at a Moslem eulogy, then it is not OK at Billy’s eulogy—it is unfeeling, inappropriate, unwanted, and intrusive.

    So spare me your accusations that I should be ashamed. The shoe is on the other foot. Every Christian in the crowd should be ashamed that one of their co-religionists acted so inappropriately. If Billy wanted Jesus at his eulogy, I would have made sure that Jesus attended. But Billy didn’t want that … and as a result, Janice giving me not sympathy but a sermon, her sticking Jesus into the middle of Billy’s eulogy, her Bible verses, that was as inappropriate and as insulting as if she had done it at a eulogy for a Moslem.

    If she had just done what you claimed, offered sympathy, I would have no problem with that. I wouldn’t have minded a “God bless you” or a “Jesus loves you”. For some people it’s a part of the sympathy.

    But giving me a sermon is not sympathy, and make no mistake. That is exactly what Janice did. Far from being sympathy, what she did is blatant religious advocacy, which has no place at any eulogy except that of a co-religionist.

    w.

  154. On my son’s eulogy it said ‘To mourn too long is self indulgent. Continue to live you life in a manner the deceased would have approved.’ I donated a soccer trophy for over 21 years in my late son’s name, that was the age he was killed. He was a superb soccer player and in other sports, he went on an American exchange because of his sporting achievement and was even offered junior and senior soccer scholarships by two American universities. But his father didn’t want him to leave Australia. If he had gone, I often wonder how he would have turned out.

  155. NRG22 says:
    April 19, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Wow. Just…wow.

    I read this story of Billy and cried so much I had to spread it out over 3 sessions, couldn’t do it in one shot.

    Then, as someone else said, I wish I’d stopped after the story and skipped the comments. Not because I find religious talk offensive, but because I find the author’s replies to the comments offensive. I feel like the customer in the funeral home being sold something and it isn’t a more expensive casket. To write a story that tugs at the heart strings and then be so abrasive in your comments shows a side of the Willis I’d rather not have seen. And since I was unaware that reader comments are by invitation only, I would like clarification on whether that goes for all of WUWT or only for articles by Willis. If it’s the latter, fine, I’ll skip his articles but if it’s the former ill skip the whole site.

    Oh, please. Your claim that reader comments are “by invitation only” is as unpleasant as it is untrue. If that were true, surely you’d agree that I would have cast your comment and that of Janice into the outer darkness … but I have neither the desire nor the authority to do that.

    Your idea that somehow this site is censored is nonsense. Yes, it has rules, but they are broad and only broken by people who work at it. You and Janice are free to declaim (within bounds) most anything you want … happy now? Not only that, but I’m free to respond to it (again within bounds) as I wish.

    However, you are right about one thing. When someone shows up at my eulogy for an atheist and decides it’s the perfect occasion to start preaching a sermon about Jesus, you’re 100% correct that I’ll get abrasive. I don’t suffer fools gladly, particularly when they are wildly inappropriate. Hey, I’m a complex man, it’s not all love and rainbows and unicorns in my world, and I’ve never in my life been politically correct. So you might as well get used to it.

    Personally, I don’t think this was the place for Willis to air his grief. If he doesn’t want certain comments made then he should have kept it private and only sent it through emails to those he wished to share it with. I understand grief can be a bitch, but it doesn’t give anyone the right to be a prick. Willis, you owe Janice a real apology. And no, you didn’t give her a real apology, all you kept doing was rationalizing your own bad behavior. Re-read your posts. If you can’t see the problems a little therapy may help.

    Here’s a funny thing, NGR22. I never pay a damn bit of attention when someone says I should apologize to a third party who is perfectly capable of defending their own actions and choices. I find it unbearably paternalistic. Who died and put you in charge of judging whether apologies between two people you’ve never met are adequate, or “real” to use your terms?

    There is only one person on this planet qualified to say if my apology to Janice is satisfactory, and guess what, my leetle internet popup?

    That person is not you.

    If Janice tells me she is not satisfied, I will assuredly take action. You? You’re an anonymous nobody who is unwilling to sign his own name to his words, who is acting on his mistaken and paternalistic assumption that Janice needs to be protected from a baaaad man like me, and further to that, you assume she needs some man to be the judge of the quality of apologies offered directly to her. That is both ludicrous and insulting to Janice. She’s a grown woman who is quite capable of speaking for herself. If she thinks my apology is inadequate, I expect she’ll let me know, she’s hardly been reticent about her beliefs and opinions to date.

    My condolences to Billy’s daughter, I feel for her. You, not so much

    How very Christian of you, you are a credit to your beliefs …

    w.

    PS—I see that you are taking lessons from Stephan Lewandowsky in long-distance psychological diagnosis, saying that I should seek therapy for the problems you see me as having … I have to assume you don’t realize how intrusive, unpleasant, and foolish that makes you look.

  156. markx says:
    April 19, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    You do know that long term PTSD is genetic do you not? Everyone (nearly true – as far as I can tell) gets it short term. Long term is > 1 year. Which is also the general consensus on how long intense grief lasts. For most people. For about 20% of the population it can go on much longer to practically indefinitely. Depending on circumstances, the severity of the shock to the individual, etc.

  157. Willis,
    Dang … ten times as many atheists as Jews … wouldn’t have guessed that.

    Jewishness is a condition of birth. There is no REQUIREMENT to believe anything. I had a Jewish friend tell me once in a discussion of religion that he would be a Buddhist if he couldn’t be a Jew. I agreed with him. And for the record. I’m Jewish.

  158. And how they died too M.Simon. I can’t imagine how it would be if a young person is abducted and never seen again, not knowing what fate that befell them. But as we get older we have witnessed friends and family passing over. Much regret of course if they were close to one. When one of my sons committed suicide, he left four notes. That was bad enough, but on the very date he died, and two years later, my former mother in law and husband committed suicide too. It put me in another tail spin for sure and for years I had a phobia about death not only for myself, but my dogs died and the emotional toll was terrible. But it was my friend of 40 years who retired and moved up near where I lived, and being a psych sister she told me to buy another show dog and come showing dogs with her again. (We had many years before) This meant traveling away for the weekend and we had fun too. This started me back on the path of living again. Life is short folks. And it gets shorter the older one becomes.
    But religious folks, they do have the right to comment Willis, it’s called tolerance. Something I have felt that you are a little short on this sometimes.

  159. bushbunny says:
    April 19, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    … But religious folks, they do have the right to comment Willis, it’s called tolerance. Something I have felt that you are a little short on this sometimes.

    Thanks, bushbunny, and I agree with you totally. Religious folks definitely do have the right to comment, and I have no problem with them doing so.

    But does a Christian have the “right” to stand up and give a sermon on Christianity at a Moslem eulogy, in an undisguised attempt to convert the Muslims to Christianity?

    Well, I suppose they have the right to do so … but you and I and everyone else would find such an action highly impolite, intrusive, insulting, and unfeeling.

    I feel the exact same way about a Christian giving a sermon at my eulogy for an atheist and trying to convert me to Christianity. Assuredly, as you point out, Janice has the right to do that. However, it is just as intrusive, impolite, unfeeling, and insulting here as it would be at a Moslem funeral.

    That’s the point y’all don’t seem to get. Muslims don’t want Christians preaching Christianity at their eulogies and trying to covert them to Jesus. And a Christian congregation would be highly insulted and offended if a Muslim decided to try to convert everyone at a Christian wake to Islam by preaching a sermon on Islam, quoting the Koran, and telling everyone that their beliefs were wrong.

    BUT THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT JANICE DID. Read her comment again. It is not a simple offer of sympathy, as people seem to think. It is a Christian sermon delivered at the eulogy for an atheist, and a blatant attempt to play on my situation and my emotional state in order to convince me that I should convert to her religion. Oh, all done with the best of motives, to be sure … so what? It is inappropriate to try to convert people to Islam at a Christian eulogy, no matter what your motives might be. And the same holds true for Zoroastrians or Animists or anyone.

    So why is that OK with you for her to do that here, when the delivering of such a blatantly Christian sermon and attempting to convert them to Jesus at anyone else’s eulogy is clearly wrong? Are atheists somehow fair game for religious folks? I’d read that before and never thought much about it, not being an atheist myself … but now I’m starting to see what people meant when they said it, and it’s not pretty.

    In any case, as the person delivering the eulogy, I found her actions incredibly crass, insensitive, and unwanted. So I told her so.

    Now, was I over the top in telling her how inappropriate her behavior was? Most assuredly. I was wrong, and I am sorry I was over-wrought in my response. As I said, I used a sledgehammer, and that was not right. And I have apologized to her for that.

    However, I’m still waiting for her apology for her actions. Not hoping for it, you understand.

    But if I were so crass and unfeeling as to stand up and breezily deliver a Christian sermon and try to convert the folks at a Moslem eulogy to Christianity, after the person delivering the eulogy jumped up and slapped my face and I realized what I’d done, I would certainly apologize …

    However, I’m neither Janice nor a Christian, so I can’t even guess how she looks at all of this. Which is why I’m not hoping for anything.

    Finally, it seems that you have had more than your share of untimely death around you. Such events as you describe from your life are very hard to come to terms with, and the echoes can last for years. You assuredly have my compassion and support in all of that.

    My very best to you,

    w.

  160. I think it would be wrong and not prudent under the circumstances and somewhat very rude. Giving a eulogy if the person was a Muslim and a friend would be OK, but to respect that it is not a place to preach Christianity.
    In fact women generally take a back seat and are not allowed to attend funerals, but at a private function afterwards if you are invited, we should respect their customs etc. But you meet bible punchers who don’t take any notice. I remember an Anglican priest, staring at me just after I had a major operation, and waking me up by clearing his throat. I told him right now, I was not in the mood to hear his version of the gospels, only my own. I was in a lot of pain. He still carried on, so I rang the nurse to remove him. Think of that a priest. Mentally ill I thought.

  161. My condolences on your loss. It is part of what makes life so sweet.
    Live and love like you mean it.
    Stay safe.
    And don’t even think about petting porcupines.

  162. Thank you. My father was born in 1928, and I know we don’t have forever. I completely agree with and hope for the proper order. I guess you’re the Carlos Castaneda of the Sea. As the notes of Ripple are playing again in my mind, I’ll just say, fare ye well…

  163. Willis – I did re-read Janice’s comments as you suggested. I can agree with you they were a bit over the top – a bit pretentiously “preachy.” That said, just my 2 cents, but I still don’t believe it was intentionally proselytizing, although I can understand why it might seem that way.

    What is interesting, in addition to telling the great story about Billy, is that you’ve also fomented a discussion on religion – on this Easter, of all, weekends. Perhaps the Lord does work in strange ways … :-)

    For what its worth, while I don’t always agree with you, I greatly admire your ability to tell a wonderful story, and your no-nonsense, non-PC, straight-forward responses.

    In respect of Billy’s (and your) musical interests – here is a song I’ve come to find comfort in in these times … Glenn Campbell’s “Better Place.” I was able to see Glenn in one of his last public concerts two summers ago – he was well into the world of Alzheimer’s already and the concert was a mix of exhilaration and tears – as he crossed at times between worlds.

    But he smiled the entire time, made jokes when he got “lost,” relied on his family, including his wonderful, talented and lovely daughter, who would gently guide him back to the present when necessary … and was still the incredible talent on guitar and vocals he has always been on most songs. Those in attendance experienced a wonderful journey – musical and otherwise – that evening and are better for it.

    “Better Place” speaks of his journey and fears and the strong help along the way from his family and friends. Which remind me of the loyalty you show to your family and friends. It does speak of the Lord, but more a simple conversation than a prayer … hope you find some comfort from it.

  164. Willis
    But while I regret using a sledgehammer, I don’t regret swatting the fly.

    Absolutely – an imposition is an imposition, however well meaning.

    As I said upstream, the Australian rabbits can testify that about half the real, permanent damage on this planet is done by good people who are trying to bring help and comfort.

    My grandpa fed his family during the war, when rations were short, by hunting rabbits. Every cloud and all that.

    Personally I’m more worried about the scientists who work to contain the rabbits than any damage done by the rabbits. The people who work in a laboratory near Melbourne, scientists who have decades of hands on experience with genetic engineering and biological warfare, with modelling the spread of their artificial contagions, and optimising their kill rate. I hope they’re all getting all whatever marriage guidance, and any other help they need, to travel a happy route through life.

  165. Willis, your position re Janice is just so wrong imo – I could demolish your argument in many different ways, comprehensively.
    The overview I have is similar to a spoilt brat who is claiming that someone just stamped all over his beloved sandcastle, LYING about what they did and how they did it. Yes, your exaggeration, twisting and misrepresentation of Janice’s comment, on this stage, Jeeze…

    Janice wrote: …’in case you might be interested…’ and went on to share a way she found to more productively live life, the living kind, where she found joy and love and what not by focussing on life rather than emotional connectedness to and supposed wisdom gained from death that speaks to you, that you listen to, is somehow a comfort….
    your reaction to Janice and Christ reveals ego, agenda and your own type of preaching against the joy found by others. You’ve argued your limits and they are yours. A kind soul showed you no limits, but you shored up the barriers in your closed mind and fired lies to drive the wicked idea of Christ away – what are you so afraid of?
    If you saw someone crying in the wilderness by the side of a dead loved one, palms to the sky, claiming they have death as a mentor, so wrapped up in death emotions… … janice was moved by your words to share her take on life so you might find hope, joy, positive stuff, in life and the living. You falsely claim she hijacked, twisted, stole your powerful story and a host of other twisted rhetoric, to God knows what, and much more
    Very revealing.
    A good study on the psychology of mind and reaction to belief.

  166. Willis, your talk of Christian at a Moslem funeral is utter balderdash.
    No faith was revealed in your eulogy, as u call it. Who knew waht Billy really believed when he was alive, how he changed, etc. Who knew what you believed or how shakey is that belief that you verbally attack a kind potential messenger or the message.
    Who knows what Billy KNOWS NOW, he’s up there reflecting on the life he lived and the life he now has.
    If you’re interested, look into NDE – after a bit of reading with an open mind, you might find some incredible insight into the wonder of this life…. and the next…

  167. Willis,
    I am sorry for your family’s loss.
    To date a search for Janice on this thread records 115 hits while a search for Billy results in 79 hits.
    I am not sure that the focus of this thread is now on the correct person.

  168. M Simon says: April 19, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    You do know that long term PTSD is genetic do you not?

    I am not surprised that there is believed to be a genetic susceptibility …. ie, some people are more likely to suffer the problem than others … and epigenetics apparently plays a part too: Traumatic events can turn on/off certain ‘stress genes’ increasing susceptibility later in life or even in subsequent generations. But, having a genetic susceptibility is not the cause in itself.

  169. neillusion
    Willis, your position re Janice is just so wrong imo – I could demolish your argument in many different ways, comprehensively. … Janice wrote: …’in case you might be interested…’ and went on to share a way she found to more productively live life, the living kind, where she found joy and love and what not by focussing on life rather than emotional connectedness to and supposed wisdom gained from death that speaks to you, that you listen to, is somehow a comfort….
    your reaction to Janice and Christ reveals ego, agenda and your own type of preaching against the joy found by others.

    I am an atheist, but one thing I appreciate about most of the Muslims I have met is they aren’t arrogant about their faith. They don’t try to proselytise, unless invited to do so, and even when invited they are sensitive to any sign of distress they might be causing. They believe everyone should find their own path to spiritual fulfilment. They most certainly don’t try to make someone feel guilty for having a different point of view.

  170. There is great value in this post of Willis’, and in some of the very moving stories related in the comments.

    And that is to remind us that the people whose articles we read, and those that we debate and agree with and disagree with and sometimes praise and sometimes abuse; are all people living out their own lives somewhere.

    And unknown to us, at any moment some are immersed in the problems and turmoils and joys of life, and some are dealing with that most certain and final component of our and any existence; the approach and arrival of death.

    Perhaps it will in the end make us all a little kinder to each other.

  171. However, I’m neither Janice nor a Christian, so I can’t even guess how she looks at all of this.

    But I can. She feels hurt and chagrined. And I am personally sure she would never have made that unfortunate post if she had really understood how you feel about these things.

    I deeply agree with what Anthony said earlier.

    I am not the one who lost a dear friend a week ago, so, yeah, all this is easy for me to say.

    What she did touches a nerve with you. It also does with me a bit, too, and perhaps worse when I was younger. So it’s not like I don’t know how you feel, either, because I have felt it myself. My parents were staunch free thinkers, but until age 12, I was sent to a deeply religious school (run by nuns) for various, entirely practical reasons. So you can imagine the inner conflicts I had with all this as a kid growing up.

    As for the people who are beating up on Willis over this, I so wish you would grant him the same understanding that you are granting Janice. Noblesse oblige is a sword that cuts both ways. As I made that appeal to Willis, I now make it to you.

    And now I see the commenters lining up on either side, and that is very distressing to me.

  172. Willis, I have read your different essays with great enjoyment and respect and I have come to love the written products of what is obviously one of the most rational minds anywhere. But, faith is not very rational. People kill others over faith and willingly die for their faith and history is replete with these examples. There is nothing very rational about it. I am infected with that kind of faith and I suspect Janice is too. When somebody who is aware of my personal physical pain and my recent emotional and spiritual pain asks, “Why are you still here when bullets are so cheap?” I have but one answer, “Jesus.” It is ironic, I suppose, that rather than die for my belief, I must live for mine.”

    Your response to these comments are as expected in that you are consistent with your way of seeing reality. It is just that your reality is not congruent with the reality of those making these comments. It is like watching two persons blind from birth arguing over the qualities of the color blue. Of course you are correct. A comment to your essay of this nature was absolutely wrong.
    And Janice probably feels a compulsion to make those comments as strong as the compulsion felt by a person who straps on a suicide vest and goes out to die for Allah.

    I wish that these things were not so.

  173. @ eric, not sure of point or person or faith in this thread you are sharing.
    If it is that Willis tried to make Janice feel guilty for contributing as she did then I get your point.
    To simplify my take on Willis, he was a guest speaker here and wrote what he wrote as the thread essay, his piece to share. the comments are for all to share their views/intuition/beliefs/criticisms/support, etc.
    His twisted interpretation of Janice’s post and continued admonishment and criticism – was seriously contrived and totally unfair. Notwithstanding his apology for the ‘sledgehammer’ reaction to crack a nut, he continued with his funamental claim that she hijacked, stole, etc his creative powerpiece to try to convert, jam her religion at and so on. She did nothing of the kind in my opinion. That she poked a grizzly bear into rage has surprised me rather. And his tactic and context twisting creative misrepresentation of the issue he raged about has, for me, undermined felt empathy and ‘appreciation’ of the piece – to the point I think, I suspect, this is all about ego, his piece, his creative show, as a guest on this WUWT stage, using death as a vehicle for moving his audience, rather than really about billy. I know this sounds harsh, but I’ve read a lot here and between the lines and sort of get the feeling I’m on the right track – or I wouldn’t be so bold in someone’s time of grief. He still wants an apology from Janice.

    the basic thrust of Janice’s comment seemed to me, consistent with my own, to be about Life, letting life’s wisdom, life’s light, life’s love whisper in your ear and be your mentor – NOT death, as Willis wove into his piece on Billy

    Whatever the story, I’m sure Willis has suffered a significant loss, and is hurting – what to say, I’d like to help, but short of praising him on his piece, there’s not much I can say – I believe in a soul, that it goes on, reincarnates, that gives me a wonderful angle on life (and death) and in some way I can’t describe, comfort – a sort of timeless comfort against what many consider the suffering in the human mind, well, many of the things that cause suffering.

    I’d like to help willis and about the only thing I’m getting here is that there is an ego that needs taming, with all due respect – we all had to do it, I think. The mind can be as confined and confining as it can liberating and free. Particularly in our suffering. Ego – friend or foe? Depends, all the time.

  174. Opposing religions, the cause of wars since the dawn of mankind.

    I suspect that Anthony may (notice I said MAY) put religious comments in the sin bin from now on.

  175. Once again Willis makes himself 100% crystal clear – repeatedly, and some folks just don’t get it. And have to mouth off about it.

    On his base point, Willis is right. The part where he was wrong, he has acknowledged he was wrong.

    Again folks, what is hard to grasp about this?

    To Willis’ critics – take today and reflect on why -your- minds are so closed that you can’t grab the crystal clear points here.

  176. To Markx and safeprayer–

    I have a horse with PTSD. I won’t go into the long and sad details as to how exactly this happened, suffice it to say that the cure is not religious acceptance of any kind. Instead, it has been the very long and very patient process of teaching her that the bad things that happened in her past will not happen again, even if the thing that happened before the bad thing does happen again.

    I have appreciated Willis’s story for what it is, a well written poignant and heartfelt narrative about something of utmost importance to him, that he has chosen to share with me and everyone who chooses to read it. I am sorry that others have felt the need to expand it in ways Willis never intended.

    Thank you again Willis. It made my day yesterday when I read it for the first time.

    PS RE: the horse–it was not abuse, just in case anyone was worried.

    • starzmom:

      you are entirely correct, PTSD is caused by experiences, stored in memories, therefore it is not possible to cure it by words. Only actual real counter experiences which show the truth will genuinely correct the damage done.

  177. @robert
    Willis was not right. At all. In any way. In respect of Janice.
    Those that can read the printed word and have half a moment to process the true factual stuff, will find that Willis has LIED (repeatedly) about what Janice ‘did’. (also me – I most definitely have not tried to jam religion at anyone). Total creative willful contrived misrepresentation of anothers comment. Isn’t that lying? Crystal clear lying? Perhaps you need to read up again Robert, to grasp this?

  178. Loved every letter and even every time you hit the spacebar in that piece. Willis, your words have such teeth! They chomp and gnaw at life, and now death, in such a rascally memorable way. Hell, you chomp on my words let alone yours (not to worry…I am none the worse for wear)!

    As to the ensuing issue with the other issue, the phrase “freakin blue bird of happiness” made me laugh out loud!

  179. neillusion: I agree, Willis’ reaction was out of proportion. He has been, what we call “triggered”. This is where a present experience triggers the reaction that comes form many past experiences. If someone rejects you you feel rejected but also your mind cross references all past rejections and these contribute to the overall reaction, in particular your first ever experience of rejection.

    markx: religion doesn’t provide any help whatsoever. Would you like to see an actual data point, rather than theorizing?

  180. @safeprayer
    I’m not sure I understand your point, seems centred on rejection. I don’t thin anyone has rejected Willis’s creative writing. It is good imo.

  181. Uh…would you know who take your ill mannered “safeprayer” back to his playpen? You should have known he was going to follow you into an adult conversation, bless your heart.

  182. Willis
    Great article, however, massively disappointed in your reaction to Janice, who seems like a nice person.
    The article, I think, set into motion for most readers, deeply personal thoughts about their own lives. I myself am agnostic, because as a logical thinking person I don’t know if there is a god. Perhaps I’m confused as to how an atheist can know for sure in a scientific way that there is no god…

  183. WIllis’ ‘Billy’ post is not about science. To me It is about the very personal anecdotal portrayal of emotions experienced by an individual involved in the human condition. I do not see an issue with Janice’s first comment on this thread because she is doing what Willis’ did; that is sharing her emotional portrayal which happens to be religious.

    But, having said that, there is more. On science threads I virtually never read Janice’s numerous comments which often contain religious references when she frequently participates in science dialogs in many WUWT articles. I first scan her comments in science dialogs superficially for religious verbiage then I usually do not read her comments when religious references are present in science dialogs. Also, I do not actively discourage her religious interjections on science posts where religion is simply irrelevant to a dialog on science, but I often think that it should be more openly questioned as to the appropriateness of her religion in a science dialogs.

    John

  184. neillusion: I used rejection as an EXAMPLE of triggering that most of us are familiar with. Where the response is often out of proportion to the offence. I did not guess as to the particular emotion triggered in Willis’ case, simply to say that Willis has reacted out of proportion to the original email.

    Pamela: ill mannered? Again, what does this mean? You see I find lots of people making a great deal of effort to prove that we are just a fortuitous collection of atoms without purpose. Yet on the other hand making a whole lot of effort to further the cause, to uphold rights and the value of life, and may I say it the value of manners. I did not use the word hypocritical to be ill mannered, I used it in a factual sense.

    The problem I am highlighting is that Willis is using concepts and definitions that come form a judeo-christian world view, and the slamming down the very first person who speaks to him from that world view.

    Willis: You write a piece that implies life has a value, by mourning the loss of those who once lived. You talk as if love and friendship are valuable things. You speak of death as if it is a bad thing, even though it is regrettably inevitable. All of this implies a denial of atheism, since you are partially borrowing a value system, and axiomatic definitions from the judaeo-christian world view.

    By your writing, you apparently believe in the objective value of life, you believe in the reality of emotions, and you believe in the objective value of friendship, and you believe in some definition of “bad” being the antithesis to some objective and real definition of good.

    The only axiomatic definitions that you are not borrowing from a theistic world view which needs eternity for these definitions to have objective persistent actual meaning, is the Christian belief that it is ONLY premature death that is bad or sad, a life cut short. Generally we understand that death is a GOOD thing, that you have run your race, completed the challenge and will be rewarded for your good service (if you have any).

    I have witnessed 7 of my elderly friends die within the last year or so, and for me each one was a celebration, not a sentimental, what if, what could have been would have been should have been, but a genuine celebration of success, and triumph.

  185. A. Scott says:
    April 20, 2014 at 2:52 am

    Willis – I did re-read Janice’s comments as you suggested. I can agree with you they were a bit over the top – a bit pretentiously “preachy.” That said, just my 2 cents, but I still don’t believe it was intentionally proselytizing, although I can understand why it might seem that way.

    Thanks, A. Scott. It wasn’t “a bit pretentiously ‘preachy'”, it was a typical Christian sermon—same style, content, and tone as a hundred thousand sermons in churches across the US every Sunday. Give’m the Rapture, hit them with a Bible verse. Then give them fear of Hell, and another Bible verse. Talk about how death was conquered, then another Bible verse, and wrap it all up. That’s not sympathy for someone’s loss. That’s an old-school Christian sermon.

    Was it “intentionally proselytizing”? Well, since her sole purpose (other than a small soupçon of sympathy to flavor the mix) clearly was to convert me to Christianity, I doubt it was “accidentally proselytizing”. However, her motives seem immaterial to me.

    As I asked above, if a Muslim stands up, gives a sermon with quotations from the Koran, and tries to convert all the listeners at a Christian eulogy to Islam, does it make it less intrusive and offensive if he may be doing so with the finest of intentions?

    w.

  186. evanmjones says:
    April 20, 2014 at 6:08 am
    =============================================
    I agree entirely.

    Willis, thanks for sharing.
    Janice, please understand, the implied threat of eternal damnation that your sincere writing presents, is offensive to present at this time, when not asked for. Willis apologized for over reacting, your apology here would be healing.

    I have my own religious views In a philosophical conversation I will share them. When asked about them, I will share them. When another acquaintance, of unknown religious persuasion expressed sorrow, I know then is not an appropriate time to share what I have found to be valuable This would be doubly so if a part of that expression conveyed the idea of eternal suffering for those who do not accept.

    Thanks for sharing Willis, and happy Easter to all.

  187. Enjoyed your piece, at least most of it (a short attention span caused me to bail early). I was utterly shocked by your response to Janice. The resulting discussion held my focus. It is heart warming to see so many open-minded folks willing to grant her the possibility of being well-intentioned.

  188. Philip Mulholland says (April 20, 2014 at 4:28 am): “To date a search for Janice on this thread records 115 hits while a search for Billy results in 79 hits.
    I am not sure that the focus of this thread is now on the correct person.”

    So the thread has wandered. Big deal. Most do. In the process it has become a study in human nature above and beyond Willis’s initial (and very moving) article. Great thread!

  189. I am with Willis on this. Religion is a “hot button” topic, no matter what your views are. In fact, I am quite certain there are approximately 7 billion differing views on the existence or non-existance of god. I had a bit of an epiphany when I realized the belief in a god and the non-belief in a god are both “faith based”. There is really no proof god does or does not exist. Both are a matter of faith, if one is honest with oneself.

    In our house, we have had a devastating year of loss and illness. My wife lost both her parents (a month apart), and 2 days after we buried her father, she was diagnosed with cancer. Money was short as we had to cover both funerals and loss of income due to my wife’s illness. It has been a difficult struggle. We have persevered and now we are looking forward to living our lives to the fullest, as my wife has been declared cancer-free, and this is what her parents would have wanted for us. To be happy.

    It cannot be sunny everyday, and we live our lives honestly and compassionately. I am not certain there is an afterlife, but we adhere to the credo that “virtue is it’s own reward”. No matter what happens on the other side (afterlife or finality), I am prepared for either contingency.

    Whether god judges our actions or not at the end, be certain that history will.

  190. Pamela Gray says:
    April 20, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Loved every letter and even every time you hit the spacebar in that piece. Willis, your words have such teeth! They chomp and gnaw at life, and now death, in such a rascally memorable way. Hell, you chomp on my words let alone yours (not to worry…I am none the worse for wear)!

    As to the ensuing issue with the other issue, the phrase “freakin blue bird of happiness” made me laugh out loud!

    My thanks to you, Pamela. I’m glad that there are people out there like you, who despite our differences enjoy and respect each other’s work and words.

    Robert in Calgary says:
    April 20, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Once again Willis makes himself 100% crystal clear – repeatedly, and some folks just don’t get it. And have to mouth off about it.

    On his base point, Willis is right. The part where he was wrong, he has acknowledged he was wrong.

    Again folks, what is hard to grasp about this?

    To Willis’ critics – take today and reflect on why -your- minds are so closed that you can’t grab the crystal clear points here.

    I’m overjoyed that some people understand what I’m trying to say. Look, folks. I understand that I live in a nominally Christian country. And for many folks here, people giving them Christian sermons and Christian messages is so common as to pass totally unremarked.

    Heck, when I was a kid they jammed God into the middle of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, and it went mostly unremarked … well, unremarked by most folks. I was in high school then, and from that day I refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I was the Student Body President one year, and I had to lead the Pledge when we had school-wide meetings in the gym. I’d say the first words, “I pledge allegiance …” and then stop and let the others finish. All the kids knew I refused to say it, and why. And a few of them understood why I did it, and supported my action. In a nation supposedly based on freedom of religion, what were they doing sticking a Christian god into a pledge that every child had to say, whether they were Christian, Muslim or atheist?

    For those of use here in the US who do NOT share the Christian faith, I fear that many, perhaps most people don’t really get the fact that we are not Christians as the result of a long-pondered, conscious, and well-considered choice.

    Oh, yeah, they give lip service to personal choice, but in their hearts they see us as “heathens”, and they think it is their mission to convert us. Many people seem think that the problem is, we just haven’t heard the Word Of The Lord™, or if we have, we haven’t heard it in the right way, or from the right person … and they are more than happy to supply that perceived lack in our lives.

    I can’t tell you how irritating that is on an average day. Look, all you good Christians out there, here’s the thing you don’t seem to be getting.

    I DON’T WANT TO BE “SAVED”. BILLY DIDN’T WANT TO BE “SAVED”. AND LOTS OF FOLKS FIND YOUR ATTEMPTS TO “SAVE” THEM TO BE PUSHY, INTRUSIVE, AND UNWANTED!!

    As a result, I’m sorry, but no, your endless attempts to save my sorry okole are not perceived as coming from someone concerned about my well-being. They are seen as an endless attempt to justify the shakiness of your own beliefs by trying to obtain agreement out in the world. They are seen as an endless, thoughtless intrusion into my own private inner world and my own private beliefs. And I’m sorry, but when that’s how you act, I don’t care in the slightest that you have my best interests at heart. It’s still pushy and unpleasant.

    I have heard every single one of your arguments for your purported Salvation, and I find them entirely unconvincing. I’ve had literally hundreds of people tell me about their invisible friend, and how he listens to their every request, and how he’s willing to suspend the laws of Physics if they ask him nicely, and how good that makes them feel … sorry, folks. Not buying it. Maybe you can believe in an invisible friend who suspends the laws of Physics if it helps you to sleep. My credulity is not that elastic.

    Not only am I not buying it. I’m sick of being approached by the manifold self-appointed Salesmen Of The Lord, with their endless importunings that I join them in their strange beliefs about invisible friends and suspending the laws of physics, and that I take up their ugly and un-Christian habit of praying in public. Yeah, I know y’all believe your invisible friend is real, and that’s not even the strangest of your beliefs. Here’s an odd fact … almost half the Christians in the US believe that humanity is less than 10,000 years old. How dumb is that?

    And you want me to join them? You want me to sign on to a religion where half the adherents forsake science and deny obvious evidence to believe that humanity is only 10,000 years old? Really?

    If there were a “no-phone” list for people pushing that farrago, I’d love to be on it just so people would stop bothering me about their invisible friend.

    I quit Christianity when I was about 15. I’d been reading a lot about various religions. One day, a tent revival preacher came to town. He had a big name, the adults all flocked to hear him speak. The tent was packed to the brim, with more people outside.

    I was always interested, so I went to hear him speak. When he finished and the hellfire and brimstone had died down, I wanted to ask him a question. So I went up, introduced myself, and asked about evolution. I said that the scientists said there was a lot of evidence for evolution, so why didn’t he believe the evidence?

    I can see his face to this day. it got all red, he wasn’t used to being questioned. He said “Son” … I don’t know what it is about Christians, but far too many of them get all paternalistic when faced by disbelief, like I were an errant child. “Son, don’t you believe their evidence. They’ve only found one single bone whose origin that can’t explain.”

    “But what about all the skeletons in the museums?”, I asked.

    “Son, I’m tellin’ ya, there’s only one bone they can’t explain. The rest is all wax and imagination!”

    Wax and imagination … I was stunned. I turned and walked away, amazed by the stupidity of the hundreds of adults that were lapping up his swill. I quit Christianity right on the spot. I figured if one of the respected leaders of the religion was that stupidly, obviously wrong, and not one adult protested, then it wasn’t for me. I’m a guy who likes evidence, and laughs at explanations like the one he gave me. And I’ve never seen any reason to change that childhood judgement.

    Well, of course, that was a signal for all of the good-hearted folk in the neighborhood to try to save my soul … “You seen the Light yet, Son?” they’d ask me. For a Salesman Of The Lord, there is no higher prize than the fallen believer, so I got it all the time, both barrels. By the time I was out of high school, I’d had the best and the brightest try to save my poor pathetic soul, along with a number of other less bright folks. And that barrage, although much abated, has continued right up to the present.

    Now, on a normal day, it’s not bad. Sure, I get Xtian messages all day long, the US is saturated with them, no surprise there. But that’s just how it is. And there’s frequently a representative of some flavor of Jehovah’s Witless coming to my door with their message of good cheer and their noble intentions. That’s just part of life here in Nowherica, and I just deal with it.

    But I figured (obviously wrongly) that at least the Salesmen Of The Lord would have the decency to hold their tongues at a eulogy that never mentioned God, nor Jesus, nor Christianity in any form. I figured (foolishly) that the Christian folks would be polite enough to stop proselytizing for a few minutes, and not to try to push their particular, personal, private beliefs at a eulogy for someone not of their faith.

    But noooo … I figured wrong. I guess there is no place so sacred that some pushy Christian won’t barge in with a sermon and a claim that they only have my best welfare at heart, as if their motives made the slightest difference to their unpleasantness.

    I was so surprised by that gross intrusion, so shocked that Janice would deliver a Christian sermon and try to convert me at the eulogy for an atheist, so incensed that she would try to push her beliefs on me in my time of sorrow for my dear friend, that in my grief and anger I lashed out at her.

    That was wrong of me … but dear friends, unconsciously I had expected at least common courtesy and decency from the Christians in the crowd. And to their credit, I got that from many, perhaps most of them.

    But when one of them decided to give a sermon, few of them found it unusual in the slightest. Most of them still don’t understand my reaction. I’ve tried to explain that I’m sure Janice would never dream of being so impolite and pushy and intrusive as to give a Christian sermon and try to gain Christian converts at say a Jewish ceremony for the dead … but people still don’t seem to get that it is just as impolite and intrusive to do it at a ceremony for an atheist.

    Ah, well, live and learn. Let me give you my basic message once again.

    There are a lot of people in the world who have absolutely no desire to be “saved” by Christians, no matter how well-meaning they might be. We view such attempts as insulting, impolite, and intrusive. We are not the raw material for you to ply your wiles on. Like Zoroastrians or Sufis or Hindus, we believe something BY CHOICE that is different from what you believe.

    So my plea is, stop trying to save non-Christians and non-theists. And if you can’t do that, then at least notice that it is extremely offensive to try to convert people when they are emotionally vulnerable. If you can’t shut up about your freakin’ invisible friend, which seems to be the case for far too many Christians, at least have the decency to zip it when non-Christian people are grieving. That is NOT the time for a Christian sermon and an attempt to convert the “heathen”, no matter how well-meant it might be.

    w.

  191. safeprayer says:
    April 20, 2014 at 9:14 am

    willis: question. If love is real, what is it?

    Dang, bro’, people have been debating that question for centuries. How would I know? A google search for “What is love?” brings up 4,000,000 web pages … take your pick.

    So let me ask you a question in return. If love isn’t real, what is it?

    w.

  192. If love is real, what is it?

    Well, as Oliver Wendell Holmes remarked when asked much the same question regarding pornography:

    “I can’t define it. But I know it when I see it.”

  193. Ursa Felidae says:
    April 20, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Willis
    Great article, however, massively disappointed in your reaction to Janice, who seems like a nice person.

    I’d say she seems like an honest and sincere person, but I’m not sure what you mean by “nice”. On my planet, nice people don’t try to convert folks of other religions (or no religion) to Christianity at the time when they are mourning their dead. That is an impolite and unwanted intrusion on private grief in every culture that I am aware of … that’s not nice at all.

    The article, I think, set into motion for most readers, deeply personal thoughts about their own lives. I myself am agnostic, because as a logical thinking person I don’t know if there is a god. Perhaps I’m confused as to how an atheist can know for sure in a scientific way that there is no god…

    I’m not an atheist myself, so I can’t help you with that.

    w.

  194. John Whitman says:
    April 20, 2014 at 9:26 am

    WIllis’ ‘Billy’ post is not about science. To me It is about the very personal anecdotal portrayal of emotions experienced by an individual involved in the human condition. I do not see an issue with Janice’s first comment on this thread because she is doing what Willis’ did; that is sharing her emotional portrayal which happens to be religious.

    Absolutely not, John. You’ve missed the point entirely. What she did was to give a Christian sermon at a eulogy for an atheist, and try to convert me to her faith. I did nothing of the sort.

    For our actions to be equivalent, I’d have to have gone to the place where she had written a lovely and moving Christian eulogy for someone, and appropriated her Christian eulogy and the emotions that it engendered as a vehicle for me to preach about e.g. the Koran and to try to convert the listeners to Islam … and I doubt greatly that you would “not see an issue” with that.

    So why does she get a free pass from you for doing that very thing? Makes no sense.

    w.

  195. However, her motives seem immaterial to me.

    You said that earlier, Willis. I can’t agree that motive is immaterial. It certainly makes a monumental difference in law, both criminal and civil: it is the difference between negligent homicide (or even accidental death) and first degree murder. Motive is certainly not the only thing; the consequences are the same, regardless of motive. But I don’t see how one can dismiss motive, either.

  196. Willis, perhaps you should read again what Janice wrote – it bears no resemblance to what you are antipreaching on about, at great length and pseudointellectually. You are deliberately creatively misrepresenting the comment, the facts and the context of this forum. Shame on you. Go on apologise to Janice.
    What you are doing is disgraceful

  197. safeprayer says:
    April 20, 2014 at 9:30 am

    … Willis: You write a piece that implies life has a value, by mourning the loss of those who once lived. You talk as if love and friendship are valuable things. You speak of death as if it is a bad thing, even though it is regrettably inevitable. All of this implies a denial of atheism, since you are partially borrowing a value system, and axiomatic definitions from the judaeo-christian world view. … etc. etc. …

    Since I’m not an atheist, I fail to see what this has to do with me. As I clearly stated above,

    I am not a theist … but I am not an atheist either. I guess you could say I’m a non-theist.

    Once again, you’re not paying attention, and as a result you’ve written an entire comment based on a fundamental misconception … but then that’s been the case with your comments from the start.

    More to the point, your claim that if someone finds love and friendship valuable they are automatically denying atheism is as dumb as a box of hammers. People around the planet of every known religion and of no religion at all value love and friendship, it’s not some part of the “judaeo-christian world view” that is somehow a denial of atheism, thats total nonsense.

    I have witnessed 7 of my elderly friends die within the last year or so, and for me each one was a celebration, not a sentimental, what if, what could have been would have been should have been, but a genuine celebration of success, and triumph.

    If you celebrate when your friends die, then I fear that your world and mine are too far apart to have a meaningful discussion.

    And if you celebrate when your friends die, then I’m overjoyed that I’m not your friend, and I want none of the belief structure that upholds such a curious view of a friend’s death …

    w.

  198. I am now contemplating a more practical solution to all this. Something that combines the virtues of motive and desired effect.

    Maybe if I knocked all of y’all heads together?

  199. evanmjones says:
    April 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm
    ====
    Janice has left the room a long time ago…
    and is going on about her own business

  200. neillusion says:
    April 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Willis, perhaps you should read again what Janice wrote – it bears no resemblance to what you are antipreaching on about, at great length and pseudointellectually. You are deliberately creatively misrepresenting the comment, the facts and the context of this forum. Shame on you.

    Thanks, Illusion. I’ve read her comment more than once and more than thrice. What Janice delivered was a prototypical Christian sermon, undistinguishable in both form and content from hundreds that you and I have heard in Christian churches in the past. Which is likely why she chose that form and content, because she is so familiar with it that she likely doesn’t even notice that she is doing it. As I said above:

    That is not sympathy. That is a sermon.

    You know this concept, a “sermon”? It’s where you tell people things would be better if they accept Jesus, then give them a Bible verse, then tell them you really care about their wellbeing, then give them another Bible verse, then hit them with what they are missing by not being Christians, and close with a Bible verse and a prayer? Does this sound familiar? If not, re-read her comment … because that’s exactly what she did.

    If she tried that shite at a Moslem eulogy, giving them a sermon like that, lecturing all the Moslems and saying that she was praying for them and quoting extensively from the Bible, you’d blush and be embarrassed for her, because of the inappropriateness of her actions.

    If you disagree with that, you’ll have to specify what you disagree with. For example, do you think that giving such a Christian sermon at a Moslem eulogy and quoting from the Bible and trying to convert the listeners to Christianity would be appropriate behavior for such an occasion?

    And if not … then why do you think it is appropriate here?

    Go on apologise to Janice.

    I have apologized to her. Three times, maybe four. Try to follow the story, my friend, you look real foolish with inane comments like that.

    If she is dissatisfied with my apology, I’ll discuss it with her. If you’re unhappy with my apology, so what? I don’t recall her appointing you as her agent, you have no right to demand things in her behalf … and in any case, I prefer to talk with the organ grinder, not the monkey.

    What you are doing is disgraceful

    As I’ve said many times, such claims are nothing but handwaving. You’ll have to be more specific if you want an answer, that’s just vague mud-slinging. You need to identify what it is you are disagreeing with if you want a response … or perhaps you don’t want a response, it’s just an gratuitous insult.

    w.

  201. evanmjones says:
    April 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    However, her motives seem immaterial to me.

    You said that earlier, Willis. I can’t agree that motive is immaterial. It certainly makes a monumental difference in law, both criminal and civil: it is the difference between negligent homicide (or even accidental death) and first degree murder.

    Thanks, Evan, you always bring up interesting points. That is true in some but not all aspects of law, and (as you imply) in life situations … but only in some but not all life situations.

    Suppose I punched you in the nose and broke it.

    Would my motive make any difference to how how your face felt? Would it change the now-distorted shape of your nose? Would knowing my motives reduce your medical bills?

    Suppose I told you that I did it to save your life, because in my belief system if your nose is not flattened you would die prematurely … would your nose suddenly feel better? Would that make the pain go away?

    Yes, you are right that motive is an issue in a number of circumstances … but if I were to give a Christian sermon at a Jewish funeral and try to convert the mourners to Jesus, would my motives change whether that is inappropriate and intrusive? Would knowing that my motives were pure make the mourners feel better about my crass behavior?

    What the motive doesn’t change, and can’t change, is the pain and the damage that you cause with your actions. If I smash your nose, your pain and the damage to your nose isn’t altered in the slightest by my motives.

    And that’s what I meant when I said that her motives are immaterial. I meant that her actions were crass, impolite, insulting, and inappropriate, and that doesn’t go away just because she was just trying to help.

    Think about the Australian rabbits, Evan. The people that released them had only the finest of motives, they were just trying to help … do you think that made the slightest difference for the creatures that starved to death after the furry little bunnies had eaten everything green in a thousand miles? Do you think that the impeccable motives of the folks that released the rabbits salved the hearts of the farmers who were driven out of business by the rabbits voracious behavior?

    My point is simple. There are times when the fact that the doer of some misdeed had good motives is totally immaterial. To me, this is one of them. The fact that you are a well-meaning crass intrusive interloper doesn’t make you less of a crass intrusive interloper.

    w.

    PS—Even in the law, at the end of the day motive does not automatically free you from culpability. If you steal someone’s wallet, the fact that you were hungry may temper your punishment … or more likely, it may make absolutely no difference at all. Even the law recognizes that at times, as I said above, motive is irrelevant.

    And more to the point, your motive for stealing a wallet never relieves you of all responsibility—you’ll still be found guilty of theft, no matter how wonderful your motive might be.

  202. Willis,
    For the next eulogy you post in a public comments forum, I suggest you attach a warning at the end. Something like:

    “Ecumenical commentary will not be tolerated as a response to my grief. To put a finer point on it, you can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.”

  203. Perhaps not the best time and place for this comment, but regarding the origin of life, the universe and everything, let me pose this question.
    If one is religious, one might be satisfied with the idea that god created all and everything. However, is one is atheist, what is the most satisfactory, scientific explanation for the origin of “life, the universe and everything”?
    PS. Serious question, not an offhand reference to any sort of published materials…

  204. Willis, you have it almost exactly right when you told the Jesus saleswoman that you “found her actions incredibly crass, insensitive, and unwanted.” I say almost because, there is a certain willfulness, rather than insensivity, to her intrusion. She intended to preach in a place where she was certainly unwanted. That was the entire point. One can go into any church and hear the same, but few people will go hither and yon to tell it to strangers. But to those few, that is what they do. The reason she has not been back is because she has most likely been on to many other sites to sell her version of God wherever she can. This is Easter, after all, the anniversary of the very day their dead guy showed up at his own funeral.

    But. The one thing that gets me about proselytizers is, while they go on and on about saving YOUR soul, the soul they are about saving is their own.

    I have religion. I was born to it. I like some of the traditions, especially the part dealing with funerals. We are close to the corpse. The relatives and friends wash the body, and dress him/her for burial. We bury them in a plain pine box – rickety, almost like an orange crate. All attendees can see a tiny bit, at least the shroud, between the slats. Then we all help shovel the dirt over the deceased. Then we have a party. I buried both my parents in this way. I think it’s the right way. When one of my coreligionists insists on an expensive bronze box and an antiseptic burial, I say nothing. It is their loss.

    My religion does not proselytize. In fact, if you wanted to convert, to become one of us, our priest would have to try to convince you not to do that three separate times. I, and we, find proselytizing to be unseemly, but we see it all around us. Many religions are all about seeking converts. The Christians are very pushy on this. But you should give them a little slack. They are under oppression all over the world these days. They are getting killed and worse every day. This is apparently new to them, but at least they have the certain knowledge that they will be in heaven with Jesus once their ticket is ounched. But in my religion we have been oppressed, and killed in the streets, for a long, long time – so we are sort of used to this. And we do not have the comfort of a guaranteed afterlife. I am a Jew. So was Jesus Christ. Go figure.

  205. Ursa Felidae says:
    April 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Positing a Creator doesn’t answer those questions satisfactorily. Indeed, it stops asking how at least life & the universe occurred.

    The origin of life is different from the origin of the universe. Its details have yet to be worked out & may never be precisely, but it’s not mysterious. Organic compounds self organize. It is no accident that the space between stacked PAHs just happens to be same distance as between bases attaching in a ribose chain, for instance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAH_world_hypothesis

    As it so happens, water ice is a good substrate for the formation of RNA, which is capable of both replication & catalyzing chemical reactions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

    Why there should be one universe, an infinite number of them or one of infinite extent are questions not answered by the God Hypothesis, any more than saying it is simply a property of space-time that matter & energy may exist in or on it.

    The God Hypothesis can’t be ruled out in the present state of scientific understanding, & also may never be. Thus being an atheist rather than purely agnostic calls for some faith, however less elaborately so than belief in a Creator of some kind.

  206. Willlis, you have ‘apologised for using a sledgehammer but not for swatting the fly’, to use your own words and you are hoping or waiting for an apology from Janice, again your own words. Doesn’t take a genious, keeping up with the comments to get what I meant. You are now deliberately misreading/misrepresenting my meaning and claiming I look foolish – well, perhaps the truth will shame you into behaving.
    I have followed your ‘creative misrepresentation of her comment and I do consider that you are as good as lying, if not worse. I have already given a more representative analogy of her position, being as objective as I could, about what she wrote.
    The adjectives you are using are so over the top as to be incredulous imo.

    The moslem christian argument is so out of context and incomparable to the Janice issue.
    You profess to get your best advice from death, listen to him, the criminal, Janice basically suggested you look at life for your advice/mentoring, which is a comment I would have/made. She wrote comments that were pertinent in their own right and gave a bible reference. So? No different to quoting a poem and its author or some such. She nor I jammed religion down your throat or hijacked your hard worked creative powerpiece or preached a sermon, or tried to convert you, nothing in the middle of your eulogy. Or did Janice come round and knock on your front door
    At a moslem occasion you know they have a faith, Only the foolish would preach and try to convert to something different – we are already way off course now re the janice issue as in she most certainly did none of the above, the way you have misrepresented and twisted her comment and its meaning. She basically said you were wise to listen to death up to a point, but that it would not give you joy or love or hope, she said you should listen to the life, the living stuff for joy, hope, love, or words to that effect, it was only then Janice wrote:

    “For hope, you must listen to Life.

    How can one do this?

    In case you might be interested in the answer I found to that question,
    there is only one Life Who can change despair to hope (and I mean enduring, rock-solid, unshakeable hope), the one who said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life… .” John 14:6.
    …”

    that is hijacking? preaching? sermon? jamming religion down throats, trying to convert (a moslem?) riding and stealing the power of your creative effort eulogy for her own ends? and other inaccurate outrageous claims you have made?
    Absolutely NOT – Shame on you.
    Did you play the song she linked, NO? Perhaps you should listen to it and then you’ll have something else to twist and turn out of context and creatively misrepresent so you can have a deep hatred of faith antiperistaltic motion and cleansing of life – and go listen to death’s advice.
    What a load of bollox.

  207. Thanks, Evan, you always bring up interesting points.

    It is my genuinely high regard for you that makes it worth the while.

    Would my motive make any difference to how how your face felt? Would it change the now-distorted shape of your nose? Would knowing my motives reduce your medical bills?

    No. Not at all. Not even a little. I agree with much of the rest of what you say as well.

    But consider this:

    One time back in the 1980s I tripped someone up and sent him flying and he came crashing down on the pavement.

    My motive was that I was thwarting a robbery.

  208. Latitude says:
    April 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm (Edit)

    Janice has left the room a long time ago…
    and is going on about her own business

    I know. You may want to check out what she said on the Open Thread . . .

  209. evanmjones says:
    April 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I am now contemplating a more practical solution to all this. Something that combines the virtues of motive and desired effect.

    Maybe if I knocked all of y’all heads together?

    ===================================================================
    You’d hear a hollow sound.
    Janice reached out a hand to help and pulled back a bloody stump,
    She’s done here. So am I.
    Willis, really, condolences.
    Enjoy the memory of your friend. It may take awhile before you can think of him and not feel pain but you will get to where you can “tell stories about him” and laugh. That’s what happened with me after my Mom and then after my Dad died but those days will come.

  210. Just want to say thank you to all for completely ignoring my comment. It says more than you would like it to.

  211. My condolences on you and your family’s loss. Your account was moving and personal. I’m glad that you were there for your friend and your wife, especially with all the ensuing absurdity inherent in death. Death is no respecter of persons, no matter what religion or lack thereof.

  212. and is going on about her own business…

    Fortunately. And in a more proper venue.

    Yet she feels very badly about all this.

  213. Yet she feels very badly about all this….

    Well yeah!

    You know how global warming believers are always trying to paint skeptics as unstable, neurotic, immature, psycho, loons?

    …I’m glad we proved them wrong

  214. Mmmm. I don’t think I take your meaning. I have been so busy on analysis for the surfacestations paper, I haven’t had time for much commenting. Yesterday and today are an exception. But if you will elucidate I will engage.

  215. Latitude says:
    April 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm (Edit)

    It was Willis I was concerned about. He wasn’t feeling so good, either.

    One thing for sure is that there are all sorts on both (to be simplistic) sides of the debate. I accept that as a given. I am certain that many of the more moderate alarmists often cringe at what some of their more extreme brethren propound. But, bottom line, we are winning this shindig by attrition. Seems to me we should be aiming outward rather than inward, that’s all.

  216. yep, but we both know we should have won this a long time ago…

    They are united….we let silly diversions get in our way

  217. Glad you are still working on surfacestations project. I think it is extremely important.
    I fear that something has influenced WUWT? on a base level.
    An example of which I speak is your posts. As you know, I have been a faithful reader here for quite some time. I have noticed a sea change in your posts. As an example, your defence of James Hansen. An astrophysicist who thinks that Venus is an example of “runaway greenhouse”. Completely false. All his “scenarios” are way off the mark. His advocacy is the exact opposite of science.
    This is very different that the evanmjones I had come to know.
    Just the tip of the iceberg. What gives?

  218. yep, but we both know we should have won this a long time ago…

    Not too easy. We got off to a poor start. Heck, even Anthony was with them at first. The dynamics were against us. If it hadn’t been for the Moscow of the Hockey stick and the Stalingrad of Climategate, I shudder to imagine what the outcome would have been. But we’re post-Kursk (AR5) at this stage, and looking forward to the Destruction of Army Group Center. Not even a Manstein, Kleist, or Model (sic) can save them now.

    They are united….we let silly diversions get in our way

    True. But coalitions can be their own worst enemies in the long run. They are splitting at the seams, pulling themselves in all sorts of contrary directions. Case in point: AR5. Many saw it as just more reason for gloom. But as far as i can tell, to the skeptics, AR5 is what victory looks like, as we see the wrenchings, the contradictions, the stretchings. Like a torpedoed ship preparing for the final plunge.

  219. Latitude says:
    April 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    “They are united….we let silly diversions get in our way”

    “They are united”- correct.

    “we let silly diversions get in our way”- incorrect

    Some of recognize us that there are huge holes in the science that have yet to be filled in order to make the assumptions and policy that are being made. One of the best things about WUWT? is that no matter what side you are on, you will be taken to task for what you post. The claims that Co2 causes warming in the atmosphere remain unproven. The lab experiments used to show Co2 causes warming represent our atmosphere in no way, shape, or form. The empirical evidence, even when adjusted, do not support the conjecture that Co2 causes warming.
    To assume that it does takes us in the wrong direction scientifically. It is why the models do not work. The basic assumptions are wrong.

  220. But that start was also a long time ago…..to use Willis’ analogy….we have the hammer, but we’re too busy swatting flies with it..
    We need to pick our battles, there’s 3-4 things that would wipe them out…..we need to focus on the win…not the diversions

    We haven’t had time to do this in a long time either…I’m glad you had the day off! LOL

  221. Glad you are still working on surfacestations project. I think it is extremely important.

    Looks like we’re going to spike them, but good. It will kick the foundation clean out from under thousands of peer-reviewed papers.

    I fear that something has influenced WUWT? on a base level.

    An example of which I speak is your posts. As you know, I have been a faithful reader here for quite some time. I have noticed a sea change in your posts. As an example, your defence of James Hansen. An astrophysicist who thinks that Venus is an example of “runaway greenhouse”. Completely false. All his “scenarios” are way off the mark. His advocacy is the exact opposite of science.

    Ah, a light begins to dawn. My only (and, yes I mean only) defense of Hansen is that his “solution” to our non-problem is safe nukes. That’s the only solution that would have a prayer of not ruining us all.

    I have no defense whatever for any of his other activities. I love his scenarios, though — they’re among the better ammunition we have.

    This is very different that the evanmjones I had come to know.

    Just the tip of the iceberg. What gives?

    *Grin* just the softpedal before the final knockdown. That’s all. I was always prone to grant the benefit of the doubt all along, and at least concede they actually believe those things they believe.

    One of the reasons WWII went on so long was the unconditional surrender doctrine and block-bombing (talk about your unintended consequences). But I don’t want to stiffen the alarmists’ spines. I want them to defect, as many of them as possible. “Separate Peace”? Bring it on! I don’t want to see Revkin hauling a panzerfaust on Seelowe Heights. I want him working in our labs.

    We are going to have to live with these people after all this is over. So no Climate Versailles. We don’t want them to rise, aggrieved, behind some popinjay, 20 years hence, and put us all through this mess again over the next flap, whatever that will be.

  222. Wow. Beautifully written article. Makes me want to know more about Willis and his life. And then it got very uncomfortable. Can’t really bring myself to read all of the comments which are usually the most fun. Kind of like witnessing a family fight.

    Think of all the authors who have written novels or short stories and then had them analyzed, commented on, picked apart, and essayed to death as a class assignment. Can you imagine if Homer were able to respond in an Internet blog to all of those who have written essays or comments on his work? Blessing or curse? You put your work out there and then it takes on a life of its own.

    My thanks to Willis for a beautiful post and to many others who have responded thoughtfully or in a heartfelt way, including Janice and her friends. The world would be very boring if we all thought alike.

    REPLY — Now, that’s what I want to see more of. Similar posts I have seen and not commented on, consider yourselves included. ~ Evan

  223. But that start was also a long time ago…..to use Willis’ analogy….we have the hammer, but we’re too busy swatting flies with it..

    The good news being that they’re running out of flies.

  224. An interesting side story, though I think it is interesting what day you discussed this. Friday the 18th April 2014 is known in the Western Christian tradition as Good Friday, the most somber of holy days, a day of commemoration of death. It’s an extremely important day in the Christian calendar, because it is the setup for the central belief of the Christian faith – Easter, the day of Resurrection, the triumph over death. It’s the answer to question of death for Christians, but death remains as part of the universal human experience. Thus, Good Friday, and the symbol of the cross – which was a method of execution like the firing squad or the noose.

    So Death has victory for a few days, but he doesn’t have the last laugh.

  225. Maybe so, maybe not. But when I hang up my sticks, I want to be at peace with whatever turns out to be.

  226. Hello! Elvis has left the building. Guess who I’m talking about – it’s not Elvis?

    Don’t let the rhinestone tux fool you.

  227. OmegaPaladin says:
    April 20, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    An interesting side story, though I think it is interesting what day you discussed this. Friday the 18th April 2014 is known in the Western Christian tradition as Good Friday, the most somber of holy days, a day of commemoration of death. It’s an extremely important day in the Christian calendar, because it is the setup for the central belief of the Christian faith………

    Oh crap! You are in deep trouble my friend.

  228. Mr. Willis Eschenbach,
    Thank you for sharing this. Sorry about the loss of your father-in-law.

  229. David Ball says:
    April 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm (Edit)

    If you have any other questions, I’ll answer.

  230. Michael Gersh says:
    April 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    ….. This is apparently new to them, but at least they have the certain knowledge that they will be in heaven with Jesus once their ticket is ounched. But in my religion we have been oppressed, and killed in the streets, for a long, long time – so we are sort of used to this. And we do not have the comfort of a guaranteed afterlife. I am a Jew. So was Jesus Christ. Go figure.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    You of course talk nonsense. Maybe you should pull out Fox’s Book of Martyrs which is about Christian persecution through the ages and that is only the tip of the iceberg. You my friend do not obviously read the Torah (or you do but do not understand). Moses wrote about persecutions of the Jews at the end of the Book of Deuteronomy and he says why.

  231. Getting off Willis’ blog in spirit at the moment, I was relieved when I started university to learn similar minds thought the same as me. “Don’t believe everything you read in books, get the most modern ones as some of the old chronicles can be politically motivated. They were not referring specifically to the Holy Bible or the Koran. Particularly history books. I don’t mind religious people at all, my next door neighbor is an Anglican priest, having been an Ancient History professor. But he is modern and being educated his attitudes are completely different from what some of the fundimentalists and creationists expound continually. (He taught ancient Greek and Latin) Admittedly the Jews have been historically, a scape goat, and punished for not being Christian. And the holocaust, which one there were many. But so were the protestants, women and men who were labelled witches and Roman Catholics in medieval and Elizabethan times, and in UK for a long time Roman Catholics vs protestants was the go.
    Politics is always involved somewhere folks don’t forget that, even in ancient times. I think a good saying is people who possess spirituality have been through hell on earth, but religious people behave so they won’t go to hell. If one has suffered in this life for many reasons, be it health, or grief, or disadvantaged background, one becomes sometimes, not always, more compassionate and tolerant to others. There is no absolute, be best to remember that. I tend to believe or think, should any religious person were to see Jesus or some prophet before they died, and was told,
    “Sorry there is no paradise or heaven” A good Christian would say “Well it was all worth it”

    As a post script and more to the point of this blog. Brandis our Attorney general described the alarmists as acting in a medieval and irrational manner.

  232. Willis, dude… has your bitterness made you so blind that you cannot see your own gross hypocrisy and intolerance? You have made more than thirty posts (at last count) angrily expressing your own non-theistic beliefs while you denigrate Janice’s single heartfelt expression of concern as “jam[ming] Jesus down people’s throats”. Who is jamming their beliefs down people’s throats? Is nobody allowed to share their personal beliefs here except you?

    As “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment and cause it to give off a foul odor” your own hateful reaction to Janice’s sharing of her heartfelt beliefs, followed by your self-justifying non-apology and ongoing diatribe have completely derailed your original post and overshadowed the tribute that you meant to pay to your friend.

    In fact, with every post you make you illustrate Janice’s point perfectly. You indeed have the wisdom that comes from knowing that the days of a man are numbered. But on this day that Janice and many others celebrate the defeat of death and the hope of resurrection, you cannot see beyond the grave and you have only bitterness to show for it.

  233. Willis,

    I too was moved by your essay. I find much wisdom in it, the fruit of love and of passion for life.

    As for Janice’s remarks, as her co-religionist I was much embarrassed to read them and apprehensive about how they would be received, by you and by others. Your response has been quite gracious, and I thank you for that. You have expressed well just why her remarks were out of place. You have not picked a fight, and you have shown respect for Christians’ beliefs while explaining reasons that you do not share them.

    I have benefitted (I suppose even ‘been blessed’) by your sharing the results of your pursuit of truth, in science and in life, and I would like to engage with you on that basis. Whoever pursues truth and love is pursuing God. The converse holds as well, including for those who call themselves Christians. I am all too aware of the likes of the preacher who gave you a good reason not to follow his religion. I am getting angry that some on this thread may do so as well.

  234. Oh dear, Sagebrush gardener, you are now in the firing line. But you summed up my feelings very well. This has nothing to do with climate change or CO2. It’s about religious beliefs, and how can atheists ever know there is no God or some other life force that generates life, agnostics have an open mind. Personally I do believe in the order of things, i.e. Nature dictates and there are two main forces within us and nature. Creative and destructive, and it is within our personalities too as history as found to be true. We live our lives through conventions thrust on us by politicians, laws and religious leaders. To control the beast in us. Why do we think our civil and criminal laws are more realistic than some religious laws.

  235. Steve B says:
    April 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    You of course talk nonsense. Maybe you should pull out Fox’s Book of Martyrs which is about Christian persecution through the ages and that is only the tip of the iceberg. You my friend do not obviously read the Torah (or you do but do not understand). Moses wrote about persecutions of the Jews at the end of the Book of Deuteronomy and he says why.

    Steve, you make my point. There is no authority on God. God is something you have within you. If you need to rely upon some ancient text you presuppose that all the knowledge we have about how that text was derived can be described by true believers, but that is nonsense, and all that is known is not the exclusive property of the “true believers.” Not even close to the truth. God is who He is. The priest class has made what they could with it, and they have done a damned good job for themselves. I have no use for the priest class. My relationship is with the diety itself. Your belief system respects an institutional dogma that empowers some, but expressly leaves all the rest of us in hell. I, and others, disagree. But when I write the statements that most irk you, I was relating to modern Christians, not the priest class. Modern Christians have forgotten the middle ages, and seem to have little to say about what is happening today in the moslem world. Sure, Christians are being killed on a daily basis, but in our so-called Christian society we are warned to take no notice of those events, since they are inconvenient to those holding secular power. I was writing to my personal experience. Calling me uninformed misses the point, and fails to address the issue. God is who or what He is. Religion is a purely human construct, formed to aggrandize power to the priest class. You side with them. I do not. I know God. You run a business. Or, at least, a blog, called Ultimate Christianity. Do you even know that “ultimate” means “last?” You word is not the last word. Not for me. Not for Billy. Not for Willis. Not for most of the rest of us.

  236. I am out of this thread. Science should never be thought to have a religious message. Personal bereavements are handled differently and quite honestly Willis you are not alone. How has your family’s and friend’s deaths affected you in the long run? Don’t share I have read enough.

  237. All you folk demanding Willis accept comfort from the Christian god, know that the one true lord is Venganza, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster

    Venganza first revealed his light to Bobby Henderson. In his hour of fury, at Christians who were trying to pervert the teaching of science in Kansas, by pretending their intelligent design nonsense was nondenominational, Bobby received revelation from Venganza, and demanded equal time to teach his version of the creation story.

    We now live to spread the word of our tasty lord, to earn our place at his side. Know that Venganza is a jealous lord, and any who do not see his light are doomed to spend their afterlife washing filthy dishes in the kitchens of the pasta restaurant of eternity, serving those whose minds and souls were open to embracing the truth.

  238. I have my own religious or spiritual views which I will keep to myself, however, can we all agree that there are a few basic principles in life upon which most, if not all, can agree? To me it comes down to the fact that there IS both good and evil in the world, and there IS both love and hate. If we focus less on the particular flavor of our spirituality and try to promote the good and the love in ourselves and try to diminish the evil and hateful, the world would be a better place. Where we get in trouble is by deciding who or what other than ourselves is evil or hateful. Who do we control? Who can we improve? Only ourselves. Therefore the purpose of our spirituality should be an exercise in improving ourselves, and not in attempting to improve others. If everyone is busy working on improving themselves, we might actually get somewhere. I am not an expert on all world religions, but my Grandmother told me to “keep your own doorstep clean” and I think she was a very wise woman.

    Disclaimer: If anyone thinks I am proselytizing, I apologize profusely in advance, as I am merely trying to share my own personal perspective which you are free to accept or reject as you see fit.

  239. Sagebrush Gardener says:
    April 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Willis, dude… has your bitterness made you so blind that you cannot see your own gross hypocrisy and intolerance? You have made more than thirty posts (at last count) angrily expressing your own non-theistic beliefs while you denigrate Janice’s single heartfelt expression of concern as “jam[ming] Jesus down people’s throats”. Who is jamming their beliefs down people’s throats? Is nobody allowed to share their personal beliefs here except you?

    I love this. Janice decides that the eulogy for an atheist is a wonderful time for her to give a full-blown Christian sermon, and seeing me in my grief, she decides this is a wonderful opportunity to try to convert me to her religion.

    If she tried it at a Moslem eulogy, everyone would see that it was totally inappropriate to give a Christian sermon there. It would be wrong to intrude on their grief, it would be wrong to use their grief to try to take advantage of them, it’s wrong on a half dozen levels.

    But when she does it to me, unthinking folks like you applaud her, and when I protest that it’s just as inappropriate here as it would be at a Moslem funeral, somehow good folk like you figure I’m the bad guy. WAKE UP! The fantasy you have about what’s happening here is not what’s going on.

    Look, Sagebrush, if you were giving a Christian eulogy for your Christian father-in-law, and I came along and gave a sermon in favor of Islam, with quotations from the Koran, and then tried to convert you to Islam, I know that you would not be all sanguine about it.

    Now suppose you protested against the Muslim who was quoting from the Koran and trying to convert you to Islam, and I jumped on your case and accused you of “jamming their beliefs down other people’s throats” … how would you feel, my friend? Because that’s what Janice did, and that’s what you are trying to do. Sorry … not buying it.

    I have no problem with people expressing their beliefs, Sagebrush. None at all.

    But I do have a huge problem with Janice giving a Christian sermon when I’ve just eulogized an atheist, and trying to convert me to Jesus in the bargain. That’s not “expressing your beliefs”. That is crass religious proselytizing, it is an attempt to take advantage of my grief, and it is entirely inappropriate in this situation.

    And if you don’t agree, then I earnestly pray that at your next family death the funeral is interrupted by a Muslim, who reads from the Koran and tries to take advantage of your emotional state to convert you to worshipping Allah, so you can see just exactly how appropriate it might feel to you.

    Naw, I don’t pray for that, I’m just kidding. I don’t wish ill on anyone, and I don’t pray for anything, I’m just trying to shock you into realizing what’s going on here … but dang, bro’, if you thing a eulogy right after a man’s death is the right place for trying to convert people to your religion, we have nothing to discuss.

    And if you do think it is the wrong place … then why the heck are you defending Janice doing exactly that?

    w.

  240. neillusion says:
    April 20, 2014 at 4:15 am

    Willis, your talk of Christian at a Moslem funeral is utter balderdash.
    No faith was revealed in your eulogy, as u call it. Who knew waht Billy really believed when he was alive, how he changed, etc. Who knew what you believed or how shakey is that belief that you verbally attack a kind potential messenger or the message.

    Thanks for the reply, neillusion.

    If Billy had wanted Jesus in his eulogy, I would have put Jesus right smack in the middle. I’m a damn good wordsmith, you wouldn’t have missed him. So that should have been a huge clue.

    But in any case, I don’t understand your logic here.

    Are you saying that because Janice didn’t know Billy’s religion, it was OK to use the occasion to religiously proselytize for Janice’s religion? Really?

    And are you saying that that because Janice didn’t know Billy’s religion, it was OK for her to use my time of grief to try to convert me to Janice’s religion? Really?

    You gotta understand something here, neillusion. You Christians see spreading the “good word” and trying to convert their friends to Christianity as an act of kindness. You think it is appropriate at any time and place.

    Many people, on the other hand, including both Billy and myself, see Christians trying to convert us to Christianity as an unwarranted, unpleasant, and unwanted intrusion into our private lives and beliefs. I can’t stress this strongly enough. We are not heathens panting to hear the Good News. We’ve heard your good news over and over, and we have decided it is not for us.

    So Janice trying it on again is not perceived as a good Christian woman expressing sympathy and trying to do a good thing for us.

    It is perceived as just another in a long line of meddling intrusive Christians sticking their big noses where they don’t belong, and trying to sell the same sad story of their invisible friend who protects them 24/7 … except when he doesn’t.

    We’re willing to listen, sometimes. And most of the time, we ignore how intrusive it is, and nod our heads and say thanks but not thanks. But other times, it is a profound insult, and the eulogy for someone whose religion you don’t know is one of those times to just shut up about how wonderful it is to be Saved and washed in some poor lamb’s blood … we’ve heard it a thousand times. Now is not the time to be bothering us again.

    Look, I don’t show up at Christian funerals and eulogies and try to get people to stop being Christians.

    So why is it that you good Christian folks think its perfectly fine for you to do that here?

    A EULOGY IS NOT THE PLACE FOR TRYING TO CONVERT PEOPLE TO YOUR RELIGION, no matter how noble your motives might be.

    Why is that so hard for you to understand?

    Regards,

    w.

  241. Dr. Doug says:
    April 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Willis,

    I too was moved by your essay. I find much wisdom in it, the fruit of love and of passion for life.

    As for Janice’s remarks, as her co-religionist I was much embarrassed to read them and apprehensive about how they would be received, by you and by others. Your response has been quite gracious, and I thank you for that. You have expressed well just why her remarks were out of place. You have not picked a fight, and you have shown respect for Christians’ beliefs while explaining reasons that you do not share them.

    Thanks, Dr. Doug. I was over the top with Janice, and I have done my best to not do the same with those supporting her position. However, her intrusion and her attempt to convert me were not appreciated …

    Folks mistake my position in all of this. I’m not an atheist. For many years I was a Buddhist, which is classed as a religion but which doesn’t have any Gods at all … does that make all Buddhists atheists? I find these divisions somewhat arbitrary and artificial.

    And I have huge regard for the outrageous message of Christ. I mean, love your enemies? What an audacious plan! If the Christians were ever to actually do that, the world would be a different place … but no joy so far.

    If I had to describe my own beliefs, well, I’m kind of an Animist, I suppose, or perhaps a Shamanist. Something along those lines. I’m a man who apologizes to trees before I cut them down, a man who thanks the salmon I kill for giving up their life to be my food … other than a blithering idiot, what does that make me?

    I have benefitted (I suppose even ‘been blessed’) by your sharing the results of your pursuit of truth, in science and in life, and I would like to engage with you on that basis. Whoever pursues truth and love is pursuing God. The converse holds as well, including for those who call themselves Christians. I am all too aware of the likes of the preacher who gave you a good reason not to follow his religion. I am getting angry that some on this thread may do so as well.

    All religions start out being about an experience of what might be described as a spiritual nature. Unfortunately, they often lose that focus on the transcendental spiritual experience, or at least the ability to lead their followers to be able to actually experience it. As a result, lacking the experience, the religions become about form and law and ritual. And while humans need form and law and ritual, it is hollow without the underlying spiritual experience, whatever that might be.

    Unfortunately, religion has been one of the largest causes of humans killing other humans over the centuries. I ascribe this to the fact that organized religion is generally not all that good at providing the transcendental spiritual experience that is the real cheese in the religious maze. The religions provide companionship and fellowship, but many of the members just go to church and don’t have that transcendental experience of the ineffable that is the core of the religion.

    And as a result of having lots of members that are just going to church and enjoying the fellowship and religiously following the rule but not having the experience, the religions have become much like our secular institutions. They’ve turned into warring sects and factions and churches and schisms and divisions and such. When I was a kid they used to say “If you have two Baptists, they’ll build three churches”, and it’s true of almost every organized religion. Look at the Sunnis and the Shiites. They believe in the same god. They read the same holy book. And they’ve been bombing and killing each other for fourteen centuries now, with no sign of stopping …

    So these days, I’m not a member of any kind of organized religion. I find almost all of them to be far top grasping and aggressive and proselytizing and argumentative with their neighbors. The mere fact that the world actually contains something called “religious wars” should be convincing evidence as to their fall from grace …

    Finally, as you can see, I’ve given all of this a lot of thought. When I was a kid I was a voracious reader. I read the New Testament end to end. I read the Koran end to end. I read the Book of Mormon end to end. I read the Bhagavad Gita, but not end to end, that sucker is way boring. I read the Tibetan Book Of The Dead.

    Not only that, but my mom wrote the Religions page every Sunday for the Redding Record-Searchlight. She had a great idea. Every Sunday she went to a different church in the town, and listen to their sermon, and talk to the Pastor or the Priest, and then write it up. So I’ve seen a preacher or a priest give just about every kind of Christian sermon that there is. I’ve heard sermons from Holy Rollers and Baptists and Southern Baptists and Reformed Southern Baptists and Episcopalians and Catholics and Lutherans and Christian Scientists and Unitarians. I’ve heard them all. I’ve seen the people falling on the floors and talking in tongues. I’ve seen the Quakers just sit and be quiet. I know more than a little about the oddities and habits of the various followers of the Christ.

    And throughout my life, when any kind of holy man or sage came to town I often went to hear them speak. I’ve heard the Dalai Lama speak a couple of times, and the Karmapa, and the Maharaj-Ji. I’ve seen the Red Hat Ceremony that’s supposed to free you from the wheel of life, and I’ve danced with the Sufis.

    So when some Christian comes up to me to tell me the good news … well, to me it’s old news. In general, I know more about the ins and outs and varieties and history of Christianity than whoever it is that is desperately trying to save my sorry excuse for a soul.

    So if I could say anything to the Christians of the world, it would be, stop trying to convert us. Every well-meaning fool that jumps up to do it somehow imagines that we are remote islanders who never heard of this guy named Jesus, and that they are bringing us news hot off the press … but in reality, the other guy told me that same “news” that last week, and the week before that it was Janice bringing me the “news”, and the week before that some guy named Fred thought he should enlighten us poor souls lost in the darkness …

    Finally, let me be clear that many Christians are like the good Dr. Doug. If someone wants to hear about their faith, they are glad to witness … but only if asked. They don’t intrude their views into other people’s grief. They don’t push their religion on their neighbors. They don’t try to convert someone at a eulogy. My wish is that all Christians were like that.

    Anyhow, that’s my thoughts on the subject. Thank you for yours. And no, I’m not trying to convert anyone to talking to the trees …

    w.

  242. Willis Eschenbach
    … Anyhow, that’s my thoughts on the subject. Thank you for yours. And no, I’m not trying to convert anyone to talking to the trees …

    I used to apologise to the mushrooms I picked, but they still tasted bl**dy awful… :-)

  243. Willis, you are lying to yourself and those you know will read these comments, creative misrepresentation of another’s words. Sagebrush…. sees it too.
    You still persist with the Moslem funeral ‘example’ bs. Well demolished in my last post.
    I have a thought that somehow you misinterpreted your guest appearance on this thread as an opportunity for fame and praise of a creative writing exercise eulogy, with no one else allowed to utter a word of anything but praise. I liked the comment of Janice holding out a hand of compassion and pulling back a bloody stump. You animal. You state you are not a heathen looking for a saviour, no, you are worse. You say you see, and claim others can’t.
    And you lie to try to make yourself out to be right/justified
    You are a drama queen who had a hissy fit because someone invited you to apply a brighter makeup.
    Your behaviour in the comment thread is a disgrace and an offence to debate, to open minds, compassionate hearts and the holiest of holies of all, the TRUTH.

  244. Willis, in your prologue you had “advertised” (for want of a better word) not a “eulogy” as you subsequently – and somewhat belatedly – decided to call your 8,200+ word essay (approximately half of which was about your late father-in-law), but a “perspective on life”. I might have missed it, but I saw no mention in your essay of either your “non-theism” or Billy’s “atheism”.

    I certainly get that whenever one loses a close friend or relative other losses – the pain of which might have faded somewhat over time – are brought to mind, along with thoughts of our own mortality.

    Consequently, like some others I found your “reading” of Janice’s single comment addressed to you to be wildly over the top and completely unwarranted.

    Since you claimed to have “apologized” to Janice, I went back through the thread looking for any of your words that might approximate an “apology” to Janice. I found none, at least none that struck me as being particularly sincere.

    Unfortunately what I did find were your ever-escalating fantasies. Beginning with your baseless accusations that she was “hijacking [your] thread”, “plagiarizing and worse” and “twisting [your] words”. And culminating in your ludicrous repeated accusations that she was “seeking converts”, “giving a sermon” and “proselytizing”.

    Not to mention your – by now, IMHO, far too familiar pattern of – flying off the handle and browbeating those whose comments were not as full of adulation and agreement as you appear to believe you deserve.

    To be honest, I’m not entirely sure which I find more disheartening and disappointing, Willis. Your actions towards Janice or the rather conspicuous absence of any acknowledgement on your part of the recollection of the losses that others have shared, For example, weathep’s loss of a child [April 19, 2014 at 2:45 am] whose pain one can feel four years later, and Snowsnake’s very recent loss of his wife of 48 years [April 19, 2014 at 6:10 am].

    Or is it the case that in your view the stories of their respective losses were not as “crafted” and “powerful” as your own and therefore not deserving of your acknowledgement, because you have more important things to write about, like rationalizing your actions, over and over and over again..

    I would offer my condolences, Willis. However, in the tradition of my faith I have always done so by wishing those in mourning long life. So I shall refrain, lest you find my words to be of no comfort, an “unwelcome intrusion” on your grief, and an “attempt to proselytize”.

  245. Hilary, it was Anthony that referred to Willis’s guest essay as a perspective on life. It detracts not from your point and the other points you make.
    I’m glad to see someone else take the trouble to stand up for the truth (Willis’s ever-escalating fantasies) and try to bring him to account.

  246. Thanks Willis,
    a fine perspective, and I do value it!

    Growing up on ‘a farm in africa’, pest and pestilence have challenged me resources many times.

    The ‘reaper’ has many aspects – somehow, your account lifts the spirit – that is good.

    However (and I fully understand why you did not go there, even while you may have first hand experience), the emotions evoked by having snuffed others, almost killed me. War, negligence, driving ‘intoxicated’ – the list is looong…

    The thread is two days old (for me anyways),

    best always.

  247. I expressed my support for Janice in the O/T, which she has acknowledged and thanked me for, as doing it here just invites more diatribes. But then, more blue bully-pulpit self-justification appeared.

    Comparing her to a dollar-chasing mortician, someone who bursts in one someone else’s funeral with unwelcome words (presumably like those dickheads who vandalise the funerals of deceased soldiers), a Jehovah’s Witness on the doorstep (a proselytiser), while describing oneself as “passionate” and “complex” and a wonderful craftsman of prose says a lot more about Willis than it does about Janice. This is not surprising, as he has used at least 20 times as many words attacking her as the length of her original comment, which may have been poorly targeted but which no fair person would say contained a shred of ill-will..

    It must be great to be your own moderator on WUWT.

  248. and I fail to see what religion (of any description) can add to the discussion?
    no?
    believes being what it is…

  249. … lung cancer’s not a good way to go
    My father lost his battle with lung cancer in the 1980’s. Of all the ways to shuffle off this mortal coil, lung cancer has to be one of the worst.

  250. “Of all the ways to shuffle off this mortal coil, lung cancer has to be one of the worst..”
    Yam all ears, what would be the bestest option, in your opinion??

    unless we stay???

  251. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Absolutely not, John. You’ve missed the point entirely. What she did was to give a Christian sermon at a eulogy for an atheist, and try to convert me to her faith. I did nothing of the sort.

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Willis,

    My point is you both are portraying emotions around a human condition that confronts all humans with the reality of deaths of others.

    I do not see the emotions involved being fundamentally different. I think you both have equivalent emotions in this matter. Emotions are not cognitive tools, so one of you is not right in articulating the emotion and the other wrong by articulating the same emotion a different way. She (Janice) expresses hers in a pro forma religious articulation of death inducing emotion that another person does not appreciate, yes she did that. Someone maybe doesn’t like your articulation of emotional expression, yes it is a possibility. One’s dislike of another’s expression does not invalid the similar emotion felt by the other.

    How one deals with emotions caused by another’s death is an intriguing topic and I thank you for bringing it up in ‘Billy’. I see a tendency in many people to deal with death on some kind of ‘human-kind is one’ or ’all life is one’ level. That, I think, is the purpose of mythology in the human psyche.

    John

  252. John Whitman,
    “That, I think, is the purpose of mythology in the human psyche.”

    Kindly forgive my inability to quote with bells and whistles…

    Can you harbour diametrically misaligned ideas all at once?

    My curse, kinda drives me crazy…
    often….

  253. RusQ says:
    April 21, 2014 at 7:34 am

    @John Whitman said “That, I think, is the purpose of mythology in the human psyche.”

    Kindly forgive my inability to quote with bells and whistles…

    Can you harbour diametrically misaligned ideas all at once?

    My curse, kinda drives me crazy…
    often….

    – – – – – – – – – –

    RusQ,

    That is a profound question.

    I am side stepping it to talk about mythology, and I hope that is acceptable to you. Maybe others will address your question? : )

    Mythology is a body of stories. The key word is stories.

    John

  254. I saved this for the weekend, when people who might read this would likely be more relaxed.

    The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
    Gang aft agley

  255. Ha John!
    Sure is acceptable :)
    Me have 7 dogs to take for a walk, halfway, we stop and we exchange “stories”.
    Tell me one, then listen to mine :)

  256. Evan, stop prevaricating. It was not the writing, but the extended, approved by the blog owner, and inaccurate monstering of someone who had the temerity to upset (accidentally) a self-absorbed jerk that caused the problem here.

  257. Willis,

    I think that when I die there is nothing afterwards. But, needless to say, I take some comfort from thinking that those who have died are somehow still around me. I guess that is what religion is all about, but I don’t mean to get into that debate.

    As people of the sea, I hope you might like the reading I gave at my mother’s funeral over five years ago;

    What is dying? I am standing on the sea shore. A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her till at last she fades on the horizon, and then someone at my side says; “She is gone.” Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all; she is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.

    The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her; and just at the moment when someone at my side says; “She is gone”, there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout: “There she comes!” And that is dying.

    (source unknown)

  258. “a self-absorbed jerk that caused the problem here”
    me have a somewhat loud bird (Hadeda) in me ears – trust you, dear Johanna, may have something goodish to waste energy on?

  259. If there’s any “monstering” going on in this thread, it’s the concern trolls going after Willis.

    You want a Willis doll that you can mold and fit into your self absorbed bubbles.

    You stir the pot and stir some more and stir yet again. Then you come and whine, whine, whine about how many words he’s written. You’re so eager to type but apparently aren’t doing much reading or thinking.

  260. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 21, 2014 at 3:56 am

    Willis, in your prologue you had “advertised” (for want of a better word) not a “eulogy” as you subsequently – and somewhat belatedly – decided to call your 8,200+ word essay (approximately half of which was about your late father-in-law), but a “perspective on life”. I might have missed it, but I saw no mention in your essay of either your “non-theism” or Billy’s “atheism”.

    I certainly get that whenever one loses a close friend or relative other losses – the pain of which might have faded somewhat over time – are brought to mind, along with thoughts of our own mortality.

    Consequently, like some others I found your “reading” of Janice’s single comment addressed to you to be wildly over the top and completely unwarranted.

    Hilary, good to hear from you.

    I was not the one to introduce religion into this discussion. It is a very divisive subject as events have shown. I was careful to avoid it. Apparently, Janice couldn’t stand someone talking about death without mentioning Jesus, so once again, the Christians stick their religion in where it is totally inappropriate.

    And if you do not think that was a eulogy to Billy, then put your glasses back on. But that’s not the main issue. Here’s the real problem. It appears that like most Christians, you think that trying to convert someone to Christianity is acceptable behavior at any time and place, and should be welcomed or at least tolerated, no matter when and where someone might decide to do it.

    It is not acceptable everywhere. There are many times and places where it is not only unacceptable to try to convert people to your religion, it is an unwarranted intrusion into their lives. And there are many, many people out here for whom an attempt to convert them is always unwelcome. I, for example, wish that I would never again have some Christian fool try to convert me, for what must be the thousandth time. WE’RE NOT INTERESTED in your quacking about your religion, no matter how good your motives might be. Some of us find such crass actions intrusive, unpleasant, and against everything Christ stood for.

    Let me say that again. There are times and places when trying to convert people to your religion is wildly inappropriate. ONE OF THEM IS WHEN PEOPLE ARE GRIEVING!!!

    So I couldn’t care less if you thought it was a eulogy or not. I was obviously grieving. It was not the time to try convert me. So let Janice’s intrusiveness serve as an object lesson to any other well-meaning fools out there. THERE ARE OCCASIONS WHEN PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOUR BS FOR THE TEN THOUSANDTH TIME!! And when they are grieving is likely one of them.

    Is that so hard to understand, Hilary? Sometimes, you are NOT WELCOME TO PROSELYTIZE!! We don’t care if you think Jesus is da bomb, we’ve heard that before ad nauseum, and sometimes we just want you to stick a sock in it.

    Sheesh … no, what Janice did was not a neutral act. No, Janice was not offering her condolences. It was not an attempt to discuss religion.

    She was giving a sermon in favor of one religion over all the others, quoting the Bible, and trying to convert me.

    Sorry, but when a man is grieving, and has just discussed his at length his father’s death and his sister’s death and his mother’s death and his step-father’s death, all without saying one word about Jesus, the idea that that would be a wonderful place to give a sermon and try to convert the grieving man to the peculiar beliefs of whatever small band of Christians you belong to is SICK! I don’t care if you knew it was a eulogy, you damn sure knew that much.

    Y’all seem to think that whenever anyone mentions death, that’s just a perfect time to bring up your particular parochial set of strange beliefs about invisible friends that can suspend the laws of physics … bad mistake.

    Like I said above, I have no problem with Jesus’s words or ideas.

    But his followers can be crass, insensitive, and intrusive in their practice of his ideas and words. You may not believe it, Hilary, but some of us not only don’t want to be “saved”. We don’t want to believe in your invisible friend, and we think you are ludicrous for entertaining such a zany notion. We’ve heard every possible reason to convert, and we’re not interested.

    In short, we are sick to death of God-botherers of every stripe telling us over and over that no, Janice’s religion isn’t the real Christianity, but luckily we have the real Christianity over here, so why don’t you convert to our kind of Christianity, because Janice has the wrong kind. We’re loving people who think all other Christians are wrong, so come join us …

    So Hilary, I’m sorry I snapped when Janice brought that load of pre-enlightenment superstition and tried to convert me as though I’d never heard of Jesus. But at times, you guys are just too pushy, and too much what I called the “freakin’ bluebird of happiness”. Here’s the real problem.

    When a man is grieving over the death of a friend, trying to convert him to your religion at that time is underhanded, duplicitous, and despicable. Period.

    If you disagree with that last statement, please let me know why and how.

    And if you don’t … then why are you defending Janice’s actions?

    Because that’s all her comment was. It wasn’t a comment to state her happiness with her religion. It wasn’t an expression of compassion.

    It was religious proselytizing of a grieving man giving a eulogy for his father-in-law, and doing that sucks bigtime. So while I regret that I overreacted to that, I do not regret reacting to it. It was wholly and entirely inappropriate.

    In my original comment to Hilary, I compared using a man’s grief to try to sell him Christianity with a mortician using a man’s grief to try to sell him an expensive casket. I stand by that. It is a recognized problem. In fact, the problem is so bad that in California they have special laws to protect the bereaved from such sharp practices. Now, we just need to extend those laws to the equally sharp practices of those like Janice, who are assuredly motivated by the most noble motives … but who are still quite happy to do exactly what the unscrupulous mortician is doing, by taking advantage of someone’s grief to sell the Christianity.

    And you are defending that? Color me surprised.

    w.

  261. johanna says:
    April 21, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Evan, stop prevaricating. It was not the writing, but the extended, approved by the blog owner, and inaccurate monstering of someone who had the temerity to upset (accidentally) a self-absorbed jerk that caused the problem here.

    – – – – – – – – –

    johanna,

    If you are chumming the intellectual waters here to catch your self-imagined monsters, then I can understand your use of some hysterical intellectual bait to make your chum.

    Did you look under your bed this morning to make sure the monsters weren’t there?

    John

  262. Kinda Crazy, maybe….
    right about now, I will walk DOWN THE STREET…
    9 OUTA 10, is where real pipples exist – have NO prollem talking “stories:”
    You have some also?
    That is good..

  263. A good friend, who died some years ago, was to be honored at a service in a rather fundamentalist church which his family had recently joined. I was totally disgusted when the pastor, instead of delivering any kind of eulogy, seized the opportunity to preach and recruit new “converts” from the very large crowd. Most of us found other ways to celebrate George’s life and his enrichment of ours.

  264. “f you are chumming the intellectual waters here to catch your self-imagined monsters, then I can understand your use of some hysterical intellectual bait to make your chum.

    Did you look under your bed this morning to make sure the monsters weren’t there?

    John”
    _________________________
    What does this mean?

    Meanwhile, we are just waiting for the bright blue bully pulpit to remind of us of what a great, sensitive writer he is (perhaps comparable to Hemingway) and that therefore he is exculpated of relentlessly bullying a single female commenter for dozens of posts.

    What a hero!

  265. There is a party less than 30 degrees over my ‘left shoulder’ – angles has their place, no?
    LOL – still laterz..

  266. You posted a eulogy on a science blog, which to me indicates an invitation to debate anything of scientific worth, or not, that it brings up. Evidence for life after death seems fair discussion topic, on a science blog, which is refreshingly brave to bring the topic up. However I don’t really see this as a place for that combination of brain chemicals called sentimentalism, sorry, my bad.

    Willis: all of my comments apply to a non-theist as well as an atheist.

    For example, logically Objective Good only exists if there is something to BE the definition of good. Which is either God, or not. You say not, and so in the absence of anything to BE the definition of Good, you cannot use that term in anything other than an arbitrary and ultimately meaningless sense.

    Scripture says, that God is good, and His love endures forever. This statement is made as an observation by those who have encountered him. I personally add my own small witness to that statement.

    You asked for a definition of love: Love is is real, because there exists a non-physical realm in which Love has a being, a substance and consciousness. You can converse with Love (see below), and Love will always speak benevolently, and in a fatherly manner towards you. Scripture tells us that “God is Love”. Love is real and can be encountered, and experienced, as a being (see below). Our view of this non-physical realm is through our emotions, within which cause and effect are just as evident as in the physical realm.

    If you deny the non-physical realm which I propose in which Love has a real form, then you are saying that it is illusory, or is a mere meme, and so to the non-theist, love does not exist really. Its a load of hot air about a concept which is a mere idea.

    Let us say for sake of argument, that the purpose of life is training for something, training to be appreciative of Love, (i.e. God), in order to be able to survive and thrive in an eternal domain which consists of Love, then completing that training is cause for celebration.

    The non-theist has no idea what the purpose of life is, and denies any such purpose so has no reason to celebrate its completion. At least you are consistent on that point.

    Put it another way.

    A successful life and death is a triumph, a lasting eternal victory over adversity, which fulfils a grand purpose. Any other view of death turns life into a sick joke, along the lines of “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” which is all the sicker because no one is laughing.

    Willis is trying to have the middle ground… which I am at pains to point out is illogical. So on Easter Saturday, we have a post which says “life’s basically ok and then you die which is a bitch, but hey look on the bright side, there isn’t one, but since dying is a bitch, at least we can be happy that life is basically ok for some… until you die”

    Janice tried gently to nudge things off the fence in a positive direction. At which point Willis flew aggressively against her. I point out that someone who has positive answer to a genuine problem may just be worth listening to.

    I point towards the existence of scientific data points which substantiate the veracity of Jesus’ offer. Then I get slammed too.

    I point out the logical inconsistencies in the original posters apparent world view… slammed again.

    Willis points out that there are lots of religions… I should then point out that ONLY one man walked the earth as God (“the Word become flesh”) and addressed this actual problem and defeated death for us, which is very cool!

    I am kind of stuck here in this discussion now, so I think this is the end of it for me: I met Jesus, I cant unmeet him. I have seen visions of my departed in heaven living it up, I can’t un-see those visions. I have 10+ years worth of records of Jesus speaking to people and healing them, I can’t un-record this data.

    All I have left is to offer is actual data from what is essentially an oft-repeated scenario.

    So let me throw in an actual piece of evidence, a chat conversation as it happened, in fairly raw form: Jez is a young lad, he has no religious affiliation or previous church attendance. Note the lack of suggestion and coaching and the rigorous use of qualitative measurements.

    Transcript
    Helper: Hi Jez, u ok?
    Jez : yeah my friend has fallen out with me
    Helper: or you fell out with him?
    Helper: y?
    Jez : he fell out with me because i was told by some one on fb to put a status about him and slag him off or the person will kick my head in
    Helper: oh thats not good
    Jez : i have tried to contact him he has blocked me
    Helper: I will help you to sort this out
    Helper: Would you be up for praying about it?
    Session Start
    Helper: how do you feel about being bullied?
    Jez : upset
    Helper: ok, when was the first time you felt upset like this
    Jez : when i was bullied at school
    Helper: so in that memory how did you feel?
    Jez : upset
    Helper: why?
    Helper: any reason in particular
    Helper: Lord Jesus, God, I ask you to help Jez to express himself.
    Jez : because i was beaten up and bullied at school
    Helper: can you list the emotions for me

    Jez : emotions i felt was depressed sad angry
    Helper: ok, well done
    Helper: Have you fully expressed the anger you felt?
    Jez : yeah
    Helper: how much anger was there out of 10, where 0 is none and 10 is lots?
    Jez : 8
    Helper: ok, would you be willing to ask the Lord Jesus what he wants you to do with this anger?
    Jez : yeah
    Helper: Excellent, Lord Jesus what would you like Jez to do with this anger?
    Jez : he said to send it to the cross to be destroyed
    Helper: ok, Lord Jesus we pray sending Jez’s anger to the cross of Jesus to be destroyed there in his body.
    Jez : its gone
    Helper: Out of 10?
    Jez : 2
    Helper: Lord Jesus could you help Jez understand why there is still 2/10 left?
    Jez : because i need to sort it out with my friend
    Helper: Ah ok, how do you feel hearing that?
    Jez : i feel better which i will sort it out but how
    Helper: I will talk to him for you
    Jez : ok thanks Helper
    Helper: So, that means that out of that 8, anger, 6 came form the past memory, and 2 from the present one.
    Jez : yeah
    Helper: Lets look at the next emotion, you said you felt sad, how much sadness out of 10?
    Jez : 9
    Helper: ok, how do you feel about asking the Lord what to do with it?
    Jez : yeah
    Helper: Lord Jesus Jez has lots of sadness to do with being bullied, what would you like him to do with that sadness?
    Jez : it needs to be destroyed
    Helper: How Lord?
    Jez : it needs to sent to the cross to be destroyed
    Helper: Jez, do you think you could do it this time? (type here)
    Jez : yeah lord jesus i pray to send my sadness to the cross to be destroyed
    Helper: Yay, nice one
    Jez : i did it
    Helper: and how much sadness is there now out of 10?
    Jez : 0
    Helper: Ok, the next emotion was “depressed”, how much is that out of 10?
    Jez : 10
    Helper: Lord Jesus what would you like Jez to know about his depression feeling?
    Jez : that i need to go counselling
    Helper: Lord Why does Jez need to go for counselling?
    Jez : so i can let it out
    Helper: ok
    Helper: How do you feel about that idea Jez?
    Jez : but he said i can speak to you if I feel it could be beneficial
    Helper: OK that makes sense.
    Jez : yeah
    Helper: So lots of depression there at the moment
    Helper: Lord what should we do next?
    Jez : yeah it has gone down to a 5
    Jez : the lord said to send it to the cross to be destroyed
    Helper: Did you do it?
    Jez : yeah
    Helper: Well done mate!
    Helper: So in that memory of being bullied is it peaceful and calm?
    Jez : yeah
    Helper: Any negative emotions?
    Helper: How do you feel about the facebook situation now?
    Jez : i feel better

    Willis: If you maintain your world view then, your sadness is merely a product of chemicals in the brain, try different combinations of drugs and alcohol.

    Alternatively, if you will pray asking the Lord to absorb your sadness from you into his body on the cross to be destroyed there he will happily do so. Just as the Lord Jesus directly instructed Jez (with no suggestion from any other source)

    Janice and I were only trying to be helpful, and this transcript is the best I can do to show the reality of what I am saying, that God outside of time, has provided an earthly mechanism for dealing with the reality of the sadness you feel at your loss.

  267. @ robert willis
    such avoidance is telling – concern trolls going after willis?

    Willis has employed the same tactics & creative misrepresentation of ‘data’ that the AGW proponents do. Essentially lying and twisting and using bogus example – so blatant. And he did it to a lovely soul who invited him, if he was interested, to share the way she found hope in life – compared to Willis’s ridiculous comment ‘best advice he receives is from death’, the grim reaper over his shoulder, criminal he cites at the beginning of his guest essay.
    Willis is full of bs and trying to preach, in the creative writing/wordsmithing he claims to be particularly good at, a type of wounded, poor me, blame Janice and all the Jesus nuts who do this that and the other and don’t understand non–theism/sts or what have you. He claims at length to have done buddhism, and a variety of other thinking/reading/practicing efforts.
    Nah, don’t buy any of it – he’s a conceited verbal thug who beat up on Janice and persists with his anti Christ do-gooders at a eulogy (or anywhere) rhetoric, as loud as you like with creative misrepresentation/ false context/ exaggeration/pseudo-intellectual, poor me babble.
    I’m sorry but it is the TRUTH, something sadly lacking in his dialogue.

  268. johanna says:
    April 21, 2014 at 6:08 am

    I expressed my support for Janice in the O/T, which she has acknowledged and thanked me for, as doing it here just invites more diatribes. But then, more blue bully-pulpit self-justification appeared.

    In other words, Janice was happy to come in and try to convert me, but has gone away now that I have protested. Wonderful. She won’t say anything to me, but she’s off somewhere else talking to her supporters. Ah, well, I’m sure she’s doing it with nothing but the finest of motives.

    Comparing her to a dollar-chasing mortician, someone who bursts in one someone else’s funeral with unwelcome words (presumably like those dickheads who vandalise the funerals of deceased soldiers), a Jehovah’s Witness on the doorstep (a proselytiser), while describing oneself as “passionate” and “complex” and a wonderful craftsman of prose says a lot more about Willis than it does about Janice.

    Look, I can see you don’t agree with my comparison. But just saying I’m wrong wrong wrong means nothing. It’s fine to tell us your opinion, which obviously is that I’m a jerk … so what? What do you have to back up your opinion?

    Here’s some facts to back up mine. Janice brought religion into the discussion, not me. And she tried to use the time of my grief to convert me to her particular brand of religion.

    Are you seriously claiming that that is appropriate? Because I can assure you, on my planet it is not.

    And how is her using my grief to try to sell me Christianity any different from the mortician using my grief to try to sell me an expensive casket? You say it’s different … but your opinion is meaningless unless you can say how it is different. Yes, her motives are pure and the mortician’s motives are not … so what? They are still both trying to use my grief to sell me something, and that’s not right for either of them.

    And why should I not compare her to a proselytizer? THAT’S WHAT SHE DID! She gave a Christian sermon, quoted the Bible, and tried to convert me to Christianity. How on earth is that not proselytizing? Are you following this story?

    And yes, I am a passionate and complex man, and a good wordsmith … so what? Are those crimes now too? Do you also disapprove of how I tie my shoes?

    This is not surprising, as he has used at least 20 times as many words attacking her as the length of her original comment, which may have been poorly targeted but which no fair person would say contained a shred of ill-will..

    People have attacked me. I’ve defended myself, and tried to explain my position. She, on the other hand, went elsewhere and refused further comment.

    So … have I used more words here than she has since she decamped from the field? Well, duh …

    However, I did not accuse her of ill-will, johanna. Learn to read. I said her motives were immaterial. I said that unpleasant acts cause pain regardless of the motives of the actor. And yes, I’ve used lots of words … but not to attack her. I’ve used lots of words to try to explain my actions to hide-bound, superstitious folk who think that babbling about Jesus is always appropriate any time any where to anyone, because their motives are so damn noble and pure and God is on their side … riiiight.

    And yes, getting through to those folk is taking longer than I thought …

    It must be great to be your own moderator on WUWT.

    Say what? That’s nonsense. I’m not a moderator here at all. I don’t snip anything, I don’t ban anyone, I don’t delete any comments, nor do I want to. I’m a guest author, not a moderator. I have no more power in this than you do.

    Your implication, that somehow I’m snipping comments or controlling the discussion, is as far from the mark as your claims about how what Janice did what is just peachy and right and perfectly acceptable.

    Look, johanna. I don’t know how I can say this plainer. You seem to think that giving a Christian sermon and quoting the Bible and trying to convert people is a noble and good thing. And sometimes, with some people, in some situations, it is definitely that.

    What you don’t seem to realize is that for a good hunk of the folks on this planet, a sermon about Jesus is always an unwarranted assumption of superiority of your views, an intrusion into our lives, and a repeated, incessant attempt to get us to reconsider decisions that we’ve already made after much consideration and internal debate.

    So there are a number of folks don’t like Christians’ pushy behavior even on a good day. And in the middle of my grief, yes, I like it even less, and I may actually snap at the practitioners of this kind of aggressive religious panhandling … so sue me.

    Janice, when you and I were kids, a Christian sermon was welcome, or at least tolerated, pretty much any time, any where. In my childhood, people witnessing for Christ was seen to be a good thing no matter where or when someone did it. When I was a kid, I can’t recall knowing anyone who wasn’t a Christian. Not one person.

    That is no longer true. The percentage of Christians in the US has dropped, many other cultures and religions have grown larger, and there are many more atheists and non-theists than ever.

    But y’all haven’t kept up with the times. You still think it’s just fine to whip poor old Jesus out of your pockets any time anywhere and commence using him to bash people over the head ..

    It’s not still fine. For some of us it is an insult. For others it is a bother. For others it is just repeated intrusion. For me, most of the time its tolerable but extremely unpleasant … but usually I just grin and bear it, and say “Forgive the Christians, Father, for they know not what they do …”

    However, trying that BS when someone is grieving is simply not on. You do it, and you may well get bitten, and not just by me. I’m not the only one out here who finds the incessant drumbeat of attempts to convert anyone and everyone, any time and anywhere, even those people who don’t have the slightest wish to be converted, to be a blot on the face of Christianity … as I said above, I wish that Christians would ASK FIRST if I want to hear about their bizarre superstitions once again, for what is likely the 603rd time this year that I’ve been subjected to the same “news”, BEFORE they pull Jesus out and start hitting me.

    And that’s the view of Christianity from the other side of the fence. You are not universally loved, your message is not always either appropriate or welcomed, and there are a lot of us who are sick of your incessant attempts to convert us, and wish you’d go bother someone else.

    I understand you may not like those facts, johanna, but I assure you it is the truth, and Christians would be wise to notice it and trim their sails accordingly. You could get away with spouting your odd beliefs at any time when nearly everyone was a Christian … these days, that’s not happening.

    Thanks for you comments,

    w.

    PS—I didn’t say anything about the Jehovah’s Witness religion, not sure where you got that idea.

  269. safeprayer, you are wasting your time. Willis has an agenda triggered by Janice who was an excuse for the real Willis to rise and further practice his wordsmithing and denouncment of Christian motives. He has obviously long sought the vehicle and opportunity to do so and now we can’t stop him! How long is it taking to stop the AGW’s who employ same tactics?
    I’d like to see his ego subside and a humble apology to Janice (he wants one from her) – but more than this I’d like to see his ability to acknowledge fact and truth and the distance between same and his writing here.
    I’ve persisted at him for the sake of the truth, which he will not acknowledge or respect.

  270. Imagine . . . .

    A very old man dies then a few years later his life long and also very old wife dies. They both called themselves Christians for their whole life right to the very end. They both came from very very large families and they themselves produced a very very large family.

    The family included Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Asian Muslims, pagans and people who had none of those kinds of beliefs/faith/spirituality. The old man and old woman loved them all equally and with respect. They considered themselves very rich to have them. When the old couple visited the homes of their grownup family, they of course respected the rituals and practices even when not Christian ones.

    In the spirit of the old couple’s respect for all the family, when the family celebration was held honoring them after their deaths, the family members who weren’t Christians (~40%) were encouraged to express their sentiments not as Christians would, but in their own cultural/religious way. No one complained as that was the way the old couple had conducted the family affairs when they were alive. Perhaps some were zealous in their expressions at the celebration? Absolutely. Maybe the zealousness would concern an outsider’s sensibilities, but to experienced insiders (family) it was what the family was expected to be like over the many wonderful years of the old couple’s life.

    The above is partly (mostly) autobiographically derived . . . . . : )

    John

  271. John Whitman says:
    April 21, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Absolutely not, John. You’ve missed the point entirely. What she did was to give a Christian sermon at a eulogy for an atheist, and try to convert me to her faith. I did nothing of the sort.

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Willis,

    My point is you both are portraying emotions around a human condition that confronts all humans with the reality of deaths of others.

    Thanks for the reply, John. I’m sorry, I’m still not seeing the equivalence.

    I expressed emotions, lots of them. Raw emotions. Very personal emotions. Strong emotions.

    In response, she gave a dispassionate bog-standard Christian sermon containing many of the usual banal Christian platitudes just like I’ve heard hundreds of times from the pulpit, she quoted from the Bible, and she tried to convert me to her particular religion. Heck, she even closed the sermon with a hymn.

    Yes, she said “The ebb tide of grief will flow high and ebb many, many times before it finally rests.” Perhaps you mistook that for her expressing an emotion. To me it sounds like a Hallmark card.

    Look, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying her motives were bad, or that she’s a bad person. I have no evidence either way on that question, I don’t know her, so I’m assuming she did it for noble motives and is a good person … but so what? Whether your actions are inappropriate, whether your actions are intrusive, whether your actions cause pain, that doesn’t depend on your motives in the slightest.

    In any case, if you can’t see any difference between raw emotions on the one hand, and on the other hand a Christian sermon complete with Bible verses, an attempt to convert the unbelievers, and a hymn to close it out, I fear there’s not much for us to discuss …

    Thanks for your contributions,

    w.

  272. evanmjones says:
    April 21, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I saved this for the weekend, when people who might read this would likely be more relaxed.

    The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
    Gang aft agley

    From memory, it continues …

    … And leave us naught but grief and pain
    for promised joy.

    Still thou art blessed, compared with me.
    The present only touches thee.
    But och, I backwards cast mine eye
    On prospects drear …
    And forwards, though I cannot see,
    I doubt and fear.

    Thanks,

    w.

  273. @ Willis

    “And why should I not compare her to a proselytizer? THAT’S WHAT SHE DID! She gave a Christian sermon, quoted the Bible, and tried to convert me to Christianity. How on earth is that not proselytizing? Are you following this story?”

    this seems to be the basis from which you antipreaching preach or is that preach antipreaching…
    anyway
    1 She did not give a sermon – as I highlighted to you long ago, she agreed you could learn something from death but only so much and you couldn’t get joy, hope or love from death, as you were wordsmithing about. She said she had found a way to find same and, if you were interested, shared that way.
    2 She quoted the bible? dear me Willis, wisdom is found all over the place, some in poems, some in books, Christ had swath of it, my God, even you have written some in your creative writing guest essay. Because it is in the bible it is bad? She quoted a pertinent wise piece and gave the reference, happened to be from the bible, but could have been a number of philosophers, poems owhy
    3 she tried to convert you to Christianity? You serious? Come on! did she knock on your door, ask you to do something, anything? Again, she basically said she’d found a way to have hope joy and love, and to read on if you were interested, she didn’t even ask you to read what she had found!

    Bring it on Willis, I love debunking bullshit

  274. Mark Fraser says:
    April 21, 2014 at 9:36 am

    A good friend, who died some years ago, was to be honored at a service in a rather fundamentalist church which his family had recently joined. I was totally disgusted when the pastor, instead of delivering any kind of eulogy, seized the opportunity to preach and recruit new “converts” from the very large crowd. Most of us found other ways to celebrate George’s life and his enrichment of ours.

    My point exactly, and I don’t understand why it is so hard for Hilary and johanna and Mr. Illusion to grasp it.

    w.

  275. Neillusion says:
    April 21, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Bring it on Willis, I love debunking bullshit

    So … when are you going to start the debunking?

    Your claim seems to be that she didn’t give a sermon. I say again:

    You know this concept, a “sermon”? It’s where you tell people things would be better if they accept Jesus, then give them a Bible verse, then tell them you really care about their wellbeing, then give them another Bible verse, then hit them with what they are missing by not being Christians, and close with a Bible verse and a prayer? Does this sound familiar? If not, re-read her comment … because that’s exactly what she did.

    Heck, she even put a hymn at the end of her sermon, so there would be no mistake. Take a look, I’m not kidding. I’ve seen hundreds of sermons in all kinds of Christian churches. Hers was totally unremarkable, a typical example of the species.

    Nice try at making a point, though, although sadly it doesn’t match the facts.

    And please, do let me know when you plan to go find some “bullshit” and debunk it, I’d like to see that.

    w.

  276. Isn’t it about time to pull the plug on the continuing religiosity of the ever-so-preachy safepreyer and his illusory compatriot? Lord save us from the missionaries…

    This is a good example of why religion (and personal political leanings) should be summarily excised from any thread.

  277. John Whitman says:
    April 21, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Imagine . . . .

    A very old man dies then a few years later his life long and also very old wife dies. They both called themselves Christians for their whole life right to the very end. They both came from very very large families and they themselves produced a very very large family.

    The family included Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Asian Muslims, pagans and people who had none of those kinds of beliefs/faith/spirituality. The old man and old woman loved them all equally and with respect. They considered themselves very rich to have them. When the old couple visited the homes of their grownup family, they of course respected the rituals and practices even when not Christian ones.

    In the spirit of the old couple’s respect for all the family, when the family celebration was held honoring them after their deaths, the family members who weren’t Christians (~40%) were encouraged to express their sentiments not as Christians would, but in their own cultural/religious way. No one complained as that was the way the old couple had conducted the family affairs when they were alive. Perhaps some were zealous in their expressions at the celebration? Absolutely. Maybe the zealousness would concern an outsider’s sensibilities, but to experienced insiders (family) it was what the family was expected to be like over the many wonderful years of the old couple’s life.

    The above is partly (mostly) autobiographically derived . . . . . : )

    John

    Thanks for that, John, that’s a lovely story. Sounds to me like the family members were expressing their sentiments, but they were not proselytizing. They were not trying to convert the other family members to their religion. And they were invited to express their sorrow in the way of their religion, because that was the style in that family.

    As my high school english teacher would say, “compare and contrast” that with what Janice did …

    w.

  278. johanna says:
    April 21, 2014 at 9:46 am

    “f you are chumming the intellectual waters here to catch your self-imagined monsters, then I can understand your use of some hysterical intellectual bait to make your chum.

    Did you look under your bed this morning to make sure the monsters weren’t there?

    John”

    _________________________

    What does this mean?

    Meanwhile, we are just waiting for the bright blue bully pulpit to remind of us of what a great, sensitive writer he is (perhaps comparable to Hemingway) and that therefore he is exculpated of relentlessly bullying a single female commenter for dozens of posts.

    What a hero!

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Johanna,

    It means your indirectly implied monster, whom you exclaim is ‘monstering’ (making a monster of)Janice, only exists in your own mind.

    Your initiation of hero usage is suggestive. Are you the heroine in your own mind wrt saving Janice from Wills? How nice.

    John

  279. @Willis, I am astonished you can write ‘it doesn’t match the facts’

    Janice wrote:….
    “…
    Most importantly, Death, while wise, cannot give you hope.

    Do you realize how COOL it is to KNOW where your soul is going when you die? THAT is peace, man, powerful peace.

    For hope, you must listen to Life.

    How can one do this?

    In case you might be interested in the answer I found to that question,…..’

    So Willis, there you go, and your 1,2,3 as above post, factually, proven bullshit.

    But twist away, Sermon indeed, lol, Tried to convert you!?! Quoted the bible !!!! OMG

  280. Willis

    You wrote a lovely piece which has now been overshadowed by the fall out from an unfortunate response to Janice, for which you have expressed regrets..

    Wouldn’t it be best to call it a day and stop further comments, as happens with all WUWT threads after a certain period of time has elapsed?

    tonyb.

  281. Willis,

    I think Janice might have considered herself part of a WUWT family when she made her first comment. I have no doubt Janice would not intentionally insult the WUWT family who (by my perception) she cherishes.

    John

  282. romanm, your comment is rather ignorant of the facts here, which if you’d followed any of my comments, you would see I have gone after the truth with Willis, my posts have been nothing to do with relligion, at all.
    what on earth motivated you to comment as you did? So wrong, I’m embarrassed for you.

  283. Neillusion says:
    April 21, 2014 at 11:23 am
    I dont think Im alone when i express my desire that you please just drop it.
    really now. just stop.
    I dont ever criticize those who wish to deify a dead jew. but youre just piling on, and its tired already.

  284. milodonharlani says:
    April 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    thanks for responding. I should have been more specific, but I was hoping more would care to enlighten, but it is not my thread.
    In response, I say it is indeed plausible that life began from inorganic sources. Perhaps this process was put in place by a god entity to ensure life was natural to this planet and highly adaptable.
    But where did the first dust mote originate. That to me, is the question of questions. Cosmological meditations that haunt my soul….

  285. @david…
    :::?????deify a dead jew?
    I’m just having it out with Willis over lying and his treatment of Janice.
    She did none of what he claimed and persists with – so I persist with the truth – it does out.
    His juvenile sidestepping and wordsmithing in the comments are an insult.

  286. davideisenstadt says:
    April 21, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I dont think Im alone when i express my desire that you please just drop it.
    really now. just stop.

    Amen to that!

  287. Ursa Felidae says:
    April 21, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Life arose from organic sources, as in organic chemical compounds, which means those containing carbon. That’s not just plausible, but an observable fact.

    Cosmic dust (ie, matter) exists in our universe because its physical laws allow, indeed require it, to exist here.

    Life is not composed of motes, however, but chemicals created in stars powered by the fusion of H into He, followed by nucleosynthesis. These chemicals then form compounds, some very complex & capable of self-organization, leading to replication & metabolism, ie life.

  288. It’s pretty clear that Neillusion needs this thread to build up his ego.

    He earlier declared he “demolished” Willis. When no one gave hm a pat on the head for his invisible achievement he had to come back and remind us what a mean keyboard stroker he is.

    Willis has explained his viewpoint – repeatedly. He has apologized for his overreaction – repeatedly.

    The only reason this thread continues on is because the mob, in true alarmist fashion, pretends Willis has done neither.

  289. tonybclimatereason says:
    April 21, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Willis

    You wrote a lovely piece which has now been overshadowed by the fall out from an unfortunate response to Janice, for which you have expressed regrets..

    Wouldn’t it be best to call it a day and stop further comments, as happens with all WUWT threads after a certain period of time has elapsed?

    tonyb.

    Thanks, tony. Closing a post is not within my authority. People think I have something to do with running this site. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m not a Moderator, and I don’t want to be one. I don’t snip comments. I don’t ban or un-ban people. I don’t close posts.

    I’m a guest author here, and nothing else.

    w.

  290. John Whitman says:
    April 21, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Willis,

    I think Janice might have considered herself part of a WUWT family when she made her first comment. I have no doubt Janice would not intentionally insult the WUWT family who (by my perception) she cherishes.

    John

    I agree with you totally, John. I don’t think she tried to hurt anyone, I think she was trying to help. I do not object to her motives.

    I object to her actions. I don’t care if she was trying to “help” me, using my time of grief as an excuse to read a Christian sermon, tell me I’ve got it all wrong about death, and try to convert me to Jesus was crass, insensitive, intrusive, pushy, patronizing, proselytizing, and underhanded.

    And unfortunately, her motives don’t change that fact in the slightest.

    w.

  291. @robert
    yeah, twist away robert, go for the ego nerve-end. You are as clueless as some others here about what has been said in the comments, what lies willis has persisted with to justify his reaction to Janice. Still if he won’t admit it, and you won’t inform yourself/admit it, what can I do? does he still want an apology from Janice?
    Sermon, convert, quoted bible – balderdash, I’m still amused at those.
    I thought I’d been quite objective here, and you go for the ego?
    mmm, you think that’s air you’re breathing? MatrixI

  292. willis, here you go again…
    I object to her actions. I don’t care if she was trying to “help” me, using my time of grief as an excuse to read a Christian sermon, tell me I’ve got it all wrong about death, and try to convert me to Jesus was crass, insensitive, intrusive, pushy, patronizing, proselytizing, and underhanded.

    Janice did/was none of these, this is a lie.
    No sermon.
    She actually agreed with you about death upto a limit she expanded on.
    she did not try to convert you to Jesus
    it was crass, etc, pushy????????????????????
    You actually believe this bs willis?

    You need help, take Robert along with you.

  293. RusQ says (April 21, 2014 at 6:48 am): ‘“Of all the ways to shuffle off this mortal coil, lung cancer has to be one of the worst..”

    Yam all ears, what would be the bestest option, in your opinion??’

    The obvious answer, from a “naughty” children’s ditty no less, is

    Go to bed, wake up dead.. :-)

    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=495198

    The variant sung in my social circle was “Remco suffocation”, inspired by this toy commercial:

  294. RomanM: This is a science blog, science is about starting with logic, collecting observations and making interpretations. Censorship has no part in science. [I was an atheist for 20+ years myself, I followed this path of honest enquiry]

    You apparently believe, that out of nothing everything comes. — illogical!
    I believe that this universe is a slice out of an altogether bigger pie, thats what the laws of science, and coincidently theology, tell us.

    Sometimes it is necessary to call people out when they logically contradict themselves.

    You appear prepared to censor every scientist with any faith, in which case you would have no science left. bye Newton, Pascal,….

    Man cannot do science on Voltaire alone.

    I call Willis on being sentimental, while at the same time espousing a world view that has no room for sentimentalism, and being angry and hurt and telling other people they are wrong while espousing a world view which doesn’t believe that emotions or consequences, or for that matter right and wrong are real or defined.

    Willis in your world view, nothing I do or you do makes any difference at all to the final outcome we all die in the end … SO what does it matter if someone preaches at you? You get upset… why?

    This keyboard is as much a bunch of atoms as you are, but it doesn’t get upset at anything.

    but… I am human… you say… ah, and that is what the original post was about, being human!

    And so in any scientific forum if you post a part-paper and someone else comes along and finishes off your working for you, you say thank you! If someone shows you that you made a mistake in logic, in assumptions or in any other area of your working, you say thank you!

    But not in this case.

  295. Neillusion says:
    April 21, 2014 at 10:19 am

    … Willis has an agenda triggered by Janice who was an excuse for the real Willis to rise and further practice his wordsmithing …

    Neillusion, most of your writing is far too bitter and harsh for me to touch. I fear it would rub off on me and I would be tempted to reply in kind, and I am a weak sinner in that regard.

    But I did love that line, and I can hardly wait for the movie …

    The Rise Of The Real Willis

    See him practice his ancient wordsmithing skills with participating
    Heathen Non-Believers
    and
    Non-Heathen Believers
    alike!

    Arriving soon at a theater near you.

    NOTE: All participants are volunteers. Void where prohibited

    w.

  296. Willis,

    You and I are seemingly at an impasse. Janice, to me, is displaying merely ‘pro forma’ litany response to a stimulus (your ‘Billy’). It signifies a ritual to me, not persuasion.

    In spite of some criticism of the dialog in comments that both Janice and you inspired, I found it a point for some important reflection. This wasn’t a science post, so going where it did wasn’t constrained.

    John

  297. Neillusion says:
    April 21, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Neillusion says:
    April 21, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Neillusion says:
    April 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    enough already.
    the suffering was supposed to have stopped around 3:00 pm Friday…not for us though.

  298. willis,
    lol
    it was the only thing i could fit or find reason enough for u to persist with lies, blah blah
    do you still want an apology from Janice?

    I get persistent myself, kind of bitter and harsh, sorry bout that, when lies are used to justify a nonposition. I do think you have a deep seated problem with good people like Janice and also somehow mentaly hang on to stuff that just ain’t true and manufacture more. Perhaps u were a little vulnerable but no excuse and a decent person would apologise FULLY to Janice

    david
    lol

  299. Thank you for a very touching story Willis.

    I also understand your harsh words towards Janice, since you could get the impression that she hijacked your personal story and filled it with content which you object to.

    Personally I choose to believe in Christianity and find comfort in the expectation of an eternal afterlife, but I will not push my belief on others.

    /Jan

  300. RE: “I found out then that there is an odd kind of peace in being alone in a room with someone who has just died. ”

    I second this.

  301. robert of calvery
    He earlier declared he “demolished” Willis. When no one gave hm a pat on the head for his invisible achievement he had to come back and remind us what a mean keyboard stroker he is.

    1. Willis, your position re Janice is just so wrong imo – I could demolish your argument in many different ways, comprehensively.

    2. You still persist with the Moslem funeral ‘example’ bs. Well demolished in my last post.

    which one robert 1 or 2

  302. John Whitman says:
    April 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Willis,

    You and I are seemingly at an impasse. Janice, to me, is displaying merely ‘pro forma’ litany response to a stimulus (your ‘Billy’). It signifies a ritual to me, not persuasion.

    I understand that, John. The part you don’t seem to get is that for a non-Christian such as either Billy or myself, that is someone sticking their damn ritual where it doesn’t belong.

    What part do you not understand about “some people find an uninvited sales pitch for Jesus at the eulogy for an atheist to be intrusive and upsetting”? Do I really need to put out a sign that says “Grieving, eulogizing my father-in-law, not the best time for your damn religious sales pitch”? Have we sunk that low in common courtesy? Well, clearly some Christians have …

    This is the problem. Christians, even well meaning ones such as yourself, simply don’t understand the frustration and revulsion and irritation we feel to be on the receiving end of YET ANOTHER CHRISTIAN SALES PITCH!!! Is there no occasion where you don’t try to sell me Jesus? Could we all just assume that EVERYONE HAS HEARD YOUR DAMN MESSAGE, and that mindlessly repeating it is not appreciated, particularly when a man is grieving?

    And to have her put her sales pitch right in the middle of my grief? She came in to tell me that my understanding of death is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    You are wise, Mr. Eschenbach, to listen to Death…… to a point. Death can make a person live wisely, but, Death cannot give you joy. Death cannot give you love. And Death is sometimes a liar, gleefully whispering in your ear about the peace it can bring. Death, per se, will not bring peace …

    She came to tell me that the comfort I feel in taking Death’s advice is false comfort, that I’m too foolish to tell the true from the false about WHAT COMFORTS ME … yeah, that makes me feel much better, John.

    How on earth is that not an intrusive sales pitch?

    Here’s a question for which I’d like an answer, if you would.

    If Janice gave a Christian eulogy for her father, and I came along and said “Jesus is a liar, Jesus can’t give you peace, only Death can do that”, what would you say about that, John?

    Would it be a neutral act if I did that regarding her father-in-law’s eulogy? Would you approve of that? Is that just “ritual”, as you seem to think? Or would you describe that as me trying to sell a belief system to someone in a time of mourning.

    Serious questions, John. If I went to Janice’s eulogy thread to tell her that Jesus is a liar gleefully whispering in her ear, and assure her he can never bring her peace … would you call “ritual”, or would you call that that incredibly unfeeling and intrusive? Isn’t that a sales pitch? Wouldn’t I be trying to take advantage of her grief to weaken her faith in Jesus? How on earth is that OK? And that’s just a bit of her crass attempt to convert me.

    So no, I’m not buying that telling someone in their time of grief that their belief system is all screwed up is simply “ritual” as you claim, that doesn’t pass the laugh test. That is part of a sales pitch, pure and simple, as any good salesman will tell you. If you want to convince someone to change, first you have to convince them that what they are doing is wrong.

    You see what I mean about how Christians don’t understand how their actions look from the other side? She came to my eulogy for my father-in-law to tell me my beliefs are all wrong, and up to now you’ve been defending her.

    Care to change your opinion now that you’ve seen it through my eyes? Heck, going to a eulogy and using the occasion of his grief to attack the beliefs of the person giving the eulogy is amazingly insensitive in any reasonable person’s eyes. Can we agree on that much? Or do I really need the sign that says “Grieving, postpone the sales pitch for Jesus”?

    In spite of some criticism of the dialog in comments that both Janice and you inspired, I found it a point for some important reflection. This wasn’t a science post, so going where it did wasn’t constrained.

    John

    I have no problem with where this conversation goes, and as you say, there are important points being discussed by some of the participants. Many thanks for the ones that you’ve brought up.

    w.

  303. Jan Kjetil Andersen says:
    April 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for a very touching story Willis.

    I also understand your harsh words towards Janice, since you could get the impression that she hijacked your personal story and filled it with content which you object to.

    Personally I choose to believe in Christianity and find comfort in the expectation of an eternal afterlife, but I will not push my belief on others.

    /Jan

    Thanks for all of that, Jan. She came to my eulogy for my father-in-law to tell my that my beliefs were all screwed up, and I over-reacted, but it has provoked an interesting dialog.

    w.

  304. Josh Richardson says:
    April 19, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    This loop-de-loop to try to conduct a private funeral eulogy in a public place is the kind of situation inappropriate activity I already know of and laugh at, atheists for attempting.

    You’re on a site where two million people a month visit. You’re as wrong, as you’d be for thinking you’d get a parade application approved and not see any signs remarking on others’ beliefs on the street.

    You brought Billy’s Eulogy to a public place then pretended it was a private reserve and have spent the past thirty hours posturing over your right to be free from theists.

    What on earth makes you think I was trying to conduct a private eulogy? It was a public eulogy, that’s the dang point of a eulogy.

    And no, I have no right nor any desire to be “free from theists”. A number of religious folk of various kinds wrote to add various interesting and approving comments to the thread.

    On the other hand, Janice showed up to tell me my beliefs were all wrong and try to take advantage of my grief to sell me Jesus.

    Should I have expected that? Actually, you know, I didn’t. I didn’t think that even Christians would be so crass and unfeeling as to listen to a man give a deep and moving eulogy for his father-in-law … and then proceed to lecture him about how his beliefs were all so screwed up that he couldn’t tell truth from lies … if I tried that at a Christian eulogy, saying that Jesus was nothing but a liar whispering in their ears and that he could never bring them peace, you would find that incredibly offensive.

    Well … so do I. And that is exactly what she said to me. Go and read it again.

    So yeah, Josh, I didn’t expect that. Shows how wrong a man can be. Even more surprising, however, are the ditto-heads like yourself clutching your pearls about what I’ve done. That part, however, is funny rather than upsetting.

    w.

    PS—I do love your claim that Janice coming to my eulogy to tell me how screwed up I am is the fault of “the athiests” … read the thread. Things were going swimmingly until an unpleasant Christian showed up to tell me what a fool I am and that what I believe is all wrong. Yeah, non-Christians don’t like that. Better get used to it …

  305. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:April 21, 2014 at 3:56 am

    [Willis' chosen "hook" for yet another round of recycled ranting snipped for brevity]

    Hilary, good to hear from you.

    I was not the one to introduce religion into this discussion. It is a very divisive subject as events have shown. I was careful to avoid it.

    Yes, so very “careful” in your “avoidance” that you couldn’t just scroll-by one solitary comment. You had to snip this comment in its entirety in order to belittle and berate Janice (whose motivations, at least at one point – perhaps in a moment of fleeting clarity and wisdom – you claimed not to know**!) while indulging yourself with your ever-escalating fantasies – evidence of which, in accordance, with your maxim I did provide (and which, I notice, you also snipped in your oh-so-careful “response” to my observations and questions.)

    ** http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/18/my-friend-billy-2/#comment-1616809

    But speaking of your snips and scroll-bys … the mileage of others (including, no doubt, yourself) might vary; but I for one found it quite telling that you chose to completely ignore my (emphasis now added):

    To be honest, I’m not entirely sure which I find more disheartening and disappointing, Willis. Your actions towards Janice or the rather conspicuous absence of any acknowledgement on your part of the recollection of the losses that others have shared, For example, weathep’s loss of a child [April 19, 2014 at 2:45 am] whose pain one can feel four years later, and Snowsnake’s very recent loss of his wife of 48 years [April 19, 2014 at 6:10 am].

    Or is it the case that in your view the stories of their respective losses were not as “crafted” and “powerful” as your own and therefore not deserving of your acknowledgement, because you have more important things to write about, like rationalizing your actions, over and over and over again.

    Btw, Willis, contrary to the ill-considered (and recycled for the umpteenth time) assumptions in your “response” to my comment, I have no “imaginary friend”. Although I certainly will confess that during times of grieving and mourning my own losses of family and close long-time friends, to some extent I have envied those whose faith gives them the comfort of strong belief in an afterlife.

    And – while your past performances in this thread would strongly suggest that it is not of much interest to you, Willis – just for the record … I’m Jewish, always have been and always will be.

    So I can assure you that we most certainly do not proselytize. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, is it part of our tradition to run around browbeating those who might express their condolences in accordance with their beliefs.

  306. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 21, 2014 at 3:56 am

    … To be honest, I’m not entirely sure which I find more disheartening and disappointing, Willis. Your actions towards Janice or the rather conspicuous absence of any acknowledgement on your part of the recollection of the losses that others have shared, For example, weathep’s loss of a child [April 19, 2014 at 2:45 am] whose pain one can feel four years later, and Snowsnake’s very recent loss of his wife of 48 years [April 19, 2014 at 6:10 am].

    Sorry, Hilary, I missed this part of your comment before.

    You seem to think that my purpose here or my job here is to acknowledge and console the losses of others. While I do that as and when I do, as I did with bushbunny, my sense is that people are not writing to seek my acknowledgement or my consolation. Rather, it seems to me they are writing for the reason that I write, because I can’t bear not to write. As such, as with me, acknowledgement is nice but it is far from the point.

    However, I do find it curious that you have set yourself up as prosecution, judge, and jury in charge of deciding who I should and shouldn’t acknowledge … is that an elected position, or are you self-appointed?

    Next, I just described my own involvement with death in all its harrowing detail, bringing up lots of emotions in the process, and my friend Billy just died … what on earth would give you the idea that my job now is to go forth and comfort and acknowledge others?

    Finally, most people reading my piece understand very well the depth of my compassion and understanding of those involved with deaths in the family. Your implication, that because I didn’t respond to Hilary’s Chosen Commenters I somehow lack in such compassion, is both unfounded and unpleasant.

    w.

    PS—Now that I think about it, what I find terribly disheartening and disappointing is the rather conspicuous absence of any acknowledgement on your part of the recollection of the losses that others have shared, For example, weathep’s loss of a child [April 19, 2014 at 2:45 am] whose pain one can feel four years later, and Snowsnake’s very recent loss of his wife of 48 years [April 19, 2014 at 6:10 am].

    If your heart truly went out to them in their hour of need, then why didn’t you acknowledge them and comfort them? Cat got your tongue?

    Gotta say, Hilary, you aggressively and unpleasantly busting me for not doing what you didn’t bother to do?

    Priceless …

  307. Dang … turns out unknowingly Hilary and I were writing to each other on the same subject and our comments crossed. Read mine with that in mind, it’s not an answer to hers immediately above, but to her first comment.

    w.

  308. David Ball says:
    April 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Just want to say thank you to all for completely ignoring my comment. It says more than you would like it to.

    =====================================================================
    Sorry.
    I got here a bit late and then was distracted by the fireworks.
    I’m glad your wife has recovered.
    I hope that enough time has passed that the memories can evoke a smile rather than the loss.
    My Mom died a decade before my Dad. With Dad there, the house I grew up in was still Home. Mom was missing but Dad was still there. When Dad died over a decade ago and we had to empty and sell the house … I don’t remember ever caring about “things” so much before. That bothered me. It took awhile but I realized that it wasn’t “the thing” itself but the memory associated with it. Not just of my parents but of my childhood. As long as Dad was there in that house, I was still a “kid” even though I was married with kids of my own and in my late 40’s.
    I’d say more but enough fuses have been lit here. God bless.

  309. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 21, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    And – while your past performances in this thread would strongly suggest that it is not of much interest to you, Willis – just for the record … I’m Jewish, always have been and always will be.

    So I can assure you that we most certainly do not proselytize. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, is it part of our tradition to run around browbeating those who might express their condolences in accordance with their beliefs.

    Hilary, the fact that Jews do not proselytize is a wonderful thing.

    And I have no problem with someone expressing condolences in accordance with their beliefs … as long as their beliefs don’t include “go to a eulogy and tell the guy who is giving it that his beliefs are all wrong”.

    Which is exactly what Janice did. She told me that the advice I thought I was getting was from a liar, and that I could never find peace.

    How you continue to approve of that is beyond me. Is that a Jewish custom too, to stand up and tell the person giving a eulogy just how screwed up their entire belief system is? Because as Janice shows, Christians seem to find no problem with it … but you’re Jewish. How come you approve?

    Read the damn comment with my eyes, Hilary. I don’t like aggressive Christians on a good day. Think about what she is saying.

    When you tell the man delivering the eulogy that his belief structure is totally shafted and false and he will never find peace that way and that he is taking advice from a “liar”, that is not just “expressing condolences” on any planet or in any tradition.

    That is an unpleasantly intrusive sales pitch at exactly the wrong time, no matter where it happens.

    Can we agree on that much at least?

    w.

  310. willis – did those people not comment to you, in response to you, moved by you – you had lots of energy for creative misrepresentative defense/attack re janice, thousands of words, stop twisting anothers words/meaning … but

    so it goes on,
    I hoped you would see the good in janice, and accept that what she did was good, and her right here.
    ALL you had to say to her comment was ‘thanks but no thanks, janice’, instead you did what you did.
    u didn’t answer my question
    do you still want/hope for a n apology from janice?

  311. I had written: “my second last para above should read ‘… not of much interest to you …'”

    And clearly it wasn’t! After all, it’s your thread, your rules and your perceptions (however off-the-mark, aggressive and unpleasant they might appear to others) are clearly the only ones that count.

    But do carry on with your recycled self-exculpatory rants and projections – Willis!

    Amazing. Simply amazing.

  312. “But do carry on with your recycled self-exculpatory rants and projections”
    amen, hallelujah and rest in piece now…

  313. {all bold emphasis mine – JW}

    Willis Eschenbach on April 21, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    John Whitman says:
    April 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Willis,

    You and I are seemingly at an impasse. Janice, to me, is displaying merely ‘pro forma’ litany response to a stimulus (your ‘Billy’). It signifies a ritual to me, not persuasion.

    This is the problem. Christians, even well meaning ones such as yourself, simply don’t understand the frustration and revulsion and irritation we feel to be on the receiving end of YET ANOTHER CHRISTIAN SALES PITCH!!!

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Willis,

    I thought it was very well known at WUWT, due my vigorous interaction in all the controversial Monckton threads at WUWT where he interjected his Christianity significantly into his hard science posts, that I am labeled by theists as an athiest. I criticize the termininology ‘atheist’ because it is a theist concept and has irrational connotations. I am just a normal man, not a theist nor athiest (although atheist is close to accurate), who has no supernatural / superstitious component intellectually. Have been so since I decided to think for myself at ~13 years old.

    My position on Janice’s ‘ritualistic litany-like’ first comment is not due to any sympathy with religion.

    My +60 year life around religious people proclaiming their ritualistic wisdom is what gives me tolerance of Janice’s behavior. My experience is it is the only way they know to express their emotions.

    John

  314. Oh for goodness sake, of course she was preaching and hoping for a conversion! Hell she even prays it will happen! And she knows she was doing those things! In fact she is probably smacking her forehead right now at the people here who are saying she wasn’t!

    Now, to be factual, she then backpeddled and said that was not her intent to evangelize. I’m calling her on it. Sure it was her intent. Doing it gently with sugar on top or in a straight matter of fact way makes no difference. To evangelize is one of the key components of being a Christian in many denominations. And after that, to disciple (train up your evangelized baby flock).

    So she needs to step into her big girl panties, own up, say she’s sorry, “my bad”, it was done without thought, and promise to never evangelize Willis again. Will she attempt to do it to someone else? You betcha. The lashes are evangelist points. Gotta do the “Lord’s bidding” and go and make baby Christians and disciples. And she will continue to pprrrraaaayyyyy for Willis’ salvation as if her life depended on it. Hell, she prays for all of us. Does it irritate me? Yes of course! But it won’t make a difference. She’ll keep on doing it.

    Now, that said, I would love to spend an evening with her over a really nice bottle of red wine…or two. I bet I could get her to loosen up.

  315. “Does it irritate me? Yes of course! But it won’t make a difference. She’ll keep on doing it.”
    hmmm, I see no evidence of “keep doing it”, do you?

  316. “… well-known, wanted criminal …” An invisible, personal, private advisor? M[r/s] Death? How about the mortal nature?

    And so, she reads on, probably certain you would not conflate the evil One with Facts-of-Life: your guest offerings have proved you know the difference between mere metaphors and actual Beings. She and many others cleared throats, maybe blinked or wiped away tears, even had to rise from the monitor, give the room a couple of turns, light a lung-buster on the porch. Your tale brought us into your world, again.
    Maybe I am alone here: I never thought, ‘It’s a eulogy.” A saga of friends and family leaving, named and un-named, some pagans, heathens, dead beside-the -way, and those heralded and celebrated. Elegiac, mournful for sure. Praising? not Willis’ way.
    She joined other thoughtful persons of Faith, as your account led us on. On this turning point, another good Friday, last night’s Lectionary fresh and impelling, fearlessly Janice heeds the Great Commission. Anthony suggested his readers might enjoy some contentment; Willis promised adult content. Another Christian strode forth, fully-armored.
    You say you are complex. You deny both saintliness and being a sinner. Compassionate: a grizzly, snapping twigs! For me, hardly a member of ursus: rather, polistes. Yellow jackets and hornets, precisely: even an unawares, benign, approach brings the fury. Pheromones excite the hive. Horses and dogs may outrun the swarm; Man knows to hunker down, take a few stings; cows and sheep break a leg [feast time] in a mad dash.
    Willis, I have enjoyed much of your writing.
    This Easter weekend, I have seen Rational Man lashing out. A little knowledge, early acquired, has not served you well. I hope you will have time to examine your assertions and givens. Chesterton would be a substantial commencement; Chambers might be a bit much, at present.
    I am not here to save anyone: I cannot save myself. He promised to be WITH us, not to shield us.
    Peace, brother. Keep writing, please.
    John Moore

  317. Hey, I should get partial credit for spelling ‘atheist’ correctly 2 of the 4 times I used it in my comment John Whitman on April 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm.

    Shouldn’t I?

    John

  318. At my mother’s funeral Willis, I had a RC priest read rites, a professional actress (who I was a friend of) read a eulogy (that is usually about the person who has died, their life’s history and triumphs etc) about them personally not biblical. But I read a biblical piece about ‘There is a time to die, etc” And nearly stumbled when in saying ‘God’ I almost said ‘Dog’. Then we had a good Irish wake afterwards, my mother would have been proud of. A eulogy is about the person, not about the bible. Well it is in my Christian practices. Mum was rather anti-religion too. My next door neighbor who became an Anglican priest, noticed my stumble, and congratulated me afterwards he was the only one who noticed. Anyway dog spelt backwards reads God.

  319. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 19, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    “Oh, please. Your claim that reader comments are “by invitation only” is as unpleasant as it is untrue. If that were true, surely you’d agree that I would have cast your comment and that of Janice into the outer darkness … but I have neither the desire nor the authority to do that.”

    You said, “So when someone turns up uninvited, (snip)” and later tried to reframe it here, “What part do you not understand about “some people find an uninvited sales pitch for Jesus at the eulogy for an atheist to be intrusive and upsetting”?” You clearly saw Janice as an uninvited poster, hence my question because as far as I know, this is a public site.

    “Your idea that somehow this site is censored is nonsense. Yes, it has rules, but they are broad and only broken by people who work at it. You and Janice are free to declaim (within bounds) most anything you want … happy now? Not only that, but I’m free to respond to it (again within bounds) as I wish.”

    You’re the one veering out of bounds, but I suppose as a guest writer you get a bit more leeway than most.

    “However, you are right about one thing. When someone shows up at my eulogy for an atheist and decides it’s the perfect occasion to start preaching a sermon about Jesus, you’re 100% correct that I’ll get abrasive. I don’t suffer fools gladly, particularly when they are wildly inappropriate. Hey, I’m a complex man, it’s not all love and rainbows and unicorns in my world, and I’ve never in my life been politically correct. So you might as well get used to it.”

    If by complex you mean rude, sure. You see Christians as fools, you felt you had to give Janice a public flogging. I read her post and ignored it, and her video link, and went on the others I’d find more interesting. It’s not a question of being PC, it’s a question of being classy. You aren’t that either.

    “Here’s a funny thing, NGR22. I never pay a damn bit of attention when someone says I should apologize to a third party who is perfectly capable of defending their own actions and choices. I find it unbearably paternalistic. Who died and put you in charge of judging whether apologies between two people you’ve never met are adequate, or “real” to use your terms?”

    Who died and put you in charge of pontificating about the evils of Christianity? That’s what this thread has become. I commented about the apology (or lack of) because you repeatedly said you had apologized when you didn’t really. Any apology that had a “but” attached to it isn’t a real apology. You basically say I’m sorry I was so harsh, but she deserved it. Not an apology. I guess it bothers me that you keep defending your non-apology because it shows me you’re not completely honest, therefore I cannot assume your other posts are honest.

    “There is only one person on this planet qualified to say if my apology to Janice is satisfactory, and guess what, my leetle internet popup?

    That person is not you.

    If Janice tells me she is not satisfied, I will assuredly take action. You? You’re an anonymous nobody who is unwilling to sign his own name to his words, who is acting on his mistaken and paternalistic assumption that Janice needs to be protected from a baaaad man like me, and further to that, you assume she needs some man to be the judge of the quality of apologies offered directly to her. That is both ludicrous and insulting to Janice. She’s a grown woman who is quite capable of speaking for herself. If she thinks my apology is inadequate, I expect she’ll let me know, she’s hardly been reticent about her beliefs and opinions to date.”

    You insult anyone that dares question you or your actions. You twist words and are always on the defensive. You really are no different than the CAGW zealots. Even if Janice said she isn’t satisfied I’m sure you would browbeat her some more. As for your asinine comment about me not signing my real name, does it really matter? It doesn’t, but ill humor you. I’m Nancy Gregoretti. I live on Long Island in NY. I’m a 55 year old, wife, mother of 3, and with my husband am a multiple home owner, and multiple business owner. Laundromats and apartment buildings, so you don’t think I’m being paid by warmists to come here and attack you. We did take money from a fracking company to lease some acreage we own, but that hasn’t happened and I don’t care if it never does. My oldest (a daughter) does graphic design for CNBC, my son works with my husband, and our youngest daughter is at UVA. I have told each of them they can choose a religion and worship, or not, as they wish. I have 2 rescue dogs, and babysit my son’s dog (also a rescue) while he’s at work because he keeps breaking out of his crates. I draw the line at giving you my social security number. So…does that make my comments any different than before? Didn’t think so.

    “My condolences to Billy’s daughter, I feel for her. You, not so much

    How very Christian of you, you are a credit to your beliefs …
    w.”

    How very ignorant of you. What makes you assume I’m a Christian? My parents christened me in the Roman Catholic Church. They made me receive communion and confirmation. Then they let me do what I wanted, which was nothing. The only times I’m in church is for a wedding or a funeral. I never read the bible, I don’t go to mass, I don’t follow Christian doctrine. I don’t turn the other cheek. But I also don’t care when anyone else speaks of their religion. My best friend since high school became a born again Christian. In the beginning she was very open about her faith, wanting to share it. If she was trying to convert me she failed, and in time stopped talking about it. She got the hint. I never once felt I needed to put her in her place. I’m sure if I had we would no longer be friends. You may eventually have no readers. I know I won’t read your articles.

    “PS—I see that you are taking lessons from Stephan Lewandowsky in long-distance psychological diagnosis, saying that I should seek therapy for the problems you see me as having … I have to assume you don’t realize how intrusive, unpleasant, and foolish that makes you look.”

    It’s good advice. I’ve been to therapy, and anger management. Maybe that’s why I can see things in your posts that you can’t seem to see. It’s also good for grief.

  320. There was a series run on TV ‘The Bible’ over Easter. It started with Noah and Abraham, then went on to Moses etc. and the Exodus and finally to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I was a bit fazed when it came to Joshua and Jericho, and God’s instructions to enter and killed all the animals and people then burnt it down. That was NOT very nice was it, all but for the prostitute who had hid spies from Joshua to allow them to destroy the walls. The bible especially the old testament is full of violence by the Israelites. Especially the passover? All in the name of God.

    However a professor of mine actually was at Jericho doing a dig when the six day war started.
    But evidence is that a river undermined the walls at one time, and there was a fire. These people were the first to actually as it is known to start storing grain and domesticating animals.

    When my parents entered Israel in 1962, Jericho was a refugee camp for Palestinians, they were not allowed to take photos, but my father did of course.As well as the gates separating the Jordanian held part of Jerusleum and the Jewish side. The Western bank, Well we know what happened there. Politics, politics, politics even now.

  321. Gotta nitpick you here bushbunny. The folks at Göbekli Tepe were storing grain and domesticating animals a few thousand years before Abraham’s time, hundreds of miles northeast of where Jericho was ultimately built.

  322. Willis said:

    “She came to tell me that the comfort I feel in taking Death’s advice is false comfort, that I’m too foolish to tell the true from the false about WHAT COMFORTS ME … yeah, that makes me feel much better, John.”

    Fascinating!
    Willis, I rarely post but this discussion has moved me to talk. I am a Christian and have followed these comments trying to learn. I think you are a very smart guy and I believe I understand your point, “I DON’T WANT TO BE SAVED.” What I don’t understand is how death’s advice comforts you. I got that impression while reading your post but I still don’t understand. I am probably just not comprehending but could you further explain to me just what this comfort is?

  323. Nancy, thanks for your post. I wish I could do the same, but until Big Oil starts paying my bills and funding my retirement, I can’t.

    It was both funny and sad to watch Willis accusing Hilary Ostrov of being a prosetylising Christian just because she disagreed with him. If he had bothered to do a few keystrokes of research, he would easily have found out that she is Jewish. But facts don’t get in the way much when he is on one of his rampages, especially against women.

    Then we had:

    “I expressed emotions, lots of them. Raw emotions. Very personal emotions. Strong emotions.”

    Hemingway, eat your heart out!

    Then:

    Pamela Gray said:
    Now, to be factual, she then backpeddled and said that was not her intent to evangelize. I’m calling her on it. Sure it was her intent.

    To be factual? Please cite where Janice has said anything of the sort, or indeed anything at all, about this.

    As for the privileged rights of Willis on his threads, when his bombastic and lengthy comments are in the same colour as everyone else’s, and are snipped for personal abuse and irrelevance like everyone else’s, I might believe that he is not a protected species (Michael Mann with a ponytail) around here.

  324. Michael you are not nitpicking in my estimation, however, the date for organized agriculture (cereal crops and domesticating animals dates back to around 9000 BP, it developed in leaps and bounds, and was primarily in the fertile crescent, the Levant and of course Egypt. Once described as the ‘granary of the world’
    Once people started to store grain, this made them vulnerable to attack, hence the walls. And they began to trade too with surplus. I don’t doubt what you have said, but one ancient history note was that monotheisism (sorry about the spelling) that Abraham influenced Akhenaten the heretic Egyptian pharaoh ‘around’ 1350 BC, But Egypt was irrigating then so was Mesopotamia.
    And this was possible only after the last glacial period ended. Jericho has been backdated to about 8-9,000 years ago, well before the Exodus, but again these ‘tells’ were built over many years and centuries from previous settlements. And by different sects of people, who were probably pagans anyway.

    • slightly O/T
      In re Jericho
      This city’s history is interesting. Biblical Archaeology Review offers useful data. Also, in
      Newton’s Madness: Further Tales Of Clinical Neurology by Harold Klawans
      we read of a recurring problem with its famous well.

  325. A bit of levity, we have National census’ every 5 years. A few ‘c’ back, we dog owners and breeders got sick of the governments unreal dog laws, that seemed to depreciate pure bred dog breeders, who are licensed to breed, while allowing back yard breeders to exploit the laws. So we all decided to put down in the ‘what religion do you follow’ in the ‘other’ section. Caninologist, dog lover. No disrespect to other mainstream religions though of coursse.

  326. Thanks, Willis. Sorry for your loss. Let’s not fight. I don’t want what the door-to-door missionaries offer, but hey value what they offer. Maybe we could look at climate scientists the same way. Perhaps they imagine that their policy prescriptions qualify as generosity. Is there a gentle way to say “thanks but no thanks”?

  327. Unfortunately, I was cut off from the Internet and my last reply hasn’t been published. But maybe that was a God send, so I will say good night everyone, and God Bless – even Willis.

  328. NRG22 says:
    April 21, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 19, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    “Oh, please. Your claim that reader comments are “by invitation only” is as unpleasant as it is untrue. If that were true, surely you’d agree that I would have cast your comment and that of Janice into the outer darkness … but I have neither the desire nor the authority to do that.”

    You said, “So when someone turns up uninvited, (snip)” and later tried to reframe it here, “What part do you not understand about “some people find an uninvited sales pitch for Jesus at the eulogy for an atheist to be intrusive and upsetting”?” You clearly saw Janice as an uninvited poster, hence my question because as far as I know, this is a public site.

    NRG22, my apologies for my lack of clarity. This is absolutely a public venue, as evidenced by the fact that (within wide bounds) anyone is free to say anything. So that couldn’t have been my meaning.

    I meant, of course, that I did not invite her to attack me, I did not ask her to give me a sales pitch, I did not tell her “hey, this would be a good spot, let me invite you to use the emotions stirred up by my words as an opportunity to attack me and proselytize for Jesus”.

    I gave a eulogy. Janice showed up, and unlike anyone else who commented, she told me that I was getting advice from a liar, that my beliefs were totally wrong and backwards, and that I would never find peace.

    Is that your idea of offering someone consolation? Is that your idea of the right thing to say when you see someone grieving, to tell them that their most fundamental and cherished beliefs are totally screwed up and that they will never find peace?

    Because that’s exactly what Janice did, NRG. That’s her idea of Christian compassion and charity, to tell me how I am getting advice from a liar and am too foolish to tell that it is all lies, and as a result, I will live without peace and hope.

    Is that supposed to make me feel better?

    And nobody, NRG22, nobody invites that kind of intrusive, unpleasant aggressive behavior. Here’s her idea of giving me comfort, one which most people somehow missed when they read her comment:

    You are wise, Mr. Eschenbach, to listen to Death…… to a point. Death can make a person live wisely, but, Death cannot give you joy. Death cannot give you love. And Death is sometimes a liar, gleefully whispering in your ear about the peace it can bring. Death, per se, will not bring peace …

    Most importantly, Death, while wise, cannot give you hope.

    Is that truly what you see as a compassionate act, to tell a man that everything that he just told you he believes in is totally false, that his advisor is a “liar”, that he will never find peace, and that he will exist without hope?

    Are you really claiming that is an appropriate thing to say to a grieving man who just gave a eulogy for a dear member of his family, NRG22?

    Really?

    And if not … then why on earth are you defending Janice doing exactly that?

    This is the Christian blindness that I referred to above. Far too many Christian really don’t understand how much their much-hyped “compassion” is nothing more than an unfeeling, intrusive sales pitch. They are so used to it they don’t see how insulting it is from the other side. They exist in some alternate universe where everyone is eager to hear the message for the ten thousandth boring time despite having rejected it ten thousand times in the past, and where everyone agrees that telling a grieving man that his belief system is totally screwed up is loving compassion … it’s not, NRG22. It’s not compassion. It is an ATTACK, and far too many Christians, even those who would not do such a thing, seem incapable of seeing the difference.

    And yes, I should not have exploded … but if you were grieving, and you gave a Christian eulogy for a Christian member of your family, and I showed up and told you in no uncertain terms that Jesus was a liar, that he could not bring you peace, that your beliefs were all wrong, that Christ could never bring hope to anyone, and then topped it off by trying to convert you to some other religion … well, you might explode too.

    Or not, I don’t know, you might take it with a tad more equanimity and politely tell me to get stuffed, although we all do strange things in our grief, and I surprised myself with the vehemence of my response to her attack and her attempt to sell me Jesus (and had to apologize).

    But either way, I doubt that you would view my attack on your beliefs and my calling Jesus a liar and my trying to convert you on the occasion of your Christian eulogy as a compassionate, caring act … yes, I doubt that very much.

    Nor was it compassionate on Janice’s part … that’s the Christian blindness, the blindness that can’t tell the difference between compassion and kindness on the one hand, and on the other hand an aggressive, unwanted, unpleasant sales pitch in a glaringly inappropriate and unfeeling choice of venue.

    Regards,

    w.

  329. johanna says:
    April 21, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    It was both funny and sad to watch Willis accusing Hilary Ostrov of being a prosetylising Christian just because she disagreed with him. If he had bothered to do a few keystrokes of research, he would easily have found out that she is Jewish. But facts don’t get in the way much when he is on one of his rampages, especially against women.

    Oh, I see … this is just more of your bizarre claim that somehow I am anti-women. Please don’t mention this to any of the dozens of women I know that think I support and encourage them … and of course, you do realize when you claim that I am anti-women, you are also claiming that my wife must be a fool or an idiot to hang out with such a man.

    So I’ll let her know how you feel, it will amuse her greatly. She’s a powerful woman who has no hesitation in speaking her mind. So if I were as you describe, I would have been thrown out years ago instead of being married for 35 years. She’s nobody’s fool.

    Even more bizarre is the idea that when someone writes a comment, I hasten to do “a few keystrokes of research” into the person. I never do that. Did I think Hilary was a Christian? Yes, because I didn’t think such a spirited defense of Janice’s attack and attempt to convert me would come from anyone of the Jewish persuasion. As someone noted above, they never proselytize, and so it’s a surprise she finds such crass tactics as trying to sell Jesus to a grieving man somehow acceptable. But then life is full of surprises.

    But that’s between her and me, despite the length of your nose, and she’s a good woman, so I suspect it will be all right.

    It does put me in the odd position of apologizing for NOT noticing that someone is Jewish … but the world is an odd place. I didn’t realize until I got to college that some last names were Jewish in origin, until my girlfriend of the time, whose name was Greenberg, explained it to me. She looked at me like a country fool when she realized I didn’t have any idea how she’d known immediately that an acquaintance was Jewish, and I guess I was …

    Then we had:

    “I expressed emotions, lots of them. Raw emotions. Very personal emotions. Strong emotions.”

    Hemingway, eat your heart out!

    Oh, dear heavens. Is this the childish level at which you normally discuss important issues? Childhood taunts about quotes that you have totally stripped of their context?

    Ah, well, I am striving to be more Canadian, let it be. Onwards. I ask you like I asked the others.

    If you were grieving, and you gave a Christian eulogy for a Christian member of your family discussing your own fundamental beliefs, and I showed up and told you in no uncertain terms that Jesus was a liar, that he could not bring you peace, that your most fundamental and cherished beliefs that you had just discussed were all wrong, that Christ could never bring real lasting hope to anyone, and then I topped it off by trying to convert you to some other religion … would you consider that to be a kind, compassionate act?

    Because that is exactly what Janice did … and yet in your bizarro reverse universe, I’m the baaad man who obviously hates women because I protested against her doing that very thing to me.

    Regards,

    w.

  330. I wasn’t going to post again…..but I just couldn’t hel[p myself, my bad…

    @willis

    “Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

    Warning: Viewer discretion advised. This post discusses adult themes and content. Oh, not the usual adult themes we get on TV, like D: Suggestive Dialogue or V: Violence. Instead, it is a discussion of the following well-known wanted criminal:
    (see Picture of Death here)
    Figure 1. The one with many names … the Pale Rider. The Grim Reaper. The Angel Of Death. Thanatos. Azrael. Cronus.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately… ”

    “It is a discussion of the following well-known wanted criminal (DEATH)” – did you write that willis?

  331. milodonharlani says:
    April 21, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I was going to respond to your last posting, but I thought I would seek clarification first regarding the statement : ”
    Cosmic dust (ie, matter) exists in our universe because its physical laws allow, indeed require it, to exist here.”
    What do you mean by “matter exists in our universe because physical laws require it to exist here”?

  332. willis re johanna,
    you claim that I am anti-women, you are also claiming that my wife must be a fool or an idiot to hang out with such a man. (she claimed u anti-women??!!)

    So I’ll let her know how you feel, it will amuse her greatly. She’s a powerful woman who has no hesitation in speaking her mind…’

    So, was the missus amused? Now I am guessing here, willis, that the missus has stepped in, sent you to your room with no cookies and no laptop, for being a bully in the playground of words, re Janice, notwithstanding your half hearted apology.

  333. Look people, I know how this stuff works. The offending evangilizer will want to apologize for having offended Willis. She will say she didn’t mean to offend him so. And I have no doubt she is trying to figure out a way to say it, in so many words, to Willis. So I am calling her on it. I think she should apologize for evangilizing, not just that her evangilizing caused offense. Why? So that the [eulogy] is given its respect and blessing back for the dear people now gone it was meant to bless. She took that blessing away and focused attention on Willis, thus removing the blessing and even mocking it for not being good enough, IE lacking in some way. Bad form. Bad form.

    Do you see the difference? When we tromp mud into someone’s house thus creating a dirty floor, we should [apologize] for the effect AND the cause. If you apologize just for offending (IE “I [didn't] mean to get your floor dirty or make you feel bad”), you have yet to apologize for the act itself. And trust me, it will be the hardest thing in the world for an evangelist to apologize for what they consider to be their job on Earth. To evangelize, to spread the word, to make effort to gather the flock. It is a big ol’ slice of humble pie for an evangelist. Let’s see if she has what it takes.

    Like I said, give me one evening and two bottles of really good red wine and some top tier dark chocolate and I will shake it out of her. So my dear, don’t shake the dust out of your [sandals] (and you know what I mean). Walk back to the mess you made, clean it up and restore the blessing, and promise never to gate crash a eulogy again.

  334. Dang typos and lack of good spelling. But at my age, I don’t put much stock in being perfect anymore.

  335. pamela
    methinks you started on the wine a while ago.
    The ‘discussion on death’, as willis, himself, introducted it, on Easter w/e, was declared a eulogy long after posting, in a dubious manner….
    Janice owes no apology. I enjoyed her contribution to the discussion, her invite, if interested, to how she found hope, etc. I really can’t see how any decent, civilized mind could find fault with it.
    I think the comment about advice from death good up to a point, but life able to give you more, owtte, was accomodating, qualified, and insightful and consistent with my own view.
    I was shocked at Willis’s reaction, glad to a point about his partial apology, but astonished at his continued comments, as I’m sure u’ve read.

  336. Janice Moore,

    I do not know why you have ceased to participate in the last few days in this thread after your initial comments to Willis then to Evan. (I seem to think you are still around, I might have seen a comment you made just yesterday evening at another WUWT thread, but I may be mistaken)

    My position on your first comment has been a cautiously benevolent interpretation of your actions and words. I have argued that you simply are performing a kind of ‘pro forma’ religious ritualized behavior typically used by religious people to express their emotions in moments of grieving. I have been arguing that you may be doing so because you might have been educated by your church peers and leadership to think that it is appropriate and I have been suggesting you did not premeditatedly try to persuade Willis and other readers to convert to your religion during the eulogy for ‘Billy’.

    Janice, with your silence my benevolent position weakens in the face of a non-benevolent position that you premeditatedly acted to be a crass salesman during a eulogy.

    Janice, please see comment Pamela Gray April 22, 2014 at 7:23 am.

    John

  337. John

    Assuming you had posted -on a public blog-your original comment in a genuine spirit of good will, then seen it over-interpreted and blown up out of all proportion in succeeding comments by various people-by no means all of them polite-would YOU still be hanging around?

    tonyb

  338. So many urging others to be diplomatic and to apologize and/or accept apologies. It reminds me of the saying (Tamerand?), “The art of diplomacy is to say, ‘Nice doggie, nice doggie,’ while searching for a rock.”

    By the way, Willis was right when he suggested I didn’t want a pat on the head. I was telling about my own encounter with death up close and personal and why it hurt so much and what it did to me. I
    think sooner or later everybody has some kind of experience with death and then we draw on the things we have absorbed from the experience of others. That was a large part of what was offered. I remember things told to me or stories I heard from as long ago as fifty years and the people who said these things have been dead for decades–yet, what they said remains a comfort to me. So, take what you can use and forget the rest.

  339. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 3:33 am

    I wasn’t going to post again…..but I just couldn’t hel[p myself, my bad…

    @willis

    “Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

    Warning: Viewer discretion advised. This post discusses adult themes and content. Oh, not the usual adult themes we get on TV, like D: Suggestive Dialogue or V: Violence. Instead, it is a discussion of the following well-known wanted criminal:
    (see Picture of Death here)
    Figure 1. The one with many names … the Pale Rider. The Grim Reaper. The Angel Of Death. Thanatos. Azrael. Cronus.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately…

    “It is a discussion of the following well-known wanted criminal (DEATH)” ”

    – did you write that willis?

    Yes, and I also made the wanted poster. I wouldn’t take it seriously, though. It’s this strange thing called “Humor”, that some people use to introduce a serious subject … and the wanted poster isn’t serious either, in case you were wondering.

    w.

  340. climatereason says:
    April 22, 2014 at 8:43 am

    John

    Assuming you had posted -on a public blog-your original comment in a genuine spirit of good will, then seen it over-interpreted and blown up out of all proportion in succeeding comments by various people-by no means all of them polite-would YOU still be hanging around?

    tonyb

    – – – – – – – – – –

    climatereason (tonyb),

    You are begging the question.

    The question you are begging is ‘Is she benevolent in her words and actions on this thread?”

    If her intellectual tactic is retreat in the face of criticism then such a tactic is not intellectually relevant to the dialog that she initiated so strongly.

    John

  341. whitman, careful now, there’s a contagious pathalogical condition hanging around this thread and you seem to be about to catch it…
    Have you read any of what willis has written…
    He presented his guest essay as a discussion on death, not a eulogy, right at the beginning.

  342. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 6:27 am

    willis re johanna,
    you claim that I am anti-women, you are also claiming that my wife must be a fool or an idiot to hang out with such a man. (she claimed u anti-women??!!)

    So I’ll let her know how you feel, it will amuse her greatly. She’s a powerful woman who has no hesitation in speaking her mind…’

    So, was the missus amused? Now I am guessing here, willis, that the missus has stepped in, sent you to your room with no cookies and no laptop, for being a bully in the playground of words, re Janice, notwithstanding your half hearted apology.

    Well, I can assure you that I am not amused by your adding the words in bold to my quotation, without explanation, misleading readers into thinking that your unintelligible babble was written by me …

    As to Johanna’s claim that I am opposed to women … sorry, that doesn’t pass the laugh test. Read again what I wrote about my wife and her sister and my mother and my sister above. Read what I wrote about The Captain’s Daughter. Her claim is a bitter joke from a bitter woman.

    w.

    PS—”the missus”? Which century are we in here?

    PPS—A “bully”? I love this accusation of “internet bullying”, someone will have to explain how that could possibly work. “Bullying” means getting people to agree by the threat of force. What in the known universe could I possibly threaten Johanna with, even if I wished to do so?

    We’ve become a nation of whiners. If Johanna doesn’t like what I say, she is perfectly free to respond. There is no possible way that I can bully her. You jumping up to defend Johanna with the goofy accusation that somehow I’m a big meanie bullying poor weak Johanna is just another part of the bogus “women are weak and need protection” meme that (on my planet) died around 1968, but which seems quite alive on your and Johanna’s planet.

    However, Johanna always casts herself in the “savior of downtrodden women” role in the movie, not the “I’m downtrodden, Johanna come save me” role, so it will be interesting to see how she responds to your claim that she is a poor, weak woman being “bullied” by a baaad man, a frail reed who needs you to stand up for her in her time of distress …

  343. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 9:32 am

    whitman, careful now, there’s a contagious pathalogical condition hanging around this thread and you seem to be about to catch it…
    Have you read any of what willis has written…
    He presented his guest essay as a discussion on death, not a eulogy, right at the beginning.

    – – – – – – – – –

    neillusion,

    Send your pseudo-intellectual ‘pathology’ namecalling strategy to Lewandowsky and Cook, they emulate that kind of thing . . . your argument might help them to un-retract ‘Recursive’ and prevent a future retraction of ‘Moon Hoax’.

    John

  344. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 9:32 am

    whitman, careful now, there’s a contagious pathalogical condition hanging around this thread and you seem to be about to catch it…
    Have you read any of what willis has written…
    He presented his guest essay as a discussion on death, not a eulogy, right at the beginning.

    Yes, and I opened by saying that the reason I’d been thinking about death was my father-in-law’s death. I discussed the death of other people for context and understanding.

    Then I returned to my father-in-law’s life and death. I discussed his life in positive terms, and listed some of his many achievements. I eulogized his relationship with his music and where it had taken him. I discussed his death itself, and what it meant to me. I talked about the positive effect he’d had on my life. And I closed with the following epitaph:

    William A. “Billy” Schneider

    Jazz drummer extraordinaire

    1928-2014

    He lived and died surrounded by his music

    and loved by his family and friends.

    Sleep well, my dear companion.

    Since you claim that you didn’t know that what I wrote was a eulogy, my only possible conclusions are that either you are dumb as a box of hammers, or you are fooling yourself badly. If you actually needed me to put a notice at the top saying “ATTENTION: THIS IS A EULOGY”, you’re on the wrong website.

    w.

  345. climatereason says:
    April 22, 2014 at 8:43 am

    John

    Assuming you had posted -on a public blog-your original comment in a genuine spirit of good will, then seen it over-interpreted and blown up out of all proportion in succeeding comments by various people-by no means all of them polite-would YOU still be hanging around?

    tonyb

    So telling me that my main advisor is a “liar” and that my fundamental beliefs are totally screwed up and I will never find peace or hope and trying to convert me in the middle of my grief is now considered an act of genuine good will?

    What planet are you living on, tony? I’ll ask you the same question that everyone else is running away from in a cloud of dust:

    If you were grieving, and you gave a Christian eulogy for a Christian member of your family discussing your own fundamental beliefs, and I showed up and told you in no uncertain terms that Jesus was a liar, that he could not bring you peace, that your most fundamental and cherished beliefs that you had just discussed were all wrong, that Christ could never bring real lasting hope to anyone, and then I topped it off by trying to convert you to some other religion … would you consider that to be the expression of what you call “a genuine spirit of good will”?

    Or would you consider that an unpleasant and unwarranted attack on a grieving man? Because that is exactly what Janice did. So how about you deal with that, since no one else is willing to answer the question?

    w.

  346. Snowsnake says:
    April 22, 2014 at 8:58 am

    So many urging others to be diplomatic and to apologize and/or accept apologies. It reminds me of the saying (Tamerand?), “The art of diplomacy is to say, ‘Nice doggie, nice doggie,’ while searching for a rock.”

    By the way, Willis was right when he suggested I didn’t want a pat on the head. I was telling about my own encounter with death up close and personal and why it hurt so much and what it did to me.

    Thanks for that, Snowsnake. Hilary, you listening?

    w.

  347. Ursa Felidae says:
    April 22, 2014 at 6:27 am

    The physical laws under which our universe operates not only allow matter to exist, but require that it do so. Here the gravitational, weak, strong & electromagnetic forces operate. Thus we live in a universe in which subatomic particles, hydrogen & hence more complex atoms & molecules may & must form. Thus stars & galaxies will develop, along with planets, moons, asteroids, comets & other objects, upon which life may arise & evolve. IMO life develops inevitably under certain conditions in order to solve energetic problems.

  348. climatereason says:
    April 22, 2014 at 8:43 am

    John

    Assuming you had posted -on a public blog-your original comment in a genuine spirit of good will, then seen it over-interpreted and blown up out of all proportion in succeeding comments by various people-by no means all of them polite-would YOU still be hanging around?

    tonyb

    Oh, I forgot to answer your question. You’re darned tootin’ I would still be hanging around, and either strongly defending what I had said, or strongly apologizing for it. I wouldn’t walk away from it, as doing that strongly suggests that you think that people’s objections are correct but are unwilling to admit it. That suggestion that you are unwilling to admit you were wrong might not be true in the slightest, for Janice or anyone else who does that … but it sure gives that impression.

    So yes, it’s both bad strategy and bad tactics to post something and then walk away without a word when someone questions it or objects to it.

    w.

  349. Snowsnake says:
    April 22, 2014 at 8:58 am

    So many urging others to be diplomatic and to apologize and/or accept apologies. It reminds me of the saying (Tamerand?), “The art of diplomacy is to say, ‘Nice doggie, nice doggie,’ while searching for a rock.”

    ——————-

    Assume you mean Talleyrand.

  350. John Whitman says:
    April 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

    IMO Janice has not commented subsequently because Willis asked her not to do so.

    Since the Moderator didn’t approve of my comment on the issue, I won’t repeat my opinion.

  351. Whitman – oops, too late
    Willis – could I be forgiven for thinking it was a discussion about death, seeing as u stated that at the beginning (and only recently say ‘I wouldn’t take it seriously’) and u slipped in a eulogy? That’s cool, but it does allow for discussion on a public forum, of wide audience, introduced by anthony as a guest piece … ‘perspective on life’.

    Seems to me the eulogy bit was tacked on at the end, after your own moving ‘discussion’, or sharing, of other experiences of death. No less for that.

    …the stuff in bold, yep my bad, I put it in brackets, thought that’d be ’nuff, it’s own context made it rather obvious..??!!. but I’m sure you';ve cleared that up for those that needed it.

    “Which brings me back to where I started this roundabout tale, back to William Alfred Schneider, my dear friend Billy, fellow musician, and father-in-law. I finally got to know him after they moved out here….”

    • Willis, “… I showed up and told you in no uncertain terms that Jesus was a liar, that he could not bring you peace, that your most fundamental and cherished beliefs that you had just discussed were all wrong, that Christ could never bring real lasting hope to anyone, and then I topped it off by trying to convert you to some other religion … would you consider …” Is this your unanswered question?

      For a brief period, I could have been the posited Willis.
      Today, I would tell you how happy I am that you joined in our celebration of …..’s life. How glad I am not to be in Somewhere-stan, my head severed from this scrawny neck. How children in Nigeria will be mourned because of intolerance; even they had a life to celebrate.
      “Please stay and share some things brought by members of the altar guild. Many called Him a liar, a fool, even spat on him. Today we spoke of the deceased and her beliefs, of our sorrow, of promises we cherish: you have heard a bit. i hope you listened.”
      Willis, you are hardly the first to confront the convictions of faithful persons. Do not project your motives / emotions / misperceptions: many of us have been where you persist. You are no threat; we read of worse, daily.
      John
      PS: {Somewhere up-thread, at least twice, you claimed that salespersons had to show the prospective buyer his wrong-ness; where did you learn this? I never made a sale by talking down the person with the money. Again, where did this happen to you? Know of any successful representatives who claim this is the road to success?}

  352. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 10:18 am

    What part of “My Friend Billy” do you not understand?

    “Eulogy”, from Attic Greek εὐλογία, eulogia, “praise” (literally “good word”), is a statement in praise of someone (or something), particularly of the recently dead.

  353. milod….
    what part of discussion about death do you not understand?

    A eulogy (from εὐλογία, eulogia, Classical Greek for “praise”) is a speech or writing in praise of a person(s) or thing(s), especially one recently dead or retired or a term of endearment.[1][2][3]

    Eulogies may be given as part of funeral services. They take place in a funeral home during or after a wake. However, some denominations either discourage or do not permit eulogies at services to maintain respect for traditions. Eulogies can also praise people who are still alive. This normally takes place on special occasions like birthdays etc. Eulogies should not be confused with elegies, which are poems written in tribute to the dead; nor with obituaries, which are published biographies recounting the lives of those who have recently died; nor with obsequies, which refer generally to the rituals surrounding funerals. Catholic priests are prohibited by the rubrics of the Mass from presenting a eulogy for the deceased in place of a homily during a funeral Mass.[4]

    Eulogies are usually delivered by a family member or a close family friend in the case of a dead person.[5] For a living eulogy given in such cases as a retirement, a senior colleague could perhaps deliver it. On occasions, eulogies are given to those who are severely ill or elderly in order to express words of love and gratitude before they pass away.

  354. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 10:55 am

    The post entitled “My Friend Billy” was about Willis’ friend Billy, who died recently, not a meditation on death in general. IMO Willis did not overreact to Janice’s insensitive intrusion & rude, jarring interjection of her religion into comments upon his meditation on the life & death of his friend, whatever her motive for doing so might have been, good, bad or indifferent.

  355. Milod….
    ….all about billy….owtte

    really, did you read the same account I did, the one above that describes many situations/deaths, throught the years, listening to death, best advice from death, etc, etc, etc, etc.?

  356. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Yes, I read those parts, leading up to the eulogy for Billy, celebrating his life & commenting on his death. Billy was lucky not to die in the street or a makeshift hospital, but as he in fact did. The point of the post was IMO that Willis also was lucky to have known his friend Billy. The last thing Willis wanted or needed was unasked for Christian condolences, as would have been obvious to anyone not programmed to take every opportunity to push his or her beliefs upon others, no matter how unwilling to hear the objectionable patter again, for the 20,000th time.

  357. Anthony et al, I am an avid reader of WUWT and have been for years. It appeals to my contrarian streak, I suppose, but also has always been a haven of balanced rationality and even tolerance in an otherwise frustratingly one-sided media environment. I have never posted, however…it being quite obvious that folks here are on average much more intelligent than I, and far more knowledgeable. Thank you for your work and this site over the years, and for taking the risk to occasionally make room for these types of very human posts, with such potential for connection and controversy.
    Willis, like so many others I feel compelled to thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us. I appreciate the rawness and vulnerability with which you wrote it…it was stark and beautiful, inspired and haunting, and tinged throughout with an alluring impression of wildness. Like great writing should, it engaged me on many levels, personally connecting to my own limited experiences overseas as well as my being a hack musician who was privileged to sit for a time with a master. And in making that comparison I’m by no means assuming you’re a hack like myself. From what you’ve let us see of yourself in your writings, you seem a man I would love to know and could learn a lot from.
    Also like others, I must take issue with your treatment of Janice. I’ve re-read her post a lot of times and I just can’t squeeze the juice you’re tasting from it. At face value (which, as you’ve rightly pointed out, is all any of us have to work with in this somewhat artificial space…but we actually do ‘know’ her somewhat through her many contributions here) it seems a compassionate, gentle attempt at both honoring what you shared and connecting with you from her own spiritual point of view. What Janice tried to offer, and not in any kind of high-handed way, was merely an avenue for you to look further at her reason for hope should you so choose. How could she not? For her, to do so is the height of compassion. She never denigrated your beliefs. Unless I missed it, you didn’t claim any hope from Death, only wisdom in how to live, on which point she agreed with you. Perhaps her timing or even her word choice could have been better. Certainly you can (and should) be forgiven your initial response, even as over the top as it was, in light of your obviously very real and deep grief. I think, though, that wisdom would have eventually seen her post for what it was, and if not, that humility would have allowed you to let it go and move on. The growing vehemence with which you have continued to defend yourself and claim victim status from Janice’s imagined intentions threatens to overshadow (but not lessen) the story you shared.
    Whether or not you intended it to be read as a eulogy, multiple people didn’t take it as that (or as ONLY that), which cannot be simply the readers’ fault. For my part, it seemed to be at least as much an outworking of personal grief over the loss of a dear friend as a tribute to him. That you chose to do this very publicly was both generous and dangerous, as you were no doubt well aware. In every thread on WUWT, the comments are full of people of sometimes radically different perspectives…how much more must you have anticipated this after such an emotional and universally heart-stirring piece?
    As to your analogy of the Christian funeral, it seems a straw man, since from my reading Janice’s post was nothing like the sort of attack that you take it to be. Your perceiving it as such simply does not make it so.
    Pamela, I understand and laud your wanting to have Willis’ back on this, but from an outsider’s perspective repeatedly claiming to know Janice’s mind rings hollow and insincere. (Although in my opinion, you ALL should get together over some wine and chocolate.) I also disagree that what she did took anything away from Willis’ original story; that writing stands on its own, and only he has the power to add or detract from it.

    Peace
    (not THE) kevin smith

  358. Willis,

    I think it would benefit the thread and all parties concerned, including yourself, if you personally in private and publically here on this thread invite Janice Moore to come back to this thread to help in a benevolent discussion about this situation. I ask you to do this because it seems reasonable that milodonharlani’s below opinion offers one of the main reasons (maybe the only reason) Janice Moore is not participating in the discussion involving her that has gone on for many hundreds of comments.

    Since Christianity has been commonly used in many contexts since her departure, she should be invited to continue discussion of her position that precipitated all these hundreds of comments.

    milodonharlani says:

    April 22, 2014 at 10:02 am

    @John Whitman on April 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

    IMO Janice has not commented subsequently because Willis asked her not to do so.

    Since the [M0der@tor] didn’t approve of my comment on the issue, I won’t repeat my opinion.

    John

  359. milod…
    The last thing Willis wanted or needed was unasked for Christian condolences, as would have been obvious to anyone not programmed to take every opportunity to push his or her beliefs upon others, no matter how unwilling to hear the objectionable patter again, for the 20,000th time.

    is that what happened? NO!
    That you can’t see Janice’s kind, careful, challenge on the notions of death willils proclaims for himself, is bewildering to me and her sweet invitation, if interested, to read how she found hope, etc….was interesting in its own right, for me anyhow, I chose to read her comment further – even listened to the song.
    all he had to say/write was ‘thanks but no thanks Janice’, instead he had a hissy fit and wailed that someone had trampled and ruined his powerful creative writing piece.

    My concern is that Willis subsequently relentlessly criticised Janice for all sort of things, exaggerating, creatively misrepresentign what she said/did – astonishing for a grown man to engage in that shite.
    And he persists with it !

    If you read it from the top you’ll get to see and ugly reaction from Willis, persistent evennow even after a half hearted apology.

  360. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 11:44 am

    “My Friend Billy” was about Willis’ friend Billy, but not “all about” Billy as you so falsely characterized my comments. Since Billy recently died, of course the word “death” appeared in Willis’ post. That does not mean it was all about death or even about it.

    I didn’t find Janice’s comment sweet at all, unless by sweet you mean cloying. She repeatedly interjects the beliefs of her cult into inappropriate places in this blog, despite knowing the effect of this behavior on those who come here to discuss science. She insults those whom this habit annoys by suggesting that we should contact members of her cult in our area to learn the truth, when in fact we are far more familiar with the Bible & the preposterous, false doctrines of her cult than is she. It’s not that we need to know more about her anti-scientific lies, but that we’ve heard it all thousands of times before & don’t want to be exposed to more of her spew here.

    IMO her comment was meant to make her feel special, not to help Willis.

  361. Kevin smith, well said

    as re Janice coming here to discuss, I think she did the noble thing and left Willis wailing in the wind – that too he later criticises her for, even after telling her she was unwelcome to post here and wanted/hoped for an apology..

    willis at Janice
    “…
    Your attempt to take advantage of my grief is absolutely not welcome, and is totally inappropriate on this thread. Please take it elsewhere. That kind of aggressive preaching is not wanted here.

    Me, I’d prefer it if you didn’t post again on this thread. However, people’s preferences obviously matter little to you, otherwise you wouldn’t try this kind of unpleasant witnessing. This can’t be the first time you’ve had your face slapped for exactly this behavior. And yet here you are again …

    I hope that’s clear enough. If not, I’m happy to tell you how I really feel.

    w.”

  362. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    If your point is that the import of Willis’ post was about death & bereavement & not about his friendship with Billy, then your point remains unmade.

    But respect your retracting the “all”.

  363. John Whitman says: April 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Janice Moore,

    I do not know why you have ceased to participate in the last few days in this thread after your initial comments to Willis then to Evan.

    John,

    For the record, Janice made two comments: the first addressed to Willis Eschenbach, and a second addressed to Evan Jones. Both of which preceded Willis’ all too familiar all guns blazing, barrage of insults which, in this particular instance, were directed at Janice:

    April 18, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Some relevant excerpts from his (absolutely, positively could not possibly be mistaken) reading (of that which he’d snipped in its entirety but could just as easily have chosen to ignore since he judged it to be so “disgusting”):

    “bunch of pre-boiled religious pap blah blah blah”

    “Janice, you using my father-in-law’s death as an excuse for proselytizing for your religion is disgusting.”

    “Please take it elsewhere.”

    “Me, I’d prefer it if you didn’t post again on this thread.”

    Consider the above, John. Consider also Willis’ past performances (along with those in this particular thread) – which include his all too frequent pattern of non-responsive, disrespectful, mindless repetition and browbeating.

    It’s quite clear (at least to me!) that once Willis has made up his mind, about what anyone might have said on his thread (regardless of whether or not his interpretation bears any resemblance to the person’s actual words in context) any response is far more likely than not to be used by him as a launching pad for an escalation of (and/or an excuse for) more of the same.

    So, I ask you, John, why would any self-respecting person not “cease to participate”?

    OTOH, I suppose there is the possibility that Willis didn’t actually mean what he said, or said what he meant, when he wrote:

    “I’d prefer it if you didn’t post again on this thread”.

    Funnily enough, I see that earlier today Willis had declared:

    “it’s both bad strategy and bad tactics to post something and then walk away without a word when someone questions it or objects to it.”

    Oh, well, too bad we can’t all be readers of such a brilliant and ever-changing mind, eh?!

  364. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 22, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    In light of your comment, please allow me to modify my previous statement that IMO Willis didn’t overreact to Janice’s comments. Asking her not to comment further may have been an overreaction, but what I had in mind was his characterization of her comments, which I felt were justified.

  365. Willis has lost all respect from me. Not that it matters to him n the least, but it matters to me that it comes to that.

  366. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 22, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    – – – – – – – – –

    Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001),

    I posted the below comment, which was just before you posting yours.

    Willis,

    I think it would benefit the thread and all parties concerned, including youself, if you personally in private and publically here on this thread invite Janice Moore to come back to this thread to help in a benevolent discussion about this situation. I ask you to do this because it seems reasonable that milodonharlani’s below opinion offers one of the main reasons (maybe the only reason) Janice Moore is not participating in the discussion involving her that has gone on for many hundreds of comments.

    Since Christianity has been commonly used in many contexts since her departure, she should be invited to continue discussion of her position that precipitated all these hundreds of comments.

    milodonharlani says:

    April 22, 2014 at 10:02 am

    @John Whitman on April 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

    IMO Janice has not commented subsequently because Willis asked her not to do so.

    Since the [M0der@tor] didn’t approve of my comment on the issue, I won’t repeat my opinion.

    John

    John

  367. Milod…Since Billy recently died, of course the word “death” appeared in Willis’ post. That does not mean it was all about death or even about it.

    What? Eh hem, sorry, what do you mean? Don;t know how to say this but with the best possible intentions… IMO you should inform yourself some more about the thread/piece/comments before you comment more.

    vzv right at the top ‘Instead, this is a discussion on that criminal death…’ yes, the second half contained much about billy, the first half much more about many others, with a constant allusion to his relationship with death and what it spoke /advised him. And he did that all veryy well, credit where credit due.
    but his subsequent blast at Janice, was a shock to me, really. Ever since I’ve highlighted the twists, the lies, the false example, and got to see a very different side/agenda/persona/ego.
    Even now I’m learning.
    your comment about Janic’s presence on the WUWT with he religious characteristics or some such and upsetting memebers, whatever – I didn’t know, and it matters little. I subscribe to Kevinsmmiths view of taking it at face value, which I had to because I didn’t know either of them before. I enjoyed both Willis’s tale (his word) and Janices contribution. I’m left happier with Janice’s contribution echoing in my ear than Willis’s piece and his subsequent behavioiur.

  368. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    The “twists, lies & false examples” have been yours, IMO.

  369. milod –
    care to call me out on a twist or a lie or a false example ? It was Willis leading the way with his response to Janice. Go on knock yourself out…

  370. neillusion says:
    April 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    How about your twisted, false claim that I said Willis’ piece was “all about” his friendship with Billy, rather than “about”?

    How soon you forget.

  371. Gods, this thread has been awful. It depresses the heck out of me to see this sort of infighting here, and over what?

    Do we have to morally approve or disapprove of every statement Willis or Janice makes? Don’t hold me to that standard! I flame people from time to time and sometimes regret it. I say stupid things all the time. So what? Do I have to take a side and say Janice was wrong, or Willis was wrong, to degree extent and particulars and then argue it? Does this accomplish something? Anything?

    This isn’t my house, but I love this place. Not my thread, not my story, not my issue, so on. I’m nobody here and I got no right to speak, but I love this blog. Because of that and nothing else, I’ll go ahead and presume to ask this; unless someone really believes there’s some light at the end of this crappy tunnel, I ask all involved to say whatever you’ve got left you need to say and let it go.

    You’re more than welcome to explain in depth to me what a presumptuous moron I am, all of you, and hand me my head on the way out. I don’t mind at all. This is all I had to say.

  372. You’re more than welcome to explain in depth to me what a presumptuous moron I am, all of you, and me my head on the way out. I don’t mind at all. This is all I had to say.

    and hand me my head, I meant to say. I’ll need to get it sewn back on, and I won’t be able to find it otherwise.

    [Fixed. -w.]

  373. milod
    The post entitled “My Friend Billy” was about Willis’ friend Billy, who died recently, not a meditation on death in general. IMO Willis did not overreact to Janice’s insensitive intrusion & rude, jarring interjection of her religion into comments upon his meditation on the life & death of his friend, whatever her motive for doing so might have been, good, bad or indifferent.

    milod
    Since Billy recently died, of course the word “death” appeared in Willis’ post. That does not mean it was all about death or even about it.

    Neillusion
    ….all about billy….owtte

    really, did you read the same account I did, the one above that describes many situations/deaths, throught the years, listening to death, best advice from death, etc, etc, etc, etc.?

    Neillusion
    …all about billy…owtte – my bad but no malice aforethought, my point still made.

    So Milod…, to clarify …all about billy…or words to that effect – owtte – was a compact ref to the post I was addressing with the comment to follow. Not a hidden or otherwise attempt to twist or lie to you or others about what you’d said. Isn’t that clear? didn’t the clear immediate public apology do it for you?

    You’ll have to do better than that – have another go…

  374. Willis said:

    “However, Johanna always casts herself in the “savior of downtrodden women”
    ——————————————-
    Yet another absurd, sweeping statement from someone who apparently knows everything about everybody (although he missed that Hilary Ostrov is Jewish, because only an evangelical Christian could possibly disagree with his Received Wisdom.) .

    Do you have any evidence for this assertion, Willis? The “always” in your throwaway line really caught my attention. Have you been snooping about me? How on earth would you know what I “always” do or say?

    Must say that the women in this thread are not especially downtrodden. Oh, and Pamela, how are you doing with supporting your claim that Janice backtracked from her position?

  375. Mark Bofill says:
    April 22, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Already gone on too long, but will respond with my take on this post & its comments, since you asked for opinions.

    My initial reaction was not to read Willis’ post. This is Mr. W@tts’ blog, so of course it’s his right to publish whatever he wants. Yet since Willis claimed that my comments on NASA’s investigating the possibility of strange life on Titan weren’t about science, I’ve found it strange that his autobiographical sketches feature here from time to time. It would never have occurred to me to eulogize my dad, who died on March 1, here, even though his careers on land, at sea & in the air could be mined for scientific comment in general & climatology in particular.

    However I did read Willis’ eulogy after seeing some of the comments, &, as above, felt his response to Janice’s condescension not unduly harsh. As long as biography counts among “puzzling things in life”, then IMO both the post itself & lengthy commentary thereupon have been appropriate, even if not all individual comments have been.

    The main topic of this blog necessarily occasions political comments, since public policy in a number of areas is highly relevant, but IMO religion should be avoided. I’ve commented on it myself at too great length, albeit in response to the misguided who try to inject their religious beliefs into scientific discussion.

    As well they might, since Dr. Spencer himself does. I don’t feel the need to posit a Creator to explain the observable fact that earth’s climate is homeostatic, as he does.

  376. John Whitman says:
    April 22, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Willis,

    I think it would benefit the thread and all parties concerned, including yourself, if you personally in private and publically here on this thread invite Janice Moore to come back to this thread to help in a benevolent discussion about this situation.

    Can’t do it privately, John, I don’t know her email. But I’m glad to do it AGAIN publicly. In speaking above of my previous apology, I said:

    If Janice tells me she is not satisfied, I will assuredly take action.

    That was an invitation to Janice to come back to this thread and speak her mind as she wishes, in case you missed it. Just what you ask me now to do …

    For others who missed it as well, let me say it specifically. Janice, I apologize for saying don’t come back to the thread. That was part of the “over-the-top” nature of my response that I apologized for before. I was upset by your crass and intrusive behavior, but that was no reason to say go away and never come back, and I was wrong to say that.

    w.

  377. kevin smith says:
    April 22, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Anthony et al, I am an avid reader of WUWT and have been for years. It appeals to my contrarian streak, I suppose, but also has always been a haven of balanced rationality and even tolerance in an otherwise frustratingly one-sided media environment. I have never posted, however…it being quite obvious that folks here are on average much more intelligent than I, and far more knowledgeable. Thank you for your work and this site over the years, and for taking the risk to occasionally make room for these types of very human posts, with such potential for connection and controversy.

    Couldn’t agree more, Anthony has build an amazing edifice here

    Also like others, I must take issue with your treatment of Janice. I’ve re-read her post a lot of times and I just can’t squeeze the juice you’re tasting from it. At face value (which, as you’ve rightly pointed out, is all any of us have to work with in this somewhat artificial space…but we actually do ‘know’ her somewhat through her many contributions here) it seems a compassionate, gentle attempt at both honoring what you shared and connecting with you from her own spiritual point of view.

    Let me ask you the question that everyone runs away from, Kevin:

    If you were grieving, and you gave a Christian eulogy for a Christian member of your family discussing your own fundamental beliefs, and I showed up and told you in no uncertain terms that Jesus was a liar, that he could not bring you peace, that your most fundamental and cherished beliefs that you had just discussed were all wrong, that Christ could never bring real lasting hope to anyone, and then I topped it off by trying to convert you to some other religion … would you consider that kind of personal attack to be the expression of what you call “a compassionate, gentle attempt at honoring” your time of grief?

    Because those are the exact accusations and the exact things she said to me, Kevin. Why is this so hard for people to understand? You are looking through Christian-colored glasses, wherein all things Christian are perforce kind and understanding. So when someone comes to me in my time of grief, and tells me that all the things I take comfort in are false and wrong, and that I’m getting my advice from a “liar”, and that I will never find peace and hope that way, and uses the occasion of my grief to try to sell me Jesus … far too many Christians can’t stop chewing the Christian cud long enough to look up and say, “Hey, that’s not a nice thing to say and do to a grieving man!”

    So perhaps you’ll be the first one to answer my question above, Kevin. Everyone else so far has just run for the doors when I’ve asked them about how they would feel about me calling Christ a liar in no uncertain terms at a Christian eulogy … here’s your chance to be the first to get your views on the record about how that’s such a good thing to do.

    And if not … why are you defending Janice doing that exact thing? She was not trying to “connect with me from her own spiritual point of view”, that’s just your Christian glasses again. She was trying to SELL ME her own spiritual point of view, and in the process attack and denigrate my own spiritual point of view … you sure you want to claim that’s a wonderful thing? You can change your mind, you know …

    Let me say it again, Kevin, because you and others wearing Christian glasses don’t seem to get it. For many of us, the ten-thousandth attempt to convert us to your peculiar beliefs is NOT WANTED, NOT APPRECIATED, AND AN UGLY INTRUSION IN OUR LIVES!!!

    You seem to think that good intentions gets you a free pass. It doesn’t. And the more you do it, the more that Christianity is despised and hated. We are sick of the endless barrage of Jesus propaganda. For many of us it is NEVER appropriate, which is why I said above that people like Janice need to ASK FIRST.

    And in particular, it is absolutely and totally inappropriate at the eulogy of someone who is not a Christian. It’s bizarre, Kevin. When someone like Janice sees a Muslim who is grieving, they think “How sad.” When they see a Jew that is grieving, they think “Oh, my.”

    But when they see someone grieving who has chosen to live their life without what we see as ancient superstition, most Christians think “This would be a perfect time to spread the Good Word! I’ll just go and witness for Jesus, that poor soul might never have heard the Lord’s Message!”

    Here’s a protip … we’ve all heard it before, and we turned it down hundreds of times after mature thought and reflection, at which point asking again takes on clear overtones of an insult to our cognitive abilities … but I digress.

    Do you see how that will be perceived, Kevin, saving your sales pitch for the non-religious person and offering compassion to the Moslem and the Jew with no attempt to convert them? It will not go well, because Janice and those like her see us as their legitimate prey, and we see Janice and those like here as callous, unfeeling fools who are always trying to stuff their Jesus in other people’s business … but most of the time, we say nothing. We just put up with your endless crap and move on.

    But when Janice came and battened on to me at a eulogy for my recently dead father-in-law, and like an unscrupulous mortician tried to take advantage of my grief to hawk her shop-worn wares that I’d heard since forever as though they were news, and used my exposition of my own beliefs to tell me how screwed up my beliefs are and what a fool I am to believe a liar and how I’d never have lasting peace or hope … yeah, I lost it, and perhaps now you can see why.

    Anyhow, for all you folks out there that read Janice’s comment and can’t see what is so intrusive and aggressive about it … take off your Christian glasses. I can only tell you what Christians look like from the outside. The endless, mindless, boringly repetitive religious proselytizing that y’all mistake for compassion and kindness is really, really ugly from out here even on a good day. Far too often it is neither compassionate or kind … and at a eulogy for someone not of your faith, it is seriously impolite, improper, unwanted, intrusive, aggressive, and unpleasant to use the occasion to attack my beliefs and try to sell me Jesus. That is not compassion or kindness in the slightest.

    Hope that’s clear …

    w.

  378. Willis said:

    “For others who missed it as well, let me say it specifically. Janice, I apologize for saying don’t come back to the thread. That was part of the “over-the-top” nature of my response that I apologized for before. I was upset by your crass and intrusive behavior, but that was no reason to say go away and never come back, and I was wrong to say that.”
    ————————————————–
    She was “crass and intrusive”, you told her to f*** off, but now you are all forgiving and she is a coward if she doesn’t respond?

    Keep digging, pal.

  379. Gunga Din says:
    April 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Willis, I am sorry for your loss. Death is not a friend. A release from pain maybe, but not a friend.
    Do you really want what you intended as a eulogy (whether your intention was clear or not) to Billy to continue as it has?
    I’d encourage you and all to let the diversion from that drop

    Let me deal with the foolish claim that some people didn’t realize this was a eulogy.

    First, I said I was going to talk about Billy, and I talked about death in general as a context.

    Then I spoke of Billy’s life, recounting in warm terms the things that he had accomplished and how much he was loved. I spoke of his death, and the effect it had on me and others.

    And I closed it with his epitaph, RIP my dear friend.

    Anyone who doesn’t recognize that as a eulogy is willfully blind. How many other pieces have you seen in your life that spoke highly of a man’s life immediately after his death, recounted his many successes, and ended with an epitaph that weren’t eulogies? What do you need, some big sign? Has the level of intelligence here really sunk that low? I’m not buying it, folks here are smarter than that. People knew what it was that I wrote.

    Sheesh …

    Next, this is not a “diversion” from his eulogy. The eulogy stands or falls on its own, and has nothing to do with the discussion that it engendered. It is a powerful piece, as many people have commented, and that is inherent in the piece and not changed by anything happening before or after.

    Finally, I don’t see this as a “diversion”. Billy was an atheist, and he hated it when people (including some in his own family) tried to sell him Jesus. He’d say to me something like “They think I never heard their crap before! I’m 84, and I’ve had to put up with hearing this all my life, and they think they’re bringing me news?”

    So he would have laughed about all of this, and seen my words as an explanation of why he had grown to dislike the pushy Janice variety of Christians, who honestly and truly don’t realize how widely their actions are hated and despised, and who honestly and truly mistake their attack and their sales pitch for caring and compassion … and then, when called on it, claim exemption because their motives are so noble. Sorry … noble motives just make it worse.

    w.

  380. Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    My dad put up with friends trying to convert him during the last of his 92 eventful, adventurous years, but he too found it strange that they tried to save him. His mom was a Presbyterian & his wife a Baptist, so he had been forced to wade through swamps of Calvinism his entire life. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t heard the Good News. He had, ad nauseum, & rejected it long ago & for good. He was easy going in his atheism, inquisitive & open minded, however. He was surprised that I thought one Joshua, son of Joseph of Nazareth probably actually lived in 1st century Galilee & was crucified in the Roman province of Judea.

    I hope these comments have wised up some prospective proselytizers as to proper behavior here.

  381. johanna says:
    April 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Willis said:

    “For others who missed it as well, let me say it specifically. Janice, I apologize for saying don’t come back to the thread. That was part of the “over-the-top” nature of my response that I apologized for before. I was upset by your crass and intrusive behavior, but that was no reason to say go away and never come back, and I was wrong to say that.”

    ————————————————–
    She was “crass and intrusive”, you told her to f*** off, but now you are all forgiving and she is a coward if she doesn’t respond?

    Keep digging, pal.

    Coward? You liar, I never called her a coward, and you know it. That’s just your nasty man-hating nature coming out. YOU are the first person in this thread to utter the word “coward”, and true to your ugly nature, you pretend that I made such an accusation. I neither said nor implied anything of the sort, nor do I believe she is a coward. She, like all of us, gets to choose where to engage with people, and gets to live with her choices. Here is what I actually said, so people can see how you try to twist my words. Someone asked me if I would hang around after being told in no uncertain terms that I was being inappropriate, and I replied:

    You’re darned tootin’ I would still be hanging around, and either strongly defending what I had said, or strongly apologizing for it. I wouldn’t walk away from it, as doing that strongly suggests that you think that people’s objections are correct but are unwilling to admit it. That suggestion that you are unwilling to admit you were wrong might not be true in the slightest, for Janice or anyone else who does that … but it sure gives that impression.

    So yes, it’s both bad strategy and bad tactics to post something and then walk away without a word when someone questions it or objects to it.

    I said it was bad strategy and bad tactics to do what she did. I never said nor implied that she is a coward, and it is vile and underhanded of you to accuse me of it.

    Next, yes, the rest of your statement was correct. As you said, she was crass and intrusive. True. As you said, I told her to f*** off, not in those words, but true. And as you said, when I cooled down, yes, I apologized for where I was over the top. Also true. Thank you for confirming the events under discussion. But I never called her a coward. That’s all you.

    johanna, I gotta ask you. Is there some kind of “Bats-signal” that people flash whenever I say something less that idolizing about some woman somewhere? Because you always seem to turn up to defend the woman with all your might and main, regardless of the facts of the case.

    The part I gotta ask is, do you see how you are perpetuating the stereotype of the “weak woman”?

    Me, I think Janice is perfectly capable of defending herself if she chooses. She’s a grown woman, she can handle it.

    But most folks here have taken the opposite tack. They seem to think she is weak and incapable of supporting and defending what she said.

    The corollary to that, of course, is that poor weak Janice needs a big strong man to defend her … and true to form, lots of big strong men have jumped up and said Oh, let me protect the weak woman, I can do it, I’ll defend her against the baaad Willis. And of course, having strong men jump up to protect the “fragile flower” just strengthens the stereotype.

    But you’ve put your own bizarre twist on it. You buy in totally to the “weak woman” stereotype, but you think she needs a big strong woman to defend her, so as soon as you get the Bats-signal, you come out here to try to stuff words in my mouth that I never said …

    Do you see how you are strengthening and perpetuating the stereotype, johanna? There’s no need and no call for you to be sticking your big nose into her business. I didn’t notice her asking for you to be her champion. I didn’t see her asking anyone to defend her words, and indeed, she has chosen not to defend them herself. So why have you taken to wearing the fair (albeit weak in your opinion) lady’s sleeve as a token of affection on your jousting armor? For all she has said here, she (like me) may have regretted immediately what she said, and doesn’t want anyone defending her … who knows? Not you and I …

    None of that makes her a coward, nor does it make her weak. It’s a choice she’s made and I’m happy with it … or if she chooses to change it and defend what she wrote, that’s fine too.

    So how about you stop endlessly perpetuating the “weak woman” meme, and find some weak man somewhere that needs protecting? You’re perfect for the role, you’ve got the spiel down pat, just scratch out “woman” everywhere in your script and substitute “man”, and you’re good to go.

    w.

  382. PS: Any chance he might have had of adopting Christianity was squelched by the exploitation he observed of Alaskan, Yukon & NWT Eskimos & Indians by missionaries while flying around the North in a Ford Tri-Motor as a teen in the ’30s.

    IMO you replied to Janice just as you would have to a male interloper, making you an equal opportunity anti-proselytizer, of which fact Johanna ought to approve.

  383. From the top, willis references…

    Instead, it is a discussion of the following well-known wanted criminal: Mr Death

    I just got done expending a bunch of sweat and tears to tell a detailed, complex, moving true account of my own personal life.

    Up jumps Janice, and she wants to hijack what I’ve written. She starts twisting my true account of my own life into…

    I took a long time and a lot of effort to craft a powerful story, and she wants to jump in and use the drama and the strength and the pathos and passion of my story for her own personal, private, parochial religious ends. I’m sorry, Mark, but that’s plagiarism and worse. I will not let her ride on my work that way. I will not let her twist my words in that fashion.

    But I will not have her stealing my heart-felt song of life and death for her own religious purposes.

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm
    Next, I won’t let someone use my stories about my life to sell their personal beliefs.

    Approx…
    10 pages misc deaths/anecdotes re: willis’ life
    6 pages on Willis/Billy
    4 pages on the services etc rigmarole getting him certified dead and over to mortuary

    A search of the word eulogy produces the first approx 52 comments in by Weathep, Willis using it, only after a couple of references preceding his, approx 100 comments in

    If you ask me part autobiography, part obituary, open for discussion/contributions of whatever one feels moved to make

  384. davideisenstadt says:
    April 21, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Now that was funny.

    Do not press down upon the brow of commenting this crown of thorns!

  385. Mark Bofill says:
    April 22, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Gods, this thread has been awful. It depresses the heck out of me to see this sort of infighting here, and over what?

    For me, it’s not in-fighting. It’s just WUWT as usual, lot’s of folks, lots of opinions … what’s new?

    As to “over what”, we are discussing proper behavior in regards to a grieving man giving a eulogy. I hold that it’s not the place or the time to try to sell him your religion. Nor is it appropriate to attack the man’s beliefs at such a time, and tell him he’s listening to a liar, his beliefs are all wrong, and he will never find lasting peace and hope.

    A number of people here say they think what Janice did is fine, which is bizarre to me given what Janice actually did … but when I ask if it would be equally appropriate to do what Janice did, by saying to a grieving Christian giving a eulogy for a Christian family member that Jesus was a liar, and he will never bring them lasting peace, and their beliefs are all screwed up … well, at that point they disappear. All of a sudden they are struck dumb, and rightly so. They never, ever in their lives thought of it that way. It’s what I referred to as “Christian glasses”, they make everything Christian look all rosy and wonderful, even when it’s not.

    However, new contestants keep popping up … but I’m a patient man, and I do want people to understand how unthinkingly offensive their Christian “compassion” is at times. To a non-religious person like myself, who gets bombarded with Christian messages day in and day out, this is an important issue.

    So … there’s no reason for any of this to depress you. It’s a non-religious person taking exception to the aggressive panhandling techniques of the Christians, and asking people to take off their Christian glasses to notice how mindlessly intrusive Christians can be …

    And no, I’m not talking about all Christians. Most are not out proselytizing for converts at the eulogy of an atheist and trying to sell Jesus to a grieving man … but the bizarre part is, even when it is pointed out, they still don’t see that as an intrusive action. They don’t see it as crass and unfeeling.

    They don’t get it, at least, until I say, how would you like it if I went to a Christian eulogy and told the grieving man that Jesus was a liar who could never bring him lasting peace? Is that a compassionate act? … like I said, that’s when they disappear, so I’m hoping to vanish them all …

    Naw, not really … but I do wish more of them would take off their Christian glasses. I’m just reporting what “Christian compassion” all too often looks like and feels like from the point of view of the poor unwilling recipient… and it’s not pretty, folks

    Thanks for your comment,

    w.

  386. milodonharlani says (April 22, 2014 at 4:48 pm): “He was surprised that I thought one Joshua, son of Joseph of Nazareth probably actually lived in 1st century Galilee & was crucified in the Roman province of Judea.”

    This takes me decades back to my college years, when I took a summer class in comparative religion. Among our guest lecturers were a minister, who claimed that history had verified the existence of Jesus, and a rabbi, who claimed history had not. :-) Amused, I added that disagreement to my long list of things to look up “someday”. Prompted by your comment, today I did just that. For what it’s worth, wiki agrees with you:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

    Fun fact: Typing my search term into Google, I got as far as “roman records” when autocomplete added “of jesus”. Must be a popular search, at least around Easter. :-)

  387. johanna says:
    April 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Willis said:

    “However, Johanna always casts herself in the “savior of downtrodden women” [role]

    ——————————————-
    Yet another absurd, sweeping statement from someone who apparently knows everything about everybody (although he missed that Hilary Ostrov is Jewish, because only an evangelical Christian could possibly disagree with his Received Wisdom.) .

    Do you have any evidence for this assertion, Willis?

    Sure. As far as I know, you’ve never cast yourself as the savior of downtrodden men. You’re welcome to prove me wrong, of course …

    Also … see my more detailed answer above.

    w.

    PS—Of course, johanna, you are 100% correct about the “always”. Such sweeping statements are always wrong … I should have said “johanna loves to cast herself in the “savior of downtrodden women” role”, that would have been more accurate. My apologies, moving too fast.

  388. Gunga Din says (April 22, 2014 at 5:20 pm): ‘“He’d use his grief as a cloak.”’

    Best not to poke a porcupine, cloaked or not. :-)

  389. willis,
    johanna never wrote that you called Janice a coward, so what ya going on about? fake indignation

    Willis – I wouldn’t walk away from it, as doing that strongly suggests that you think that people’s objections are correct but are unwilling to admit it.

    me… er isn’t that your hint her action/inaction is cowardly, could be the basis of johanna’s question, you know, a question, asking if u think….., as it’s surely a subtle possibility

    Joanna ….”keep diggin, pal” said with earthy tones (nice one)

    methinks he doth protest to much

  390. milodonharlani says:
    April 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm
    thanks.
    theres nothing worse than having what you think is a good joke go over like a lead balloon…

  391. Gary Hladik says:
    April 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    That’s pretty funny. I tried it & the top autocomplete was the same.

    In college, an atheist friend of mine argued for a conspiracy by the Church to destroy the portions of Tacitus’ account of the Roman siege of Jerusalem which might have borne on both the historicity of the (then decades dead) Jesus & the early, Jewish phase Christianity (although Paul, missionary to the Gentiles, was already himself probably dead in AD 70). I OTOH was willing to consider that those pages just happened to get lost, as with so much else of ancient literature.

  392. Gary Hladik says:
    April 22, 2014 at 5:21

    milodonharlani says (April 22, 2014 at 4:48 pm):

    “He was surprised that I thought one Joshua, son of Joseph of Nazareth probably actually lived in 1st century Galilee & was crucified in the Roman province of Judea.”

    This takes me decades back to my college years, when I took a summer class in comparative religion. Among our guest lecturers were a minister, who claimed that history had verified the existence of Jesus, and a rabbi, who claimed history had not. :-) Amused, I added that disagreement to my long list of things to look up “someday”. Prompted by your comment, today I did just that. For what it’s worth, wiki agrees with you:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

    Thanks Gary and [s]milodon for the stories. Other people’s lives and families are always amazing.

    Also, interesting Wiki article. Mostly, I liked the word “historicity”, never heard that word before … the best thing about this life is that there is always more to learn. Makes me want to investigate the relative elasticity of historicity …

    w.

  393. My sad parting comment in this thread.

    {apology to McLean’s American Pie}

    Janice Moore left with the blues
    As Willis stopped her further clues
    As she just smiled and turned away
    I went down to Watt’s skeptic floor
    Where I’d seen openness weeks before
    But the mood there was that balance wouldn’t play
    And in that thread some had screamed
    And some cried out, and the lurkers dreamed
    But Moore was still unspoken
    As good will was all broken
    And the blog thing I admired most-
    A free, fun, and open post –
    Its on the last train for the coast
    This day a dialog died
    When it should be zinging
    Bye bye skeptical high
    . . .

    John

  394. P.S. – where is your apology to Nancy, who you used Michael Mann like tactics to attack personally, rather than what she said.

    Nancy answered your accusations directly by identifying herself. Still waiting for an apology from the serial accuser with a ponytail, which differentiates him from MM..

  395. Willis said:

    PS—Of course, johanna, you are 100% correct about the “always”. Such sweeping statements are always wrong … I should have said “johanna loves to cast herself in the “savior of downtrodden women” role”, that would have been more accurate. My apologies, moving too fast.
    ———————————
    Yep, that’s Wlillis, just making it up as he goes along.

  396. John Whitman says:
    April 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Willis,

    I thought it was very well known at WUWT, due my vigorous interaction in all the controversial Monckton threads at WUWT where he interjected his Christianity significantly into his hard science posts, that I am labeled by theists as an athiest.

    Sorry, John, but I read so many comments during a given day, and so many of them are from aliases, and I interact with literally hundreds of people all over the web, that I fear I make little attempt to draw complete pictures of who said what on some other thread, and what that means about their beliefs.

    So I had no idea you were labeled by theists as an atheist. Now johanna can beat up on me for making that assumption, she’s still trying to squeeze a few last miles out of the fact that I didn’t know Hilary was Jewish, so this should give her new ammunition and she can stop using Hilary to beat me over the head … mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    I criticize the termininology ‘atheist’ because it is a theist concept and has irrational connotations. I am just a normal man, not a theist nor athiest (although atheist is close to accurate), who has no supernatural / superstitious component intellectually. Have been so since I decided to think for myself at ~13 years old.

    Indeed.

    My position on Janice’s ‘ritualistic litany-like’ first comment is not due to any sympathy with religion.

    My +60 year life around religious people proclaiming their ritualistic wisdom is what gives me tolerance of Janice’s behavior. My experience is it is the only way they know to express their emotions.

    Thanks for that explanation, John. That being the case, let me relate that to a modern permissive parent who is totally concerned about the self-esteem of their precious little snowflake Tommy … so when little Tommy starts smashing someone else’s furniture on a visit, the parent says something like “Oh, please don’t be upset with him, I just accept it, it’s the only way he knows how to express his emotions, and I don’t want him to feel bad about himself …”

    John, if that’s the only way they know to express their emotions, then someone needs to shake them and wake them up and tell them that they are smashing the furniture. It doesn’t do either Tommy or Janice any good to excuse their excesses on the basis of “It’s OK, they don’t know any better”.

    If they don’t know, then they should find out, and sooner rather than later. Letting them run their number without protest is not helping either Tommy or Janice—quite the opposite, it is very damaging to them. All that happens when you do that is they continue to unknowingly break other people’s furniture …

    Thanks as always for your comments, ever interesting.

    w.

  397. johanna says:
    April 22, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    P.S. – where is your apology to Nancy, who you used Michael Mann like tactics to attack personally, rather than what she said.

    Nancy answered your accusations directly by identifying herself. Still waiting for an apology from the serial accuser with a ponytail, which differentiates him from MM..

    And now, heeeeere’s johanna, the big strong woman standing up once again for the poor downtrodden weak woman who can’t defend herself without someone’s help … Dang, johanna, you’re determined to prove me right.

    johanna, stop pretending that Nancy is a weakling who is incapable of asking me for an apology. She, like you and Janice, is a grown woman who can speak for herself. If she asks me for an apology for something I said, I’m more than happy to discuss it with her… but I’m going to hold the discussion with the organ grinder, not the monkey.

    And Nancy? Nancy is just as off base as you, she also thinks Janice is a hothouse flower that needs a strong woman to protect her … Nancy wanted me to apologize to Janice for the fifth time. For the fifth damn time! Is there no satisfying you harpies?

    And I told her the exact same thing that I just told you. If Janice wants an apology, I’m more than happy to discuss it … with her. Not with Nancy. Not with you. With Janice.

    What is it with you? Do all of you need a spokesmodel to make your demands for apologies?

    w.

    PS—Who is this guy with a pony-tail you keep babbling about? Jesus? Willie Nelson? Because it sure ain’t me, I never had the ponytail habit in my life …

    REPLY: I can vouch for that, Willis has no pony tail – Anthony

  398. I was the first to post on this thread, but I would like to explain why. When I said Willis should enter his piece in a short story competition, I meant it of course. But seeing his response to Janice, whom I saw no deliberate insult to Willis, it reminded me of the times when I taught creative writing. Some wannabee writers, amateurs, have to abide by certain technical writing tools. Every short story should have a beginning, middle and ending. That makes up a story, but the ending can be in the beginning of course and flash back the rest. Some have absolutely no talent when they start to recall anecdotes about their personal feelings on a subject or happening. They become almost personal reflections and like a diary entry and no interest to other audiences. This piece has sparked some sympathy but also religious diatribe.

    When you try to give some constructive criticism, they behave like Willis. Writing is very personal to them to reveal their inner feelings. It is good therapy too, and I used encourage some writers who had no intention of being published, just to share it with me. By doing this it allowed them to exorcise some demons that were haunting them. Especially about injustice or abuse in their early life. Sadness from the loss of a dear pet.

    Fiction is so much more fun, when you make up composite characters with real people in mind, and kill them off or afford them their just desserts. (Like M.Man LOL) That’s why they say the pen is more dangerous than the sword.

    Willis you are no Hemingway, but everyone can relate to the death of a loved one, but your responses have to be handled less aggressively. And Johanna, Pam and Janice, I’m with you.
    And some here are mixing it to make this simple story of bereavement into a heated debate about
    religion and personal bitterness against religion. Remember it is the singer not the song and some of you have shown up as bigots. And Janice don’t respond.
    And Willis if you enter this story into a competition it will not get past the slush pile.
    Let’s get back to climate change and AGW. And Willis get off your soap box, there is no absolute.

  399. Johanna, like I said, I know the mindset of the evangalist (as in been there, done that). The minute Willis responded as he did, she began dealing with the opposing issues presented in biblical text and trying to figure out how to undo the offense. There are many opposing biblical views about what one should do when the attempt to convert has backfired. For example, causing another to sin because we put a stumbling block in their path is a bad thing to do, versus, we are to wipe the dust from our sandals if the house we offend turns us away. Or go out and make disciples versus pray in private. Or be in this world but not of this world. There are many examples of this dichotomy and leaves the well-meaning evangalist twisting this way and that to get out of the sticky situations they find themselves in. Most apologize for offending. Some do not. And all, I fear, never apologize for evangalizing.

    So yes, in her mind, I am betting a good solid bet that she backtracked to the apologize for offending stage and is just trying to figure out how to do that. I doubt she will take the real step. But if she does, my hat is off to her. In any event, I have no doubt at all she is sorry she has offended.

  400. Well Willis your sensitivity regarding religious people, must affect you more than others. I know many religious people of different faiths, I have ‘witnesses’ that drop me off the occasional ‘Watch tower’ and I invite them in for a cup of coffee. They are lovely people, and we have become friends over the 10 years. He gave me a essay (he has a Ph.D in ancient history) he wrote explaining the creation and how the six days in Genesis was wrong. As an evolutionist my only criticism, he should have referenced more than the bible as what he had written was very close to what I feel too. So sometimes some people quote biblical text to try to reinforce the meaning.
    I have no liking for the SDAC, as my only granddaughter is not allowed to communicate with me, or me her, because I am an evolutionist. That to me is not Christian or putting me down as a non believer.

  401. Pamela Gray says:
    April 22, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    If truly sorry & repentant, then why does she keep trying to evangelize?

    bushbunny says:
    April 22, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Who is the bigot, she who assumes that I can’t possibly be happy, good or decent, let alone saved, without embracing the blasphemous lies of Janice’s anti-reality cult, so make it her duty to impose her abject drivel on us (even more inappropriately in a science blog than in the physical world of unwanted, uninvited Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door), or those of us who object to this insulting attitude?

  402. Milo, well Jesus may not have started Christianity, but Paul did. They both preached. Your last post assumes that Janice is blasphemous, come on that is bigotry. Well in my book anyway.
    I don’t know which country you are a citizen of, but in the USA, Britain and Australia religion is separate from State. They are not a theocracy, so don’t wear a crucifix in Saudi Arabia or you will be arrested. And don’t drive around Jerusleum in a car on their sabbath, in the orthodox sector, or you will be stoned. Luckily we have freedom for most religious practices. But we are not forced to follow any one religioun, as it was in the 16th century. Didn’t the people who came to America on the May Flower were escaping religious persecution. And it still goes on today.
    Religious tolerance is one of the things missing on this thread, I am ashamed to say.

  403. Bushbunny,

    Didn’t the people who came to America on the May Flower were escaping religious persecution…

    Interesting question of fact. Let me disclaim this by saying I learned this in a college course as a callow youth who’d yet to realize that one’s professors don’t always necessarily give you ‘the Truth the Whole Truth and Nothing But’. Having so disclaimed, I was taught that at least some of the people who came over were worried about the religious practices over in England, that they were not pure enough, and they wanted to get an ocean between themselves and the impending imminent ‘Wrath of God’ which they expected to be visited apon the wicked in England.
    Anybody know anything about this?

  404. Well I can understand this, history is sometimes one sided, like some religious faiths. I honestly feel very sorry for people who have irrational fears and believe what they hear from a pastor as the gospel truth, no pun intended.

    One threat I heard a SDAC follower tell me, that in America they were banning their church from having their Sabbath on a Saturday. For heavens sakes girl, so do the Jews.That is crap.

  405. Willis Eschenbach says: April 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm
    johanna says: April 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    [Willis had written:]

    “For others who missed it as well, let me say it specifically. Janice, I apologize for saying don’t come back to the thread. That was part of the “over-the-top” nature of my response that I apologized for before. I was upset by your crass and intrusive behavior, but that was no reason to say go away and never come back, and I was wrong to say that.”

    [To which johanna had responded:]

    She was “crass and intrusive”, you told her to f*** off, but now you are all forgiving and she is a coward if she doesn’t respond?

    Keep digging, pal.

    Following which, Willis <even when he’s wrong, he’s always right> Eschenbach, predictably avoided the obvious implication of his very own words, i.e. as Nancy G. had noted earlier:

    you repeatedly said you had apologized when you didn’t really. Any apology that had a “but” attached to it isn’t a real apology. You basically say I’m sorry I was so harsh, but she deserved it. Not an apology.

    Instead, he chose to (perhaps conveniently?!) forget that earlier today he had also written:

    I would still be hanging around, and either strongly defending what I had said, or strongly apologizing for it. I wouldn’t walk away from it, as doing that strongly suggests that you think that people’s objections are correct but are unwilling to admit it. That suggestion that you are unwilling to admit you were wrong might not be true in the slightest, for Janice or anyone else who does that … but it sure gives that impression.

    So yes, it’s both bad strategy and bad tactics to post something and then walk away without a word when someone questions it or objects to it.

    I’m not quite sure what single word or phrase WUWTs Wonderful Wordsmith Willis™ would have chosen to summarize the above. But you must have chosen the wrong one, johanna! Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. And in so doing, you broke his cardinal rule, thereby invoking the wrath of Willis who immediately glommed onto your unfortunate choice of the word “coward”:

    Coward? You liar, I never called her a coward, and you know it.

    You see, johanna, the rules of the game are: Thou shalt always quote Willis’ “exact” words. So that (if he cannot immediately conjure up some lame excuse or other) he can simply snip and run away from them. Just as he did earlier in this thread when I had the temerity to remind him of his warm-up exercises: His barrage of baseless claims that Janice was “hijacking [his] thread”, “plagiarizing and worse” and “twisting [his] words”.

    If I’ve learned nothing else through my conversations (for want of a better word) with Willis in the last year or so, it’s that it is utterly pointless to expect Willis to substantiate his claims (or quote another’s “exact” words).

    You see, his interpretation (which, as we all know, is the only one that counts on one of his threads) will trump anyone’s exact words in context, every single time. So, in light of Willis’ iron rule that others must obey, some might conclude that he has a double-standard. But I couldn’t possibly comment.

    This was a mere warm-up exercise prior to launching into his full-blown fantasy and ludicrous repeated (by now ad nauseam) assertions that she was “seeking converts”, “giving a sermon” and “proselytizing”. Not to mention the corollary that anyone who did not see her actual words “through [his] eyes” must (by his definition which, again, is the only one that counts) also be a Christian evangelist. And if this should turn out not to be the case, well, of course it’s not his fault that he might have so wrongly concluded.

    All of which, of course, pales in comparison to his allegedly ‘unmet challenge’ via his diversionary reframing: His coup de grâce, an “analogy” (also repeated ad nauseam throughout this thread) to which one is, evidently, supposed to respond and/or agree with.

    Some might ignore this “challenge” because – apart from requiring a “prior” blind acceptance of his baseless claims and unproven assertions – the analogy is so inept, inapt, insulting to one’s intelligence and (as with so many iterations of his obnoxious self-exculpatory and/or diversionary tirades) ultimately, immaterial. But, again, I couldn’t possibly comment.

  406. John R T says:
    April 22, 2014 at 11:05 am

    PS: {Somewhere up-thread, at least twice, you claimed that salespersons had to show the prospective buyer his wrong-ness; where did you learn this? I never made a sale by talking down the person with the money. Again, where did this happen to you? Know of any successful representatives who claim this is the road to success?}

    Thanks, John. Excuse the confusion, it’s my writing.

    If you want to sell someone a religion, first they need to want to leave their current religion. It does no good for you to extol the praises of your product if they think that what they already have is better.

    So you tell me, John … how would you solve that sales problem?

    Because every salesman I know would see that before the person will choose my product, first they have to be dissatisfied with the product they have. Why do you think that Honda spends its time saying that Ford is no good, for example?

    Regards,

    w.

    • Thank you, Willis; I try to live my faith. ‘They will know we are Christians by our love.’ I have not tried to ‘sell’ my denomination, nor my religious affiliation. On several occasions, co-workers, family members, a traveller sitting beside me, have asked, ‘Why/how are you so content/happy?’ I tell them of my faith. I can claim no convert. I have had a little success in ‘selling’ a process, an approach, by demonstrating a benefit greater than that enjoyed under an existing regime. Most of us become accustomed to, and accepting of, our current situation. Pointing out errors is wrong-footed. Your vigorous, maybe vehement, attachment to your world view and philosophy is noteworthy. I see little skepticism, there. Nor does there appear to be ease and contentment. Thank heaven for dedicated explorers and analysts.

      best wishes, John

      On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 10:55 PM, Watts Up With That? wrote:

      > Willis Eschenbach commented: “John R T says: April 22, 2014 at 11:05 > am PS: {Somewhere up-thread, at least twice, you claimed that salespersons > had to show the prospective buyer his wrong-ness; where did you learn this? > I never made a sale by talking down the person with the money” >

  407. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says: “But, again, I couldn’t possibly comment.”

    LOL. Possibly the funniest line in the entire thread. Kudos!

  408. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 22, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says: April 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm
    johanna says: April 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    [Willis had written:]

    “For others who missed it as well, let me say it specifically. Janice, I apologize for saying don’t come back to the thread. That was part of the “over-the-top” nature of my response that I apologized for before. I was upset by your crass and intrusive behavior, but that was no reason to say go away and never come back, and I was wrong to say that.”

    [To which johanna had responded:]

    She was “crass and intrusive”, you told her to f*** off, but now you are all forgiving and she is a coward if she doesn’t respond?

    Keep digging, pal.

    Following which, Willis Eschenbach, predictably avoided the obvious implication of his very own words, i.e. as Nancy G. had noted earlier:

    you repeatedly said you had apologized when you didn’t really. Any apology that had a “but” attached to it isn’t a real apology. You basically say I’m sorry I was so harsh, but she deserved it. Not an apology.

    Instead, he chose to (perhaps conveniently?!) forget that earlier today he had also written:

    I would still be hanging around, and either strongly defending what I had said, or strongly apologizing for it. I wouldn’t walk away from it, as doing that strongly suggests that you think that people’s objections are correct but are unwilling to admit it. That suggestion that you are unwilling to admit you were wrong might not be true in the slightest, for Janice or anyone else who does that … but it sure gives that impression.

    So yes, it’s both bad strategy and bad tactics to post something and then walk away without a word when someone questions it or objects to it.

    Hilary, you are suffering from a senior moment. You claim that I “chose to (perhaps conveniently?!) forget that earlier today he had also written” the part you quote.

    In fact, I QUOTED THAT EXACT SECTION IN MY RESPONSE TO JOHANNA.

    So either you are not paying attention in the slightest, or your desire to prove me wrong has overcome your reading ability, or you are just making things up, or you are simply forgetting what you have read. I picked the kindest explanation, that you simply are not remembering, but anything’s possible.

    Note what’s happened here, Hilary. In your overweening desire to prove I’m a bad guy, you not only accused me of not paying attention. You accused me of doing it “perhaps conveniently”, of forgetting something on purpose.

    In fact, YOU did the forgetting, and then made nasty, underhanded accusations about me and how I’m a baaad man … and you claim the moral high ground?? Your greed for my destruction has led to your undoing. You accused me of the very thing that you did, and of which I was totally innocent. Fail.

    There’s a lesson in there if you care to learn it.

    Next, I over-reacted to Janice’s words, and I apologized to her for doing that.

    But as I said clearly at the time, I was apologizing for using a sledgehammer, for the over-the-top qualities of my response. And as I also said clearly, I was NOT apologizing for calling her on her bullshit. Her intrusive, aggressive, attacking proselytizing was way out of line, and I would tell her that again. I’d just do it in more measured tones. So I apologized for the part where I was out of line, but I will not apologize for telling her that her actions were intrusive and uncaring. Not gonna happen.

    Now, I see that you and Nancy think I should apologize to Janice again, in some new and different ways. Don’t you harpies ever give up? Read my lips. I don’t care in the slightest what you and Nancy and johanna think about my apology to someone. That’s between me and Janice, it’s none of your business.

    As I said, do you always need a spokeswoman to demand apologies on behalf of some other woman? Now you’re complaining about my treatment of Nancy and johanna … can’t one of you speak for yourself?

    Do you not see that you are perpetuating the “weak woman” stereotype by implicitly claiming that you need to protect and defend Janice and Nancy? That assumes that they are unable to protect themselves … which I don’t believe at all, but you seem to.

    I care very much if Janice is satisfied with my apology, Hilary, and I have invited her to let me know if she is not satisfied. She is free to do so or not, either is fine by me.

    On the other hand, I don’t care in the slightest if you, Nancy, johanna, and three hundred of your friends are dissatisfied with what I said to Janice. You have not even shown that Janice expects more than what I have offered. You’re just making it up, and then assuming that she’s too weak to tell me, so you’re glad to tell me. Of course, you can’t tell me what Janice thinks, ’cause you have no clue what that is. So you just gin up your ugly fantasies instead and are using them to attack me.

    So I will tell you what I told Nancy, which is the same thing I told johanna. I thought you might get the clue from my telling them individually , but apparently not, so here it is again.

    Janice can speak for herself, and I care what she might say if she chooses to speak. You can’t speak for her, and your unpleasant fantasies about what she wants are of no interest to me at all. If Janice wants a different apology, I am more than happy to have that discussion with her … but I’m going to have that discussion with the organ grinder, not the monkey.

    w.

  409. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 22, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    … And in so doing, you broke his cardinal rule, thereby invoking the wrath of Willis who immediately glommed onto your unfortunate choice of the word “coward”:

    Coward? You liar, I never called her a coward, and you know it.

    You see, johanna, the rules of the game are: Thou shalt always quote Willis’ “exact” words.

    Quoting the words you disagree with is simple courtesy. It allows me and others to understand what you disagree with.

    johanna accused me of calling Janice a “coward”, but provided nothing at all in the way of any quotation of mine to support that.

    So how am I supposed to respond to that, Hilary? It is an accusation with nothing to grab on to, nothing to respond to, since I never said or implied anything of the sort.

    So that (if he cannot immediately conjure up some lame excuse or other) he can simply snip and run away from them.

    Snip and run away? Again, without a quotation, nobody, me included, has a clue what you are referring to.

    In the case you refer to, I didn’t do anything resembling “snip and run away”. Because she hadn’t been courteous enough to indicate what had her knickers in such a twist, I picked what I actually had said that I thought she might referring to and discussed that, viz:

    You’re darned tootin’ I would still be hanging around, and either strongly defending what I had said, or strongly apologizing for it. I wouldn’t walk away from it, as doing that strongly suggests that you think that people’s objections are correct but are unwilling to admit it. That suggestion that you are unwilling to admit you were wrong might not be true in the slightest, for Janice or anyone else who does that … but it sure gives that impression.

    So yes, it’s both bad strategy and bad tactics to post something and then walk away without a word when someone questions it or objects to it.

    I said it was bad strategy and bad tactics to do what she did. I never said nor implied that she is a coward, and it is vile and underhanded of you to accuse me of it.

    I did not “snip and run away”, I discussed what I thought she was referring to. I neither said nor implied Janice was a coward. Johanna never responded, so I still have no clue what she was talking about. Now, you’ve picked up the cudgel, and are full of scorn, but just like johanna, you haven’t shown that I’ve ever implied in any fashion that Janice is a coward.

    Just as he did earlier in this thread when I had the temerity to remind him of his warm-up exercises: His barrage of baseless claims that Janice was “hijacking [his] thread”, “plagiarizing and worse” and “twisting [his] words”.

    Here’s what I actually said, not your pathetic partial quotes:

    Up jumps Janice, and she wants to hijack what I’ve written. She starts twisting my true account of my own life into an argument for her particular brand of religion. Bad religious person, no cookies.

    I took a long time and a lot of effort to craft a powerful story, and she wants to jump in and use the drama and the strength and the pathos and passion of my story for her own personal, private, parochial religious ends. I’m sorry, Mark, but that’s plagiarism and worse. I will not let her ride on my work that way. I will not let her twist my words in that fashion.

    I stand by that, and I subsequently explained in detail exactly what I meant by that. You may not like my claims, but they are not “baseless”, I have explained them in detail. You just don’t like the base.

    If I’ve learned nothing else through my conversations (for want of a better word) with Willis in the last year or so, it’s that it is utterly pointless to expect Willis to substantiate his claims (or quote another’s “exact” words).

    Hilary, I go to great lengths to quote people’s exact words and provide extensive support for my claims. If you think I have not done so, OK, I’m happy to discuss it, but it is cowardly and underhanded to make that ugly allegation without providing even one example to substantiate it.

    I note that once again, you are doing exactly what you accuse me of, of not substantiating your claims. You have made an ugly claim without a scrap of support for it. Funny, that.

    w.

    PS—I’ll give you my theory about why the three of you are so upset with me, knowing that you will not care for it. I think it’s because I hold women to the exactly the same standards as men.

    You think I should be all sweetness and light when I talk to Janice, but not one of you has said much of anything about how I treat men. I treated Janice just like I would have treated a man that did the same thing. As I said, I’m an equal opportunity offender.

    Hilary, you’re not saying “hey, I’ll go easy on Willis because he’s a guy”. And rightly so, I wouldn’t want you to do so.

    But that’s exactly what you want me to do with Janice, go easy on her because she’s a woman. You’re all afraid I’ve hurt her tender feelings, and so you all get together and decide that she wants more apologies to soothe her ruffled feathers, poor thing, but she’s too (something or other) to let me know.

    So you appoint yourselves as her official spokesfemalepersons … y’all are going mad trying to protect her, despite the fact that she’s never asked for it, and that means you think she is weak and people should protect her. You think she needs protection from me that she has never requested, protection that you have no idea if she actually wants or not, and have appointed yourselves as her noble protectors in chief.

    Not to carry out her wishes, however—you have no idea what her wishes are. You have appointed yourselves to carry out your personal vendettas in her name, to carry out your own personal wishes, to try to impose your agenda on me.

    I, on the other hand, think Janice is a woman who can protect herself, and is in no need of protection from me or anyone else. And unless and until she says otherwise, I hold to that.

    And when I don’t offer her the special treatment you think she deserves, because in your world she is a “weak woman” who needs special care, my four apologies to Janice are not enough to satisfy you. I didn’t apologize in the approved fashion, I didn’t say exactly what you think I should say, it wasn’t good enough for you ladies, oh, no, not in the slightest. But then, nothing I can do could possibly satisfy you … but not because I’m not trying, as is clearly demonstrated by the four apologies I’ve made to Janice and the offer to discuss it with her if she wishes.

    So I’ve apologized, but I couldn’t possibly ever apologize enough to satisfy you … because there’s only one person that controls your satisfaction, and it’s not me.

    So then, because I don’t fall in line when the ladies crack the whip, then the three of you start your predictable rants about what an evil, uncaring jerk I am … I’m not. I’m doing what all of my women friends encouraged me to do in my youth, and what has subsequently been my unvarying practice. I’m doing my best to treat Janice the same as I would a man, and you are enraged about that because you think she’s a weak woman who needs special protection.

    Seriously, you are all obsessed with proving that I’m the devil incarnate because I think that y’all “protecting” Janice is a pathetic joke. You’re so upset that I don’t give you and Janice the deference you think you deserve as women that you can’t even keep the story straight. You lose focus, you accuse me of the things that you are doing and I’ve never done, your claims grow more and more bizarre, and your emotional level just keeps going up, up, up.

    Janice is a grown woman, Hilary. She is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. She is free to say whatever she might wish to me, or about me. If she wants to discuss my apology, I have offered to do so happily.

    However, as far as I know she has not asked for your assistance, nor has she indicated that my apologies are in any way unsatisfactory. I don’t recall her appointing any of you to speak for her, nor indicated that she needs protection from me or anyone else.

    So why are you all in such a lather to protect her from some imaginary dangers when she hasn’t asked for your protection? Serious question, Hilary. Why is protecting someone who has not indicated that she wants protection such a crusade for you? I suspect you are an insightful woman … how about you apply your insight to that question about yourself, and leave me alone for a change? I’m not the man you fantasize that I am, your anger and bitterness is clouding your mind so much that you are accusing me of what you are doing yourself.

  410. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 22, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    All of which, of course, pales in comparison to his allegedly ‘unmet challenge’ via his diversionary reframing: His coup de grâce, an “analogy” (also repeated ad nauseam throughout this thread) to which one is, evidently, supposed to respond and/or agree with.

    Some might ignore this “challenge” because – apart from requiring a “prior” blind acceptance of his baseless claims and unproven assertions – the analogy is so inept, inapt, insulting to one’s intelligence and (as with so many iterations of his obnoxious self-exculpatory and/or diversionary tirades) ultimately, immaterial. But, again, I couldn’t possibly comment.

    That’s the longest way I’ve heard in a while to explain why you are unwilling to answer a simple question, Hilary. You’re running from it like all the rest, and as I mentioned above, when you are running away from a question, nobody cares about your excuses why you don’t want to answer.

    All I did was to transfer Janice saying things about Death, and rephrased them about Jesus, to see how people responded to it. Janice came and told me that Death was a liar, that he could not bring me hope or peace, and that my beliefs were all screwed up.

    All I asked was if saying the same thing about Jesus at a Christian eulogy would be all wonderful and compassionate as you and many others have claimed.

    So I don’t understand what you are calling “baseless claims and unproven assertions”. Janice assuredly told me those things about Death and my beliefs, nothing baseless or unproven there, read her comment. And turnabout is assuredly fair play, so I merely asked if saying to a grieving Christian giving a eulogy for a family member that Jesus is a liar who could never bring them peace or hope would be a compassionate act, as y’all are claiming.

    So how about a simple answer to a simple question? There is nothing in there that requires what you call “‘prior’ blind acceptance”, Hilary. It’s a simple flipping of the situation, with exactly the same attacks that Janice launched against me, but in a Christian context. It contains no “baseless claims” and no “unproven assertions”.

    It’s a bog-simple question, Hilary—if the exact same attack were launched against a Christian that Janice launched against me, by calling Jesus a liar who could never bring you peace or hope, would that be a compassionate act when that Christian was giving a eulogy for a dead family member? Or would it be a crass and unfeeling intrusion?

    So you loudly declaiming that this is some complex allegory full of baseless accusations as you scurry over the horizon in a cloud of dust just means that you, like everyone else to date, is unwilling to answer a simple question because you do not like the answer.

    w.

  411. John R T says:
    April 22, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Thank you, Willis; I try to live my faith. ‘They will know we are Christians by our love.’ I have not tried to ‘sell’ my denomination, nor my religious affiliation.

    Thanks, John. As I said before, I have huge respect for Jesus’s message, and the same respect for those like yourself who live it without trying to push it on their neighbors. I have no problem with Christianity, “love your neighbors” is great advice … but individual Christians whose idea of love is to tell me I’m listening to a liar and will never find peace or hope are … well, unfortunately they are far too common. So common, in fact, that usually I just ignore them … but not when they try to use the occasion of my grief to tell me my beliefs are screwed up and to sell me ten claims about Jesus that I’ve heard a thousand times before.

    According to your story, you are doing exactly what I requested of Christians, that they ASK FIRST before they say one single word about Jesus, particularly when dealing with people who profess no religion. In fact, you go one further and wait for people to ask you. My profound thanks, both for doing that and for talking about it.

    You’d think that asking first would be basic Christian courtesy, but sadly …

    w.

  412. To answer your last question, Willis, I think you are responding in an irrational pattern. We like Janice and you have held sway over this thread for too long. And I believe you are berating anyone that puts in an alternative argument that you does not 100% support your attitude and frame of mind. You are in my opinion very narrow minded, and possibly too humbugish.

    Anthony how long are you letting this thread go on?

  413. johanna says:
    April 22, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Willis said:

    PS—Of course, johanna, you are 100% correct about the “always”. Such sweeping statements are always wrong … I should have said “johanna loves to cast herself in the “savior of downtrodden women” role”, that would have been more accurate. My apologies, moving too fast.
    ———————————

    Yep, that’s Wlillis, just making it up as he goes along.

    Let me get this straight.

    I admitted that you were 100% correct, and that I was wrong, and I apologized to you and corrected the error that you had pointed out … and that’s not enough for you? Really? You want to complain and moan about me saying you were right and apologizing to you? I can see why you don’t like my apology to Janice, nothing’s good enough for you …

    Damn, you’re a hard woman. I say I was wrong and you are 100% right and offer my apologies, but nooo, that isn’t enough for johanna. You want me to lick your boots or something? Wear sackcloth and ashes?

    No satisfying you, that’s clear. Ah, well, at least that means that there’s no reason to try any further to find out what I’ve done that you are upset about … won’t make any difference if I do find out what it is and fix it, you’ve just proven that you’ll still bust my begonias no matter what I do.

    w.

    PS—The accusation that I’m “making it up as I go along” is bizarre. Does that mean you are working from a prepared script? As far as I know, we’re all making up what we say right here on the spot, moment by moment … am I missing something? Did I not get the memo that I should have a script too?

  414. Willis Eschenbach says:April 22, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Hilary, you are suffering from a senior moment. You claim that I “chose to (perhaps conveniently?!) forget that earlier today he had also written” the part you quote.

    In fact, I QUOTED THAT EXACT SECTION IN MY RESPONSE TO JOHANNA.

    OMG! How could I have possibly overlooked that?! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpla!

    But while it is totally unforgivable of me, I agree, there are actually two very valid reasons (at least from my perspective; although I have the rather distinct impression that my perspective is of very little interest to you). Anyway, for those who might be interested, here they are, not necessarily in any order of priority.

    I had intended to append to that portion of my post the remarkable contrast I had observed earlier (in my comment to John Whitman) between those very words and your much earlier barrage.

    But truth be told (and here comes the second reason) I was laughing so hard watching Eschenbach-in-Lewandowsky-mode-on-steroids with his, “That’s just your nasty man-hating nature coming out [and following]” that as I was scrolling through the rest of your tirade, I must have missed it!

    Oh, well … c’est la vie.

    P.S. Willis, since you have decreed that “coward”** is unacceptable, inaccurate or whatever your self-serving scathing scolding of the hour might be … What word or phrase would you have chosen to summarize the essence of the rather winding and long-winded text I had overlooked during my laughter-driven scroll-through?!

    **Although used by johanna without quotes, thereby distinguishing it from your very own words for which she did use quotes – which you seem to have missed because during the course of your tirade you wrongly attributed your very own words to johanna.

  415. willis, hillary…
    plaese stop.
    its like driving by a horrific automobile crash…its a morbid curiosity that makes me come back and read…please, both of you just drop it.
    its unseemly, and unproductive and ugly.
    just stop.

  416. As I said, do you always need a spokeswoman to demand apologies on behalf of some other woman? Now you’re complaining about my treatment of Nancy and johanna … can’t one of you speak for yourself?

    Do you not see that you are perpetuating the “weak woman” stereotype by implicitly claiming that you need to protect and defend Janice and Nancy? That assumes that they are unable to protect themselves … which I don’t believe at all, but you seem to.
    ——————————————
    Here we go again. If we say nothing, it proves assent. If we say something, it proves that the people we speak for are “weak” so it can be ignored.

    The Jesuits have nothing on this bloke.

    I’m not very fussed about you misquoting me, as Hilary pointed out. As I said above, when it comes to attacking women, facts tend to go astray in your diatribes.

    As for the ponytail, thank goodness you have grown up finally and got rid of it. But there was a youtube clip of you speaking at (I think) a Heartland conference some years ago where it was very much in evidence.

    OK, I’ll recant. Your tactics are just like Michael Mann’s, minus the ponytail.

  417. I should add that the attribution of sinister motives to those who disagree with you has a lot of pioneering work by a Professor Stephan Lewandowsky. Why is Hilary Ostrov, a Jew, behaving like an evangelical Christian? Dr Lew (and Willis) can fill you in. Why is johanna’s defence of other people an example of conspiracist ideation? Dr Lew and Willis have all the answers!

  418. bushbunny says (April 23, 2014 at 12:13 am): “Anthony how long are you letting this thread go on?”

    How long will you keep reading it?

  419. bushbunny says:
    April 22, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    It’s not bigotry to describe Janice’s cult as blasphemous, because by the standards of the genuine Christianity she claims to profess, that is precisely what her beliefs are. The Intelligent Designer of creationists is necessarily cruel, deceptive & incompetent, ie a hideous monster unworthy of worship, not the supposed God of love.

  420. Mark Bofill says:
    April 22, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    The Mayflower Pilgrims were indeed Puritans (Brownist Dissenters), who had in fact already fled persecution in England by moving to the Netherlands (Leiden, Holland). But they didn’t want their kids growing up Dutch, so they decided to build their own civilization in the New World, specifically “the northern part of Virginia”, now known as Plymouth, Massachusetts. They blew it by settling there instead of on the site of Boston.

    I, like so many other Americans, am descended from them & from the earlier immigrants to Jamestown, Virginia, who came for gold rather than God, but ended up planting tobacco.

  421. Milodonharlani,

    Thanks. I didn’t really have any particular point I was making, just curious. I read Wikipedia’s account and gather that perhaps religious tolerance wasn’t precisely what one might call a Puritan virtue.

    ~shrug~ It doesn’t really matter with respect to the original point I think, just trivia.

  422. davideisenstadt says:April 23, 2014 at 12:55 am

    willis, hillary…
    plaese stop.
    its like driving by a horrific automobile crash…its a morbid curiosity that makes me come back and read…please, both of you just drop it.
    its unseemly, and unproductive and ugly.
    just stop.

    David,

    The view from here, so to speak, is that this whole “crash” could easily have been averted – by he who now insists that one whom he initially insulted and – in no uncertain terms – made it quite clear that her further participation here was most unwelcome, should somehow have divined that he has “apologized” and that therefore she should return to “defend herself” against his accusations.

    But that aside, as a pattern-picker-outer from way back when, I don’t recall exactly when these particular posting patterns (and such a preponderance of text which reflects classic exercises in projection) of Willis’ began to emerge. But they became very noticeable to me during the course of the McNutt “open letter” thread (circa August 2013). Some of which were repeated/recyled during the Spencer thread (circa October 2013). This particular thread, though, has (in large part) been an encore performance of the McNutt thread.

    And speaking of performances … One of the things that has particularly struck me is the contrast between the ‘passionate and complex’ man Willis keeps telling us he is and the exceedingly flat and monotonal affect that is evident from his video presentations (or at least the ones I’ve seen!)

    All of which is quite off-topic for this thread (and blog). So, perhaps one day, when I have nothing better to blog about, I’ll pull together the evidence (of which he has provided an abundance … but don’t take my word for it … take your mouse for a scroll through the blue bully pulpit posts on this and the other two threads I mentioned!)

    Maybe I’ll call it Portrait of the Artist as a Recyle-Man. Or perhaps, How doth he browbeat thee, let us count the ways. ;-)

    Cheers,
    Hilary

  423. Mark Bofill says:
    April 23, 2014 at 10:37 am

    The Puritan record for toleration is no different from Anglican or Catholic history. In fact, better, since they didn’t burn heretics when briefly in control of England (under Cromwell), as did the other two denominations.

    The last person burned at the stake for heresy in England was Edward Wightman, condemned by the Church of England under James I.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Wightman

    It was this wave of persecution which the Pilgrims fled, first to Holland, then Massachusetts, where the Puritans, instead of burning religious liberty proponent Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, merely expelled him.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Williams_%28theologian%29

  424. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm
    hillary:
    You are so much more accomplished than I am, you write better than I can and your analysis is always spot on…
    Im only writing that you made your point really well, and the “dispute” between you and willis is clear for us all to see…I dont see you two resolving it here in this venue.
    be well.
    david

  425. Janice knew what she was doing and cheerfully did it.

    Folks don’t hesitate to bust Willis’ chops even if they have to invent excuses for it – but, shucks and darn, it was just “impossible” for Janice to come back and make amends. Willis said she couldn’t. so there. Instead, she sucks up sympathy on other threads.

    Now we have a couple of toothless chihuahua’s trying to once again gnaw away at Willis because he isn’t PC enough for their oh so delicate sensibilities.

  426. This thread is turning into a ‘domestic’ isn’t it. LOL. Yeah I am quite fascinated to not delete it, but when we look at it, it just started when Janice tried to comfort Willis and he rejected it violently.
    Then it went into religious persecution and arguments, over the manner that Willis handled his negative respondents of him. And some are wrong, not all creationist religions, believe in the exact description in the Holy bible that the earth was formed in 6 days. However, the processes are spot on. That’s if you add 000,000, 000, to the time period. I mean Sarah Palin reckoned humans walked with dinosaurs. We would never have survived if we had! You have to remember, people were not scientifically minded and nor were the prophets, they were more interested in calming people and to support their way of life.
    By the way, just remember we obey conventions in our particular society, and we tend to dislike extremists who without any invitation, come along and try to assume if we don’t believe in their God and religious laws, we obviously believe in the Devil. But behind it is politics, politics rules our way of life. Be it male vs female, child vs parent, a lawgiver vs criminal.
    But one of my cliches is, I will not stand by and see harm done, or I am as bad as the perpetrator of harm. Anyway keep going, the Gods are watching and hearing you all. LOL

  427. milodonharlani says:
    April 23, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    The Puritan record for toleration is no different from Anglican or Catholic history.

    Quite so, I agree.

  428. Mark Bofill says:
    April 23, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    As I noted, it’s actually better, based upon heretic burning & other measures of tolerance. When the Puritans were in control under the Commonwealth, they did try to force all parishes in the Church of England to worship along their lines, but didn’t kill priests or punish parishioners who wanted to go the “High Church” route & emulate Catholic ritual.

    I fault them for their iconoclasm, which destroyed much wonderful statuary & many stained glass windows, somewhat restored. And for suppressing the English stage, although the plays that might otherwise have been written in the 1650s would probably not have been of the highest quality.

  429. Cromwell tried to ban Christmas (the pagan part only, Christmas puds, and festivities rather than total Christian devotion only).
    He didn’t succeed either. You talk about James lst of England and James VI of Scotland, whose mother Mary Queen of Scots was a catholic. What about Guy (or Guido) Fawkes, the catholic and his 12 conspirators? Who conspired and nearly succeeded in the Gun Power plot. They still burn an image of him on Nov 5th with fireworks each year, although not anti Catholic, Catholics were not emancipated until the 19th Century. If I remember rightly he may have died the worst death of all, hanged, drawn and quartered, but avoided mutilation by jumping from the scaffold and breaking his neck.
    What about Salem too. Religion has been the source of terrible conflicts, and it still is.

  430. Ha, ha, ha Gary, with so much negativity on this thread, just make sure our puters, don’t rebel, and get struck by lightening. LOL.

  431. johanna says:
    April 23, 2014 at 7:09 am

    As for the ponytail, thank goodness you have grown up finally and got rid of it. But there was a youtube clip of you speaking at (I think) a Heartland conference some years ago where it was very much in evidence.

    I fear that you have mistaken me for someone else. I absolutely don’t rock a pony-tail, and I didn’t even when my hair was long back in the 1960s. I wore a bandana instead. In any case, I’ve had short hair for forty years now.

    So I fear that once again, your accusation proves to be merely a fantasy on your part … no surprise, I guess …

    w.

  432. bushbunny says:
    April 23, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    This thread is turning into a ‘domestic’ isn’t it. LOL. Yeah I am quite fascinated to not delete it, but when we look at it, it just started when Janice tried to comfort Willis and he rejected it violently.

    Bushbunny, if I told a grieving Christian giving a eulogy for a dead relative that Christ is a liar who can never bring him lasting peace or hope, would you consider that “comfort”?

    Serious question, bushbunny. I keep asking this question. Nobody’s had the nerve to answer yet. Not Johanna. Not Hilary, Not you, Not Nancy.

    I don’t call that comfort, bushbunny, and that’s exactly what Janice told me. I did not find it a comforting in the slightest, I found it aggressive and insulting, and I’m astounded that you think it would comfort me. Comfort me? Telling the man who just explained his fundamental beliefs to you that he’s listening to a liar and his beliefs are all wrong is supposed to be comforting?

    Really?

    w.

  433. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 23, 2014 at 12:46 am (Edit)

    Willis Eschenbach says:April 22, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Hilary, you are suffering from a senior moment. You claim that I “chose to (perhaps conveniently?!) forget that earlier today he had also written” the part you quote.

    In fact, I QUOTED THAT EXACT SECTION IN MY RESPONSE TO JOHANNA.

    OMG! How could I have possibly overlooked that?! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpla!

    But while it is totally unforgivable of me, I agree, there are actually two very valid reasons (at least from my perspective; although I have the rather distinct impression that my perspective is of very little interest to you). Anyway, for those who might be interested, here they are, not necessarily in any order of priority.

    I had intended to append to that portion of my post the remarkable contrast I had observed earlier (in my comment to John Whitman) between those very words and your much earlier barrage.

    But truth be told (and here comes the second reason) I was laughing so hard watching Eschenbach-in-Lewandowsky-mode-on-steroids with his, “That’s just your nasty man-hating nature coming out [and following]” that as I was scrolling through the rest of your tirade, I must have missed it!

    Oh, well … c’est la vie.

    Let me get this straight. You accused me of being a very bad and foolish person for not quoting something.

    I point out that I did quote it, in the very comment you were discussing.

    Your answer above is that it’s still my fault, because you don’t like something else I said, and because my errors were so funny you were unable to control your laughter.

    Got it. However, a simple apology for your most unpleasant and untrue claim would have sufficed. People notice when you are wrong and don’t admit it when you are wrong, Hilary, and “OMG! How could I have possibly overlooked that?” is not such an admission. That’s merely an attempt to minimize the fact that you attacked me in an ugly manner over something that was just your fantasy.

    P.S. Willis, since you have decreed that “coward”** is unacceptable, inaccurate or whatever your self-serving scathing scolding of the hour might be … What word or phrase would you have chosen to summarize the essence of the rather winding and long-winded text I had overlooked during my laughter-driven scroll-through?!

    **Although used by johanna without quotes, thereby distinguishing it from your very own words for which she did use quotes – which you seem to have missed because during the course of your tirade you wrongly attributed your very own words to johanna.

    Since once again you haven’t bothered to quote the words you disagree with, I’m clueless where I “wrongly attributed [my] very own words to johanna”. I don’t recall doing that, although all things are possible, but without a quote that’s just more of your accusations.

    Next, Johanna did not quote what I’d said, Instead, she falsely claimed I’d called Janice a coward, saying:

    She was “crass and intrusive”, you told her to f*** off, but now you are all forgiving and she is a coward if she doesn’t respond?

    Her clear implication is that I said or implied that Janice was a coward. I neither said nor implied any such thing. The main problem it is not that “coward” is “unacceptable, inaccurate or whatever your self-serving scathing scolding of the hour might be”.

    The problem is that her accusation is untrue, simply johanna’s fantasy made up out of the whole cloth. Do you expect me to praise johanna for trying to bash me with her fantasies?

    In any case, I’m happy to summarize the essence of what I said. I said it was both bad tactics and bad strategy for Janice to make a statement someone finds offensive and then walk away without responding when they protest. You lose a whole lot of traction that way.

    Regards,

    w.

  434. johanna says:
    April 23, 2014 at 7:09 am

    As I said, do you always need a spokeswoman to demand apologies on behalf of some other woman? Now you’re complaining about my treatment of Nancy and johanna … can’t one of you speak for yourself?

    Do you not see that you are perpetuating the “weak woman” stereotype by implicitly claiming that you need to protect and defend Janice and Nancy? That assumes that they are unable to protect themselves … which I don’t believe at all, but you seem to.

    ——————————————
    Here we go again. If we say nothing, it proves assent. If we say something, it proves that the people we speak for are “weak” so it can be ignored.

    Ah, my apologies for my lack of clarity. I am absolutely not advising that you say nothing.

    I am saying that Janice has not told you whether she wants an apology from me all … but despite that, you are insisting on her behalf that I apologize to her, in some specific manner you find acceptable. That contains the assumption that she is too weak to speak for herself.

    But no, I’m not advising that you say nothing. I’m saying that you are perpetuating the “weak woman” syndrome by setting yourself up as the spokesmodel for Janice, in order to tell me what you think I should say to Janice. But that doesn’t mean I’m advising saying nothing. There are lots of things you can say for yourself.

    You can strongly register your disagreement with what I’m saying. You can find errors in my logic. You can answer the question I asked everyone that no one has answered. You can quote what I said to Janice and tell me what you think is wrong with it. You can say a host of things for yourself, the world is your lobster.

    But you can’t speak for Janice. That’s not going to fly with me. I have invited her quite clearly and warmly to resume the discussion. The next move is up to her. It’s not up to you. You claiming to speak for her says that Janice is incapable of answering for herself so you are appointing yourself to make demands on me on her imaginary behalf… really? Do people buy that kind of thing in your world? Because I don’t. Neither you nor I know what Janice wants, that’s up to her alone.

    You want to show the world that women are strong? Don’t bother telling me how Janice feels and what kind of apology Janice needs and wants. Tell Janice to stand up and tell me how she feels and what she needs and wants. That’s what strong women do, they stand up for themselves …

    Best regards,

    w.

  435. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    All of which is quite off-topic for this thread (and blog). So, perhaps one day, when I have nothing better to blog about, I’ll pull together the evidence (of which he has provided an abundance … but don’t take my word for it … take your mouse for a scroll through the blue bully pulpit posts on this and the other two threads I mentioned!)

    So you make a host of unpleasant accusations without quotations, and then you promise that “perhaps one day” if you have nothing better to do you’ll provide the evidence to back up your accusations … that’s real cute. Is that what Nixon called the “semi-limited hangout route”?

    In any case, I agree with you in encouraging people to visit the posts in question, folks should definitely read them. I’m more than happy to have the lurkers get the facts and then decide.

    Maybe I’ll call it Portrait of the Artist as a Recyle-Man. Or perhaps, How doth he browbeat thee, let us count the ways. ;-)

    The accusations leveled against me by yourself and others that I “browbeat” or “bully” people in this context is a curious one. You see, to bully someone means to force someone to do something by using threats. The classic line of the bully is “Give me your lunch money, kid, or I’ll punch your lights out!”.

    But in this context, what possible threat do I have? That I’ll say bad words? That I’ll jump up and down? “If you don’t give me your lunch money, Hilary, I’m gonna do … I’m gonna …”

    I’m gonna do what? Spew spittle on my screen? Write a really long reply that you decide not to read? Request the UN to send you a strongly worded letter? OK, Hilary, if you don’t give me your lunch money I’m gonna call you a big poopy-head? Where is the threat that is a required part of bullying?

    This idea that I’m the mean man bullying all the poor weak women is just more fantasy. The poor weak women can say anything they damn well please about me, and I can’t do one thing about it. Not one thing. I can’t cut you off half-way through what you say. I can’t drown you out. There’s nothing I can do about what you want to say, I can’t stop it or delay it or mute it or change it one iota.

    So no, Hilary, I’m not bullying or browbeating anyone. But not because I’m somehow different from everyone else. I’m not bullying anyone for the same reason no one else is bullying anyone here—because a bully has to have a threat, and this lovely context here just doesn’t have any threats except calling someone a poopy-head.

    And as a result, here nobody’s bullying anybody, myself included.

    All the best,

    w.

  436. Willis Eschenbach says: April 25, 2014 at 3:01 am

    [...]

    Let me get this straight.[...]

    And had he done so, I think it might well have been a first in this particular thread!

    Instead – as anyone who might take his/her mouse for a scroll back through this thread can plainly see – we are treated to five consecutive encores (beginning at 2:30 a.m. and winding down at 3:54 a.m.) of recycled self-serving churnings from the windmills of Willis <even when he’s spectacularly wrong, he’s right> Eschenbach’s brilliant mind.

    IOW, while Willis demonstrates (for the umpteenth time) his somewhat … well … elastic interpretation of the word “exactly” [Translation for newbies: Because. Willis. Said. So. (BWSS for short) Over and over and over again], if we choose to comment, we’re supposed to play his little game of ‘my claim, prove me wrong’.

    And we must be sure to don our kid gloves first! Not that it will make much difference, once he finds some words or other that he can glom onto as a hook in order to regale us with further iterations of the non-responsive self-serving same!

    Because, folks, it’s his thread and his and – most important of all – his perceptions that are the only ones that count. Unless, of course, you choose to demonstrate that you hold him ‘n all his words in the same unimpeachable high esteem as he does, forever and ever. Amen! Then you’ll probably get a “pass”!

    In the meantime, since Willis had earlier indicated that he has no way of contacting Janice privately (to apologize and invite her back) and as I had subsequently remarked to John Whitman, I still cannot imagine why any self-respecting person should be expected to monitor and/or resume participation in a thread whose ‘owner’ had very clearly and unambiguously declared that s/he was not welcome.

    Yet, Willis still appears to harbour a very strong expectation that such a person should somehow have divined his subsequent “apology” (that clearly really wasn’t) and returned to the thread to defend her/himself against his accusations.

    And if – sin of all heinous sins – anyone should have the audacity to call a spade a spade by pointing out that this (or any of his myriad BWSS claims for that matter) is not a very reasonable (or rational) expectation (and/or “argument”) on his part, then such an individual is deemed (by he whose interpretations and/or inferences are the only ones that count) to have “accused [him] of being a very bad and foolish person.”

    In this instance, I am the one who has been so deemed. Not because I had actually written anything that might resemble such “accusations”, but simply BWSS. As is, unfortunately – and notwithstanding his protestations to the contrary – all too often the case.

    Willis is certainly not one to cite scriptures with any noticeable frequency. And now we most certainly do know why; even if it wasn’t evident in this particular post of his, or in any others that I can recall!

    But once he’s thrown a BWSS on the virtual table, he does seem to be quite fond of running (and re-running ad nauseam) his very own carefully crafted scripts. Although it is worth noting that – perhaps for a little variety – he does, on occasion, sparingly (albeit sometimes jarringly!) pepper them with words and/or phrases he might well have picked up from someone else’s table.

    YMMV, but that’s the view from here, so to speak ;-)

    P.S. Willis, don’t worry your un-pony-tailed head! When I do get around to pulling together the evidence (of which, as I had noted, you have very kindly provided an abundance over the last few years) for a post on my own blog, I’ll be sure to let you know. Or, at the very least, I’ll try my best to do so!

    In the meantime, do carry on, Recyle-man!

  437. Willis Eschenbach says (April 25, 2014 at 2:30 am): “I fear that you have mistaken me for someone else. I absolutely don’t rock a pony-tail,”

    I watched one of your presentations, and thought “Hey, Johanna is right, he does have a– Oh, wait, it’s just his loose eyeglass band.” Might that be the source of her misconception?

    Willis Eschenbach says (April 25, 2014 at 3:54 am): “But in this context, what possible threat do I have?”

    Ah, the internet, the great equalizer…where the 90-pound weakling who gets sand kicked in his face at the beach is a match for the biggest, hairiest man (or woman) who ever lived!

  438. This thread is a hoot…
    Janice makes two posts, is told she is proselytizing for her religion….and leaves over a week ago

    …and for the next week, people are proselytizing against religion

    proselytizing for a religion…. proselytizing against religion

    They are both disgusting

    proselytizing is proselytizing……

  439. oh crap, I keep forgetting the mandatory quote:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    April 18, 2014 at 11:27 pm
    Janice, you using my father-in-law’s death as an excuse for proselytizing for your religion is disgusting.

  440. Latitude says:
    April 25, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    This thread is a hoot…
    Janice makes two posts, is told she is proselytizing for her religion….and leaves over a week ago

    …and for the next week, people are proselytizing against religion

    proselytizing for a religion…. proselytizing against religion

    They are both disgusting

    proselytizing is proselytizing……

    I haven’t noticed anyone doing much proselyzing against religion. I’ve been objecting to proselytizing, but I’m not saying that religion is bad. I said above that I think the Christian message is excellent. I have lauded people above who practice their faith without proselytizing. So clearly I’m not proselytizing against any religion. Nor have others, not that I’ve noticed.

    As a result, your claim that there is some kind of moral equivalence is a joke. Janice tried to convert me to Christianity, and told me that my beliefs were all wrong and screwed up. Other than that, nobody’s tried to convert anyone to or from Judaism, Islam, Christianity, atheism, non-theism, Buddhism or any other belief.

    Claiming that both sides are somehow equivalent is just a cheap trick to try to win a debate. Sorry, Latitude, you’ll need to do better than that.

    w.

  441. Gary Hladik says:
    April 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says (April 25, 2014 at 2:30 am):

    “I fear that you have mistaken me for someone else. I absolutely don’t rock a pony-tail,”

    I watched one of your presentations, and thought “Hey, Johanna is right, he does have a– Oh, wait, it’s just his loose eyeglass band.” Might that be the source of her misconception?

    Possibly, but inquiring about the manifold sources of johanna’s misconceptions would be a full-time job, so I’ll give the whole subject a pass …

    I do find it hilarious, though. I mean, when the worst accusation that your opponent in a debate can aim at you is that you have a ponytail, you’ve won even if you do have a ponytail. But in this case it’s even funnier, because I don’t have a ponytale.

    It’s like Hilary above, accusing me of wrongdoing for not being animated enough in my speeches … really, Hilary? She won’t answer my simple question (although to be fair everyone’s run from it just like she has), but she’ll tell me that she doesn’t like the way I give a speech.

    Like I said … when your opponents are reduced to that level, it’s clear that they’re out of ammunition and the fight is won.

    w.

  442. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says:
    April 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm
    Willis Eschenbach says: April 25, 2014 at 3:01 am

    [...]

    Let me get this straight.[...]

    And had he done so, I think it might well have been a first in this particular thread!

    Instead – as anyone who might take his/her mouse for a scroll back through this thread can plainly see – we are treated to five consecutive encores (beginning at 2:30 a.m. and winding down at 3:54 a.m.) of recycled self-serving churnings from the windmills of Willis Eschenbach’s brilliant mind.

    IOW, while Willis demonstrates (for the umpteenth time) his somewhat … well … elastic interpretation of the word “exactly” [Translation for newbies: Because. Willis. Said. So. (BWSS for short) Over and over and over again], if we choose to comment, we’re supposed to play his little game of ‘my claim, prove me wrong’.

    And we must be sure to don our kid gloves first! Not that it will make much difference, once he finds some words or other that he can glom onto as a hook in order to regale us with further iterations of the non-responsive self-serving same!

    Because, folks, it’s his thread and his and – most important of all – his perceptions that are the only ones that count. Unless, of course, you choose to demonstrate that you hold him ‘n all his words in the same unimpeachable high esteem as he does, forever and ever. Amen! Then you’ll probably get a “pass”!

    Dang, Hilary … just dang … so many accusations … so little data. Truly, dear lady, your bitter invective-filled rants, free of any actual facts and full of wrath and venom, are approaching the imbalanced stalker range. “Kid gloves” and “glom onto” and “non-responsive self-serving” and “churning from the windmills” and … seriously, Hilary. You’re losing the plot, and you’ve lost sight of me entirely. You’re talking to some personal funhouse mirror version of me that has nothing to do with who I am.

    In the meantime, since Willis had earlier indicated that he has no way of contacting Janice privately (to apologize and invite her back) and as I had subsequently remarked to John Whitman, I still cannot imagine why any self-respecting person should be expected to monitor and/or resume participation in a thread whose ‘owner’ had very clearly and unambiguously declared that s/he was not welcome.

    Yet, Willis still appears to harbour a very strong expectation that such a person should somehow have divined his subsequent “apology” (that clearly really wasn’t) and returned to the thread to defend her/himself against his accusations.

    This is another example of why I ask discourteous folk such as you to quote what I said. In this case, I had said:

    In any case, as the person delivering the eulogy, I found her actions incredibly crass, insensitive, and unwanted. So I told her so.

    Now, was I over the top in telling her how inappropriate her behavior was? Most assuredly. I was wrong, and I am sorry I was over-wrought in my response. As I said, I used a sledgehammer, and that was not right. And I have apologized to her for that.

    However, I’m still waiting for her apology for her actions. Not hoping for it, you understand.

    But if I were so crass and unfeeling as to stand up and breezily deliver a Christian sermon and try to convert the folks at a Moslem eulogy to Christianity, after the person delivering the eulogy jumped up and slapped my face and I realized what I’d done, I would certainly apologize …

    However, I’m neither Janice nor a Christian, so I can’t even guess how she looks at all of this. Which is why I’m not hoping for anything.

    As you can see, contrary to your foolish claim, I have had NO expectation that she would return. I wished she would, but there seemed little hope for that. However, I asked her in all good faith to return. You seem to think this was wrong … so if I don’t ask her back I’m bad, and if I do ask her back I’m also bad. Here’s another quote from above:

    As you must have seen if you read up from the bottom, I have apologized to Janice. My response was over the top. Actually, I think I’ve apologized three separate times at this point. That’s who I am. I admit when I’m wrong. I’d love to hear from her again. But I can understand if she doesn’t reply. Like I said above, she’s a grown woman, free to speak for herself. It’s her choice.

    As I said, your sick fantasy that I harbored a “very strong expectation that such a person should somehow have divined his subsequent “apology” (that clearly really wasn’t) and returned to the thread” is just more of your trying desperately to find something with which to accuse me. As my quote clearly shows, I had no strong expectation that she’d return, that’s just your fevered imagination.

    Next, you keep saying that my apology wasn’t sufficient. As I said before, there is only one person on the planet who can judge whether my apology to her was or wasn’t satisfactory, and that’s Janice. Not you. You’re just sticking your long nose into someone else’s business, despite being asked to butt out. Janice may be totally satisfied with my apology, or totally dissatisfied with it … but what you have to say about it is MEANINGLESS. It’s just another attempt to attack me.

    And if – sin of all heinous sins – anyone should have the audacity to call a spade a spade by pointing out that this (or any of his myriad BWSS claims for that matter) is not a very reasonable (or rational) expectation (and/or “argument”) on his part, then such an individual is deemed (by he whose interpretations and/or inferences are the only ones that count) to have “accused [him] of being a very bad and foolish person.”

    In this instance, I am the one who has been so deemed. Not because I had actually written anything that might resemble such “accusations”, but simply BWSS. As is, unfortunately – and notwithstanding his protestations to the contrary – all too often the case.

    I indeed said you accused me of being a very bad and foolish person, for not remembering something. I said:

    Hilary, you are suffering from a senior moment. You claim that I “chose to (perhaps conveniently?!) forget that earlier today he had also written” the part you quote.

    In fact, I QUOTED THAT EXACT SECTION IN MY RESPONSE TO JOHANNA.

    In response to your totally false accusation, you said it was still my fault you made a false accusation. I was amazed, and said:

    Let me get this straight. You accused me of being a very bad and foolish person for not quoting something.

    I point out that I did quote it, in the very comment you were discussing.

    Your answer above is that it’s still my fault, because you don’t like something else I said, and because my errors were so funny you were unable to control your laughter.

    Got it. However, a simple apology for your most unpleasant and untrue claim would have sufficed.

    I stand by that. You were so consumed with your dislike for me that you stupidly tried to bust me for not quoting something THAT I HAD ACTUALLY QUOTED. Now, you are flailing around trying to get people to not remember that it was your asinine untrue accusation that was the topic under discussion. Nice try.

    Willis is certainly not one to cite scriptures with any noticeable frequency. And now we most certainly do know why; even if it wasn’t evident in this particular post of his, or in any others that I can recall!

    Actually, I believe I’ve quoted more scripture than you have on this thread, both Buddhist and Christian scripture, plus paraphrasing the gospel according to Saint Godel … I do wish you’d pay attention. Another of your pathetic fantasies strikes a reef of facts.

    But once he’s thrown a BWSS on the virtual table, he does seem to be quite fond of running (and re-running ad nauseam) his very own carefully crafted scripts. Although it is worth noting that – perhaps for a little variety – he does, on occasion, sparingly (albeit sometimes jarringly!) pepper them with words and/or phrases he might well have picked up from someone else’s table.

    Oh, great. Now you’re a literary critic … look, Miss Self-Appointed Editor, I get a million page views every year, from people who want to read my words. And you, who also have a blog and are lucky to get a few hundred page views a year, you’re going to school me about how to write a strong and powerful piece?

    That’s hilarious. Your arrogance knows no bounds. But like I said elsewhere, when my opponent in a debate starts whining about my writing style, I know for a fact that they’ve lost both the plot and the debate …

    YMMV, but that’s the view from here, so to speak ;-)

    P.S. Willis, don’t worry your un-pony-tailed head! When I do get around to pulling together the evidence (of which, as I had noted, you have very kindly provided an abundance over the last few years) for a post on my own blog, I’ll be sure to let you know. Or, at the very least, I’ll try my best to do so!

    I can hardly wait. I love posts that are shrines to hating on me, they’re hilarious. It is so bizarre, though, that people who claim to dislike me so much would spend so much time thinking about me, and planning a hate shrine to me. I can assure you, Hilary … I spend zero time thinking about you.

    But if you want to join the other dweebs who can’t stop thinking about me, and are making hate-shrines to me around the web, please be my guest. All that such shrines do is drive traffic to this site, because people will want to see what you are frothing and bellowing about, and then they read my words. I’ll take that comparison any time, I’m bound to look good compared to that.

    In the meantime, do carry on, Recyle-man!

    I truly don’t understand that expletive, “Recyle-man!” I suppose you’re trying valiantly to spell “Recycle”, but that doesn’t make any sense either. What is a recyle-man, or a recycle-man for that matter, and why is it that whatever a recyle-man does is such anathema to you that you are trying so hard to unsuccessfully paste that label on me? What is it supposed to mean?

    Truly, Hilary, your endless stalking and content-free abuse of me is becoming a bit creepy, and while the idea of you building a hate-shrine to me as you threaten above is pretty funny … well, your bitterness doesn’t touch me, but that kind of obsession isn’t healthy for you. I’d suggest that you quit while you’re behind, because hating on people is not a good way to go through life.

    All the best,

    w.

  443. Claiming that both sides are somehow equivalent is just a cheap trick to try to win a debate. Sorry, Latitude, you’ll need to do better than that.
    ========
    No I don’t……You would be the first one to jump on me for my lack of reading skills
    “people are”….is not followed by some rambling post with a bunch of “I’s” in it

  444. A million page views per year! Just on your own merits, like if you started your own blog!.

    Not.

    Face it, Willis, your wild and irrational responses to women you don’t like have caused you a lot of trouble. Now, you might claim that this is because they are all lunatics.

    But, your response is, oh please, please, don’t throw me into the briar patch!

    I also noticed that above you scoffed at the suggestion that someone like Hilary Ostrov might do a systematic review of your feral behaviour when challenged.

    Let’s put it this way. Its comparable to having a right-of centre group being audited by the IRS, a greenie being checked out for rorting taxpayers or Michael Mann being audited by McIntyre, as having Hilary Ostrov on the case about posts and comments on blogs. Your arrogant assumption that everyone else is dumber than you has got you into trouble in the past, and will again.

    But, whatever floats your Hemingwayesque boat, Willis.

    Why is it than every one of your posts starts with things like “now I’m a curious guy”, and so on? People like Bob Tisdale, who I greatly respect, don’t need to insert their favourable personal characteristics into their posts. I mean, Bob could say “Now I’m a handsome guy”, or “Well, none of you will be surprised to hear that I had to find out more about this” in front of his posts. But he doesn’t.

  445. Oh, and in case anyone is in doubt about Wliis’ “position”, he said:

    “Janice tried to convert me to Christianity, and told me that my beliefs were all wrong and screwed up.”

  446. Hilary Ostrov (aka hro001) says (April 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm): “P.S. Willis, don’t worry your un-pony-tailed head! When I do get around to pulling together the evidence (of which, as I had noted, you have very kindly provided an abundance over the last few years) for a post on my own blog, I’ll be sure to let you know.”

    Careful, Willis. Hilary is the proud owner of WillisEschenbachStinks.com, .net, and .org. What does that tell you?

    :-)